Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 22, 2018

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Quotation of the Day

Bookstores: 'One of the Most Important Elements of High Street'

"Bookstores are one of the most important elements of any high street--we give advice, we give directions, we act as tour guides and we host events and help keep local communities alive. We also try to sell them books."

--John Keane, chair of Bookselling Ireland, in a column in the Irish Times about the inaugural Irish Book Week

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona


Bookselling Without Borders Closes in on Kickstarter Goal

With three days to go, the Bookselling Without Borders Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to support an expansion of its program next year is less than $400 shy of its goal. Among the many striking, book-oriented rewards remaining:

Copies of the The Chicago Manual of Style for donations of $35 (a $70 value).

Seven books on mindfulness from Shambhala, including The Pocket Dalai Lama, for donations of $40.

The chance to have a discussion with Amy Tan's agent, at Warwick's in La Jolla, Calif., for a donation of $295.

Two $100 gift certificates for donations of $60.

Private, behind-the-scenes tours of the Albers Foundation and the Boston Athenaeum as well as tours of Harlem and Brooklyn by authors of guide books on those areas.

A custom work of art by National Lampoon and New Yorker artist Rick Meyerowtiz.

The Kickstarter campaign aims to help fund 16 fellowships to four international fairs next year and, for the first time, two bookstore residencies, in Italy and India.

BookNet Canada: SF & Fantasy Most Popular Audiobooks Genre

A new study from BookNet Canada has found that science fiction and fantasy are the most popular type of audiobooks, with 41% of Canadian listeners having listened to titles in that genre. Close behind SF and fantasy is mystery, with 38% of audiobook buyers having listened to one, while thrillers, romance and memoirs trail at 32%, 29% and 28% respectively.

More than half of audiobook listeners (55%) consume between one and five titles per year, up from 46% in 2016. Nearly half of listeners, meanwhile, usually acquire their audiobooks by purchasing from a retailer. Some 36% download or stream audiobooks from the Internet or an online app, and 32% go through public libraries via OverDrive or Hoopla. And a quarter of respondents said they use subscription/rental services like Audible, or Kobo.

More information, including detailed demographic breakdowns, can be found here.

Amazon Updates Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon has introduced an updated version of its Kindle Paperwhite that features "a thinner and lighter design, sleek flush-front display, and waterproofing," along with more storage and with Audible installed, according to the company. The new Kindle Paperwhite is available for pre-order at $129.99 for the 8 GB model and $159.99 for the 32 GB model. Both will start shipping November 7.

Obituary Note: Anthea Bell

Anthea Bell, who translated many books from German, French and other languages into English, died last Thursday, the New York Times reported. She was 82.

The works that Bell translated ranged from books by Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka, W.G. Sebald and Cornelia Funke to the Asterix comics and entries for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

She became a translator by "complete accident," the Times quoted her saying. Her husband, publisher Antony Kamm, was asked if he knew anyone who could translate a German children's book, Otfried Preussler's The Little Water Sprite, and recommended his wife. "I did it with my first baby in a carry-cot at my side," Bell said.

Bell wrote two historical novels--A London Season and The Floral Companion--which she regarded as "fripperies" even though her publisher wanted a series. Bell said she was too busy translating to write books. And besides, she added, "Authors can get author's block, but I've never heard of translator's block. Something's got to go down on the paper in the end."


Image of the Day: March for Our Lives in Vermont

Phoenix Books--with stores in Essex, Burlington, Rutland and Misty Valley, Vt.--hosted March for Our Lives founders Emma González, David Hogg and Alex Wind at the First Unitarian Universalist Society Church in Burlington, Vt., for their Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement (Razorbill) book tour. The event was sold out, with approximately 500 people in attendance. All of the authors' proceeds, and a large percentage of Penguin Random House profits, will benefit the March for Our Lives Fund and the fight for gun violence prevention in the United States. Phoenix Books will also donate a portion of book proceeds to the fund. Pictured: David Hogg, Alex Wind and Emma Gonzalez flanked by Essex Books owners Mike DeSanto and Renee Reiner.

Happy 45th Birthday, Island Books!

Congratulations to Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash., which is celebrating its 45th anniversary on Saturday, November 3, from 4-6 p.m. The event will include champagne and cake. Customers are encouraged to bring photos of themselves taken in the 1970s to share on the store's board and to share stories about Island Books in its memory book.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Grisham on CBS This Morning

Steve Harvey: Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott, authors of Builder Brothers: Big Plans (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062846624).

The View: Anthony Scaramucci, author of Trump, the Blue-Collar President (Center Street, $27, 9781546075929).

CBS This Morning: John Grisham, author of The Reckoning (Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385544153).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Rosanna Pansino, author of Baking All Year Round: Holidays & Special Occasions (Atria, $29.99, 9781501179822).

MSNBC's Craig Melvin: Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501181795).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kobe Bryant, author of The Mamba Mentality: How I Play (MCD, $35, 9780374201234).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me (Touchstone, $26, 9781501193255).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People: Stories (Atria/37INK, $23, 9781501167997).

Movies: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

"In the nearly 50 years since she wrote her groundbreaking 1970 novel Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume has turned down overtures to turn her seminal novel into a film," Deadline noted. But now the bestselling author has said yes. Producer James L. Brooks's Gracie Films and Kelly Fremon Craig, who collaborated on The Edge of Seventeen, have been granted rights to the book.

