Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 14, 2019


Walker Books: Malamander (Legends of Eerie-On-Sea) by Thomas Taylor, illustrated by Tom Booth

Little Brown and Company: Kingdomtide by Rye Curtis

Sharjah Book Authority Publishers Conference October 27th-29th --Register Now!

Candlewick Press: Judy Moody, Book Quiz Whiz (Judy Moody #15) by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H Reynolds

Bloomsbury Publishing: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak

Workman Publishing: Guitar: The World's Most Seductive Instrument by David Schiller

Quotation of the Day

'Preserving the Pleasures of the Bookshop'

"When real bricks and mortar booksellers disappear we are denied the chance to browse. How many times do we enter a bookshop and discover an author we've never heard of, or a book that we would never have thought existed but that we feel we would like to read? In a real shop, you can start a life-time love affair with the works of a newly-discovered author, obscure or well-known....

 

"These local bookshops, intimate in scale in an age of the big and the characterless, are little fortresses dedicated to defending an artefact that survives because we love it so much--the book. Electronic books are all very well, but you can't touch the text; you can't smell the paper; you can't put it on a shelf to remind you of what it says; you can't wrap it up and give it as a present; you can't kiss its cover in gratitude. Actual bookshops survive because we love the physicality of the book--and want a real, physical existence rather than a virtual one. Still. Just."

--Bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith in an opinion piece for the Scotsman, headlined "Preserving the pleasures of the bookshop"

Magination Press: My Singing Nana by Pat Mora, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez


News

Some B&N Investors Balk at Sale Price

 

A group of Barnes & Noble shareholders led by investor Richard Schottenfeld--who during the past decade has advocated for changes at B&N--has stated in SEC filings that it is objecting to Elliott Management's offer, approved by the B&N board, to buy the company for $6.50 a share or $475 million. Schottenfeld and the others in his group own an estimated 3.4% of the company, according to the Wall Street Journal, and had owned almost 7% as recently as last year, when Schottenfeld recommended a new member to the B&N board.

The group said in an SEC filing that it believes B&N "is worth considerably more than the agreed-upon sale price, and believe that the special committee, including its chairman, Mark Carlton, has failed in its duty to maximize value for shareholders [and] strongly urge the special committee to reevaluate its approach and afford all interested parties the ability to communicate and coordinate their efforts for the purpose of submitting a superior bid that better represents the fair value of the company."

The group added that they and their representatives "may engage in discussions with members of management and/or the board of directors of the company, other current or prospective shareholders, industry analysts, potential bidders, investment and financing professionals and other third parties regarding a sale of the company."

In related B&N news, under the Elliott-B&N agreement, if B&N accepted another offer before midnight last night, Elliott would be paid a $4 million breakup fee. Although Readerlink has been working on its own deal to buy B&N, which the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, there was no announcement of a new deal overnight. Now, if B&N accepts a deal separate from the Elliott one, the breakup fee it would have to pay Elliott rises $17.5 million.


University of Pittsburgh Press: The Firebird: The Elusive Fate of Russian Democracy (First Edition, Pitt Russian and Eastern European Studies Series)


Ingram Considering 'Additional Service Programs for Western U.S.'

 

One of the key sources of concern to indie booksellers about Baker & Taylor's decision last month to leave the retail wholesale market is that B&T had a strong program offering rapid replenishment for many publishers, including some of the largest, on the West Coast, an area where indie booksellers haven't always been able to take advantage of the much faster shipping times available to booksellers on the East Coast and in the center of the country.

In that context, Ingram Content Group has made a significant announcement, saying that "as a result of publisher and retailer concerns of fulfillment support for West Coast direct distribution options for publishers, Ingram Content Group is actively exploring additional service programs for the western U.S. The potential solution would allow publishers to use the Ingram infrastructure and warehouse network for direct fulfillment to retailers."

Ingram Content Group CEO and president Shawn Morin commented: "Recent changes in wholesale and other book industry distribution services have encouraged us to think of new ways in which we might offer fulfillment services to publishers for the benefit of retailers. We are still thinking through the details but encourage publishers who may be considering how to reach the West Coast, and other markets, faster and more creatively to talk with us to find solutions that will help the industry at large."


H1: Ignited: Triggered by Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo, illustrated by Phil Briones


Wilson Book Gallery Opens in Wilson, Wyo.

 

Wilson Book Gallery, an independent bookstore in Wilson, Wyo., opened last Saturday, Jackson Hole News & Guide reported. The store is a sister store to Jackson Hole Book Trader in nearby Jackson, Wyo. Susie Temple, who purchased and renovated Jackson Hole Book Trader two years ago, owns both stores.

