Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Grove Press: The Club by Takis Würger

DK Publishing: Writers: Their Lives and Works by DK

Page Street Kids: Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Touchstone Books: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

Shadow Mountain: A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Dream Big, Little One & Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

Grove Press: The Heavens by Sandra Newman

Quotation of the Day

Indie Booksellers: 'The Matchmakers of the Book World'

"The booksellers at the indies are passionate readers. Their mission is to place books into the hands of readers who will love them. Through handselling books, writing reviews in their newsletters, and celebrating books they love on social media, they are the matchmakers of the book world. Indie bookstores invite unknown authors to have events and give them a chance to share their work with their communities--opportunities that chain stores reserve for bestselling authors. The indies play a critical role in giving readers the opportunity to discover new voices and helping new authors find their audience."

--Louise Miller, author of The Late Bloomers' Club (Pamela Dorman Books), in a Signature article on "The Importance of Indie Bookstores Today, Tomorrow and Always."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman


News

Investment Firm Buys 5.7% of B&N; Wants Changes

Schottenfeld Management, a New York City investment management firm, has bought a 5.68% stake in Barnes & Noble--which it described in an SEC filing as "undervalued"--and has already met with senior management to discuss how to improve the company's performance, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Wall Street liked the news: on a day the Dow Jones was flat, B&N shares rose 2.7%, to $5.65 a share, on more than twice the usual volume.

In the filing, Schottenfeld said it wants to "encourage" B&N to "explore opportunities to increase shareholder value" and expects to "engage in, discussions with members of management and/or the board of directors of [B&N], other current or prospective shareholders, industry analysts, potential strategic transaction partners, investment and financing professionals and other third parties regarding a variety of matters relating to [B&N], which may include, among other things, [B&N]'s business, management, operations and capital structure, as well as strategic alternatives potentially available."

Referring to the abrupt firing of Demos Parneros on July 3, Schottenfeld Management CEO Richard Schottenfeld, who invested in B&N in 2013 but sold all his shares two years later, told the Journal, "This is an opportune time for change. They don't have a CEO right now and are looking for direction. We think we can help form that direction.... It's our preference to work with the companies in which we invest. A fresh investor can bring new ideas."

He added that he had begun buying B&N shares again in May and believes, the Journal wrote, that B&N can better manage its expenses while improving the in-store shopping experience. He also said consumers are frustrated by the retailer's online shopping efforts.

During his earlier period of B&N ownership, Schottenfeld lobbied against the continuation of the Nook business and argued for spinning off college operations. When Barnes & Noble Education was created in 2015, he sold his shares in B&N.


Touchstone Books: I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

CUP Bookshop 'Transformed' by Touch Screens

photo: Andrew Wilkinson

The "new-look" Cambridge University Press bookshop in Cambridge, England, has been "transformed" with the addition of touch screens, which place its book catalogue and teaching materials "at people's fingertips." The Bookseller reported that books "have been sold from the shop's Trinity Street location since at least 1581, making it the oldest bookselling site in Britain. CUP moved in almost 30 years ago and in 2008 expanded around the corner into Market Hill to open the education and English language teaching shop."

Paul Colbert, acting joint managing director of CUP's English Language Teaching Group, said: "Our aim is to support customers through continually improved content, experiences and care. The shop is a fantastic showcase for that approach. I'd encourage people to come in, to see what's on offer and to take advantage of the expert help and advice that's available. It is a great resource for teachers and learners--in Cambridge and beyond."


GLOW: Dial Press: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam


New Bookstore Rallies for Terminally Ill Co-Founder

Cindy Hulsey

Friends and colleagues of Cindy Hulsey, a co-founder of the Tulsa Literacy Coalition and Magic City Books who was recently diagnosed with a terminal illness, are rallying to show their appreciation, Tulsa World reported. At Magic City Books, the bookstore that opened last November, a journal has been set out and people are invited to write in it.

The store is also adding "a permanent tribute to Hulsey," a section called "Cindy's Picks," featuring some of her favorite reads, one of which will likely be The Hours by Michael Cunningham, which Hulsey said changed her life, Martin said.

In addition, the storefront window display currently features a quote by Hulsey: "Your brains like reading. It lets us experience life.... I think it makes us better people."

Literacy Coalition president Jeff Martin said the journal is intended to be "a living tribute to this amazing woman for her life, her work and her dedication to impacting the entire community.... Cindy has always believed that narrative and story and books could change people's lives because they changed hers.... Our job now is to make this place her legacy. To take her dream--and it was her dream--and make it endure."

