Shelf Awareness for Friday, February 22, 2019

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Amulet Books: Batcat: Volume 1 by Meggie Ramm

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Quotation of the Day

'Everyone Wants Everyone Else to Succeed'

"The ABA is so great at creating an inclusive and supportive community for independent booksellers. Ideas and best practices are shared freely. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed. It was incredibly inspiring. I want to try and bring some of that feeling and support to Canadian independents. Penguin Random House Canada hosted a dinner the first night for all the Canadian attendees. It was wonderful to chat and make connections with fellow Canadian booksellers. Great food, great conversation, and a great start for something more for Canadians."

--Megan Byers, owner/manager of Livres Babar Books, Pointe-Claire, Que., in a BookNet Canada piece headlined "Highlights from the ABA Winter Institute"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


Cream & Amber Bookshop Opening in Hopkins, Minn.

Cream & Amber bookstore and tap house, which will sell new and used books as well as coffee, tea and local craft beer, is opening February 28 at 1605 Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins, Minn. Its mission is to "bring people together to read more books, drink good beer and share in community and conversation."

The business, co-founded by Katie Terhune and Kacey Hruby Wyttenhove, "will house a diverse selection of genres and authors designed to be a place for people to read and work over coffee and beer," Eater Twin Cities reported. In addition to "rotating brews from Fulton, Enki and Indeed, among others, the space will also offer caffeinated confections from St. Paul's Bootstrap Coffee Roasters and a tea section from Minneapolis' Bingley’s Teas. When hunger strikes, guests can satiate cravings with Cream & Amber's pannini, salads, and other light snack options."

"We have a love of reading, good beer and Minnesotan community," said Terhune. "We saw an opportunity to strengthen the Hopkins community, which lacked a bookstore, by creating a space where you can grab a book in one hand and a dark roast, or stout, in the other."

Wyttenhove added: "We look forward to meeting more of our neighbors and building relationships in the days and weeks to come."

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Tampa's Inkwood Books to Close

Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla., will close March 31 after more than 25 years in business. In an announcement of the impending closure posted on Facebook, owner Stefani Beddingfield and her staff wrote: "There's lots of reasons, but we're going to use the next month or so to post good memories and positive messages.... while we wait for Tom Hanks to come rescue us... just kidding.... Bringing a bottle of wine and funny cards aren't necessary but much appreciated! We have loved being your booksellers. Love, Stefani, Toni and Austin."

Beddingfield, who purchased the business in 2013 from co-founders Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner, told the Tampa Bay Times that when she moved the store to Tampa Heights in 2017, she had hoped the area's multiplying restaurants and other businesses would help give the bookstore momentum. Though author events drew crowds, daily foot traffic never developed. Recently, her landlord informed her another tenant had expressed interest in the property.

"I thought, you know, it might just be time," she said. "I hope someone else does it. I think the location could be great, but it's not there yet, and I just ran out of the finances to hang on.”

Citing competition from Amazon as another factor in her decision, Beddingfield said, "If you wonder what's happening to bookstores, ask yourself what the last 12 books you bought were, and where did you buy them."

Asked about her future plans, she said she isn’t sure yet, adding: "Maybe nothing for a while."

Julie Beddingfield, Stefani's sister, owns "sister store" Inkwood Books in Haddonfield, N.J., which opened in 2015.  

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

EyeSeeMe Bookstore in St. Louis Relocates, Expands

EyeSeeMe African American Children's Bookstore, St. Louis, Mo., has relocated to a larger space at 6951 Olive Blvd. in University City, just a mile from its previous location. When they made the announcement recently, co-owners Pamela and Jeffrey Blair recalled that when they opened EyeSeeMe more than three years ago, "we had no idea just how much love and support we would have received. We always talked about the importance of inclusion and diversity in children's books, but through the store we were able to take meaningful action and build lasting relationships across every demographic you can think of. It's been an amazing journey. So much so, as many of you already know, we have outgrown our current space."

The new building is not only more spacious, it will have "two classrooms and a multipurpose room that allows community members to connect with one another in the space," Ladue News reported.

"We primarily carry African-American books, but the same problem exists with other ethnicities," Pamela Blair said. "The new space will allow us to carry books for other ethnicities, including people of Hispanic, Native American and Asian ethnicities, as well." The store also stocks a few books for adults, due to high demand.

