Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 24, 2018: Maximum Shelf: The Broken Girls

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella

Quotation of the Day

Daniel Pink at Wi13: 'The Good News Is People Like You'

Daniel Pink at #Wi13.

"I live in Washington, D.C. And as you see, I scrupulously avoided talking about politics during this entire session. And I'm going to continue to scrupulously avoid talking about politics... because I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news: as a Washingtonian, an American and father and husband and human being, what's going on in this country right now troubles me.... That's the bad news.

"The good news is [pointing to various parts of the audience] you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you, and you and all the people in the back. The good news is people like you. Booksellers. People who care about the life of ideas; people who care about the integrity of the community; people who care about science; people who care about truth. And so, when I am feeling despairing about what's going on in the country, I think about people like you, the booksellers who are out there making a difference in the world, who are bringing ideas to people, who are bringing great stories to people and who are a bulwark against all the bad things that are going on. So, thank you for selling books, and thank you for being the source of good news."

--Daniel Pink, author most recently of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing (Riverhead), in his keynote yesterday at Wi13

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo


#Wi13: Around the Show

Yesterday was the first full day of Wi13, the largest Winter Institute yet, drawing 685 booksellers and 58 international guests. Many sessions were SRO, and audiences responded enthusiastically to Daniel Pink's talk--his third appearance at a Winter Institute--and Sarah Jessica Parker's discussion about the importance of books and bookstores in her life and her new imprint (more below).

As always, the galley room drew a crowd.

Josh Christie and Emily Russo, owners of Print: A Bookstore in Portland, Maine, with Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Winter Institute welcome reception.

Joel Becker, CEO of the Australian Booksellers Association (l.), with Bill Petrocelli, co-owner of the Book Passage stores in Northern California, who's at WI wearing his author hat: his new novel, Through the Bookstore Window, is coming from Rare Bird Books in March.

At the last night's reception sponsored by Ingram: (from l.) Jeremy Ellis, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex. , and Brad Johnson, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, Calif. (their stores both opened last September) with Jarrod Annis, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Wi13: Sarah Jessica Parker in Conversation with Pamela Paul

Sarah Jessica Parker (l.) chatted with Pamela Paul at breakfast yesterday.

"Sarah Jessica is a book person. She is one of us," said Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review as well as all book coverage for the Times, to open Tuesday's Wi13 Breakfast Keynote. Paul interviewed actress, producer, designer and lifelong dedicated reader Sarah Jessica Parker, who recently launched SJP for Hogarth in partnership with Molly Stern, publisher of Crown and Hogarth.

"I'm so happy to be here. I'm jealous of the people who've been here for 13 years," Paul said, adding that she recognized Parker as a member in good standing of the book community the first time they met during a PEN Gala: "She was like, 'Oh my God! You're the editor of the New York Times Book Review?' She was excited about that. So I knew she was a book person."

In response to the first, and logical, question about adding the SJP for Hogarth editorial role to her already packed life schedule ("Why take this on?"), Parker said, "I never thought I would be involved or invited into your world... into the world of publishing." The initial spark occurred a few years ago when, after a lunch conversation, Stern sent her a box of books, including the ARC for Anthony Marra's A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.

"I read that book, and I wasn't even 50% through it when I was just gobsmacked," Parker recalled. "I couldn't believe what I was reading. I was so taken with the skill and the writing and the heart, the humor that he could find, but also the choices of story... I called Molly and I said I don't know if I could ever do something to be helpful, but this is an important book. This might be one of the great books I've ever read in contemporary fiction."

That discussion and the launch of Parker's well-known book club are two of the threads that eventually led to Stern asking if she would ever consider an imprint. "I said, no, I couldn't possibly. It was too daunting," Parker noted. "I didn't feel deserving. But they convinced me that, with some counsel and the help of great folks like [editor] Lindsay Sagnette I could find my way. With their guidance and mentorship, I have. It's been the privilege of a lifetime, and in large part it's for my mother, who made us all readers."

Reading was her mother's passion and obsession: "We didn't have a television growing up, so we read. And even when we couldn't read, we were required to have a book with us.... We just always left the house with something to read"

When asked what type of books she is hoping to publish, Parker said she is "always looking for the unfamiliar. I think the easiest way to describe it is I always like global voices because I feel like they take me to a world, especially when well written, that I just don't know."

