Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Dutton Books: The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Amulet Books: Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Canongate Books: The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Sfi Readerlink Dist: Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure by Jon Stone, adapted by Autumn B Heath

News

NCIBA, SCIBA Considering Merging

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association are considering merging organizations and have been soliciting feedback from member stores and publishing partners, with an eye toward a potential merger in 2020.

According to NCIBA executive director Calvin Crosby, the best analogy is that the two associations are "still dating," and "on about the third date." They've sent out two surveys to their respective member stores and earlier this spring held a joint town hall about the issue in Southern California.

They've established an exploratory committee, headed by Michael Tucker of Books Inc., to examine the possibilities, and Bill Petrocelli of Book Passage is leading a legislation committee to keep an eye on legal matters related to the possible merger. Crosby and his SCIBA counterpart, Andrea Vuleta, hope to have much more to share by their fall shows, scheduled for September 20-21 and September 27-29, respectively.

Noting that merging associations has been floated a few times before, mainly with "disastrous results and hurt feelings," Crosby explained that in this instance it has grown out of NCIBA and SCIBA collaborating on California-wide summer and holiday catalogues, the first of which was released in 2018.

The more the two associations have worked together, the more they've spotted certain redundancies that would be eliminated if there were a single association. And at the same time, a larger association would have more leverage in negotiations with venues, more weight when lobbying state and local legislators, and the ability to expand bookseller education and networking throughout the state.

In talks with members of both California associations, Crosby said he's heard mainly positive things, though booksellers have brought up worries about potentially losing some of their regional identity. Other concerns, meanwhile, include smaller stores possibly having to travel across the entire state of California.

"Looking at the market and how strong we are together, we become the regional that is surviving in the fifth-largest economy in the world," said Crosby. "There's a lot more sway in that."

Looking ahead, both associations plan to explore in more detail their members' concerns, with Crosby planning to visit Southern California soon to talk to booksellers there. He also hopes to hear from more booksellers throughout California about the possible merger, and can be reached at calvin@nciba.com.


Amulet Books: Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) by Lana Popovic


Loyalty Bookstore Launches Crowdfunding Campaign, Eyes Expansion

Loyalty Bookstore, the independent bookstore in Washington, D.C., with a focus on intersectional, feminist and diverse books, has launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $60,000.

According to owner Hannah Oliver Depp and her team, that money will go toward securing the original store's future in D.C.'s Petworth neighborhood, as well as opening a second, permanent location in Silver Spring, Md., this fall.

The Loyalty Bookstore team hopes to sign a lease in Silver Spring "immediately" and have the new space ready for an October opening. At the same time they plan to purchase a store vehicle for the new location, which would allow the team to take part in more offsite events like book fairs and festivals.

In Petworth, meanwhile, they plan to use a portion of that $60,000 to renovate the Reading Room, which is an event space that Loyalty Bookstore shares with a bar and restaurant called the Petworth Citizen, and to finish remodeling the store's exterior and entranceway.

Loyalty Bookstore is offering a variety of rewards to backers, from a bookstore-branded sticker and collection of buttons to a one-time 30% off shopping spree and a year of subscription boxes paired with "inscription on the Wall of Fealty."

Loyalty Bookstore opened in February of this year in the space previously occupied by Upshur Street Books. Depp bought Upshur Street Books from the store's founder and original owner in early 2019, after being the store's managing partner for several months, and reopened it following renovations and a name change. Loyalty Bookstore debuted as a pop-up shop run by Depp in Silver Spring last holiday season.


Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford


Kinokuniya U.S. Merges with NBC Stationery & Gifts

 

Effective June 1, Kinokuniya Book Stores of America has merged with NBC Stationery & Gifts, which operates seven Mai Do stationery shops in the U.S. The two companies are now doing business as Kinokuniya America and NBC America, respectively. Kinokuniya America has inherited all rights and obligations of NBC America.

According to Kinokuniya, the merger provides an "opportunity to enhance the vibrant atmosphere of its stores. NBC America has been providing highly designed stationery and gifts gathered from every corner of Japan and America, and could potentially increase Kinokuniya America's ties with popular Japanese companies and brands. In-store events related to the surrounding communities will be held regularly as well, in continued efforts to attract local customers."