Compared to its sister store, Wilson Book Gallery is smaller and has a more carefully focused inventory. The space has around 700 square feet of selling and office space, and the opening inventory had around 700 titles. Unlike Book Trader, which sells both new and used, all of Wilson Book Gallery's titles are new.

And instead of conventional sections, managers Andrew Munz and Jessica Sell Chambers chose to organize the inventory into display categories like The Last of the Old West, Mothers, The Poles, Taking a Pause and Leonardo. They also have sections for staff recommendations.

 "When we stock, we want to find titles that are obscure or authors we didn't know much about," Munz told News & Guide.

"It's a great job, and I love helping people talk about and find books," added Chambers.


Berkley Books: Tom Brown's Guide to Healing the Earth by Tom Brown and Randy Walker


New Bookstore-Restaurant Coming to Madison, Wis.

A new bookstore, bar and restaurant is coming to Madison, Wis., tentatively named Leopold's, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The new business will be owned by Sam Brown, who is the v-p of Rocky Rococo Pizza and Pasta, which has seven locations in the Madison area. Leopold's will reside in a space next door to the Rocky Rococo location that Brown manages.

Brown, who went to college in the Washington, D.C., area, said he is modeling Leopold's after two D.C. indies: Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe and Busboys and Poets. Between the food, the drinks and the books, he explained, a customer could spend an entire day in a business like that. He added: "I just loved that concept and I always wanted to bring a concept like that to Madison."

Brown will be moving into a space that until very recently housed a bakery. He told WSJ he expects the renovations to take at least seven months, and he plans to use every part of the space, including the basement.


Obituary Note: Philip Robinson

Australian bookseller Philip Robinson, co-founder with his wife, Moira, of Robinsons Bookshop in Frankston, Vic., died June 10. In a message to customers, CEO Susanne Horman wrote: "Philip was in his late 90s and was a pioneer of bookselling in Australia. The two current owners, Susanne Horman & Andre Olschyna, met with Philip and Moira last year and Philip was full of stories of the book industry and had lots of photos to share of the early days."

The Robinsons opened their bookshop in 1963, "and it is now Victoria's oldest general indie bookshop and has grown to have 12 stores across three states," Horman noted. "To this day customers visiting the store mention Moira and Philip with great fondness and there is great support in the community for both of them and for what they have done together to bring books to the people of Melbourne. Our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife Moira, their children and extended family.

Frankston Mayor Michael O'Reilly issued a statement expressing sadness at Robinson's death and recalling that when the Robinsons opened their first store, "the Frankston Library was yet to be established, so it was a rare treat to find a bookshop anywhere... On behalf of Frankston City Council, I would like to offer my condolences to Mr. Robinson's family and friends during this difficult time. Thank you for creating an iconic and much-loved bookstore for us all to enjoy, and thank you to current owner, Susanne Horman for keeping Mr. Robinson's legacy alive and well."


Notes

Image of the Day: Elizabeth Gilbert on City of Girls

Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., and the University of San Diego hosted Elizabeth Gilbert for a discussion of her new novel, City of Girls (Riverhead). Pictured: Julie Slavinsky, Adrian Newell, Elizabeth Gilbert, Stacey Haerr, John Beaudette.


Happy 5th Birthday, Bookends & Beginnings!

 

Congratulations to Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston, Ill., which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend. "It's time to celebrate the joys of Being Small in the Age of Being Ginormous! We'll have special events and revelry to mark the occasion and we hope you'll join us!" the bookstore noted.

On its Facebook page, Bookends & Beginnings has been "sharing a bit about our staff, why they love books, what books they love, and why they love being able to help you find the perfect book!"

Owner Nina Barrett spoke recently with Justin Kaufmann of WGN's The Download on Chicago Business "about her latest book, The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America's Most Infamous Crimes, the early days of the Printers Row Lit Fest, the vibrant community of Chicago booksellers, the health of independent bookstores in Chicago, what an independent bookstore can offer that a big chain cannot, competition with online retailers, how the publishing industry has changed and evolved and her appearance at the Printers Row Lit Fest."


Personnel Changes at Avid Reader Press; Amberjack Publishing

Morgan Hoit is joining Avid Reader Press at Simon & Schuster as associate marketing manager, effective June 24. Also known as @nycbookgirl on Instagram, she was formerly an associate at Jill Furman Productions.

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Justin Mitson has been named publishing director at Amberjack Publishing, Eagle, Idaho which was founded in 2014. Mitson is a consultant and author of eight science fiction and children's books and retired from Micron Corporation after 23 years in senior management.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tim Kreider on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Tim Kreider, author of I Wrote This Book Because I Love You (Simon & Schuster, $16, 9781476739014).


