Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 31, 2019: Maximum Shelf: The Furies

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 31, 2019


Lion Forge: No Ivy League by Hazel Newlevant

Other Press: Labyrinth by Burhan Sonmez

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

News

Waterstones Giving 4% Bonus to Staff

 

After what managing director James Daunt called a "pretty good" year "driven above all by better book sales," Waterstones is planning to give a 4% bonus to staff, "subject to the retailer's final audited results" for the fiscal year, the Bookseller reported. The bonus will likely be paid in August.

Daunt said that Waterstones owner, Elliott Advisors, approved the bonus. Elliott is the U.K. branch of Elliott Management, which is in the process of buying Barnes & Noble.

In a message to staff, Daunt said: "I am very pleased that this has been approved by our new owners, and with the generosity of the amount. It is wholly deserved and recognises the hard work and dedication that allows Waterstones to flourish. Thank you to all."

Daunt said fiscal year results were helped by "some strong publishing, notably of Becoming by Michelle Obama" as well as because "enough of our shops were simply a little bit better than a year earlier. It is this steady improvement, above all to our bookselling friendliness, upon which we depend to advance." He added that W.com and Café W had made "great strides" and "overall we kept a sensible control on costs."

In March, almost 9,500 Waterstones staff signed an online petition to Daunt calling for "a real living wage," which it defined as £10.55 (about $12.85) an hour for the Greater London area and £9 ($10.95) elsewhere. While expressing sympathy, Daunt said that this was a challenging target and that the company was trying "to deliver good pay and career progression."


Amulet Books: In the Hall with the Knife: A Clue Mystery, Book One by Diana Peterfreund


Fulton Street Books & Coffee Coming to Tulsa, Okla.

Onikah Asamoa-Caesar, a former teacher and strategy director at a Tulsa, Okla., nonprofit aimed at early childhood education and parent engagement, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help fund a new independent bookstore that she hopes to open later this year, Tulsa World reported.

Asamoa-Caesar is looking to raise $20,000 to help open her store, which she plans to call Fulton Street Books & Coffee. So far, she's raised nearly $12,500 with more than 45 days to go, and that money is earmarked for a POS system and her opening inventory. Should she raise more than $20,000, she'll put the additional money toward community programming and constructing a garden/patio area for her building.

 

Fulton Street Books & Coffee will reside in a 1,600-square-foot space and will focus on literacy, diversity and community. Asamoa-Caesar told Tulsa World that at least 70% of the store's titles will be written by or feature people of color.

"When I was teaching, it was hard to find books that reflected my students," she said. "I had students who spoke Spanish at home. I had students that had moved from different countries. Even for my students who lived in north Tulsa, it was still hard to find representation for them."

She added that she hopes her customers will feel a sense of ownership in the store and community space, saying: "It's important for me to have the folks who are going to frequent it and people who are helping to build it to be a part of it at this stage."

Asamoa-Caesar explained that the store's name comes from Fulton Street in Elizabeth, N.J., where her paternal grandmother lived. She grew up in foster care and reconnected with her father's side of the family while she was in college.

"Fulton Street became a symbol of home for me," Asamoa-Caesar said. "I want to share that feeling with everyone who walks in our doors."


Quirk Books: For Your Consideration: Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson by Tres Dean, For Your Consideration: Keanu Reeves by Larissa Zageris and Kitty Curran


Update: Austin's Resistencia Bookstore Raising Money, Moving Out

Resistencia Bookstore, a program of the nonprofit organization Red Salmon Arts that works with indigenous neighborhoods in Austin, Tex., is leaving its space in the city's East Cesar Chavez neighborhood today, the Statesman reported.

Earlier this month Red Salmon Arts announced that it would have to move following a massive rent hike. To help support the move Red Salmon launched a FundRazr campaign that has since raised nearly $4,700 out of a $30,000 goal, with more than a month left to go. The funds will go toward covering moving expenses, purchasing or renting a new space, paying staff.

Resistencia held its last event in that space, called "Living Brown: A Day of Cultural Reconnection and Celebration," on Saturday. The program included a day's worth of activities related to mental wellness and cultural empowerment, led by the Institute of Chicana/o Psychology.

Gilbert Rivera, board president of Red Salmon Arts, told the Statesman: "For a small nonprofit surviving (mostly) on city funding, it's devastating that we can't afford to move anywhere in Central Austin. Many of our friends have faced this with their homes, business people have also felt the sting of gentrification and, it's not only us, but other cultural art organizations trying find spaces."


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.19.19


Amazon Opening Warehouse in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Amazon is opening a warehouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., its 15th operations facility in Pennsylvania. The warehouse will have more than one million square feet, and about 800 employees will pick, pack and ship larger customer items, such as sports equipment, patio furniture, kayaks and larger home goods, the company said.

Governor Tom Wolf commented: "It's a great win any time a business comes in and pledges to create 800 new jobs. This is a significant investment for Pennsylvania and I applaud Amazon for selecting our commonwealth as the location for this facility."

