Also published on this date: Monday, September 26, 2016: Dedicated Issue: Ingram Publisher Services

Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 26, 2016

Atria Books: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Deluxe Edition by Taylor Jenkins Reid

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley

Ace Books: Toto by AJ Hackwith and The Village Library Demon-Hunting Society by CM Waggoner

 Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Webtoon Unscrolled: Age Matters Volume Two by Enjelicious

St. Martin's Press:  How to Think Like Socrates: Ancient Philosophy as a Way of Life in the Modern World  by Donald J Robertson


B&N Store Relocating in Ledgewood, N.J., Mall

The current B&N in Ledgewood Mall

The Ledgewood Mall Barnes & Noble store in Ledgewood, N.J., will be relocated as part of a proposed renovation of the mall into "The Shops at Ledgewood Commons," Tapinto Roxbury reported. The B&N "would be moved to a portion of the structure that, until this year, served as home to the Sports Authority, according to plans filed by mall owner Ledgewood Investors."

"The new buildings will be situated throughout the site," according to the proposal received by the Roxbury Township Planning Department. "The total number of buildings on the site will be increased from three to five." The company said it anticipates finishing the renovation by the summer of 2018. Tapinto Roxbury described the mall in its current configuration as "troubled."

Paris's Shakespeare and Company Publishes Bookshop Bio

"Welcome to the 'rag and bone shop of the heart,' " Sylvia Whitman greeted attendees at a gathering earlier this month at Shakespeare and Company in Paris. "This is an unusual event for us," she told the standing-room-only crowd in the store's cozy central rooms. "We're celebrating a book about the shop published by the shop."

The reason for revelry is Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart, edited by Krista Halverson (dist. by D.A.P., $34.95, 9791096101009). Drawing on never-before-seen archives, it's the first book to share the full story of the legendary shop founded by Whitman's late father, George, an American expat, in 1951. A decade-by-decade narrative is interwoven with photographs, newspaper articles, poems, diary entries, and reminiscences by Allen Ginsberg, Anaïs Nin, Ian Rankin, Ethan Hawke, and others who have crossed the threshold of this literary landmark. It's also the first book to be published by Shakespeare and Company's new imprint, which Halverson is heading and which plans to publish "new writing and illustrated books, along with beautiful editions of classic texts and works in translation."

Halverson and other store employees and guests at the event, including novelist Jeanette Winterson, who wrote the foreword for Shakespeare and Company, Paris, entertained the audience, reading passages from the book and sharing anecdotes about George and the shop's famous clientele. (Along with Gregory Corso, Ginsberg once gave a poetry reading in the buff, after which George served fruit punch and cookies.)

A former "Tumbleweed," author Lynn Haney Trowbridge, read a piece she contributed to Shakespeare and Company, Paris about her ties to the store in the 1960s. Famous for his hospitality (and his Irish stew), George invited itinerant artists and writers in need of a place to stay to slumber gratis in beds nestled throughout the store. Some 30,000 Tumbleweeds have slept amid the stacks over the years, a tradition that continues.

Sylvia Whitman reading at Shakespeare and Company

Exactly five years to the day before the event, Halverson boarded a plane in San Francisco. Having left her job as managing editor of the art and literary quarterly Zoetrope: All-Story, she went in search of adventure abroad. During what was supposed to be a six-week stay in Paris, she contacted Sylvia Whitman and offered to volunteer at Shakespeare and Company. Soon Halverson was hired to oversee the creation of the bookshop biography. George had once thought to pen his memoirs but didn't get much past a title, The Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart, inspired by a line in a W.B. Yeats poem.

With George's cat as sidekick, Halverson spent more than a year organizing and archiving the plethora of papers and memorabilia stashed in George's apartment above the bookshop. (He died in December 2011 at age 98.) Thousands of newspaper clippings, letters, journals, and other miscellany were uncovered in wine crates and plastic tubs, tucked beneath George's bed, and even piled on top the toilet's water tank, which is where Gregory Corso's poetry-filled c. 1961 notebook was found.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris also illuminates the store's place in Paris history during the Cold War, the May 1968 student protests, the 1970s feminist movement and beyond. And the tome pays tribute to Sylvia Beach, proprietor of the original Shakespeare and Company, which closed in 1941 during the Nazi occupation of Paris. The first chapter is an engaging graphic story pairing excerpts from Beach's memoir with original illustrations.

