Also published on this date: Monday, November 11, 2019: Maximum Shelf: The Midnight Lie

Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 11, 2019


Abrams Press: Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Lisa Napoli

Scholastic Press: Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Algonquin Books: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

News

Bel Canto Books Opens in Long Beach, Calif.

Bel Canto Books at the Hangout

Bel Canto Books is opening this week in Long Beach, Calif., in the Hangout, 4th Street's shop collective. Owned by Jhoanna Belfer, the new store offers a selection of fiction, nonfiction, young adult and children's books, celebrating books by women and people of color. Bel Canto Books also carries book-related gift items such as novelty socks, candles and journaling supplies.

The store will host community events, including author readings and book signings, children's story times, book club meetings and events highlighting local artists and business leaders. The store's mission, Belfer said, "is to foster joy, creativity and curiosity, one book, one connection at a time."

The move marks Bel Canto Books's first permanent bricks-and-mortar location. A graduate of Cal State Long Beach and the Paz & Associates "Bookstore Bootcamp" and longtime book lover, Belfer always dreamed of opening her own bookstore. Invigorated by the call to community action after the 2016 national election, Belfer decided to pursue her dream. "I didn't want to look back years from now and wish that I had been braver," she said.

Jhoanna Belfer

She began by creating a monthly book club that pairs readers with books hand-selected for them. "I started small, with the belief that people want to read, but don't want to feel like they are wasting their time on a book that isn't right for them," she said. "I love talking to customers about their reading preferences and suggesting books that I can personally vouch for and that I know they will love."

Belfer then began a pop-up bookstore, bringing "a tabletop selection of seasonal books" to local farmer's markets, street festivals and business conferences. Customers have craved personalized book recommendations and a community-minded experience, she said. "Long Beach has had great bookstores before like Acres of Books, and we're excited to join the new wave of independent bookstores, like our friends at Page Against the Machine, also on 4th Street."

Bel Canto Books will host a Shopwarming Celebration on Sunday, December 1, that will include children's book readings, giveaways and a holiday card-making station.


Beaming Books: Inspiring New Nonfiction from Broadleaf Books


The Bookworm in Beijing Closing Today

The Bookworm, a bookstore in Beijing, China, that has been very popular with the city's expatriate community, is closing today, November 11, as part of a government crackdown on "illegal structures," the South China Morning Post reported.

The bookshop, located in the Sanlitun area of Beijing, was founded in 2002 as a small library and discount bookstore. In 2005, it moved to its current location and added a cafe, over the years becoming a community hub. It held frequent author talks with both Chinese and international writers, hosted film screenings and ran an annual literary festival. Discussions on current affairs, as well as social and political issues, were also common.

While some have speculated that politics played a role in closing the store, general manager David Cantalupo told the Morning Post that he didn't know whether that was the case, and acknowledged that the bookstore was built over a pump room, doesn't have an official address and is in a building that was never meant to be rented for commercial use.

Cantalupo added that he and the Bookworm's investors will focus on trying to find a new location in the city. "It will be challenging," he said. "We need to put together a business plan."


Apollo Publishers: Holiday Gift Ideas


Turkish Author Ahmet Altan Released from Prison

Ahmet Altan

Ahmet Altan, the jailed Turkish author whose detention was condemned by 38 Nobel laureates, was released from prison last week after more than three years, the Guardian reported. Altan was arrested in 2016 with his brother, the economist and journalist Mehmet Altan, on allegations of spreading "subliminal messages announcing a military coup" on television.

The brothers, along with journalist Nazli Ilicak, were charged with attempting to overthrow constitutional order, interfering with the work of the national assembly and the government. They received life sentences in 2018, though Mehmet Altan was released after four months, pending his appeal. The Guardian wrote that Altan and Ilicak "were subsequently retried on terrorism charges, and convicted. However, the court ruled on Monday to immediately release the two writers based on the time they had already served. Mehmet was acquitted due to lack of evidence."

English PEN president Philippe Sands tweeted: "A moment of freedom for Ahmet Altan, who gets to see the world again," referencing the title of Altan's prison memoir, I Will Never See the World Again (Other Press).

Granta's publisher Sigrid Rausing told the Bookseller it was "a good day" both for Altan and for human rights in Turkey: "We are delighted that Ahmet has been freed, and that his ordeal is over. But let's not underestimate the seriousness of what he went through.... His extraordinary courage and ability to write under very difficult circumstances will hopefully be an inspiration to many other people--journalists, lawyers, judges, teachers--who are still in jail after successive waves of arrests. This is a good day for Ahmet and his family, and for human rights in Turkey."

