Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 29, 2016

Grove Press: Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo


The Revenant Tops Bookish Oscar Winners

At last night's Academy Awards ceremony, five of the eight best picture nominees were based on books and 10 adaptations overall were up for Oscars, but the final results did not quite live up to readers' expectations. An early favorite with a dozen nominations, The Revenant lost to Mad Max: Fury Road in nearly all of the technical categories before coming back strong late in the evening to pick up Oscars in three major categories. The four bookish winners were:

The Revenant, based in part on the novel by Michael Punke: actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), director (Alejandro González Iñárritu) and cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki)

Room, based on Emma Donoghue's novel: actress (Brie Larson)

The Big Short, based on the book by Michael Lewis: adapted screenplay (Charles Randolph & Adam McKay)

The Danish Girl, based on David Ebershoff's novel: supporting actress (Alicia Vikander)

Book-to-film adaptations that earned nominations but did not win Oscars included The Martian, adapted from Andy Weir's novel; Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith's novel The Price of Salt; Brooklyn, adapted from the novel by Colm Toibin; Steve Jobs, based on the book by Walter Isaacson; 45 Years, adapted from the short story "In Another Country" by David Constantine: and Trumbo, based on Bruce Cook's book Trumbo: A Biography of the Oscar-Winning Screenwriter Who Broke the Hollywood Blacklist.

Harper: We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Sisters Open Bookstore Cafe in Lowell, Mass.

Sisters Samantha and Sheila Cail at HyperText (photo: Lowell Sun/Grant Welker)

Sisters Samantha Cail and Sheila Cail have opened HyperText Café and Books in Lowell, Mass., and a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring many city officials took place last Thursday, the Lowell Sun reported. At the event, city councilor John Leahy, a member of the council's downtown redevelopment subcommittee, called the bookstore cafe important for broadening the types of businesses in the center of the city.

Samantha Cail has waitressing and other retail experience, while Sheila Cail is a former business owner who writes fiction.

HyperText, which aims to be a "comfortable neighborhood spot," already has scheduled several book and poetry readings, and the sisters plan to start their own book club and host others. The bookshelves at HyperText are on wheels so that they can be easily moved to accommodate events.

HyperText Café and Books is located at 107 Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass. 01852; 978-677-7191.

Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Mostly Books, Gig Harbor, Wash., to Close

Mostly Books, Gig Harbor, Wash., will close at the end of March, the News Tribune reported. Mostly Books sells mostly new books, some used books, and maps, with a large selection of local, regional and nautical books and maps.

Citing the ups and downs of running a small business, owner Jo Graffe told the paper that closing "makes the most sense to me both business-wise, and to look at doing something else in the future. There's many more things (involved) than turning the open sign and working the cash register."

Graffe emphasized, "I always enjoy books and being around people who enjoy books," adding that there is a "diversity of ideas that are available in books," and she loved introducing people to new authors and subjects. She thanked Gig Harbor "for 19 years of wonderful conversation and community."

Graffe bought Mostly Books in 1997 from Harry and Shirley Dearth after working part-time in the store for several years. The Dearths still own the building, which they plan to sell after the store closes.

When the Dearths sold Mostly Books to Graffe, they founded No Dearth of Books, selling used and specialty books. That store is now owned by Guy and Martha Johnson.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

New York City's St. Mark's Bookshop Closed

Sad milestone: yesterday, St. Mark's Bookshop in New York City closed, following several years of financial difficulties and despite a few possible offers of support at the last minute that might have kept the store open.

The cost of the store's move in 2014 to a much more affordable location was more expensive than expected, and St. Mark's never really recovered from the Great Recession. In the past few months, it became public that the store owed almost $35,000 in unpaid taxes, $62,000 in back rent and $14,000 to Baker & Taylor.

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Stories Coming to Park Slope in Brooklyn This Spring

The owners' sons hold a banner for Stories' offsite event with authors Sherry Turkle and David Denby.

Later this spring, writer Maggie Pouncey and her husband, Matt Miller, will open a children's bookstore called Stories in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. In addition to selling books and art and writing supplies for children and teens, Stories will offer creative writing workshops for children that Pouncey and Miller are calling the Storytelling Lab.

"I've always had this bookshop fantasy," said Pouncey, whose debut novel, Perfect Reader, was published in 2010 by Pantheon. Although neither she nor her husband have experience in bookselling, Pouncey has taught creative writing to a variety of age groups, while Miller, who has worked with tech startups as well as larger tech companies, brings business acumen.

"As a teacher of writing it's so exciting for me," continued Pouncey. "There's so much programming in Brooklyn for kids, but not so many creative writing courses."

