Also published on this date: Wednesday, October 24, 2018: Maximum Shelf: Bowlaway

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Yearling Books: Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Delacorte Press: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Little Simon: Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! (Mia Mayhem #1) by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez

News

D.C.'s Upshur Street Books Adding Pop-Up in Silver Spring, Md.

Upshur Street Books in Washington, D.C., is expanding to Silver Spring, Md., with a pop-up store. The Washington Business Journal reported that owner Paul Ruppert is partnering with former Politics and Prose staff member Hannah Oliver Depp to open Loyalty Bookstore, a 1,900-square-foot shop at 931 Ellsworth Drive in downtown Silver Spring.

Plans call for Loyalty Bookstore to debut with limited hours November 1, and host a grand opening November 10. The bookshop "will stay open until the first week of January, though Oliver Depp and Ruppert are looking for a way to find a permanent home in Silver Spring," the Business Journal noted.  

Hannah Oliver Depp

"We're definitely interested in this community long term," said Oliver Depp. "We're very excited to be here for the holidays to meet people and find out what they want to see in their community."

Loyalty Bookstore's name comes from Oliver Depp's belief that there has to be a sense of loyalty between her business and the community it serves: "The margins that independent bookstores get makes them not competitive with Amazon. We buy in smaller quantities, and we're not able to offer as deep of a discount. So you buy at the local bookstore to invest in your community, so that taxes stay in your community, and also because you want somewhere special to go."

In addition to a wide range of children's books, the bookshop's focus will be on stocking titles "to highlight diverse literature, authors who are international, a variety of differently-abled, queer and people of color. All those voices, getting them out there front and center fits the downtown Silver Spring community."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite


Indigo Opens New Flagship Store in Vancouver

"After a more than three year hiatus, downtown Vancouver has regained its mega bookstore hotspot," according to Urbanized, which reported that last weekend, Indigo had a soft opening for its new flagship bookstore at 1033 Robson Street.

The business is located in a two-story, 29,000-square-foot retail building that was constructed for Forever 21 in 2012, and "introduces Indigo's new full concept to the Metro Vancouver market, with a sleek, contemporary interior design that reflects its home on the West Coast, such as giant murals of BC's lush forests within the store's escalator atrium."

Indigo closed its 50,000-square-foot flagship Chapters store in downtown Vancouver in 2015 because of a "very significant" rent increase. A small Indigo Spirit bookstore, which opened on Granville Street near Robson Street in 2016, "is expected to close soon after serving as Indigo's temporary bookstore for the downtown Vancouver market," Urbanized wrote.


Korero Press: The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia's Hidden Tiki Temples by Kelly Reilly and Tom Morgan


Great American Read Winner is To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird was chosen by bookish voters as America’s #1 best-loved novel in The Great American Read. The polling results were unveiled last night on PBS during the final episode of the eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign, which explored the power of books and the joy of reading through the lens of America’s 100 best-loved novels, as voted on by the public.

To Kill a Mockingbird led The Great American Read voting from the first week, and maintained its advantage over the months of voting, despite strong competition from the five finalists. Lee's novel also topped the list of votes in every state except North Carolina (which preferred Outlander) and Wyoming (Lord of The Rings). More than 4 million votes were cast. The top 15 titles were:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Outlander (series) by Diana Gabaldon
  3. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  7. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  9. Chronicles of Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis
  10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  11. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  13. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  14. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  15. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Soho Teen: The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason - Request It!


B&N Special Committee Hires Financial and Legal Advisors

The Barnes & Noble board's special committee that is evaluating "strategic alternatives" for the company has selected Evercore, the international investment banking advisory firm, as its financial advisor and Baker Botts LLP as its legal advisor.

The special committee was created on October 3 after B&N announced there had been expressions of interest in buying the company from several parties, including chairman Len Riggio. Riggio has said he will abide by the findings of the special committee.

In 2013, when Riggio proposed taking most of the company private, a strategic committee of independent directors also hired Evercore as its financial advisor but hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, B&N's main law firm, as its legal advisor.

The current special committee has one member from the 2013 committee: Patricia Higgins, who is B&N's "lead independent director." She has headed or held senior executive positions at several tech companies and is a director at several other companies.


Quirk Books: William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Mean Girls by Ian Doescher


BA Launches 'Children's Book of the Month' Campaign

The Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland is launching an Independent Booksellers' Children's Book of the Month program, expanding on the success of the organization's Independent Booksellers' Children's Book of the Season campaign. Children's Book of the Month "will showcase independent bookshops' power and unique expertise to drive sales of children's books," the BA noted.

Set to begin in January, the Children's Book of the Month will be chosen by a panel of independent booksellers from a range of new children's titles submitted by publishers for readers up to 11 years old. Picture books, middle-grade fiction, nonfiction and poetry are eligible, with the genre varying from month to month. The project will give one new children's book the opportunity for focused promotion in indie bookshops across the country each month.

