Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016: Maximum Shelf: Smoke

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


B&N 'Digital Prototype Store' in the Works

B&N CEO Ron Boire

Barnes & Noble plans to open a "digitally influenced prototype bookstore" later this year, Internet Retailer reported. B&N CEO Ron Boire announced the move during the annual eTail West conference in Palm Springs, Calif., though he didn't offer details regarding what the store would include or where it will be located. The announcement appears to come in response to Amazon's opening four months ago of its first bricks-and-mortar bookstore, in Seattle.

"One of the challenges of that store is going to be the digital experience," he said. "I don't think until you're fully connected--mobile, desktop and store--that you're going to be providing the full experience. That's our goal.... We're not talking specifics about the store right now except we are opening something in calendar 2016 and it will be different than the traditional Barnes & Noble store."

Boire noted that B&N's e-commerce foundation is in place, but now the company must build on it: "We have a lot of opportunity. We launched our new website last year. We built a new digital team over the last year or so. To me, bringing in the right talent that truly understands the difference between digital and physical and how they're all coming together is critical."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Banned Books Week 2016 to Spotlight Diversity

This year's Banned Books Week, which runs from September 25 to October 1, will focus on diversity, celebrating literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as exploring why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place. More than half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

"It's alarming to see so many diverse voices facing censorship," said Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition. "2016's Banned Books Week is an important moment for communities to join together in affirming the value of diverse ideas and multiple viewpoints. By shining a light on how these ideas are censored, we hope to encourage opportunities to create engagement and understanding within our communities, and to emphasize the fundamental importance of the freedom to read."

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Magic City Books Planned for Tulsa, Okla.

The Tulsa Literary Coalition is hoping to bring "literary magic" to the city through the creation of Magic City Books, a new independent bookstore that "will be the anchor tenant in a building on Archer Street between Detroit Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in the Brady Arts District," Tulsa World reported. Renovations are set to begin soon, with the shop, which will also feature a cafe, meeting room and newsstand, opening later this year or early 2017.

"It's no surprise that Downtown Tulsa is experiencing a renaissance," said Jeff Martin, the founder of the bookstore and Tulsa Literary Coalition who plans to use his popular BookSmart Tulsa series to attract more author events to the community. "Magic City Books and the ongoing outreach of the Tulsa Literary Coalition will create and foster a new literary tradition in Tulsa, providing a much needed center for the literary arts. We will keep Tulsa reading, thinking, and talking about books and ideas."

Cindy Hulsey will serve as executive director of the coalition and general manager of the for-profit bookstore bookstore, which will be part of the funding source for the literary nonprofit group, Tulsa World wrote. Martin is president and board of directors for the coalition.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

AAP Launches Center for Innovation & Digital Learning

The Association of American Publishers has launched the Center for Innovation & Digital Learning, an initiative "designed to promote new ideas in the digital learning space and to support the development of next-generation educational technologies." The center will have headquarters in Washington, D.C. Members from AAP's PreK-12 and Higher Education sectors will develop and implement digital initiatives within the center.

"Learning materials are no longer solely the printed textbooks of generations past. Digital learning materials are increasingly important to improving outcomes throughout a student's education," said Tom Allen, AAP president and CEO. "While AAP and its education divisions have undertaken many digital initiatives over the past 15 years, our new center will complement existing initiatives and generate new efforts that support our members, educators, and students nationwide."

Cleveland's Visible Voice Books Could Reopen

The former Visible Voice
Visible Voice's new location

Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, Ohio, closed more than two years ago, but owner Dave Ferrante, who recently purchased the Komorowski Funeral Home building in Tremont, may reopen the bookshop "if everything works out as planned," Scene reported.

The "spacious three-level structure" not only has room for a bookstore, but also for Crust pizza shop, with which Visible Voice previously had a "mutually beneficial relationship." Scene noted that the "initial plan calls for a main floor Crust and second-floor--possibly with an open mezzanine layout--Visible Voice Books."

"We've got six or seven different sets of plans we're working with for the funeral home," said Crust owner Mike Griffin. "I think what we'll do is combine Visible Voice with Crust in one building. I think it would be good for Tremont to get the bookstore back, and to get more space for Crust."

