Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 30, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Nantucket Bookworks Reopens After Total Renovation

Nantucket Bookworks in Nantucket, Mass., officially reopened today after a major renovation. The store was closed for nearly a year after its original building had to be torn down and completely rebuilt, with a new basement and second story. According to owner Wendy Hudson, the store is roughly the same size--approximately 1,200 square feet--as it was before the renovation, but it has been reconfigured and opened up. The two biggest changes to the store are the inclusion of a juice and refreshment bar and an expanded and redesigned children's section.

"It was past its prime and time to renovate it," said Hudson of the old store, which had had a host of structural problems. Despite those problems, Bookworks had a cozy, charming atmosphere that Hudson strived to re-create in the new building, going so far as to reuse all the shelves from the original store as well as some of the old rugs. Added Hudson: "We worked hard to save the DNA of the store."

Cristina Blank, owner Wendy Hudson, manager Suzanne Bennett and  Melanie Kotolac under the Bookworks' Book Tree

The new basement, meanwhile, contains an apartment and storage for the bookstore, and the second story houses a three-bedroom apartment. The basement apartment is meant for year-round residents, while the second floor apartment is intended to be a high-end seasonal rental. The idea behind the inclusion of the apartments, Hudson explained, was to keep the bookstore's rent at below market levels for downtown Nantucket.

During the renovations, Bookworks had essentially merged with Mitchell's Book Corner, which Hudson also operates. With Bookworks open again, Hudson plans to cater to each store's strengths and have less overlapping inventory. Mitchell's Book Corner, she said, has always had a more adult and literary focus, while Bookworks has always been more kid friendly.

"We're trying hard to have them be more complementary," said Hudson. Rather than try to maintain two good travel sections at both stores, for example, she plans to have one great one at Mitchell's Book Corner. "We hope customers will learn."

Bookworks' reopening festivities will be tied into Nantucket's broader Halloween celebrations, which include ghost walks through downtown and a community haunted house. Hudson said she was "psyched" to have the store open again.

"The community has been chomping at the bit," Hudson continued. "People who have stepped in have said they can't believe how much it feels like the old store. It's fantastic." --Alex Mutter

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Shakespeare & Company's Paris Café Debuts

"Fancy a Flapjack Kerouac?" asked the Guardian in showcasing the new café that opened recently next door to the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, which had announced the development earlier this year. David Delannet, co-manager of the store, said the neighborhood has been excited and encouraging, with many remarking that it feels as if the café has always been there.

"Despite its small size, the café has a lighter and more modern atmosphere than the cramped bookshop next door, a famous hub for influential writers," the Guardian wrote. "Yet it shares the bookstore's signature eccentric charm. Dishes have names like 'the Flapjack Kerouac' or 'the Bun Also Rises,' and a version of the Proust Questionnaire lines the trays."

NZ Bookshop Day: 'Your Place, Your Bookshop'

"A new wave of optimism among New Zealand's booksellers underpins the inaugural NZ Bookshop Day--Your Place, Your Bookshop," which is being held in 180 bookstores nationwide tomorrow, Booksellers NZ reported.
"The last few years have been tough for the book trade, but book sales are rising again and there's a positive outlook amongst booksellers. We're definitely thriving, rather than just surviving," said Booksellers NZ chair Mary Sangster, adding that NZ Bookshop Day "celebrates the unique place bookshops have in New Zealand life and their place in our communities. More than almost any other retail store, bookshops truly reflect the literary passions and personal styles of their owners. This inaugural NZ Bookshop Day is abrim with authors reading in bookshop windows, dress up events, quirky quizzes and competitions."

At Auckland's Time Out Bookshop, award-winning author Ted Dawe "will become an honorary staff member and serve behind the counter," Booksellers NZ wrote, adding that he "will now even be able to sell Into the River thanks to the decision made in mid-October by the Film & Literature Board of Review."

NZ Bookshop Day Ambassador Sir Bob Harvey observed: "All my life I've loved bookshops. Good bookshops are gems, they're such a treasure for us all. Making friends with bookshop staff means they know what you like, the authors you enjoy and they challenge you to read new works--and I always end up loving those too, and I learn so much! I challenge all Kiwis to get out on Saturday to enjoy their local bookshop events."

