Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 9, 2018


Carolrhoda Books: The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans

Grove Press: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Tor Teen: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Blizzard Entertainment: How to Reach 100 Million Fans!

News

Covered Treasures in Colo. Damaged by Flooding

Covered Treasures Bookstore, Monument, Colo., "will be closed for the foreseeable future due to a flooding issue," the bookshop announced on Facebook Friday, then updated the situation in a later post: "A toilet intake valve upstairs from the bookstore broke sometime between 7 p.m. on Thursday night and 7:45 a.m. this morning. When I arrived at the store, the lobby, stucco walls in the hallways and stairwells were wet. When I opened the side-door to the store, the ceiling panels were on the ground and water was pouring down like I had walked into a thunderstorm! I have some pictures to share with you. We will re-assess things on Monday as the fans will be blowing all weekend to dry out the area. As of right now, the damage was mostly contained to the front room with some floor water seepage into the used book room and the 'new' used book room. We were able to save many books but most of the cards were completely ruined."


Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book: The Crown Lord by William Sirls


Itinerant Literate Opening Storefront in Charleston, S.C.

"We're Opening a Storefront! And we're having a lot of feelings," Itinerant Literate, the bookmobile launched in 2016 by Christen Thompson and Julia Turner in Charleston, S.C., tweeted yesterday.

"For the past two weeks, we have been spending an unseemly number of hours at 4824 Chateau Ave. to turn it into a bookstore," Thompson and Turner wrote in Itinerant Literate's July e-newsletter, which chronicled the mobile bookstore's genesis and noted: "Now, after 1,932 hours, 322 events, 1,493 customers, countless new friends, hundreds of bottles of Gatorade, more than a couple of bottles of wine and beer, 100 instances of seeing the other person at their worst, 100 times forgiving them for it, now, at last, we are opening the storefront we planned three years ago.

"We only have this opportunity because of readers and shoppers like you. So we want this to be a space to share and a space for you to meet new people as well as discover new stories. Though the space is still small, we have an awesome backyard and can't wait to host collaborative events and outfit it with comfy spots for you to settle in with a book and take some time for yourself. We can't wait to share this new space with you. Starting this month, come to the Bookstop at 4824 Chateau for daily story time at 10 a.m., Tuesday beer/wine pairings with book releases, live storytelling events, writing workshops, BYOB reading parties, author signings and readings, Scrabble meetups and of course, even more books!"


Graywolf Press: Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays by Eula Biss


Singapore's BooksActually Launches Fundraising Campaign

BooksActually, the indie bookshop located in Singapore's Tiong Bahru neighborhood, has gained an international reputation for the fierce independence and bookselling passion of owner Kenny Leck as well as the quality of titles published under its Math Paper Press imprint.

After 13 years of renting his space, Leck has launched the BooksActually Shophouse Fund Brick campaign to raise enough money to secure a permanent home for the bookshop. BooksActually is selling S$50 (about US$37) bricks "handmade by us! Each brick is symbolic of your support, and this crazy dream & leap of housing the bookstore in a permanent space. No more rentals! Just a forever home."

In a letter to "friends & loved ones of BooksActually," Leck observed that in facing the challenges of more than a decade in business, "it is as though we have nine lives like our bookstore cats, Cake, Pico and Lemon, and we still carry on. We still carry on because this is a home not just for the folks running it, it is also a home for anyone that crosses through our doors. It is also a literary home for the ones that aspire to write, and be a writer. And that’s how we see it. A home for the weary ones, a home for the book-hungry ones, a home for the young ones whose parents were only dating when we first opened the bookstore. This is a home for the ones that doesn’t know it yet, that they need a 'bookstore home.'

"As we continue our bookselling journey, we know that to 'plant' the roots that will weather any storms ahead, we need to own the space permanently.... So yes, we are calling out to everyone in Singapore or any part of the world, throw in your lot with us, help us to 'build' a literary home, one brick at a time, one book at a time, one page at a time."


GLOW: Henry Holt & Company: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi


Bannon Bookstore Brouhaha

On Saturday, the question of public criticism of people in or associated with the Trump administration came to the book world: Steve Bannon, the former official strategist for President Trump and an avowed white supremacist, was browsing in Black Swan Books, Richmond, Va., when another customer called him "a piece of trash." Bookstore owner Nick Cooke told the Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Steve Bannon was simply standing, looking at books, minding his own business. I asked her to leave, and she wouldn't. And I said, 'I'm going to call the police if you don't,' and I went to call the police and she left." He canceled the call before police left for the store.

Because of Bannon's notoriety, however, many liberal people on social media have criticized Cooke for the decision, even saying that Bannon should have been the one asked to leave--which was followed by a wave of administration supporters criticizing them for criticizing Bannon and the bookstore.

Cooke's articulate defense: "We are a bookshop. Bookshops are all about ideas and tolerating different opinions and not about verbally assaulting somebody, which is what was happening."


