Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 10, 2014

Beach Lane Books: Nerdycorn by Andrew Root, illustrated by Erin Kraan

Minotaur Books: The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #17) by Louise Penny

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Other Press: Disquiet by Zülfü Livaneli, translated by Brendan Freely

John Scognamiglio Book: After Francesco by Brian Malloy

Experiment: How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy, What We Learned about Love and LGBTQ Parenthood by Trystan Reese

St. Martin's Press: Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff


High Marks for First Children's Institute

Nearly 130 booksellers flocked to beautiful old San Antonio, Tex., for a day and a half of presentations, roundtables and workshops for the first, standalone ABC Children's Institute.

At the opening plenary, Brad Meltzer, author of I Am Amelia Earhart and I Am Abraham Lincoln (Dial/Penguin Young Readers Group), thanked booksellers for being such positive influences on their communities and encouraged the audience to continue to think of themselves as providing a "legacy" through their stores, events and day-by-day interactions.

Booksellers enjoyed a poolside reception.

Breakout sessions covered everything from managing successful book fairs to selling picture books in a time where age compression is affecting reading habits as well as child development and literacy, expanding author events, engaging customers through social media and how to host a successful educator night.

Four roundtables covered building relationships with schools, complementing books with other inventory, embracing diversity in books and the community, promoting summer reading and confronting censorship.

After a featured talk by Miss Anastasia, a professional storyteller and bookseller at San Antonio's own Twig Book Shop, about "The Craft of Storytime," the closing author reception featured more than 30 children's authors, including presenters Chip Kidd, Austin Kleon and Tim Federle.

Author Austin Kleon and Julie Wernersbach of BookPeople, Austin, Tex., discuss "Engaging Your Audience Through Social Media."

At the Rep Picks Lunch, Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, ABA's senior program officer, announced the return of the "Give Me Summer! Give Me Something to Read!" program--the national summer reading program for kids--and the middle grade and YA picks for the "Indies Introduce New Voices" program, in which a panel of 10 children's booksellers selects titles for the upcoming season.

Attendees seemed pleased by the inaugural Children's Institute. Robert Sindelar, ABA board member and managing partner at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, Wash., said, "Getting ready for [Children's Institute], there were serious debates [between staff members] about, should I go to this session or should I go to this session.... I felt like, coming in, if they had this reaction, the programming is headed in the right direction."

Chris Crawley, new owner of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Ark., said, "I learned a lot about social media applications at the bookstore, about the mechanics of operating and running a bookstore from a variety of perspectives. But I think the thing I really got the most out of was how to do a kid's event. That was really exciting to me."

And Nellie Greene, marketing and publicity manager at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., said, "I definitely, really enjoyed myself and learned a lot. It's inspired me to read more children's literature... the books are so fantastic." --Christopher Priest

G.P. Putnam's Sons: When We Were Young by Richard Roper

BEA Update: Author Breakfasts, Audiobook Tea Speakers

The guest lists are complete for this year's Book & Author Breakfasts as well as APA's Audiobook & Author Tea, which will be held during BookExpo America in New York City.

Neil Patrick Harris, author of an untitled memoir to be published by Crown Archetype, will serve as master of ceremonies at the Author Breakfast on Thursday, May 29, introducing speakers Anjelica Huston (Watch Me; Scribner), Tavis Smiley (Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year; Little, Brown) and Lisa Scottoline (Betrayed; St. Martin's).

On Friday at the Children's Book & Author Breakfast, Jason Segel (Nightmares; Delacorte Press) will emcee the event featuring Carl Hiaasen (Skink--No Surrender; Knopf), Mem Fox (Baby Bedtime; Beach Lane) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Amulet).

Alan Cumming (Not My Father's Son; It Books/Morrow) hosts Saturday's Book & Author Breakfast, with guest speakers Martin Short (I Must Say: My Life as Humble Comedy Legend; Harper), Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"; Random House) and Colm Tóibín (Nora Webster; Scribner).

Friday's Audio Publishers Association Audiobook & Author Tea will feature Pat O'Brien (I'll Be Right Back After This; Macmillan Audio) as emcee, introducing Dick Cavett (Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks; Macmillan Audio), Ruth Reichl (Delicious!; Random House Audio) and Jodi Picoult (Leaving Time; Random House Audio).

Soho Teen: Summer in the City of Roses by Michelle Ruiz Keil

'Bi-Literate': Rewiring the Way We Read

Cognitive neuroscientists are warning that humans "seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online," the Washington Post reported, adding that this "alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia."