EyeSeeME has received an overwhelming response from parents and educators, the Blairs noted, adding that many teachers, in particular, wanted to introduce more diverse literature into the classroom but had no idea where to turn. "The store has opened a door to allow parents and teachers to see these books exist," Pamela Blair said. "Some people couldn't really see what was out there till it was all in one place."

The new location "allows the Blairs to create a space for meaningful relationships with members of the community centered on diversity and inclusion in children's literature and lives," Ladue News wrote, adding that the co-owners "say they're excited to continue to grow those relationships and that mission in the new space, and to see where their story takes them next."

Libros Para el Viaje Brings in Thousands of Books

Since it began at Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, N.Mex., a little less than a month ago, the Libros Para el Viaje (Books for the Journey) book drive has raised thousands of Spanish-language books for refugees from Central and South America, Bookselling This Week reported.

Denise Chávez with some of the Wi donations.

Denise Chávez, owner of Casa Camino Real Book Store and Art Gallery in Las Cruces, N.Mex., came up with the idea for the book drive, and told BTW that she estimates she may have collected 2,500 books or more already. Chávez is now distributing those books to individuals, parents, children and families in hospitality centers along the U.S.-Mexico border with the help of local volunteers.

"I have to say the books have been phenomenal," said Chávez. "They have continued to arrive. I would say the book drive is fully alive and well, if only because things are so bad here on the border. The refugees' status is very bleak. But what I want to say to the booksellers is, you have no idea what a book means to these young children or to these adults. Thank you very, very much."

Chávez has received donations from booksellers, the American Booksellers Association, publishers, literary organizations and individuals around the country. On the day after Winter Institute, Albuquerque's Fonseca Freight Company delivered the books she had collected during the show to Las Cruces for free, and the Sisbarro car dealership in Las Cruces donated a space for Chávez to store the books before they're donated.

Anyone who wishes to donate can mail books to Chávez at La Casa Camino Real, 314 South Tornillo Street, Las Cruces, N.Mex. 88001. Spanish-English dictionaries, as well as any books that help with learning English, would be much appreciated. Chávez has created guidelines for choosing books to donate, and Veronica Liu, founder of Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, N.Y., and BrocheAroe Fabian, owner of River Dog Book Co. in Beaver Dam, Wis., have also posted recommendations for Spanish-language books. Those wishing to make financial donations to help refugees can find more information at Annunciation House and the Border Servant Corps.

Chávez has also asked anyone who donated without giving their name to please contact her here, so that she can thank them.

Obituary Note: John Hamilton

Penguin Random House UK's longtime art director John Hamilton, who "joined Penguin in 1997 after specializing in illustration at the Glasgow School of Art and Design," died earlier this month, the Bookseller reported. He was 55. Hamilton was responsible for art directing Penguin General's hardback imprints, Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Fig Tree and Penguin Ireland, as well as its Penguin paperback editions. He launched the "iconic" covers of the Penguin Essentials in 1998.

In a note to staff, PRH UK CEO Tom Weldon wrote: "I have worked longer with John than any other colleague at Penguin Random House. We met 30 years ago when I was a young editor at William Heinemann and John had just started his first job as a jacket designer, having recently graduated from Glasgow School of Art.... He helped discover many talented designers, illustrators, photographers and artists at the beginning of their careers, and became friends with many of them."

Weldon added that Hamilton "was also a hugely popular colleague. He was completely unmanageable (I tried for nine years) and he drove people crazy with his constant knack of missing deadlines. A regular refrain to exasperated editors was that a vital piece of artwork was 'on a bike.' But in the end everyone forgave him because he was funny, charming, and just very, very talented. He had an incredible spirit and it helped define this company."

Fellow designer Jonathan Gray told the Bookseller that Hamilton "was a big-hearted and brilliantly creative man who could always find a new angle, a new avenue or a new story. Like many other designers in publishing, I owe my whole career to John. His faith, encouragement and direction made me a better designer and a better person.... John was bold, brave and colorful--always with a new story to tell. Everything will be a little greyer without him."


