Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 29, 2018

Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern


Grand Opening for Indigo's First U.S. Store

Over the weekend, Indigo officially opened its 30,000-square-foot store at the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey, its first location in the U.S. The celebration featured arts and crafts, interactive activities, a photo booth, live music and more.

With discrete shops such as Books, IndigoKids, IndigoBaby, Wellness, Home, Joy of the Table, A Room of Her Own and IndigoPaper, the store is an example of the kind of cultural department stores Indigo is opening in Canada.

IndigoKids offers books, crafts, products, and services to enrich children's love of reading, healthy curiosity, learning, exploration and growth. The Wellness Shop has products for nourishment, sleep and mindful meditation, such as books, diffusers, meditation essentials and sleep aids. The store's CaféIndigo, which is not yet complete, will offer a locally sourced menu, including La Colombe beverages. There's even a grand piano in the center of the store.

Heather Reisman

Indigo founder Heather Reisman--who has the titles CEO and chief booklover--was on hand. In a statement, she said, "Indigo has always been a platform to add value and joy to our customers' lives, both through our product offerings and our unique experience. Our ambition is to enrich the lives of our customers each time they interact with us. We are excited to be testing our concept in one of the largest retail markets in the world and joining the Short Hills community."

Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

Theater Community Rallies to Help NYC's Drama Book Shop

Following Drama Book Shop's announcement last week that it will close when its lease ends in January, the New York City theater community is rallying to help the store financially and to find a new location. For one, supporters have started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $20,000 to help "find Drama Bookshop a new home." So far, it has raised more than $5,000.

And again Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton, is helping the store. Last week he called on his many Twitter followers to help the store by making purchases there and called on other playwrights and authors to go to the store and sign copies of their books to boost sales. (In February 2016, when the store was heavily damaged by flooding from a broken pipe upstairs, he led fundraising efforts for the store to make repairs and replenish stock. Early in his career, Miranda used the bookstore's basement theater space to pen and stage early performances of In the Heights, his breakout Broadway hit.)

On Thursday, Miranda stopped by the store "to sign materials related to In the Heights, Hamilton as well as his recently published book, Gmorning, Gnight!, all of which sold out at the store in about 30 minutes," according to Broadway News. Other playwrights, including In the Heights book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and Kristoffer Diaz, also signed their works at the store Thursday.

Hudes told Broadway News that the "bricks and mortar community cannot be replaced. It is the bedrock. Gathering spaces are how we build traditions, where we grow generations. Ask any young playwright or actor who's ever stepped foot in New York--was the Drama Book Shop a mecca for your path of learning, a sanctuary for your heart?

"These play scripts are not found on the shelves of major retailers. The Drama Book Shop is a treasure chest containing rare finds. It is part of what makes New York so special."

BINC - Double Your Impact

Ithaca's Buffalo Street Books: Hopeful, but Still Struggling

One year after an emergency meeting of the owners and board of directors led to a decision to keep financially challenged Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, N.Y., open, "the bookstore's sales have increased and they've had successful events, but they are still struggling," the Ithaca Voice reported.

"I'm both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. It's hopeful and discouraging," said board president Rob Vanderlan, adding that the optimism comes from the bookstore making smart decisions over the past year, having a great manager, a great staff, growing sales and a sound relationship with publishers so it can order books. The pessimism, however, derives from the fact that it continues to lose money overall. "Though sales grow, we're not breaking even. We're not close to breaking even."

Vanderlan said the store has three main options: close the reading room; control expenses, including payroll; and do consistent fundraising. It has opted to close the reading room and consolidate, which will ultimately save about $15,000 per year, the Voice noted.

"This has been the reality the store has lived with and probably not faced up to since it became a co-op seven years ago," Vanderlan said. "For the foreseeable future, if there's going to be an independent bookstore in Ithaca... it's going to have to be subsidized. And that subsidy is going to come in the form of owner contributions." In addition to a sustaining owner program, which has raised about $10,000 thus far, the bookstore also hosted a gala during the summer to kick off its Ithaca Is Books campaign.

"Ithaca's such a great reading and writing community and there are so many authors and we do so many events with them where they're able to share their work with friends and family and neighbors in the community. It would just be a devastating loss if that wasn't possible," Vanderlan said, adding that he is confident the store will remain open because so many people have worked so hard to make it successful.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

New Zealand Bookshop Day: 'Love Your Brain. Read Books'

New Zealand Bookshop Day was celebrated Saturday by more than 60 Kiwi indie bookstores. In addition to hosting in-store events, booksellers promoted this year's theme, "Bestsellers of the Decade." The public is now voting on 20 bookseller-selected titles to choose their Bestseller of the Decade. #NZBookshopDay posters declared "Love Books, Shop Local" and "He Whakatā He Pukapuka--A rest means a book," as well as "It's not hoarding if it's books" and "Love your brain. Read books."