Deadline: Patterson's Bookseller Holiday Bonus Nominations

This Sunday, November 1, is the deadline to nominate booksellers for James Patterson's Holiday Bonus initiative. Anyone can nominate a bookstore employee, including store owners, managers, fellow booksellers, publishing professionals and shoppers. Patterson will be giving bonuses of $1,000-$5,000 each, for a total of $250,000, to booksellers at ABA member stores.

Obituary Note: Sheldon S. Wolin

Political theorist Sheldon S. Wolin, whose "landmark 1960 book Politics and Vision shifted the center of gravity back to politics, rather than economics or sociology, in the field of political science, and who went on to analyze the possibilities and limits of popular democracy in a series of influential studies," died October 21, the New York Times reported. He was 93. His other books included Democracy Incorporated, Politics and Vision, Tocqueville between Two Worlds and The Berkeley Student Revolt.


Image del dia

The folks at Albert Whitman got an early start on Dia de los Muertos, celebrating with their new picture book, Dia de los Muertos by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros.

Happy 35th Birthday, Unabridged Bookstore!

Congratulations to Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, Ill., which is celebrating its 35th anniversary on Saturday, December 12, with themed refreshments, a storewide 10% discount, raffles, a look back at 35 years of bookselling and "general bookish revelry." The party starts at 6 p.m., and book lovers of all ages are welcome.

Owner Ed Devereux founded the store in the Lakeview neighborhood on November 1, 1980. Unabridged is known for its knowledgeable staff and their handwritten shelf talkers as well as for its sale book section, the award-winning children's section, its travel room, a wide collection of fiction and poetry, and its LGBT literature.

Franzen Reads Colbert a Scary 'Amazon' Tale

Wednesday night, Jonathan Franzen read Stephen Colbert a scary bedtime fairytale that began: "Once upon a time, there was a girl named Little Red Reading Hood, who loved her grandmother's local independent bookstore...." Vulture described the story this way: "It's like You've Got Mail, but a wolf instead of a fox."

Personnel Changes at Thames & Hudson, Scholastic, Abrams

At Thames & Hudson:

Priscilla McGeehon is joining the company as publisher of the textbook division. She has held sales and editorial positions at Pearson Education, CQ Press/Sage, Westview Press and, most recently, Bloomsbury's Fairchild Books imprint.

Harry Burton has been promoted to publicity & marketing director.


At Scholastic:

Morgan Baden has been promoted to v-p, internal communications & social media. She was formerly senior director.

Anne Sparkman has been promoted to director, corporate communications. She was previously senior manager.

Jennifer Buno has been promoted to assistant manager, sales planning. She was previously senior sales analyst.


Robert Imfeld has joined Abrams as brand marketing associate for the Wimpy Kid brand.

Book Trailer of the Day: Harry Potter: The Character Vault

Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson (Harper Design), a look at the creative development of the characters of the wizarding world as they appear on screen, with concept art, unit photography, comments from the actors and other material from the Warner Bros. archive.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Ford on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Richard Ford, author of Let Me Be Frank with You: A Frank Branscombe Book (Ecco, $14.99, 9780061692079).


Today on All Things Considered: Audrey Niffenegger, author of Ghostly (Scribner, $28, 9781501111198).


Today on the Marilu Henner Show: Betty Boyd Caroli, author of Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage that Made a President (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781439191224).


Sunday on ABC's This Week: Joe Klein, author of Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451677300).


Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning: Stan Lee, co-author of Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir (Touchstone, $30, 9781501107726).

TV: Gaiman's Likely Stories

Filming is set to begin in November on a four-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman's short fiction under the direction of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth), the Guardian reported. Likely Stories is being produced by Sid Gentle Films, the independent production company set up in 2013 by Sally Woodward Gentle, for U.K. satellite channel Sky Arts. Although details were limited, the production company said the series would be based on "the fantastical short stories from the pen of Neil Gaiman" and there "will be an ensemble cast across all four of these tales."

Movies: The Lady in the Van; The Girl on the Train

An official trailer is out for The Lady in the Van, adapted from the memoir and stage play by Alan Bennett, who also wrote the script. Directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings, The Lady in the Van "has already received enormous acclaim following release in Britain, much of it heaped upon Smith, and it makes its way stateside for an Oscar-qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles starting December 4, with a wider release starting January 15," wrote.