Pittsburgh Regional Alliance president Mark A. Thomas added: "A new, from-the-ground-up fulfillment center will increase the count of several local Amazon facilities--including a growing engineering center--that provide, or will provide, thousands of well-paying jobs in the region."


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


Notes

Image of the Day: Andrea Bobotis at Fiction Addiction

Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C., hosted Andrea Bobotis, whose debut novel is The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt (Sourcebooks Landmark). A teacher of creative writing to youth at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colo., Bobotis is a native of South Carolina.


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


Michelle Haring: RWA's Bookseller of the Year

Michelle Haring

Congratulations to Michelle Haring, owner for 21 years of Cupboard Maker Books, Enola, Pa., who has been named Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year by the Romance Writers of America. RWA wrote that Haring reads approximately a book per day, most of them romance novels. Her store hosts seven book clubs, including a romance book club, and Haring is also a member of Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers. At her store, "book signings occur several times a month and include literary-themed parties and multi-author signings."

Haring told Penn Live that the romance genre "has changed since the '80s." In addition to Fabio no longer appearing on book covers, the genre has become far more diverse, both in terms of writers and readers. Asked what's so appealing about the genre, Haring answered with a quote from writer Damon Suede, saying "romance is the literature of hope." She added: "I'm not making any kind of political statement. But with everything going on right now, with the world the way it is, isn't hope a nice idea?"


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


Chalkboard of the Day: Wind City Books

The artists at Wind City Books, Casper, Wyo., created this colorful chalkboard, which reads:

"Aren't bookshops strange? Sitting there with quiet menace as if they were just a shop and not an entry point to 30,000 different universes??? --Matt Haig"


Noname's Book Club Goes Live

Chicago rapper Noname has officially launched Noname's Book Club, an online book club that will "highlight progressive work from writers of Color and writers within the LGBTQ community."

The first two book club picks are Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire and the essay collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. Noname's debut album, Room 25, was released last September.


Personnel Changes at Chronicle; JKS Communications

At Chronicle Books:

Kate Herman has joined the company as senior sales manager. Previously she was director of key accounts & new business at Galison.

Eva Zimmerman has been hired as a publicist for children's. Previously she worked at her own freelance publicity company, Eva Zimmerman PR, and the Perseus Book Group.

---

At JKS Communications:

Jennifer Vance has joined the literary publicity firm as publicist. She was formerly a designer and copy editor at the Advocate (Baton Rouge and New Orleans).

Jackie Karneth has become a publicist. She had been an intern.

Brittany Kennel has joined the firm as digital marketing specialist.


Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin Winner

Indigenous author Melissa Lucashenko has won the 2019 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's most prestigious literary award, for Too Much Lip (University of Queensland Press). The organizers said the winning title "lays open the wounds of generational trauma and the restorative power of country, culture and belonging." Lucashenko receives A$60,000 (about US$41,245).

Chair of judges Richard Neville added: "Too Much Lip is driven by personal experience, historical injustice, anger and what in Indigenous vernacular could be described as 'deadly Blak' humour. Lucashenko weaves a (sometimes) fabulous tale with the very real politics of cultural survival to offer a story of hope and redemption for all Australians."


Reading with... Alexander Tilney

photo: Sammy Tunis

Alexander Tilney is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony. His writing has appeared in the Southwest Review, the Journal of the Office for Creative Research and Gelf magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his partner, theater artist Sarah Hughes. His first novel, The Expectations, was just published by Little, Brown.

On your nightstand now:

Oh my poor, long-suffering nightstand. The ones I'm actually reading are The Cave Painters by Gregory Curtis (an introduction to the pre-agricultural cave paintings of Europe) and the outstanding Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. Other than that, my nightstand is an exhibit of my failed aspirations.

Favorite book when you were a child:

All of Hergé's Tintin comic books. I'm very conflicted about them: they are racist both in their depictions of non-Europeans and in their white-savior storylines. But the overflowing love for the physical world on display in the drawings is intensely moving, and the stories and characters are just exciting and fun. I also found them after my family moved to England when I was young: I felt very out-of-place and vulnerable then, and so having a character I could relate to made the Tintin books almost survival supplies for me.

Your top five authors:

This is an impossible question! Here are five that make me desperate to write my own small things:

Marilynne Robinson makes life glow without being all precious about it.

Leo Tolstoy. Boring but true. I always have the sense that reality is more important for Tolstoy than making a flawless book, and I love that impulse.

James Baldwin is just simply a giant. His essays so convincingly ask, "What if this culture I'm being asked to assimilate into isn't so great and I don't want to be part of it?" And therefore, I asked myself for the first time, "Would I have chosen to be part of this culture?" Giovanni's Room was also very important for me, and let me discover one of the things I keep writing about: the danger of isolating parts of yourself. Neither he nor John Cheever (another favorite) went to college, which is also a wonderful slap in the face during the recent admissions scandal. Baldwin had in fact never set foot on a college campus until after Go Tell It on the Mountain was published! What a badass.

Bernard Malamud. Love for language and people just drips off his books.

