Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Random House Books for Young Readers: Lights, Camera, Middle School! (Babymouse Tales from the Locker #1) by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Greenwillow Books: Nothing by Annie Barrows

Time Inc. Books: BookExpo Events

Wednesday Books: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Bloomsbury: BookExpo Titles

Little, Brown and Company: The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson

Quotation of the Day

'A Place Where You Explore, Encounter New Ideas'

"We are lucky enough to have a bookstore right in our neighborhood, the wonderful Porter Square Books. We go to the children's section in the back corner and play with the puzzles and pat the giant bear who lives there, and we read books. And inevitably, we leave with a book, too. With each visit, I hope my son sees that a bookstore is different from a hardware store or a grocery store, where you run in because you need a screwdriver or a gallon of milk, then leave. I hope he's learning that a bookstore--whatever the size or location--is a place where you explore and encounter new ideas. I hope he understands what I learned in that long-gone Waldenbooks in the mall: that books are important and worth taking time for, and so are bookstores."

--Author Celeste Ng in a Huffington Post column headlined "My First Bookstore"

Flatiron Books: Book Expo Galley Giveaway


News

RoscoeBooks Opening in Chicago

RoscoeBooks will open this fall at 2142 W. Roscoe St. in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. DNAinfo reported that owner Erika VanDam hopes to have the store "up and running by mid-November, just in time for the holiday shopping season."

"It's one of the few things we don't have in the neighborhood," she said. "There's something to be said for having things within walking distance."

Having always wanted to own a bookshop, VanDam decided to do so after attending a week-long Paz & Associates intensive training session on how to operate a bookstore. "It was so obvious to me that yes, this was something I wanted to do," VanDam added. She continues to work with Paz & Associates on the storefront's renovation, layout and design.

"It's hard to think about how many books can I actually fit," she noted. "My aim is to have a general bookstore with an emphasis on children's books." VanDam wants RoscoeBooks to be "more than just a place to buy books."


Auzou: ALA Annual 2017


Nantucket Bookworks Planning Renovation

Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, Mass., is planning "a total renovation" of its space this winter. In the bookshop's e-newsletter, owner Wendy Morton Hudson explained that the "plan is to add a second story and basement--which will be a major undertaking--so we will be closed from late December until June. Yipes. The hope is to retain as much of the original feel and fixtures as possible, while at the same time making adaptations to make the store even more relevant. (Sales are dipping considerably each year.)"

During the renovation, Bookworks will move as much inventory as possible to Mitchell's Book Corner, which it also operates.

"As for the remodel, what would you like to see?" Hudson asked her customers. "We invite all thoughts to help us make the new improved version the best it can possibly be."

On its website, Nantucket Bookworks noted that the "time has come to upgrade our aging building and reevaluate our offerings. Help us reimagine our beloved store for the next 42 years.  What do you want to see? More... gathering space? magazines? snacks? gifts? toys? cards? Now is the time to speak up." 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light by Eleanor Brown


Random House Again Offering Holiday Two-Day Shipping

For the third year, Random House is offering its two-day transit shipping program, under which, from November 1-January 30, all orders received in the Random House system by 3 p.m. Eastern will ship no later than the following business day, with transit time, winter weather permitting, of no more than two days from the publisher's loading dock to accounts' doors.

All Random House adult and children's hardcover and paperback frontlist and backlist are eligible, as well as titles published by the Random House clients of Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

Because Penguin titles have not yet been integrated into the Westminster, Md., and Crawfordsville, Ind., warehouses--where the program originates--they are not yet eligible for two-day transit. After the planned merging of Penguin and Random House systems next year, the company expects "many more tandem opportunities for accounts" from both sides of the company.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Roald Dahl Challenge


Roger Shaw Named President of Weldon Owen

Roger Shaw has been named president of Weldon Owen, the book-publishing division of Bonnier Brands, succeeding Terry Newell, who will retire after 15 years with the company. Shaw, who has been v-p and publisher of Weldon Owen, began his career with Dorling Kindersley.  

