Also published on this date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015: Maximum Shelf: The Travels of Daniel Ascher

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Random House: Shadow Man by Alan Drew

Workman: Summer Brain Quest - Get a Free Event Kit

W. W. Norton & Company: T2 Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

Mira Books: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Little Brown and Company: The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner

Algonquin Young Readers: The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit #1) by Sarah Jean Horwitz

News

Village Books/Paper Dreams Planning Second Store

Dee and Chuck Robinson

Chuck and Dee Robinson, the owners of Village Books & Paper Dreams in Bellingham, Wash., are opening a second store, in Lynden, Wash., about 20 miles north of Bellingham, later this year. The new store will be smaller--around 3,000 square feet instead of Bellingham's 15,000--and be part of the historic Waples Mercantile Building, a multi-use structure that is undergoing extensive renovations.

The Waples Building has been empty since 2008, after a group of teenagers started a fire that burned away the structure's top story and gutted the interior, Chuck Robinson explained. When the building opens toward the end of the year, it will include a 35-room bike-themed inn, a specialty olive oil and vinegar store, a bakery and the new Village Books & Paper Dreams.

The store should be far enough away to avoid cannibalizing sales from the original store, and the inn should provide some turnover traffic on a regular basis, he added. It should also give the Robinsons a chance to see their northern Whatcom County customers more often. Remarked Robinson: "All that, and a moment of insanity, is what caused this to happen."

Ever since they successfully ran a holiday pop-up shop in a nearby mall some four years ago, Robinson continued, the pair have been looking for a location for a second store. At one point they considered opening a store much closer to Bellingham, but decided against it due to fears of the new store taking sales away from the original. The search, actually, had died down for around six months, until the Robinsons heard about the Waples project.

"It's in a little town, almost on the Canadian border," said Robinson. "There's a bit of tourism traffic, and the county fair is held there. This project popped up on our radar and looked exciting. We think the opportunity is there to do something that will pay off in the long run."

The space in the Waples Building has 18-feet high ceilings, exposed wood beams and six-inch-thick wood floors, which will help give the new store a slightly more rustic, woodsy feel. The biggest difference in terms of operations, meanwhile, is that the gift side and book side of the new store will be integrated from day one.

The Waples Building

"The original operated as two different stores for a long time, even though they were side by side," said Robinson. When he and his wife built their new building 10 years ago, they opened up the wall between the shops and did some inventory integration. About three years ago, they moved the cookbook section into the gift side of the store and have been gradually integrating more since then. "What we'll do with this store is from the get-go integrate the two parts more fully."

The new Lynden store, in fact, is not the first time that Chuck and Dee Robinson have experimented with expanding their business. In addition to the holiday pop-up shop that they ran a few years ago, they tried two different expansions, in the mid-'80s and then in the early '90s. Neither was successful--the former involved opening a store in a new shopping center after being heavily courted by a developer, and the latter involved opening a satellite book shop in a separate card and gift store--but the pair learned valuable lessons about what to do and what not to do when it came to expanding.

"We've learned enough to think that this was a really good idea for us," said Robinson.

Since the store isn't expected to open until November, Robinson and his team are just starting to plan how they'll they staff and manage the store. They're unsure yet if there will be a full-time manager in the Lynden store or if upper-level Bellingham staff will alternate between the stores. (Dee Robinson happily retired last summer.)

"It's a nice little town. I love riding my bicycle up there," mused Robinson. "Maybe I'll just bike there on a regular basis." --Alex Mutter


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo


Phoenix Books to Open Third Vermont Location

Phoenix Books, which operates stores in Essex Junction and Burlington, Vt., will open its third location, in Rutland at the corner of Center Street and Merchants Row, the Herald reported. Co-owner Michael DeSanto signed a five-year lease for the 2,400-square-foot space, filling roughly half the first floor of the former Lake Sunapee Bank building.

"This has been an incredible collaboration," he said, promising a layout that "will knock your socks off."

Mike DeSanto

Plans call for a soft opening in August, with design and renovations set to begin soon, DeSanto noted, adding that the company is looking to hire a local person as manager.

Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power v-p for generation and energy innovation, said, "We reached out to a lot of different organizations over the last couple months to roll out the welcome mat. I'm really pleased that everyone we asked helped roll it out."

Rutland has been without an indie selling new books since Book King closed last July after 43 years in business. The Herald noted that Phoenix "uses a model similar to community-supported agriculture, covering start-up costs by getting patrons to pre-buy books. Fifty-four residents and businesses signed up for $1,000 in pre-buys, for which DeSanto offered thanks."

"You don't know me," he said. "You don't really know what I'm going to do and yet we have commitments coming in and checks coming in that are going to make it happen."

