Also published on this date: Wednesday, May 30, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Zola's Elephant

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Grand Central Publishing: Dava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Minotaur Books: Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey

Bloomsbury Publishing: This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

Mineditionus: The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

Atheneum Books: Out of My Heart by Sharon M Draper

Bloomsbury Publishing: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Blackstone Publishing: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Scholastic Press: Room to Dream (a Front Desk Novel) by Kelly Yang


Lark & Owl Booksellers to Open in Georgetown, Tex.

Lark & Owl Booksellers plans to open in October in Georgetown, Tex., near Austin. Community Impact Newsletter reported that the business, which will be in a yet-to-be-determined location within the city's Downtown Historic District, will sell books, stationery, gifts, art and jewelry.

"Our vision of Lark & Owl is a place for people to gather for community, conversation and books," according to the bookstore's website. "We hope to create a curated and well crafted store where you can visit morning to night. We will have more information coming soon as we get ready to open our doors."

The Williamson County Sun reported earlier this month that "10 women have launched a quest to create a spot downtown where book lovers can read, rest and nest." Jane Estes, the project manager, said the group came together to form a company in January: "People are starved for a place to go to buy books and talk about books."

On Facebook, the bookstore recently posted: "We've been getting a ton of questions about the store. The number 1 question we've been asked is 'What is Lark & Owl going to be like?' The answer is, L&O will be a place for our friendly larks to come in the morning for a cup of coffee, a pastry and of course a good book. A place for kids to come in with Mom or Dad in the afternoon for a snack and to learn about the amazing places created in the books they read. And of course a place for our owl friends to come in the evening for a cocktail, socializing and great conversations. See you this Fall!"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens

Foyles Launches 'Urban Express' Partnership

Foyles has partnered with travel-retail company SSP Group to launch the first in a series of stores catering to commuters and travelers, the Bookseller reported. Called Urban Express, the concept store is located in the recently redeveloped London Bridge train station and features a "curated range of 150 titles under the Foyles brand." While no specifics have been announced, more Urban Express stores are expected to open at various travel hubs around the U.K. over the next year.

"This represents a huge opportunity for us in the U.K. and it could be a step-change for Foyles," the company's CEO Paul Currie told the Bookseller. At present Foyles has seven stores in the U.K.

"SSP has recognised there was an opportunity to create a concept store for urban travellers who are generally time poor," continued Currie. "Once commercially proven, the London Bridge store will be the beginning of a significant rolling-out programme for the concept. I think this could potentially represent a national presence for Foyles."

SSP Group operates a variety of traveler-focused shops in airports and train stations around the world and has existing partnerships with companies like Burger King, Starbucks and British sushi chain Yo! Sushi. Kate Swann, formerly CEO of WH Smith, runs SSP Group. WH Smith has dominated the country's "bookselling travel retail market" for "more than a decade," as the Bookseller put it.

The London Bridge Urban Express store is located in the station's passenger waiting area and carries food, wine and other concessions in addition to the 150 Foyles title, which are displayed under the banner "Foyles: Chosen for you." The books are sold at full price and the selection includes adult fiction and nonfiction as well as children's books.

"The selection of books on offer has to work very hard for the space they have," said Foyles head of buying Jasper Sutcliffe. "It obviously won't offer the range of our other shops, but it is a distillation of what makes Foyles 'Foyles' in 150 lines."

Annick Press: Living with Viola by Rosena Fung

Taiwan's Eslite May Move Its 24/7 Bookstore

The Eslite bookstore in Taipei, Taiwan, that has been open 24 hours a day since 1999, will "likely" close its doors in 2020 when the lease on its space runs out, the company announced. Focus Taiwan said that while Eslite believes it might be able to negotiate a lease extension, it will seek another site in the city to house a store open around the clock. The store in downtown Taipei, which has three levels underground and two levels above ground, offers many English-language books and "has been a big draw for many foreign visitors," Focus Taiwan added.

The announcement was made at the annual general meeting of Eslite Spectrum, owner of the Eslite bookstore chain. In other news, company chairwoman Mercy Wu said Eslite is considering expanding into Japan and Southeast Asia, possibly with partners or via licensing. Besides its 50 or so stores in Taiwan, Eslite has three stores in Hong Kong and one in China, where it will open three more in the near future.