A former Tulsa Library staff member who is now executive director of the Literary Coalition, Hulsey has, the paper wrote, "devoted her life to promoting reading and literature, with an emphasis on how books can speak to contemporary concerns and build up communities."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: More Than Words by Jill Santopolo


Obituary Note: Madeleine Kamman

Madeleine Kamman, who "established a reputation as a strong-willed teacher of traditional French cuisine for modern tastes and an influential chef whose cooking was deeply informed by her knowledge of food chemistry, botany, history and geography," died July 16, the New York Times reported. She was 87.

Kamman "was not yet a renowned French chef and teacher in the spring of 1968 when she read a newspaper recipe for snails provençale on toast" by Craig Claiborne. She wrote him a letter criticizing the recipe and "impressed him with a different snail recipe and memories of cooking in France," the Times wrote. Claiborne subsequently visited her at her home near Philadelphia and write about her.

Claiborne's recognition led her to write The Making of a Cook (1971). She later published When French Women Cook (1976) and several other books. From 1984 to 1991, she had her own PBS series.

"She had an incredible capacity to inspire people--she was very honest with us--but the gifts she gave us were incredible," said Joanne Weir, a former student and cooking teacher who is an owner of Copita, a Mexican restaurant in Sausalito, Calif.


Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book: Easy for You to Say by Stuttering John Melendez


Notes

Image of the Day: Pitstop in Montrose

At Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif., Saturday, an overflow crowd was treated to a storytime reading of The Princess and the Pitstop (Abrams Young Readers) by author Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda) and Caldecott-winning illustrator Dan Santat (Adventures of Beekle). Angleberger (r.) revved up the crowd with his droll humor and delivery, while Santat (l.) provided running sound effects.


McNally Jackson Brooklyn Has 'Found an Audience'

The McNally Jackson bookstore that opened in January in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, N.Y., has "found an audience," according to amNew York, which included a slide show of the beautiful interior, which is in a renovated, former industrial space.

The store is "a collaboration between Sam MacLaughlin, a former bookseller for the Prince Street bookstore, and McNally Jackson founder Sarah McNally," amNewYork wrote. After working in publishing, MacLaughlin realized he missed bookselling and approached his former boss about opening a store in his neighborhood. "I've lived in Williamsburg for a decade and felt like the neighborhood could sustain another big new [rather than used] bookstore," he said. "I lived here and I wanted it to be here."

Originally the store was to have a café on the mezzanine, but the city Department of Buildings did not approve those plans and the space is devoted to children's books.

With the exception of foreign-language titles, the book selection is similar to that of the original McNally Jackson store in Manhattan. "We took all that's great about Prince Street and brought it here," MacLaughlin said. "We're still figuring out what makes this different and what people are responding to." The store is also trying to find space for foreign-language titles.


Hanoi's Bookworm Bookstore: 'Attractive Destination'

English-language Bookworm bookstore in Hanoi, Vietnam, has become "an attractive destination for foreign visitors when they are in Hanoi," according to VietNamNet Online. Founded in 2001 by Australian author Pam Scott as an English-language book exchange for expats, Bookworm was bought in 2006 by Hoang Van Truong. The store estimates that its customers are about 40% expats, 30% Vietnamese and 30% travelers.

The store carries "all genres and types of books, from novels to books on politics, economics, arts and culture," VietNamNet Online wrote. Of its 15,000 titles, 40% are new books imported from the U.S. and U.K., and the rest are used books bought from or exchanged with customers.

Truong told the online newspaper that he wants to turn Bookworm into a place for cultural exchanges: "Bookworm wants to organise exchanges between writers of public interest and Vietnamese readers to help youngsters understand more about Western literature."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Camas Davis on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Camas Davis, author of Killing It: An Education (Penguin Press, $27, 9781101980071).

Tomorrow:
Conan repeat: James Comey, author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250192455).


Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker; Gordon Burn Longlists

The 13-book longlist for the £50,000 (about $65,510) Man Booker Prize was announced yesterday. The shortlist will be unveiled September 20 and a winner named October 16. This is the first year that books published in Ireland (in addition to those published in the U.K.) have been eligible for the prize. This year's longlisted titles are:

Snap by Belinda Bauer (U.K.)
Milkman by Anna Burns (U.K)
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (U.S.)
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne (U.K.)
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (U.K.)
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (U.S.)
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh (U.K.)
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje (Canada)
The Overstory by Richard Powers (U.S.)
The Long Take by Robin Robertson (U.K.)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland)
From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan (Ireland)

Chair of judges Kwame Anthony Appiah commented: "Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the times, there were many dystopian fictions on our bookshelf--and many novels we found inspirational as well as disturbing. Some of those we have chosen for this longlist feel urgent and topical, others might have been admired and enjoyed in any year. All of these books--which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race--capture something about a world on the brink. Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form. And we were struck, overall, by their disruptive power: these novels disrupted the way we thought about things we knew about, and made us think about things we didn't know about. Still, despite what they have in common, every one of these books is wildly distinctive. It's been an exhilarating journey so far and we're looking forward to reading them again. But now we'll have thousands and thousands of people reading along with us."

