Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 16, 2018


Orchard Books: The Impossible Crime (Mac B., Kid Spy #2) by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Quotation of the Day

On the Supreme Court's Sales Tax Decision

"ABA understands that this Supreme Court decision is not a retail panacea. But it's important to acknowledge--and to celebrate--this outstanding collective triumph for indie bookstores, Main Street businesses, and local communities. I want to extend our sincere thanks and congratulations to our many allies at the regional bookseller associations, our fellow indie trade associations at the Advocates for Independent Business, Stacy Mitchell and her colleagues at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the National Retail Federation, and to the literally hundreds of individual booksellers who made this possible. And, of course, to ABA's own Dan Cullen and David Grogan, whose dogged persistence in waging this fight was indispensable.

"There will be no shortage of challenges to come, but, for today, all congratulations on a job well done!"

--American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher in a letter to members in Bookselling This Week reflecting on the Supreme Court's decision last month that all retailers must collect sales tax on online orders.

Abrams: The Overlook Press Distribution Change


News

Columbia, Mo.'s Skylark Bookshop Nears Opening Date

Skylark Bookshop is opening in downtown Columbia, Mo., likely in early August. The store is owned by novelist Alex George, who also founded the Unbound Book Festival in Columbia; he'd earlier planned to call Skylark Bookshop Unbound Books. The store manager is Carrie Koepke, and the store dog is Theo.

Skylark Books in progress

The 3,000-square-foot Skylark Bookshop aims to become "a community resource, a place where people can engage with like-minded folks in discussions about literature," George and Koepke wrote on the store's website. "We'll be bringing acclaimed authors into town for readings and signings, hosting book clubs, and lots of other good stuff."

They called Columbia "a fabulously bookish town. We are a city of super-smart readers, home to three universities, a freakishly large collection of talented writers and poets, and the Unbound Book Festival, a free-to-the-public literary festival that takes place every April. We look forward to becoming part of this exciting literary landscape."

Recently, they described the store as looking like "a bit of a war zone. There are half-built shelves all over the place. There are wires peeking playfully out from behind screens. (Where do they go? Nobody knows.) There are light fittings we can't wait to replace. And there's half a Harry Potter novel plastered to the front window to protect our modesty from curious eyes."


GLOW: Grand Central Publishing: Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line by Ryan Leigh Dostie


Michigan's Bookbrokers and Kramer's Cafe Combine

In Traverse City, Mich., Bookbrokers and Kramer's Cafe have combined to become Bookbrokers & Kramer's Cafe and moved to the Grand Traverse Mall.

Bookbrokers has been run for 30 years by Dr. Dan "Doc" A. McDougall and stocks more than 250,000 used and collectible titles as well as new books, mainly by local and Michigan authors working with publishers in the state.

Kramer's Cafe is run by Ian Kramer and offers an array of organic, artisan coffees as well as soups, salads, panini, baked items and other light fare.

McDougall said the combined arrangement is working well: "We've been operating since 1989, and if the first six weeks are any indication, we'll be operating for at least another 30."


Oxford University Press: Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon


Timing Was 'Perfect' for the Bookery Manchester

"It's been such a fun experience for both Liz and I to see our dreams become reality, and then to see people so engaged and excited about what our dreams were," said Liz Hitchcock, co-owner of Bookery Manchester in Manchester, N.H.

Hitchcock and co-owner Liz Cipriano opened the 4,500-square-foot bookstore and cafe on June 4. The store features new, general-interest books for children and adults, and while Cipriano and Hitchcock are still experimenting with the inventory, they have an ample selection of books by New Hampshire authors and about the Granite State. The cafe, meanwhile, serves coffee, tea, pastries and doughnuts, along with soups, salads and sandwiches from the afternoon until the evening.

"The community has been so welcoming," said Cipriano. "People walk in the door with huge smiles on their faces and say, 'this is what we needed, I'm so glad you're here.' It's been great."

Bookery Manchester hosts frequent events and has space available for community members and local organizations to rent, including a conference room and a meeting room. There are live music performances every Thursday and story time sessions every Saturday, plus author readings and signings throughout the week.

The store has hosted some more unusual events too, including a water safety course they ran in June, and going forward Cipriano and Hitchcock plan to bring in speakers for what they called "TED-like talks." They've also started partnerships with the New Hampshire Institute of Art, a creative arts college based in Manchester, and are looking to work with the local school system.

When it came to designing the store's interior, Hitchcock reported that she and Cipriano felt it was important to make the space feel cozy despite being so large and open. They concentrated on flow, and in laying out the store wanted to "reward the natural inquisitiveness that people have." Hitchcock elaborated: "We liked the idea of there being a treasure around every corner--signed books or a fireplace or butterflies in a bookclub room."