Cool Idea of the Day: Indie Bookstore Time Capsule

"Fighting the fight for independent bookstores 100 years from now!" noted James Conrad, co-owner of the Golden Notebook bookstore, Woodstock, N.Y., which is undergoing renovations. Yesterday he posted on Facebook: "We just resealed our floor over our new building foundation and we placed a time capsule of our business cards, pictures of our #bookstoredogs, our line of postcards of our town, this week's edition of the #woodstocktimes and a note for whoever opens the floor again a hundred years from now saying: 'This better still be an independent bookstore! XO.' "

Bookseller Q&A: Birchbark Books

Carolyn Anderson, manager of Birchbark Books, Minneapolis, Minn., and bookseller Anthony Ceballos were interviewed by Cynsational about their work and offered joint responses. Among our favorite exchanges:

Given Birchbark Books' proximity to the Mall of America, I love the quote on the store's website: "As the malling of America continues, it is our mission to be other." How best do you feel Birchbark Books achieves being other?
Birchbark Books thrives on maintaining the connection between books and readers in a way you won't find in large corporate retailers. I think one of the joys for people shopping at our bookstore is that feeling when someone takes a book off the shelf, feels the weight of it in their hands, reads the description and instantly knows it is a book for them.

There's a spiritual connection that happens in a way it doesn't with corporate-owned bookstores and definitely not on websites like Amazon, which I think deprive people of interaction with books not just as products to buy, but as works of art.

When you walk into Birchbark, you can immediately tell it's an independently-owned shop.

The atmosphere is cozy, the staff is friendly, and it just has an energy that says we are an independent bookstore. It's hard to describe, but when you feel it you feel it.

The "malling" of America creates cold, fluorescent spaces where people are buyers and items are items. Birchbark Books will never be one of those places.

We are owned by a Native author and specialize in books and art by Native artists and authors.

Despite being the first peoples of this land, we have constantly been marginalized, and constantly seen as "other." In many ways, being "other" in a corporate world is a stand against colonialism. We are here. We are not going away. We are not standing down in the face of things like Amazon. It isn't always easy, but we do it and will continue to do it.

What do you enjoy most and what is challenging about operating the bookstore?
Working among books in a beautiful and soulful environment is the most pleasurable aspect of the job for sure. The other best part is our customers are so kind and so happy to be in the bookstore--it is very rare to run across someone in a bad mood.

One of our positive attributes can also be one of the most challenging aspects of the job. We are about 800 square feet, and we process online orders and large orders from tribes and schools all year long, so sometimes the space starts to feel a little too tight.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Irvine Welsh on NPR's Weekend Edition

NPR's Weekend Edition: Irvine Welsh, author of Dead Men's Trousers (Melville House, $26.99, 9781612197555).

TV: Green Eggs and Ham

A teaser trailer has been released for Green Eggs and Ham, Netflix's new animated series based on the beloved Dr. Seuss classic, Deadline reported. The voice cast for the Ellen DeGeneres-produced adaptation will feature Michael Douglas, Adam DeVine, Diane Keaton, Ilana Glazer, Eddie Izzard, Tracy Morgan, Keegan-Michael Key, Daveed Diggs, John Turturro, Jeffrey Wright and Jillian Bell.

The series, which was first announced in 2015, "was three years in the making and at the time was expected to be one of the highest-end, most expensive programs produced for television," Deadline wrote. It premieres this fall.

Movies: Let Him Go

Kevin Costner and Diane Lane will star as a husband and wife in Focus Features' suspense thriller Let Him Go, based on Larry Watson's novel, Deadline reported. Costner and Lane previously collaborated on Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Superman's parents.

Directed by Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone) from his own screenplay, the movie is being produced by Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan (owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands) of the Mazur Kaplan Company, along with Bezucha. Costner will executive produce with Kimi Armstrong Stein, Jeffrey Lampert and Rod Lake. Production of Let Him Go is expected to start in the spring.

Books & Authors

Awards: Ezra Jack Keats Book Winners; Hayek Book Finalists

The Ezra Jack Keats Book Awards, which recognize a writer and illustrator "early in their careers for having created an extraordinary children's book that reflects the diverse nature of our culture," have gone to:

New Writer: John Sullivan for Kitten and the Night Watchman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (S&S/Paula Wiseman Books)
New Illustrator: Oge Mora for Thank you, Omu! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

The winners receive a bronze medallion and an honorarium of $3,000. The awards are presented by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. The 2019 award ceremony will be held April 4 during the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival at the university in Hattiesburg.

Writer Honor
Juana Martinez-Neal for Alma and How She Got Her Name, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Candlewick)
Matt James for The Funeral, illustrated by Matt James (Groundwood Books)
Keith Calabrese for Lena's Shoes are Nervous, illustrated by Juana Medina (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Illustrator Honor
Jessica Love for Julián is a Mermaid (Candlewick)
Jane McGuinness for Prickly Hedgehogs! (Candlewick)


The finalists for the Hayek Book Prize, awarded by the Manhattan Institute to "authors who best represent the principles of F.A. Hayek," the political philosopher and Nobel laureate, consists of:

Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities by Alain Bertaud (MIT Press)
America's Failing Economy and the Rise of Ronald Reagan by Eric Crouse (Palgrave Macmillan)
Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder (Regnery Gateway)
Clashing over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy by Douglas A. Irwin (University of Chicago Press)
The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University Press)
Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State by Peter J. Wallison (Encounter Books)

The winner, who receives a $50,000 award, will be announced in the spring and will deliver the annual Hayek lecture in New York on June 6.