"I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing," said Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.

Researchers are recommending closer study of the differences between text and screen reading and suggest "there are advantages to both ways of reading. There is potential for a bi-literate brain," the Post wrote.

"We can't turn back," Wolf observed. 'We should be simultaneously reading to children from books, giving them print, helping them learn this slower mode, and at the same time steadily increasing their immersion into the technological, digital age. It's both. We have to ask the question: What do we want to preserve?"

Riverrun Bookstore, Portsmouth N.H., offered an even more succinct reaction on Facebook: "We've been talking about this problem for a who---LOOK, KITTENS!!"

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: The Shaman's Book of Living and Dying by Alberto Villoldo and Anne O'Neill

First 24-hour Bookstore in Beijing

On Tuesday, the Sanlian Taofen Bookstore, owned by China Publishing Group Corp., began a 10-day trial as a 24-hour bookseller "and if the trial goes smoothly the store may never close again," Xinhua reported, adding that manager Zhang Zuozhen said 3 million yuan (US$482,920) has been invested in the operation.

PEN/Faulkner Foundation: Join us for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration!


Image of the Day: Springfield Rocks Octavia

photo: VK Brooks-Sigler

Rocker/former soap opera star/artist Rick Springfield appeared at Octavia Books in New Orleans last night to promote his debut novel, Magnificent Vibration (Touchstone).

G.P. Putnam's Sons: How to Raise Kids Who Aren't Assholes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting--From Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Poetry Month Highlight: O, Miami Poetry Festival

The annual O, Miami Poetry Festival--whose mission "is for every single person in Miami-Dade County to encounter a poem during the month of April," is currently in full swing, both "as a celebration of contemporary poetry and an experimental project to turn a metropolitan area into a canvas for the literary arts," weaving poetry "into existing infrastructures and combines it with other forms in order to democratize participation in the arts."

Last Saturday, poetry fans gathered in Miami Beach's SoundScape Park "to picnic, browse through books from stands provided by Bookleggers and Books & Books independent bookstore; and stake out the perfect grassy spot to experience the (first ever!) Poetry Wallcast," featuring 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass.

This year's participants also include Cathy Bowman, Campbell McGrath, Stephanie Strickland, Denise Duhamel, Julie Marie Wade, José Kozer, Reina María Rodríguez, Jaswinder Bolina, Mia Leonin, Geoffrey Philp, Donna Weir-Soley, Don Share, Jimmy Santiago Baca and many others.

Among the many "projects/non-readings" taking place in Miami this month are a Poetry Lottery, the first ever Miami Litcrawl!; and an event where "Jose Martí, the Cuban revolutionary poet returns from the dead to share his poems on horseback."

"You can kind of combine poetry with anything," festival founder P. Scott Cunningham told the Miami Herald. "We're just trying to do stuff that people want to go to."

StoryHack's 'Future of the Book' Video Contest

Imagine a contest open to anyone with Internet access who would like to predict how a book from the future might work. StoryHack Future of the Book is such a competition, inviting contestants to "create a video no longer than two minutes in which you read to us from a book written 100 years in the future" by April 23. "In the video, display how you think books might change in 100 years.... [and] demonstrate if reading from such a book is any different than it is now. If you tell a really good story, bonus points! However the emphasis is on changes in the media and interaction with it."

StoryHack FotB contestants are vying for two Northshire Bookstore $250 gift certificates, which can be redeemed at either the Manchester Center, Vt., or Saratoga Springs, N.Y., stores; or through Northshire's website.

The Judges' Award is determined by a panel of guest judges, who will select the video "they feel is most compelling, best explores how a book might evolve in 100 years in a imaginative and probable way, and best addresses how interacting with this new kind of book might change."

The Peoples' Award will be determined by an online vote in which the public selects their favorite video. StoryHack, which noted that the results are kept secret until the polls close, will be tracking the use of the #storyhackfotb hashtag on various social media platforms.

GBO Picks The Giraffe's Neck

The German Book Office in New York has chosen The Giraffe's Neck by Judith Schalansky, translated by Shaun Whiteside (Bloomsbury USA, $26, 9781620403389) as its April Book of the Month.

The GBO described the novel this way: "Adaptation is everything. Inge Lohmark is well aware of that; after all, she's been teaching biology for more than 30 years. But nothing will change the fact that her school is going to be closed in four years: In this dwindling town in the eastern German countryside, there are fewer and fewer children. Inge's husband, who was a cattle inseminator before the reunification, is now breeding ostriches. Their daughter, Claudia, emigrated to the United States years ago and has no intention of having children. Everyone is resisting the course of nature that Inge teaches every day in class.