"It is this right of passage for women and girls," said Fremon Craig, who is adapting and directing Blume's novel. "It's rare for me to run into a woman or girl who hasn't read it, and every time I've mentioned it to a woman, they clutch their heart and let out this joyful gasp. There's something so timely and full of truth and I remember for me that at that age, it felt like a life raft at a time when you're lost and searching and unsure. This book comes along and tells you you're not alone. Women remember where they were when they read it. I can't think of another book you can say that about."

Brooks and Fremon Craig flew to meet with Blume in Key West, Fla., where she operates Books and Books @ the Studios with her husband, George.

"I've never quite had an experience like this one," Brooks said. "From the moment Kelly called me, to the completion of this [rights deal], it all happened so quickly. We went to Key West, and talked with Judy. It was like a working conversation and we lost ourselves in the work. We got up to go, with this uncertainty of everything happening so fast after we'd just shared each other's thoughts, and her husband George said, 'So we're doing this!' And then we were all hugging. Judy this week came out to Hollywood, and it takes a little bit of adjustment because she's this national treasure whose work is so important to people who've read it. But she makes it so easy and gets you past that."

Brooks added that the movie "definitely won't feel like a period piece. People have read at various stages and it felt present and immediate. My granddaughter just read it, that's how all this started, and it was just the other day. To me, Kelly is perfect casting here to turn this into a terrific screenplay. She wrote one draft of Edge of Seventeen and then went off and did another that was amazing, and the movie became its own beast from that moment on. It makes me think this will all continue to happen quickly."

Fremon Craig noted that she received "the greatest e-mail from Judy where she said if someone were to make a film of one of her books, she hoped it would have the same tone and feeling that The Edge of Seventeen had. It's maybe the greatest compliment I've ever gotten, because she has always been a North star for me as a writer."

Books & Authors

Awards: T.S. Eliot Shortlist

The shortlist for the T.S. Eliot Prize, honoring "the best new poetry collection published in the U.K. or Ireland," consists of:

Insistence by Ailbhe Darcy
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins by Terrance Hayes
Us by Zaffar Kunial
Feel Free by Nick Laird
The Distal Point by Fiona Moore
Europa by Sean O'Brien
Shrines of Upper Austria by Phoebe Power
Soho by Richard Scott
Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan

The winner will be announced January 14.

Book Review

Review: Seventeen

Seventeen by Hideo Yokoyama, trans. by Louise Heal Kawai (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 hardcover, 368p., 9780374261245, November 13, 2018)

Hideo Yokoyama's Seventeen is an investigative thriller that focuses on the real-life tragedy of Japan Airlines Flight 123, a 1985 crash that left 520 dead. This follow-up to his novel Six Four draws heavily on the author's experience as a reporter at a local newspaper in Gunma Prefecture after the passenger plane crashed into a nearby mountain range. His novel follows fictional protagonist Kazumasa Yuuki, an experienced reporter at the North Kanto Times in Gunma. Yuuki's career has been stalled for years after a tragic incident with a coworker, but he finds his status elevated once he's assigned to be desk chief for the JAL crash.
The novel alternates between the frenzy of the 1985 newsroom and 2003, when Yuuki attempts to fulfill a promise made in those hectic days by climbing the famously dangerous Tsuitate rock face on Mount Tanigawa. Nicknamed "Devil's Mountain," Tanigawa claimed 779 lives prior to Yuuki's attempt, and he is understandably nervous. These sections of the novel frequently reference the phenomenon known as "climber's high," when "the body gets overstimulated, reaches a level of extreme excitement. The fear makes them numb.... They climb in a mad frenzy and, before they know it, they're at the peak." This high--which promotes recklessness and is usually followed by a crash--serves as a link between the climbing sections and the events of 17 years prior, when Yuuki was forced to make a number of high-pressure decisions in a short amount of time.
After the jet crashes, Yuuki moves quickly to coordinate his paper's coverage. Reporters sent to climb the mountain return shaken by the gruesome site strewn with body parts. Office politics become a major stumbling block in tackling the enormous tragedy, as Yuuki struggles with powerful personalities and factional divides that threaten to paralyze the newsroom. Perhaps Yuuki's greatest challenge in covering the disaster, however, is his strong sense of journalistic ethics, which often puts him at odds with employees of the newspaper operating under the sometimes perverse incentives of for-profit journalism. Seventeen's most gripping moments come with Yuuki on the verge of enormous scoops, struggling to authenticate information while the deadline comes nail-bitingly close.
Although Seventeen takes place in a distinct era of journalism, many of its concerns feel eternally relevant. The novel is full of difficult, even violent arguments. One of the reporters presses Yuuki, saying: "What I described--that's the true accident scene. The corpses, the entrails, shouldn't we write about everything?... If we don't paint a true picture of the full f**king misery, then what's the point?" Yuuki responds by saying: "Just remember this.... Those five hundred and twenty people didn't lose their lives for you to get off on it." Seventeen is a thoughtful take on the purposes good journalism should serve, as well as a meditation on how brief moments in time can shape the rest of our lives. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Shelf Talker: Seventeen is a thriller that alternates between a reporter covering a Japanese plane disaster in 1985 and the same reporter's 2003 attempt to climb a famously dangerous mountain.

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