Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 26, 2019: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Just Because

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Disney-Hyperion: Frozen: Conceal, Don't Feel: A Twisted Tale by Jen Calonita

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Sleeping Bear Press: Santa's Secret by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Deborah Melmon

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Harry Houdini (First Names) by Kjartan Poskitt, illustrated by Geraint Ford and Amelia Earhart (First Names) by Mike Smith, illustrated by Andrew Prentice

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne

Quotation of the Day

'The Truth Is That Bookshops Are Fine'

Robbie Egan

"The truth is that bookshops are fine. Retail is difficult during times when consumer confidence is low, but the fact is... though the economic winds blow a chill across the globe, there are also hundreds of bookshops that go about their trade on a daily basis with success....

"If you're a reader, once you find a good bookshop you often form a relationship with the staff. You become attached to the physical space and start to feel proprietary about it. The interactions are often rewarding for both."

--Robbie Egan, CEO of the Australian Booksellers Association, quoted in a Sydney Morning Herald piece headlined "Sydney's independent bookstores defy the doom and gloom"

imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


News

Wordsmith Bookshoppe to Open in Galesburg, Ill.

 

Wordsmith Bookshoppe will open in mid-August at 235 E. Main St. in downtown Galesburg, Ill., the Register-News reported. Co-owners John and Teri Parks will stock new books across 59 genres and 1,500 magazine titles, as well as literary-themed gifts. They anticipate hiring six to eight part-time employees.

"John and I are so excited to bring our passion about books back to the West Central Illinois region," said Teri Parks, the former store manager for Book World Inc. in West Burlington, Iowa, which closed in 2018. "We look forward to supporting Galesburg and the surrounding communities through our services, building relationships, cross-business promotions, community involvement projects and humanitarian efforts."

Ken Springer, president of the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, said, "Galesburg is a great place to start a business. We're absolutely delighted to see a new independent business locating in our community's downtown. KCAP wishes Teri, John and the whole Wordsmith Bookshoppe team great success on their journey."


GLOW: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR: The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski


Buyer Found for Germany's Largest Wholesaler-Distributor

A buyer has been found for Germany's largest wholesaler and distributor, Koch, Neff and Volckmar (KNV), which declared bankruptcy in February, Börsenblatt reported. The new owner, subject to approval by banks and competition authorities, is Zeitfracht, a family-owned general wholesaler and distributor with headquarters in Berlin. Börsenblatt described Zeitfracht as focused on national and international distribution, special shipping as well as freight and air transport. The creditors committee of KNV has approved the deal.

Bankruptcy court administrator Tobias Wahl, whose main goal this spring has been to find a buyer for KNV, whose services have been crucial to the German book trade, commented: "My team and I are very happy that we've been able to bring in Zeitfracht and set the course for a promising future for KNV. Zeitfracht is an ideal buyer, since the family owned and operated company's portfolio matches KNV perfectly. Through the mixing of know-how and use of respective strengths of both sides strong synergies will be realized."

Zeitfracht's winning bid came during a process lasting several weeks led by a mergers & acquisitions specialist. The Zeitfracht proposal won out because it was the best offer in both "economic and personal aspects."

The purchase includes all of the parts of KNV covered by the bankruptcy filing as well as KNV's subsidiary LKG, which was not part of the bankruptcy filing. The deal includes KNV's facilities in Stuttgart, Erfurt and Leipzig and the 1,600-member KNV staff.

Frank Schulze, financial director of Zeitfracht, said in part that "as a family owned and operated company, we recognize the absolute cultural value of the book. We also highly value doing business in a longterm, sustainable way. We are committed to the further development of all the parts of KNV."


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


Amazon Responds to NYT's Book Counterfeiting Story

 

Amazon responded to an investigative piece in Sunday's New York Times about rampant book counterfeiting ("What Happens After Amazon's Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues") with a blog post defending its current practices.

"We invest substantial amounts of time and resources to protect our customers from counterfeit products, including books," Amazon wrote. "We also stand behind every product sold in our stores with our A-to-z Guarantee.... We provided many of these details to the Times and they chose not to include these facts in their story."

One curious aspect of Amazon's defense strategy was to bring independent booksellers into the discussion. "The Times also makes inaccurate claims about competition among booksellers (a claim the Midwest Independent Booksellers disputed with the Times last year)," Amazon contended. "There is widespread competition among booksellers, from major retailers to independent booksellers to grocery and drug stores. In fact, according to the American Booksellers Association (a trade group representing independent booksellers), the number of independent booksellers in the U.S. has grown over 50% over the last 10 years."