Masashi Takai, chairman and president of parent company Kinokuniya Company Ltd., said that as a result of the merger, the number of stores directly managed by Kinokuniya America has increased from 12 to 19, while the number of Kinokuniya Book Stores in other countries has increased from 29 to 36 stores.


Berkley Books: Master Class by Christina Dalcher


Cressida Cowell Is New British Children's Laureate

Cressida Cowell, author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, as well as author of the Emily Brown picture books, has been named the new Waterstones children's laureate, succeeding Lauren Child. Managed by BookTrust, the position is awarded once every two years to "an eminent children's author or illustrator to honor outstanding achievement in their field."

"Books and reading are magic and this magic must be available to absolutely everyone," Cowell said, adding that she "will be a laureate who fights for books and children's interests with passion, conviction and action. Practical magic, empathy and creative intelligence, is the plan."

Noting that she has a "giant to-do list" to help ensure that books and reading are available to everyone, Cowell unveiled a charter asserting that every child has the right to:

  1. Read for the joy of it
  2. Access NEW books in schools, libraries and bookshops
  3. Have advice from a trained librarian or bookseller
  4. Own their OWN book
  5. See themselves reflected in a book
  6. Be read aloud to
  7. Have some choice in what they read
  8. Be creative for at least 15 minutes a week
  9. See an author event at least ONCE
  10. Have a planet to read on 

Kate Edwards, chair of the Waterstones Children's Laureate steering group and chair of the Waterstones Children's Laureate 2019–21 judging panel, said Cowell's "impressive canon of work, with broad reach and appeal, coupled with her impassioned advocacy for the right of every child to enjoy a childhood rich in storytelling, cemented our choice for the next Waterstones Children's Laureate."

BookTrust CEO Diana Gerald described the new laureate as "already an extraordinary advocate for children's reading, and I have no doubt having the laureate platform will only amplify her voice to help champion children's reading across the country and help to unlock their creativity."

Florentyna Martin, children's category manager at Waterstones, praised Cowell as "a sparkling ambassador for children's literature. Her combination of creativity, enthusiasm and determination are solid grounding to launch her new role, which we are delighted to sponsor. Children's books are at the heart of our bookshops and we've thoroughly enjoyed championing Cressida's stories from the outset, which have become a cornerstone in children's storytelling. We simply can't wait to work on Cressida's Laureateship and help to build the legacy she will undoubtedly create."


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


Obituary Note: David Sansing

David Sansing, who "dearly loved Mississippi and its history, and he wrote eloquently and often on the subject," died July 6, Mississippi Today reported. He was 86. A "kind, courtly gentleman," Sansing "was a scholar, a teacher, an author (of textbooks and history books), an orator, an encourager, and an avid listener."

One of Sansing's early students at the University of Mississippi was Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford. He said: "I learned so much. David was so engaging, so enthusiastic about what he taught. And I remember that he invited students to come visit him in his office for a one-on-one conversation. I took him up on it and I remember him looking me in the eyes and saying, 'You are a person who could make a difference in Mississippi.' "

When Sansing officially retired from Ole Miss in 1994, he began writing The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History and "never quit working or writing," Mississippi Today noted. He wrote three books in the last five years of his life, including The Other Mississippi: A State in Conflict with Itself, which "was about our state's better nature, the one the rest of the world rarely hears or reads about."

Sansing's other titles include Making Haste Slowly: The Troubled History of Higher Education in Mississippi; Mississippi Governors: Soldiers Statesmen Scholars Scoundrels; and A Troubled History: The Governance of Higher Education in Mississippi.

Neil White, who published Sansing's last three books at the Nautilus Publishing Company, observed: "It's a cliché, now, to say a death is like 'a library burning down,' but in the case of David Sansing, it's true. No one knew more about Mississippi history, its characters, and the stories that comprised the complex narrative of this strange state.... David gave us all an example of how to live. His enthusiasm was unabashed, childlike in the very best way, until the very end."


Notes

Image of the Day: Tomboy Bride

"Every bookstore has its local forever book, and for us, this is the one," said Daiva Chesonis, co-owner of the Between the Covers Bookstore in Telluride, Colo. The book is Tomboy Bride, first published 50 years ago, and available in a new edition featuring a foreword by Pam Houston, from West Margin Press.