Movies: Flora & Ulysses; Doctor Sleep

Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) have signed on for lead roles in Flora & Ulysses, the film adaptation of Kate DiCamillo's novel, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Deadline reported that the project, which will stream on the upcoming Disney+ platform, is being directed by filmmaker Lena Khan from Brad Copeland's screenplay.

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The official trailer has been released for Doctor Sleep, based on Stephen King's sequel to The Shining. Deadline reported that next year marks the 40th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, "which crawled inside the head of moviegoers and (along with The Exorcist) then solidified its masterpiece status by displaying an unsettling staying power in the American psyche."

In Doctor Sleep, Ewan McGregor portrays the adult Danny, "an alcoholic whose attempt to get sober reawakens his dark gifts. Working at a hospice, he meets a young girl, Abra Stone (Kyliegh Curran), who is also tethered to 'the shining,' as the eerie perception is called," Deadline wrote.

Directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush, The Haunting of Hill House) from Akiva Goldsman's screenplay, the film's cast also includes Carl Lumbly, Alex Essoe, Zahn McClarnon and Rebecca Ferguson. It opens November 8. 


Books & Authors

Awards: Children's & Teen Choice Books; Polari

Winners of the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards, sponsored by Every Child a Reader, have been announced. The awards provide young readers with an opportunity to "Voice Your Choice" about new books they have read and loved. Voting was conducted in classrooms, libraries and bookstores, as well as online, with more than 24,000 votes tallied, up from 18,000 last year. The 2019 winners and honor books are:

K-2nd Grade Winner: I Say Ooh You Say Aah by John Kane (Kane Miller Books)
Honor: There's a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott (Random House Books for Young Readers)

3rd-4th Grade Winner: Back to the Future: The Classic Illustrated Storybook by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, illustrated by Kim Smith (Quirk Books)
Honor: Safari Pug by Laura James, illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

5th-6th Grade Winner: Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Honor: Sewing The Rainbow: A Story about Gilbert Baker by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Magination Press)

Teen Choice Winner: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (First Second Books)
Honor: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Harper Teen)

Shaina Birkhead, associate executive director for Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader, commented: "We are proud to work with so many teachers, librarians, and booksellers who encourage kids to read the books and gather votes at their locations. It's a fun reading and discussion activity, as well as a primer on social responsibility."

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Longlists have been announced for the Polari Prize and Polari First Book Prize. The awards recognize writers "whose work explores the LGBT+ experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or nonfiction" and are open to writers born or resident in the U.K. and Ireland. New this year, the Polari Prize honored established authors, while the Polari First Book Prize continued to champion work by new writers. The shortlists will be announced July 26, and a winner named in October at the London Literature Festival. Check out the complete Polari longlists here.


Lonely Planet’s Guide to ALA 2019: Where to Eat Near the Convention Center

For attendees of the American Library Association annual conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C., June 20-25, Lonely Planet offers tips from its City Maps series. These titles are durable and waterproof, with a handy slipcase and an easy-fold format, making a conveniently-sized passport to traveling with ease. In addition to locating great restaurants like the ones below, you'll find images and information about top city attractions, transport maps, itinerary suggestions, an extensive street and site index and practical travel tips and directory.

A homegrown foodie revolution has transformed the once-buttoned-up D.C. dining scene. Driving it is the bounty of farms at the city's doorstep, along with the booming local economy and influx of worldly younger residents. Small, independent, local-chef-helmed spots now lead the way. And they're doing such a fine job that Michelin deemed the city worthy of its stars.

Global Influence
Washington, D.C. is one of the most diverse, international cities of its size in America, heavily populated by immigrants, expats and diplomats from every country in the world. People from far away crave the food of home, and so there's a glut of good ethnic eating and international influences around town. Salvadoran, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, West African--they've all become Washingtonian.

Local Bounty
The city's unique geography puts it between two of the best food-production areas in America: Chesapeake Bay and the Virginia Piedmont. From the former come crabs, oysters and rockfish; the latter provides game, pork, wine and peanuts. Chefs take advantage of this delicious abundance, and it has led to lofty accolades: the prestigious Michelin Guide added D.C. to its roster, releasing its first list of star-rated local restaurants in 2017.

Southern Influence
Keep in mind that D.C. also occupies the fault line between two of America's greatest culinary regions: the Northeast and the South. The South, in particular, exerts a tremendous pull. The city offers heaps of soul food and its high-class incarnations, so get ready to loosen the belt for plates of fried chicken, catfish, collard greens, sweet-potato hash and butter-smothered grits--all washed down with sweet iced tea, of course.

