Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 19, 2017

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen


Belmont Books Now Open in Mass.

"It has taken us five years to get to this point," said Chris Abouzeid, co-owner with his wife, Kathy Crowley, of Belmont Books, which opened Friday in Belmont Center, Mass. The Belmontian reported that Abouzeid, a former bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge for many years, described launching a new store as "basically scary.... We're new to retail, and we don't make any pretense otherwise.... We knew this was a community that wanted a bookstore after fighting to try and keep the last one. We wouldn't have tried this if the community didn't seem to care.... All we've heard for the last eight months is 'when are you opening? when are you opening?' "

Store manager Matilda Banker-Johnson, who previously worked for Falmouth bookstore, Eight Cousins and Porter Square Books, said one of her primary goals is to carry books customers want to read and buy "so they'll feel like they belong here."

The 5,000-square-foot, two-story bookshop "is now stocked wall to wall with 15,000 books and has its own 1,000-square-foot café which they hope to have open by the end of June called the Black Bear Café," the Citizen-Herald wrote, adding: "Upstairs at Belmont Books is a 2,000-square-foot children's department where many events will take place such as story hours. There's even a comfortable nook for a child to sit on an oversized bean-filled cushion pillow and read. Downstairs, adults have a section with armchairs where they can also relax and read."

"We feel like Belmont needs more places where people can come together," said Crowley.

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind

Black Bird Bookstore Debuts in San Francisco

Black Bird Bookstore has opened in San Francisco's Outer Sunset neighborhood, at 4033 Judah St. Hoodline reported that the new bookshop's owner is Kathryn Grantham, who "has deep roots in bookstore and literary culture. When she was 23, she founded New York's famed feminist collective bookshop, Bluestockings. (Back then, she was known as Kathryn Walsh, her maiden name.) She ran the shop for five years with a volunteer collective before leaving to pursue her MBA."

Bluestockings "was a big inspiration for me because I enjoyed it so much," Grantham said, adding that opening another bookshop "had been brewing in my mind for about five years, and I wanted to get back into books." She was also motivated by the climate of resistance after November's presidential election.

With a focus on community, Grantham "is planning to have the books at the shop reflect the interests of the Outer Sunset neighborhood and San Francisco at large, including both local and global authors," Hoodline wrote, adding that "she also wants to focus on curating and bringing forward different and diverse voices, including those of women of color."

"The bookstore will never have 10,000 titles, but it'll have a good number to fill the space," Grantham said. "We're not going to have all the greatest books written, but I hope we're going to have all the best written over the last few years.... When you curate, you can drive different voices forward." 

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

'Dramatic' Renovations for UConn Storrs Campus Bookstore

With the goal of creating a "social hub," the UConn Storrs campus bookstore will undergo a "dramatic transformation" this summer with major renovations to the 45,000 square-foot space. The $3 million price tag is being paid by Barnes & Noble, and the goal is to make the bookstore "a gathering place for students, faculty, alumni, and visitors." A grand re-opening celebration will be held just after the start of the school year.

In addition to a new entrance from the outdoor seating area along Hillside Road and a full-service Starbucks café, the UConn Bookstore will feature a comfortable public seating area of 3,000 square feet on the second floor overlooking Gampel Pavilion and the future site of the new Student Recreation Center, accessible directly via a new stairway.

"We want this to be a much more exciting and engaging social hub," said Len Oser, general manager of the UConn Bookstores. "It will be a place you'll want to come to not just before a basketball game, but to have a cup of coffee or meet a friend. It will be a world-class bookstore with all the amenities, and be a great place to hang out, meet friends, and do some work."

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Detroit's Source Booksellers: Selling Nonfiction for Nearly 30 Years

"I came into the book business for opportunity and interest," said Janet Webster Jones, owner and founder of Source Booksellers, a 970-square-foot independent bookstore in Detroit, Mich., that sells exclusively nonfiction. Though Jones has been selling books since around 1989, her store has had a permanent, physical location for only about half of its 29-year existence. For the first 15 or so years, Source Booksellers was essentially a pop-up shop and a special-order business. "I didn't plan to have a bookstore, but it turned out to be a bookstore."

Jones made her first entry into the world of bookselling while still working as an educator in the Detroit Public Schools system. After taking an Egyptian study tour, she began teaching a class on the subject and frequently supplemented her lessons with books about ancient history and culture. Eventually one of the attendees suggested that Jones sell those books at a church Christmas bazaar, and before long Jones was selling books at church events and other community gatherings. From the beginning the focus was always on nonfiction.

Source staffers Adrienne Edmonson, Roslyn Smith, Alyson Jones Turner and Janet Webster Jones

"It's always been that way," explained Alyson Jones Turner, Jones's daughter, who has helped her mother with the business since the beginning and currently manages the store. "The first books we were purchasing were history books. Nonfiction is what my mother likes."