Downtown Rutland Partnership executive director Michael Coppinger added: "Independent bookstores are a real treasure. It's a niche we have been needing to fill for a while in the downtown. Our market studies have shown that a well-run bookstore will do well in the downtown."


Soho Press: The Boy in the Earth by Fuminori Nakamura


Amazon Seeks Warehouse Tax Break in Minn.

Amazon is seeking a nine-year tax break, worth at least $4.95 million, to build a $55 million distribution center in Shakopee, Minn., the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported. Mayor Brad Tabke said the online retailer has requested a 63-acre tax increment financing district in the city, which is close to Minneapolis. Rumors began circulating in February that Amazon was negotiating to buy property in the area, a few months after the company started collecting sales tax in Minnesota.

The city anticipates construction of the facility will begin this year and be completed by December 31, 2016, the Journal wrote. Neither Amazon nor United Properties confirmed the plan, but Tabke said Amazon "has been working with the city for a couple of months and that he doesn't expect an official announcement until the development deal is complete."


Henry Holt & Company: Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong


Obituary Note: Frederic Morton

Frederic Morton, who as a child left Austria with his family after the Nazis took over and wrote a variety of books and criticism, died on April 20 in Vienna, the New York Times reported. He was 90 and was visiting the city that figured largely in his work--and which embraced him in later years. He won several Austrian honors, was given several 90th birthday parties last year in Vienna, and in 2002, the city distributed 100,000 copies of The Forever Street, his family saga set in Vienna, to residents for free.

Morton's best-known work was The Rothschilds, about the banking family, which became a Broadway show. Other nonfiction included A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888-1889, Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913-14 and a memoir, Runaway Waltz. His novels had "a European flavor on themes involving money and power," the Times wrote.


HarperOne: Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle


Notes

Image of the Day: Ezra Jack Keats Awards

photo: Southern Miss Image Center

The 2015 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winners and honorees were celebrated at an  ceremony held April 9 during the University of Southern Mississippi's Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival. Pictured (l.-r.) are Deborah Pope, executive director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation; Adam Auerbach, honoree for new writer for Edda: A Little Valkyrie's First Day of School; Chieri Uegaki,  winner for new writer for Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin; Chris Haughton, winner for new illustrator for Shh! We Have a Plan; Mike Curato, honoree for new illustrator for Little Elliot, Big City; and Caroline Ward, chair, Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Committee. The awards were presented by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi.


Hawthorne Books: Narrow River, Wide Sky by Jenny Forrester


Librarians in Music Videos: 'Unread Book'

"Unread Book," a parody of the Bruno Mars song "Uptown Funk," is presented by Pogona Creative and the Orange Public Library in association with Chapman University and was originally prepared for this year's National Library Week.

The Literacy Site blog noted: "We've been hearing a lot of 'Uptown Funk.' The song is super catchy and danceable. But the Guybrarian and the folks of Orange Public Library did something special for National Library Week that makes our literary hearts sing! They wrote their own version of this ear worm called 'Unread Book,' ripe with hilarious literary references, dancing librarians and a chorus that will have you humming into your paperback for hours! So this is what happens when the library closes at night!"


Cool Idea of the Day: DIESEL Booksellers Talking Poetry

"Okay, maybe April is our favorite month," California's DIESEL, A Bookstore recently noted in its e-newsletter. "We are always excited to celebrate National Poetry Month, though we celebrate poetry every day at DIESEL. This month we have an all-audio newsletter with poetry read by DIESEL booksellers."

Another great DIESEL tradition for Poetry Month has been the daily videos the bookstore releases on its website of staff and invited guests reading poems. This year there's a new twist, with booksellers describing their memorable encounters with poetry, along with readings of the poems that inspired them.

DIESEL co-owner John Evans observed: "As with each year's project for Poetry Month, the result always exceeds expectations--the range of voices and experiences, and poem choices, being so various, personal, and intimate. It's been a pleasure." 


Columbia University Consortium to Represent UC Press

Effective July 1, Columbia University Press Sales Consortium will provide sales representation for the University of California Press to the book trade in the United States. Ampersand Inc. will represent UC Press in Canada.



Media and Movies

'Reading the Tribeca Film Festival'

Noting that the 14th annual Tribeca Film Festival, which is underway in New York City, has "a strong program of literary-minded projects on the docket," Word & Film's "Reading Tribeca" piece showcased six of them.

In addition to book-to-film adaptations of Stephen Elliot's The Adderall Diaries, Tom Drury's The Driftless Area and Elvira Dones's Sworn Virgin, the festival's lineup includes Grandma, starring Lily Tomlin as Elle, "a lesbian feminist poet"; Very Semi-Serious, a documentary film offering an inside look at the process behind the New Yorker magazine's cartoons; and a remastered version of Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, based on Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 true-crime bestseller Wiseguy.


