Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 26, 2018

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

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

Quotation of the Day


"Greedy Reads supports and thanks the Parkland students, the children of Baltimore's Cardinal Shehan School and everyone else out there today, showing up and getting it done!"
--posted on Twitter by Greedy Reads, which opened in Baltimore earlier this month.

Many hundreds of thousands participated in the March for Our Lives, held in cities and towns across the country and around the world, including a huge one in Washington, D.C. Sparked by the mass killing of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on February 14, the marches, led mainly by students, aim to enact stricter gun control laws.

Authors Jenny Han and Raina Telgemeier inspired many to rally under the banner KidLit Marches for Kids. In New York City, reported School Library Journal, "authors, illustrators, agents, editors, and others in the children's literature world march[ed], carrying signs, and supporting the kids they have served throughout their professional careers."


 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


Pressed Bookstore to Open in Erie, Pa., Next Week

Next Tuesday, April 3, Tracey Bowes will open Pressed, a bookstore and coffee shop, in Erie, Pa., Bookselling This Week reported. The 4,000-square-foot store will sell new books and gifts and have a large children's section that will feature a lifelike tree with a secret cubbyhole.

Pressed will be in a shopping plaza that includes a pizza restaurant, a home décor store, a popcorn store and a chiropractor. Bowes, a former lawyer with four children, told BTW that her husband had purchased the plaza property for his manufacturing company but instead developed the site into commercial space.

"I've always thought it would be a wonderful thing to own and run a bookstore and how wonderful it would be for the community," Bowes said. "What really made it happen was that we own a plaza, and we had space free. It's what I've always dreamed of doing, so if I'm ever going to do it, now is the time."

She aims to hold many activities and events, including author visits and book clubs for both adults and children of all ages. The area has many families and students at local colleges.

"I want to have a one-stop shop where people in Erie can go to find a perfect gift," Bowes said. "It may be a book and it may be some other type of item. I feel like in Erie there aren't that many unique places to find a gift. We have a lot of chains and we have a handful of really great small retailers, but there aren't that many, so I'm looking forward to adding to that."

In setting up the store, Bowes got help from Paz & Associates, the ABA's Booksellers Forums and the fall NAIBA conference.

Pressed is located at 1535 W. Eighth St., Erie, Pa. 16505.

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

Tracy K. Smith Gets Second Term as U.S. Poet Laureate

Tracey K. Smith (photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden has appointed Tracy K. Smith to serve a second term as the nation's 22nd poet laureate. During her second year, Smith plans to expand her outreach efforts to rural communities and unveil a new anthology to be published in the fall.

"I am thrilled that Tracy K. Smith has accepted my invitation to continue sharing her poetry with the nation," Hayden said. "Her exchanges with Americans in small towns and rural communities are inspiring an appreciation of poetry and history--and remind us that poetry has value for all of our lives."

During her first term, Smith gave readings and led discussions as part of a pilot project in rural communities in New Mexico, South Carolina and Kentucky. Her reappointment allows for long-term planning for the expanded rural outreach project across the U.S.

"Poetry invites us to listen to other voices, to make space for other perspectives, and to care about the lives of others who may not look, sound or think like ourselves," Smith said. "My project as poet laureate has brought me into contact with rural communities in the South and Southwest, and not only do we recognize and have many things to say to each other, but talking about poems together allows us to access and share our feelings and bear witness to the experiences that shape our lives. I'm excited to pursue this project further over the next year."

As part of her second term, Smith has edited an anthology called American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, which will be published in September by Graywolf Press in association with the Library of Congress and will be incorporated into Smith's visits to rural communities.

Renee Jardine Named Publisher at VeloPress

Renee Jardine

Renee Jardine has been named publisher at VeloPress, which focuses on books about endurance sports like cycling, triathlon, running and swimming. Jardine was previously editor and associate publisher at VeloPress, and has worked in a variety of roles during her 16 years with the company. She succeeds v-p and publisher Ted Costantino, who retired March 14 after leading VeloPress for 14 years.

"Renee has had a hand in every operation behind the scenes, from financial planning to marketing and promotion to royalties to sales support," said Costantino. "I had always planned to turn over this busy enterprise to Renee and now is a great time to do so."

Obituary Note: Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr, best known for his Bernie Gunther series, died on Friday of cancer, the Bookseller reported. He was 62.