The imprint's inaugural title, Fatima Farheen Mirza's debut novel, A Place for Us, passed a stern quality test. "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena became the literary standard by which I judged other books in the literary space," Parker observed. "It was a clear marker. And very soon into the manuscript of A Place for Us I knew this is very special; this is important; this is timely; this is a really exquisite, big and intimate and important story. The voice is so much her own and so fresh....

"We think it does tell the story of what we're trying to do with this small and beautiful imprint. Hogarth has a very important history. It's important to me. I mean to do right by this opportunity, and I think Fatima's story makes it clear very quickly what my intentions are."

The conversation ended, appropriately enough, with Paul asking about the role of indie bookstores in Parker's life. "Where to begin," she replied. "I think of them as the beacon in the community. I think of them as the connector. I just think they're a particular kind of shelter that is unique and necessary."

Her local indie is Three Lives & Company in Greenwich Village. "I walk by the bookstore all the time with my daughter and she'll say, 'Oh, the last time we were here you bought...' and she'll name a book. And I'll say, 'No, that was the last time I was here with you.' I think bookstores are often what holds our communities together.... I'm so grateful for ours because it's just a part of our life." --Robert Gray

Acclaimed Fantasy Writer Ursula K. Le Guin Has Died at 88

Ursula K. Le Guin, "the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy," as the New York Times put it, died at her home in Portland, Ore., on Monday. She was 88 and had been in poor health for several months.

She wrote more than 20 novels, a dozen books of poetry, more than 100 short stories, seven collections of essays and 13 children's books. She also translated five books and wrote a guide for writers. Among her best-known works were The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) and the Earthsea series.

"Le Guin embraced the standard themes of her chosen genres: sorcery and dragons, spaceships and planetary conflict," the Times wrote. "But even when her protagonists are male, they avoid the macho posturing of so many science fiction and fantasy heroes. The conflicts they face are typically rooted in a clash of cultures and resolved more by conciliation and self-sacrifice than by swordplay or space battles....

"Le Guin's fictions range from young-adult adventures to wry philosophical fables. They combine compelling stories, rigorous narrative logic and a lean but lyrical style to draw readers into what she called the 'inner lands' of the imagination. Such writing, she believed, could be a moral force."

Le Guin was wonderfully direct and outspoken in her commentary on society and modern life--and the book world. In 2014, when she won the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Le Guin said she was sharing the award "with all the writers excluded from literature for so long--my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful awards go to the so-called realists. I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom--poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality."

She added: "Books are not just commodities. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable--so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art and very often in our art, the art of words."

Last December, in a q&a in Shelf Awareness, for No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, an essay collection, she was asked, "What works of fantasy present a realistically complex vision of a world in balance (or of female solidarity)?"

She answered: "Trying to think about this, I realized that I was not coming up with any fantasy that presents a realistically complex vision of a world in balance, maybe because we are so unbalanced at this point that imagining a real balance, even if fantasy, is not possible.

"As for a world of feminine solidarity, that is questionably desirable: solidarity is something you call on in defense or when attacking. I would like to imagine a world of genuine equality, without stupid gender wars and battles of the sexes, where women did not have to consolidate against men or vice versa. I tried to sketch such a world in The Dispossessed. But I don't think I could write that book now."

Third Place Books, Seattle, assembled a display of Le Guin titles that included this quote from a recent Shelf Awareness interview.

There were many tributes from the book world.

Naomi Gibbs, Le Guin's editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which published No Time to Spare, commented: "Working with Ursula was a privilege, an honor, and a tremendous joy for me, and for many here at HMH and elsewhere in the industry. She was an unparalleled writer who lived an extraordinary life. She's leaving behind an incomparable body of work, and her remarkable spirit."

Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., wrote: "Portland author and perennial Powell's staff favorite Ursula K. Le Guin passed away on Monday at the age of 88. Renowned for her gorgeous and deeply intelligent contributions to the science fiction and fantasy genres, Le Guin was also a pithy observer of American culture and a fierce advocate for freedom of expression. Rest in peace, Ursula K. Le Guin. Powell's and readers everywhere will miss you."