"We launched the Children’s Book of the Season in Autumn 2017, and it's proved so popular that we're delighted to now be relaunching it as a monthly campaign," Emma Bradshaw, head of campaigns at the BA, told the Bookseller. "The Children's Book of the Month creates a unique platform to celebrate children's writers and illustrators. It also demonstrates the enormous impact that independent booksellers can make by working together to build readerships for the books they love."


Obituary Note: Evelyn Anthony

British author Evelyn Anthony, "who transitioned from historical fiction to espionage thrillers, becoming one of the first female writers to explore the spy genre," died September 25, the New York Times reported. She was 92. Evelyn Ward Thomas, who adopted the pseudonym Evelyn Anthony as her writing career began in the early 1950s, wrote a trilogy about Catherine the Great--beginning with Rebel Princess (1953)--and books about Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert; Queen Elizabeth I; and Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII.

In the late 1960s, Anthony switched to writing stories about Cold War espionage, a field dominated by male authors. "What made me change from historical novels was getting to know people who had been in the Special Operations Executive and MI5 during the war," she said in an interview in 1991 with the Observer. "Listening to them talk fired my imagination and gave me ideas for several plots."

Her son, Christian Ward Thomas, said she had also wanted "her stories to be more contemporary and appeal to a wider audience."

Publishing titles like The Legend (1968) and The Assassin (1970) led Anthony to join "a small group of women, including Helen MacInnes and Ann Bridge, who wrote spy thrillers," the Times noted. Her novel The Tamarind Seed (1971) was adapted into the 1974 film, directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews and Omar Sharif.

Author Gayle Lynds (The Assassins), who began writing espionage fiction in the mid-1990s, told the Times that she admired Anthony's willingness to write about Cold War treachery and geopolitics with female protagonists: "Because of Ms. Anthony and a few others of her generation, we modern spy writers have a rich heritage to draw on and evidence that it can be done by women and done well."


Notes

Image of the Day: Jonathan Lethem at SCIBA

"I'm very sentimental anytime I'm in a room like this because I was a bookseller for a long time," said author Jonathan Lethem, discussing his upcoming book The Feral Detective (Ecco) at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association annual trade show on Sunday. Lethem explained that he had worked at several stores in the Bay Area over the years, selling new, used and remaindered books. "So before I ever published a book I had a very clear sense of all the different fates that the objects could cycle through in the world. And actually I didn't see one as better or worse than the other. I liked the idea of my books moving through these life cycles and ending up on the used-book shelves."


Happy 25th Birthday, Bridgton Books!

Congratulations to Bridgton Books, Bridgton, Maine, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last Sunday with raffles, sales and live music. The independent bookseller, which was established in 1993 by Justin and Pam Ward, features both new and used books.

A day after the festivities, the bookshop posted on Facebook: "Thanks to all our friends and customers who participated in Bridgton Books 25th anniversary celebration yesterday. We had a wonderful day with great music performed by many of our long time customers including 'The Yukes,' seen here. We appreciate all the support we have been given from our community, and hope to go another 25 years!"


Personnel Changes at Hachette; Sourcebooks; Hay House

Adam Guerriero has joined Hachette Book Group as v-p, pricing. He was most recently director of pricing analytics at Macy's and before that was national pricing manager at Toys R Us. He earlier worked at Mastercard and Nestlé Waters in market development and global planning and analysis.

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Stephanie Levasseur has joined Sourcebooks as sales account manager. She most recently was sales account representative at ReaderLink.

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Jessica Dartnell has joined Holiday House as a sales coordinator. She was previously client relations assistant at Ingram Content Group.


Media and Movies

Movies: How to Build a Girl

Emma Thompson will star in How to Build a Girl, based on Caitlin Moran's novel, the Hollywood Reporter wrote, adding that Chris O'Dowd (Juliet, Naked) has also joined the cast that includes Beanie Feldstein (Lady Bird), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Paddy Considine (The Death of Stalin) and Sarah Solemani (Bridget Jones' Baby).

The film comes from U.K. producer Monumental Pictures, which optioned Moran's 2014 book and developed the project with Film4. Coky Giedroyc (The Killing, The Hour) directs from Moran's screenplay.

"We had fantasized about Emma Thompson playing the editor since we first spoke with Caitlin about this project--I think Caitlin might have cut the scene if Emma hadn't agreed!" said Alison Owen of Monumental Pictures. "Thank goodness we struck lucky. We feel blessed."



Books & Authors

Awards: Willie Morris Southern Fiction; Saltire Literary

Bren McClain has won the $10,000 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction for her debut novel, One Good Mama Bone (Story River Books). At the ceremony on Monday night, Ann Kidd Taylor also received "special recognition" for her novel The Shark Club (Viking).

The prize recognizes "a writer whose work is set in the South, exemplifies the tenets of Southern literature--quality of prose, originality, and authenticity of setting and characters--and reflects, in the words of Willie Morris, 'hope for belonging, for belief in a people's better nature, for steadfastness against all that is hollow or crass or rootless or destructive.' "

Next year prize organizers are adding the $2,500 Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry, which will honor "an original, unpublished poem that exudes the American South in spirit, history, landscape, or experience."