Though the inventory has expanded over the years, the store's three main categories have always been history and culture, health and well-being, and metaphysics and spirituality; history books in particular are the store's bread and butter. Other important areas include books by and about women, cookbooks and ecology. The store's newest category is nonfiction for young readers and, in fact, the only exception to the store's nonfiction-only rule is a small selection of board books and picture books.

"We don't require read-alouds to be nonfiction," remarked Turner, laughing.

Aside from a small clearance cart, all of the store's book inventory consists of new books. Source Booksellers' non-book inventory includes magazines and newspapers, music, world maps, oils and incense, and a selection of Fair Trade chocolates and raw snacks. For events, the store hosts traditional author signings along with Saturday morning wellness classes featuring tai chi, yoga, qi gong and belly dancing, seasonal talks about the solstices and equinoxes, and community discussion groups. Jones and Turner also partner with community organizations for off-site events. While many of the store's events have a local or non-book focus, they are working harder to bring big authors to Detroit. Some recent, major draws have included Peter Moskowitz with How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood and Kate Moore with The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women.

"We just kind of asked, and followed up and followed up," reflected Turner on bringing in Moore. "It's a smaller market, but the more we can present an audience and show that there's interest, I think Detroit will be more on the map."

Source Booksellers opened its first bricks-and-mortar location in 2002, when Jones joined the Spiral Collective, a group of three other women- and African American-owned businesses that shared a space in Midtown Detroit on Cass Avenue. Jones made the move after retiring from her 40-year career with Detroit Public Schools and was able to devote more time to further developing the business. In 2013, Jones moved the store into a newly constructed building on the same street. Added Jones: "And here we are."

Looking ahead, Jones and Turner are gearing up for a 30th anniversary celebration next year, for which they hope to have some specialty items. And according to Turner, the idea of expanding is never far from their minds, whether that means a new location or adding some kind of mobile element to the store to allow them to sell books in more places.

"That's something we think about a lot," said Turner. "Our walls are full, our book carts and book trees are full, we need to fit more people in here." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: David Fromkin

David Fromkin, "a nonacademic historian whose definitive book on the Middle East warned the West against nation-building by partitioning antagonistic religious groups behind arbitrary boundaries," died June 11, the New York Times reported. He was 84. Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace (1989) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

His other books include Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?; The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners; In the Time of the Americans: FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Marshall, MacArthur--The Generation that Changed America's Role in the World; and Cradle and Crucible: History and Faith in the Middle East.

In 1994, Fromkin joined Boston University, where he was director of the Center for International Relations (now part of the Pardee School of Global Studies) and taught international relations, history and law. He was the founding director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Long-Range Future. He retired as professor emeritus in 2013.

Adil Najam, dean of the Pardee School, said, "He combined the exact sensibility that our international relations program sought: rigorous scholarship combined with a nuanced sense of policy in the real world. To us, his being a 'nonacademic historian' was never an issue; maybe even an asset."


Image of the Day: Wisdom at Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky Bookshop in Newburyport, Mass., drew an overflow crowd to hear Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr., discuss his new book about his father, Don Miguel Ruiz's Little Book of Wisdom (Hierophant Publishing/dist. by Red Wheel).

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Summer Literary Travelogue Challenge'

Cellar Door Books in Riverside, Calif., "has been using their remaining copies of the Independent Bookstore Day Literary Map of the United States to provide a summer reading challenge for customers," Bookselling This Week reported. The store's "Literary Travelogue Challenge" asks customers to collectively read all 52 books listed on the map (Texas and California each have two books) before the end of the summer. The shop plans to host a Literary Travelogue party with pizza and book discussions later this year for readers who meet the challenge.

"When we got the Independent Bookstore Day Literary Map of the U.S., we just kept going back to it because it was such a cool idea," said store owner Linda Sherman-Nurick. "And there were so many books that I hadn't heard of! I love Montana. I visit fairly frequently and I had never heard of Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt."

The challenge proposes that people who are traveling to a state, or multiple states, within the U.S. this summer read the book for that state. "It can be real travel, like if you are really going to Texas and you want to get a feel for Texas, then we would strongly suggest you read one of those two books," she said. "Or, if you're not really going to Texas but you feel like you want to travel there through literature, then you could do it that way, too."

Cellar Door Books has arranged all of the books in a display at the front of the store, along with copies of the literary map. Booksellers add a star to the map each time a customer buys one of the books.

Personnel Changes at Tor

At Tor:

Desirae Friesen has been promoted to publicist from associate publicist.

Laura Etzkorn has been promoted to associate publicist from publicity assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Eddie Izzard on the Late Late Show

Today Show: Karen Kingsbury, author of Love Story: A Novel (Howard, $22.99, 9781451687590).

The Talk: Maddie Ziegler, author of The Maddie Diaries: A Memoir (Gallery, $21.99, 9781501150661).

