Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 1, 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

News

Abrams Buys the Overlook Press

Abrams has bought the Overlook Press, which was founded in 1971 by Alfred Mayer and his son Peter Mayer, who died in May; Peter Mayer had also been head of Penguin for nearly 20 years and head of Duckworth Press. The Overlook Press specializes in out-of-print fiction and nonfiction titles and has 1,300 active titles.

"In 1971, my father and grandfather founded the Overlook Press with a vision for a truly independent publishing house that would put out an eclectic list of vital but overlooked books," Liese Mayer said. "Nearly half a century later, my father was deeply gratified and reassured to know that the legacy he had built with so much labor and love would continue under the direction of his trusted colleague and friend Michael Jacobs. I believe that this will be a wonderful new chapter."

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs commented: "Acquiring the Overlook Press' nearly 50 years of publishing tasteful, interesting, and literary books and authors is a good strategic fit for us at this point in our evolution. We recently launched our narrative nonfiction imprint, Abrams Press, and it's become apparent that having a backlist and some publishing ballast to build upon makes our task both easier and more fun. I'm confident that the assets--books, authors, and the vision that Peter built at the Overlook Press--will give us myriad opportunities to leverage our text-driven growth strategy at Abrams. Plus, we'll begin to publish fiction, drama, and other narrative forms that complement our existing adult and children's publishing programs."

Beginning this month, Abrams will handle all aspects of the publishing, marketing, and business operations for the Overlook Press's books, including its forthcoming titles. Several employees from the Overlook Press, including longtime associate publisher Tracy Carns, will join Abrams. Sales and distribution of the Overlook Press will be handled by Abrams as soon as existing contractual obligations expire.

The Overlook Press publishes 40 new titles a year, including fiction--literary, commercial, and in translation--history, biography, film and pop culture, music, popular science, sociology, food, art, and drama. Authors include Charles Portis, Mark Helprin, Robert Littell, Susan Hill, Edward Albee, Neil LaBute, Mervyn Peake, Joseph Roth and Milton Glaser.

The Overlook Press also publishes the Collector's Wodehouse, comprising 99 P.G. Wodehouse titles in fine editions, and Walter R. Brooks's Freddy the Pig series of children's books. Overlook imprints include Ardis, a list of titles of Russian literature, history, culture, and criticism.


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


With No Buyer, DIESEL in Larkspur, Calif., to Close

The branch of DIESEL: a bookstore in Larkspur, Calif., which has been for sale since April, is closing. "Though the store is beautiful and widely praised with loyal and appreciative readers... we have been unable to find a buyer to steward it into the future," owners John Evans and Alison Reid said in an e-mail to customers last night.

When they put the store up for sale, Evans and Reid explained that after 15 years of regularly commuting 400 miles, they have decided to live in Southern California full-time and focus on their other store, in Brentwood.

Evans and Reid opened the 2,800-square-foot Larkspur store in 2013 in the Marin Country Market, a  development that has had a bookstore in it--for much of the time before DIESEL it was a branch of A Clean Well-Lighted Place--since 1978. Developer James Rosenfield, who also owns the building in which DIESEL's Brentwood store is located, remodeled the development and is seeking another bookstore to take DIESEL's place, Evans said. The location has a lot of potential, several people have said: the shopping center is establishing itself, and the SMART train (Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit) is arriving next year.

DIESEL in Larkspur is beginning a moving sale with a 25% discount. ("It's a moving sale, not a closing sale," Evans said. "Because we're moving on--moving down south.") The pair will keep the store for an indeterminate time, probably several months, to sell the stock. "All these books want a home," Evans commented. "Just faster than planned."

In the announcement last night, they wrote, in part: "We want to thank you for all of your support and appreciation for the particular ways in which we've served readers in Marin. The beauty of the store itself, the deep and rich selection of books, and the friendly and expert booksellers have been much commented upon and respected by book lovers."

Reid and Evans founded DIESEL in Oakland in 1989. They sold the original store to manager Brad Johnson last year.


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

Indies Eye Revival of Canadian Booksellers Association

A group of Canadian independent bookstore owners are exploring the possibility of resurrecting the defunct Canadian Booksellers Association, which "operated for more than 60 years before it joined the Retail Council of Canada in 2012," Quill & Quire reported.