Bloomsbury Continuum: Making Nice by Ferdinand Mount

Amazon Opening First Warehouse in Okla.

Amazon plans to open its first warehouse in Oklahoma by the end of 2019. The more than 600,000-square-foot facility will be located in Oklahoma City. Amazon employees will pick, pack and ship small items such as books, household items and toys.

"We're excited to open our first fulfillment center in Oklahoma and in a city with an outstanding workforce and a commitment to providing great opportunities for employment," said Mark Stewart, Amazon's v-p of North America customer fulfillment.

Mayor David Holt called the announcement "a great day for Oklahoma City," adding that the project "required efforts from our city government, our legislature, our state government and our local economic development entities. Further, it would not have been possible without the commitment the voters of Oklahoma City made last September to invest in economic development."

GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela Soares

Obituary Note: Elaine Markson

Literary agent Elaine Markson died May 21 at age 87. Author Alice Hoffman paid tribute to her on Lit Hub, noting: "Everyone knows that if Elaine Markson was your agent, you had a fierce and loving protector for life. I was Elaine's second client, back when she was working out of her apartment where the windows faced Washington Square Park and her eleven-year-old son watched TV as we talked about books. I fell in love the first time I met her and she remained my agent and great friend for 40 years.

"She was pure Greenwich Village with clients like Andrea Dworkin, Abbie Hoffman (I was often billed for advances Elaine loaned him as we were both A. Hoffmans), the great Grace Paley, and the iconic feminist writer Tillie Olsen. Elaine was the one agent in America who didn't care about making deals. She was there for the authors, and I know that she was always there for me.... Everyone who worked for Elaine loved her. Many became agents and editors; she was a great connector, whether you needed a job or an apartment or just a shoulder to cry on. She was generous and kind, but she always let you know when you had more work to do on a book. Writers listened to her. And more, we trusted her. The book business changed, it became about deals and bestseller lists, but Elaine never changed. Till the very end she was in it for the books. We loved her madly and we'll miss her forever."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Still Life by Sarah Winman


Image of the Day: Team Shelf

Last night, Shelf Awareness staffers from across the country gathered for dinner before BookExpo starts today. We'll be wandering the floor, reporting on panels and education sessions, and meeting with publishers and booksellers. We also have a table at the consultation station in the ABA Lounge--come say hello!

Parallax Press: How to Live When a Loved One Dies: Healing Meditations for Grief and Loss by Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy 40th Birthday, Prairie Lights!

Congratulations to Prairie Lights bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. The Press-Citizen featured a detailed profile of "the Iowa literary institution" that is "a nationally respected and internationally known bookstore.... It's also a local institution in a UNESCO City of Literature, an unofficial home for literary types. Many students have bought books there, many locals have read the first chapter of a book sitting in the second-floor window sills, many University of Iowa Writers' Workshop students have written their stories in its cafe."

Prairie Lights founder and former owner Jim Harris "likes to sit at the tallest table" in the shop's café, a vantage point from which "he can see everyone, and say hello to anyone, who comes into the cafe inside the business he started 40 years ago," the Press-Citizen wrote.

"I never had any time to enjoy this space until I retired," he said. "I always considered the key to our success and growth was the community. The whole area, not just the workshop, embraced us fully. That's the reason we're still around."

Current co-owner Jan Weissmiller, who was taking writing and history classes at UI at the time, said she "found Prairie Lights as soon as it opened.... It felt vital then, even seven months after it had started."

Weissmiller "entered the store in December of 1978 to pick up a graduation gift that had been ordered for her. Harris knew she had graduated and offered her a job," the Press-Citizen noted.

"I said no at first because, I told him, I wouldn't make enough money. Eventually, he convinced me, but it didn't take that long," said Weissmiller. By the late 1990s, Harris was "out of energy" and asked Weissmiller if she wanted to buy Prairie Lights in the early 2000s. "Jan knew the store, I knew she would carry it on," Harris said. "She was just this infusion of energy." By 2007, she had agreed to buy a third of the business, along with poet Jane Mead, while Harris maintained one-third ownership until 2009.

Now, from his café table perspective, Harris told the Press-Citizen he would like to see the store he founded stay on a similar course. Asked what he'd like Prairie Lights to do the next 40 years, he replied "stay the same and have continued success."