The 13 Bernie Gunther novels star the eponymous Berlin detective and begin in the 1930s under the Nazis while the later ones are set in the postwar period. Kerr's British publisher, Quercus, described Gunther this way: "A cynical, erudite, wise-cracking, fiendishly clever man, lover of women, hater of Nazis and yet obliged to work for them to survive, Bernie is a unique creation."

The first Bernie Gunther novel appeared in 1989. Among the best known are the Berlin Noir trilogy consisting of March Violets, The Pale Criminal and A German Requiem, as well as Prussian Blue, which has just appeared in paperback in the U.S. The 13th Bernie Gunther book, Greeks Bearing Gifts, is being published in the U.S. next Tuesday, April 3, by Marian Wood Books/Putnam. The Bookseller said that Kerr recently finished a 14th Bernie Gunther novel, Metropolis, which will be published in the U.K. and U.S. next year.

Kerr won several Shamus Awards and the British Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Award for Historical Crime Fiction. Three of his Bernie Gunther novels were Edgar finalists.

His other work besides the Bernie Gunther series includes the novels A Philosophical Investigation and Gridiron, for which he was selected by Granta as one of the Best of Young British Novelists in 1993. As P.B. Kerr, he was author of the young adult fantasy series Children of the Lamp, and he wrote a short thriller series featuring Premier League soccer coach Scott Manson.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kerr studied law and worked as a copywriter at several advertising agencies, including Saatchi & Saatchi, before his writing career took off.


Image of the Day: Junot Diaz at Skylight

Junot Diaz visited Skylight Books, Los Angeles, last week during his tour for Islandborn (Dial). Pictured with Skylight books staffers (l.-r.): Noel Alumit, Elisa Garcia, Diaz, David Gonzalez, Kelsey Nolan, Dylan Brown, Steven Salardino.

Bookseller Fashion Statements: N.Y. Antiquarian Book Fair

For its Style section, the New York Times showcased "what seven book lovers wore" to the 58th New York Antiquarian Book Fair. Among the booksellers highlighted were Nina Musinsky of Musinsky Rare Books ("[F]or this fair I dress up a little more than usual."), Ian Kahn of Lux Mentis Booksellers ("I started wearing kilts years ago."), Megumi Hill of Jonathan A. Hill Bookseller ("I feel like a name dropper: Manolo Blahnik."), and John Crichton of Brick Row Book Shop ("Bow ties are comfortable.").

Jason Wells Joins American Psychological Association

Jason Wells has been named director, books marketing, at the American Psychological Association, effective April 2. The association publishes books for psychologist researchers and practitioners and publishes children's books under the Magination Press imprint.

Wells was most recently associate publisher, director of marketing and publicity, for the Rodale Kids imprint. Before that, he was v-p, marketing and publicity, at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and worked at Abrams for 14 years, most recently as executive director, publicity and marketing, for Abrams Books for Young Readers.

"We created this new leadership role within APA Publishing to improve the reach and impact of our books among both psychologists and the general public," David Nygren, senior director of marketing & branding at the APA, said. "Jason brings an impressive array of accomplishments and a vast knowledge of trade book marketing to our team."

Diana Calice Retiring from IPG

Effective this Friday, March 30, Diana Calice is retiring as managing director of the Spanish distribution program at Independent Publishers Group, the company announced. She joined IPG in 2008 and earlier worked as a Spanish books buyer at Borders Group, where she was instrumental in the opening of the first Borders store in Puerto Rico. Before that, she was director of Spanish products at Baker & Taylor.

"I'd like to express my appreciation for all the great friendships I've had over the years," she said. "I will miss you all. I want to thank IPG for a rewarding and fulfilling career."

Kelsey Wayne, currently IPG's Spanish sales manager, will take over Calice's role in the IPG Spanish program, handling all Spanish language client publishers. Wayne has worked in sales for IPG's Spanish program since 2013.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sean Penn on Colbert's Late Show, Daily Show

CBS This Morning: Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, authors of Tiger Woods (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501126420).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Sean Penn, author of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff: A Novel (Atria, $24, 9781501189043). He will also appear tomorrow on the Daily Show.

CBS This Morning: Jimmy Carter, author of Faith: A Journey for All (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781501184413).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Amy Siskind, author of The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump's First Year (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781635572711).