Oscar Nominations: Books in the Limelight

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards have been revealed, and once again movies based on books have made a strong showing. The awards will be presented March 4, and some of the standouts include:

Call Me by Your Name, adapted from André Aciman's novel of the same name: best picture; actor in a leading role (Timothée Chalamet); original song; and adapted screenplay (James Ivory).

Darkest Hour, based on the book Darkest Hour: How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Anthony McCarten, who also wrote the screenplay: best picture; actor in a leading role (Gary Oldman); and cinematography (Bruno Delbonne).

Mudbound, adapted from the novel of the same name by Hillary Jordan: actress in a supporting role (Mary J. Blige); cinematography (Rachel Morrison); and adapted screenplay.

All the Money in the World, based on Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty by John Pearson: actor in a supporting role (Christopher Plummer).

The Disaster Artist, adapted from the book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell: adapted screenplay (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber).

Molly's Game, adapted from the book Molly's Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World by Molly Bloom: adapted screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).

The Breadwinner, adapted from the children's novel of the same name by Deborah Ellis: animated feature film.

Ferdinand, based on the children's book The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson: animated feature film.

The Boss Baby, based on Marla Frazee's picture book of the same name: animated feature film.


'Best Independent Bookshops in London'

"The thrill of a well-curated bookshop, with its alluring aroma and diminutive decibel level, is matched only by the sense of satisfaction that comes from cracking open the pages of a new hardback book," Vanity Fair observed in showcasing the "best independent bookshops in London." The city is "crammed full of booksellers: some traditional, some tucked away, some sprawling in the city center."

Personnel Changes at PRH; Sourcebooks

Beth Meister is being promoted to v-p, executive director of sales management and planning, for Knopf, Pantheon & Schocken and Doubleday. She began her career in the associate program at Doubleday Broadway in 2001.


Heather Job has joined Penguin Random House Audio as associate publicist. She was previously a publicity assistant at the Macmillan Children's Publishing Group.


Ann Marie LaCasha has joined Sourcebooks as director of brand marketing. She was formerly senior product manager, global marketing at Abbott.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Leland on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: John Leland, author of Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old (Sarah Crichton Books, $26, 9780374168186).

Daily Show: Cecile Richards, author of Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story (Touchstone, $27, 9781501187599).

TV: When We Were Orphans; The Plot Against America

Caryn Mandabach Productions (Peaky Blinders) has optioned the TV rights to Nobel Literature laureate Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans to develop as a limited series, Deadline reported. Ishiguro will be an executive producer along with Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook.

"Each one of Kazuo Ishiguro's masterpieces contains a world so vivid that one feels one has lived inside it," said Glazebrook. "When We Were Orphans is no exception--a psychological thriller like no other that extends across continents into the heart of a war. It's a very personal adventure that resonates today, and we could not be more excited to bring this extraordinary story to the screen."


David Simon (The Wire) is adapting Philip Roth's The Plot Against America for television. The Guardian reported that Simon confirmed a project is in the works "shortly after the six-part mini-series was mentioned in an interview with Roth published in the New York Times.... Further details on the series were not immediately available, but Roth met recently with Simon."

Simon tweeted: "Not actually cool to be reminded by the paper of record that you are tasked with doing justice to greater work than any on which you have so far trespassed."

Books & Authors

Awards: MWA Edgar Nominees

The Mystery Writers of America unveiled its nominees for the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, nonfiction and television published or produced in 2017. View the full list of Edgar finalists here. The Edgar Awards will be presented to the winners April 26 at MWA's 72nd annual banquet in New York City.

Reading with... Kelly Corrigan

photo: Mellie T. Williams

Kelly Corrigan has been called "the voice of her generation" by O Magazine and "the poet laureate of the ordinary" by the Huffington Post. She is the author of The Middle Place, Lift and Glitter and Glue. She is also the creative director of the Nantucket Project and host of its conversation series about what matters most. She lives near Oakland, Calif., with her husband, Edward Lichty, and daughters, Georgia and Claire. Her novel Tell Me More is published by Random House (January 9, 2018).

On your nightstand now:

Two memoirs that are coming out this spring:

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

Educated by Tara Westover

Wildly impressed by both.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I was pretty into Encyclopedia Brown and then Nancy Drew.

Your top five authors:

Marilynne Robinson, Nicole Krauss, C.S. Lewis, David Sedaris, the New Yorker writ large.