While the RCC offers booksellers certain benefits, former CBA members said it isn't meeting the unique needs of bookstores. "Without a unified approach, we became a voice in the wind," said Cathy Jesson, president of B.C. chain Black Bond Books and a member of the new CBA steering committee. "The RCC experiment wasn't what we needed--we were just a tiny voice in that huge organization. I think we lost our identity as Canadian independent booksellers."

The steering committee includes 10 members from across the country, according to Jesson, who said they are working on securing financing and seed money as well as spreading the word to other bookstore owners. There is no time frame in place for an official relaunch yet, though the plan is to ultimately hire a full-time administrator.

The idea to consider reforming the CBA began last year at a Bookmanager Academy event in Kelowna, B.C., where participants lamented the loss of networking and advocacy opportunities. "We missed each other," recalled Shelley Macbeth, owner of Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ont., adding that running a store is "very isolating--and who is going to understand what's going on better than other booksellers?"

The goal for the new CBA "will be to create a strong advocacy voice at various levels of government, with the goal of taking on issues like shipping costs or Amazon's outsized influence in the marketplace," Quill & Quire wrote. The original CBA included nearly 1,800 bookstores among its membership in the early 2000s and held an annual convention.

Eleanor LeFave, owner of Mabel's Fables children's bookstore in Toronto, said joining the RCC had made the most sense at the time of the CBA's demise: "They're very successful with government relations, which is something the CBA could barely tackle." She would consider rejoining the CBA should it reform, but cautioned: "Advocacy is a big part of being an association and I don't know that they would have enough funding to work on all [the issues facing independent bookstore owners]."

David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth Books in Waterloo, Ont., said a new CBA "would be most welcome," especially now that the financial upheavals of the past decade have eased somewhat for booksellers. "There's now a foundation for most indie bookstores to start planning again--maybe we can try things, take risks, afford to make a mistake or two. Now is the perfect time to take a step into a group that could advocate on our behalf on everything from terms with our suppliers to 'shop local' campaigns to access to government. It would be wonderful to see someone who could pick up the ball and run with it."


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


Back of Beyond Books Launches Publishing Program, Crowdfunding Campaign

In time for the 50th anniversary of Edward Abbey's environmental classic Desert Solitaire, Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, has launched three different publishing projects to release work that both celebrates and interrogates Desert Solitaire. To help fund those projects, store owner Andy Nettell has also launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $15,000 and a duration of 30 days.

In November, Back of Beyond will publish Amy Irvine's Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness in conjunction with Torrey House Press. In Desert Cabal, Irvine not only celebrates Abbey's work and the influence it had on her life, but also challenges many of the dated and even sexist ideas within it.

The store will also be publishing a limited-run facsimile of the first draft of Desert Solitaire, featuring "hundreds of manuscript changes" in Edward Abbey's own hand; only 50 sets will be available. And in partnership with Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books, Back of Beyond will release four Desert Solitaire-themed "literary letterpress broadsides" featuring original work from writers Doug Peacock, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams and Amy Irvine.

"I'm so excited about these three publications," said Nettell. "But it is a little scary, too. Even though I've been in the book trade for 18 years, we've never published a book and I really had no idea how expensive books and publications are to publish."

Abbey's Desert Solitaire has been the bestselling book at Back of Beyond throughout its 29 years of existence. Abbey himself worked as a ranger at nearby Arches National Monument for two seasons in the 1950s, and the journal he kept during that time would later grow into Desert Solitaire.


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


NYRF Moving to Javits Center for BookExpo 2019

BookExpo and the New York Rights Fair will run concurrently next year and will be co-located at the Javits Center in Manhattan. For 2018, BookExpo's Rights Center had moved to NYRF's location at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 18th St.

BookExpo and NYRF are scheduled for May 29-31, 2019, with BookCon taking place on June 1-2. NYRF will continue to be organized as a separate rights fair and will also serve as the International Rights Center at BookExpo, hosted in the Javits Center's River Pavilion.

