Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Disney-Hyperion: Frozen: Conceal, Don't Feel: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Sleeping Bear Press: Santa's Secret by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Deborah Melmon

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Harry Houdini (First Names) by Kjartan Poskitt, illustrated by Geraint Ford and Amelia Earhart (First Names) by Mike Smith, illustrated by Andrew Prentice

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne

Quotation of the Day

Booksellers 'Ideally Placed to be the Vanguard' Against Amazon

"I actually think that because booksellers were the first to have to combat Amazon (because Amazon initially started off selling books), we are ideally placed to be the vanguard--we know what it takes to attract customers in the twenty-first century and are in a good position to look at a new format for the high street."

--Nic Bottomley, Booksellers Association president and owner of Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England, responding to news the government may levy an "Amazon tax" to help "rebalance the playing field" between physical and online retailers."

imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


News

Taiwan Bookstore Plans Canceled Following Chinese Government Pressure

Lam Wing-Kee (via)

Plans by Lam Wing-kee--one of the five Hong Kong booksellers kidnapped in 2015 for selling titles critical of the Chinese government--to open a bookstore in Taiwan have been scrapped after Chinese authorities pressured an investor, the South China Morning Post reported.

The decision to abandon the project came in June, during a meeting in Taiwan between Lam, a Taiwanese partner and an investor from Hong Kong, who has factories and other business ventures in mainland China. According to the South China Morning Post, the wife of the Hong Kong investor, who runs their Chinese factories, began receiving threats from the authorities shortly after the announcement of the bookstore plans.

The Taiwanese partner told SCMP that while he had not received any direct threats himself, he was encouraged by his own wife to drop out of the venture and advised by officials in Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council to not go the mainland. And in early May, a state-owned newspaper based in Hong Kong called Ta Kung Pao published personal details about the bookstore backers.

The same partner noted that in addition to the threats, there were also disagreements among the partners about how best to run the bookstore. Lam told the SCMP that he plans to try again to open a store in Taiwan.

He said: "If we want to fight against the infiltration of ideologies promoted by the Chinese government, shouldn't we first learn about the roots of these ideologies? It will be a process of enlightenment and we can contribute to that [by running a bookstore]."


GLOW: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR: The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski


Moravian Book Shop Adapts to New Ownership

Ownership of the Moravian Book Shop, Bethlehem, Pa., widely considered the oldest continuously running bookstore in North America, was transferred earlier this year from the Moravian Church Northern Province to Moravian College, with Barnes & Noble managing the operation. The change officially took effect on June 19 and "employees who were rehired in the sale say patrons can expect much of the same charm, staple merchandise and newer items from area artisans," LehighValleyLive.com reported.

Plans call for renovations to be completed and a grand opening for the public to be held by early November. Although local businesses the Colony Meadery and Bone Appetit, which previously were housed next to the Moravian Book Shop, have closed or moved, they will eventually be replaced by a cafe for college students and patrons as well as performance space.

Carol King, a Moravian Book Shop employee for 25 years, was one of 10 people who worked at the store under the previous ownership to accept jobs with the new owner. She said that once everything was explained to the staff, it became clear selling the bookstore was the proper move: "Those doors would have been shut and this would probably be an empty storefront."

The majority of items will be more budget conscious, she added. "We're going to go back to being unique and bringing in things you can't find anywhere else. We want to be creative."

Staple gift items like Moravian stars, holiday decor and Christmas ornaments, remain, while more souvenirs from the area will be added to inventory. LehighValleyLive.com reported that "the largest change patrons will see are items catered to Moravian College students," but these will be "away from the older section of the building offering nonfiction and fiction books."

"The book area is still the book area and that's not changing," King said.

Michael Corr, a spokesman for Moravian College, told the Morning Call: "The employees are very happy with the transition so far. They like the management and what they're doing with the store."

Leo Atkinson, a book department supervisor under the previous owners, had launched a petition in May seeking to stop the deal that eventually garnered nearly 85,000 signatures, but WFMZ-TV reported that current employees "say if people are still mad about the change, come in and talk to them because it really is the same Moravian Book Shop."