According to the Telluride News, "Harriet Fish Backus wrote her iconic memoir about the trials and tribulations of being a young bride and mother at the Tomboy Mine high above Telluride in the early 1900s."

Chesonis reports that Tomboy Bride has been the store's top-selling title for years.

To celebrate, Between the Covers hosted a "Bride Fest," featuring "music and Victorian refreshments from Caroline Trask Norton's classic Rocky Mountain Cook Book (which has woodstove directions!) that Harriet herself faithfully used during her years up at Tomboy."

Pictured: Daiva Chesonis, Pamela Sante as the Tomboy Bride, and Pam Houston.


Call for Book Swag

Carl Lennertz is once again teaching 100 eager future publishing employees at the Denver Publishing Institute, and he'll use--in the curriculum and for display each day--every children's and adult marketing item publishers can send: AREs, books, bookmarks, totes, pins, stickers, etc. The students love it all, are eager readers, and get to see all aspects of promotional materials this way. Items should arrive after July 10 and before July 21. Any questions: carl.lennertz@cbcbooks.org.

Ship to:

Jennifer Conder
Publishing Institute
University of Denver
2000 East Asbury Ave.
Denver, CO 80208
ATTN: CARL LENNERTZ


Personnel Changes at Algonquin and Workman

At Algonquin and Workman Publishing:

Randall Lotowycz has joined Algonquin as director of marketing and sales. Most recently, he was sales director of Workman, where he oversaw Amazon and all retail e-book business. He first joined Workman Publishing in 2006 as editorial assistant for the Workman imprint. In 2008, he became national accounts assistant, and later associate, in the sales department, working across all imprints. In 2010, he moved to the special markets team as mail order & specialty wholesale manager and then, in 2011, became account manager for Amazon. He has also written several books: The Superhero Playbook, to be published by Duo Press in October as well as the DC Comics Super Heroes and Villains Fandex. He also invented the Darts! magnetic wall calendar, which led to the spin-off The Mini Book of Mini Darts.

Lauren Moseley has been promoted to associate director of marketing for Algonquin. Most recently she was marketing manager and earlier was assistant marketing manager and publicity assistant for Algonquin. She is also a poet and recipient of writing fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Hewnoaks Artist Colony. Her debut poetry collection, Big Windows, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2018.

Christian Westermann has joined the trade sales department as assistant manager, trade sales and retail marketing, where he will work across all Workman Publishing imprints, with a focus on sales to independent bookstores. He was formerly sales and marketing manager at Europa Editions.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Michael Bennet on the View

Tomorrow:
The View: Senator Michael Bennet, author of The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Age of Broken Politics (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27, 9780802147813).


TV: George R.R. Martin on GoT Prequel

George R.R. Martin "gave some intriguing hints about the state of Westeros during this time period, and even noted a possible new title" in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly about showrunner Jane Goldman's pilot for HBO's Game of Thrones prequel, which is currently filming in Northern Ireland. Among the reveals:

  1. Westeros is divided into roughly 100 kingdoms in the prequel.
  2. There are Starks and direwolves.
  3. There will not be any Lannisters--at least not at first...
  4. It's a true ensemble.
  5. The show might get a slightly different title from the one you're expecting.

"We talk about the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; there were Seven Kingdoms at the time of Aegon's Conquest," Martin said. "But if you go back further then there are nine kingdoms, and 12 kingdoms, and eventually you get back to where there are a hundred kingdoms--petty kingdoms--and that's the era we're talking about here."

The prequel's title could be Martin's preference, The Long Night, or not: "I heard a suggestion that it could be called The Longest Night, which is a variant I wouldn't mind. That would be pretty good."



Books & Authors

Awards: Caine, Pritzker Winners

Lesley Nneka Arimah of Nigeria won the £10,000 (about $12,470) Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story "Skinned," published in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (#53).

Chair of judges Peter Kimani described the winning work as "a unique retake of women's struggle for inclusion in a society regulated by rituals. Lesley Nneka Arimah's 'Skinned' defamiliarizes the familiar to topple social hierarchies, challenge traditions and envision new possibilities for women of the world. Using a sprightly diction, she invents a dystopian universe inhabited by unforgettable characters where friendship is tested, innocence is lost, and readers gain a new understanding of life."

