Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 5, 2019

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Beverly, Mass.'s Cabot Street Books & Cards Sold, Now Copper Dog Books

Meg Wasmer and Julie Karaganis have purchased Cabot Street Books & Cards in Beverly, Mass., from John Hugo, the owner of HugoBooks, which includes the Spirit of '76 Bookstore and Cardshop in Marblehead, the Andover Bookstore and Campus Collection in Andover, and the Book Rack in Newburyport. The new owners are renaming the store Copper Dog Books. The 1,200-square-foot store is in the Beverly Arts District.

Wasmer has been the manager of Cabot Street Books since the store opened in November 2016. She has worked in the book industry for 13 years, including a stint at Borders Books & Music, and has served on the Advisory Council of the New England Independent Booksellers Association.

Meg Wasmer and Julie Karaganis

Karaganis has been a bookseller at the store for the past two years. She has also worked at Borders, was a management consultant and has an MBA.

"This next chapter is a dream come true and we're honored to be entrusted with the future of the bookstore we cultivated together," Wasmer said. "We're excited and nervous and totally committed to offering Beverly the best books, cards, or gifts."

Saying that they were "only able to scrape together the purchase price" for the store, the new owners have launched an IndieGoGo campaign with a goal of $15,000 that will be used for a variety of purposes, including a range of fees, permits and licenses; graphic design; marketing; fixtures and supplies; branded merchandise; and new inventory--and to "make the look and feel of the store more vibrant and hip (just like Beverly!)." So far the campaign has raised more than $6,000 for Copper Dog Books.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Rediscovered Books, Boise, Idaho, Opening Third Store

Rediscovered Books, Boise, Idaho, is opening a third location, at Indian Creek in nearby Caldwell, in November, Boise Weekly reported.

The new location will in many ways "similar to its downtown Boise store, with a substantial stock of children's and contemporary literature," the Weekly wrote. "At 3,000 square feet, the footprints of the downtown Boise and Caldwell locations will be nearly identical, and both will double as literary event spaces."

At the same time, there are some differences: the new bookstore "has been tailored to the west end of the Treasure Valley, with bilingual staff members and a large selection of Spanish-language books."

Co-owner Laura DeLaney commented: "I think that part of having a conversation around books and having a place where you can create a connection--speaking the same language really helps. And there is a really significant Spanish-speaking population in Caldwell. That's what the world looks like there. We're not taking a cookie cutter and taking our store that's in downtown Boise and landing it in downtown Caldwell."

Last year, Rediscovered bought Rainbow Books, which became Rediscovered's second location.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

WHSmith Opens Flagship Store in Gatwick Airport

WHSmith has opened a new, roughly 1,830-square-foot flagship store in Gatwick Airport, DFNI Frontier reported.

The concept store, officially called "The Bookshop by WHSmith," is the largest of the retailer's 12 standalone shops in the U.K. and is the third WHSmith store in Gatwick Airport. The inventory features everything from mass market titles to children's literature.

New additions include a "Recommended Reads" section with staff favorites and handwritten shelf talkers, and the "Read Around the World" section, where customers can find books related to the countries they're traveling to.

"We're delighted to be launching our flagship 'The Bookshop by WHSmith' at Gatwick North," said WHSmith travel managing director Toby Keir. "Such an exciting and completely unique bookshop not only supports our strong relationship with Gatwick but builds on our position as a world-class bookseller as we continue to deliver fantastic choice and recommendations to our traveling customers."

Named British Book Retailer of the Year this year, WH Smith has some 1,400 shops that are primarily at airports, train stations, downtowns, highway stops and hospitals, and sells books, stationery, magazines, newspapers, entertainment and travel products, and some food. Most of its stores are in the U.K., although it has operations in some 28 other countries, mostly in airports. At various times, WH Smith owned Waterstones and Hodder Headline. Last year it bought InMotion, the digital accessories retailer that operates in U.S. airports, and it came close to buying Barnes & Noble.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Obituary Note: Martin Mayer

Martin Mayer, an author, journalist and critic "of remarkable diversity who wrote more than 40 books and hundreds of articles for laymen that demystified lawyers, banking, thorny school problems and the raptures of classical music," died August 1, the New York Times reported. He was 91.