King noted: "It's still family, it's still friendship, family, laughter, fun, and once the products come in it will be the same. It will."


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


MacDowell Colony's Executive Director to Retire

Cheryl A. Young (photo: Joanna Eldredge Morrissey)

Cheryl A. Young will retire as executive director of the MacDowell Colony, one of the nation's leading contemporary arts organizations, though she plans to remain in the position she has held for more than two decades until a successor is in place in early 2019. Young joined MacDowell in 1988 as its director of development, became deputy director in 1993 and assumed her current role in 1997. MacDowell's board of directors has launched a search for a new executive director.

"Not only has MacDowell been a home to me, it has been a great joy to be around such passionate people... the staff, board, volunteers, and donors. Everyone is devoted to helping artists make new work," said Young. "MacDowell has been an exceptional organization since its pioneering beginning, and each generation has a role to play in safeguarding it.... My intentions were shared internally with our board a few years ago and we have been working toward an orderly succession plan since that time.... Making the program available to a diverse population, removing financial barriers, adding new art disciplines, and providing the best residency experience possible have been my goals throughout my 30 years."

At MacDowell's annual benefit in New York City in May, chairman of the board and author Michael Chabon said Young is "a woman who has served the MacDowell Colony and the cause of the arts with faithfulness and devotion and brilliance and inspired thinking, and radiance."


Charlesbridge Publishing: Baby Loves the Five Senses by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan


Obituary Note: Anya Krugovoy Silver

Anya Krugovoy Silver, a poet who, "after receiving a diagnosis of advanced breast cancer in 2004, wrote lyrical verse that gave readers an exquisite, intimate and sometimes angry account of her illness," died August 6, the New York Times reported. She was 49. Silver was pregnant and teaching English literature at Mercer University in Macon when she learned that she had the disease. "She gave birth to her only child, Noah; had a mastectomy; and discovered the intensity with which cancer inspired her poetry." From her poem "Stage IV":

Faces turn away from me--I'm taboo, now--
the boat I'm set inside is crowded
with others like myself--
they come from their own cities.
Cautiously, we take each other's hands
and trade stories.

Silver published four volumes of poetry: The Ninety-Third Name of God (2010), I Watched You Disappear (2014), from nothing (2016) and Second Bloom (2017).

In a 2010 interview with Macon magazine, she said that after her diagnosis, "My poetry got better. Nothing focuses your mind and helps you see clearly what's important quite like cancer. It made me want to explore, even more, the beauty and divinity of the ordinary world."

"She continued to write until her final days--in longhand, as always, and in a journal," the Times noted, adding that "in 'Metastatic,' she described a seething rage that made her want to 'scream until the scream knocks me to my knees.' " The poem concludes:

I have nothing to lose.
If you push me off a building, I'll sing.
I'd jump in front of a bullet if I could.
I'd let someone wring my neck if only
I knew it would hurt God just one bit to watch me die.


Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


Notes

Image of the Day: Chronicle Books Bake Sale

Last week, Chronicle Books held a bake sale in its office building in San Francisco and raised $1,812.10, which it is donating in equal amounts to the California Fire Foundation and the World Central Kitchen's #ChefsForCalifornia Fund. Chronicle Books donated an additional $500, and Tito's Vodka added another $1,121.55, for a grand total of $3,433.65 in donations.

The bake sale attracted Chronicle employees, people who live or work in the neighborhood, and fans of the San Francisco Giants, who were playing that day at AT&T Park stadium, a block and a half away.


Charis Circle Hosts Successful Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

Last weekend, Charis Circle, the non-profit programming arm of Charis Books and More, Atlanta, Ga., hosted a two-part read-a-thon, #charisreads, that raised more than $5,000 for the organization's new building fund and programming space.

Community members, customers, and staff took pledges and read for 24 hours at home while Charis Books co-owner Angela Gabriel held a 5-hour long marathon children's story hour in the bookshop, during which she read 58 books aloud and raised more than $1,000 in pledges.