Jamie Byng, CEO of Canongate, which published the U.K. edition of Altan's book Endgame (Europa released it in the U.S.), said that while "the welcome news of Ahmet's release yesterday is a cause for great celebration, the appalling manner in which this fearless and important writer was treated remains shocking and is a necessary reminder of what dictators continue to do in their bid to repress freedom of speech and silence critics."


Grove Press: Shuggie Bain: A Novel by Douglas Stuart


YALLFest 2019 Rocks in Charleston

As Jonathan Sanchez, owner of Blue Bicycle Books and executive director of YALLFest, the annual Charleston, S.C., young adult book festival, tells the story, it started with authors Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. "In early 2011," the two were in town "touring [for] book two in their Beautiful Creatures series.... It was their third visit to town, and thanks to the fast-moving nature of young adult literature and their engaging personalities, we were already thick as thieves." The previous November, Blue Bicycle Books had served as bookseller for a successful general-audience book festival and had even hosted some panels; Sanchez suggested Stohl and Garcia come back that fall with "a group of friends from the YA world and we'd have the YA side of that festival at the store. Kami and Margie said all we needed to do was order the books and throw a big party for the authors in a cool old house. Within a couple weeks, they had 25 authors, mostly New York Times bestsellers. When that other book festival folded, we just kept going." YALLFest is now a separate nonprofit organization with a mostly separate staff from the bookstore. "But we are deeply intertwined," Sanchez said. "Basically, the store thinks of it as one of our author events, only with 70 authors and 22 venues."

Kate DiCamillo signing during YALLCrawl.

And YALLFest is an event. Nearly 70 authors and approximately 12,000 fans attended the festival this past weekend in Charleston's historic district. The "YALLCrawl," a pub crawl but with books instead of booze, kicked off the festivities on Friday afternoon: 14 authors were located at various venues around the city, and fans bought books from Blue Bicycle Books and brought them to their favorite creators for greetings and signings. The crawl ended at 3 p.m., in time for fans to attend the Fierce Reads Fierce Friday event (giveaways, games and food), the Penguin Teen Red Carpet Preview or the Disney Foodie Fun-atics competition hosted by Corrie Wang, a YA author and Charleston restaurateur. With Wang as game show host, three Disney authors--Dhonielle Clayton (The Everlasting Rose), Zoraida Córdova (Incendiary) and Kwame Mbalia (Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky)--battled three local chefs--Shuai Wang of forthcoming Jackrabbit Filly, Jen Choi, the eat & drink editor of Charleston magazine, and Cynthia Wang, founder of Life Raft Treats--in book and food-related competitions.

Holly Black and Tochi Onyebuchi

The Saturday schedule offered a plethora of activities, with nearly 40 panels (plus author signings) held every hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at four locations around the city. As the festival's opening keynote, Veronica Roth moderated a conversation between Holly Black (The Queen of Nothing, Little, Brown) and Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls, Razorbill) in Charleston's Music Hall. It's a special treat to attend a book chat about "process" that both enlightens and entertains, and Black and Onyebuchi, knowing their audience, delivered. Onyebuchi: "I hate revising. It's terrifying to me." Black's response? "Revising is like cleaning the toilet--you can't make it worse."

Truth or Dare: Brendan Reichs (l.) with Soman Chainani, who is holding a yoga pose while trying to spell the name of his book backwards.

The Charleston Music Hall, as well as three other venues across the city, held back-to-back panels throughout the day with titles like "We're Fans First," "Truth or Dare" and "Powers and Magic and Magic Powers." Authors Angie Thomas, Stephanie Garber, Maurene Goo, Veronica Roth and Adam Silvera chatted about their first fandoms, media they're currently excited about and things they got into only because of their books (Thomas admitted that because of Starr, the protagonist of her book The Hate U Give, she now owns around 200 pairs of Jordans). Soman Chainani moderated the middle-grade focused "Truth or Dare" panel that featured Brendan Reichs, Ally Condie, Margaret Stohl, Kwame Mbalia and Kate DiCamillo. However, "I think truth is boring," Chainani told the audience of young fans, "so really it's 'Dare or Dare.' " Panelists and children from the crowd became towel mummies (Reichs forgot to bring the toilet paper), gave political speeches in made-up languages and tried to spell the titles of their books backwards while holding yoga poses.