Charlesbridge Publishing: Baby Loves the Five Senses by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan


Obituary Note: Anthony Price

British author Anthony Price, "whose string of espionage novels, rich in historical references and complex characters, drew comparisons to the work of John le Carré," died May 30, the New York Times reported. He was 90. His novel The Labyrinth Makers (1970) was the first of 19 books featuring David Audley, an analyst for the British secret service, who was often the protagonist but sometimes a secondary figure.

His books include Other Paths to Glory (1974), Sion Crossing (1984), Here Be Monsters (1986), A New Kind of War (1988) and The Memory Trap (1989). Although his novels "never became blockbusters, they did garner critical praise," the Times noted. His books were also the basis of a 1983 British television series, Chessgame, starring Terence Stamp as Audley, though Price dubbed the series "dreadful."

In the 1950s, he took a job at the Oxford Times, and by 1972 had worked his way up to editor, a position he held until he retired in 1988. Early in his career, he began writing book reviews for its sister publication, the Mail. Price "settled into a niche of reviewing crime fiction and military history, two areas of interest to him. After 10 or 12 years of this, an editor at the Victor Gollancz publishing house asked if he'd write a book about crime fiction. He declined, but asked if he might try writing a thriller instead, and that was how he became a novelist."

The Guardian wrote that as a cub reporter on the Oxford Times, Price had been asked if he would review a work that "was, he was told, 'only a children’s book but it’s by a local author.' The local author turned out to be a Professor J.R.R. Tolkien and the book was The Fellowship of the Ring. Price’s career as a reviewer was off to an auspicious start."

At one point after his retirement, there was "a plot masterminded by the Oxford don (and crime writer) Tim Binyon to lure Price into the wine cellars of Wadham College where other writers, including Colin Dexter and Michael Dibdin, would press him to return to the crime fiction fold," the Guardian noted. "The plot, perhaps fortunately for the college’s stock of claret, never materialized."


Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


Notes

Image of the Day: Literature Lovers Luminaries

The Literature Lovers' Night Out program, hosted by Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn., closed the summer season with superstars from the book world on the program and in the audience. Minnesota literary luminary Patricia Hampl turned out to show her support; agent Marly Rusoff flew in from New York to surprise author Mamta Chaudhry; and bookseller Mary Webber O'Malley from Anderson's Bookshop in LaGrange, Ill., came to join the fun.

Pictured: (l.-r., front row) author Nick Butler (Little Faith); author Renee Rosen (Park Avenue Summer); Excelsior Bay Books co-owner Ellie Temple; Mamta Chaudhry (Haunting Paris), author Bridgett Davis (The World According to Fannie Davis), (back row) Excelsior Bay staffers Pamela Klinger-Horn, Kim McCormick and Lori Free; Mary Webber O'Malley; Marly Rusoff; Patricia Hampl; Ann Nye, Excelsior Bay Books co-owner; Debra Larsson, Excelsior Bay staff.


Bookstore Video: Find Waldo Micro-Documentary

 

Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Mich., filmed an entertaining two minute micro-documentary that follows Waldo as he gears up for a summer filled with guest appearances at bookstores nationwide as part of the Find Waldo Local campaign.

While most bookstores will hold Waldo events next month, for Brilliant Books a July event would conflict with the National Cherry Festival and Traverse City Film Festival. Instead, Waldo is making his Traverse City appearance in June, which sparked the idea for the short film.

"We feel like coming to Traverse City a month early is good practice for Waldo," said Caitlin Marsh of Brilliant Books. "He gets to stretch his legs and get used to being in public again before visiting the rest of the country in July. So we created this fun documentary to give a little behind-the-scenes glimpse at this first appearance."


Chalkboard of the Day: One More Page Books

 

"Our new workout routine!" One More Page Books, Arlington, Va., posted on its Facebook page along with a photo of the store's chalkboard sign, which reads: "Summer workout: 1) Pick up a book. 2) Lift high--oops, you're reading!"


Casemate Group to Distribute Mortons Media Group

Effective July 1, Casemate Group will sell, market and distribute Mortons Media Group in North America.

Founded in the 19th century, Mortons Media Group, Horncastle, England, includes the imprints Gallantry Books, Tempest Books, Banovallum Books, Gresley Books, and Timespan, and produces 25-30 bookazines a year that focus on such topics as railway, military, and aviation history, consumer issues, hobbies, crime, and politics. The company is launching Mortons Books, which will publish books drawing on those publications and has 31 titles planned for 2019/2020. It plans to publish between 50 and 100 books annually.