Adult books ("A very representative list of what our broader community is reading right now," Charis noted) read during the read-a-thon included Alexander Chee's How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, Kiese Laymon's forthcoming memoir Heavy, Tommy Orange's novel There There, Darnell Moore's No Ashes in the Fire, Stacey Abrams's Minority Leader, Zora Neale Hurston's Baracoon, Dust Tracks on a Road, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, Octavia Butler's Fledgling, Jordy Rosenberg's Confessions of the Fox, Christina Crosby's A Body, Undone, and Maggie Nelson's Something Bright, Then Holes and Bluets.


Bookshop Window Display of the Day: The Ripped Bodice

The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif., shared a photo of its latest window display on Twitter, noting: "We are mad for plaid! This month we are taking a trip to the Scottish Highlands to celebrate all things kilts, clans and bonny lasses. Come by and check out our new display and choose from our large selection of Scottish romances!"



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Allie Rowbottom on Here and Now

Today:
NPR's Here and Now: Allie Rowbottom, author of Jell-O Girls: A Family History (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316510615).

Tomorrow:
MSNBC's Velshi & Ruhle: Omarosa Manigault Newman, author of Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House (Gallery, $28, 9781982109707).

Daily Show: D.L. Hughley, author of How Not to Get Shot: And Other Advice From White People (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062698544).


TV: His Dark Materials

Lin-Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson have joined the cast of the BBC's upcoming series His Dark Materials, based on the fantasy novels by Philip Pullman, Variety reported. Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) will direct the first two episodes of the eight-part adaptation by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

Principal photography on the show, which is being produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema for the BBC, has begun in Wales. The cast also includes Dafne Keen (Logan), Clarke Peters, Anne-Marie Duff, Ariyon Bakare, Ian Gelder, Georgina Campbell and Will Keen.

"The caliber of our cast and directors is a testament to the brilliance of Jack Thorne's scripts and also the sheer bravura, depth and imagination of Philip Pullman's original novels," said Bad Wolf founder and executive producer Jane Tranter. "Our determination is to sound every note of the books in a series that will fully explore the many worlds and concepts in Philip's work."

Thorne said Pullman's books whisk the reader into "a world of constant imagination. Reading them, I was a massive fan. In adapting them, I've increasingly felt in awe of them. It's the constant invention, the way the story never sits still, and that the characters constantly surprise you."


Books & Authors

Awards: German Book Prize

The longlist for the German Book Prize has been selected and can be viewed here. The shortlist appears September 11, and the winner will be announced and celebrated on October 8 on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair.


Reading with... Genevieve Iverson

Genevieve Iverson is the sales and marketing assistant at Shelf Awareness. (Do you follow us on Instagram yet?) Before joining Shelf, Genevieve worked for several Pacific Northwest magazines and interned at Sasquatch Books. She lives in Seattle.
 
On your nightstand now:
 
My nightstand always has: a book I haven't read, one I'm in the middle of reading and one recently finished that is still cooling off. Following that organization: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley.
 
Favorite book when you were a child:
 
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry kept me up at night.
 
Book you've faked reading:
 
A wide variety of literature assigned in required college classes I never wanted to take in the first place.
 
Book you're an evangelist for:
 
Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I love finding the right people to give this book to because most are completely blindsided by how obsessed it makes them. Plus, he wrote it in Seattle.
 
Book you've bought for the cover:
 
I'm a sucker for the covers coming out of Riverhead Books (Emma Straub's Modern Lovers cover/matching dress combo, anyone? And The Mothers by Brit Bennett). Also, I'm still smitten over the artwork on Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. All these books happen to be fantastic, as well.
 
Book you hid from your parents:
 
When I was in the sixth grade, I went through a phase of obsessively bonding with books to the point where I would read the same one three or more times in a row. My mother would encourage me to branch out, so I got around that one by taking the dust jackets off other books and putting them on my current one to hide the fact that I was reading, say, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, for the 10th time. I was never caught.
 