Bloomsbury: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


B&N: Wall Street Takes Dim View of CEO Firing

Late last week, as investors digested the news that Barnes & Noble had fired CEO Demos Parneros on the eve of the Fourth of July holiday, on Friday B&N stock fell 11%, to $5.25 a share, a day the Dow Jones rose 0.4%. Volume was three times normal. The company's market capitalization is now $381 million, and its yield is 9.3%.

Stories in the financial press were mostly negative. Besides the concern about four CEOs departing B&N in the past five years, the stories highlighted fears that one of the main attractions of the stock--its annual dividend of 60 cents a share, amounting to about $43 million last year--is unsustainable.

Currently, B&N stock is attractive to "yield chasers and value investors," as Edgar Torres wrote on Seeking Alpha in a story called "Barnes & Noble: Chronicle of a Death Foretold." The high yield will continue to attract investors interested in a steady dividend payback, but if they bid up the stock too much, it will be less attractive to the value investors, who bet that the stock is underpriced and ultimately will climb in value. In an era of continuously declining sales, if the company can't maintain the dividend, then it will lose interest to yield investors--and the underlying problems that threaten the dividend will be more apparent to value investors.


Melville House Publishing: Dead Men's Trousers by Irvine Welsh


Obituary Note: Steve Ditko

Comic-book artist Steve Ditko, who was "best known for his role in creating Spider-Man, one of the most successful superhero properties ever," died June 29, the New York Times reported. He was 90. Ditko was inducted into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 1994.

Along with artist Jack Kirby and writer/editor Stan Lee, Ditko "was a central player in the 1960s cultural phenomenon known as Marvel Comics, whose characters today are ubiquitous in films, television shows and merchandise," the Times noted. "Though Mr. Ditko had a hand in the early development of other signature Marvel characters--especially the sorcerer Dr. Strange--Spider-Man was his definitive character, and for many fans he was Spider-Man's definitive interpreter."

Dan Buckley, president of Marvel Entertainment, said "the Marvel family mourns the loss of Steve Ditko. Steve transformed the industry and the Marvel universe, and his legacy will never be forgotten."

Neil Gaiman told the Washington Post: "The Doctor Strange stuff was brain-bending. It was glorious... and it was pure Steve. What Steve brought was grandeur and a view to other dimensions.... I just find myself thinking with enormous pleasure about the afternoon [British TV/radio host] Jonathan Ross and I went up to Steve Ditko's office in New York in 2007. We just walked up, knocked on the door, and he came out and chatted in the corridor for 25 minutes. He answered all of Jonathan's questions and went in and got us a bunch of comics. I just remember him as so very, very gracious and at the same time so very private."


Notes

Image of the Day: Congratulations to Kotb

Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, Del., hosted a signing Saturday for Today Show co-anchor Hoda Kotb (I've Loved You Since Forever, HarperCollins), when surprise guests Joe and Jill Biden--he was Senator from Delaware before becoming Vice President--stopped by to congratulate Kotb on her children's book, and brought her flowers from their garden.


Happy 20th Birthday, Sly Fox Bookstore!

Congratulations to the Sly Fox Bookstore, Virden, Ill., which is celebrating its 20th birthday with an open house on Saturday, July 22, and a 20% storewide discount for the entire month.

"When I first opened, I didn't know how long I would be here," owner George Rishel said. "But here I am 20 years later still going."

The store originally focused on children's books and mysteries, and then added plush toys associated with children's books, including Peter Rabbit, Classic Pooh, Madeline, Curious George, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Olivia the Pig, Little Lulu and Paddington. It also stocks greeting cards as well as titles related to Illinois and Abraham Lincoln.

The Sly Fox has also sold books at the Conference on Illinois History for several years, at summer retreats for the Illinois chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and at the annual conference of the Illinois Library Association. The store has supplied books to local schools, the Grand Prairie of the West Library and the Alpha Tau chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Chertoff on CBS This Morning

Today:
NPR's On Point: Richard Ratay, author of Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip (Scribner, $27, 9781501188749).

The Talk: Candace Cameron Bure, author of Kind Is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously (Zondervan, $24.99, 9780310350026).

Tomorrow:
Megyn Kelly: Casey Legler, author of Godspeed: A Memoir (Atria, $25, 9781501135750).

CBS This Morning: Michael Chertoff, author of Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26, 9780802127938).

The View: Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case Against Impeaching Trump (Hot Books, $21.99, 9781510742284).


TV: This Is Going to Hurt

BBC Two has ordered an adaptation of This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. Deadline reported that the "eight-part comedy drama, which tells of life on the hospital ward, is produced by Jane Featherstone's Sister Pictures and comes after the indie production company optioned the book at the end of last year." Kay is adapting his book and will exec produce through his own Terrible Productions, alongside Sister Pictures' Naomi De Pear and Mona Qureshi. The project was commissioned by Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, and Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two.