Mary Wadsworth from the Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop in Auckland said: "We're hoping that our customers will get the message that they're doing something incredibly positive by shopping locally and also how important it is to support New Zealand writers and illustrators. We think the Top 20 Bestseller of the Decade competition will really help remind people about that."

Here are a few highlights from #NZBookshopDay:

Paradox Books, Auckland: "Paradox Books is celebrating NZBooksellers Day today and every day."

Time Out Bookstore, Auckland: "We've had a very busy and exciting #nzbookshopday filled with spooky cookies, chilling costumes, villainous doggies and scarily cool give-aways. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us..."

McLeods Booksellers, Rotorua: "Happy chaos in the shop this morning, even a queue waiting outside door before 9 a.m. in great anticipation of our annual treasure hunt for @nzbookshopday!! Some very happy book lovers! Thanks for your continued support."

The Twizel Bookshop, Twizel: "We love any excuse to party--and you know what they say, ain't no party like a bookshop party, cos a bookshop party is lit(erature). But seriously, wherever you are in NZ, head down to your local indy bookshop to help them celebrate."

Unity Books, Wellington: "Wellington, you love a mystery! You completely cleared out our Blind date NZ Bookshop Day books by halfway through the day yesterday! Thanks for being so keen and for trusting your booksellers with your hard earned reading time, it means a lot :)"

Wardini Books (multiple locations): "Happy National Bookshop Day! Thank you SO much for your support and to all of you who have submitted your brain. We are awed, ecstatic, thrilled and very moved by the buy in you guys give to our crazy ideas. These are the Havelock North brains because that's where I am right now--we'll post the Napier brains soon." And: "Thank you people of Napier for your National Bookshop Day brains!"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Orwellian News: Foundation Launches New Fiction Prize

The Orwell Foundation, which has awarded the Orwell Book Prize for fiction and nonfiction, is reorganizing its book prizes. The Orwell Book Prize will be renamed the Orwell Prize for Political Writing and will be given to nonfiction only. At the same time, the Foundation is launching the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, which will honor "outstanding novels and collections of short stories first published in the U.K. that illuminate major social and political themes, present or past, through the art of narrative."

The first Orwell Prize for Political Fiction will be given in June, when all the Orwell prizes are awarded. The prize will be sponsored by George Orwell estate's literary agency, A.M. Heath, and George Orwell's son, Richard Blair. The Orwell Foundation, which is located at University College London's Institute of Advanced Studies, will work closely with the Department of English Language and Literature at UCL, which will also nominate one of the prize's four judges.

Jean Seaton, director of the Orwell Foundation, commented: "Orwell's fables and fictions still offer disturbing insights into modern life. So it is thrilling to be able to launch a new Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. We are in debt to the vision and generosity of Orwell's son Richard Blair and his agent A.M. Heath for sponsoring this new prize. Right now we need all the truth-telling in as many forms as we can get."

Obituary Note: Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange

Playwright, poet and author Ntozake Shange, "whose most acclaimed theater piece is the 1975 Tony Award-nominated play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf," died October 27, the Associated Press reported. She was 70. Shange's play "has been influential to generations of progressive thinkers, from #MeToo architect Tarana Burke to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. After learning of Shange's death, Nottage called her 'our warrior poet/dramatist.' "

Her sister Ifa Bayeza, who also is a playwright and theater artist, told the Star Tribune: "Zake was a woman of extravagance and flourish, and she left quickly without suffering. It's a huge loss for the world. I don't think there's a day on the planet when there's not a young woman who discovers herself through the words of my sister."

In addition to 15 plays, Shange published 19 poetry collections, six novels, five children's books and three collections of essays. Her books include Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poems (2017); lost in language & sound: or how i found my way to the arts:essays (2011); Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo (1982); Some Sing, Some Cry (with Ifa Bayeza); I Live in Music (1994); and The Sweet Breath of Life: A Poetic Narrative of the African-American Family (2004). Among her many writing honors are the 2017 Langston Hughes Medal for Literature and the 2018 Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Award.

In a tribute published by Essence, Regina R. Robertson wrote: "No matter the genre or the decade, Shange was focused on us. In her writing, she expressed what it means to be, how it feels to be, a Black woman in America. She spoke to us, she spoke for us, and by reading her words, we saw ourselves. She held up a mirror to our beauty and our flaws, as well as to our pain, struggles and strength. And she did so with skill, grace and a quiet power.... Ntozake Shange was a national treasure and we will always speak her name. We will continue to read and be inspired by her words as well. Simply-stated, we loved her--fiercely."