On Stage: Coraline, the Opera

In the 16 years since it was published, Neil Gaiman's Coraline "has developed a passionate fan base, selling more than a million copies" and been adapted as a stop-motion movie, video game, comic book and Off Broadway musical. The latest addition to this list is the Royal Opera's avant garde adaptation, with Aletta Collins directing an "angular, complex score" score by Mark-Anthony Turnage for Rory Mullarkey's libretto, the New York Times reported. The production will be staged at the Barbican in London, March 29 to April 7.

Noting that Coraline "is more than a match for operatic heroines like Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio or Rosina from Rossini's The Barber of Seville," the Times wrote that the role is shared in the new production by the sopranos Mary Bevan and Robyn Allegra Parton.

"She's such a strong female character," Turnage said. "She's powerful; she's going to solve these things. I've got a seven-year-old daughter. She's too young to read the book, but she saw the film, and she was very taken with Coraline." He added that he hopes the audiences for the opera will come from all walks of life: "A lot of opera directors are making opera for other opera directors, and quite a few opera composers are writing for their peer group."

Gaiman told the Guardian he is not concerned with the cutting and condensing of Coraline required for the stage: "Everything changes when you move from medium to medium. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes you sigh, sometimes you urged it to happen."

The opera is being advertised as suitable for audiences eight or older. Asked if it was any easier producing work for children, Gaiman replied: "It's harder, and you need to be more aware of what you're doing. Adults are more forgiving and more willing to put up with being bored than children are."

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott Longlist

A 10-book longlist has been unveiled for the £10,000 (about $14,130) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors a first novel written in English and published in the U.K. A shortlist will be released April 27, and the winner revealed June 20. This year's Desmond Elliott longlist:

The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
How Saints Die by Carmen Marcus
One Star Awake by Andrew Meehan
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
We That Are Young by Preti Taneja

Book Review

Review: The Comedown

The Comedown by Rebekah Frumkin (Holt, $27 hardcover, 336p., 9781250127525, April 17, 2018)

Rebekah Frumkin's first novel, The Comedown, wanders into a dark labyrinth of tangled relationships between two Ohio families--the Jewish Bloom-Mittwochs and African American Marshalls. Prefaced with a useful guide to their family trees of marriages, divorces, affairs and children, the novel is like a three-part ensemble play, with chapters focused on each of the dozen principal characters as their lives intersect over the rocky course of the last 50 years.

The Marshall patriarch, Reggie, is a hustler and drug dealer from Cleveland's Hough neighborhood, where a black man in the 1970s has limited options. Heading the Bloom-Mittwoch clan, Leland Sr. is one of Reggie's regular customers. A survivor of the 1960s drug scene and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations (including the nearby Kent State National Guard shooting), he never shakes his quest for the perfect high.

Early in the novel, Leland Sr. takes a suicidal leap off a building in Tampa in 1999, and Reggie takes a bullet to the head at his massage parlor headquarters in 1973. Frumkin is not as much interested in the ultimate fates of her characters as she is in the role of fate in determining the directions their lives take. As Leland Sr.'s first wife tells their son Leland Jr., "No real purpose to it all, just waves you either crested or were crushed by."

With graduate degrees from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, Frumkin writes with both satirical flair and vestiges of observational reporting. Underlying the Midwestern lives of both families are pervasive drug use, religious skepticism, prodigious sexual appetites and ambivalent gender preferences. Generous use of drug slang, Yiddish expressions and explicit eroticism may require a certain hipster intellectual savvy--or open tabs on Urban Dictionary and a Yiddish phrasebook. Frumkin also knows her stuff about video game code and speed chess with "a rook-knight combo... galloping across the board G8 to F6, F6 to G4."

The Comedown, however, is not just a simplistic morality play about the United States' economic and racial divide. Rather, Frumkin has created a snapshot of authentic people in a real place, where the insidious dissolution of families is as much the result of bad choices among bad alternatives as it is the consequence of ubiquitous drug use and spiritual detachment. If she offers a glimmer of hope, it is the modest one suggested by Leland Sr.'s second wife: "He'd been through what he'd been through, and she'd been through what she'd been through, their pasts didn't count and their future seemed manageable, if not bright." Tough talk from a talented debut novelist with a sharp eye. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Frumkin's first novel is a keenly observed saga of two Ohio families from opposite sides of the tracks who become inescapably connected by circumstance, choice and fate.


Rough Guides Distribution in North America

Thursday's item (now corrected) about Rough Guides being distributed in North America by Ingram Publisher Services included erroneous information. Rough Guides has never been distributed in North America by Penguin Random House or Penguin Random House Publisher Services. Our apologies for the error.

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