Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 7, 2017

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner

Quotation of the Day

'Bookstores Have Never Been Just a Store'

"I have been encouraged to see young people reach for a book to read or a journal to write in and a genuine enthusiasm when they discover our real bookstore tucked away in South Park for the first time.... Bookstores have never been just a store. They are, like their cousin the cafe, a place of ideas. You go to a cafe to share ideas with a friend. The bookstore experience is more solitary. It is the place of communion of one's own."

--Anne Mery, owner of the West Grove Collective bookstore, San Diego, Calif. in the Union-Tribune

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships


Celebrating First Texas Independent Bookstore Day

Modeled on the national Independent Bookstore Day, held the last Saturday in April every year, the first Texas Independent Bookstore Day took place this past Saturday and highlighted Texas indies.

At BookPeople in Austin, one of the stores leading the effort, "we had lots of traffic and people were participating in the scavenger hunt throughout the store and other activities right up until closing time at 11 p.m.," CEO Steve Bercu said. Other in-store events included a contest to guess how many books are on BookPeople's shelves and a bookmark contest to create a new design to use in the store. Calling the event "a big success," Bercu added that BookPeople will "definitely be doing it again next year."

(l.-r.) Jason Mims, Jim Reeves and Barry Shlachter at Kinokuniya.

The Books Kinokuniya store in Carrollton, which opened earlier this year, had "a great turnout," according to Texas area manager Shigekazu Watanabe. The store hosted Fort Worth sports writing legend Jim Reeves, who signed copies of the newly revised edition of Dallas Cowboys: The Legends of America's Team; local author Jason Mims, who signed Skin Eater; and local independent publisher Barry Shlachter of Great Texas Line Press. Watanabe called the event "very successful."

Murder by the Book, Houston, offered 20% discounts on books by Texas authors and highlighted its book recommendation bowl, from which customers could pull slips of paper with recommendations in various categories.

Brazos Bookstore in Houston hosted a range of events that included a family story time with crafts and a scavenger hunt; the debut of the Paper and Pen Pal Club; happy hour with beer and music; and an evening local vendor market that highlighted artisans and food.

Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, celebrated with Texas cookies and an event featuring Sarah Penrod, author of The Urban Cowgirl.

And Interabang Books, which opened in Dallas on July 1, noted on Facebook Saturday: "It's Texas Bookstore Day, y'all! Come see us!"

The Independent joined the celebration by asking seven Texas indies, including the Twig Book Shop in San Antonio, Literarity Book Shop in El Paso, Front Street Books in Alpine and Burrowing Owl Books in Canyon, about their favorite books of the year (so far).

BookPeople and Brazos spearheaded the drive for Texas Independent Bookstore Day, which Bercu said grew out of National Bookstore Day, an event preceding National Bookstore Day that the store had held for "BookPeople Nation" for several years. Texas Independent Bookstore Day encourages participating stores to craft their own events that fit their stores and customers. It will be held the first Saturday of August every year.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Words of Wisdom Bookstore Opens in Tennessee

Ken Pruitt and Rebekka Pruitt

Congratulations to Words of Wisdom Bookstore, Nashville, Tenn., which opened for business last Tuesday, August 1, and is hosting its grand opening day and party today. On Thursday, local author Wanda Holt will be featured at an After Hours Event.

The 1,400-square-foot store carries fiction and nonfiction books, as well as a large collection of works by local authors, children's and religious titles, some music and DVDs, professional and curriculum materials for teachers, and greeting cards.

The store is owned by Ken Pruitt, an author, publishers' rep, minister, consultant and national educational speaker, and managed by his daughter, Rebekka Pruitt, who most recently worked at the now-defunct Family Christian Bookstore in Nashville.

Words of Wisdom Bookstore is located at 3877 Lebanon Rd., Hermitage, Tenn. 37076; 615-448-7304;

August Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for August was delivered to more than a third of a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 113 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 436,000 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson (Morrow).

For a sample of the August newsletter, see this one from Diesel: A Bookstore in Brentwood, Calif., which just began sending the e-version of the Indie Next List.

Obituary Note: Denis Mack Smith

Denis Mack Smith, "whose myth-destroying interpretation of Italian unification infuriated many Italian historians but established him as the pre-eminent British writer on modern Italy," died July 11, the New York Times reported. He was 97. In his first book, Cavour and Garibaldi, 1860: A Study in Political Conflict (1954), Smith "upset a well-defended orthodoxy that had been entrenched for almost a century," historian David Gilmour wrote in 1997.

In Italy: A Modern History (1959), Smith "caused further outrage by refusing to regard Italian fascism and the rise of Benito Mussolini as an aberration," the Times noted. In 1985, Jonathan Steinberg wrote: "There are not many historians who matter. Not many whose works have changed the way people see themselves. Of that little list, there is an even smaller number whose works have mattered to those in another society." Smith, however, was a writer whose early work "told many Italians what they did not want to hear, but told them at a special point in their history when they had no choice but to listen." An expanded version was published in 1997 as Modern Italy: A Political History. Smith's other works include two books on Mussolini as well as Italy and Its MonarchyMazzini; and Cavour.           