Describing himself as "an old-time freelancer," Mayer "churned out three novels; wrote columns for Esquire magazine; was a music critic for a British journal; wrote for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and a dozen other periodicals; composed reports for the Ford, Carnegie and Kettering Foundations; was chairman of a local school board in New York; and served on White House panels in the Kennedy and Reagan administrations," the Times noted.

After publishing his first novel, The Experts, in 1955, Mayer embarked on what he called the nonfiction writer's dream--"writing pretty much what I want to write, as I want to write it." His books include Madison Avenue, U.S.A. (1958), Wall Street: Men and Money (1960), The Schools (1961), The Lawyers (1967), About Television (1972), The Bankers (1974), The Builders: Houses, People, Neighborhoods, Governments, Money (1978), The Diplomats (1983) and The Bankers: The Next Generation (1997). The Times noted that one of his "most ambitious projects detailed New York's 1968 teachers strike" and led to his book The Teachers Strike: New York, 1968 (1969).

In All You Know Is Facts (1969), Mayer called writing for magazines a craft, but not an art. Gerald Walker wrote in the New York Times Book Review: "Self-effacing remarks, from a writer acknowledged as one of the best in the field. But he has a point. One doesn't read Mayer primarily for pleasure, or insight, or to be moved. One reads him to understand--to find out who did what, why and when."


Image of the Day: Snape at Story House

The Story House, a mobile bookstore in a trolley bus, which also has a small storefront location within Dawson's Market in Rockville Town Center, Md., last week hosted a birthday party for Harry Potter. About 180 people attended the event, which featured a Severus Snape impersonator.

Happy 40th Birthday, Yellowknife Book Cellar


Congratulations to "Canada's most northern independent bookstore," the Yellowknife Book Cellar in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last Friday with a barbecue and sidewalk sale "to say thanks to the community and staff for supporting the store for these many years."

"Things have changed. But overall, the printed word still seems to be important to people," owner Judith Drinnan told Cabin Radio, recalling that when she first arrived in Yellowknife, "she was dismayed to find the town without a proper bookshop and with few offerings at the library.... When she began taking the step from dream to reality for the store, she got pushback from banks who said they wouldn't lend her money as the town already had a bookstore--"more of a stationery store"--so she offered to buy that store. The owner first refused, but later gave her the green light to buy."

"I had no business experience and no money, basically," Drinnan said. "So we started with $8,000, which was insanity. I should have known from that moment that it was just... this is never gonna work.... The only thing I could tell you is that I felt it should be comfortable. Today I would describe this feeling like an old, well-worn shoe. You know you should really feel comfortable there."

The store quickly became what Drinnan described as a "listening post," where "I thought sometimes we were a counseling service more than a bookstore"; as well as a space that would foster and sell more and more northern writing by northern authors. The NorthWords Writers' Festival, which Drinnan and author Richard Van Camp were instrumental in getting off the ground, has now been running for 13 years.

Celebrating her four decades in business, Drinnan said: "Independence can work and we don't all want to be Walmart or Shoppers Drug Mart. We want some kind of individuality."

Personnel Changes at Dutton

Caroline Payne has been promoted to marketing coordinator at Dutton.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tommy Orange on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Brian Cox, co-author of The Planets (William Collins, $34.99, 9780007488841).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Sara Lynn Cauchon, author of The Domestic Geek's Meals Made Easy: A Fresh, Fuss-Free Approach to Healthy Cooking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9781328525772).

Good Morning America: Candace Bushnell, author of Is There Still Sex in the City? (Grove Press, $26, 9780802147264).