Over the coming weeks and months, Cipriano and Hitchcock plan to tinker and experiment with the store's inventory as they get a better sense of what their community wants. They do expect, however, that the amount of political books that they carry will grow, especially in the lead-up to the next presidential primaries. Hitchcock added that the bookstore is not far from the hotel where "all of the media stay" when covering the N.H. primary and that "people are very engaged in this space from a political standpoint."

Hitchcock and Cipriano are planning to start a guest curator program, which would see a friend of the store or local figure choose a small selection of books. They said the plan will likely begin with a single display table and, depending on feedback, grow from there.

Liz Hitchcock
Liz Cipriano

While neither Cipriano nor Hitchcock have prior experience in bookselling, Cipriano has a master's degree in library science along with a background in retail and project management. To prepare for opening Bookery Manchester, the pair "connected to a bunch of bookstores" who allowed them to shadow experienced booksellers and learn the ropes.

For both Hitchcock and Cipriano, opening a bookstore was the fulfillment of a long-held dream. In fact, they didn't know each other prior to teaming up to launch Bookery Manchester and were introduced by a mutual friend to whom they'd separately told about their desire to open a bookstore.

For Hitchcock in particular, the store was at least 10 years in the making: She and her husband had been talking about the idea off-and-on for a decade, deciding at various points that the timing wasn't right. Around five years ago, the space that Bookery Manchester is in now went on the market, but the other pieces weren't yet in place and Hitchcock watched another retailer move in. Three years or so ago, Hitchcock and her husband were again seriously considering the idea, but it also ended up not working out.

Roughly 18 months ago, Hitchcock and her husband were telling a friend about their bookstore plans when that friend said, "Oh my word, I have a friend who has the same dream." Hitchcock and Cipriano were then finally introduced, and at around the same time, that original space that Hitchcock had wanted five years ago was about to go back on the market.

Said Hitchcock: "Timing is almost everything, and the timing was just perfect--the opportunity to work with Liz, and to have that dreamt-about space." --Alex Mutter


Ecco Press: White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf


Obituary Note: Clive King

Clive King, author the children's classic Stig of the Dump, died on July 10 at age 94, the Bookseller reported.

King studied at Cambridge and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London before serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. "His service as a sailor and his work as a language teacher for the British Council took him all over the world and many of his books for children were inspired by the places he had visited, but it was the one set closest to his childhood home in Kent that launched his writing career," the Bookseller wrote.

That title was Stig of the Dump, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone and first published in 1963, about a boy named Barney "who explores the dump at the bottom of a nearby chalk-pit, and finds there a cave-boy who has made himself a house out of all kinds of junk." The book has sold more than two million copies and was adapted for TV in 1981 and in 2002.

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children's, said, "This year our Stone Age Stig is 55 years old. However, the book's depiction of the vivid interior life and imagination of a child, the delight of roaming free, making shelters and dens away from the grown-ups, as well as ideas such as the universal language of friendship--and even the importance of recycling--feel as fresh and relevant today as they did when Puffin first published it in 1963. I remember reading Stig of the Dump when I was little and longing for a special secret Stig and dump of my own."

King's other books include Hamid of Aleppo, The Twenty-Two Letters, The Town that Went South, The Night the Water Came, Me and My Million, Ninny's Boat, The Sound of Propellers, The Seashore People and Snakes and Snakes. He also wrote plays for children.


Franklin Fixtures: Thank you for a great 2018! Click for 18% off your Franklin Fixtures order for new orders placed in 2018


Notes

Cool Idea of Prime Day: Libro.fm Thanks Indies

Today, Amazon Prime Day, Libro.fm is celebrating "all the things that make independent bookstores the heart and soul of their communities" by replacing its usual homepage material with the "Where You Shop Matters" campaign.

Stephanie Ballien, director of marketing of the digital audiobook platform, explained: "It's not about being better or worse, it's about book lovers having a choice in where they purchase books and understanding that their choice has an impact on their local community. We are using this day to thank independent bookstore customers and communicate why bookstores matter."


Bath Bookshop's Seattle Inspiration

Nic Bottomley, who owns Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England, with his wife, Juliette, and is president of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, told the Guardian why the two quit their jobs as lawyers to open the bookshop in 2006: "We wanted to spend our lives doing something we loved. We were on our honeymoon and got the idea after visiting one of the world's greatest independent bookshops, the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle."

According to the Guardian, the bookshop features "claw-foot bath book displays, toilets illustrated by former children's laureate Chris Riddell, bibliotheraphy rooms, and the Bookshop Band, who play songs that they've written inspired by the books of guest authors."