Daily Show: Janet Mock, author of Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me (Atria, $24.99, 9781501145797).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Eddie Izzard, author of Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens (Blue Rider, $28, 9780399175831). He will also appear tomorrow on Comedy Central's At Midnight.

The View: David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385534246).

Hallmark's Home & Family: Bethany Mota, author of Make Your Mind Up: My Guide to Finding Your Own Style, Life, and Motavation! (Gallery, $24.99, 9781501154492).

Movies: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Judy Greer has been added to Richard Linklater's Where'd You Go, Bernadette, based on the novel by Maria Semple, Deadline reported. She joins a cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, and Billy Crudup. Written by Linklater, Holly Gent Palmo and Vince Palmo, the film is being produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures along with Color Force Productions' Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.

Greer recently made her directorial debut with A Happening of Monumental Proportions. She will "next be seen in Fox's War for the Planet of the Apes and recurs in season three of the Hulu series Casual," Deadline noted.

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Winner; Miles Franklin Shortlist

John Bew won the £3,000 (about $3,840) Orwell Prize, which recognizes work that comes closest to George Orwell's ambition "to make political writing into an art," for Citizen Clem: A Biography of Atlee.

Judge Jonathan Derbyshire called the winning book "both a magnificent renewal of the art of political biography and a monument to the greatest leader the Labour party has ever had." Judge Bonnie Greer said, "The timing of The Orwell Prize winner could not be more apt. The political battle in the U.K. since 1948 has always boiled down to one simple fact: the upholding or the whittling away of what Clem Atlee built.... Citizen Clem will go a long way towards re-balancing the Churchillian narrative that currently dominates us." Judge Erica Wagner described the book as "both magisterial and gripping."


At the Australian Booksellers Association annual conference in Melbourne last night a shortlist of five first-time nominees was unveiled for the A$60,000 (about US$45,775) Miles Franklin Award, Australia's most prestigious literary award, given annually "to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases." The winner will be named September 7 at the State Library of New South Wales. This year's shortlisted titles are:

An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire
The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O'Flynn
Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neill
Waiting by Philip Salom
Extinctions by Josephine Wilson 

Book Review

Review: The Sagrada Família

The Sagrada Família: The Astonishing Story of Gaudí's Unfinished Masterpiece by Gijs van Hensbergen (Bloomsbury, $27 hardcover, 224p., 9781632867810, July 25, 2017)

In the historical context of church construction--in which France's Strasbourg Cathedral took almost 500 years to finish--Antoni Gaudí's Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, still being built after 135 years, is just a piker. As Gijs van Hensbergen paraphrases Gaudí, "With a client as patient as God, what was a mere 150 years?" Van Hensbergen (Guernica), an art historian and television commentator, has already written a biography of Gaudí, so his illustrated The Sagrada Família is more of a study of the building itself, including the history of its inspiration and construction while Spain suffered through the Spanish-American War, the Spanish Civil War, World War I, World War II and the oppressive Franco dictatorship. With more than four million visitors a year, the Sagrada Família is one of Europe's most popular attractions. Visitor entry fees have supported the ongoing construction costs--what van Hensbergen drily calls "the all-time record for the modern-day phenomenon of crowdfunding."

As if an archi-tourist himself, van Hensbergen shapes his book through the eyes of a visitor--complete with standing in a multilingual queue alongside the typical "tourist shops selling plastic rubbish, the Swarovski bling, the creamy kitsch ceramics by Lladró... and the inevitable Irish pub offering the craic." However, he is no gawking acolyte come to worshipping Barcelona's Frank Lloyd Wright. With an ecumenical scholar's background, van Hensbergen positions Gaudí among the architects and artists of his time, like the modernism of Manet and the Catalan Art Nouveau movement with its emphasis on craft, material and decoration. The son of a small forge shop smithy, Gaudí grew up watching chunks of steel be hammered into useful and beautiful shapes.

The basilica is mathematically built on modules defined by the 7.5-meter width of an aisle, with accompanying nave, transept and vault dimensions being multiples of the base aisle. Trained in fundamental architectural and engineering skills, Gaudí, however, preferred to design and build conceptually by touch--more of a field architect than one bound by drawings and specifications. Not until 20 years after the first stone of the Sagrada Família was placed did he finally draw up plans and make models for the whole project. And a good thing, too. Unmarried and obsessed with his crown jewel, he lived alone and "increasingly resembled a hermit, slightly disheveled, his legs bandaged against the cold." It was in this condition that he was killed in a horse tram accident on his way to church for his daily confession. Bystanders thought he was a homeless bum and left him in the streets without medical help. His masterpiece still had 100 years of construction ahead until its expected completion in 2026. In the larger scheme of things, what's another nine years--or more? --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: With the sharp eye of both an art historian and Gaudí scholar, Gijs van Hensbergen takes readers on a tour of the Sagrada Família.

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