In another first, the Man Book Prize is partnering with IKEA, which for a week will have a "reading room" in its Wembley store in north London where customers can read and take a copy of one of the 13 longlisted titles, according to the Bookseller. The reading room will run from July 31 to August 5, and customers will be able to reserve one-hour slots to sit and read.

Luis Lopez, head of living rooms of IKEA UK and Ireland, said: "The Reading Rooms give us a chance to use our retail space to inspire people to think about the importance of relaxation at home. Reading at home is good for your health and the living room is the perfect, tranquil setting to do so, providing a peaceful haven from the outside world."

Gaby Wood, literary director of the Booker Prize Foundation, added: "If you associate reading with holidays then you probably associate it with indulgence. And--it's true--reading fiction can be, at its best, a form of escapism. But that doesn't make it a guilty pleasure. It's more like a fast route to better health. Our homes are filled with devices that allow the digital world to encroach on our private lives."

---

Finalists have been named for the £5,000 (about $6,560) Gordon Burn Prize, which "seeks to champion 'fearless non-fiction and bold, genre-defying fiction,' " the Bookseller reported. The award is run in partnership by the Gordon Burn Trust, New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Durham Book Festival. The winner will be announced October 11 at the Durham Book Festival. This year's shortlisted titles are:

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Census by Jesse Ball
H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker
In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
Crudo by Olivia Laing
The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy


Book Review

Review: Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris (Dey Street, $24.99 hardcover, 320p., 9780062839343, August 21, 2018)

Since childhood, Kate Harris has wanted to be an explorer: to test the boundaries of the known world, to go where few others have gone before. Reading Marco Polo's account of his journey on the fabled Silk Road, Harris was determined to make her own way there. But, like the Venetian explorer, her travels took a winding course. In Lands of Lost Borders, her luminous, incisive memoir, Harris chronicles her permanent wanderlust, her twisting career path and the months she spent cycling the Silk Road with her best friend.
 
Raised in Canada, Harris dreamed of exploring not only this planet, but others: for years, her goal was to become an astronaut. She yearned to go to Mars, simultaneously to probe the borders of explored space and the deep questions of human existence. But Harris's journey took her first to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, then to the laboratories of MIT, where she began work on a Ph.D. But hours in the lab or the library never proved as fulfilling as exploring the byways and back streets of wherever she happened to be. Disillusioned and hungry for adventure, Harris and her friend Mel decided to go for it: to fly to Istanbul and bike as far as they could, through countries and checkpoints with unpronounceable names. The goal, in a sense, was the remote Tibetan Plateau, inaccessible to many of the world's citizens. But the greater aim, as for any explorer, was simply to go, to see: to "learn enough landmarks by which to love the whole world."
 
Harris's account covers thousands of miles and hundreds of years: she draws in Marco Polo, Charles Darwin, NASA and many other explorers past and present. Between anecdotes of kind strangers who offered food, shelter and friendship on her journey, Harris muses on artificial borders, the human impulse to wander, the power dynamics of nation-states and the ways we create our world. Her capacious intellect takes in poetry, politics, environmental writing and the strange rhythms of English spoken by her new friends. She doesn't spare the gritty details of the trip: stern checkpoint guards, exhausting traffic, much sweat and countless flat tires. But she is also awed repeatedly by the world as seen from a bicycle: a far-off river glittering "like an artery of light," the vast icy sweep of the Siachen glacier, "this territory of uplift and change." All travelers, she points out, risk "disappointment and transformation." Harris's journey includes both in spades--but the letdowns are far outweighed by wonder and joy.
 
Lyrical, brilliant and sharply observed, Lands of Lost Borders is a paean to wanderlust and a call for readers to launch their own explorations. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams
 
Shelf Talker: Kate Harris's gritty, luminous memoir of cycling the Silk Road explores wanderlust and boundaries.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Issued to the Bride: One Soldier by Cora Seton
2. Kissing Jenna by Kristen Proby
3. Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall
4. Shades of Fae by Various
5. Freed by Carly Phillips
6. Very Irresistible Playboy by Lila Monroe
7. Lexie Starr Cozy Mysteries Boxed Set by Jeanne Glidewell
8. The Billionaire's Wake-Up-Call Girl by Annika Martin
9. Victorian San Francisco Mysteries: Books 1-4 by M. Louisa Locke
10. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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