The selection of Javits Center as the venue follows news of a multiyear agreement between the two entities, announced in June, for the joint management of NYRF, formalizing the parties' strategic vision for the future of the shows. The decision to co-locate in 2019 "fosters the relationship between and among domestic and international publishers, agents and authors," they noted in a statement.

"For the New York publishing houses and their international counterparts, having an easy, efficient central hub in which to meet will magnify the business opportunities that BookExpo and New York Rights Fair seek to encourage," said NYRF president George Slowik, Jr.

Ed Several, BookExpo senior v-p, commented: "Books are driving some of the most successful content for film and streaming platforms. We are excited to be working with New York Rights Fair to meet the needs of our domestic and international publishers in the heart of New York City, the publishing hub of the world. With this valuable addition, the reimagined BookExpo will be able to deliver a holistic platform to launch the hottest new titles and authors, feature cutting-edge trends and impact every part of our customers' businesses. This industry is vibrant and growing and we look forward to building an event together to support and celebrate that."


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


Applications Open for Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Applications are now open for the Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship for Emerging Bookseller-Activists. Created in honor of Carla Gray, the executive marketing director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt who passed away suddenly in May 2017, the scholarship will send a bookseller to both Winter Institute and their regional trade show in 2019 and also provide a grant of up to $1,000 for creating a community outreach program at their store.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a bookseller with at least one year but fewer than five years of experience in the industry and who has never attended a trade show or American Booksellers Association-sponsored event. To be eligible, applicants must be a regular part-time or full-time employee of a store in good standing with the ABA and one of the regional booksellers associations. The application includes a series of questions "outlining their community outreach program and the impact they hope to achieve."

Applications will be open from August 1 until October 9. Once applications close, a review committee consisting of the Friends of Carla Gray committee, author Justin Torres, Papercuts J.P. owner Kate Layte, Michael Taeckens of Broadside Expert Literary PR, and a Binc representative will choose a winner.

Organized by the Friends of Carla Gray committee and managed by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, the memorial scholarship was officially launched in late May, on the one-year anniversary of Carla Gray's death. Hannah Harlow, Jenna Johnson and MaryBeth Long created the Friends of Carla Gray committee shortly after Gray's death and have been raising funds toward the scholarship since.


Notes

Image of the Day: A Grand Poetry Slam

Tuesday night, booksellers from Open Book: A Poem Emporium, Seattle, and Island Books, Mercer Island, took a break from the recent heatwave for a night of poetry at a Mariners game.

Norton rep Dan Christiaens supplied copies of Norton backlist title Baseball Haiku, and between innings everyone enjoyed poetry and spontaneous haikus. James Crossley provided this one:

"A broomstick thunders
And scorches the third base line
Winning runs come home"

(Mariners won 2-0 and moved a game closer to first place.)


Indie Booksellers Judge Books by Their Covers

McLean & Eakin's sidewalk sale

In its e-newsletter this week, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., featured a confession we can all sympathize with: "Last weekend was sidewalk sales, and I'm fried. I did catch one gem under the tent outside though. I overheard a preteen (11-13-ish) say, 'Why do they tell you not to judge a book by its cover? I mean, these are covers. And you have to look at them. And then you decide to pick them up or not.' I leaned over and told her the dirty little secret of the book world is that we do, indeed judge books by their covers. I've probably said it before, but I'll say it again, the book publishing industry spends a lot of money on marketing... and guess what they are marketing? Not books. Not at first. First they have to show you the cover. Then. Then they tell you about the book. Look at any advertising campaign for a book, and I would be very surprised to find out that there was not a book cover included in the promotion. Even the New York Times Book Review, which has its own art, includes the cover of the book off on the sidebar of each recommendation. Take it from us, judging a book by its cover is sometimes the way to go...."


Bookshop Window Display of the Day: Country Bookshelf

From Jessica Hahl, event coordinator at Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Mont.: "We've been in the over-heated grump of late summer, and bookseller Harry Jahnke crafted this window display to snap us out of it!" The sign reads: "Have a killer summer."


B&N: Best Bookstore in Fairbanks, Alaska

For the second year in a row, Barnes & Noble has won the News-Miner's Reader's Choice award for best bookstore in Fairbanks, Alaska. The paper called the store "more than just a place to buy books" and quoted B&N community business development manager Nicole Galagan, who said, "We really want to be a destination where families and friends can hang out. A place where you can come and grab a coffee, meet with a friend, use our free WiFi." The store also features a large fireplace with many chairs near it, and what the staff calls "the endless bookshelf."