Angie Thomas and Nic Stone

On Saturday evening, Karen M. McManus (Two Can Keep a Secret, Delacorte) and Stephanie Garber (Finale, Flatiron) played a game--Magic and Murder: Choose Your Own Keynote--as their closing keynote for YALLFest. With audience participation, the two used teen TV shows (Riverdale, Glee, The OC) as topics for a Jeopardy!-style contest. And YALLFest 2019 ended with what appears to be the Main Event for every YALLFest: the YA Smackdown. Hosted by Angie Thomas and Nic Stone, every author who attended was given some stage time to delight the fans by embarrassing themselves. Some read a piece of very early work written in segments called "Juvenalia," some played games that involved blindfolds and mayonnaise, others performed popular songs with new, book-related lyrics. YALLFest attendees--fans and authors alike--had a blast.

As for the behind-the-scenes, Sanchez says, "We had author Melissa de la Cruz come in heavy the second year and start our sponsor program. Since then, both YALLFest and our sister festival YALLwest (started in 2015) have raised well over $1,000,000. We have to turn away sponsors." Most of all, Sanchez feels grateful: "The fans are so passionate, they really bring the energy every year, and I can promise you that the authors and the organizers feel the same way. Everyone on our team is pouring their heart into YALLFest. It's gotten better each year, more diverse, more fun, more of everything." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness


Obituary Note: Richard Nelson

Richard 'Nels' Nelson, naturalist, anthropologist and author, died on November 4. He was 77.

In an obituary, the Anchorage Daily News wrote, "Half wise elder and half wondrous child, Nels had little attraction to money and an infinite fascination with--and deep regard for--the natural world. He slept hundreds (if not thousands) of nights on the ground and greeted each new day as a gift. He was funny, compassionate, scholarly, culturally sensitive, deeply loved and widely admired."

The News also noted that "Annie Dillard once said she didn't care much for nature writing, but that she'd 'crawl through broken glass' to read Nelson."

Nelson wrote The Island Within (1991) and Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America (1998), both published by Vintage, and was the Alaska State Writer Laureate from 1999-2001. He also spent years living with Interior Alaska Native communities and wrote a series of ethnographic works on the Iñupiat, Gwich'in and Koyukon Athabascan people, including Make Prayers to the Raven (1986), Shadow of the Hunter (1980) and Hunters of the Northern Forest (1969), published by the University of Chicago Press.

His show Encounters, which regularly aired on public radio nationwide, "would take listeners across Alaska on an intimate journey to places many would otherwise never experience," KCAW remembered. Nelson recorded, among other things and creatures, tides, polar bears growling, peregrine falcons crying, killer whales splashing.

Lisa Busch, executive director of the Sitka Sound Science Center, commented: "Sometimes I step outside my door, and just like everybody else in Sitka, you might hear a kingfisher or a squirrel or a thrush and maybe you don't think anything of it. But, for me, I often stop and think, 'What would Nels say about this?' How excited would he be and enthusiastic would he be about this sound and what it means to us? And what it means to our heart and spirit?"

Susan Bergholz of Susan Bergholz Literary Services recalled that Nelson was "a mountain climber who, despite that, once got lost in Central Park on his way to the old Random House building. This amused and delighted him."


Notes

Image of the Day: Mosley Joins Vroman's Walk of Fame

Vroman's, Pasadena, Calif., hosted a ceremony this past weekend celebrating the newest inductee into its Author Walk of Fame, Walter Mosley. Mosley added his handprints and signature, joining fellow honorees Lisa See, Michael Connelly, Luis J. Rodriguez and Naomi Hirahara. Following the dedication, Hirahara joined Mosley for a conversation about his books. Vroman's held a tandem celebration of the bookstore's 125th anniversary, where California State Senator Anthony Portantino honored the bookstore with a Senate resolution marking its 125 years of service to the community.

Pictured: (l.-r.) Jonathan Wong (facilities manager), Joel Sheldon (owner and board member), Allison Hill (president and future ABA CEO), Jill Sheldon, Robert Popoff (accounting) Walter Mosley, Sherri Gallentine (head book buyer), Jennifer Ramos (promotions director), Dolores Bauer (facilities manager) and Gilbert Martinez (assistant promotions director).


Cash Mob Hits Oswego's the river's end bookstore

Oswego State students recently "gave back to the community by bringing an influx of customers" to the river's end bookstore in downtown Oswego, N.Y., the Oswegonian reported. The cash mob of more than 100 patrons was sponsored by the creative writing program's literary citizenship class, taught by professor Donna Steiner.

