Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Houghton Mifflin: The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too! by Bryant Johnson

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

HarperCollins: Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

Other Press: What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home by Mark Mazower

Chronicle Books: This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions by Kelli Anderson

Quotation of the Day

Indie Bookseller Enthusiasm 'Made All the Difference'

"I am so touched, honored, and humbled by everything the indie booksellers--and Northshire in particular--have done for this book. I used to work in book publishing myself, and I know that bookseller enthusiasm is the thing that makes the house sit up and take notice: it's made all the difference for A Little Life, and I am so grateful, daily, for your passion and advocacy. So thank you: it means everything."

--Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life, in an interview with Amelia Stymacks of the Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


News

Mark Kuyper New BISG Executive Director

Mark Kuyper

Effective June 15, Mark Kuyper, president and CEO of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, is becoming executive director of the Book Industry Study Group. He replaces Len Vlahos, who with his wife, Kristen Gilligan, is joining the management team of the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., with the aim of becoming majority owners in two years (see article below).

Kuyper has been on the BISG board for the past 10 years and has worked in the industry for nearly 30 years. Before he joined the ECPA, he was an executive at the Christian Retail Association and a sales director for Nav Press.

BISG chair Tara Catogge of Quarto Publishing, who headed the search committee, commented: "We were pleased to find an association veteran from within our industry with a long history of success. Mark has extensive strategic planning experience mixed with both an easy way and a commanding presence that members will welcome. His strong vision and guiding hand is exactly what BISG needs at this crucial time in our development."


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Binc Awards $200,000 in College Scholarships

The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation has given $200,000 in college scholarships this year to eligible current bookstore employees/owners and their dependents, as well as former Borders Group employees and their dependents. Under the 2015 Higher Education Scholarship Program, Binc awarded two $10,000 scholarships, one $5,000 Karl Pohrt Tribute Scholarship and 50 scholarships at the $3,500 level. The scholarships can be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies and room and board. Funds may also be used over consecutive years if the student is not able to use the entire award for the 2015-2016 academic year.

"This year's award winners represent bookstores from across the country with a diverse range of areas of study, from writing to social work to technology," Binc executive director Pam French said. "Congratulations to all of the students!"

Information about how booksellers can apply for the 2016 Higher Education Scholarship Program will be released early in 2016.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.18.17


USPS Stamp to Honor Flannery O'Connor

The 30th stamp in the U.S. Postal Service's Literary Arts series will honor Flannery O'Connor. The color portrait on this stamp, a watercolor painting completed digitally, is based on a black-and-white photograph taken when O'Connor was a student at the Georgia State College for Women from 1942 to 1945. Surrounding O'Connor are feathers of peacocks, which she raised and wrote about. Art director Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Va., designed the stamp, with artwork by Sam Weber of Brooklyn.

The 93-cent O'Connor stamp includes the words "Three Ounce," indicating what kind of mail it can be used for--packages weighing more than one ounce, as well as for postcards and bulky or odd-sized envelopes that require hand sorting. It will be issued June 5 as part of the Postal Service's extension of its one-ounce Forever Stamp program.


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Australian Emerging Writers Prize to Honor Matt Richell

Matt Richell

Hachette Australia and the Richell family have launched the annual Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, honoring the memory of former CEO Matt Richell, who died in a surfing accident last year, the Bookseller reported. The winner receives $10,000 (about US$7,735) in prize money, to be donated by Hachette Australia, and a year of mentoring with one of its publishers. The award was created in partnership the Guardian Australia and the Emerging Writers' Festival.

"Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Matt Richell knew of his passion for acknowledging and nurturing emerging literary talent," said Justin Ractliffe, joint managing director of Hachette Australia. "His enthusiasm and encouragement made a difference for many writers, both here and in the U.K. With the Richell Prize we honor Matt with an award he would be proud of."


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Obituary Notes: Mary Ellen Mark; Tanith Lee

Mary Ellen Mark, "one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation," died on Monday, the New York Times reported. She was 75.

During her career, she worked for magazines such as Life and Look, did fashion photography and portraiture, and always did documentary work, focusing on, among others, "prostitutes in Mumbai, homeless teenagers in Seattle and mental patients in a state institution in Oregon." Her images were characterized by empathy and humanity.