The News-Miner noted, too, that B&N has given back to the community, "attempting to increase literacy and education throughout the state. The store has given more than $80,000 back to the community in the last 2 1/2 years through book fair fundraising programs, along with supporting schools all the way up to the North Slope with textbooks and curriculum."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nick Pyenson on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Nick Pyenson, author of Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures (Viking, $27, 9780735224568).

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Kara Richardson Whitely, author of The Weight of Being: How I Satisfied My Hunger for Happiness (Seal Press, $16.99, 9781580056472).

Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Tonight: Greg Gutfeld, author of The Gutfeld Monologues: Classic Rants from the Five (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781501190728).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bret Baier, co-author of Three Days in Moscow: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Soviet Empire (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062748362).


Movies: The Personal History of David Copperfield

Photos from the set of The Personal History of David Copperfield were featured on IndieWire. Directed by Armando Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop, The Death of Stalin), the film's cast includes Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Wishaw and Peter Capaldi. The screenplay, written by Simon Blackwell and Iannucci, is based on the classic novel by Charles Dickens.



Books & Authors

Awards: Ned Kelly; Sunburst

The shortlists for the 2018 Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Fiction awards in three categories, sponsored by the Australian Crime Writers Association and celebrating "the best in Australian crime fiction and true crime," have been announced and can be seen here. The winners will be named on August 26 during the Melbourne Writers Festival.

---

Shortlists have been announced for the 2018 Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Winners will be unveiled this fall, with adult and YA fiction winners each receiving C$1,000 (about US$770) while and the short story category winner gets C$500 (about US$385). The shortlisted titles include:

Adult fiction
The Bone Mother by David Demchuk
American War by Omar El Akkad
Sputnik's Children by Terri Favro
Jade City by Fonda Lee
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

YA fiction
The Painting by Charis Cotter
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
Exo by Fonda Lee
Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren
Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr


Reading with... RaeAnne Thayne

photo: Jared Thayne
RaeAnne Thayne is the author of more than 40 published titles. Her novels have won many honors, including four RITA Award nominations from the Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. She lives with her husband and their children in the mountains of northern Utah. The latest installments in her Haven Point series are The Cottages on Silver Beach (HQN Books, June 19, 2018) and Season of Wonder (HQN Books, September 25, 2018).
 
On your nightstand now:
 
I'm reading at least four different books. At the top of the pile is Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs. She writes truly beautiful stories. Also Tangerine by Christine Mangan, because I've visited Morocco and loved it; Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James; and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Oh, and I'm listening to A Conspiracy in Belgravia, Sherry Thomas's delicious take on the Sherlock Holmes books.
 
Favorite book when you were a child:
 
I adored Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and read it every year from around age nine until past college age. The book still charms me when I re-read it. What's not to love? It features a sweetly blooming romance as well as a plucky heroine with a vivid imagination who loves to read.
 
Your top five authors:
 
I always struggle with this question because I'm developing new favorites all the time. I can't really choose my top five, but I can name five authors who have profoundly impacted my life. J.K. Rowling has had a deep and meaningful role in my life and my children's. We have forged cherished memories, discovering the adventure and magic of the Harry Potter books together. Other favorites who move me every time I read their books include Kristan Higgins, Robyn Carr, Jill Shalvis and Sarah Morgan. I still pinch myself to think that I can also call them friends!
 
Book you've faked reading:
 
Jane Eyre. Sorry to the diehard Charlotte Brontë lovers, but I could never get into it.
 
Book you're an evangelist for:
 
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which somehow managed to be heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. I've bought copies for friends, spoken about it during writing workshops and read it myself multiple times.
 
Book you've bought for the cover:
 
I don't believe I've ever purchased a book purely because of an appealing cover. I can say sometimes a beautiful cover on a book by an unknown-to-me author will prompt me to pick it up and read the blurb. If the blurb catches my eye, then I'll buy it, but not from the cover alone. The cover might tease me into looking at it, but if the blurb doesn't suck me in, I'll set the book down again.
 