"The bookstore has supported us in many ways over the years," Steiner said. "So, we just want to get as many people into the store as we can to spend a couple of dollars and just show them that we appreciate them.... Writers and booksellers go hand-in-hand, you can't have one without the other. These are our future writers who are going to have to know how to speak to booksellers and bookstores and set up their events and have readings. And without the writers, the bookstores have nothing to sell."

The cash mob, which has been going on for about five years, "gives her students a platform to develop skills that will help them deal with booksellers post-graduation," the Oswegonian wrote. "For example, this semester the students in her literary citizenship class have learned how to market upcoming novels with promotional plans, writer events, book giveaways and professional writer's resumes. The cash mob furthered these teachings by allowing for direct contact between writers and sellers."

Store manager Emil Christmann said, "It's great. It gets the students into the store. Sometimes it is their first time here. It's nice to encourage that earlier on. To get freshman, sophomores, juniors in here before they're seniors and they're on their way out and this is the first time that they've ventured in here.... This isn't the first time that we participated in it. We certainly appreciate every time it comes around."


Pennie Picks: Bowlaway

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco, $16.99, 9780062862860) as her pick of the month for November. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I don't know about your schedule, but mine starts to get more than a little hectic this time of year. No matter how busy I am, though, I always make time to read Elizabeth McCracken, especially Bowlaway, this month's book buyer's pick.

"When an unconscious Bertha Truitt is found, her sole possessions are some gold, a bowling ball and a candlepin. Her large personality has an impact on the people she meets in her new home of Salford, Massachusetts, and the effect lives on even after she dies.

"This is a delightful story filled with wit and clever writing."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jenny Slate on Today

Today:
Today Show: Tim McGraw, author of Grit & Grace: Train the Mind, Train the Body, Own Your Life (Harper Wave, $29.99, 9780062915931).

Also on Today: Karine Jean-Pierre, author of Moving Forward: A Story of Hope, Hard Work, and the Promise of America (Hanover Square Press, $26.99, 9781335917836).

Fox & Friends: Ray Lambert and Jim DeFelice, authors of Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062937483).

NPR's Here & Now: Neil Pasricha, author of You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life, part of the Book of Awesome Series (Gallery Books, $24.99, 9781982135881).

Fresh Air: Judd Apatow, editor of It's Garry Shandling's Book (Random House, $40, 9780525510840). He will also appear today on Good Morning America and the View and tomorrow on the Tonight Show.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Whoopi Goldberg, author of The Unqualified Hostess (Rizzoli, $35, 9780847866984).

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Jenny Slate, author of Little Weirds (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316485340). She will also appear on the Late Late Show with James Corden.

Also on Today: Nikki Haley, author of With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250266552).

Dr. Phil: Mike Bayer, author of Best Self: Be You, Only Better (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062911735).

Wendy Williams: Robyn Crawford, author of A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston (Dutton, $28, 9781524742843).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Steve Kornacki, author of The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism (Ecco, $19.99, 9780062439000).


TV: Lindsey Davis's 'Falco' Roman Series

ITV is "in advanced development on a sweeping adaptation of Lindsey Davis's 'Falco' Roman private detective novels' after the project was originally in with the BBC," Deadline reported. Mammoth Screen (Victoria) will make the series and is in negotiations with ITV over the number episodes, casting and the production budget.

Mammoth optioned the Falco books in 2013 and has worked with Guy Andrews (Lost in Austen) to adapt them for television, with Davis consulting on the series. The author has published 20 Falco novels, starting with The Silver Pigs in 1989. The books feature Marcus Didius Falco, a fictional Roman private detective who investigates crimes and acts as an often reluctant imperial agent.



Books & Authors

At Philadelphia's Franklin Institute: The Worst-Case Scenario Experience

The "Worst-Case Scenario Experience," an exhibition at the Franklin Institute based on The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Philadelphia natives Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht, has opened and runs through April. The exhibit allows museum-goers to learn 13 survival skills, including how to pick a lock, how to get out of quicksand and how to jump from a moving train. Also in the "gymnasium": listening stations that offer additional advice and how-tos from the original audiobook narrated by the late Burt Reynolds, as well as a live actor who plays the role of the "worst-case pro." The exhibit displays everyday items that can be used for extreme survival and displays graphics about fear and anxiety and how stress, physical exhaustion and disorientation can make surviving more difficult. In the "hall of fame" gallery, the exhibit documents real-life incidents of near-death escapes, from evading an angry lion to surviving a shark attack, and celebrates people who encounter worst-case scenarios daily: emergency first responders, wildlife rescue workers, psychologists and physical trainers.