"When Inge finds herself experiencing intense feelings for a ninth-grade girl, her biologically determined worldview is shaken. And in increasingly outlandish ways, she tries to save what can no longer be saved."

Judith Schalansky works as a freelance writer and designer in Berlin and is the author of Fraktur Mon Amour and Atlas of Remote Islands, which was selected as an indie bookseller favorite of 2010 on NPR. This is her first novel.

Former chair of the Translators Association of the Society of Authors, Shaun Whiteside is a member of the PEN Writers in Translation committee, the editorial board of New Books in German and the Advisory Panel of the British Centre for Literary Translation, where he regularly teaches at the summer school.

Personnel Changes at Scribner

At Scribner:

Lauren Lavelle has been promoted to publicity manager. She was formerly assistant publicity manager.

Gwyneth Stansfield has been promoted to publicist. She was formerly an associate publicist.

Media and Movies

TV: Portlandia's Booksellers Rally NBA Team

Tonight's episode of IFC's hit show Portlandia features a sketch in which Toni and Candace, co-owners of Women and Women First Bookstore, try to cheer up players from the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers team after a loss.

"The Blazers' dance team, though, is a different story," according to IFC's program notes. "Toni and Candace have many questions for the young women: Why are they doing a private dance in public? Why are they barely wearing anything? What's with all the finger pointing? They have no choice but to take their complaints straight to the top."

Best exchange:
"They read poetry... at a basketball game."
"This whole game thing. I don't understand when this became a competition."

This Weekend on Book TV: National Black Writers Conference

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, April 12
12 p.m. Book TV covers panels from the 2014 National Black Writers Conference, which took place in March at CUNY's Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

4:15 p.m. Book TV interviews Marji Ross, president and publisher of Regnery Publishing.

4:30 p.m. Peter Schuck, author of Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better (Princeton University Press, $27.95, 9780691161624).

7 p.m. Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet, authors of The Eternal Nazi: From Mauthausen to Cairo, the Relentless Pursuit of SS Doctor Aribert Heim (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385532433). (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. Kate Bowler, author of Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780199827695). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Jimmy Carter, author of A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476773957).

10 p.m. Cal Thomas, author of What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America (Zondervan, $18.99, 9780310339465). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, April 13
2 p.m. Continuing coverage of panels from the 2014 National Black Writers Conference.

6:30 p.m. Jim DeMint, author of Falling in Love with America Again (Center Street, $25, 9781455549801).

7:30 p.m. John Demos, author of The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic (Knopf, $30, 9780679455103).

10:30 p.m. Simon Schama, author of The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 B.C.-1492 A.D. (Ecco, $39.99, 9780060539184).

Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Ann Brashares

photo: Sigrid Estrada

Ann Brashares wowed audiences with her peek into the intimate and magical nature of friendship via a shared pair of jeans in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001), and has attracted ever more fans since. Her new book, The Here and Now (Delacorte, April 8, 2014), which Shelf Awareness called "an engaging, adventurous tale," introduces an element of time travel in a romance that spans two eras and is central to saving the world. Brashares grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and now lives in New York with her husband and four children.

On your nightstand now:

A Man in Love (Book Two of My Struggle) by Karl Ove Knausgaard; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami; an advance copy of The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith; and two books I mean to read to my children: Cod by Mark Kurlansky and A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and the Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald.

Your top five authors:

Jane Austen. Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, Gabriel García Márquez, Judy Blume. Fyodor Dostoevsky is my sixth man off the bench. Starters might be different tomorrow.

Book you've faked reading:

John Updike's Rabbit Run. I did read about the first 70 pages but couldn't stomach Rabbit's worldview longer than that.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Years ago I wouldn't shut up about David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, but he really doesn't need my help anymore. (Not that he ever did.) I still talk up Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. I think she is one of the great writers of historical fiction.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Possession by A.S. Byatt. Turned out the inside was good, too.

Book that changed your life:

Summer Heat, a not-great first draft of a YA manuscript I read as a freshly hired editorial assistant. It changed my life not because it was good, but because it wasn't very good. It spurred my realization that writers are human beings and books are a process, sometimes messy.

