Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Chronicle Books: Stella & Marigold by Annie Barrows, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Poisoned Pen Press: The Boyfriend by Frieda McFadden

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


Maggie's Books Opens in Montrose, Colo.

Maggie's Books, a general-interest independent bookstore, opened Monday at 345 E. Main Street in Montrose, Colo. The new bookstore is owned by Sara Rinne, who told the Monitor that opening a bookshop in her hometown was "something that I've wanted to do for a very long time.... I was thinking, as a relatively young person, what kind of community I wanted to live in. I wanted a vibrant and fun Main Street. I even wrote a business plan. I've had this business plan for several years now, but it wasn't until now that I was actually able to do it."

On Facebook Monday, Maggie's Books posted a photo of the shop's sidewalk chalkboard sign ("A Store full of books? How novel! We're open. Come on in."), noting: " Maggie's is open! Come visit!"

Last Thursday, Maggie's shared photos of the new-store-in-progress, explaining why the opening was delayed slightly from the anticipated June 1 to June 4: "Hi book lovers and friends! I am working so hard to get the store open, but it's just not quite perfect yet. I had some excellent help from a fellow librarian today, which was wonderful! Maggie's will be open on this coming Monday, June 4. I know you are all as anxious as I am, but we just need a few more days. In the meantime, here's a little sneak preview. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!"

Peachtree: The Littlest Yak: Home Is Where the Herd Is by Lu Fraser, Illustrated by Kate Hindley

Bookstore Part of Dia Art Foundation's Expansion Plans

One of Dia's exhibition spaces in Chelsea.

A new bookstore is part of the Dia Art Foundation's plans to revitalize its existing New York City exhibition spaces in Chelsea and SoHo, as well as the upstate town of Beacon, while developing an endowment for operations in the future. ArtNews reported that the foundation's two current public spaces on West 22nd Street "will be united into a single 32,500-square-foot facility, with 20,000 square feet of space for programming and the return of a Dia bookstore that was once a hallmark of Chelsea in its early years."

"We see the bookstore as very much part of our program," said Jessica Morgan, Dia's director.

In the spirit "of a foundational shop that was a lynchpin of the former Dia Center for the Arts from 1987 to 2004," the bookstore will add to the foundation's presence in Chelsea, ArtNews wrote.

At PRH U.S., von Moltke, D'Acierno, Dillon Promoted

At Penguin Random House U.S., several executives have been promoted and have joined the PRH U.S. board. As outlined in a letter to staff yesterday by Madeline McIntosh, who was named CEO in April:

Nina von Moltke has been promoted to president, director of strategic development, a newly created position, and will serve on the board. She has been with the company for 16 years and has experience with digital publishing, corporate development, author platform development and audio publishing. McIntosh said she is "not only an astute strategic thinker, she is also an outstanding advocate for creative talent and for our publishing mission."

Amanda D'Acierno has been promoted to president, publisher, Penguin Random House Audio Group and is joining the board. McIntosh commented: "The growth of audio sales has been one of the happiest trade publishing stories of the last few years, and, thanks to Amanda and her team, we have benefited considerably from that growth as market leader."

Effective June 18, Sanyu Dillon is taking on a new company-wide position as executive v-p, director, marketing strategy and consumer engagement and will join the board. She is currently executive v-p, director of marketing, for Random House.

Dillon will also assume responsibility for the consumer marketing teams that previously reported to Amanda Close, who will soon report to Jaci Updike, president, U.S. sales, in a market-development capacity.

BookExpo 2018: John Kerry

When former Secretary of State John Kerry stepped onto the Downtown Stage at the Javits Center last Friday morning to speak about his upcoming book, Every Day Is Extra (S&S, September), only a few minutes had passed since BookExpo shined a "Spotlight on Sean Spicer" at the same venue, bringing the word dichotomy to mind.

John Kerry at BookExpo

Kerry, who described his memoir as "a very personal journey... the formation of this guy sitting here today," was introduced by Richard Stengel, the former Time magazine editor who also served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs during Kerry's tenure.

"We're at a difficult moment in American life and we've been blessed with a country that in every generation has had great leaders come forward," Stengel began. "John Kerry is one of those leaders, from his service in Vietnam, to his service in ending the war in Vietnam, to three decades in the Senate, to his presidential campaign in 2004, to his masterful time as Secretary of State. I'll use an old-fashioned word to describe him that you don't hear very much anymore, which is too bad: He's a statesman."

When asked about the genesis of his book's title, Kerry first noted that Stengel had collaborated with Nelson Mandela on Long Walk to Freedom, "a book about courage, leadership, and, as you all know, Nelson Mandela had that famous quote which I am guided by often: 'It always seems impossible until it is done.' I think a lot of people would say that's kind of how it looks right now."