She published a range of books. Tiny: Streetwise Revisited, which will be published in the fall by Aperture, returns to the main character in the book Streetwise, one of several homeless Seattle youths she photographed in the early 1980s. Her collections are Mary Ellen Mark: Portraits, Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey and Exposure.

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Tanith Lee, the British science fiction, horror and fantasy writer who also wrote poetry and children's books, died on Sunday, the Bookseller reported. She was 67.

Lee wrote more than 90 novels and 300 short stories and sometimes used the pen name Esther Garber. In 1980, she was the first woman to win the August Derleth Award for best novel (for Death's Master) at the British Fantasy Awards. She also won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention in 2013 and the Horror Writers Association's Lifetime Achievement Award this year.


Owlkids: Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn


Len Vlahos, Kristen Gilligan: Back to Bookselling

Kristen Gilligan and Len Vlahos

As we sit down at Amore Cucina & Bar in Stamford, Conn., for lunch, Kristen Gilligan prompts me to ask for the kids' menu. Her husband, Len Vlahos, and I are confused, but I take the bait and make the request. The waitress nods knowingly, and in a moment, I'm looking through a plastic Viewfinder, clicking its button repeatedly and seeing a succession of images of mac-and-cheese, spaghetti, etc. Len and I are fascinated, and Kristen assures us that kids love it, too. Then, in an instant, Len and Kristen, who are moving next month to Denver to join the senior management of the Tattered Cover, with the aim of taking on majority ownership in two years, are brainstorming casually but intensely on how something like the Viewfinder might be adapted to the bookstore. ("We could put new titles or upcoming events on something like this." "We could have them on the tables in the café.")

And in a demonstration that his technical know-how extends beyond the book world, Len quickly figures out why the writing on the images in the Viewfinder is backwards--he shifts the image wheel around, which fixes everything.

There's no certainty that the Viewfinder idea will make the jump to Denver, but it's indicative of the kind of creativity and knowledge that the pair bring to what Len calls "a once-in-a-lifetime kind of change."

They've sold their house in Connecticut and bought a house in Colorado. Len's last day as executive director of the Book Industry Study Group is June 12. On June 19, the family begins driving to Colorado, with a detour through Alabama. On July 1, the couple begin working at the Tattered Cover, just in time for inventory at all four stores. Tattered Cover owner Joyce Meskis has devised a "training orientation" period for the pair that will last several months and educate them about each part of the business.

The two spent a week in Colorado earlier with their two children, looking at houses and schools. Coincidentally, they were in town when the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover store moved nearby to Littleton. They all spent a day helping pack the store and a day unpacking. Saying that while he loves his job, he's missed being around books, Len calls the two days in the store "the best two days at work I've had in years." The trip included a reception at Joyce Meskis's apartment. Joyce's daughter Catherine helped the pair house-hunt.

Including senior staffers Matt Miller and Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover has "a team approach," much like the ABA, Len says. As for the obligatory question about plans the future owners might have for the store, Len says, "At this point, we have no specific plans. We're focused on getting into the daily routine and getting inculcated in the culture." He emphasizes, too, that Joyce and the staff "have built an unbelievably iconic brand and legacy, and we don't want to mess it up!" Kristen notes that the day after the change at Tattered Cover was announced, the Denver Post ran an editorial that began "The new owners of the Tattered Cover bookstores will have some big shoes to fill," and ended "Given that Meskis hand-picked her successors, we have reason to believe they'll continue the venerable traditions she established. We surely hope so." She comments: "I think it's a message to us."

The new challenge will draw on what Len calls the couple's combined "Ph.D. in bookselling with some field work." That background includes, for Kristen, managing the Second Story Book Shop, Chappaqua, N.Y.; working at the ABA for a decade, mostly in meeting and events management and communications; a stint running the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression art auction; consulting with the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc); and running book fairs at her children's school. For Len, that includes his current job at BISG, which he began in 2011; 20 years at the ABA in a variety of positions, most recently as chief operating officer; work at several bookstores, including the NYU Bookstore, Atlantic Books and Waldenbooks; and, last but not least, being an author--of The Scar Boys, the upcoming Scar Girl, and two books that Bloomsbury recently bought that will be published in 2017 and 2018. (At BEA this week, he can theoretically wear bookseller, exhibitor, speaker and author badges.)

