Also published on this date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019: Maximum Shelf: The Paris Library

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Atria Books: Astrid Sees All by Natalie Standiford

Berkley Books: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Walker Books Us: Welcome to Your Period! by Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang, illustrated by Jenny Latham

Scholastic Press: Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

News

Noden Named President of Books-A-Million

R. Todd Noden

R. Todd Noden has been promoted to president of Books-A-Million. He was formerly COO and CFO, and will add leadership of the company's store operations group to his current responsibilities. A CPA with an MBA, Noden joined BAM in 2012 as CFO and earlier was CFO of Dobbs Mills and v-p, accounting and financial analysis of Racetrac Petroleum.

BAM CEO Terrance G. Finley welcomed Noden into his "new role in guiding our company forward. It is a well-deserved recognition of his numerous contributions to our growth and progress during his tenure. I believe we have the right team in place as we work together to build an exciting and dynamic future."


Berkley Books: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto


Dickens Children's Books to Stay Open Under New Ownership

 

Dickens Children's Books & Publishing Lab, a children's-focused bookstore in Vancouver, Wash., that was set to close at the end of the year, will stay open in 2020, with new owners Ruthie and Danny Prasil, who will take over on January 1. 

"I have a passion for books, especially children's books, and having the opportunity to continue what [the Fergusons] started feels like a dream," said Ruthie Prasil. "My husband and I are excited to be a part of downtown Vancouver and its amazing community."

Original owners Kari Ferguson and her husband Jamund opened the store in March of this year. After moving to Vashon Island, some 150 miles north of Vancouver, Ferguson announced in October that she and her husband had discovered that it was "not feasible financially or emotionally to keep running the store remotely."

The store was up for sale for a little over a month before Ferguson reported that a buyer could not be found and the store would have to close after the holidays. Last week she announced that the Prasils would officially take over.

In addition to an inventory full of classic and contemporary children's books, the 1,600-square-foot store also features a publishing lab, in which customers can assemble their own projects, and a stage area for puppet shows, performances, book events and more.


GLOW: Beacon Press: Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother by G'Ra Asim


Tombolo Books Opening Permanent Location

The courtyard entrance to Tombolo Books.

Tombolo Books, which debuted as a pop-up shop in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2017, is opening a permanent store location this Saturday. 

The 1,550-square-foot bookstore, in the Grand Central District, at 2153 First Ave. South, will carry some 7,000 titles across a wide array of genres and for all ages. In addition to stocking classics and bestsellers, co-owners Alsace Walentine and her wife, Candice Anderson, plan to highlight books from emerging and marginalized voices, books in translation and books from small and independent presses.

"The time is right for a specialty bookstore like ours in St. Petersburg," said Walentine. "In talking to customers at our pop-ups, we've seen there's significant demand for a place that brings all types of people together, with the common bond being a love for reading."

Their event plans, meanwhile, include book clubs for both teens and adults, author events and more. The first scheduled author event is a book launch for Florida author Sterling Watson, whose novel The Committee is being published by Akashic in January.

Before moving to St. Petersburg, Walentine worked at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, N.C., for more than 15 years, where she managed the store and oversaw its events program. During Tombolo's two years as a pop-up shop, the store sold more than 4,000 books.


Book Industry Charitable Foundation: Double your donation!


James Meader Joining Vintage Anchor

James Meader

James Meader is joining Vintage Anchor as executive director of publicity and social media, effective this Monday, December 16. He has been at Picador for 17 years, starting there as a publicity assistant and rising through the ranks to executive director of publicity and, most recently, v-p and associate publisher.

In an announcement about the appointment, Suzanne Herz, executive v-p & executive director, publishing, Doubleday & publisher, Vintage/Anchor Books, said that Meader has "a deep and broad understanding of paperback publishing and the paperback marketplace, having launched, publicized, and published a great number of hardcovers, paperbacks, and paperback originals, as well as acquiring and editing several books during his Picador tenure [and] understands how to publish movie tie-ins successfully...