Book that changed your life:
 
Many, many books have changed my life in incremental yet meaningful ways, but honestly the end of Holes by Louis Sachar blew my mind. I have no idea how old I was when I read it, but it changed my entire approach to reading novels.
 
Favorite line from a book:
 
"These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone." -- from Matilda by Roald Dahl
 
Five books you'll never part with:
 
1. My first copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban (technically it was a Christmas present to my brother, as evidenced by the handwritten note from a grandparent on the inside cover... but he's not going to read this so he'll never know I have it).
 
2. The Art of Drowning by Billy Collins, stolen off my mother's bookshelf.
 
3. Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag (I quote this book to this day and no one ever gets the reference).
 
4. Middlemarch by George Eliot (It's a gorgeous version of the book gifted to me by a special person a decade ago... and it will follow me around until I actually read it).
 
5. All my signed copies. If I lend a book out, I encourage it to never come back (Be free! Have an adventure!), but I continue to hold onto the signed books.
 
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
 
All my favorites from the pre-teen era. Everything was so fresh and new and delicious, I'm never able to immerse myself as deeply into anything now as I did when I was 11. Ah, the emotion.

Book Review

YA Review: The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99 hardcover, 112p., ages 14-up, 9781328810151, September 18, 2018)

The Unwanted's first two images couldn't be more jarring: on the title page, a hijab-wearing woman raises her hand to her face in overwhelming distress; a turn of the page reveals a girl holding flowers, smiling back over her shoulder as she walks across a town square lush with greenery. Both are victims of war, the former made desperate by a nation in ruins, the latter still innocent, destruction about to uproot her young life.
 
While the factious situation in war-torn Syria is difficult even for adults to comprehend, what writer/illustrator Don Brown (America Is Under Attack) offers here is an empathic account of how everyday citizens--especially women and children--take tortuous paths toward survival. They are The Unwanted, who, without a future in their own country, must search elsewhere for home.
 
Galvanized by 2010's Arab Spring, Syrians demand the end of tyranny in 2011. "Teenage boys scrawl 'Down with the regime' on a wall," sparking widespread protests, divisions and death. Millions flee toward Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, then further, to Greece, other European nations, North America--anywhere they're granted entry. Surviving doesn't guarantee safety: too often, refugees are resented by already depleted countries and rejected by intolerant governments. Too many experience unsettled, grueling lives as refugees.
 
Using a similar format that won him awards for Drowned City, Brown presents a graphic hybrid of history and facts--explained in text boxes--with scenes of personal experiences. Brown plainly types out, for example, what happened: "The civil war destroys schools across Syria, leaving millions of children without a place to learn." He humanizes the event by showing two students witnessing their school in rubble, who dare to challenge their impossible circumstances by declaring, "I want to be a doctor."
 
Beyond numbing data, Brown gives faces and voices to the refugees, as he chronicles various journeys out: "We gave the babies sleeping pills so they wouldn't cry," a fleeing mother reveals. "I tried to catch my wife and children in my arms. But one by one, they drowned," a man mourns over his survival. "I have a two-year-old brother. My mother is pregnant. My dad is sick. It's up to me alone to bring bread to the table," a child explains about life as an "unregistered refugee." Brown's panels can't--won't?--contain all that the Syrians must endure, as weapons, explosions, fleeing crowds, suffering victims repeatedly break through panel outlines. Yet amid the struggles, Brown won't abandon hope: the lamenting woman and the little girl from the introduction return in the final pages, safe in a future that "is now."
 
Brown's decision to "focus on the refugee experience" without minimizing "the complex religious, political, and cultural web that describes Syria" took him to Greece to visit refugee camps in 2017. His author's note and journal summaries are included at title's end; also added are the sources of his dialogue bubbles, together with an extensive bibliography. In urgently humanizing The Unwanted, Brown's sobering explication and tenacious advocacy prove both necessary and revelatory. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon
 
Shelf Talker: Don Brown reveals the faces and voices of The Unwanted, Syria's refugees who have survived atrocities, whose search for safety is too often met with resentment and rejection.

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