One reason Halverson decided to structure the book by decade, from the 1950s to the 2000s, was to evoke the essence of the shop during particular times for those who have experienced Shakespeare and Company in person. The goal being that "the images and the text and the emotions would align perfectly with their own memories," she said. A reader has since reported to Halverson that perusing the 1970s chapter and laying eyes on a photo of a stairway adorned with the words "Live for Humanity" stirred recollections of how he happened into the shop by chance as a young man and stayed for a time.

"This is a place that has drawn millions of people over the last 65 years--readers, writers, bibliophiles, adventurers, and those with an open heart and a curiosity about others. This book is meant to feel like the bookshop," said Halverson. As she explains in the introduction, "I wanted to construct a book like a box of treasures that would be valuable both to those who know the shop well and to those who've only just learned of it." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

The Collective Book Studio: Women's Voices Non-Fiction Coming Fall 2024

Sandra Cisneros Among National Medal of Arts Honorees

Author Sandra Cisneros was among the 12 National Medal of Arts recipients who were honored last week by President Obama. The award recognizes "individuals or groups who are deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States." The National Humanities Medals were presented at the same ceremony.  

National Endowment for the Arts chairman Jane Chu commented: "These National Medal of Arts recipients have helped to define our nation's cultural legacy through the artistic excellence of their creative traditions, and I join the President in congratulating and thanking them for their contributions."

Cisneros was honored "for enriching the American narrative. Through her novels, short stories, and poetry, she explores issues of race, class, and gender through the lives of ordinary people straddling multiple cultures. As an educator, she has deepened our understanding of American identity."

Nick Setka Remembered

Elaine Petrocelli opened the memorial at Book Passage last Friday evening to celebrate the life of Nick Setka, publisher, bookseller and man of letters, known for his generosity, curiosity and camaraderie, by saying how touched she was to see so many in attendance. The crowd included his sisters, publishers, customers and booksellers, some who had worked alongside Nick at Cody's, Black Oak or Book Passage, where he was a night manager for about 10 years.

Nick Setka

Before reading from a letter sent by Setka's comrade in night-shift managing Janel Feieravend (who now lives in Arizona), Petrocelli recalled that the pair would practice their "gondola dancing," and could be caught riding fixtures between the two buildings that make up Book Passage, "sometimes at two in the morning."

Calling him "the King of Kindness," Feieravend wrote that "Nick was always the same to everyone" and naturally employed a "humanity compass" to navigate his conversations with all, even "some really weird people."

"Despite how busy he was," recalled Paul Yamazaki--who was advised by several publisher reps at the beginning of his career at City Lights to learn from Setka--it was the "grace of time he gave to all of us" that distinguishes his life. That, and Setka's deep knowledge of everything--no matter how intellectual, esoteric, radical or obscure--that lay beneath every engaging conversation he'd have with anyone about anything. "The only thing that could interrupt Nick about any of those things was baseball," said Yamazaki.

"Specifically the A's," said someone from the crowd.

Book Passage coworker Sam Barry honored Setka's musical style and his passion for social justice by playing his harmonica and leading everyone in singing "We Are Soldiers in the Army," with lyrics that include "hold up the freedom banner... we've got to hold it up till we die," and a version of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," that brought comfort to all who wished to "come for to carry him home."

Elaine Petrocelli, Malcolm Margolin and Paul Yamazaki

Customers and coworkers shared how Setka tried to meet every reader's need by assuring them he'd have whatever book they wanted "by tomorrow," sometimes taking books from his own collection--perhaps missing a sale, but gaining a customer for life. On one occasion, not sure where to shelve a George W. Bush biography, Setka suggested the True Crime section--where it still sits face-out.

Malcolm Margolin, who founded Heyday Books in Berkeley in 1974, observed, "Nick didn't call attention to himself" and likened Setka to a Jewish brisket dish his mother used to make: as things were added, the meat was gradually taken out, leaving behind its flavor. "Nick gave everything its flavor," he said.

Lightening the mood, Mary Osborn, a Book Passage bookseller, reminded everyone that Setka was not perfect. "He locked me in the store at night twice," she said, but he also made sure newbies at Book Passage were trained to check on Mary before locking up. Osborn introduced Setka to the Progressive Populist, through copies her mother marked especially for him. "I knew something was wrong when they started stacking up," she said.