"James will lead our Vintage Anchor publicity and social media teams, developing campaigns to promote and publicize our reprints, originals, shorts, and movie tie-ins. James will also work in collaboration with Beth Lamb, developing adjacent marketing strategies for all of our titles. Together, they will put continued focus on treating our backlist as a frontlist."


Beaming Books: Inspiring New Nonfiction from Broadleaf Books


Wilkes U. & King's College May End Joint Downtown Bookstore

Wilkes University and King's College are considering the possibility of returning their bookstores to the respective campuses in 2021, "a move that would likely end joint operation at the Barnes & Noble College store on South Main Street" in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the Times Leader reported.

The colleges have had their bookstores in the location since 2006 and the leases expire in 2021, according to the building's owner, George Albert, who said that although the schools have expressed interest in moving, he has not had any discussions with B&N College yet.

Gabrielle D'Amico, executive director of communications & graduate marketing at Wilkes University, said that with the B&N lease expiring, "we are exploring all options that might be suitable for a possible relocation, including spaces on our campus, but we have no firm plans at this time."

John McAndrew, King's College director of public relations, said the school "will consider all options for its future bookstore needs when and as appropriate."

Larry Newman, executive director at Diamond City Partnership, which promotes development downtown, said he could not confirm the report that Wilkes and King's will not renew their bookstore leases, but described the schools as key leaders in the larger downtown revitalization strategy: "In fact, it was their desire to get students downtown and generate new activity on the first block of South Main Street that led them to collaborate on the joint bookstore in 2006, when Downtown Wilkes-Barre was a much less vibrant place. There's no question that, nationally, college bookstore business models have changed in the intervening 13 years, and those changes will surely be taken into account as the schools plan for the future."

He added that the downtown "has unquestionably changed for the better. And a lot of that is due to the impact of the colleges' continued downtown investments.... They certainly aren't going to do things that blunt downtown Wilkes-Barre's positive momentum because it's in everyone's best interest to keep the downtown moving forward."


Obituary Note: Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements, beloved author of numerous children's and YA titles including Frindle, which has sold over six million copies, died November 29. He was 70. Early in his career, Clements helped a friend launch a company--first called Alphabet Press and then Picture Book Studio--that imported high quality children’s books from Europe. It was during that period when he began writing picture book texts.

"As sales manager, I got to work with a terrific crew of people who quickly taught me about the publishing business," Clements had recalled on his website. "As editorial director, I got to work with wonderfully talented authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators. I met people there who became life-long friends. And while there, my own first picture books were published, and they kept coming."

Clements's first and most popular novel, Frindle, was published in 1996 and "is a favorite of many children and adults," his obituary in the Portland Press Herald said, adding that he "went on to write 90 books for children, most published by Simon & Schuster and Random House. He was assisted in his work by many talented editors, illustrators, and publicists. Andrew especially valued the friendship and guidance of his literary agent Amy Berkower of Writers House, who advised him throughout his long career."

Other books by Clements include The Losers Club, No Talking, The Last Holiday Concert, The Report Card, Lunch Money, Things Not Seen and A Week in the Woods. His last book, The Friendship War, a middle grade title, was published last February. His honors include a Phoenix Award for Frindle, a Christopher Award for both Frindle and Extra Credit, and an Edgar Award for Room One: A Mystery or Two.

"Sometimes kids ask how I've been able to write so many books," Clements observed on his website. "The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is a good lesson, I think. You don't have to do everything at once. You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word. And growing up, it's the same way. We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing, and before you know it, you're living a good life."


Notes

Image of the Day: Cheetahs & Dogs & Books, Oh My!

Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., celebrated International Cheetah Day with a visit from Ruuxa the cheetah, canine friends Raina and Little Rae, San Diego Zoo trainers and author Georgeanne Irvine (left). Irvine is director of corporate publishing for San Diego Zoo Global and author of several children's books about zoo residents, including Ruuxa & Raina: A Cheetah and Dog's True Story of Friendship and Miracles.