Amy Hempel. I usually have a hard time with books of short stories--each one is over just as I've become really invested. But Hempel has the most amazing ability to make fiction feel lived in, surprising and disappointing and then meaningful again the way my own experience feels. I revere her.

Book you've faked reading:

I have definitely led people to believe that I've read Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, and that is not the case. Also, The Faerie Queene. I know you shouldn't talk sh*t about other authors, but I do not like Edmund Spenser.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson. How can a book about the worst of human nature be so funny? Or maybe it couldn't be any other way?

Book you've bought for the cover:

Those mid-'90 Vintage paperbacks, especially the Faulkner ones. I thought they looked cool and would make me seem smart.

Book you hid from your parents:

I hid many things from my parents, but never books. My dad's mother died of polio when he was seven (please vaccinate your kids!), and to survive he became absorbed in books until he emerged again. So I think I could have brought home any book on earth, no matter how depraved, and he would have said, "Let me read it after you."

Book that changed your life:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I know this is a very compromised choice, both because of Wallace's behavior and because of his fans. Nevertheless, when I read Infinite Jest at age 19, I had no choice but to try to be a writer, and that qualifies as a life change. I also had to learn through hard experience that my natural voice is nothing like Wallace's, and that was an important life change, too.

Favorite line from a book:

I'm intentionally altering a quote from Geoff Dyer's brilliant and vexing book about jazz musicians, But Beautiful: "Artists are those who turn whatever happens to them to their advantage." I like this because a) it makes me feel like a warrior, and b) it also means that the separation our culture puts between "real artists" and "people who are awake to their life" is bullsh*t. I think you can be just as much an artist without a recording contract or a painting hanging in a gallery.

Five books you'll never part with:

The Stories of John Cheever
Look at Me
by Jennifer Egan
Paris Trout
by Pete Dexter
Some Prefer Nettles
by Junichiro Tanizaki
Kitchen Confidential
by Anthony Bourdain

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

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Age 12 was not the right time for me to have this assigned to me, and it's a cornerstone for about half a dozen of the writers I most respect. I know it's going to feel like the first time when I read it this time.

Advice you would have given yourself a decade ago:

It takes as long as it takes.



Book Review

Children's Review: Cornelia and the Jungle Machine

Cornelia and the Jungle Machine by Nora Brech (Gecko Press, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-7, 9781776572595, September 3, 2019)

"I don't want to live here," says Cornelia.

A moving truck sits on the lawn of a large, gloomy house. Cornelia, slumped in a chair, looks around a room cluttered with musty antiques, hunting trophies and dour-looking portraits. "There's no one to play with." When she vents her dissatisfaction to her stressed parents (who are busy unpacking and painting their new home), they suggest that "if [she's] not going to help," she should "go and have a look around outside."

Meandering down the path from her front door, along with her scruffy gray dog, Cornelia crosses an isolated island-of-a-hill, down to a sea of dense, menacing trees. With a closer look, however, she can see signs of fun: a treehouse is visible, as are plenty of birdhouses and a colorful array of the feathered friends who live in them. A long rope ladder descends, and Cornelia hangs onto her dog as she climbs up. And up and up...

...into an increasingly whimsical world. A boy named Frederik, wearing an eyepatch and a huge grin, waves at her from a hammock on the deck of an elaborate, nautical-themed treehouse. Earlier glimpses through the trees did not do it justice. With telescopes, slides, swings and numerous outlandish outbuildings to explore, this is a homestead of which adventurous children can only dream. Frederik welcomes Cornelia inside, where he lives with his many inventions. The "best" by far is a huge metal contraption built into an alcove. This "Jungle Machine" does exactly what its name would suggest: at the merest touch, a jungle is conjured, complete with exotic birds and animals, fruits, vines and a river to sail along--all the way home to a dock right outside Cornelia's gate. When she asks if she can visit again tomorrow, Frederik invites her to come back "every day" if she wishes. Before going inside, Cornelia suggests to her dog that they not tell her parents, who "won't believe us anyway."

Illustrative details abound in this atmospheric picture book of a mere 112 words, all of them dialogue. Brech perfectly depicts an oversized, overstuffed gothic-looking mansion and the frustration of its new young inhabitant, who is small in comparison, with the house, its rooms and even the furniture looming over her. Colors brighten as Cornelia's world expands, and both the forest and Frederik's tree-based home seem to contain more light and air. At the end of this mysterious, magical day, Cornelia, it seems, really does want to "live here." --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI

Shelf Talker: A girl feels oppressed by her new home, until she discovers her young neighbor and his wild inventions in a treehouse next door.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in July

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during July:

Fiction
1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
2. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. Daisy Jones & The Six Taylor by Jenkins Reid
4. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
5. Circe by Madeline Miller
6. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
7. Normal People by Sally Rooney
8. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
9. Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
10. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
        
Nonfiction        
1. Educated by Tara Westover
2. Becoming by Michelle Obama
3. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo
4. Calypso by David Sedaris
5. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
6. Stay Sexy & Don't Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff
7. Furious Hours by Casey Cep
8. How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
9. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
10. The Library Book by Susan Orlean


AuthorBuzz: Revell: The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels
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