Reading with... Chloe Aridjis

photo: Nick Tucker

Chloe Aridjis is a Mexican-American writer who was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Oxford in 19th-century French poetry and magic shows, she lived for nearly six years in Berlin. Her debut novel, Book of Clouds, has been published in eight languages and won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France. Aridjis sometimes writes about art and insomnia and was a guest curator at Tate Liverpool. In 2014, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in London. Her novel Sea Monsters was just published by Catapult.

On your nightstand now:

I'm judging the Rathbones Folio Prize so every few days it's a different book. But purely for pleasure, I am slowly making my way through Simon Schama's Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900, a glorious and often tragic evocation of the Jews' search for a home.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. It's like a childhood enactment of Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, a kind of phenomenology of night.

Your top five authors:

Franz Kafka, Thomas Bernhard, Charles Baudelaire, Nikolai Gogol, Jorge Luis Borges. Well, it's between Gogol and Chekhov.

Book you've faked reading:

Possibly parts of the Bible.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. It came out in 1975 and, alas, remains just as urgent on almost every level. My dream would be for everyone to read it, leading to a global revolution in the way humans treat animals, ending their exploitation forever.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Joscelyn Godwin's Athanasius Kircher's Theatre of the World--I was very excited to finally see a large volume in English devoted to this extraordinary man.

Book you hid from your parents:

Once long ago I bought a cultural history of the devil. I began to feel superstitious so I put it at the back of my bedroom closet in Mexico. To my knowledge, it is still there.

Book that changed your life:

Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and Other Stories, and in particular the story "Tonio Kröger." I still have the paperback edition my parents gave me when I was around 14.

Favorite line from a book:

It would be impossible to choose only one but, if I may, I've always loved this line from one of my father's poems: "The music of the night is not in the stars but in the darkness between them."

Five books you'll never part with:

Kafka's Complete Stories, Chekhov's stories, Borges's Obras Completas, Shakespeare's The Tempest and Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

There are many but the first that comes to mind is Bohumil Hrabal's I Served the King of England. An absolute enchantment of a book, whose political message is brilliantly sublimated into truly memorable scenes. I also loved Hrabal's Too Loud a Solitude.

A short story you often return to:

J.G. Ballard's "The Drowned Giant."

Book Review

Review: Mars

Mars: Stories by Asja Bakić, trans. by Jennifer Zoble (Feminist Press, $16.95 paperback, 144p., 9781936932481, March 12, 2019)

Bosnian writer Asja Bakić revels in the surreal. The plots and settings of the stories collected in Mars might get labeled as science fiction or dystopian, but the works themselves feel weightless, unmoored to any real convention as they probe dark corners of the human psyche. There are clones, trips to distant planets, even zombies, but far more memorable are the moments charged with meaning that so often end Bakić's stories, where a look, a touch or a word can upend the world.

The best of the stories in this debut have endings that lie somewhere between twists and epiphanies. In "Buried Treasure," an imaginary monster discussed by a group of children turns out to be real, though neither they nor their parents realize that it is living peacefully among them. In "Carnivore," a man attempts to cheat on his wife with a stranger, only to find that the woman is in fact his wife's mistress; furthermore, his spouse is tied up in the closet of the woman's apartment. But Bakić doesn't play these revelations for thrills, instead using them to break the reality of the little worlds she's constructed, pulling the rug out from under her readers to induce a kind of literary vertigo. No ending is pat, though neither is it so willfully obtuse that the story turns into gobbledygook.

There's a charged sexual tension throughout Mars, and many of its fictions dissect the interplay of gender and eroticism. The nominal protagonist of "Carnivore" is a rather staid straight man, intrigued by the prospect of exotic sexual pleasures who finds that the secret passions of his wife are far more nuanced--and dangerous--than the little tryst he imagines for himself. "Passions" follows a narrator's obsession with an androgynous friend from her past, with Bakić using that unhealthy interest as a way to explore identity and projection.