TV: The Signature of All Things

PBS station WGBH has optioned Elizabeth Gilbert's novel The Signature of All Things, which U.K. film and TV production company Origin Pictures (Death Comes to Pemberley, Woman in Gold) is developing, Deadline.com reported. Emily Ballou (The Slap, Scott & Bailey, Case Histories) will adapt the novel for television.

"Whenever I dreamed of seeing my novel transformed for the screen, I dreamt of working with exactly this team of people, and I'm delighted that my dream has come true," said Gilbert

"Readers all over the world fell in love with this unique character--the rare heroine of literature whose fortunes are neither rescued nor ruined by a man," WGBH noted.


Books & Authors

Awards: Stella; NYPL Young Lions; Olson; Wingate

Emily Bitto has won the $50,000 (about US$38,540) Stella Prize, which celebrates Australian women's contribution to literature, for The Strays. Chair of judges Kerryn Goldsworthy praised the novel as "both moving and sophisticated; both well-researched and original; both intellectually engaging and emotionally gripping. The three criteria for judging a Stella Prize winner are that the book is 'excellent, original and engaging,' and The Strays effortlessly meets all three."

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Finalists have been announced for the $10,000 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, which recognizes the work of authors 35 or younger and "celebrates their accomplishments publicly, making a difference in their lives as they continue to build their careers." The winner will be named April 27. This year's finalists are:  

The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol
Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball
Nobody Is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey
What Ends by Andrew Ladd
10:04 by Ben Lerner

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To help celebrate Earth Day, Northland College offered the winners of this year's Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Awards, which honor Olson's literary legacy "by recognizing and encouraging contemporary writers who seek to carry on his tradition of nature writing." The winners are:

Adult: The Carry Home: Lessons from the American Wilderness by Gary Ferguson. Selection committee member Alan Brew said the book "captures the human relationship with the natural world. This is going to be a book that lasts--that is universal--much like Olson's work."

YA: Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines by Paul Fleischman. Committee member Jan Penn said the book leads young readers "to explore human motivations, influences and barriers in the decision making process and matters of societal and cultural bias impacting environmental headlines."

Children's: A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz. Committee member Eileen Van Pernis said the author's "work carries Olson's legacy through giving a voice to the wildness within and outside of each of us."

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Michel Laub and Thomas Harding were the joint winners of the £2,000 (about $3,000) J.Q. Wingate Prize, awarded annually to "the best book to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader," according to the Bookseller. This is the first time there have been joint winners of the prize.

Laub won for Diary of the Fall (Other Press), inspired by his grandfather, which the prize described as "the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer's, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebooks with the false memories of someone desperate to forget."

Harding won for Hanns and Rudolf (Simon & Schuster), about his great-uncle, Hanns Alexander, a German Jewish émigré who, as a member of the British Army, tracked down the former Kommandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, in post-war Germany.


Book Brahmin: Lindsey Kelk

photo: Rachael Wright

Lindsey Kelk is a British writer who lives in Los Angeles. She worked as a children's editor for seven years, then made the switch to the other side and moved to New York after publishing her first novel, I Heart New York. Six years later, she has published nine novels that have sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide. Her new novel, About a Girl, was recently published by HarperCollins360.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished the edits on a new novel so I'm gorging on all the books I missed out on while I was working--right now, there's The First Bad Man by Miranda July, Patton Oswald's Silver Screen Fiend, Yes Please by Amy Poehler and my friend Lucy Robinson's The Day We Disappeared. That's the top of the pile, at least. Once I get a copy of the new Ishiguro, everything else will go out the window. Possibly literally.

Favorite book when you were a child:

If I had to choose only one book or chop off my right arm, I'd probably send you my arm. I was an obsessive reader as a child--11-year-old Lindsey put 34-year-old Lindsey to shame. I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton novels (and blissfully unaware of the less savory themes of her books--growing up is so sad sometimes) before moving on to wildly inappropriate pre-teen reading like Barbara Taylor Bradford and James Herbert. I'm not sure that reading the entirety of V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic series before the age of 12 was a good idea, but what's done is done and let's leave it at that.

Your top five authors:

I can never answer this and stick with it, so I'm choosing authors I read and re-read: Donna Tartt, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham and Tom Perotta.

Book you've faked reading:

I lied about having finished Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch for months because everyone kept asking me about it. The Secret History is my favorite book of all time and I'd been bleating on about Goldfinch for months before it came out; then, it arrived, in all its weighty glory and I just couldn't get into it. I did finish it eventually, though, so now it's back to faking my knowledge of Russian literature, just like I did during my degree.

