Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 27, 2018

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., Damaged by Flood

Avid Bookshop's Five Points store in Athens, Ga., suffered considerable damage Friday when parts of the store were flooded. Owner Janet Geddis opened the location in 2016; the original Avid, which is on Prince Ave. in Athens, opened in 2011.

On Facebook, Avid posted: "Huge flood at our Five Points shop today. We're closed at least today, if not longer. Here's how you can help, if you're so moved. Buy a book at Avid on Prince and/or at, won't you? It's going to take awhile to deal with insurance and ongoing damage. We're not sure how extensive the issues will be. The kids' section was half-decimated and the basement is leaking as well. All humans are safe. Books, puppets, walls, ceiling, handmade wood fixtures, etc.? Not so much." Avid also posted a video of the damage on Instagram.

An update later that evening said the bookshop "would be closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Stay tuned to social media for news on when we'll reopen--we're hoping for Tuesday."

Because independent booksellers are a supportive community, several indies alerted their followers to Avid's situation and recommended helping out with online orders, including:

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.: "Oh No! Our Athens friends @avidbookshop have had an enormous flood damage the store and books! Our hearts go out to them. Please, if you were planning on shopping online for books this weekend, consider using their website. They are a fantastic store and one of our favorite fellow indies."

Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.: "Oh noooo--it’s raining indoors at @AvidBookshop, where a major plumbing leak caused a flood today. Do our pals a favor and buy a book from them online. It’ll help with repair costs. Hang in there, Avid."

A Cappella Books, Atlanta: "Our friends at Avid Bookshop in Athens are working to recover from yesterday's massive flood at their Five Points location. If you'd like to support their efforts, stop by their Prince Street location or buy a book online at Alternatively, if you're in Atlanta and visit A Cappella Books this week/weekend, mention to our booksellers that you'd like to help them get back on their feet, and we'll make sure a percentage of your purchase goes into our Avid donation fund."

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

Grand Opening for Skylark Books in Columbia, Mo.

Skylark Bookshop hosted its grand opening Saturday at 22 S. 9th St. in downtown Columbia, Mo. The store is owned by novelist Alex George, who also founded the Unbound Book Festival in Columbia. Carrie Koepke is the manager.

Just before opening, George and Koepke shared a selfie on Facebook, noting: "As ready as we'll ever be. #25minutestogo." Shortly thereafter, they posted: "Under way. So grateful to everyone who's already come out and bought a book!"

Alex George and Carrie Koepke

They eventually summed up the bookshop's opening day on Skylark's website: "Day one of Skylark Bookshop is in the books, and yes, the pun is very much intended. It was a wonderful, miraculous, exhausting day. We (Carrie and Alex) have so much to be thankful for. 

We're grateful to all the local businesses and craftsmen who helped us turn the space into something truly special. We're grateful to Allison Smythe for our logo. We're grateful to our wonderful staff, who were brilliant and worked insanely hard all day, especially when various gremlins appeared to cripple various bits of equipment at crucial times. We're grateful to everyone who posted photos and messages of support on social media. We're grateful to the thousands of authors who wrote the amazing books we get to sell. We're grateful to our spouses and our families, who have hardly seen us for weeks but who have been unwaveringly supportive throughout. Most of all, we're grateful to our community, who turned out in droves and bought books. And we're grateful that we get to do it all again today."

And... Theo made his official debut as bookshop dog yesterday.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

N.C.'s Regulator Bookshop Windows Defaced

Last Monday, a Confederate statue called Silent Sam on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was toppled, which led to a demonstration and counter-demonstration on Saturday. Supporters of Confederate statues who say they honor their Southern heritage and those who believe the statues are symbols of racism and slavery clashed.

A disturbing, apparent side note occurred at the Regulator Bookshop in nearby Durham. Sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning, someone painted on the front windows of the bookstore: "Sam was silent but we aren't" and "Marxists get out."

In a response after discovering the defaced windows yesterday morning, the store tweeted, "The Regulator Bookshop welcomes knowledge seekers. We stock titles on divergent views: ranging from Marxism, to Ayn Rand novels, and much more. As an independent bookstore, we encourage folks to read, and learn as much as possible in order to reach a nuanced understanding of complex issues. We strongly condemn racism of any kind."

Regulator co-owner Elliot Berger told the Duke Chronicle, Duke University's student newspaper, that the graffiti was "pretty amateur" and was easily removed with Windex. "They were nice enough to do it on the windows and not the brick," he said.

Eight Cousins Wins BPRNE's Independent Spirit Award

Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass., is the winner of the 2018 Independent Spirit Award, given by the Book Publishers Representatives of New England "to recognize the excellence in a bookstore member of the New England Independent Booksellers Association."

Owned by Sara Hines, Mary Fran Buckley and Eileen Miskell, Eight Cousins had to close in January when severe water damage from an apartment above the store caused the ceiling to collapse. After major renovations, Eight Cousins reopened in April.