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Shortlists in six book and two publishing categories have been announced for the 2018 Saltire Literary Awards, which are given to "books by living authors of Scottish descent or residing in Scotland or the book subject must be the work or life of a Scot or with a Scottish question, event or situation." The winning title from each of the book categories receives a cash prize of £2,000 (about $2,600) and goes on to be considered for the top prize of £6,000 (about $7,750), awarded to the Saltire Society Book of the Year. The winners of all the awards will be announced November 30 in Edinburgh.


Reading with... Terry Brooks

photo: Michael Clinard
Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than 30 books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Street Freaks (Grim Oak Press, October 2, 2018) is a futuristic thriller and his first foray into science fiction.
 
On your nightstand now:
 
The River Bank (sequel to The Wind in the Willows) by Kij Johnson. Also The Unwanted Queen (ARC) by Jenna Glass. Dozens more await their turn.
 
Favorite book when you were a child:
 
The Black Stallion series.
 
Your top five authors:
 
OMG, you're limiting me to five? Okay, I'll just choose a variety of ones that come to mind. I'm not really big on favorites. John Connolly, Philip Pullman, Naomi Novik, Amor Towles and Ben Fountain. I'll have new ones by tomorrow.
 
Book you've faked reading:
 
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. But there are many more. Required reading in high school English in the 1960s. Yuck.
 
Book you're an evangelist for:
 
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain.
 
Book you've bought for the cover:
 
Never done that, although the fantasy writers pretty much win this category hands down if we're talking memorable covers.
 
Book you hid from your parents:
 
Never done that, either. But they hid a few from me when I was young. Mandingo and The Naked and the Dead come to mind.
 
Book that changed your life:
 
Hmmmm. The Lord of the Rings, maybe? Ya think?
 
Favorite line from a book:
 
"If it hadn't been for the Volkswagen that didn't work, we never would have looked for the mechanic who became the husband who became the stepfather who became the man who tortured us for years and put a bullet in the back of my mother's head--I'll take the new car with the warranty every time." --Trevor Noah in Born a Crime.
 
Five books you'll never part with:
 
I'm never parting with any of my books. I want to be buried with them. Or cremated in a Viking ship sent off to sea at sunset.
 
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
 
Whoa! Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Am I allowed a second choice? His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman.
 
Why you write fantasy:
 
Mostly because I grew up and never got over the shock.

Book Review

Children's Review: Love Like Sky

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 8-12, 9781368016506, November 6, 2018)

Georgiana "G-baby" Matthews has what seems like the weight of the world on her 11-year-old shoulders. Her mother's recent remarriage has meant a summer move to the suburbs and away from Atlanta and her best friend, Nikki; come fall, G-baby will have to go to a new school. The move also means a new stepsister for G-baby: Tangie, an ornery teen whose younger sister died in a car crash and who can't be bothered with her new stepfamily. It's while G-baby and her six-year-old sister, Peaches, are back in Atlanta visiting their dad and new stepmom, Millicent, that the freshly formed family threatens to unravel.
 
While G-baby is off with Nikki, having snuck out of Daddy and Millicent's house in the night, Peaches becomes sick enough to require hospitalization; she's ultimately given a bacterial meningitis diagnosis. G-baby laments that she wasn't there for her sister, who she knew had been feeling ill. And G-baby knows that things don't always end well for young children: "It was possible that little sisters go away and never come back," she reflects. "It happened to Tangie's li'l sister."
 
Blended family stories and sick sibling sagas are nothing new in middle-grade fiction, but with her debut novel, Leslie C. Youngblood makes this turf her own. Love Like Sky references Charlie Brown, the Kardashians and other pop culture touchstones familiar to most middle schoolers, but the book also name checks Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown--names that a black "almost-teenager" like G-baby would surely know. There's a current of racial awareness running through Love Like Sky that's presented as part of the fabric of a black family's life, as when a sheepish Millicent explains her kitchen's cartoon decor to G-baby: "When I found out that the character of Betty Boop was stolen from a black woman, Esther Jones, I went a little overboard." This thread helps prime readers for G-baby's agonizing decision: whether to snitch on Tangie, who plans to defy her father and attend a Black Lives Matter-like protest.
 
G-baby’s narration winningly shows off her powers of perception ("I could tell a fake smile from a real one. Mama and Daddy's separation made me an expert, especially when we'd have family dinner and they'd wear their mannequin smiles") while also leaning on a few clichés: knees shake, lips are bitten, eyes are rolled. These edges are softened by Love Like Sky's abiding warmth, captured in its title--a reference to the sky-high love that G-baby knows her mother and father feel for her. By book's end, she understands that they're hardly the only ones. --Nell Beram, freelance writer and YA author
 
Shelf Talker: Leslie C. Youngblood's debut middle grade novel revolves around black "almost-teenager" G-baby and her newly blended family, which faces typical middle-class problems--and then some.

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