Tricky and hard to pin down, these stories tease and perplex. Readers who might not be interested by zombies and interplanetary space flight shouldn't discount this book. Likewise, lovers of science fiction and horror will find a wonderfully surreal take on tried-and-true stories, where the strictures of plot break open to release something stranger and darker. Bakić knows exactly what forms she employs, and deconstructs, in service of creating the unsettling moods of her stories. It's a pleasure to feel so unmoored and still held in the steady hands of a brilliant writer. --Noah Cruickshank, director of communications, Forefront, Chicago, Ill.

Shelf Talker: The stories in Mars are brilliant, unsettling explorations of gender, sexuality and genre.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Professional Readers on Choosing Their 'Next Book'

"On average, I receive over 200 ARCs a week delivered to the front porch of my rowhouse in Washington D.C..... I usually give a book fifty pages; if there's not something about that book that grabs me--voice especially, situation, language, plot--I'll probably put it aside and pick up something else on my list or something unexpected that's arrived on my porch." --Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, in an interview with Poets & Writers

The always-popular galley room at Wi14.

Shortly before this year's ABA Winter Institute, I wrote about an exchange I had with John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore, Brentwood, Calif., regarding how those of us who read for a living choose "the next book" from our ever-expanding TBR stacks. Since then, I've had a great time collecting other professional readers' takes on the subject. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll share them with you. Feel free to join the conversation.

Although I've heard from booksellers primarily, a few other book trade voices weighed in as well. On the morning that earlier column was published, my colleague Matt Baldacci, director of business development for Shelf Awareness, conceded that "there's no system. One week it's the cover, the next because I'm meeting someone soon. But I have to say I chose a particularly wonderful method this morning. Getting up in the dark, I was starting fresh: no books in progress! So I felt around my groaning nightstand 'hoping' for Scribner's feature Winter Institute title Turbulence by David Szalay. I couldn't see, but I knew it was there, and it had the added promise of being slim. Instead, I came up with the equally slim (and nonfiction!) Greek to Me by Mary Norris. A happy and quite satisfactory accident."

Like most of us, Keith Arsenault, national account manager, Ingram Content Group, is "often split between reading what I 'should' be and what I want to, but as a sales rep one also has the reading to do for client publishers whom I have the pleasure of representing. It's a constant tug of war for time among the three of them, a literary Cerberus barking 'read me next!' It's a happy instance when topicality/buzz, subject interest and client publisher overlap, but for those other times it's mostly work first, pleasure second, and the au courant bringing up the rear."

About five years ago, Melissa Posten of the Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, Mo., found herself resenting her bookselling job for its control over her reading life. Instead of just walking over to the shelf and picking a title or opting for something she was in the mood for, she was always thinking about the next sales appointment or what a fellow book buyer had told her she should read. For a time, she even started to dislike reading, but listening to audiobooks gradually helped her return to the fold.

"That was when I promised myself that I was finished reading based solely on my job," Posten said. "So now I would say about 75% of the time I read whatever the heck I want. It's mostly children's books, because there's a reason I'm a children's book person and that reason is love. But now I read sequels--I never used to read sequels (You don't need book 2 to handsell a series!). I do read books for upcoming events, but I also read books that my kid customers tell me to read because they think it's cool when I take their suggestions. I put books down if they aren't making me happy. I re-listen to Carry On by Rainbow Rowell because that does make me happy.

"I guess it boils down to this: I pick books by listening to my heart. That's a lot cheesier than I usually am, but it's one of the deepest truths I know. Choose what books your heart wants, no matter what they are, and you won't ever start to think of reading as a chore. That's what I tell my customers and their parents. That's what I tell my daughter. And now it's what I tell myself."

Noting that as a panel member for Indies Introduce "there is a very large must-read pile on my dining room table right now," Anne Holman of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, added: "Seriously, I do try to pay extra attention to an ARC that is sent to me with a personal note. I understand the importance of that particular book to that author or editor or publicist and I try not to treat them lightly. For real though, humor will get me every time. Finding an ARC like This Is Where I Leave You or The Sisters Brothers is one of life's great pleasures."

How does she find the time for older books and rereading? "Mostly I take them off the shelf and put them on my bed and they taunt me endlessly," Holman replied. "I really want to reread The Pickwick Papers because it was so funny, but it is so long and really? I don't need to read it again. It's why I believe in reincarnation; so all 'those books' will be waiting for me in my next life."

Choosing that next book is hard. You're not alone. More voices next week.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives at Fresh Eyes Now)

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