Ferrante cautioned that it is still a work in progress: "I'm excited about it, but at the same time it's a long planning process. The Crust piece is definitely going to happen and I would like to complement it with doing the bookstore again. But I'm going to be very deliberate about how I go about it. There are so many opportunities with that building it's unbelievable. One of the things I liked most about the [former] bookstore was the courtyard and there's plenty of room to put some sort of courtyard there....

"Even when I closed I said that I would potentially be willing to reopen if I found the right opportunity--and I still believe the business model works if you keep your overhead low. I always felt I didn't have enough room there. This would double the space I had and would allow me to explore a lot more different price points."

Obituary Note: Kim Gamble

Australian children's book illustrator Kim Gamble, the "much-loved, award-winning artist... known for illustrating the bestselling Tashi books," died February 19, the Age reported. He was 63. The series, written by the mother/daughter team of Barbara and Anna Fienberg and launched in 1995, made Tashi an iconic children's character, with more than a million books sold in Australia and New Zealand, as well as translations into more than 20 languages

Anna Fienberg praised Gamble's imagination as "a magic gift which he shared with the world. I was so amazingly lucky to work with him for 20 years, making books together. He developed the deliberate silences left in the text, creating the world lying beneath. He extended the themes, feelings, light in the landscape, helping me discover what I had written. Working with Kim was like learning a new way to see."

Children's literature specialist Judith Ridge called Gamble "one of the greatest children's book illustrators this country has ever produced. His empathy for children and childhood is untouched."


Image of the Day: Chalkapella

At A Cappella Books in Atlanta, Ga., local artist Clara Nibbelink creates beautiful original artwork dedicated to the written word for the store's chalkboard. Nibbelink, who also handles social media for the store, uses #chalkappella for posting the images on Instagram and Twitter. (Thanks to Paula Kelley at Gingko Press for the photo.)

Cool Ideas of the Day: Bookish Benches, Winter Reading

Bookshop Santa Cruz is participating in the Artful Reading Benches project for Santa Cruz City Parks by funding the creation of three benches "as a way of giving back to the community and inspiring the next generation of readers.... We are seeking artists for these special commissions! Deadline to submit designs is March 18." On Facebook, the bookstore featured "images from London's Books About Town series. Our benches won't be the same shape as these, but we trust they will be just as fun and inspiring!"

In addition, the bookstore is hosting its third annual Winter Reading Program, challenging customers to read at least three of eight books selected by the booksellers over four months (December 2015-March 2016). "Upon completion, adults will receive a $5 gift card to Bookshop Santa Cruz, a cupcake from Buttercup Cakes, and a 'Doonster Flight' from the tasting room at Bonny Doon Vineyard."

Personnel Changes at Ingram Content Group

At Ingram Content Group:

Michael Bell has been named director of national accounts. He was formerly director of consumer direct fulfillment. Earlier in his career, he was a field sales trainer with Johnson & Johnson.
Emily Weiss has been promoted to director, corporate communications. She joined Ingram in 2013 as senior manager, communications and PR and earlier was PR manager with Dollar General Corp. and held communication roles with PR firm communications 21 and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
Jacqueline Letson has been promoted to v-p of human resources. She joined Ingram in 2004 and most recently served as a director of human resources.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael V. Hayden on the Daily Show

Conan: Kate Hudson, author of Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062434234).

Daily Show: Michael V. Hayden, author of Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror (Penguin Press, $30, 9781594206566).

Movies: A Wrinkle in Time; The Hunchback Assignments

Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct A Wrinkle in Time, a film adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's novel that has a script by Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Deadline reported that the deal "is the culmination of six months of courtship by Disney Motion Pictures president Sean Bailey and exec Tendo Nagenda."


Canadian production company Thunderbird Films and Australia's Sandpiper Entertainment are developing a movie based on Arthur Slade's steampunk novel The Hunchback Assignments. Variety reported that the "working title of the film is Modo, taken from the principal character's name of a hunchbacked shapeshifter at the center of the first novel and its sequels."

Books & Authors

Awards: L.A. Times Book Finalists; Duff Cooper Winner

Finalists in 10 categories have been named for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which will be awarded April 9 on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. This year's Innovator's Award goes to James Patterson "for his work to inspire a lifelong love of reading in children and his support of independent bookstores nationwide." The winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement is U.S. poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.