Arimah is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing and lives in Las Vegas, Nev., where she is working on a novel.

---

Military historian, professor, and author Dr. John H. Morrow, Jr. has won the $100,000 2019 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Museum & Library founder & chair Jennifer N. Pritzker, a retired colonel in the Illinois National Guard, will present Morrow with the award at the organization's annual Liberty Gala on November 2 in Chicago.

Morrow is the author or co-author of eight publications, including The Great War: An Imperial History, The Great War in the Air, Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War (co-authored with Jeffrey T. Sammons) and German Airpower in World War I, among others. He is the Franklin Professor and Chair of the History Department at University of Georgia and has taught at the National War College, the Air War College, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Dr. Rob Havers, president and CEO of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library, commented: "The screening committee's recommendations and Colonel Pritzker's selection speaks to Dr. Morrow's years of dedication to the field of military history. For the depth of his writing and research, his years of dedication and service to the field of military history, for his academic achievements including his commitment to shaping the minds of the next generation of military historians, Dr. Morrow stands as a deserving recipient of the 2019 Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. We are grateful for his devotion to the field and are proud to shine a light on his exemplary work in military history."


Reading with... Katia Raina

photo: Romain Raina

Katia Raina is a former journalist who emigrated from Russia at the age of 15. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives with her family near Washington, D.C., where she teaches middle-school English. Her debut YA novel, Castle of Concrete (New Europe Books, June 11, 2019), is set in Soviet Russia in its final year, 1991--a time of political upheaval, demonstrations and divisive prejudice against Jews.

On your nightstand now:

All the Rivers by Dorit Rabinyan, about an Israeli Jew in New York City falling in love with an Arab artist from Palestine. When I discovered that the Israeli Ministry of Education banned this book from being taught in high schools, I had to learn more. [Ed. Note: The book was removed from the curriculum, but can be taught in advanced literature classes.]

Favorite book when you were a child:

Fairytales! The Brothers Grimm, I was never scared of all the terrible darkness. Hans Christian Andersen: yes to the household objects with feelings; welcome, misunderstood outsiders; bring on the anguish, so sweetly and romantically rendered! Russian fairytales: how satisfying to watch the clever and wise heroines outsmart ancient monsters!

Your top five authors:

Ray Bradbury for imagination. J.K. Rowling for how deeply she made me care about Harry. Ibi Zoboi, I still can't stop gushing about American Street, a tale so dark, a character so sympathetic, the setting so rich, the truth so deep. A.S. King, she really knows how to shake up a story. Benjamin Alire Sáenz for his vulnerable tales of friendship and romance.

Book you've faked reading:

Les Misérables. In Russia I grew up on little Cosette's story: she was the perfect Cinderella figure for the Soviet youth. But her story was an excerpt from Victor Hugo's chateau of a tome. Recently, I attempted to conquer the whole thing, all 1,400 unabridged pages. I've gotten through maybe 800. The challenge was making it past the telling parts: chapters upon chapters of description, philosophy, history. When it was an actual story moving on the page, of course, I was riveted. Hugo, I am so sorry! I know you are a genius! Should I try it again?

 

Book you're an evangelist for:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert isn't just perfect for any writer or artist, it's a guide for life.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis. The stars blinking at me on the cover across the purple sky. The upside-down boy and girl silhouettes, the tension of the almost-kiss. It introduced me to the book that had everything I love: a weird world, a giant ship hurtling past the stars, a romance all tangled up in lies, secrets and mysteries.

Book you hid from your parents:

Children's books and fairytales! I shoved these under the pillow when my grandma came into my bedroom, because otherwise she'd chide me for reading baby books. My beloved babushka would laugh now if she were alive, seeing how I still read books too young for my age!

Book that changed your life:

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. I blame this book for making me start my writing career with a tortured young adult romance. I blame this book for making me so boy-crazy that I had to find the love of my life as young as possible, and marry him. I blame this book for infecting me with a love for grand gesture and adventure!

Favorite line from a book:

"The Universe buries strange jewels in all of us, and then stands back to see if we can find them." --from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Five books you'll never part with:

I don't think of books as objects. More magical than that, they live inside my mind and belong inside my soul. Here are my five that will always be a part of me:

1 & 2. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: challenging, gorgeous, inspiring!

