Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 13, 2017

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Bertelsmann Expects to Boost Stake in PRH to 70%-75%

Bertelsmann, which currently owns 53% of Penguin Random House, expects to increase its stake to 70%-75% and find a long-term partner for the rest, Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe told Der Spiegel magazine, as reported by Reuters.

Pearson, which owns 47% of PRH, indicated in January that it wants to sell its stake in the joint venture. Under the 2012 merger agreement that created PRH, each company had to hold its stake for three years and each has the right of first refusal if the other wants to sell.

A year ago, Rabe had said Bertelsmann would feel "comfortable" owning about three-quarters of PRH, but this is apparently the first time since Pearson indicated it wanted to sell that Rabe has said the formula is unchanged. Speaking with Der Spiegel, he added that a partner in PRH has to take a long-term view: "Interest is high but we don't want a partner who would soon head out of the door again. There are many institutional investors like pension funds or family trusts who think long-term."

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Books Kinokuniya in Singapore Expands

Books Kinokuniya's elegant main store in the Ngee Ann City Shopping Mall in Singapore has expanded to 38,000 square feet and regained most of the space that it lost when it had to move one flight up in 2014, the Straits Times reported. The expansion, which includes new store frontage, was made possible by the move of a restaurant.

Kenny Chan, Singapore store director and director, merchandising division, told the paper he was "elated" when he learned the store could expand, adding. "Now our customers have the opportunity to look for things through self-discovery, at a pace and space that is more breathable."

The added space meshes "seamlessly" with the old space, the Straits Times noted; the company went back to the same mountain in China for granite to match the floors of the new and old sections, for example. With the increased space, the store has been able to increase some sections it had to decrease three years ago, including the Japanese, Chinese and French sections.

On Orchard Road, the Ngee Ann City Shopping Mall is a high-end mall that features a Takashimaya department store. The Books Kinokuniya store, which opened in 1999, is the company's flagship Singapore store and has been a template for many of the Kinokuniya stores outside Japan and North America. Most its 500,000 titles are in English; it also has an array of sidelines, a stationery shop and a café.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Paz Introduces Online Bookstore Management Program

The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates has launched an online, self-study training program for new owners, booksellers new to management roles and current managers to develop bookstore management skills.

Managing Today's Bookstore features 13 segments that explain "the six Ps" of the business: people, place, product, promotion, profits and priorities. Each presentation takes 10-30 minutes to view and comes with related exercises, handouts, spreadsheets, templates and links to resources. Self-paced, the program aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the retail bookselling business.

One registration fee allows anyone at a store to access the training materials. Tuition is $495 for ABA members (a $100 discount). A Certificate of Achievement is available upon submission of all completed exercises.

Lafayette Library, UC Berkeley Create Simpson Family Literary Project, $50,000 Literary Prize

The Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, English Department are launching the Simpson Family Literary Project and a $50,000 literary prize that will annually "recognize a writer who has earned a distinguished reputation and the approbation and gratitude of readers." The first prize will be given to a fiction author "at the relatively middle stage of a burgeoning career." The winner will give a public reading and be celebrated during a brief spring residence at the Lafayette Library and the University of California, Berkeley.

In addition to the prize, the Simpson Family Literary Project, honoring Barclay and Sharon Simpson and their family, will promote and pursue "lasting educational outreach into schools, university, and libraries" and will support authors "from young writers to mid-career writers of distinction to internationally celebrated authors. The Project's initiatives include teaching creative writing to high school-age writers and establishing a writer in residence program at the Lafayette Library."

Joseph Di Prisco, founding chair of the Simpson Family Literary Project and an author whose memoir The Pope of Brooklyn is being published tomorrow by Rare Bird Books, commented: "A crucial democratic principle infuses the Simpson Family Literary Project: literature creates community and inspires literacy. Storytelling endures as an innate skill everyone possesses and practices, however reflexively and casually. At its most empowering, telling a story leads to literacy."

Obituary Notes: Robert James Waller; John Harris

Robert James Waller, "whose gauzy, romantic novel The Bridges of Madison County became a runaway bestseller on its publication in 1992 and the basis of a popular film," died March 10, the New York Times reported. He was 77.

The Bridges of Madison County "leapt to the top of the bestseller lists and stayed there, eventually outselling Gone With the Wind," the Times noted, adding that with the novel "still  riding high, Mr. Waller recorded an album, 'The Ballads of Madison County,' and in 10 days wrote his second novel, Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend, about the love affair between an economics professor and a colleague's wife. With a first printing of a million copies, it, too, shot to the top of the bestseller lists."