The store's top five sellers at the moment are How to Be Famous by Caitlin Moran, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Educated by Tara Westover, Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan and Crudo by Olivia Laing.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Viv Albertine on Fresh Air

Today:
Today Show: Daniel Silva, author of The Other Woman: A Novel (Harper, $28.99, 9780062834829).

Fresh Air: Viv Albertine, author of To Throw Away Unopened: A Memoir (Faber & Faber, $24.95, 9780571326211).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Miranda Sings, author of My Diarrhe (Gallery, $24.99, 9781501192166).


Movies: Colette

Bleecker Street has released the first trailer for Colette. Variety reported that "Keira Knightley stars as the eponymous Parisian novelist struggling through an abusive and exploitative marriage to Henry Gauthier-Villars, played by Dominic West. During their marriage, Gauthier-Villars forced Colette to write her famous Claudine novels under his name, reaping the fame and financial rewards that came with the novels' success."

In a recent interview, Knightley told Variety that screenwriter Richard Glazer and director Walsh Westmoreland "labored for 15 years to get the film financed" and that the timing of the movie's release in the midst of the #Time'sUp and #MeToo movements "isn't coincidental. She said the pic's plot revolving around Colette's revolt against her abusive husband and her affair with Marquise de Belbeuf, a notable gender-defying lesbian artist of the time, draws parallels to the stories being told today." Colette premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is set to hit theaters September 21.


Books & Authors

Awards: ITW Thriller Winners; Taste Canada Finalists

Winners of the 2018 ITW Thriller Awards, sponsored by International Thriller Writers and presented at ThrillerFest XIV on Saturday, are:

Thrillermaster Award: George R.R. Martin

Silver Bullet Award: James Rollins

Thriller Legend Award: Robert and Patricia Gussin (Oceanview Publishing)

Best Young Adult Novel: The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz (TOR Teen)

Best E-Book Original Novel: Second Chance by Sean Black (Sean Black)

Best Short Story: "Charcoal and Cherry" by Zoe Z. Dean (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Best Paperback Original Novel: Grievance by Christine Bell (Lake Union)

Best First Novel: The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe (Quercus)

Best Hardcover Novel: Final Girls by Riley Sager (Dutton)

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Finalists have been unveiled for the Taste Canada Awards, honoring the country's best food writing in five English-language and five French-language categories. Winners will be announced at a gala in Toronto on October 29.


Reading With... Nina Barrett

photo: Jeff Garrett

Nina Barrett is the founder and owner of Bookends & Beginnings, an independent bookstore in Evanston, Ill., that opened in 2014. With a background in book publishing and journalism, she has published three books with Simon & Schuster; her newest is The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America's Most Infamous Crimes (Agate Publishing, July 17). She also trained as a professional chef, and her food reporting series Fear of Frying for Chicago's NPR station WBEZ earned her the James Beard Award for Best Radio Show two years running, 2012 and 2013.

On your nightstand now:

I have a Bookseller's Nightstand, which means about 50 ARCs and recent releases stacked up there at any given time, but here's a snapshot of right now:

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. I'm awestruck by this brilliant novel about the impact of the AIDS epidemic on a circle of Chicago friends.

November Road by Lou Berney (coming in October). A total page-turner, with the Kennedy assassination as a backdrop, and I'm deeply impressed that he can write heartless hitmen and little kids with the same ease and believability.

A Bite-Size History of France: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment by Stephane Henaut and Jeni Mitchell. Clever, delicious history lessons about France and its foods, dished out in perfect bedtime-size portions.

These Truths by Jill Lepore (coming in September). The ARC I was most excited about picking up at BookExpo. Because: Jill Lepore.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (coming in September). What could be more fun for a bookseller than a memoir about a year in the life of a Scottish bookstore owner "and of the delightfully unusual staff, eccentric customers, and surreal buying trips that make up his life?"

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. Harold teaches us that Life is an adventure you create with your imagination.

Your top five authors:

Homer: I was assigned the Iliad and the Odyssey as summer reading between seventh and eighth grades, and they sparked my enduring obsession with Greek mythology and the history of Bronze Age Greece.

George Eliot: For about a decade after college, I reread Middlemarch once a year. I'm astonished by the breadth and depth of Eliot's understanding of human nature.

Edith Wharton: My favorite novel of hers is The Custom of the Country, in which an unlikable Midwestern girl named Undine Spragg keeps marrying her way up in New York society.

Joanna Trollope: I love how she's able to pull one little straw loose in her characters' lives and then explore how it rearranges everything.