"We appreciate Terry's capable leadership through significant changes in the company's ownership and the transformation of Weldon Owen from an independent book packager to a highly regarded publisher," said Bonnier CEO Dave Freygang. "Roger has been instrumental in generating long-term custom-publishing businesses with brand partners, creating innovative titles with a long backlist life, and developing an effective digital strategy. I am confident he's the right leader to drive future growth for the company and leverage its well-deserved reputation for high-quality books into new growth areas."

In addition, Amy Kaneko has been promoted to senior v-p, sales and marketing. She has held senior positions at Chronicle Books, IDG Books, Grove/Atlantic and Doubleday.


Obituary Note: Dannie Abse

Welsh poet and author Dannie Abse, who "was once hailed as being 'at the top of the Welsh tree' by the country's literary body and named a CBE for his talents in the 2012 New Year honors," died September 28, the Guardian reported. His books include poetry collections Selected Poems, White Coat, Purple Coat: Collected Poems 1948-1988 and Be Seated, Thou: Poems 1989-1998; the novel Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve and memoir Goodbye Twentieth Century.



Notes

Indie Bookstores Are 'Making a Comeback'

Noting that "the biggest reason independent bookstores are still around is that the store closures of the previous decade alerted people to what they were in danger of losing," librarian Kevin O'Kelly spoke with several indie booksellers for a Huffington Post piece headlined "Indie Bookstores Aren't Dead--They're Making a Comeback."

Matthew Norcross, owner of McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., cited the advantage of living in a "very literate community attuned to the need to buy locally," adding that many of the town's vacationers become year-round customers. "We do more online selling than ever before." Norcross also noted that shopping at the bookshop becomes a habit that spans generations: "I see customers I first saw as kids in our children's section bringing in their own kids."

John Evans, the owner and founder of Lemuria Books, Jackson, Miss., recalled that his store has survived the "super-storing of America" and the "Amazon-ing of America" because it's a place where people want to be: "The customers who have stuck with me feel like they're part of the store. It's not really my store, it's their store. It's a business, but hopefully it's a meaningful part of their lives."

When David Sandberg and Dina Mardell bought Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., in 2013, "the conventional wisdom was still against the indies," O'Kelly wrote. "We bought it without a particular rationale," Sandberg said. "We thought [running a bookstore] would be a great thing to do, even though we had never thought about it before. We just did it."

He also credited his predecessors: "The previous owners and their staff created a community. And the customers appreciate the expertise of the people who work here. They like knowing someone is going to help them, and that's hard to do in an online environment."


Cool Idea of the Day: Bookstore Sleepover

Japanese bookstore chain Junkudo is experimenting with a customer overnight program: six lucky customers 18 or older will be able to stay in the company's store in the Chiyoda section of Tokyo on Saturday, November 1, from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. the next morning, the Wall Street Journal reported. The only requirement: they must buy at least one book by the time they leave.

Junkudo said there have been many requests to stay overnight in its stores, but this is the first time it is conducting such a program. It hopes participants will provide "some input for possible future all-night camps," the Journal wrote.

The six overnight customers will be allowed to bring sleeping bags, and leave the store for meals or to go to a nearby bath. Only non-alcoholic drinks are allowed. Reading lights will be kept on in one part of the store.


Media and Movies

Movies: Gone Girl

"Anticipation is peaking for David Fincher's Gone Girl," Indiewire noted in featuring more TV spots, a new clip and a talk with composer Trent Reznor about his work on the movie to further ramp up momentum for Friday's release of the adaptation based on Gillian Flynn's bestselling novel.


Media Heat: Derek Jeter Leads Off on Today

Today on Fresh Air: Matt Bai, author of All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307273383).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Derek Jeter, author of Jeter Unfiltered (Jeter Publishing/Gallery, $28, 9781476783666).

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Tomorrow on the View: Ron Perlman, author of Easy Street (the Hard Way): A Memoir (Da Capo, $26.99, 9780306823442).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, authors of Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence (Scribner, $25, 9781476750071). They will also appear on Imus in the Morning.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Walter Mischel, author of The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316230872).