Book you hid from your parents:
 
Nothing. I never had to. My mom was a voracious reader and encouraged me and my siblings to read widely and constantly.
 
Book that changed your life:
 
The very first romance novel I ever read was The Enchanted Land by Jude Deveraux. I fell in love with the hope and joy of the genre and also the power of story, which led me first to a career in journalism and later to pick up a pen and start writing the kind of stories I love best.
 
Favorite line from a book:
 
"It was hell being a hero." This is the opening line of Seize the Fire by the incomparable Laura Kinsale.
 
Five books you'll never part with:
 
This one is hard to answer, as I have hundreds of books I can't bear to let go. My bookshelves are overflowing (into my office next door, too!). Books I read again and again (and own several versions of) include the Simply Quartet by Mary Balogh, several Georgette Heyer titles, the In Death series by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts and anything by Loretta Chase.
 
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Pride and Prejudice. I read it first in a high school AP English class and actually found it boring, likely because I was so worried about book reports and exams, and trying to find the subtext (and because I probably wanted to get back to the delicious Elizabeth Peters mystery I had tucked in my backpack!). I would love to read it for the first time now, when I can truly appreciate it.


Book Review

Children's Review: Dactyl Hill Squad

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $16.99 hardcover, 272p., ages 8-12, 9781338268812, September 11, 2018)

Daniel José Older makes his middle-grade debut with Dactyl Hill Squad, a Civil War-era historical fantasy--with dinosaurs.
 
Twelve-year-old Magdalys Roca lives in the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City. Originally from Cuba, Magdalys and her older siblings were all dropped at the orphanage when Magdalys "was just a baby." She doesn't remember the man who left them there, and, in truth, she doesn't remember her sisters very well, either. She recalls "Julissa and Celia spoke Spanish to her and combed her hair and said her name like a song." But when Magdalys was four, a "mustached man... appeared and took Julissa and Celia back to Cuba with no explanation." And now, brother Montez is gone, too. It's been "six weeks and two days" since he decided to fight the Confederates and enlisted in the Union Army's "dinoriding division." Magdalys misses Montez and is scared for him--the Union Army "draft offices started drawing names out of a tumbler," conscripting "[w]hite folks," which means the war effort isn't going well. It also means that there "could be some backlash," specifically against black New Yorkers like Magdalys and her fellow orphans Two Step, Mapper, Little Sabeen and Amaya.
 
On this July 1863 evening, the children of the Colored Orphan Asylum head out on the orphanage's "huge old triceratops," Varney, to see a performance at the "only all-black Shakespearean company in New York." When the group is stopped mid-trip by the white Magistrate Riker, supposedly to make sure the children aren't "fugitive slaves," Magdalys's fear and anxiety make her wish Varney would take evasive maneuvers--which he immediately does. Magdalys, it turns out, can talk to dinos. And she learns this not a moment too soon.
 
The group escapes the Magistrate and arrives at the play--but hooded white folks on raptors are rioting and setting the city on fire, including the theater, and attacking black citizens. Unsurprisingly, the Magistrate is among the hooded rioters, no doubt working with the Kidnapping Club to steal free black children and sell them into slavery. Magdalys's newly discovered ability comes in handy when she steals a brachy from the fire brigade and brings it to the orphans' rescue.
 
They flee, only to discover that the orphanage has been burned down and the other orphans kidnapped. With nowhere else to go, the children end up at a refuge in Dactyl Hill (Brooklyn) where adult men and women of color work together as a Vigilance Committee, fighting the Kidnapping Club and Magistrate Riker whenever they can. Magdalys and her fellow orphans begin working with and for the Committee, becoming freedom fighters themselves.
 
Dactyl Hill Squad has everything a reader could possibly want in a middle-grade book: action, adventure, magic, humor and dinosaurs. Magdalys is the same kind of young, engaging and flawed protagonist as Philip Pullman's Lyra--a character readers can't help but love even when (especially because) she's frustrating. An entertaining and wholly fulfilling series opener. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness
 
Shelf Talker: Twelve-year-old Magdalys discovers she can talk to dinos in Daniel José Older's fantastical alternate history of New York during the Civil War.

Powered by: Xtenit