Dr. Seuss: My father loved reading Seuss aloud and I think it helped implant in me the musicality of words, and also a deep appreciation of absurdity.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses by James Joyce. Required English major reading, so I couldn't escape it, but I couldn't have cared less about Leopold Bloom's ramblings, even after decryption via Cliffs Notes.

Book you're an evangelist for:

This question is especially cruel to booksellers, since we are all evangelists for a huge number of books and don't want to be forced to choose some above others. Can I pick my two favorite books of food writing that I try to force on everyone? Don't Try This at Home, an anthology of cooking disaster stories by famous chefs (edited by Kimberly Witherspoon and Andrew Friedman) that helped me laugh my way through the dramas and traumas of culinary school; and The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten, whose bighearted curiosity about food was a huge inspiration to me in my Fear of Frying radio stories.

Book you've bought for the cover:

When I was 12 or 13, I bought a copy of Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, because the back cover copy said, "She used him... she rejected and despised him... and still he came back for more!" and I thought it would be a fun dirty book, but it was less fun than I had hoped.

Book you hid from your parents:

The point is, I knew where they were hiding their books from me. That's where I found Fear of Flying by Erica Jong, Memoirs of an Ex Prom Queen by Alix Kates Shulman, and several other great 1970s books in which women discovered sex (and so did I).

Book that changed your life:

Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child. It cracked me open and set me free.

Favorite line from a book:

From Middlemarch: "If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence."

Five books you'll never part with:

Well, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and Middlemarch, as per above. And then, don't try to take away my Joy of Cooking (Rombauer, Becker, and Becker) or The Silver Palate Cookbook (Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins).

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

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I'd like to be 11 again and see the world exactly as Francie does; but on the other hand, you can reread this book as an adult and even more deeply appreciate how real and complex the adult characters are.

What drew you to the Leopold and Loeb story?

Is it weird that, as the author of a book about a famous murder, I have so little murder & mayhem on my lists? But it was never really the Crime part of the Leopold and Loeb story that got hold of me. What I see there that grabs my heart is a drama about three immigrant families coming to America, having their American Dream of money and social success come true, setting their kids up with the most elite and prestigious educations money can buy--and then having it all unravel in the most horrific way because of some deep Shakespearean flaw in the human soul that remains unfathomable no matter how many times and how many ways this story gets retold.


Book Review

Review: The Carrying

The Carrying: Poems by Ada Limón (Milkweed Editions, $22 hardcover, 120p., 9781571315120, August 14, 2018)

Ada Limón is one of the country's finest poets. Her previous collection Bright Dead Things was a National Book Award finalist. The Carrying won't disappoint fans. The 62 poems in this stellar new collection, divided into three sections, offer honest, lyrical observations on love, loneliness, life, death and all the mysteries in between. Central to the collection is the poet's attempt to conceive a child. This subject lends itself to some uncomfortable, even painful, moments. "I want him to notice what he said, how a woman might feel agony,/ emptiness," the poet writes in "Mastering," when a male friend unwittingly highlights his own child over the poet's failed attempts. But these travails also lead to resilience and greater love of her husband, her art, her dog, her garden--as she says in "Maybe I'll Be Another Kind of Mother," "everything coming back to life."
 
Of course, Limón could never be satisfied with one subject. Her poems are like trees, branching three-dimensionally in myriad directions. She performs a near-miraculous feat in balancing razor-sharp imagery with deep ambivalence. These poems each construct "a nest of trying," a complex confrontation with the world. "The Dead Boy" is an unflinching account of death and loss. "The Last Thing," however, pokes at something profound as the poet intimately records her impressions, "the day's minor/ urchins: silvery dust mote/ pistachio/ shell, the dog eating a sugar/ snap pea." She concludes by declaiming, "I will/ never get over making everything/ such a big deal."
 
Hope is a pervasive theme. Several of the poems hail from the beginning of the Trump era and offer a kind of protest. Fear, hurt and anger show in "Killing Methods" and "A New National Anthem." But in the same breath the poet, true to her compass, shows how compassion and vulnerability may be the best defenses against tyranny. Of the American flag, she poignantly writes, "best when it's humbled,/ brought to its knees, clung to by someone who/ has lost everything, when it's not a weapon." At some point, she assures, people will love the flag again and the song in their mouths will feel "like sustenance."
 
It is this undying insistence on the goodness of the world that stays with the reader. The Carrying beautifully conveys the power of poetry in an age that needs it most. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset
 
Shelf Talker: Celebrated poet Ada Limón continues to awe and inspire in this deeply conceived collection about hope, loss and love.

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