Favorite line from a book:

"Yes, I think the apostle spoons could have gone as rent," said Margaret. Seeing that her aunt did not understand, she added: "You remember 'rent.' It was one of father's words--rent to the ideal, to his own faith in human nature." --E.M. Forster, Howards End

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

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

Awards: Yaddo Medal Winner; Griffin Poetry Shortlist

Yaddo, the legendary retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., will present its inaugural Yaddo Artist Medal to Philip Roth at the annual New York City benefit May 14, with Alison Lurie introducing him at the event, Broadway World reported. Roth had his first residency at Yaddo in 1964, followed by six subsequent visits during which he wrote most of Portnoy's Complaint, The Breast and The Great American Novel. He dedicated The Breast to Yaddo as "the best friend a writer could have."  

"It's a great pleasure for us to begin a new tradition by presenting Philip Roth with the inaugural Yaddo Artist Medal," said Yaddo president Elaina Richardson, who added the medal "will be awarded annually at our New York City benefit to an artist of outstanding talent whose achievements and commitment to their field exemplifies Yaddo's own tradition of excellence and community. In this way, we hope to pay tribute to all the artists who have been part of the Yaddo story since our founding in 1900."


This year's international and Canadian shortlists has been announced for the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize. The seven finalists are invited to read in Toronto on June 4 and will each be awarded $10,000 for their participation in the Shortlist Readings. The winners will be named June 5. The shortlisted Griffin titles are:

Pilgrim's Flower by Rachael Boast
Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire by Brenda Hillman
Silverchest by Carl Phillips
Colonies by Tomasz Rózycki, translated by Mira Rosenthal

Red Doc> by Anne Carson
Ocean by Sue Goyette
Correspondences by Anne Michaels

Attainment: New Titles Out

New and selected titles appearing tomorrow and next Tuesday, April 15:

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose (Atria, $25, 9781451621532) alternates between Renaissance and modern France, following an orphan perfumer and a mythologist.

Red Love: The Story of an East German Family by Maxim Leo, translated by Shaun Whiteside (Pushkin Press, $25, 9781908968517) is the memoir of journalist raised in the former German Democratic Republic.

The Other Story by Tatiana de Rosnay (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250045133) follows a writer haunted by a family secret.

The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel by Justin Go (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476704586) finds a distant heir struggling to prove his inheritance.

Book Review

Review: The Other Story

The Other Story by Tatiana De Rosnay (St. Martin's Press, $26.99 hardcover, 9781250045133, April 15, 2014)

Tatiana de Rosnay's The Other Story takes readers into a microcosm of dark family secrets and the quest for an individual's identity, with a look at how modern technology can isolate a person rather than creating stronger connections.

Nicholas Duhamel--internationally bestselling author, media sensation and 29-year-old heartthrob--takes a luxury vacation at a Tuscan resort, where he plans to spend time with his gorgeous girlfriend and work on his eagerly awaited second novel. Said girlfriend, however, has grown increasingly sullen and jealous--and the novel doesn't even exist, despite his assurances to his editor that it's well underway. Though his blockbuster debut came to him in a flash, Nicholas has no inspiration for another story. Instead of writing, he revels in his celebrity, obsesses over his social media presence and sexts a provocative fan in Berlin.

As he rests on his laurels, Nicholas slowly comes to the realization that his most important relationships are crumbling due to his self-absorption. His current girlfriend is merely a rebound from his lover Delphine, who left him because of his growing vanity. An unknown photographer begins posting photos of Nicholas to his Facebook page, leaving him feeling violated and exposed. As his life begins to spin out of control and the weight of his lies grows, Nicholas thinks back to the journey that inspired his life-altering book, a trip to Russia to search for the truth about his father, whom he lost under mysterious circumstances when he was a boy.

De Rosnay (The House I Loved; Sarah's Key) never shrinks from allowing Nicholas to make mistakes with his loved ones, get caught up in his own hype or choose the darker end of a morally gray area. At times, his vanity and poor decisions may make readers wince. However, de Rosnay also skillfully plays up the effect of growing up without his father, underscoring that Nicholas is a young man making a young man's mistakes, engaged in the quarter-life crisis many of us face in early adulthood--intensified in his case by unexpected fame and success. The tension of Nicholas's unsustainable half-truths and the gradual parceling out of his father's secrets will keep readers in de Rosnay's thrall, hoping redemption will come. Readers in real life should anticipate de Rosnay's latest with all the fervor Nicholas's fans show in awaiting his. --Jaclyn Fulwood

Shelf Talker: De Rosnay's knack for exploring the effects of secrets adds complexity to the story of a young, first-time novelist's sudden rise to fame and fortune.

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