"Junior doctors tend to have a rather quiet voice compared to the politicians, which is understandable--you don't have much spare time if you're working 100 hour weeks," said Kay. "It's been a huge privilege to have my diaries reach so many readers and it's been absolutely humbling to see their reaction. I'm beyond delighted to now be able to share my story with a far wider audience and make the viewers of BBC Two laugh, cry and vomit."

Wenger added: "The anarchic, laugh out loud tone of Adam's memoir masks a frank, insightful and often visceral portrait of a committed young professional struggling to do the job of his dreams. It is a deeply personal but definitive account of the 21st century NHS and we are thrilled that Adam and the team at Hootenanny and Sister have chosen BBC Two as the place to bring it to screen."



Books & Authors

Awards: Golden Man Booker Winner; Wainwright Shortlist

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje won the Golden Man Booker as best work of fiction from the last five decades of the Man Booker Prize. The winner, which was revealed yesterday at the closing event of the Man Booker 50 Festival in Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, was chosen by the public. All 51 previous Booker winners had been considered by a panel of five judges, each of whom was asked to read the winning novels from one decade of the prize's history, before the books faced a month-long public vote on the Man Booker website.

Judge Kamila Shamsie, who chose The English Patient as her winner of the 1990s, called it "that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight. It moves seamlessly between the epic and the intimate--one moment you're in looking at the vast sweep of the desert and the next moment watching a nurse place a piece of plum in a patient's mouth. That movement is mirrored in the way your thoughts, while reading it, move between  large themes--war, loyalty, love--to  tiny shifts in the relationships between characters. It's intricately (and rewardingly) structured, beautifully written, with great humanity written into every page. Ondaatje's imagination acknowledges no borders as it moves between Cairo, Italy, India, England, Canada--and between deserts and villas and bomb craters. And through all this, he makes you fall in love with his characters, live their joys and their sorrows. Few novels really deserve the praise: transformative. This one does."

Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, described The English Patient as "a compelling work of fiction--both poetic and philosophical--and is a worthy winner of the Golden Man Booker. As we celebrate the prize's 50th anniversary, it's a testament to the impact and legacy of the Man Booker Prize that all of the winning books are still in print. I'm confident that this special book, chosen by the public, will continue to stand the test of time and delight new readers for many more years to come."

---

The seven shortlisted titles for the £5,000 (about $6,645) Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2018, which celebrates the best books about nature, the outdoors and U.K. travel, are:

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell
Hidden Nature by Alys Fowler
Outskirts by John Grindrod
The Dun Cow Rib by John Lister-Kaye
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn


Book Review

Review: The Third Hotel

The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 224p., 9780374168353, August 7, 2018)

Laura van den Berg (Find Me) opens her second novel, The Third Hotel, in an atmospheric Havana. Clare has traveled from her home in upstate New York to attend the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema. She is a sales rep in elevator technologies, but her husband was a film critic, specializing in horror. Clare has come alone on this trip intended for the two of them, and it is here, in this jumbled city of many faces, that she sees her husband again, navigating Havana with ease, "like he had not been struck by a car and killed in the United States of America some five weeks ago."
 
The Third Hotel is part ghost story, part realistic portrayal of grief, part psychological thriller. What exactly Clare sees and experiences is up for debate. Her character appears on the outside to be ultra-normal: a boring salesperson with a suitcase packed neatly with toiletries for her work-related travels, and a content if distant marriage. But as the story develops, we see the fractures and skews in perspective. In the opening scene, Clare is removed from a conference reception for licking a mural. She shows a passion for both travel and silence, especially when they can be combined: "In a hotel room her favorite thing in all the world was to switch off every light and everything that made a sound--TV, phone, air conditioner, faucets--and sit naked on the polyester comforter and count the breaths as they left her body."
 
This slightly tilted version of reality is told in perfectly realistic fashion, tempting the reader to simply accept each new development as it comes. While the novel's action takes place in Cuba, flashbacks reveal details of Clare's marriage and life in New York, her travels in the Midwest (she has a special love for Nebraska) and her upbringing in Florida: her parents were hotelkeepers, which puts her interest in travel into a new light. Further revelations hint at explanations for what is off-kilter in this story--chiefly, her husband's impossible return from the dead--but in the end, The Third Hotel leaves much to the reader's imagination or interpretation.
 
Van den Berg's clean, descriptive prose brings full images and sensory detail to life without drawing attention to the writing. The shapeshifting city of Havana is a riveting character in itself, and contributes greatly to the atmosphere. The Third Hotel explores the oddities of travel and relationships; silence and noise; and the effects of past trauma. Like Clare, it is an engrossing, thought-provoking enigma. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia
 
Shelf Talker: This atmospheric novel involving a dead husband who turns up on the streets of Havana offers many possible explanations, and more questions than answers.

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