The story of how this change in ownership of one of the best-known, revered bookstores in the country began with a long-held wish. "We always had the dream of owning a bookstore," Kristen says. In recent years, the two, who grew up and have worked most of their lives in the New York metropolitan area, also began to think more about getting their two boys into "better schools and having a better quality of life," Kristen continues. "We talked for a long time about possible opportunities and locations."

A year ago, they went to Colorado for a wedding. Kristen had lived in the state for a short while and "always loved it," she says. "We thought, how can we get ourselves out here?" The next week Len called Joyce Meskis, saying, "You know us. What kind of jobs are possible in the area?" They had a long discussion that ended with Joyce saying she had started thinking about succession and for a variety of reasons, her senior staff and daughters were not interested in becoming owners. Did Len and Kristen have any interest? That was in June of 2014, and the discussion went for nine months until the March announcement.

One sure thing on the agenda after their training orientation: the next ABA Winter Institute is in January in Denver. Besides the fun of helping host the event for 500 fellow booksellers, there's a sense of something coming full circle for Len and Kristen: in 2005, while they were senior staff members at the ABA, they were called into then-ABA CEO Mark Domnitz's office, where he gave them the task of following up on then-ABA president Mitchell Kaplan's idea of having some kind of event during the winter on the West Coast featuring ABA programming from BEA. --John Mutter



Notes

Image of the Day: McCullough Alights in Kitty Hawk

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough spoke about his new book, The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster), to a sold-out crowd of more than 600 at First Flight High School in Kitty Hawk, N.C.--across the street from the site of the Wright Brothers' historic achievement. After a two-hour autographing session during which he never lost his smile, McCullough posed for a photo with staff from Island Bookstore, which has stores in Kitty Hawk, Duck and Corolla. Left to right: Meaghan Beasley, Olga Blyum, owner Bill Rickman, Melissa Law, McCullough, Anastasia Osti, Lori Jo Scott and Sara Skinner. 


Pittsburgh's Classic Lines Bookstore Is a 'Literary Refuge'

"Are independent booksellers replacing big-box retailers?" That was the provocative headline for an article in The Day focusing on Dan Iddings, who opened Classic Lines bookstore in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood last year.

"I had this fear that I would be the Amazon showroom--that people would look at our selection of products, then go buy them on Amazon," Iddings said, adding that showroomers have been far outnumbered by customers seeking literary refuge following the 2009 loss of the neighborhood Barnes & Noble bookstore. "People understand that there's only one way to keep a bookstore in the neighborhood--that's to buy the books."


Personnel Changes at Insight Editions

At Insight Editions:

Terry Newell, formerly president of Weldon Owen, has joined Insight Editions as the head of sales and marketing.  

Julie Hamilton has been promoted to sales director, and will now manage sales in North America as well as English-language export sales.

Byron Parnell, sales director, has accepted a new position and will be leaving the company.


Hachette to Distribute Kids Can Press Worldwide

Effective February 1, 2016, Hachette Book Group will sell and distribute around the world all titles published by Kids Can Press.

A division of Corus Entertainment, Kids Can Press, Toronto, Canada, publishes books for children, including the Franklin the Turtle series by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, the Scaredy Squirrel and Chester series by Mélanie Watt and the CitizenKid collection.

Kids Can Press has been distributed by University of Toronto Press and sold in the U.S. through commission sales groups.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maria Bello on Fresh Air and the View

Today on Fresh Air: Maria Bello, author of Whatever... Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062351838). She will also be on the View tomorrow.

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On the View tomorrow: Marco Borges, author of The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant-Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits, and Change Your Life (Celebra, $27.95, 9780451474841).

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Tomorrow on a repeat of the Wendy Williams Show: Melissa Rivers, author of The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation (Crown Archetype, $26, 9781101903827).