Half-Smokes
D.C.'s claim to native culinary fame is the half-smoke, a bigger, coarser, spicier and better version of the hot dog. There's little agreement on where the name comes from. But there is general consensus as to what goes on a half-smoke: chili, mustard and chopped onions.

Eating Downtown
Food Truck Lunch
As in most other U.S. cities, the food-truck frenzy has hit Washington. Empanadas, chocolate pie, crab cakes, cupcakes--you name it and there's a truck driving around selling it out the window. Join the office workers refueling at the trucks that line up around Franklin Square, Metro Center and Gallery Place/Chinatown (on 7th and G Sts. NW, beside the Reynolds Center).

A Baked Joint Cafe $ 440 K St. NW
Order at the counter then take your luscious, heaped-on-housemade-bread sandwich--perhaps the fried egg and goat cheese on a fluffy biscuit, or the Nutella and banana on whole-wheat sourdough--to a bench or table in the big, open room. Natural light streams in the floor-to-ceiling windows. Not hungry? It's also a great place for a well-made latte. Beer, wine and cocktails are also available. Sweet treats come from sibling Baked & Wired in Georgetown.

Shouk Israeli $ 655 K St. NW
Fast and casual, Shouk creates big flavor in its vegan menu of Israeli street food, served with craft beer and tap wines. A crazy-good burger made of chickpeas, black beans, lentils and mushrooms gets stuffed into a toasty pita with pickled turnips, arugula and charred onions. The mushroom-and-cauliflower pita and sweet potato fries with cashew labneh (creamy "cheese") are lip smacking. Shouk's rustic wood tables, exposed brick walls and pantry shelves made from repurposed crates give it a funky, industrial vibe. Get ready to wrestle the crowds at lunchtime.

Matchbox Pizza $ 713 H St. NW
The pizza here has a devout following of gastronomes and the restaurant's warm, exposed-brick interior is typically packed. What's so good about it? Fresh ingredients, a thin, blistered crust baked by angels, and more fresh ingredients. Oh, and the beer list rocks, with Belgian ales and hopped-up craft brews flowing from the taps. Reserve ahead to avoid a wait.

Full Kee Chinese $ 509 H St. NW
Although you'll find more atmosphere on the moon, you won't find a better Chinese joint in the city limits. Fill yourself for next to nothing with a simple noodle dish or stir-fry, but make sure you leave room for the duck, which is divine. Try it with some mambo sauce (D.C.'s almost citrusy version of sweet and sour).


Book Review

Review: Copperhead

Copperhead by Alexi Zentner (Viking, $26 hardcover, 368p., 9781984877284, July 9, 2019)

The racist and anti-Semitic violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 has inspired a spate of nonfiction, like ((((Semitism)))) and Rising Out of Hatred, that attempts to expose the machinations of white nationalist and other hate groups in the United States. For all the insight these works offer, an investigation of the question of how bigotry poisons the heart and warps the mind may be better suited to the sophistication and subtlety of the novelist's art. Alexi Zentner's Copperhead is a vivid portrait of what happens to a thoughtful teenager who's forced to face hard questions of right and wrong, and to decide when familial love and loyalty may demand too much.

Inspired by incidents from Zentner's (The Lobster Kings) childhood, Copperhead is set in the fictional town of Cortaca, a stand-in for real-life Ithaca, N.Y. The novel's protagonist, 17-year-old Jessup Collins, lives there in a double-wide trailer with his thrice-married mother and younger sister. His stepfather, David John Michaels, has just returned from serving a four-year prison sentence for attempting to cover up his son Ricky's killing of two African American university students that began as an act of self-defense. It's a bleak world, reminiscent of the ones depicted in novels like Stewart O'Nan's Snow Angels or Philipp Meyer's American Rust.

Jessup struggles to reconcile his image of David John: an honorable, hardworking husband and father, imprisoned for a well-intentioned mistake. But also a member of the Blessed Church of the White America, a white supremacist church that preaches the doctrine of "Rahowa," or "racial holy war," led by his brother Earl and used as a political platform by an ambitious, media-savvy college student, Brandon Rogers.

Over the course of a long, snowy weekend in November, Jessup, an honor roll student who's counting on a football scholarship to help lift him out of the marginal existence he shares with his loving family, is transformed from the hero of a playoff game to the focal point of a firestorm over a racially charged tragedy. Jessup's predicament is complicated by the fact that his girlfriend is Deanne Diggins, the daughter of his African American football coach.