Ian Bostridge won the £5,000 (about $7,075) Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize, which "celebrates the best in nonfiction writing," for his book Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession.

Book Brahmin: Aidan Donnelley Rowley

photo: Elena Seibert

Born and raised in New York City, Aidan Donnelley Rowley is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School. Her new novel, The Ramblers (Morrow, February 9, 2016), focuses on three Manhattanites struggling to find themselves during one life-changing Thanksgiving week. Rowley is also the author of the novel Life After Yes. She contributes to the Huffington Post and is the founder and curator of the popular Happier Hours Literary Salons. The middle of five sisters, she lives in New York with her husband and three young daughters.

On your nightstand now:

The final two books of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels; I've been blazing through this singular and gripping account of friendship over time. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara; I'm somewhat obsessed with its characters and their dark, deeply human world. The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick, which a friend just gave me over lunch. The petite but profound Gratitude by Oliver Sacks. Wonder by R.J. Palacio, which my nine-year-old is reading for her book club. I host literary salons in my home once a month, called Happier Hours, so I'm constantly devouring novels and memoirs to find authors to feature; the bedside stack gets precariously high at times.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I have such vivid and fond memories of my mother reading me this colorful book, of her long fingers flipping the bright pages, the joy I felt in finding the tiny mouse in each scene. Growing up, I shared one big hunter green bedroom with all four of my sisters; we called it the green room. Looking back, I have no doubt that "the great green room" served as inspiration. A full circle treat: I've loved reading this classic to each of my three daughters, who've been known to say it's their favorite, too.

Your top five authors:

Such a tricky one because I find that I'm still catching up. I wasn't a bookworm as a child and have become an avid reader only pretty recently, but I certainly have a burgeoning list of favorites, which includes E.B. White, Donna Tartt, Claire Messud, Jhumpa Lahiri and Anna Quindlen.

Book you've faked reading:

I love this question! I don't think I've actually faked reading a specific book, but rather feel that I've faked reading many books. For some reason my therapist might be able to help me figure out, I'm always under the impression that everyone but me has read absolutely everything, but acknowledge that this likely has far more to do with some ineffable deep-seated intellectual insecurity than reality. Somehow, I didn't read The Great Gatsby until I was 26 and on my honeymoon. I devoured it poolside with a cocktail in hand.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I love nothing more than to devour a good book and then tell the world about it and sometimes wonder if I'm an over-evangelizer (nope, not a word), but I've decided there's no such thing. Books are windows into ourselves and the world, and there's nothing better than stumbling upon a gem and sharing it with others. One book I adore that I've told many about is Devotion by Dani Shapiro. Her prose is hauntingly crisp; her self-reflection, keen.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I love buying books for the cover. One of my all-time favorite things to do is to wander into a bookstore (Book Culture on the Upper West Side is my go-to) and allow myself to get lost. I go where my eye leads me, often to certain color combinations and particular images. A few years ago, I stumbled almost hypnotically toward The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. I thought: What is this book and what does this rainbow mean? It took me a few moments to piece together that this was a book by an author I'd long admired, but in this instance, it was the cover that grabbed me.

Book you hid from your parents:

Maybe it's because I was an unrelenting rule-follower as a kid, the good girl of good girls, or maybe it was because, with five kids racing around, our home was wonderful chaos and we Donnelley girls could pretty much get away with anything without having to hide it, but I never hid a book from my parents. Over Thanksgiving, my older sister did tell me a funny story about finding 9 1/2 Weeks on my mother's bedside and stealing it to read while she was home babysitting our youngest sister. My mother caught her and snatched the book away and even took it to the restaurant with her to keep it out of my curious sister's hands. I smile at this story because my mother is a voracious reader of serious books, and also because I've yanked my own novels from the hands of my newly reading daughters because of the sex scenes inside.

Book that changed your life:

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. My late father read me this book during summertime when I was a little girl. He was a philosopher and I remember how we cried together at the ending, how we talked on a porch swing about Wilbur and Charlotte, humans and nature, life and death. Many years later, Dad gave me a first edition of the book, which I will always treasure, and on my 30th birthday--my best friend's wedding day--which fell only a few months after Dad's death, she gave me an inscribed copy of the book with a note in the front flap that said she hoped I would read it to my own girls, as Dad had to me. I read the book to my firstborn more than a year ago and she and I are reading it to her little sisters, seven and almost five, now.