Dani McGrath, who nominated Eight Cousins for the award, wrote: "They have done such a great job since taking over from [former owner] Carol Chittenden and the store was doing so well, it seemed so unfair when I heard about their misfortune last January. But they dusted themselves off and started planning a new store right away, after accessing the damage and a whole lot of clean up. I believe all reps (and publishers) appreciated Sara's continual updates and appraisals of the situation so that we could all stop/reschedule orders, meetings, etc., and not add to their confusion!

"With great aplomb and grace, they and the staff have re-opened to a wonderful space again filled with books carefully ordered to suit their customers. SALUTE!"

As part of the award, BPRNE will give two nights of lodging at the NEIBA fall conference September 25-27 in Providence, R.I., and a free ticket to all NEIBA meals for "an exceptional bookseller of Eight Cousins' choosing who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the show."

B&N CEO Hunt: Update

Readers have continued to make nominations and vote on possible new Barnes & Noble CEOs with book world experience--and we now have a clear leader.

There's been a striking groundswell of support for Heidi Fairchild, a Barnes & Noble staffer for more than 15 years who works in the company's Alpharetta, Ga., store and is well known to B&N employees across the country through the company's Facebook page. She has more than 120 write-in votes, more than any other vote-getter in the poll.

(Our survey is open until later this week. If you haven't already, make nominations and vote here. See the results here.)

Many respondents simply wrote her name, often with an exclamation point following it. But many others offered lavish accolades. Among them:

"She is old blood that feels new. She already knows books and wouldn't require months of misguided decisions trickling down to the minions. She can fix the issues and get back to the heart of what it means to be Barnes & Noble."

Other supporters also emphasized the distance between B&N booksellers and the executive suite: "She knows bookselling from top to bottom.... We need a woman who knows sales and merchandising, knows the daily reality of how stores actually work and what corporate nonsense DOESN'T work. Barnes & Noble is people; Heidi knows this and lives this."

"It's time to have someone who actually knows what it's like to work in the store and not just think they do! Heidi Heidi Heidi!! Also everyone in corporate needs to work in one of our stores for about six months. You can't claim to know what's best for the stores when you've never actually dealt with trying to have cash wrap, customer service, music, kids, and the book floor covered with four people! And the phones ringing! And why in the world would you get rid of receiving managers??!! They keep the store together and product coming out!"

In a similar vein, another Fairchild fan wrote: "The booksellers know what needs to be done to save the company, and it certainly isn't slashing payroll and firing many of the most knowledgeable and dedicated employees to appease stockholders."

One supporter mentioned Fairchild's role on the B&N Facebook group, saying in part: "We, the booksellers, have had our collected concerns addressed quickly and sincerely, and--should the occasion call for it--greeted with just the right mixture of brevity and wit befitting a leader who knows when to take charge, but also when to have fun and enjoy the more humor-filled moments that make this one of the best occupations in the world, wherein we get to share the joy of Story and the personal touch that can only come from dedicated booksellers in their respective communities."

Another fan, who has known Fairchild "for over a decade," wrote: "Her knowledge of and experience with the Barnes & Noble retail operation are obvious. Less obvious perhaps, unless one has seen her home library, is her vast, eclectic consumption of writing across an incredible range of genres. 'Voracious reader' only begins to describe her. A lofty intellect is evident in her perceptive grasp of human nature and behavior, as manifest by her quick wit and interpersonal skills, all of which are essential in individual and team leadership. Her leadership skills, based on my 40 years' experience in military and corporate leadership development, are underutilized. The above practical characteristics, perhaps most importantly, are built upon a moral foundation of impeccable integrity and genuine caring for others. People respect, admire, and follow a leader of such caliber."

Other nominations tomorrow.


Image of the Day: Chicago Rep Picks

Javier Ramirez of the Book Table in Oak Park, Ill., hosted a Reps Pick night for Chicago area booksellers at a downtown bar. Books and beer flowed late into the evening as presentations were made by David Mallman (Norton), John Hastie (Penguin Random House), John Mesjak (Abraham Associates) and Craig Popelars (Algonquin). The surprise guest was poet Ross Gay, who introduced his forthcoming essay collection, The Book of Delights (Algonquin, Feb. 12, 2019).

Happy 40th Birthday, Fountain Bookstore!

Richmond magazine tells the story of Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Current owner Kelly Justice joined as manager in 2000, then bought the store eight years later--just as the Great Recession was starting. Of course, her first year was rocky ("I cried every day for the first three months"), but since then the store has grown, "embracing more online sales, adding book clubs for specific interests, implementing an audiobook service and expanding events at the store."

In addition, the store went from having four "very part-time" employees to seven, including Fountain's first full-time employee. Justice commented: "We call it the Fountain family, and you can see the extended Fountain family--all the people who come through here and everybody who comes to an event, you're now part of the Fountain family, like it or not."

Justice aims to continue taking care of the Fountain family. "When a business has been around this long, when you're in my position, it's more of a lighthouse keeper kind of thing," she told the magazine. "You're the one who carries the torch and makes sure that the bills get paid, hopefully on time."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Kate Bouchard has joined Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing as digital & social marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

TV: Shark Dialogues

ABC is teaming with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon's JuVee Productions to develop an hour-long drama series titled 'Ohana, based on Kiana Davenport's 1994 novel Shark Dialogues, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Former Time staff writer and foreign correspondent Lisa Takeuchi Cullen will write the adaptation.