Although the idea of opening a bookstore was always appealing, the pair did not seriously pursue the idea until coming up with the idea for the Storytelling Lab. Pouncey and Miller felt that having that kind of children's programming, in addition to book sales and more conventional events like author visits and storytimes, would help make Stories a more sustainable family business.

"We're new to this particular meeting our passions. We're trying to learn," said Pouncey. "Matt and I are a Venn diagram that doesn't have that much overlap. In that sense, we make really good business partners."

Stories will be a 600-square-feet store, with about 200 square feet reserved for the Storytelling Lab. Given the limited selling space, Pouncey plans to offer a selection of books for children and young adults, along with a very small section of books for parents. Pouncey isn't sure exactly what sidelines the store will carry, but she does have a "beautiful selection of school and art supplies" in mind, along with notebooks and stationery. She's also framed vintage book covers that she intends to sell. Said Pouncey: "We just want it to be the kind of bookshop where the recommendations feel very personal."

Stories' Park Slope neighborhood.

Pouncey is still ironing out the details of the Storytelling Lab program, but the idea is to have a range of workshops for various genres and age groups. Each workshop course would last 10-12 weeks, with meetings once a week. One such course, for example, could be a "journey stories" workshop for children ages 10-12. She expects to offer mainly courses for ages 7-13, though she might eventually add programming for older teens in the future.

"The idea is to take the classic adult writers workshop and make it more fun and playful," said Pouncey, "but also substantial and challenging."

Although the store is not yet open, Pouncey and Miller made their bookselling debut on February 17, when they sold books for a Brooklyn Friends School Parents' Book Club talk that featured David Denby (Lit Up) and Sherry Turkle (Reclaiming Conversation). Pouncey would love to partner with other schools and related organizations in her corner of Brooklyn. She and her husband have begun to spread the word about Stories only relatively recently, but so far the feedback has been great. "It's been so exciting and so encouraging," Pouncey said.

Pouncey and her husband are also organizing a Kickstarter campaign that should launch in the next few weeks. The money raised would go toward the store's start-up costs and  supplement their savings and a small business loan.

They aren't certain exactly when the store will open, but they intend to do all they can to open in time for Independent Bookstore Day on April 30. Ideally, they'd like to have a grand opening celebration that day with local authors and illustrators. "We're very excited to start reaching out." (Keep up to date the store's progress via its website or Instagram at @storiesbk.) --Alex Mutter

Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

Obituary Note: Balraj Bahri Malhotra

Balraj Bahri Malhotra with his son Anuj.

Balraj Bahri Malhotra, who in the early 1950s founded Bahrisons Booksellers in New Delhi, one of India's most successful independent bookstores, died February 26. He was 87. the Times of India reported that "Malhotra's personalized style of service became a hallmark of Bahrisons, which was open to all--buyers, browsers, authors. Old-timers remember him as being patient with people who couldn't afford to buy and just came to read." Juggarnaut publisher Chiki Sarkar said, "He was the driving force of the shop in its early history and made Bahrisons a Delhi institution."

Malhotra's granddaughter, Aanchal Malhotra, observed that he "cared a lot about what his customers read. Every day he would sit at the shop with a pen and paper and ask customers what they would like to read. Then at lunch time, he would close the shop, go to Janpath and source those books from a friend's shop. By evening the new titles would be on our shelves."

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley


Image of the Day: Indie Press Night at Kramerbooks

A group of indie presses and booksellers gathered at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Washington, D.C., last week for Indie Press Night, the second such event at the bookstore. Pictured: (l.-r.) Katie Raissian, Grove/Atlantic; Abby Koski, Soho Press; Kristen Radtke, Sarabande; Nathan Rostron, Restless Books; hostess Sarah Baline from Kramerbooks; event organizer Jeff Waxman, Biblioasis; Liam O'Brien, Melville House; and Jonathan Woollen, Politics and Prose.

Moravian Book Shop: Still Thriving... Ghost Included

Moravian Book Shop, Bethlehem, Pa., "is still thriving, some 270 years after its founding," the Guardian noted in a profile of the bookstore.

"You have to get creative, and I think that's been evident over the years," said general manager Lisa Girard. "I know this downtown has seen its rises and falls. There used to be some big department stores on this block that are now defunct and gone, but this place has been steady and true. We've created something here. What you hear people say is we're an experience."

She also observed that the shop has met many challenges in recent years: "Probably around 2007, when the whole economy started its big plunge, we definitely felt those effects. Books were always our leading seller, but the book sales kind of dropped off.... But books started to come back, especially in the last two years. The Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Amazon are huge competitors for us, and a shopping center opened close by in one of the wealthier neighborhoods that kind of chopped us off at the knees again. But I tell people, we're different. Barnes & Noble may be big and they may have a lot of stuff, but they don't offer what we do."