Waller's other books include Puerto Vallarta Squeeze: The Run for el Norte; Border Music; Just Beyond the Firelight: Stories & Essays; One Good Road Is Enough and The Long Night of Winchell Dear. In 2002, he revisited the scene of his first novel in A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County, followed by High Plains Tango (2005), in which he "passed the generational baton to Kincaid's son, a master carpenter who battles to stop development on the site of an Indian burial ground in South Dakota," the Times reported.

Noting that "the romantic flame ignited by The Bridges of Madison County was slow to die," the Times wrote that in 2005 Waller told Book Page: "I receive letters each week from people who have read it and are moved by the story. At one time, I received 50 to 100 letters per week. Now it's more on the order of five. The last I knew, 350 marriage ceremonies had been celebrated at Roseman Bridge."


Poet and former bookstore owner William John Harris, Jr., known in the book world as John Harris, died on March 8. He was 90.

Harris was a co-founder of the Venice Poetry Workshop in 1969, an early participant in the Beyond Baroque literary arts center, author of two poetry collections--Where Love Is (1969) and Against the Day of the Dead (1977)--and was included in various journals and anthologies, including Venice Thirteen (1971). In the 1970s and '80s, he owned Papa Bach Paperbacks in West Los Angeles and edited and published Bachy, a quarterly journal of poetry and short stories.


Image of the Day: BookPeople Beg to Differ

Bookpeople in Austin, Tex., had a local response to this corporate sign posted at SXSW. Pictured: booksellers Matt Flores, Melissa Lojo and Gregory Day.

Happy 40th Birthday, Secret Garden Books!

Congratulations to Secret Garden Books, Seattle, Wash., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., with cake, prizes, a homemade photo booth--and "mutual adoration." Customers are encouraged to bring memories, "and they will be shared creatively with all."

The store has always been owned by women, beginning as a children's bookstore and becoming a general bookstore in 2000. It continues to have an emphasis on children's books.

Christy McDanold, who bought Secret Garden Books 22 years ago, recalled that the store then had "no lease, no books, no staff; just the name of a bookshop that had been beloved for many years.  But I knew even then that I had taken on more than just another retail business.

"For me and the two women who owned the shop before me, the Secret Garden has been a labor of love; love of books, love of people and love of the community that we have fostered throughout the years. The Secret Garden is a place where friends meet, families come on days off from school, and no day goes by without a new friend or an old one cheering us, telling us that this is their favorite place to buy books.

"Over the years, we have presented inspiring authors and illustrators to lucky audiences all over the region, delivered fabulous book fairs to local schools and contributed to hundreds of other fundraisers in a myriad of ways.

"We have also hired scores of young people, sometimes for their very first job, sending them on with new skills.

"Yet I truly believe that our most enduring contribution to our community is our brick and mortar store, filled with beautiful books carefully chosen with customers old and new in mind, and booksellers ready and highly capable of helping each customer find just the right one.  Every day we open our doors the Secret Garden Bookshop is part of the civic and economic vibrancy that IS community."

Connecticut's '10 Best Bookstores'

Connecticut Magazine extolled the state's "10 Best Bookstores" (comments excerpted):

The Book Barn, Niantic. "Not so much a bookstore as a book compound."
Whitlock's Book Barn, Bethany: "Check out Whitlock's Book Barn to ensure good heart health."
Byrd's Books, Bethel. "Asked what a local, independent bookstore means for the community, [owner Alice] Hutchinson's answer is simple: 'It means survival.' "
House of Books, Kent. "Literary landmark."
Brick Walk Bookshop, West Hartford. "This bookshop also specializes in fine art, in case you're looking to decorate your home as well as your imagination."
R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison. "One of the premier destinations for Connecticut book fiends."
Diane's Books, Greenwich. "There's something here for everyone."
Bank Street Book Nook, New Milford. "A feast."
Bank Square Books, Mystic. "Not only independent, but fiercely so."
Traveler Restaurant, Union. "Traveler is a great bookstore in its own right, plus every diner gets a free book after a meal."

Personnel Changes at Harlequin

Meredith Barnes has joined Harlequin's general fiction publicity department in New York to work on publicity campaigns at MIRA Books, Park Row Books and Hanover Square Press. She was formerly at Soho Press, where she led its publicity, library presence and digital marketing strategy and campaigns. She was earlier a literary agent.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: J.D. Vance on Late Night with Seth Meyers

Good Morning America: Danielle Steel, author of Dangerous Games: A Novel (Delacorte, $28.99, 9781101883884).