Mortons publisher Steven O'Hara said, "Mortons Media Group is new to books but has decades of experience in magazine publishing. Our strength is in understanding what our customers want and creating products specifically tailored to suit their requirements. The new Mortons Books nonfiction range will focus primarily on aviation, history, military history, and lifestyle topics."

Casemate v-p, sales, marketing and client relations, Michaela Goff said that Mortons is "a long established and well-respected company and we hope to bring them many new readers here in the United States and Canada."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Polchin on NPR's Here & Now

Tomorrow:
NPR's Here & Now: James Polchin, author of Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime & Prejudice Before Stonewall (Counterpoint Press, $26, 9781640091894).


TV: Made for Love; Station Eleven

WarnerMedia has ordered two new series from author, writer and producer Patrick Somerville and Paramount TV. Somerville is serving as showrunner and executive producer on Made for Love, a 10-episode adaptation of Alissa Nutting's novel, and Station Eleven, based on Emily St. John Mandel's novel. Both projects will be released on WarnerMedia's upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service.

Somerville most recently created, wrote and served as the co-showrunner and executive producer of the Netflix series Maniac. He was previously a writer and producer for the HBO drama The Leftovers.


Movies: Goodbye, Vitamin; Good Morning, Midnight

Universal Pictures has optioned the rights to Goodbye, Vitamin, the 2017 debut novel from Rachel Khong, with Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) attached to star, Variety reported. Dylan Clark will produce for his Universal-based Dylan Clark Productions with Jennifer Yee McDevitt adapting the novel. Wu will also executive produce.

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Netflix "is ramping up its star power," Deadline noted in reporting that George Clooney will direct and star in a film based on Lily Brooks-Dalton's 2016 novel Good Morning, Midnight, adapted for the screen by Mark L. Smith (The Revenant). Clooney and Grant Heslov are producing under their Smokehouse Pictures banner with Anonymous Content and Syndicate Entertainment. Production is slated to begin in October.

"Grant and I couldn't be more excited to be involved with this incredible project," said Clooney. "Mark is a writer we've long admired and his script is haunting. We're thrilled to be working with our friends at Netflix as well."

Netflix's Scott Stuber commented: "Having known and worked with George for over two decades, I can't think of anyone better to bring this amazing story to life. The book is powerful and moving, and Mark's adaptation is beautifully written. At its core, this is a story about human nature, and one that I know our global audiences will fall in love with, just like I did when I read it."


Books & Authors

Awards: Dead Good Reader Shortlists

Shortlists have been announced for the 2019 Dead Good Reader Awards, "now in their fifth year with six new categories, which celebrate, among other things, best amateur detective, best revenge thriller and most recommended read," the Bookseller reported, adding that they are "entirely voted for by the largest community of crime fans in the U.K." Winners will be unveiled on July 19 at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. See the complete shortlists here.


Reading with... Darcey Steinke

photo: Niqui Carter

Darcey Steinke is the author of the New York Times Notable memoir Easter Everywhere, as well as five novels. In 2017 Maggie Nelson wrote a foreword for a new edition of Steinke's Suicide Blonde. With Rick Moody, she edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her books have been translated into 10 languages, and her nonfiction has appeared widely. Her web story "Blindspot" was a part of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. She has been both a Henry Hoyns and a Stegner Fellow; Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi; and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Barnard, the American University of Paris and Princeton. Flash Count Diary (Sarah Crichton/FSG, June 18, 2019) is her most recent book.

On your nightstand now:

I have trouble getting to sleep. It's not unusual for me to turn the light off and then have to turn it back on again many times before I can actually sleep. I like to have a wide selection of books available to me in the dark hours. At the moment there are two poetry books, Maggie Nelson's Something Bright, Then Holes and Dance Dance Revolution by Cathy Park Hong. Both are amazing. Nelson for her ability to show how a soul comes awake, and the way Hong makes up words and meaning is thrilling. Also, a book of music criticism: They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib. This book is so alive! And Barry Hannah's collected short stories Long, Last, Happy. Hannah is a master. And this terrific novel The Man Who Walked Away by Maud Casey, about the beginnings of psychiatry in the 19th century.

Favorite book when you were a child:

As a small child I loved this picture book called Play with Me by Marie Hall Ets. It is about a girl who wants a playmate and in her desperation chases after all matter of animals. Eventually she learns to sit very still, and all the animals come up to her. It had a very zen message, one I was able to get even as a child. I also loved Edward Eager's Half Magic, I was so taken with those books that I would Xerox the illustrations and hang them over my bed. There was a young biography series I loved as well: Young Jefferson, Young Abigail Adams.