The Guardian noted that "lingering long past a pronouncement of death turns out to be something of a theme for the bookstore. It has a genuine, bona fide ghost, according to Girard."

Personnel Changes at Da Capo

At Da Capo Press and Da Capo Lifelong Books:

Sean Maher has been promoted to associate director of marketing. He joined the company in 2006.
Jillian Farrel has been promoted to marketing manager. She joined the company in 2014.

Book Trailer of the Day: Welcome Thieves

"Between Two Franzens," a trailer based on Zach Galifianakis's "Between Two Ferns," which Sean Beaudoin made for his short story collection, Welcome Thieves (Algonquin), his first book for adults after several YA books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joel Grey Emcees on Late Night

CBS This Morning: Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476716565). She will also appear tomorrow on Morning Joe and Fresh Air.

Fresh Air: Nancy Jo Sales, author of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (Knopf, $26.95, 9780385353922), and Victor Lavelle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom (Tor, $12.99, 9780765387868).

NPR's To the Point: E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476763798).

CBS This Morning: Jack Myers, author of The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century (Inkshares, $25, 9781941758656).

Live with Kelly & Michael: Chrissy Teigen, co-author of Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9781101903919). She will also appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Joel Grey, author of Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250057235).

TV: Drew Casting; Adaptations 'We Can't Wait For'

Felix Solis (The Following) has joined the cast of Drew, a CBS drama pilot based on the Nancy Drew mystery book series, Deadline reported. Written by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan and directed by James Strong, the project "is described as a contemporary take on the character from the books, with Nancy, now in her 30s, working as a detective for the NYPD, where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world," Deadline wrote.


Showcasing "7 TV adaptations we can't wait for," Signature noted that while "much is made of the books adapted each year to cinema... as the quality of television--and not just premium cable--improves, we should make just as much of a to-do about the books adapted to the small screen. Here are some announced 2016 projects--some with firm release dates, some still in production--that have us agog."

Book Review

Review: Shelter

Shelter by Jung Yun (Picador, $26 hardcover, 9781250075611, March 15, 2016)

Family and the legacy of one's upbringing and cultural roots are at the core of Shelter, Jung Yun's arresting first novel. It is the story of 36-year-old biology professor Kyung Cho, his wife, Gillian, and their four-year-old son, Ethan. Their suburban Massachusetts middle-class life and marriage are on edge, with an underwater mortgage, past-due student loans and maxed-out credit cards--"a just-tolerable state of atrophy." But Kyung refuses to ask for help from his far wealthier parents, who live in a meticulously restored Victorian mansion on the tony side of town. His father, Jin, is a Korean immigrant engineering professor whose patents and research grants provide more than enough for their big house and a coastal vacation home on the Cape. Jin is also a tyrannical patriarch who established in his new country a traditional household of martial order over his uneducated wife, Mae, and young son. As Kyung remembers his youth, "His father hit Mae. Mae hit him. That was the order of succession in their family." The wounds of Kyung's abused childhood go deep. Much as he tries to avoid bringing his past into his own marriage, his carefully distanced life is upended when Jin and Mae are the victims of a sadistic home invasion by two drug- and alcohol-fueled transient criminals. Temporarily without their home and recovering from the brutal assault, they move in with Kyung's family--and the repressed anger and raw emotion of his youth bubble to the surface.

Born in South Korea, Yun received her MFA degree in creative writing from UMass Amherst and has published stories in Tin House and other literary presses. Peeling the onion of the Cho family, Yun builds suspense with maturity and assurance as she weaves Gillian's Irish Catholic family of cops and the largely Korean immigrant congregation of the local evangelical church into her story of misplaced presumptions and secrets. Jin's disarmingly gentle grandfathering of Ethan, and Mae's surprising resilience, belie Kyung's vehement denial of his parents. Underneath his simple family life with Gillian, he knows that "he's not a good son.... But he's the best possible version of the son they raised him to be. Present, but not adoring. Helpful, but not generous. Obligated and nothing more." Shelter is primarily Kyung's story. Sometimes irrational, often impulsive, he keeps trying to overcome his damaging past, searching for a way to get closer to Gillian, and finally just wanting "his son to turn out so much better than he did." Yun's powerful debut novel leaves a memorable wake. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: A strikingly suspenseful debut novel, Shelter digs into the secrets and troubles of two generations in a Massachusetts Korean-American family.


Microcosm Publishing's Indie Promo Discount

As noted here on Friday, Microscosm Publishing is running a special promotion for independent bookstores that buy 20 or more backlist titles. The extra discount on such orders is 5%, not the 10% mentioned originally.

KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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