Zentner skillfully sidesteps one of the principal risks in novels of this sort, that of turning his characters into mere ideological mouthpieces. Jessup, in particular, is a sympathetic young man who feels that, for all his striving, he can't escape the reality that "the starting gun went off well before he was born, and no matter how fast he runs, he'll never win this race." Both he and David John evolve as the novel hurtles along, its pace quickened by Zentner's innovative technique of carving up lengthy scenes into chapters of only two or three pages. It's easy to identify Copperhead's villains, but they're far less interesting than its flawed heroes. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: A teenager struggles with his family's involvement in a white supremacist church, as he encounters racial conflict himself.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Authors Handselling at BookExpo

I'm a handseller. You're a handseller. Everyone in the book trade is a handseller if they routinely use two simple yet intricate sentences in daily conversations. One is: "You've got to read this!" The other was used by Will Schwalbe, Macmillan executive v-p and bestselling author, to open a BookExpo Downtown Stage event featuring a live recording of his podcast, But That's Another Story.

"As anyone who ever has met me knows, my favorite question is, 'What are you reading?' " Schwalbe said. "I ask it of everyone everywhere and I'm constantly surprised, amazed, delighted and challenged with the answers I get."

From left: Will Schwalbe, Aarti Shahani, Stephen Chbosky, Nicole Dennis-Benn

This discussion was a treat for me as well because I've always loved hearing authors talk about other writers' books. Schwalbe began by asking each of his guests to choose a work that had changed her or his life. His guests on the podcast were Aarti Shahani (Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares, Celadon) Stephen Chbosky (Imaginary Friend, Grand Central) and Nicole Dennis-Benn (Patsy, Liveright)

Shahani recalled that when she first read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah, her engagement with the character Ifemelu was like the experience of meeting someone she immediately knew she was going to be friends with.

"She is a really sassy, self-made young woman who decided to leave where she was from," said Shahani. "And she loved where she was from. She had really good relationships with her family, with her friends there. She felt a deep connection to it. And still she ached for more and different. And the book is about that journey. And she's fun. She has access to really random and variant places.... I think that that woman who is not only capable of living in very different worlds, but whose heart actually needs to live in very different worlds; that's part of who she is, the constant navigating is authentically her. It's not one identity, but multiple coexisting. I'm drawn to that person. Those are a lot of my friends."

For Chbosky, the book that changed his life was Stephen King's The Stand, which he read while he "was living on 108th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam, and it was right about the time that I started writing The Perks of Being a Wallflower. You wouldn't necessarily look at The Stand and Perks in the same light, but I will say The Stand--even though I think the mass market is like 1,450 pages long and was very daunting to me--I started reading and I got to Page 70 and then I couldn't stop reading for four days. I blew off work. It was obsessive. And when I realized that you could have a narrative, a story that was that complex, that imaginative, but also that intimate... lf it's just an epic, I'm not terribly interested, and if it's just intimate--if it's great writing I'm interested--but to have them both at the same time is just fascinating."

Dennis-Benn said she first encountered Audre Lord's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name at the college library where she was a work-study student. "This was around 1999, 2000 and as I read Audre Lord's story, I saw my story in that book as well because I grew up not seeing myself on the page or seeing my experiences on the page. So when I started reading Zami, seeing that here is a writer who was also from Caribbean heritage, a self-proclaimed lesbian, a poet, you know, somebody who actually was raised under the roof of a very strong Caribbean woman and kind of pushing against that and also herself grappling with her new American-ness, with her immigrant family background....

"So, reading and writing were the ways I coped with being in this new country, and when I read Zami it spoke to me in many ways.... Audre Lord, in terms of her unpacking what her blackness, her queerness, her womanhood, to me seeing that intersectionality on the page was what drew me in even more to her writing and then subsequently to her poetry and her other essays.... And actually I ended up writing. That's how I started journaling because most of my journaling was really me processing my identity, and Audre Lord was a big influence on that."

At the end of the podcast, Schwalbe returned to his favorite question: "What are you reading?"

Shahani recommended Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist ("amazingly written") and This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto by Suketu Mehta ("a fantastic book"). Chbosky has "been on a kick" with Blake Crouch's novels and was reading Dark Matter, "which is fantastic." And Dennis-Benn is "delving into poetry," most recently with Warsan Shire's "amazing collection" Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth.

"When you're reading, you aren't just doing it for yourself," Schwalbe observed. "You're partaking in a conversation that includes everyone who has ever read that book, everyone who might read that book and everyone who comes to mind as you read the book. And you connect them in your mind and heart to the book you're reading. Reading is a conversation that connects us all."

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

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