Also on GMA: Linsey Davis, author of One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different (Zonderkidz, $17.99, 9780310767855).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Tommy Orange, author of There There (Vintage, $16, 9780525436140).

TV: The Stand

The upcoming nine-episode limited series adaptation of The Stand on CBS All Access "will bring a twist that will have fans buzzing--a new ending crafted by [Stephen] King," Deadline reported. Although the novel was previously adapted as a 1994 ABC miniseries, for the new version King will write the last episode, providing "a new coda that won't be found in the book," according to the creators. The Stand stars James Marsden, Amber Heard, Odessa Young and Henry Zaga.

"For fans of the book who have wondered what became of the survivors of the stand, this episode will contain a story that takes us beyond the book to answer those questions," said CBS All Access executive v-p Julie McNamara. "A continuation to The Stand; we can't wait to share that with the world."

The limited series is written by Josh Boone and Ben Cavell. Deadline noted that Boone "had developed a relationship with King while trying for years to mount a screen adaptation of The Stand as a movie or series of movies. Out of the duo's discussions came the idea for the new act penned by King."

Books & Authors

Awards: Washington State Finalists

Finalists for the 2019 Washington State Book Awards, which honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2018 and is sponsored by the Washington Center for the Book, have been announced. To see the nominees in eight categories, click here.

Book Review

Review: The Starlet and the Spy

The Starlet and the Spy by Ji-Min Lee, trans. by Chi-Young Kim (Harper Paperbacks, $15.99 paperback, 192p., 9780062930262, September 10, 2019)

"I go to work thinking of death. Hardly anyone in Seoul is happy during the morning commute, but I'm certain I'm one of the most miserable."

At the opening of Ji-Min Lee's The Starlet and the Spy, Alice J. Kim works as a translator for the American forces a year after the armistice and ceasefire. Her life and outlook are as dour as these introductory lines represent: the traumas of the war have left her hopeless and joyless, taking her day-to-day life as a series of tasks to be completed. When her boss tells her about an upcoming assignment, he expects she'll feel excited and honored to serve as escort, interpreter and handler for Marilyn Monroe, on a tour to entertain American troops. Alice is unmoved--what does she care for an American movie star?

During the course of four days with the bombshell, however, Alice will be forced to broaden her perspective on her own life and options. Her two former lovers both reappear, shaking her understanding of what exactly happened during the war. There seems the hint of a chance that she will find someone she's lost. As Alice struggles with her will to live, the American beauty surprises her. Stunning, sexy, charismatic, yes; but Monroe is also unexpectedly approachable. And she will make a small but essential difference in the life of the less famous woman.

Lee's novel is rooted in historical fact and inspired by two photographs: one of Monroe performing for American troops, in a slinky dress, in the snow; the other of an unknown female Korean interpreter. It is the intersection of these two lives that interests her. Two women, one famous, the other a novelist's blank slate. What if they had met?

The Starlet and the Spy is bleak but whimsical and, yes, hopeful. Seoul has been beaten down; food is scarce and orphanages overflow. Alice dyes her hair with beer and steals pornography from work to sell to her landlady. A former artist, she doesn't draw anymore; being forced to create endless portraits of Stalin during the war has dulled her passion, another loss that it seems she will not recover from. But she may have more friends than she thinks she does. Chi-Young Kim's translation is both spare and emotionally evocative, suiting a narrator who is simultaneously desolate and childishly yearning.

Born of a curiosity about human relationships in unusual times, The Starlet and the Spy asks the questions: What if we met across a divide? What if a despairing young Korean woman reached into Marilyn Monroe's makeup bag for a lipstick, or a way out? In a decidedly optimistic turn, Lee leaves her ending open, and her reader free to wonder what might be next for Alice. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: In 1954 Seoul, a war-weary young Korean woman and Marilyn Monroe share a brief but crucial sojourn, and learn they have more in common than they thought.

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