Bookseller Moment: Left Bank Books

This story for the season was posted recently by Left Bank Books, Belfast, Maine: "The hectic pace of Holiday hubbub is regularly broken during December with moments of sheer Magic. Almost without notice, a beautiful young woman with dark hair and her equally beautiful dark-haired baby strapped to the woman's chest came into the shop this morning and began a lengthy browse amidst quite a few other customers. When the phone stopped ringing and the line receded and she was temporarily our only patron, we asked her if she needed any assistance? 'Oh just looking around. I thought this would be a good place to go. Peaceful.' Turns out her 3-month daughter was getting her inaugural taste of the world outside their home: and our new friend had chosen Left Bank Books as the first place to bring her 1st offspring. After buying a few things, and making small talk, she walked towards the street, but called to us from the front of the shop, 'Thanks for being Marjorie's first store,' and out the door they went, mother and child."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Deepak Chopra on the A Little Late with Lilly Singh

Tomorrow:
Tamron Hall Show: Nikki Haley, author of With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250266552).

Conan: John Lithgow, author of Dumpty: The Age of Trump in Verse (Chronicle Prism, $19.95, 9781452182759).

NBC's A Little Late with Lilly Singh: Deepak Chopra, author of Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony, $27, 9780307338334).


TV: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The "20-year journey to the screen" of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay "may finally be coming to an end," Deadline reported. A limited series adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been set up at Showtime through CBS Television Studios "with a big production commitment."

The project will be written and executive produced by Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, who have signed a multi-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman are also executive producing the series, which will be produced by Paramount Television, "whose movie studio parent Paramount Pictures owns the rights to the book, and CBS TV Studios in the first collaboration between the new corporate siblings at the merged ViacomCBS," Deadline noted.

Waldman and Chabon have other projects in various stages of development, including A Really Good Day, based on Waldman's book and starring Anna Chlumsky (Veep) for Showtime; Behind You at Hulu, from National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson; and The Heavens, inspired by Sandra Newman's bestselling novel.

"Ayelet and Michael are two of America's pre-eminent writers," said David Stapf, president, CBS Television Studios. "From award-winning novels and non-fiction to their television and film collaborations, they have a remarkable body of work. We're thrilled to have them on our incredibly talented roster."

"The team at CBS Studios is the best we've ever worked with," said Waldman and Chabon. "We're looking forward with so much excitement to this next phase of our collaboration."



Books & Authors

Awards: Voss Literary Winner

Tim Winton won the A$5,000 (about US$3,370) Voss Literary Prize, which recognizes "the best novel published in Australia" in the previous year and is dedicated to the memory of historian Vivian Robert Le Vaux Voss, for The Shepherd's Hut, Books+Publishing reported. The award is managed by the Australian University Heads of English.

Winton's novel was selected from a shortlist that also included Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader, The Making of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane, Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, The Death of Noah Glass by Gail Jones and Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko.


Reading with... Maureen Johnson

photo: Angela Altus

Maureen Johnson is the author of more than a dozen YA novels, including the Truly Devious series, which will be completed with The Hand on the Wall (Katherine Tegen Books, January 21, 2020). Her collaborative novel, Let It Snow (Speak/Penguin), written with John Green and Lauren Myracle, is now a film released by Netflix for the 2019 holiday season. Johnson lives in New York City.

On your nightstand now:

My nightstand houses a Jenga tower of books. The one directly next to me at the moment is Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, as that was the last one I read on my e-book reader and it has been haunting me ever since.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A nearly impossible question. I had a children's version of The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which started my lifetime mystery obsession. I grabbed every mystery I could get my hands on as a kid, and basically wanted to live inside of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I also read a lot of middlebrow political satire, which is obviously a pretty cool thing for a nine-year-old to be doing. I didn't have much library guidance, so I noodled around and picked up all kinds of things.