Agent and former Cody's owner Andy Ross, who admits he learned everything he knows about book buying from Setka, shared the story of how, while traveling for business, he had checked in with Setka at the store right after the release of The Satanic Verses and discovered that Setka had displayed the controversial book in the front window.

"And you wonder why you were bombed," quipped Petrocelli.

Long-time Random House rep Ron Shoop, a self-professed lapsed Buddhist, described Nick as a "divine being sent from on high to show us how things can be done." And Book Passage's Melissa Cistaro--who wrote and published her memoir Pieces of My Mother with a special brand of encouragement that was pure Nick Setka--read from a poem in two parts titled "Everything Must Go," about Setka's final book sale, bringing both tears and laughter to the crowd. It reads, in part:

"Nick is from the days when books were valued simply for their tangible spines and supple bodies
He's from the days of card-cataloging
microfilm, microfiche
and handwritten receipts
He's also a character right out of a book
yet to be written--
on generosity and grace."

"Nick will always be in our lives," said Petrocelli. "What more can we do but carry on? And feel free to put any of those (George W.) books in True Crime. Nick would want that, and so do I." --Bridget Kinsella

Obituary Note: Martha Kay Renfroe

Martha Kay Renfroe, who wrote under the pen name M.K. Wren, died on August 20. She was 78.

A former longtime resident of Lincoln City, Ore., Renfroe's best-known work was a mystery series featuring Conan Flagg, a bookstore owner/former intelligence agent who lived in a town resembling Lincoln City. For the series, Renfroe often consulted with booksellers at Bob's Beach Books in Lincoln City, including founder Robert Portwood and his wife, Meg. She also wrote a post-apocalyptic novel, A Gift Upon the Shore; a sci-fi trilogy trilogy, the Phoenix Legacy; the Neely Jones series; and a writer's guide, Nitty Gritties: The Pursuit of the Perfect Manuscript. She was also an artist whose work was shown in galleries and juried and invitational shows.

Diana Portwood, manager of Bob's Beach Books, called Renfroe "a marvelous author, an interesting artist, an animal lover, and a lovely woman; she will be missed." The bookstore is planning an informal gathering in her memory in October; anyone interested in attending is welcome to contact the store for more information.


Image of the Day: Honoring Flanders and the Netherlands

At an event at the Flanders House in New York City on Thursday celebrating this year's Frankfurt Book Fair Guest of Honor Countries, Flanders and the Netherlands, Michiel Scharpé (left) of the Flemish Literature Fund and Victor Schiferly (right) of the Dutch Foundation for Literature discussed literature from their countries and recent translations published in the U.S., including Stefan Hermans's War and Turpentine (Knopf) and Guus Kuijer's The Bible for Unbelievers (Seven Stories). Photo: Richard Koek

CoffeeTree Books in Kentucky: 'Locally Owned and Loved'

The Trail Blazer, the Morehead (Ky.) State University student newspaper, praised CoffeeTree Books, the "locally owned--and loved--bookstore in Rowan County [that] has found a way to make it inside readers' hearts for the last 30 years" and "has developed a homey atmosphere that reflects the residents of Morehead."

The newspaper continued: "Susan Thomas and Grant Alden, co-owners of the family-owned business, have tried to make the bookstore a welcoming place for non-readers with their various events and activities. Some events that CoffeeTree offers includes knitting classes, musical performances and the occasional book signing."

Alden told the paper: "This bookstore goes back to 1979. If you look around the United States, a lot of bookstores have closed. For there to [be] a bookstore of this size, with the depth of catalog we carry in a community of this size is pretty unusual."

He added: "We are able to build a community center, where people of all kinds and all ages can come and meet each other. To build a community center is what is in this for us, not the money."

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Spy-Like' Bookshop Restroom in Tokyo

"Using the amenities" at Toyko's Mafumi Coffee & Books "means pulling back a shelf of books like a character from a spy movie," RocketNews24 reported, noting that "the recently opened establishment is making news for a strangely remarkable feature: its unusual hidden bathroom.... After filling up on coffee, customers looking for the restroom are in for a special treat, as it's cleverly hidden behind one of the bookshelves in the store. A single book extends out from the bookshelf, acting as the door handle which pulls outwards to reveal a beautiful restroom behind. Even customers who don't need to use the amenities are doing so, just so they can pull open the bookshelf like the star of a spy movie."