Conan Doyle's Estate Pursues Mr. Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle's "often litigious estate" has hit director Bill Condon and co-distributors Miramax and Roadside Attractions in federal court with a copyright and trademark infringement complaint over the upcoming Mr. Holmes, Deadline.com reported. The estate demands "a plethora of unspecified damages from the director and companies plus Penguin Random House and author Mitch Cullen [The film is based on his novel A Slight Trick of the Mind.], and it also wants the Ian McKellen-starring movie stopped in its tracks with an injunction before it comes out in the U.K. next month and on this side of the pond July 17."

Deadline.com noted that last June, "the estate got its Herringbone hat handed to it by the Seventh Circuit when a three-judge panel ruled that the Sherlock Holmes character was predominantly in the public domain."


Movies: The Martian; Me & Earl & the Dying Girl

A first look has surfaced of Matt Damon in the highly anticipated film version of Andy Weir's novel The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Drew Goddard (Daredevil, The Cabin in the Woods). Indiewire observed that "Star Wars fans will note the color scheme that doesn't look entirely dissimilar to the rebel pilot outfits, but that's probably just a coincidence or small homage." The Martian's cast includes Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Bean, Donald Glover and Naomi Scott. It hits theaters November 25.

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A new trailer is out for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, based on the book by Jesse Andrews and directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Indiewire reported. The film stars Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, R.J. Cyler, Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Jon Bernthal and Connie Britton. It opens June 12.


TV: Show Me a Hero

HBO "unveiled the premiere date for its next prestige project from The Wire mastermind David Simon," the Wall Street Journal reported. Show Me a Hero, a six-part miniseries based on Lisa Belkin's book, will premiere on August 16. Paul Haggis (Crash) directed all of the episodes, which star Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Also in the cast are Catherine Keener, Winona Ryder, LaTana Richardson-Jackson, Alfred Molina, Bob Balaban and Jim Belushi.


Books & Authors

Awards: Read Russia

The shortlist has been announced for this year's Read Russia Prize, which celebrates translations of Russian literature. The winner will be named May 29 at the Grolier Club in New York City. The prize is a cash award of up to $10,000, divided at the discretion of the prize jury between the original English-language publishing house and the translator of the work. The shortlisted titles are:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Oliver Ready (Penguin U.K.)
Pushkin Hills by Sergei Dovlatov, translated by Katherine Dovlatov (Counterpoint)
Selected Poems by Vladislav Khodasevich, translated by Peter Daniels (Overlook Press)
Before and During by Vladimir Sharov, translated by Oliver Ready (Dedalus Press)
The Icarus Gland by Anna Starobinets, translated by Jamie Rann (Skyscraper Press)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Rosamund Bartlett (Oxford University Press)
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Marian Schwartz (Yale University Press)


Book Brahmin: Sherry Thompson

photo: Eric Jason

Sherry Thompson is a non-practicing poet and ex-bookseller, raised on Tetris. She is now the mom of a toddler named Lyra and a teen named Jared, and is married to a banker with great hair named Eric. All three, she says, are grandly and generally troublesome. Her favorite genres are post-apocalyptic science fiction and graphic novel memoirs. She develops and teaches classes for youth of all ages and adults related to children's education as youth services librarian for La Porte County Public Library in La Porte, Ind.

On your nightstand now:

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson; The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer; Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn; Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg; A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño; The Here and Now by Ann Brashares.

And because I'm a youth services librarian: Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters and Brooke Allen; and A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The top of the top had to be Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. My creative writing teacher in fifth grade read Silverstein and taught us haikus and other styles of poems.

Your top five authors:

Margaret Atwood, Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Kazuo Ishiguro and Sylvia Plath

Currently impressed with (I'm not cheating. I'm categorizing.): Rainbow Rowell and Gillian Flynn

A writer--living or dead--for whom you'd take a bullet:

I would never take a bullet for a writer! BUT I would stop a bullet from hurting any of these books: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Women as Lovers by Elfriede Jelinek and The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never faked reading a book, technically. I've aced some tests on books I've never read. (Sorry, English teachers.) And I may have exaggerated slightly about how thoroughly I've read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I've possibly skimmed a few pages, maybe. I mean I get it already; he's in a real pickle. (It's a great book.)