Your top five authors:

Oof. Another impossible question. I'll fight this question every time.

Book you've faked reading:

Most of my religion workbooks in Catholic school. I was in a mandatory marriage class taught by a nun and the workbook was called Loving. I never read that book.

Book you're an evangelist for:

At this very moment, Catch and Kill. It's incredibly important right now. It's a search for the truth, and a story of bravery and persistence. Ronan Farrow has done something incredible.

Book you hid from your parents:

I never hid anything. My mom did try to take Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence from me when I was a teenager. It was the only book anyone voiced objection to. I just laughed and said, "You have to be kidding." She let me keep it.

Book that changed your life:

Many have, but that first reading of The Hound of the Baskervilles stirred something in me that has been alive ever since.

Favorite line from a book:

"Prismatic is the only word for those frightful tweeds and, oddly enough, the spectacle of them had the effect of steadying my nerves. They gave me the feeling that nothing mattered." --The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

Five books you'll never part with:

My first copies of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Westing Game; Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie; and The Code of the Woosters.

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

Pretty much all of P.G. Wodehouse.


Book Review

YA Review: Dark and Deepest Red

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 hardcover, 320p., ages 13-up, 9781250162748, January 14, 2020)

Anna-Marie McLemore's fifth novel, the National Book Award-longlisted Dark and Deepest Red, is an artful, spellbinding YA reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes."

Lala and her Tante Dorenia moved to Strasbourg because, as Tante says, "What we are, they have made it a crime in our own country. So we will go somewhere no one knows us." She refers to a law that forces the Romani out of home after home: "Whoever harms a Gypsy commits no crime." Lala and Tante's family includes Alifair, a boy they found in the woods when Lala was a child. At 16, Lala's love for him has bloomed into a passionate yet fearful romance--she is terrified someone will question her and Tante's brown skin or discover that Alifair was "given a girl's name at birth." Then "la fièvre de la danse" takes over the city. At first one, then tens, then hundreds of people "leap and flail.... turn and jump," dancing manically, unable to stop, as if possessed. Lala knows it is only a matter of time before the stares of the city turn to her, fear in their eyes, "witchcraft" on their tongues.

For generations, Rosella's Mexican American family, the Olivas, have been shoemakers known for their red shoes. Rosella, like Lala, is 16 and lives in present-day Briar Meadow where, every October, a "strangeness" they call the "glimmer" settles onto town: icicles taste like rose candy; coywolf puppies appear out of nowhere. This year's glimmer has ensnared the Oliva red shoes--anyone wearing a pair falls in love. Even as the magic of the red shoes romantically enchants Rosella and childhood friend Emil, Rosella's pair makes her dance furiously, as if possessed. At the same time, Emil hesitantly begins to delve into his Romani heritage. His fear around fully embracing his family's truths proves prescient when his father tells him that two of his ancestors were in Strasbourg during the dancing plague of 1518. After that, their names disappear from historical records.

McLemore's (Blanca & Roja) vision and skill inspire awe in this gorgeously rendered novel. Though their characters are tied to places so tightly they chafe, the work itself--crossing continents and centuries--is expansive, somehow evoking the vastness of human experience through only three points of view. McLemore's settings charm and their plotting captivates, but it is their devoted and deep character development that makes the work so enthralling. While the present-day narrative isn't quite as gripping as the one set in Strasbourg 1518, Rosella and Emil's points of view are as whole and complicated as Lala's, giving readers space to slow down with McLemore's outstanding prose even as the short, swiftly moving chapters urge them ahead. Deep and Darkest Red is for the teen "capital R" Readers out there who want a work with writing as entrancing and seductive as the story. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Anna-Marie McLemore's fifth novel, Deep and Darkest Red, is a lush, captivating YA retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes."