CBS This Morning: Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel, authors of We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere (Atria, $25, 9781501126277). They will also appear on the View.

Fresh Air: Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (Penguin Press, $27, 9781594206641).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West: A Novel (Riverhead, $26, 9780735212176).

Fox & Friends: Theresa Caputo, author of Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again (Atria, $25.99, 9781501139086).

Dr. Oz: Keke Palmer, author of I Don't Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice (North Star Way, $24.99, 9781501145391).

The View: Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan, authors of The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark (Atria, $25, 9781501160387).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper, $27.99, 9780062300546).

Movies: Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Richard Linklater will direct Cate Blanchett in a film version of Maria Semple's novel Where'd You Go, Bernadette. Indiewire reported that filming is set to begin this summer on the project Linklater originally joined in the adaptation two years ago, but there had been no news about the project since then.

Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars) "wrote the original script, though Linklater probably made some touch ups," Indiewire noted. Megan Ellison will produce the film through Annapurna Pictures. "No additional cast members have been announced, though expect the ball to get rolling quickly as summer approaches."

Books & Authors

Awards: IACP Cookbook Winners; Ted Hughes Poetry Shortlist

Winners of the 2017 International Association of Culinary Professionals' annual awards included many cookbooks in a variety of categories. Chef Vivian Howard's Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South was the big winner in the cookbooks category, taking the honors in four categories including Cookbook of the Year and Julia Child First Book award. José Andrés received the 2017 IACP Lifetime Achievement award, which recognizes "a culinary professional who has made noteworthy and lasting contributions to the culinary industry and who has demonstrated a continuing commitment to the culinary arts as a lifetime career." See the complete list of IACP winners here.


A shortlist has been released for the Poetry Society's £5,000 (about $6,080) Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, which "celebrates the outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life, acknowledging the possibilities of poetry both on the page and beyond." The winner will be unveiled in London on March 29. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Red and Yellow Nothing by Jay Bernard
The Inevitable Gift Shop by Will Eaves 
LIVEwire by Salena Godden
Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton
Finders Keepers by Harry Man
Nobody Told Me by Hollie McNish
The Immigration Handbook by Caroline Smith

Book Review

Review: A $500 House in Detroit

A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City by Drew Philp (Scribner, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9781476797984, April 11, 2017)

Whether it's crime, corruption or urban decay, Detroit's seemingly insurmountable array of problems have been well documented. That's why freelance journalist Drew Philp's A $500 House in Detroit is such a tonic. The story of its author's five-year effort to rehabilitate a dwelling in one of the city's blighted neighborhoods is an inspiring portrait of one man's dogged persistence. It offers a clear-eyed glimpse at how a brighter future for the once proud Motor City might be slowly emerging.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, the idealistic Philp, who is white, is the quintessential Angry Young Man. He moves to Detroit--whose population is more than 80% African-American--with "no job, no friends, and no money," trying to reconcile his background of educational privilege with the poverty that surrounds him.

At a tax sale in October 2009, Philp acquires a 1903 Queen Anne house in Detroit's Poletown neighborhood--home to the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant that displaced 4,000 residents in the early 1980s while producing only half its promised jobs--and sets to work transforming it into habitable space, to prove "that this American vision of torment could be built back into a home."

With the help of his father, grandfather and a shifting cast of neighbors, Philp slowly acquires the skills that enable him to resurrect this "white-and-gray clapboard shell on a crumbling brick foundation, filled with junk." Along the way, he stands guard over his house on a terrifying Devil's Night, the "annual orgy of arson and destruction on Halloween weekend," and later comes close to dispatching a would-be intruder with a shotgun blast. But in the midst of this nightmare landscape, Philp is quick to spot signs of rejuvenation, whether it's a thriving hayfield or spirited block parties that promote neighborhood solidarity.

Philp layers the account of his backbreaking labor with economic and sociological insights into Detroit's plight, while describing the efforts of other determined homesteaders to reclaim abandoned neighborhoods. He has little patience for the gentrification movement led by wealthy business leaders like Quicken Loans' Dan Gilbert and others he blames for the decline of Detroit's population from 2 million to 800,000, and the loss of 90% of its manufacturing jobs since the 1960s. Instead, he puts his faith in the unceasing toil of his fellow urban pioneers. "We were going to have to pit our humanity against their money," he writes, "and the fate of Detroit was now a microcosm for what was happening to the country at large." It will take time and luck, but if others are as committed as Drew Philp, it's probably not a good idea to bet against this once great city's revival. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Journalist Drew Philp's memoir is the inspiring story of his personal part in the struggle to revitalize Detroit.

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