Weissmiller added: "The city and the university are more focused on literature than they have ever been. The legacy here will require that there will always be a vital, good bookstore. I don't see any reason that it wouldn't be Prairie Lights for years to come."

American Booksellers Association: ABA Children's Institute, August 30 - September 1! Register today!

Stylus Publishing to Distribute Baseball Prospectus

Stylus Publishing is now the print and e-book distributor for Baseball Prospectus, the publisher dedicated to the sabermetric analysis of baseball on its website and in an annual guide. The 24th edition of Baseball Prospectus is set to be published early next year, with an expanded focus on international teams and players.

Rebel Girls: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic, 4 edited by Lilly Workneh

Personnel Changes at Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull Press/Catapult

Jennifer Abel Kovitz is being promoted to v-p and associate publisher, sales & marketing at Counterpoint Press/Soft Skull Press/Catapult.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Masih Alinejad on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Masih Alinejad, author of The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316548915).

Movies: Christopher Robin

The official trailer is out for Christopher Robin, directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland), Indiewire reported. Written by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder, the film is based on a story by Perry featuring A.A. Milne's characters.

The Disney release stars Ewan McGregor as an adult Christopher, "who is surprised to see his imaginative childhood friend Winnie the Pooh come back to life. Pooh encourages Robin to embark on an adventure that will hopefully restore his sense of life," Indiewire wrote.

Haley Atwell plays Christopher's wife Evelyn. The voice cast includes Jim Cummings (Pooh), Brad Garrett (Eeyore) and Toby Jones (Owl). Christopher Robin hits theaters August 3.

Books & Authors

Awards: Trillium Finalists

Finalists have been announced for the 2018 Trillium Book Awards, which "recognize excellence, support marketing and foster increased public awareness of the quality and diversity of Ontario writers and writing." The winning authors, who will be named June 21 in Toronto, receive C$20,000 (about US$15,365) and their publishers C$2,500 for marketing and promotion. The Trillium Book Award for Poetry winner gets C$10,000, with C$2,000 going to the publishers. Check out the English and French language finalists here.

Reading with... Robert Gray

Robert Gray has been an editor and columnist with Shelf Awareness for nearly 12 years. From 1992 until 2006, he worked as a bookseller/buyer for the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt. Gray has written for numerous publications, including Tin House, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Cimarron Review and Words Without Borders. He lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
On your nightstand now:
I don't have a nightstand, but next to my desk there's a small table with an ever-developing skyline of book piles. I'm reading and loving The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson, Happiness by Aminatta Forna, The Aviator by Eugene Vodolazkin, The Art of Reading by Damon Young, The Long Hangover by Shaun Walker, The Kremlin Ball by Curzio Malaparte and Waiting for the Last Bus by Richard Holloway.
Favorite book when you were a child:
For my first Christmas, one of my aunts gave me an autographed and inscribed copy of The Blue Cat of Castle Town by Catherine Cate Coblentz, illustrated by Janice Holland. It was a Newbery Honor Book in 1950, the year of my birth. My aunt lived not far from us in Castleton, Vt., which served as the 19th-century setting for this tale of a blue cat searching for "a hearth where a mortal understood and sang that song" of beauty, peace and contentment. My initial review was probably that it tasted good when I chewed the cover, but the story was read to me until I could read it myself. I still have it.
Your top five authors:
I continue to read and reread Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Thomas Merton, May Sarton, Brian Moore and Tim Winton.
Book you've faked reading:
Here's a confession from my bookseller days: Sometimes I fictionalized my reading history just a touch. Call it a retail survival skill. You can't be an idealist through an entire eight-hour shift. For example, a customer might ask if I'd read a particular novel. Not wanting to lose complex handselling momentum (Let those among you who haven't done this cast the first stone.), I might begin with a parrying move on the national ("It's been getting great reviews.") or local ("Everyone in the bookstore who's read it loves it.") level. Sometimes, however, in a moment of weakness, I may have said, "Oh, I'm reading it now."
Book you're an evangelist for:
Catholics by Brian Moore, an amazing, underappreciated writer. I love all of his works, but there's a special place in my heart for the speculative novella Catholics. The Vatican dispatches a young, radical priest to Muck Island, off the Irish coast. He must confront the elderly abbot at an isolated 13th-century monastery regarding the monks' rebellious persistence in celebrating Latin Mass, which is drawing ever-increasing crowds and international media attention. A deeply moving exploration of doubt, faith and human nature.
Book you've bought for the cover:
River of Hidden Dreams by Connie May Fowler. The HC cover was gorgeous (I think I initially saw it on the ARC), and then I opened to the first page and read the opening--"My mother and grandmother died while they were dancing. With each other. In a saloon in Chokoloskee."--and I was hooked.
Book you hid from your parents:
My parents didn't really know or care what I was reading, so thankfully that was never an issue.
Book that changed your life:
In 1970, I was scanning a paperback spinner rack in our small Vermont town's diner/we-sell-everything-shop and found, tucked among the romance, sci-fi and mystery novels, a copy of Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle. My perspective on life and the world shifted permanently within days.
Favorite line from a book:
"It was as though he had imagined every possibility in advance, and therefore he was never surprised by what happened. Inherent in this attitude was a pessimism so deep, so devastating, so fully in tune with the facts, that it actually made him cheerful." --Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things
Five books you'll never part with:
Zen Art for Meditation by Stewart W. Holmes and Chimyo Horioka (Holmes was one of my undergrad professors, though I didn't know or appreciate him enough at the time.); The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (autographed to me for handselling the hell out of it in 1992); One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (a tattered, Bantam movie tie-in edition from 1971); Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder (bought for $1.50 in 1970 when Snyder was 40 years old and I was 20, but if I picked it up now I'd probably still highlight the same lines.); Walden by Henry David Thoreau (decrepit Modern Library edition I purchased new in my late teens and then underlined more sentences in it than I left alone).
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald. Anyone who has read it knows why.