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Tomorrow night on Conan: Nick Offerman, author of Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living (NAL, $15, 9780451467096).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General (Holt, $30, 9780805096682).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Lena Dunham, author of Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned" (Random House, $28, 9780812994995).


Books & Authors

Awards: PNBA BuzzBook, PEN/Bingham, Burt Winners

Jackaby by William Ritter (Algonquin Young Readers) won the BuzzBooks contest title this past weekend at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association annual trade show. The nearly 200 booksellers and librarians in attendance voted for the fall book they heard about at the show that they are most excited to recommend to readers back in their libraries and bookstores.

PNBA described Jackaby, the first book in a series for readers 12 and up, as "Doctor Who meets Sherlock, as a detective of the paranormal and his adventurous assistant, Abigail, investigate a string of murders in a tale brimming with quirky humor and a dose of the macabre."

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Last night, Shawn Vestal won the 2014 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction for his short story collection Godforsaken Idaho (Little A/New Harvest). The announcement of the $25,000 award was made at a ceremony at the New School in New York City.

"Shawn Vestal's Godforsaken Idaho ranges not only across time but across genres--historical fiction, fantasy, contemporary realism--all executed with the sure hand of a versatile and gifted writer," the judges' citation said. "The stories in this debut collection deal in religious and spiritual conundrums; perhaps more impressively, they dare to charge into the well-trodden arena of the hapless male and make that subject fresh again."

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Monique Gray Smith won CODE's $12,000 (US$10,760) Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, which "provides thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada with access to culturally-relevant, engaging books every year," for her YA novel Tilly, a Story of Hope and Resilience. Second prize ($8,000) went to Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, and the third place ($5,000) book was They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars.

The winners were selected by a jury composed of Canadian writers and educators administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. The award's book purchase and distribution program will ensure that a minimum of 2,500 copies of each of the three winning titles will be delivered to First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada through community libraries, schools, Friendship Centres and summer literacy camps.


Book Review

Review: There Must Be Some Mistake

There Must Be Some Mistake by Frederick Barthelme (Little, Brown, $25 hardcover, 9780316231244, October 7, 2014)

If Wallace Webster, the protagonist and narrator of Frederick Barthelme's 11th novel, There Must Be Some Mistake, were to describe his relationship status on the Internet he so avidly searches, it would read: "It's Complicated." Barthelme's arch take on one ordinary man's effort to navigate the shoals of midlife in the company of "practically a bevy of women," as Wallace's ex-wife puts it, is a consistently entertaining, at times elegiac, look at some intriguing cul-de-sacs of contemporary American society.

When Webster is eased out of his partnership at a Houston design firm, he's at an awkward age--too young to pack it in, too old to start over. His response is to retreat to his condominium in the "spectacularly kitschy" town of Kemah, on the Texas Gulf Coast, a place with a "worn-out feel, some godforsakenness that drifted through the air like Latin music." The nearly constant presence of attractive women in his life--from his platonic relationship with Jilly, a coworker only slightly older than his daughter, to his fitful affair with Chantal White, a sexy restaurant owner with a dark past--somehow fails to brighten his mood.

Life at Forgetful Bay Condominiums is anything but placid. One resident dies in a car crash, and Chantal is tied up by intruder who covers her with blue paint. That's only in the novel's first 15 pages, before the mass mailbox thefts, the nude dancer in the driveway of the homeowners' association president and at least one suicide. One can only imagine the residents' dismay at what a character calls an "appalling parade of unlikely events." The bizarre happenings at the sleepy condos highlight the disconnection from our neighbors that's become one of the defining characteristics of modern life. More than that, Barthelme suggests, is how unknowable, and truly strange, the lives of others often are.

Even as Wallace leads a life that can only be described as adrift, he never wanders off onto irony's seductive path. "Where's the harm in a little blind faith," he asks, "a little hope in the face of the grotesque spectacle of ordinary life in this century?" In a novel that might have foundered in a sea of cynicism, Barthelme, in the end, manages to salvage something that looks suspiciously like a glimmer of hope. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Bizarre events and characters at a Texas Gulf Coast condominium provide a wry look at a slice of contemporary America in Frederick Barthelme's 11th novel.


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