Kathleen Schmidt Launches Boutique Literary PR Firm

Kathleen Schmidt has launched her own PR firm, KMSPR, a boutique literary public relations firm catering to authors, publishers, and agents. Potential clients can reach her via e-mail. She was previously an agent at Empire Literary, and before that, spent more than 20 years in book publishing doing publicity and marketing.

Scary Book Video of the Day: You Can't Put It Down

"You'll never read a book the same way again," Penguin Random House ("Penguin Haunted House") vowed in showcasing its Halloween-themed horror movie trailer parody, You Can't Put It Down.

Personnel Changes at Penguin Young Readers

Tessa Meischeid has joined Penguin Young Readers as senior publicist. Previously, she was associate publicist at Abrams Children's Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Yotam Ottolenghi on Rachael Ray

NPR's All Things Considered: Peter Sagal, author of The Incomplete Book of Running (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451696240).

CBS This Morning: Stephen Moore and Arthur B. Laffer, authors of Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy (All Points Books, $28.99, 9781250193711).

New York Live: Martina McBride, author of Martina's Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life (Oxmoor House, $30, 9780848757632).

Rachael Ray Show: Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781607749165).

Access Hollywood Live: Rosanna Pansino, author of Baking All Year Round: Holidays & Special Occasions (Atria, $29.99, 9781501179822).

Books & Authors

Awards: SCIBA; CWA Daggers

The winners of the 2018 Southern California Independent Booksellers Association 2018 Book Awards are:

Adult Fiction: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
T. Jefferson Parker Mystery: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown
Adult Biography: Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Gregory Boyle
Adult Nonfiction: I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Glenn Goldman Award for Art, Architecture, and Photography: California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Marvin Rand by Pierluigi Serraino, Emily Bills and Sam Lubell
Picture Book: Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Middle Grade Fiction: Checked by Cynthia Kadohata
Young Adult Fiction: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


The Crime Writers Association announced winners in nine categories for the 2018 Dagger Awards in London last week at a gala dinner. Steve Cavanagh's The Liar won the Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year, and Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love won the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for best crime novel by a first-time author. As announced earlier this year, Michael Connelly won the Diamond Dagger, which recognizes "authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre." Check out the complete list of Dagger winners here.

Book Review

Review: Everything Under

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (Graywolf Press, $16 paperback, 272p., 9781555978266, October 23, 2018)

Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, Everything Under is a dreamy, twisty-turning tale set in modern Oxford but calling on mythology and upturning societal norms. Daisy Johnson's first novel (following the story collection Fen) requires its readers to wonder and follow along for a while before its connections begin to form, but the payoff for that patience is well rewarded.

"The places we are born come back." At the novel's opening, Gretel is a lexicographer who mostly keeps to herself, caught up in her mysterious past: "I'd always understood that the past did not die just because we wanted it to." She lives in a remote cottage with her mother, Sarah, whom she has recently found and brought home. Then time shifts, and for much of the book the reader sees Gretel's unusual childhood, and the long stretch of adulthood during which she searched for her missing mother.

Gretel grows up living with Sarah on a river, in a houseboat that never moves. They forage for food and remain apart from society: "River people aren't like other people. You won't see the police down here." They make up their own language, words that make sense only to them. It is a watery world of shifting gender identities and slippery, changing rules. Gretel is shaped by self-sufficiency, words, fluidity and a fear: something under the water called the Bonak. When she is 16, her mother disappears, leaving Gretel to take care of herself.

In the flashback chapters, an enigmatic third character appears. "What happened to Marcus?" Gretel asks her mother, in the later timeline when they live together again, the older woman having lost her memory and the words that mattered so much. But it takes many more pages to reveal who Marcus is.

Many chapters are named for settings: repeatedly, "The River," where Gretel grew up; "The Cottage," where she lives as an adult; and "The Hunt," when she was actively searching for Sarah. In those chapters on "The Hunt," Gretel explores the countryside near the river, visiting a couple who lost their teenaged daughter years ago. She meets a failed prophetess, collects a stray dog and excavates her memories. This action is every bit as wandering, confused, seeking and amnesiac as Gretel herself.

This is a complex plot with profound themes: a monster under the water, the shape of fear itself; the importance of language; the death grip of the past; fate versus free will; flexible gender identities; unanswered questions. Everything Under remakes the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus, with its prophecy that will be fulfilled, no matter how strangely it must twist. Johnson's singular, hallucinatory storytelling is well up to her book's ambitious form. The result is spellbinding. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This surreal, riverine, gender-bending retelling of Oedipus Rex will fascinate and fire the imagination.

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