Book you're an evangelist for:

After I read Room by Emma Donoghue, my friend barred me from talking about it. I don't know what it was about that book at that time, but I ate it up in one sitting and could not get it out of my head. I've since bought it for so many people, and I'm pretty sure every single one of them considered it an odd gift. Nothing says happy birthday like a book about a woman and her child, locked away from the outside world for several years by a deranged rapist.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Because I'm from the U.K. and live in the U.S., I'm obsessed with the differences between international covers and often have both editions for that reason. The last books I bought for the cover alone were some of the clothbound Penguin classics. I have The Odyssey, Les Miserables, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Little Women, all of which I already owned. I have a book-buying problem.

Book that changed your life:

It's probably going to sound pretentious, but I think every book I read changes my life in some way. It still blows my mind that I can sit down and go inside another world that came from someone else's imagination, meet a whole cast of characters and live their lives beside them, in a way that TV and movies can't, and I love TV and movies. The fact that something so powerful can sit inside something so unassuming is too much for my tiny mind to handle. The fact that I actually get to do that for a living is insane.

Shorter answer, The Secret History was the book that made me want to really be a writer.

Favorite line from a book:

"He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is one of my all-time favourite books, and I can read it again and again and again. Clearly Cathy and Heathcliffe did not have a healthy relationship by anyone's standards, but I happened to reread it when I was in a similar-ish situation and remember staring at that line forever, thinking "Yes! That's us!" and then I considered what happens to the lovers in that book and realized perhaps I was not on the wisest of paths. Much appreciated, Ms. Brontë.

Which character you most relate to:

It feels as though every book I read these days has me sitting back and shouting "that's me!" even though, quite clearly, it is not. I recently said Mary from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett because she can't help being a pain in the arse, even when she's trying to help. I can be a bit bossy and self-involved when I try, but I'm fairly certain I've got a good heart. Plus, I'm from Yorkshire, I like a bit of gardening and I always had a crush on Dickon when I was little. Also, I apparently really like book titles that start with "The Secret." But not the actual The Secret. Weird.

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

Probably Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I was very young when I read it the first time and didn't get it at all. Even though I've read it since, that pervasive feeling of "having to read it" is always hanging over me. I wish I could back and just enjoy it. The Michael Fassbender film adaptation really helped me heal some of the scars, but I still feel bad that I just don't love it.


Book Review

YA Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh (Putnam, $17.99 hardcover, 416p., ages 12-up, 9780399171611, May 12, 2015)

Renée Ahdieh's lush debut novel is a suspenseful and beautiful reimagining of The Arabian Nights, with an edge--the young bride not only survives her death sentence with captivating tales, but uses these extra days to plot the death of her king.

Sixteen-year-old Shahrzad is targeting the murderous boy-king responsible for her closest confidante's death. Khalid, the 18-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, weds and beds a new bride every night, then sentences each to be hung the following dawn. Shahrzad bravely volunteers to be Khalid's latest bride in the hopes she'll survive long enough to avenge her friend's death and protect other young women from the same fate. After Shahrzad and Khalid have sex for the first time (graphic details withheld), she captures Khalid's attention with the promise of a tale. Shahrzad's storytelling is so captivating that when she abruptly ends her story on a cliffhanger, Khalid grants her an extra night to live. Shahrzad is the only queen to survive sunrise, throwing the city into speculation: Does the caliph love his new bride? Meanwhile, Shahrzad befriends others within the castle with the intent of learning more about Khalid ("And I need to learn his weakness, so that I may destroy him with it"); surprisingly, she discovers the boy-king isn't as heartless as he would like his country to believe. After soldiers attempt to hang Shahrzad, Khalid promises she'll be safe from execution, but someone else in the castle wants to eliminate the threat she poses.

Ahdieh reveals the complexities of her characters through their numerous trials, especially Khalid, struggling to be a ruler and to manage the expectations of a father who has raised his son to be suspicious of women after Khalid's mother was caught having an affair with a guard, leading to her death. Secondary characters add further intrigue to the plot: handmaiden Despina is rooting for Shahrzad to succeed; captain of the guard Jalal wants Shahrzad to fix "the broken creature" Khalid has become; Tariq wants to save Shahrzad, whom he loves, before it's too late. The pace remains swift throughout, thanks to exciting swordplay, the chemistry between Shahrzad and the king she wishes to kill, and great tension as the structure within the country begins to collapse.

Much like her heroine on her first evening in the castle, Ahdieh teases readers with an enticing cliffhanger that will surely hook them for the second and final installment, The Rose and the Dagger, due out in 2016. --Adam Silvera, reviewer and former children's bookseller

Shelf Talker: In this grand nod to The Arabian Nights, a 16-year-old heroine tries to avenge her best friend's death and finds herself falling in love with her target.


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