Disney has set a release date of October 7, 2016, for DreamWorks' film adaptation of Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel The Girl on the Train, reported. Directed by Tate Taylor (The Help), the movie stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett and Jared Leto.

Books & Authors

Awards: Richell for Emerging Writers; Patrick White Literary

Sally Abbott won the inaugural A$10,000 (about US$7,135) Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for her manuscript, Closing Down. The award was jointly established in May by Hachette Australia, Guardian Australia and the Emerging Writers' festival in memory of Matt Richell, the Hachette Australia CEO who died in a surfing accident in 2014. In addition to the cash award, Abbott receives a year's mentoring with Hachette Australia, which will have first option to publish the book.


Novelist Joan London won the A$24,000 (about US$16,985) Patrick White Literary Award, which recognizes authors who "have made a significant but inadequately recognized contribution to Australian literature," Books+Publishing reported. White established the prize in 1974 using proceeds from his 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature.

London is the author of three collections of short stories and three novels, including her latest, The Golden Age. The judges said her "quiet, poetic prose opens up worlds, both real and imagined, of travel, desire, loss and love.... London's nomadic characters travel through space and time affirming through their relationships and varied histories a global humanity."

Book Review

Review: War, So Much War

War, So Much War by Mercé Rodoreda, trans. by Maruxa Relaño and Martha Tennent and (Open Letter, $13.95 trade paper, 9781940953229, November 10, 2015)

War, So Much War was the last of Mercé Rodoreda's novels published in her lifetime, shortly before her death in 1983. Unlike the intense psychological realism of The Time of the Doves, this newly translated capstone to her writing career chronicles the picaresque adventures of a 15-year-old boy, Adrià Guinart. He hurtles with youthful energy from one encounter to another in a surreal landscape of perpetual war. Though no specific country or battle is ever named, he seems to be making his way through the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which the author herself survived.

Rodoreda's literary technique is to keep actual combat offstage. She depicts men rushing into battle. She depicts glassy-eyed survivors emerging from battle. Corpses are everywhere in the landscape, amid bombed buildings and destroyed homes. The river is clogged with bodies. Gunshots are heard but never witnessed. Executed civilians are found in the street. The atmosphere of human slaughter, without ever being center stage, permeates the narrative. Throughout War's 43 episodes, some linked, some with recurring characters, Rodoreda compiles one testimony after another from the people Adrià encounters in his wanderings.

Her descriptions are spare. Most characters are unnamed. The and-then-and-then plot races forward like a Bildungsroman on speed, as one character after another imparts to Adrià their advice for survival. His boyhood pal, the son of the junkman, convinces him to sign up for the war. He rescues a hanged man who is attempting suicide. He encounters the miller's naked daughter in the river. He befriends the farmer's mistreated dog.

Religious medallions, lanterns and umbrellas, a mirror and a canary seem to have other meanings, and a disproportionate number of women are named Isabel, none of which Rodoreda explains. "And a mystery must struggle--that is its principal reason for being--so that its great beauty will not be stripped from it." The characters include an heiress with skinned knees from constantly kneeling in prayer, the nightmarish Cat Man (so desirous of his neighbor's cat that he learns taxidermy so that he can possess and sleep with it forever) and a saintly hermit with a lantern around his neck who haunts the city's sewer lines.

Rodoreda can be a compelling writer, dropping occasional jewels, like "those who allow their souls to be populated by terror see things that do not exist." And her images are unforgettable. Her prose is frequently more poetry than narrative, more surreal visions than storytelling, but for all that it has the fascination of a trek across an infernal Hieronymus Bosch landscape, far-fetched enough to be artistic, realistic enough to be painfully true. --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: The last published novel of the Catalan writer Mercé Rodoreda follows a 15-year-old--and his surreal encounters--across a war-torn Spanish landscape.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Trick or Read!

The Elephant Man was there, chatting with Dorian Gray. Count Dracula met Huckleberry Finn, and the Invisible Man met the Invisible Woman. Marley's Ghost clanked around, and Dmitri Karamazov stood at attention. There were three Anna Kareninas and any number of Nicholas Nicklebys.... It was Brentano's pre-Halloween party Thursday night and the invitation advised guests to dress "as a character in a novel you wished you had written." --New York Times, October 31, 1981

From Christopher Morley's The Haunted Bookshop to Malachi O' Doherty's "ghost" photos shot at Bookfinders Bookshop & Cafe in Belfast, Ireland, bookish spirits just seem to bring out the best in book people this time of year. What better time, then, to highlight some of the haunting events taking place this weekend:

Very Literary Halloween Party: Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass., is inviting grown-ups to "come celebrate Halloween at our Very Literary Halloween Party. Come dressed in your literary-themed best for tricks and treats..."