3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4. A Step from Heaven by An Na. This story of a young Korean immigrant trying to find herself in America is filled with poetry, pain, grace and truth.

5: Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Being half-Russian, half-Jew, I cannot resist the idea of a self-deprecating, nerdy Indigenous teen trying to "make it" in an all-white school.

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

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Black magic in Stalin's 1930s, crazy comedy involving Satan and his goons and heart-wrenching love... I fell hard for it all at 13 years old. The last time I re-read it, I made a shocking and unfortunate discovery. The anti-Semitic characterization and tone--how could I have missed it before? It took me a while to get over the betrayal, to decide that the book was going to remain a masterpiece in my eyes, ugly spots of hate notwithstanding. But I do kind of wish I could read it again, in original Russian, with that innocent and excited 13-year-old's heart.

Which character you relate to most:

In The Three Musketeers, it isn't the sweet and swoony Constance that comes to mind, but D'Artagnan himself. Brash, adventurous, a bit crude and insecure, he hides it well underneath all that bravado. A loyal friend and fiercely devoted lover, he is an outsider who has a lot to learn and a lot to prove. That's me. Changing locales, careers, writing genres, I hop from one adventure to another, always with something new to prove and to learn.

Books that made you want to become a writer:

The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury, followed by his The Martian Chronicles. It didn't get me writing immediately. But it got me dreaming. And from there, writing is only a block away.


Book Review

Children's Review: Each Tiny Spark

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya (Kokila/Penguin, $16.99 hardcover, 336p., ages 10-up, 9780451479723, August 6, 2019)

Emilia's city is going through a transition. The middle school in the Park View neighborhood of Merryville, near Atlanta, is overcrowded, and the school board plans to resolve the issue by redistricting. Clarissa, Emilia's best friend, says her mother is against the proposition because "it's not a good idea to overcrowd our school just because another one is at capacity." However, when she talks with Emilia's abuela about job searching, Clarissa's mother's grumbling suggests a different concern: "Seems like I'll have to take Spanish classes if I want a real job." Many of Park View's inhabitants are Spanish-speaking, and people like Clarissa's mom feel that Spanish--and those who speak it--is encroaching upon their territory.

Emilia, too, is dealing with changes. Her father is coming back from deployment and her mother is leaving for a job interview in San Francisco. She'll be gone only for a week, but Emilia, who has Inattentive Type ADHD and sometimes has "a hard time organizing and paying attention," relies upon her mother to help her plan her school work. Abuela (her papi's mother) also lives with them, but Emilia knows she won't get the same kind of support from Abuela that she gets from Mom. Also, Papi is coming home after being gone for almost a year. "We hardly ever spoke the whole time he was away," Emilia thinks, and she's sore because, even though she sent him tons of video messages, he never responded. "It feels like my whole life is changing. Like everything that's normal is becoming the opposite."

When Emilia is assigned a school project to create a visitor's guide for Merryville, she learns more about the history of her city and how it came to have a thriving Spanish-speaking community. This knowledge doesn't just affect her relationships with Clarissa and her other best friend, Gustavo (who lives in Park View and attends Merryville Middle)--it opens Emilia's eyes to the inequity all around her.

Pura Belpré Honor-winner Pablo Cartaya (The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora) confidently and expertly shows in Each Tiny Spark how politics are inextricable from the personal. Emilia's Cuban-American family, which speaks a mix of Spanish and English, deals with racial and religious politics every day. One such example is Catholic Abuela's eagerness to talk about Emilia's European ancestry (downplaying her Cuban roots) while Emilia's mother fights to make sure her daughter connects with her own Yoruba roots and "the West African blood coursing through her veins." Religion and colorism, PTSD and neurodivergence, racism... all of it is personal and all of it affects Emilia directly. Cartaya's fluid text never shows the work that must have been involved in so consciously building a world that reads this true. Each Tiny Spark is an elegantly wrought middle-grade novel that has the potential to speak directly to any reader. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Twelve-year-old Emilia is unsettled by the changes occurring in both her family and her town in Pablo Cartaya's intricate, wise Each Tiny Spark.


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