Book you've faked reading:

I never finished Cold Mountain. The movie came out and I watched it, and the next day, I started reading a new book.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Rules Don't Apply by Ariel Levy. For memoir, this is best in class. A story you have never heard told beautifully.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. (Lucky me, it turned out to be a great read.)

Book you hid from your parents:

Judy Blume's entire canon. What can I say? I was raised Catholic.

Book that changed your life:

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. It was the first memoir I ever read. I didn't know writing could be personal like that. Gave me hope.

Favorite line from a book:

"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them. Rather, life obliges them--over and over--to give birth to themselves." --Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

My whole life is one reinvention after another. If I didn't believe this, I'd be working at a bank somewhere, hopeless and miserable.

Five books you'll never part with:

I keep a lot of books around. I like how they look and I am a person who writes notes in the margins so I like to return to books and see what moved me.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis (endlessly useful)
My Ántonia by Willa Cather (my mother's favorite novel)
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham (vitamin-rich comfort food)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (inventive and so insightful)
The Harry Potter books (my teenage daughters insist we keep them forever)

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

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I couldn't believe the way that story unfolded. The ending puts Atwood in a class of her own.

Standout authors you've met:

Elizabeth Gilbert is excellent company and Gary Shteyngart is hilarious. Margaret Atwood is a feisty intellectual omnivore and B.J. Novak is laser sharp. Michael Lewis and I have worked together several times to help our Children's Hospital in Oakland, and no one tells a better story. Anna Quindlen is like family. But my closest writer friends are Susannah Meadows and Darin Strauss, both of whom are lovely and generous geniuses.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Secret Kingdom

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Claire A. Nivola (Candlewick, $16.99 hardcover, 48p., ages 7-10, 9780763674755, February 13, 2018)

As a boy, Nek Chand "played and planted, laughed and listened... [to] the ancient stories": tales of wise kings from his father, graceful goddesses from his mother, magical geese from his sisters, fierce jackals from his brothers and even hidden temples and secret gardens from traveling minstrels. "Season by season, Nek's head filled with stories, until it overflowed" into a world of his own that he created on the banks of a nearby stream. "Until the men with guns came."

The 1947 Partition that violently cleaved the Indian subcontinent into Pakistan and India forced Nek's family to flee their remote village home. During the family's 24-day trek to India, "Nek carried only village stories in his broken heart." He eventually became a government road inspector in "India's first modern city, Chandigarh," but "[n]othing in [that] modern place tugged at Nek's village heart." Feeling lost in the "sharp-edged city of colorless concrete," Nek Chand "dreamed of a place to belong," and found a hidden wilderness just north of the city where he could escape.

For seven years, Nek Chand got on his bike before work and "roamed the roadsides, picking up the broken pieces of village life under the modern city." With these discarded, recovered items, he began to re-create the memories of his faraway childhood, molding curving paths, carving niched walls, sculpting jackals, monkeys and geese, forging goddesses and queens from twisted bikes and rusty pipes, to construct an entire "secret kingdom." When the government inevitably discovered his illegal hideaway, officials threatened destruction--"Until the people of Chandigarh came." Curiosity turned to appreciation, support and preservation, and "[t]he people saved the secret kingdom."
A lover of true stories, author Barb Rosenstock (The Camping Trip That Changed America) clearly revels in Nek Chand's remarkable journey from village farmer to world-renowned folk artist. To comprehend the phenomenal scale of his achievement requires visuals, provided here with artistic accuracy and charming detail by Claire A. Nivola (Planting the Trees of Kenya); the four-panel, photo-collaged foldout as the story concludes offers vivid testimony to the wondrous grandeur and utter delight of Nek Chand's Rock Garden of Chandigarh. Rosenstock's author's note adds historical context and biographical information, while her two-page bibliography encourages further exploration.

Nek Chand's portrait smiles out at book's end: his secret garden is "a child's dream." The temporary worlds he envisioned along the village riverbanks of his youth have morphed into a permanent wonderland for the world to visit... and protect and conserve. That Nek Chand never stopped building on his dream throughout his long life--he died in 2015 at age 90--remains an exemplary lesson in imaginative perseverance that will galvanize readers of all ages. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: Folk artist Nek Chand's remarkable journey to create the phenomenal Rock Garden of Chandigarh, India, is an inspiring tale of tenacious creativity.

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