Zombies!: Tonight, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego, Calif., is hosting "a Mad Zombie Hallowe'en Party--we will have candy & other tasty refreshments, plus a wonderful prize package for the best-costumed attendee... If you are in Los Angeles this weekend, it will be nigh impossible to distinguish Hallowe'en costumes from general cosplay at Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center."

And Zombie ballerinas: "Join us for a special Halloween storytime with the Caldecott Honor-winning picture book author [Molly Idle, Zombelina Dances the Nutcracker] and a troupe of zombie ballerinas from the Arizona Youth Ballet" at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

Lego Librarians at Truro Public Library, Truro, Mass.: "Our library pumpkin has gone viral with Facebook shares from libraries all over the U.S. and from Canada, U.K. and even Norway!!"

Trick or book: In addition to sweets, David Osborn, owner of Adventures in Bookselling bookstore, Omaha, Nebr., "hands out books to the little ghosts and goblins who come to his door. He estimates he has distributed thousands of gently used books in the last few years."

More book treats: Bob's Bookstore, Pensees Bookshop and the Lincoln Book Shop in Charleston, Ill., will be handing out free books for children on Halloween.

Monster Mash Costume Party: Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., will hold a Monster Mash Costume Party and Parade for kids tonight, followed tomorrow by the Bellingham Storytellers Guild telling spooky stories.

Edgar Allen Poe: The Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., is hosting a Poe party and a reading by William Giraldi from The Annotated Poe, for which he wrote the foreword. The evening will include a Poe look-alike and costume contest, prizes, a cash bar and a book signing.

Candy buyback: Edgewater Books and Pottery at South River Colony in Edgewater, Md., will buy back Halloween candy. Beginning November 2, unused candy can be exchanged for a $1 store credit per pound, redeemable at either retailer. All collections will be donated to Operation Welcome Home.

Alice at 150: Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., is celebrating the 150th birthday of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland by throwing a Mad Hatter's Tea Party for kids and families Saturday morning. An evening Caterpillar's Costume Ball for adults will feature "EAT ME treats from Dixie's Dessert Delivery Service, DRINK ME treats, as well as a few party games and a costume contest. The best Alice-inspired costume and the best other costume will win gift certificates."

Alice with a twist of gore: Ann-Marie Finn and Kaylene Hobson, owners of the Mad Hatters Bookshop in Brisbane, Australia, decided the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's classic "was a fitting time to give his beloved characters a gory twist for the Manly Harbour Village Halloween Street Party."

"Franny is still deciding on her Halloween costume": Noting that "some books are scary because of other reasons beyond zombies, ghosts, and mixed metaphors," the staff at Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., "came up with these titles that are sure to be dark--dark like when the sun goes out... forever."

Spend Halloween in a bookstore: Japan's bookstore chain Junkudo is letting a small group of people spend the night inside its "three-story shop in Osaka--and on Halloween, no less.... Let's just hope that a group of 10 strangers spending Halloween night alone in a bookstore doesn't turn out to be quite as horror movie-esque as it sounds."

Halloween Hangover? Rediscovered Books, Boise, Idaho, suggests a Mark Z. Danielewski reading cure: "It's November 1st, the day after Halloween. You still have your costume on from the previous night. Your hair is a wreck. You don't know where that stain came from, and the last few hours you can remember are still a little fuzzy. Let Rediscovered Books ease you out of your Halloween hangover with a reading and signing."

Does all this bookish terror make for sleepless nights? Here's a little retail treat: According to the National Retail Federation's Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, more than 157 million Americans are celebrating Halloween this year, with total spending expected to reach $6.9 billion. And while 20 million humans are expected to spend $350 million on costumes for their pets, there's still some discretionary funds left over to buy Halloween-themed books and greeting cards (33.5% will buy greeting cards, spending a total of $330 million) from indie booksellers. Happy Bookish Halloween! --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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