Favorite line from a book:

"Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity." from Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. I'm intrigued by the idea that life can turn on a moment, that a single instant can change everything, for better or worse. Another line I love, from Melville's Moby-Dick, which I happily slogged through in both high school and college: "It is not down on any map; true places never are."

Five books you'll never part with:

I recently sifted through my library to pull books to donate and found that this task was both easy and hard. Easy: the baby name books, law school textbooks, outdated Writer's Market. Harder: the beleaguered, dog-eared-to-death philosophy books from college. Think: Hegel, Descartes, Plato, Spinoza. I kept them as evidence of a former self. I will never part with my two treasured copies of Charlotte's Web; Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, to which I turn when snagged in my writing; Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp because I've had my own complicated love story with alcohol; and Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk, a brilliant, almost feral memoir that helped me make sense of Dad's death more than any other book.

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

Here Is New York by E.B. White. My husband gave me the tiny book (along with David Levithan's novel The Lover's Dictionary) one Valentine's Day. I read it in one gulp at a Manhattan coffee shop, which was so fitting. I was born and raised in this town, and am now raising my own daughters here, and no other author has captured this magical place like White did. The book has come to mean a great deal to me and served as a primary inspiration for my novel The Ramblers.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Girl in the Well Is Me

The Girl in the Well Is Me by Karen Rivers (Algonquin, $16.95 hardcover, 224p., ages 9-12, 9781616205690, March 15, 2016)

Eleven-year-old Kammie Summers is desperate to dodge the shadow of her imprisoned father's shameful crime. She's so determined to make a fresh start in her new life in Texas, "to be someone tough and happy and sparkly and untouchable," she ignores all the warning signs when a group of popular sixth-grade girls invites her to be initiated into their club. Soon she's paying the consequences--at the bottom of a well.

Kammie's plan to become "part of the Mandy, Kandy, Sandy alliance... safe, in a group of friends... one of The Girls" goes horribly awry when they trick her into standing on an old well cover which, inevitably, breaks. The girls--either by design or by ignorance--do not grasp the seriousness of the situation, and Kammie is in the nightmarish position of trying to convince the mean-spirited, self-absorbed girls to go for help. " 'Kammie,' Amanda Fassbender says, her face now in the gap next to Sandy's, 'This is getting boring. Just, just, just... get out of there.' " The girls are a despicable trio, as Kammie quickly begins to realize, even as she acknowledges how much she desires--or desired--a connection with them.

The Girl in the Well Is Me is a hypnotic, utterly original novel by Canadian author Karen Rivers (Finding Ruby Starling; The Encyclopedia of Me). Kammie is smart, real and wickedly funny. Her plummet into the well is paralleled by a devastating descent into the kind of introspection--and enlightenment--that could normally take years to achieve. The gradually building effects of oxygen deprivation are so subtly woven into Kammie's wandering, worried and sometimes humorous musings, it isn't until she's speaking in French to a silver coyote and considering the allergenic effects of goat zombies that the reader fully realizes how far she has slipped, literally and figuratively. When a firefighter shouts down to her from the well opening, Kammie sets off down another meandering mind path: "This hatted man-angel, unemployed coal miner must think I'm very dumb, but he doesn't know I have the brain power of all of us in the well. I am pulling more and more power in through my one bare foot, which is sadly now being nibbled by a crab who would prefer peaches. We can't all be a peach."

Guilt and forgiveness, truth and lies, family and self, friendship and social hierarchy--The Girl in the Well Is Me doesn't so much tackle these subjects as absorb them into its natural fiber. Young readers will take in tough-and-tender Kammie as their own. The counterbalance of her disintegrating "brain power" with her deep-down but growing self-realization will fill them with compassion, even love, for her, and the suspense and anxiety of her situation will leave every reader breathless until the final page. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Shelf Talker: This extraordinary novel takes place almost entirely inside a well, where 11-year-old Kammie is trapped long enough for her mind to wander far and wide.

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