 Your top five authors:

Simone de Beauvoir is my favorite at the moment. The way she did philosophy to the female body in the Second Sex is still so thrilling. And I love the way she writes about people and ideas. Flannery O'Connor, Emily Brontë, the South African writer Bessie Head and Kafka. I like writers who write in a raw and precise way.

Book you've faked reading:

All of David Foster Wallace except the essays, which I adore.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang. This book won the Man Booker International Prize a few years ago. It is a masterpiece. It reframes female "hysteria" and is also about pantheism. When I go to my local bookstore, Greenlight in Brooklyn, and buy yet another copy for a gift, they always very nicely tell me I already have 10!

Book you've bought for the cover:

I can't really think of any book I bought for the cover alone.

Book you hid from your parents:

In the late 1970s, in the basement of a split level, my friend Alicia and I read The Happy Hooker by Xaviera Hollander to each other with wonder and confusion.

Book that changed your life:

There were so many! I think Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar really got to me in my early 20s, as it showed both the life I wanted, a young writer in NYC, and the depression that I was also becoming familiar with. I also read Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener in high school and I remember that shook me up--the humanity in it, the sadness. I have always wanted books that are honest about the dark parts of life.

Favorite line from a book:

"When you write you do not know whether you are obeying the moment or eternity." --Edmond Jabès

Five books you'll never part with:

The Collected Short Stories of Franz Kafka, The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Robert Richardson's biographies of William James and Emerson.

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

I really love to read books over and over again, it never bothers me that I know what's coming. I like the sensation. I often reread Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, and when I get to familiar parts, I can remember where I was when I read them last time and the time before that, it's almost like a time machine, a tiny repository of all the other times I read it. The book and I are in deep relation.


Book Review

YA Review: Shatter the Sky

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells (Simon & Schuster, $18.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 13-up, 9781534437906, July 30, 2019)

Back before the Empire, when the Verran people settled Ilvera, they bonded with native dragons, "creating a society neither human nor dragon, but somewhere in-between." Then the emperor, the Flame of the West, invaded, stealing all of the dragons, "tearing out the mountain's beating heart" and sweeping a reluctant Ilvera into the Empire. Generations later, Maren loves her life on the "dragon mountain" in Ilvera, but her girlfriend, Kaia, is eager for the pair to travel "downmountain" and explore. Kaia dreams that they'll meet the "the Flame of the West himself" and be given dragons. Maren knows that "the tyrant" will "never grant a dragon to a girl from Ilvera," but Kaia is determined, so Maren will go, "even if it cost[s her] the mountain."

But when the emperor's Aurati seers arrive on their customary pilgrimage, "doling out prophecies and counting up the emperor's subjects," they abruptly steal Kaia away. Knowing that "no one taken ha[s] ever returned," Maren comes up with "an impossible idea": she'll find a dragon that has not yet formed its unbreakable bond with anyone else, and storm the Aurati stronghold to get Kaia back. Dragon kits are housed in the emperor's fortress, but Verrans aren't welcome. Maren disguises herself in Zefedi clothing and manipulates her way into a job as food taster, then quickly talks her way up to an apprenticeship with the Aromatory, "the only person who knows the tools and procedures for training the dragons."

Maren watches for an opportunity to steal one of the dragons, hoarding small quantities of oils that are essential for creating a lasting bond. One day she hears "a cacophony of notes... at once unfocused and bell-like" and she realizes it's the sound of dragons singing. She also begins to understand that the vivid, confusing visions she's been having may be "dragon dreams." When she envisions Kaia--thinner, paler and "in danger"--Maren knows it's time to act. She fails miserably. Forced to escape, she finds unexpected help from Sev, a handsome young Zefedi who is also interested in dragons, and the two find themselves on the run together with a stolen dragon egg about to hatch.

Rebecca Kim Wells has crafted a top-notch dragon story. Her fantasy world-building is excellent, the plot anchored by a strong young woman who feels both nuanced and real. Maren struggles with difficult questions in ways readers will understand: Why, if she's in love with Kaia, does she dream of Sev? Is it enough to just save Kaia, or is it time to take down the emperor as well? If so, who will be installed in his place? Is there really a shadow prince conspiring to rule? The story builds momentum until its breathtaking finish, concluding the episode while leaving larger issues unresolved and ready to be picked up in the second installment of this promised duology. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: In this YA fantasy debut, Mara infiltrates the emperor's fortress to bond with a dragon in order to rescue her kidnapped girlfriend.


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