In March, the Worst-Case Scenario celebrated its 20th anniversary with a fully updated and expanded edition, which will be on sale at the exhibit. Quirk Books is one of the co-producers of the "Worst-Case Scenario Experience."


Awards: Christy Winners

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association has announced the winners of the Christy Awards, which "honor the year's best in Christian fiction." The winners are:

Book of the Year: Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (Thomas Nelson)
Contemporary Romance: Falling for You by Becky Wade (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
First Novel: The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings (Thomas Nelson)
General Fiction: No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook)
Historical: Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group)
Historical Romance (tie):
With this Pledge by Tamera Alexander (Thomas Nelson)
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan (Thomas Nelson)
Mystery/Suspense/Thriller: Every Wicked Man by Steven James (Berkley)
Short Form: Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock (Thomas Nelson)
Visionary: Shivering World by Kathy Tyers (Enclave Publishing)
Young Adult: The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)


Book Review

Review: Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders

Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders by Thomas R. Cole (Oxford University Press, $29.95 hardcover, 192p., 9780190689988, December 2, 2019)

Given its title, it might be tempting for readers under Social Security age to dismiss Old Man Country: My Search for Meaning Among the Elders. That would be a mistake. Anyone who hopes to experience the blessings of longevity while also confronting its burdens will benefit from accompanying gerontologist Thomas R. Cole on his visits to a dozen wise men with hard-earned, firsthand knowledge of exactly what that means.

Cole (The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America) serves as director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at University of Texas Health Science Center. Between 2011 and 2017, he conducted a series of interviews with men in the "Fourth Age," the stage of life beginning roughly at age 80, and one that's been described as "a Black Hole--a vague, frightening, and shadowy cultural space that evokes denial when it doesn't provoke fear." In approaching his encounters with inhabitants of that territory, Cole, who's now 70, sought to "reclaim and enhance the humanity" of these men, most of whom, he clarifies, are white, Protestant, heterosexual and financially comfortable.

Cole's subjects include well-known figures like former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker; Denton Cooley, the Houston cardiac surgeon who implanted the first artificial heart in a human being; and Hugh Downs, the former Today Show co-host who's spent 70 years in the television business. Some of Cole's most interesting conversations take place with men who may not be known to many readers, including George Vaillant, once the head of Harvard's Grant Study, a massive research project on the lives of American men that began in 1937 and continues to this day, or Dan Callahan, a pioneer in the field of bioethics. In each case, these are men who have led consequential lives, marked by significant accomplishments and guided by a strong sense of purpose.

These interviews reveal most poignantly the struggles prominent men experience in their attempt to maintain their relevance in the twilight of life. As Volcker explains, it's flattering to be honored at charity dinners, "but feeling needed because you're making a difference to something that's important is a little different story." While he explores the challenges of that lifelong search for meaning, Cole doesn't avoid sensitive topics, notably his subjects' loss of sexual function and the effect of that deprivation on physical and emotional intimacy.

Cognizant of his own approaching encounter with the Fourth Age, Cole generously shares pieces of his own story, including his painful divorce, illnesses and injuries, as he explains how his encounters with this group of eminent but deeply human men supplied him with "things to emulate and things to avoid, inspiring examples and cautionary tales." Readers who haven't spent a lifetime in the study of aging, as he has, should come away from these candid conversations with equally valuable lessons. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: A noted gerontologist explores what life in the ninth decade and beyond is like for a diverse group of prominent men.


The Bestsellers

Libro.fm Bestsellers in October

The bestselling Libro.fm audiobooks at independent bookstores during September:

Fiction
1. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (HarperAudio)
2. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Macmillan Audio)
3. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (Hachette Audio)
7. The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Circe by Madeline Miller (Hachette Audio)
9. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. The Overstory by Richard Powers (Recorded Books/Norton)

Nonfiction
1. Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow (Hachette Audio)
2. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell (Hachette Audio)
3. Blowout by Rachel Maddow (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness (HarperAudio)
5. Educated by Tara Westover (Penguin Random House Audio)
6. Dear Girls by Ali Wong (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. The Body by Bill Bryson (Penguin Random House Audio)


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