Book you're an evangelist for:

I would pass out the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie at the grocery store if I could. I have recommended it tons. I have also hand-sold it many times at bookstores I don't work at.

Also, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick. This book. Hold on, let me get my pulpit.

I'm an evangelist for recommending the right book for the person at the time they are ready for it.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Unless I'm hooked on a specific author, I pick pretty much all of them by their cover. But specifically I remember being summoned to 2666 by Roberto Bolaño by its cover. The book is so unapologetic, artistic and ambitious. The cover really expresses that intensity.

Book that changed your life:

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood. I was reading this in first grade and was completely swept into the story and didn't realize the teacher had told the whole class to put away our books and start cleaning the classroom. It wasn't until a girl had asked me to move my feet so she could pick up paper from under my desk did I snap out of the story. (It's thrilling, if you haven't read it.) It was then I understood I lived in two different worlds.

Favorite line from a book:

"The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I loved her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection." --Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Which character you most relate to:

In different stages of my life I've related to a variety of characters.

I've related to Lois Lowry's Anastasia Krupnik, then Dave Eggers as Dave Eggers in The Heartbreaking Work of a Staggering Genius, then Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut. Recently, I've toddled a fine line with Bernadette from Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple a time or two, but I'd never admit that to anyone. But who hasn't wanted to tell off a member of the PTO?

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

There are SO many. Jealousy/excitement kicks in when I know a customer is reading THE book for the first time.


Book Review

YA Review: More Happy Than Not

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen, $18.99 hardcover, 304p., ages 14-up, 9781616955601, June 2, 2015)

If you could forget the worst moments of your life, would you? That's the promise offered by the Leteo Institute in this provocative debut novel from Adam Silvera that delivers a punch to the heart yet manages to end on an upbeat note.

Still reeling from the murder of his friend, Aaron's family is shattered when his father commits suicide. Aaron's downward spiral even leads to his own suicide attempt. In his near-future Bronx neighborhood, everyone suffers, though no one discusses it. Aaron's older brother and mother are distant, lost in their own grief. His girlfriend, Genevieve, is supportive but heading to art camp, and he certainly can't discuss things with his friends. Everything changes when Aaron meets Thomas.

Thomas is different. He's willing to show emotion, reluctant to fight and cares enough to let Aaron talk about his past. As their friendship unfolds, Aaron begins to realize his feelings for his new friend are more than platonic. But being gay in a tough neighborhood doesn't feel like an option to Aaron: "If I don't choose Genevieve, I'll find myself on the receiving end of a boot to the face." Unable to deny his growing feelings, Aaron begins to consider a controversial medical procedure that can alter and eliminate unwanted memories. Leteo Institute may be able to suppress his feelings for Thomas, but can they erase Aaron's sexuality?

Silvera's powerful debut shows brutal honesty, painful truths and the power of memory. Aaron's suffering is real and his reactions genuine. Those in Aaron's life show an array of responses to homosexuality--acceptance, anger, ignorance and indifference--but all resonate with remarkable realism. Stewing just below the surface is the controversial medical procedure offered by the Leteo Institute. Glimpses into the stories of others who've had the procedure add to the credibility of Aaron's dilemma. The ethical debate in the novel's fictional media and between characters will get teens thinking. If such a procedure were possible, who should be allowed to obtain it and under what circumstances? Silvera (who reviews for Shelf Awareness) explores the possibilities of a world where death, and life, can be forgotten, roles rewritten and broken hearts mended.

This is a story not just of a young man coming out, but a dramatic and heart-wrenching story of first loves, first heartbreaks, grief and the quest for happiness. --Kyla Paterno, reviewer

Shelf Talker: In this powerful debut, a young man struggling with his sexuality considers a procedure that offers to erase unwanted memories.


The Bestsellers

Reading Group Choices 2014 Favorites

Reading Group Choices reading group members recently voted on their favorite reading group books from 2014. After nearly 2,000 responses and a tie for 8th place, here are the top 11 titles:

1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
3. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
4. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
6. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
8. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
8. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
10. The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

[Many thanks to Reading Group Choices!]


Feiwel & Friends: The Principal's Underwear Is Missing by Holly Kowitt
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