Calling the phrase "every day is extra" a life philosophy, Kerry traced its roots to "a saying that came from a lot of my fellow vets, who came back from Vietnam to a very conflicted country in a very difficult time.... It's a saying that guided this group of veterans, my friends, who were lucky enough to come home alive when a lot of their brothers did not. It's an expression really of a sense of responsibility about how you live your life. It's a way of accepting responsibility for living a life of purpose--which is what the book is about in essence. It's a way of expressing gratitude for being alive, and a recognition that your relationship to the rest of your life was sort of a mystery and a gift at the same time. It's about how we live responsibly, we hope, to keep faith with those who didn't come back; and with the sense of duty that took everybody to that particular moment in our lives."

Noting the continued relevance of this philosophy in today's world, Kerry said, "It is, finally, the living of a liberating truth that there are worse things than losing a debate or losing an election or failing in business. The worst thing of all would be to be wasteful of those extra days by being a bystander in what is going on."

Although he is deeply concerned about current issues, Kerry expressed "enormous faith in the fundamental strength of American institutions.... We've been through difficulties before, and what I try to point out is people need to understand that we have to have confidence in our country, but it doesn't come by being a bystander. The whole essence of Every Day Is Extra is that you've got to be engaged; you've got to be part of it.... I think you have to express a vision to people about how we can make this country not great again, but greater." --Robert Gray

Obituary Note: John Julius Norwich

Writer and broadcaster John Julius Norwich, who "was really a man of many enthusiasms--for books, music, architecture, paintings" and whose "great talent was to be able to convey those passions to the public at large, through books, radio broadcasts and in nearly three dozen television documentaries from the BBC," died June 1, the Guardian reported. He was 88.

Noting the great love of his life was Venice, the Guardian wrote that Norwich "visited the Italian city more than 200 times and spent decades dedicated to its preservation and protection, from 1970 as chairman of the Venice in Peril fund and company chairman of the World Monuments Fund." He also published the two-volume A History of Venice (1977, 1981), as well as The Italian World (1983); Venice: A Traveller's Companion (1990); and, with H.C. Robbins Landon, Five Centuries of Music in Venice (1991).

Music, especially opera, was another passion. He wrote 50 Years of Glyndebourne: An Illustrated History (1985). In the late 1980s, Norwich "set about a history of the Byzantine empire," which resulted in a three-volume work. His many books also include Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy; Sicily: An Island at the Crossroads of History; and A History of France, which will be published by Atlantic Monthly Press in October.

Norwich was appointed CVO in 1993 "for having curated an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne," the Guardian noted. In 2015, he was awarded the Biographers' Club award for his lifetime service to biography.


Image of the Day: Mystery & Magic at Mysterious Books

Mysterious Bookshop, New York City, hosted a night of mystery and magic featuring Michael Kardos, author of the new thriller Bluff (which follows a young magician) and professional magician Joshua Jay. Pictured: (l.-r.) publisher and bookstore owner Otto Penzler with Jay and Kardos.

Politics & Prose's 'Worst Former Employee' Is a Pulitzer Winner

Andrew Sean Greer

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Andrew Sean Greer (Less) spoke with Washington City Paper about his "D.C. roots and the subtle joys of fiction writing." He also explained how he earned the joking sobriquet of Politics & Prose's "worst former employee" for his tenure there as a bookseller during the summers of 1989 and 1990:

"It was my first summer job during college. And I don't quite remember what made me such a terrible employee. Perhaps I misshelved things. Gabriel Garcia Marquez went alternately in 'G' and 'M,' depending on the day. That kinda thing. And I talked way too much.

"I had been friends with Eve Cohen since I was 12, and had often been to her mother's store--Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade started Politics & Prose. The bookstore was a world of strong opinion, enthusiasm, argument, politics, and family. Working there seemed natural to me--and a kindness from Carla and Barbara.

"I began the summer [that] the bookstore crossed Connecticut Avenue, and I remember that the customers were the ones who moved the store, box by box, across the road. That sense of community around books was something I have loved ever since. In fact, my favorite bookstore in San Francisco, Booksmith, was started by a couple who met with Carla and Barbara many times to learn how to build that kind of community, which they have."

Union Ave Books 'Thrives in Digital Age'

In Knoxville, Tenn., "nestled just a block down from Market Square resides a local favorite retail destination," WVLT-8 reported in its profile of Union Ave Books, which "thrives in the digital age."

"People are really supportive," said owner Flossie McNabb, adding that one key to success has been listening to their customers, who "really like regional books, so we beef up our regional. Customers really like certain authors. If we don't know about them, we will get them in."