"So many Hawaii-set stories have been told from the white point of view," said Cullen. "This is a story we're passionate about telling from the point of view of native Hawaiians--Pacific Islanders, people of Asian descent and people of hapa heritage."

In a joint statement, Tennon and Davis said: " 'Ohana is Hawaiian for 'family,' and that is a big part of who we are and what we want JuVee to support: embracing cultures and points of view from all over the world and showing that we all can relate and connect to each other."

THR noted that "the deal comes as Crazy Rich Asians' $35 million five-day opening has provided the comp needed to prove the marketability of Asian-American stories. Cullen says she referenced the Warner Bros. film in her pitch, and it was sold the day Crazy Rich Asians opened."

"The landscape has shifted dramatically in the last 12 months, and maybe in the last week," she said. "I would be very open to [the protagonist] being cast with an Asian-American actor, because I think Crazy Rich Asians is going to be the biggest movie this year, and there's going to be a huge demand."

Andrew Wang, head of TV for JuVee, which has an overall deal with ABC Studios, added: "At JuVee, we're passionate about compelling stories with diverse perspectives, told by diverse voices like Kiana and Lisa, so this project is a perfect fit."

Media Heat: Heidi Grant on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Heidi Grant, author of Reinforcements: How to Get People to Help You (Harvard Business Review Press, $28, 9781633692350).

CNN Tonight: Rick Wilson, author of Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever (Free Press, $27, 9781982103125). He will also appear on MSNBC's Deadline.

The View repeat: Newt Gingrich, author of Trump's America: The Truth about Our Nation's Great Comeback (Center Street, $27, 9781546077060).

Wendy Williams repeat: Mona Scott-Young, co-author of Blurred Lines (Zola Books, $14.95, 9781939126290).

The Talk repeat: Katie Nicholl, author of Harry: Life, Loss, and Love (Hachette Books, $27, 9781602865266).

Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin Winner

Michelle de Kretser has won the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Life to Come, which the judges called "a powerful novel that effortlessly blends sharp satire of the literary world with deeply compassionate portraits of lonely people and their strategies for survival." The book was published in the U.S. in March by Catapult.

De Kretser receives A$60,000 (about US$43,960). She also won the award--Australia's most prestigious literary honor--in 2013 for Questions of Travel

Book Review

Review: Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution

Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution by Ben Fountain (Ecco, $27.99 hardcover, 448p., 9780062688842, September 25, 2018)

A former attorney and author of the novel Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ben Fountain dissects the 2016 United States presidential campaign in a series of passionate essays. Coupling historical context with current events, Fountain argues that the country is facing a deep existential crisis. He believes that only twice before in U.S. history--the Civil War and the Great Depression--has a crisis of this level occurred. And each time, "the United States has had to reinvent itself to survive as a plausibly genuine constitutional democracy. In each case, the reinvention [Emancipation and the New Deal, respectively] was compelled by the profoundest sort of crisis, and each case may be framed as a turning point in the long elaboration of certain words the country has looked to time and again to define itself.... '[A]ll men are created equal.' " The modern gross disparities in wealth and opportunity--what Franklin Roosevelt termed "economic tyranny"--mirror the glaring inequality of the nation's earlier pivotal events. And, coincidentally, they are spaced nearly identically on the timeline of U.S. history: roughly 80 years apart.
Fountain guides his readers chronologically from January through December, from the Iowa Caucuses through the weeks following the election. He attends rallies, the NRA convention, the parties' national conventions, taking a front-row seat to the events that define that extraordinary year. Along the tumultuous journey he delves into pertinent chapters of American history such as the Southern strategy, the Vietnam War, the Occupy movement and their relationship to the state of affairs in 2016. He calls out hypocrisy and baseless claims, drawing intelligent, well-researched and logical parallels, such as the story of Wilbert Lee O'Daniel, a Depression-era salesmen who ran for governor of Texas and made use of a radio show the way some politicians use Twitter today.
Fountain also has discerning observations: "Thoughts, prayers, hope, healing, this is the theater of atrocity aftermath that plays out with numbing regularity in America, a chloroforming of the soul that is its own horror show." And the conclusions he shares are blunt, scathing and often pricelessly funny: "[Trump] is the bog monster of the American id, rising out of the masturbatory muck of military fantasies in which the manly man slays his enemies and laughs at the lamentations of their women."
His words are emotional and powerful. While Donald Trump and those who enable him are primary targets, no one escapes his criticism, including much of the American electorate. Beautiful Country Burn Again has the potential to arm the body politic with their greatest weapon--knowledge. And if Fountain's theory is correct, they'll definitely need it. During the Civil War and the Great Depression, "[t]he beautiful country was burning: literally in the first instance, thankfully less so in the second. One wonders what manner of burning awaits us in the time of Trump." --Jen Forbus, freelancer
Shelf Talker: A novelist takes up the role of journalist covering the 2016 U.S. presidential election and finds that the country is at a monumental turning point, one powerful enough to ignite and burn American democracy.

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