Deeper Understanding

Bookstore Vagabond Visits Brookline Booksmith

Shelf Awareness is pleased to begin including reports from Anna Thorn, the veteran bookseller who as Bookstore Vagabond is currently touring indie bookstores across the country, interviewing owners, buyers, booksellers and customers about their experiences and successes. Read more about Bookstore Vagabond and indie bookstores in all their variety here.

A mouthwatering display of cookbooks arranged by regions of the world greets you as you walk into Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass. When I managed to pull myself away from the pages of Sababa, I looked up to find a large, welcoming space stretching back from lushly pyramided displays in the front to a "Kidsmith" area in back. Tall shelves break up the book floor, and a "Giftsmith" area is set off to one side; it's full of jewelry, pottery and other sidelines by makers from around the world. This international vibe is at the heart of Brookline Booksmith.

Despite its size, the store has no trouble feeling cozy with its sparkling lights, handpainted section signs and--the best strategy--shelves of books. Lisa Gozashti, co-owner of the bookstore, gave me a full tour and talked about its philosophy.

The store was founded in 1961, just outside of Boston, and you can feel how well-integrated it is with its community. Clearly Brookline Booksmith considers diversity in its selections in as many ways as possible, including global voices and books for all parts of the community. The displays are stocked with an intentional mix of well-known and under-appreciated titles, a strategy Lisa described as "elevating through curation."

Continuing with the theme of highlighting international literature, Brookline Booksmith has a spinner of books in French curated by Albertine's French Corners project. (If you haven't heard about this, it's definitely worth a look.) Lisa told me Brookline Booksmith is fortunate to have a strong, engaged staff with a variety of interests that adds depth to each section. "Support the people in what they're excited about," she said.

The first Transnational event in March 2018: (l.-r.) Shuchi Saraswat, German author Jenny Erpenbeck and Lisa Gozashti.

One of the programs created by staff members that the store has supported is the amazing Transnational event series that bookseller Shuchi Saraswat began in March 2018. (The most recent, held last week, featured Karthika Naïr and Nina MacLaughlin.) Shuchi and bookseller Pierce Alquist bring together international authors to discuss migration, the refugee experience, and works in translation. For Shuchi, it's been meaningful to host such important conversations and to see the audience engage and connect with them. "Sometimes I think it's a freaking miracle that people are spending their evenings sitting and listening to international writers and translators," Shuchi admits. "It makes me trust that I'm doing something magical."

Her work this past year as one of five judges for the National Book Award for Translated Literature has affected how she considers what she likes. She says for her the first step is to decide, "is this book doing what it's trying to do and are they doing it in an interesting way?" After that you have to trust your taste--and in my judgment, Shuchi has excellent taste. Just take a look at the series' past lineup.

The store is dedicated to the series, despite the logistical difficulties the travel costs present. It's a way for Brookline Booksmith to demonstrate its dedication to international, diverse literature and marginalized voices. As Shuchi said, "How, as a large store, are you different from a Barnes & Noble?" The store is also fortunate to be in a neighborhood that both loves and supports the events.

All the titles featured in the Transnational series.

I got more evidence that Lisa is a bookseller through and through when I asked one of my regular questions: what is your favorite book to handsell right now? She immediately darted to the shelves to pull not one but three titles for me--Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li, Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar and When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back by Naja Marie Aidt, translated by Denise Newman. She told me about the events Brookline Booksmith had hosted with the authors and how meaningful it had been to hear immigrant and refugee stories at a time when we hear horror stories in the news every day.

Halfway through her descriptions, she thought of another title (The White Book by Han Kang), and another (Bluets by Maggie Nelson), and another (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong). Her eyes lit up talking about the store's event with Ocean Vuong. Then, "Oh, wait, these will just round out the group so well!" She exclaimed and ran off to grab Border by Kapka Kassabova and Nine Continents by Xiaolu Guo. At last, she was satisfied and left me with a selection that perfectly encapsulated the international and inclusive values of this exceptional bookstore. I ambled through the shelves with a hefty stack of books looking for the perfect background and smiling to myself.


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