AtlasBooks Adds Three Publishers

AtlasBooks, the distribution division of Bookmasters, has signed agreements with three Christian publishers and is now distributing their titles in the U.S. and abroad:

John Ritchie Limited, Kilmarnock, Scotland, a publisher for more than 100 years and one of the largest independent Christian booksellers in the U.K. (U.S. and Canada distribution.)

Deep River Books, Sisters, Ore., which was established in 2001 by authors Bill and Nancie Carmichael and whose imprints include Deep River Books, Trusted Books, WaterLife Books, Fish Pond for Kids and Light Shine Art. (Worldwide distribution.)

Mark Cahill Ministries, founded by evangelist and speaker Mark Cahill, whose books include One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven, One Heartbeat Away, The Watchmen, Paradise, Reunion and The Last Ride. (Worldwide distribution.)

Media and Movies

Movies: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove, based on the internationally bestselling novel by Frederik Backman, will be released September 30. Directed by Hannes Holm, the film stars Rolf Lassgård, whose performance won the best actor award at the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. See the official trailer here.

Media Heat: Bruce Springsteen on Fresh Air

Today Show: Alton Brown, author of EveryDayCook (Ballantine, $35, 9781101885710).

Diane Rehm: Berkeley Breathed, author of The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic (Philomel, $18.99, 9780399546624).

Ellen: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan (Holt, $30, 9781627790628).

Watch What Happens Live: Amy Schumer, author of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (Gallery, $28, 9781501139888).

Good Morning America: Ilana Wiles, author of The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting (Abrams Image, $19.95, 9781419722196).

NPR's Morning Edition: Carli Lloyd, co-author of When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544814622). She will also appear on the Today Show.

Fresh Air: Bruce Springsteen, author of Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781501141515).

Diane Rehm: Robert Gottlieb, author of Avid Reader: A Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374279929).

ESPN's Coast to Coast: Cookie Johnson, co-author of Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith (Howard, $26, 9781501125157).

Daily Show: Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream (University of Chicago Press, $27.50, 9780226404349).

Books & Authors

Awards: Edna Staebler Winner

Ann Walmsley won the C$10,000 (about US$7,590) Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction for The Prison Book Club, Quillblog reported.The award "encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative nonfiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance." Bruce Gillespie, one of the judges, said the winning book "provides a unique glimpse into the lives of incarcerated men and the transformative power of literature and fellowship. Walmsley immerses readers in the inmates' thoughtful, far-ranging discussions about the worlds outside the prison gates that are revealed to them through the books they read."

Book Review

Review: The Mothers

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Riverhead, $26 hardcover, 288p., 9780399184512, October 11, 2016)

Brit Bennett's The Mothers is a gorgeous, pitch-perfect and compassionate novel about three young people in a tightly knit African American community near Camp Pendleton, Calif., who fumble into adulthood under the shadow of their losses.

At 21, Luke, his dreams of a football career ended since his leg was shattered, is the directionless son of the pastor at the Upper Room, the local church that is the center of the community. Aubrey, who turned her back on her family and found the Upper Room on television, is the straight-laced best friend of Nadia, who is ambitious, smart and beautiful. Nadia is in her last year of high school and dreaming of college, but is unmoored by her mother's recent suicide. When she takes up with Luke and becomes pregnant, she has a secret abortion paid for by Luke's parents, and moves to Michigan. She's a lawyer by the time she comes back to California to care for her ailing father.

As the two left behind, Luke and Aubrey become entangled and eventually marry, though neither Nadia nor Luke tell Aubrey about the pregnancy and abortion. Nadia's return to the Upper Room community, however, precipitates the spilling of secrets, testing the ties that bind their relationships, and ultimately forcing each to choose what is most important.

The story is narrated by a collective of elderly Upper Room gossips known as "The Mothers." In Bennett's hands, this framework casts the overwhelming circumstances as the stuff of life, which in no way diminishes the tragedies and betrayals. The main characters struggle with life's unavoidable requirement to live despite the cost: "Grief was not a line, carrying you infinitely further from loss," muses Nadia early on. "You never knew when you would be sling-shot backward into its grip." The Mothers is remarkably powerful, not just for its depiction of loss as the constant reminder of what has ended and what might have been--the child not born, the mother not present, the needs not expressed. It is powerful because Bennett understands that life happens and redemption beckons despite the grip of grief. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: This wise and beautiful coming-of-age novel--one of the season's most anticipated--considers the tension between loss and redemption.

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