'20 Independent Bookstores We Love'

"For bookworms with a soft spot for the nostalgia of independent shops, the Bay Area delivers," 7x7 noted in featuring "20 independent bookstores we love," adding that "our region is still a bibliophile's mecca for indie purveyors, where the shelves are stocked with old leather-bound books as well as modern paperbacks, and community programming still includes author readings and signings."

'Types of People in Bookstores'

Writing "for the folks who frequent bookstores more often than most people or the ones who simply enjoy people-watching," Farah Masud explored the "Types of People in Bookstores" for the Daily Star, including Casual Wanderers, Clueless Gift Buyer, the Hunter, the Lost Soul, the Unfortunate Companion and the Ultimate Bookworm.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robert Wright on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Robert Wright, author of Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439195451).

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

Last Call with Carson Daly repeat: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501145308).

Good Morning America: Bernie Saunders and Wanda Saunders discuss Playing Hurt: My Journey from Despair to Hope by the late John Saunders (Da Capo, $27, 9780306824739). Wanda Saunders and co-author John Bacon will also appear on NPR's Here & Now.

The View repeat: Kevin Hart, author of I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781501155567).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Jeffrey Tambor, author of Are You Anybody?: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780451496355).

Movies: Call Me by Your Name

A trailer has been released for Call Me by Your Name, based on the novel by Andre Acima. The film, directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script he adapted with James Ivory and Walter Fasano, was "one of the hottest titles to come out of this year's Sundance Film Festival, and earned critical approval," Variety reported. The movie stars Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet. Call Me by Your Name is scheduled to open November 24. 

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book

The shortlist has been unveiled for the £25,000 (about $32,610) Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, which celebrates "outstanding popular science books from around the world and is open to authors of science books written for a non-specialist audience." The winner will be announced September 19. The Royal Society also marked the prize's 30th anniversary with a public poll to reveal "the most inspiring work of science writing of all time," and The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins was the most popular choice. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of the Mathematical Universe by Eugenia Cheng
Testosterone Rex: Unmaking the Myths of Our Gendered Minds by Cordelia Fine
Other Minds: The Octopus and the Evolution of Intelligent Life by Peter Godfrey-Smith
In Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer's by Joseph Jebelli
To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death by Mark O'Connell
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life by Ed Yong 

Book Review

Review: We Are All Shipwrecks

We Are All Shipwrecks: A Memoir by Kelly Grey Carlisle (Sourcebooks, $24.99 hardcover, 320p., 9781492645207, September 5, 2017)

A young mother tucked her three-week-old daughter into a drawer in a Hollywood motel room before leaving for the night. A police detective would lift the baby out again, after the mother was murdered. In the opening scene of Kelly Grey Carlisle's memoir, We Are All Shipwrecks, an eight-year-old Kelly meets that detective for the first time, having just learned how her mother died. It sounds like a sensational beginning, but Carlisle's measured, wondering tone allows the reader, like the author's child self, to meet each disorienting new situation with curiosity rather than a sense of spectacle.

Kelly was raised by her maternal grandfather and his much-younger wife, whom she calls Daddy and Mommy. He likes to be called Sir Richard and boasts of a wild and heroic--increasingly incredible--past; her name is Marilyn, and she carries wounds that Kelly will gradually understand. They own a pornography shop near the Los Angeles airport, and for many of Kelly's formative years, they live on a boat in a marina. Their neighbors are unglamorous down-and-outs, and Kelly is wracked by how normal her childhood isn't. But in her reflections on the page, she realizes that the adults who surrounded her in her youth played various parts in her unconventional upbringing; many of them were loving, positive figures. We Are All Shipwrecks is a memoir about being adrift and lost on a boat, but also about discovering that we're all more or less adrift, that yearning is a universal condition.

As she matures and learns more about her grandfather and Marilyn--the nearest to parents that she'll ever know--Kelly persists in wondering about the mother she lost. Naturally, then, the book follows her progress: from tracking a bewildering childhood to seeking answers about where she's come from. By the time Kelly becomes a mother, and for some time thereafter, her understanding of her roots continues to evolve. She explores the roles of trauma, love, resilience and forgiveness in shaping a life. "By now, I've realized that my grandfather was wrong when he told me, 'Where you come from is important; it's who you are,' because it was only partly true. 'Who you are' also happens after you leave home. You are turning into 'who you are' your whole life."

We Are All Shipwrecks is a personal history, a commentary on the experiences of childhood (uncertainty, pain, possible acceptance) and an investigation into what creates us. Readers who appreciate thoughtful memoirs will be charmed by Carlisle's generosity and easy, open reflections. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: An unstable childhood on the harbor in Los Angeles yields a wise, contemplative, forgiving memoir by a likable narrator.

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