McNabb also cited Knoxville's loyalty to shopping local. Union Ave Books customer Daphne Norwood agreed: "I want to live in a place where you have these type of things--local bookstores, local coffee shops. They're not going to be around unless you use them."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dan Abrams on the Megyn Kelly, the View

Megyn Kelly: Dan Abrams, co-author of Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency (Hanover Square Press, $26.99, 9781335424693). He will also be on the View tomorrow.

BBC World's Beyond 100 Days: James R. Clapper, author of Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (Viking, $30, 9780525558644).

Steve: Ian Smith, author of The Clean 20: 20 Foods, 20 Days, Total Transformation (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250182074).

TV: Sharp Objects

A full official trailer is out for HBO's limited series Sharp Objects, based on Gillian Flynn's novel and adapted by the author with Marti Noxon. IndieWire described the project as "about as close to a summer blockbuster as 2018 TV will get."

Directed and executive produced by Jean-Marc Vallée (Big Little Lies, Wild), the series stars Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Elizabeth Perkins, Eliza Scanlen, Madison Davenport, Matt Craven and Taylor John Smith. Sharp Objects premieres July 8 on HBO.

Books & Authors

Awards: Crystal Kites; Lambda Literary; Oscar's Book

The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators announced winners of the 2018 Crystal Kite Awards, which are peer-selected and voted on by SCBWI members from local regions. The prize recognizes excellence in the field of children's literature in 15 U.S. and international regions. This year's Crystal Kite regional division winners are:

Atlantic: 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar (Disney-Hyperion)
Australia/N.Z.: The Scared Book by Debra Tidball (Lothian Children's Books)
California/Hawaii: Lost Boys by Darcey Rosenblatt (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)
Canada: My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Pajama Press)
Internationals (Other): Will You Read My Book with Me by Lawrence Schimel (Epigram Books)
Mid-South: A Dog Like Daisy by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (Katherine Tegan Books)
Middle East/India/Asia: Yossi and the Monkeys by Jennifer MacLeod (Kar-Ben Publishing)
Midwest: Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus (Dial Books For Young Readers)
New England: This House, Once by Deborah Freedman (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
New York: Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel by Nancy Castaldo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children)
Southeast: Mouse by Zebo Ludvicek (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers)
Southwest: If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed by Denise Vega (Knopf/Random House Children's Books)
Texas/Oklahoma: The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
U.K./Ireland: Mold and the Poison Plot by Lorraine Gregory (Oxford University Press)
Western: The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken (Dial Books for Young Readers)


Winners of the 30th annual Lambda Literary Awards, which "identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world," were announced this week. Roxane Gay and Edmund White were honored with Lambda's Trustee and Visionary Awards, respectively. See the winners in 23 categories on Lambda Literary's website.

During her acceptance speech, Gay said, "As a woman, as a black woman, as a queer woman, writing has offered me salvation and sanctuary.... I want queer writers to create the work that they want to put into the world, regardless if all of the work does or does not meet the expectations of those who read it."

White observed: "Contained in the word novel is novelty and lesbian and gay writers have been lucky to write about this new world."

Remarking on his ninth and final year as Lambda Literary executive director, Tony Valenzuela said, "What I want to leave with you tonight is that, despite our continued challenges, you have a community through Lambda Literary that has your back. I feel deeply grateful to have spent the last nine years with the help of so many of you, to make Lambda Literary into a space where more of us will be seen and can thrive." The organization's incoming executive director is Sue Landers.


Writer John Dougherty and illustrator Laura Hughes won the £5,000 (about $6,645) Oscar's Book Prize, which recognizes "the best book for under-fives published in the past year," for There's a Pig Up My Nose, the Bookseller reported. Presenting the award, Princess Eugenie said: "I had the best day reading the shortlist and laughing at all the books. I am proud to be here this evening in remembrance of Oscar Ashton."

Reading with... Joseph Crespino

photo: Kay Hinton
Joseph Crespino, Jimmy Carter Professor of American History at Emory University, is a historian of the 20th-century United States and the American South since Reconstruction. He is the author of In Search of Another Country and Strom Thurmond's America. His third book, Atticus Finch: The Biography (Basic Books, May 8, 2018), is a portrait of Harper Lee and her father.
On your nightstand now:

Winthrop Jordan, Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy

Wallace Stegner, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West

Marjorie J. Spruill, Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics

Johnny Cash, Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words

Jonathan Franzen, Purity

Timur Vermes, Look Who's Back

W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

Favorite book when you were a child:
The In-Your-Face Basketball Book by Chuck Wielgus and Alexander Wolff, with an introduction by Al McGuire.
Your top five authors:

Flannery O'Connor
John Williams
Richard White
Elena Ferrante
Tim O'Brien

Book you've faked reading:
"Faked reading" is a tricky concept for an academic. I had a professor in graduate school who told his students that it was an essential skill of the profession to be able to say something intelligent about a book that you haven't read.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Paul Elie, The Life You Save May Be Your Own.
Book you've bought for the cover:
Michael Ondaatje, The Cinnamon Peeler.
Book you hid from your parents:
I hid things from my parents, but books weren't one of them.
Book that changed your life:
Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters. I read it the summer after my freshman year in college. I am a native Mississippian, and Branch's vivid descriptions of the bravery of black Mississippians and their struggles against what can only be called racist terrorism (although I wouldn't have been able to conceive of that term then) astonished me. I once took my copy of that book on a driving tour around my home state to visit places like the Sunflower County Courthouse, where Fannie Lou Hamer demanded the right to vote, or the tiny town of Liberty in southwest Mississippi, where in September 1961 a black man named Herbert Lee was shot dead in broad daylight by a sitting member of the Mississippi state legislature. It's hard to believe, even today. Reading that book made me realize that I had to learn this history, and that I had to try to contribute something to our understanding of it.
Favorite line from a book:
"It seems to me that the moralist is the most useless and contemptible of creatures. He is useless in that he would expend his energies upon making judgments rather than upon gaining knowledge, for the reason that judgment is easy and knowledge is difficult. He is contemptible in that his judgments reflect a vision of himself which in his ignorance and pride he would impose upon the world. I implore you, do not become a moralist; you will destroy your art and your mind." --John Williams, Augustus
Five books you'll never part with:

C. Vann Woodward, Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Will Campbell, Brother to a Dragonfly
Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory
Richard Ford, The Sportswriter

Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety. I read it when I was younger and found it full of wisdom and truth. I'm closer now in age to the characters in the book, and so it would be fascinating I think to encounter it now for the first time.
Your favorite cookbook:

Alex Patout, Patout's Cajun Home Cooking. It was my mother's, and I don't know that she ever cracked the spine, but everything I've cooked from it has been absolutely delicious.

Book Review

Children's Review: Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by James E. Ransome (Paula Wiseman Books, $17.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 4-8, 9781481476843, July 2018)

Award-winning author/illustrator team Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome's (Before She Was Harriet) newest nonfiction picture book pays tribute to two of the world's most impressive athletes: tennis stars and sisters Venus and Serena Williams.
"Venus and Serena Williams, two peas in a pod, best friends.... Whatever Venus did, Serena followed. So when their father took Venus to the tennis court to begin lessons, Serena begged to go along." Six days a week, Richard, their father, would bring his five daughters to the courts. "Between the early morning dark and the first light of the day, the girls stretched and warmed up, then swept the courts clean of broken glass and trash before their first practice of the day began." People in their neighborhood laughed at Richard, "with tennis ambitions and a Compton address," but still he pushed his girls for excellence. "It wasn't long before their father's dreams became their own"--the illustration accompanying this text is gentle and comforting, the little girls in bed wearing pajamas, only the backs of their braided heads visible as they peer out at a night sky. "Do you really think I have a chance?" they'd ask each other.
As the girls grew older, their dedication to tennis never wavered. They didn't have "expensive training equipment and professional coaches" so they made up their own drills, throwing footballs, dancing ballet and tossing racquets into the air. "When gunshots rang out in the distance, Richard reminded them, 'Never mind the noise. Just play.' " But when the shots came from "the neighborhood's rival gangs," the girls "quickly learned to drop their racquets and lie still until the shooting stopped."
Playing on the public courts of Compton meant the girls were invisible to the tennis circuit. But "when Venus won every single one of her sixty-three junior tournaments by age ten... word of the Williams sisters spread." The girls won more and more, and, within three years of Serena playing her first professional match, "both girls ranked in the top fifty." Some tennis fans loved the young women but others, "not happy to see them competing in a nearly all-white sport," would boo, threaten or taunt them. But "[w]ords and gunshots, hatred and doubt couldn't slow the rise of the two sisters."
The Ransomes' work follows the "[l]ong-legged, brown-skinned, beaded cornrowed sisters" through 2002 when Venus and Serena faced each other in the finals of the French Open. The illustrations glory in the sister's brown skin and colorful clothing, making them prominent "in a sea of white tennis attire, white fans, and white opponents." Every page is splashed with vibrant color and eye-catching patterns, and the figures of the women themselves are full of energy, speed and tension. An afterword, selected bibliography and source notes round out this incredible tennis life story of "two of the most popular athletes in history." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor

Shelf Talker: Husband-and-wife author/illustrator team Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome create another stunning nonfiction work about "two of the most popular athletes in history."

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