Book Review

Children's Review: The 5 O'Clock Band

The 5 O'Clock Band by Troy Andrews, Bill Taylor, illus. by Bryan Collier (Abrams, $17.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 4-8, 9781419728365, June 19, 2018)

In his author's note, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews says, "When a group of individuals collaborate in harmony--with sincerity, spirit, and soul--they create something beautiful." Though explicitly about making music, this statement is equally relevant to The 5 O'Clock Band. Andrews's second collaboration with illustrator Bryan Collier is, indeed, something beautiful.
This worthy follow-up to their Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award–winning Trombone Shorty guides readers through the spirited streets of New Orleans. Having missed his band's practice, Shorty questions whether he has what it takes to lead. Wandering the streets in search of his friends, Shorty encounters different members of his community and asks these mentors and idols what he needs to take the helm of his group successfully.
Andrews's words blanket the audience in the sights, sounds and smells of all these encounters, while Collier's bold illustrations heighten their effects. Andrews describes street musician Tuba Tremé as "a giant of a man" who was "sweet as pecan pie--and the sounds that floated out from his horn were even tastier." Tuba Tremé begins a rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In," the first tune Shorty learned to play. "Pride swelled in Shorty's chest as he and Tuba played the same notes together that Louis Armstrong had played many years before them in these same city streets." Tradition, Tuba Tremé tells Shorty, is important to leading--every bandleader "needs to know where music came from in order to move it forward." Collier depicts a rich history of musical greats in the notes that emanate from the instrument, his masterful use of pen and ink, watercolor and collage illustrating the resonance in both Shorty's sound waves and the New Orleans musical tradition.
"Lola, the Creole Queen" next fills Shorty's belly with delicious food--and his heart with sage advice. Shorty asks her how she makes such amazing food and she answers simply, " 'Love. There's love in my food, because I love every dish I make.... As long as you love what you do, you will always be a success.' " Shorty's final encounter is with Big Chief, the "chief of the neighborhood Mardi Gras Indian tribe," whose majesty is palpable. Shorty needs dedication, Big Chief tells him. " 'Each year, all the Indians make new suits, hand-sewn from scratch,' " Big Chief says. " 'It takes a lot of time and patience, but when we hit the streets, it's worth it.' " Collier's depictions of the brilliant greens, pinks and oranges of the suits of "the soul of Mardi Gras" pop from the page.
Troy Andrews's tribute to New Orleans and the music it has created is melodious and invigorating. Bryan Collier's visual interpretation carries the audience along on a distinctive and beautiful parade, much like the popular musical parades of New Orleans. The combo of text and illustration is well-tuned, and readers of any age are sure to find themselves thoroughly entertained. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A young musician wanders the lively streets of New Orleans in search of the secret to being a great bandleader.

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