Also published on this date: Monday, February 10, 2020: Dedicated Issue: Andrews McMeel

Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 10, 2020

William Morrow & Company: Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light by Neal Stephenson

Shadow Mountain: The Legend of the Last Library by Frank L Cole

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Elements of Marie Curie: How the Glow of Radium Lit a Path for Women in Science by Dava Sobel

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Quotation of the Day

'We Are the Original Storytellers'

"I dedicate this to all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art and dance and write stories. We are the original storytellers and we can make it here as well. Thank you. Kia ora."

--Taika Waititi, in his acceptance speech last night after winning the best adapted screenplay Oscar for Jojo Rabbit, based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens (more book-related Oscar coverage below)

Running Press Kids: Your Magical Life: A Young Witch's Guide to Becoming Happy, Confident, and Powerful by Amanda Lovelace


Bookish Oscar Winners: Joker, Jojo Rabbit

At last night's Academy Awards ceremony, book-related movies took home some golden hardware, including major category wins for Joker and Jojo Rabbit. Among this year's bookish Oscar winners:

Joker, based on D.C. Comics characters: actor (Joaquin Phoenix); original score (Hildur Guðnadóttir)

Judy, adapted from the play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter: actress (Renée Zellweger)

Jojo Rabbit, based on Christine Leunens's novel Caging Skies: adapted screenplay (Taika Waititi)

Little Women, adapted from Louisa May Alcott's classic novel: Costume design (Jacqueline Durran)

Hair Love, which was also released as a children's book by director Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison: Animated short film

Several book-related movies earned Oscar nominations, but left empty-handed, including The Irishman, based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt; The Two Popes, adapted from Anthony McCarten's play The Pope; Richard Jewell, based in part on the book The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle by Kent Alexander and Kevin Salwen; Breakthrough, based on The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother's Faith and Her Child's Resurrection by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba; Avengers: Endgame, based on the Marvel Comics characters; and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, loosely based on the book series by Cressida Cowell.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

Avoid the Day Bookstore Opens in Rockaway Park, N.Y.

Avoid the Day Bookstore & Cafe, which debuted about two years ago as a pop-up shop and itinerant community space in Rockaway Park, N.Y., hosted a grand opening celebration last Saturday in its permanent location at 99-04 Rockaway Beach Blvd. The Wave reported that the February opening "was purposeful, wanting to connect with locals first before the influx of summer day-trippers arrive."

Jason Heuer, co-owner with Jianna Heuer, said the Rockaway business community is highly collaborative and is "not a competition, just inclusiveness." He added that Avoid the Day probably couldn't have succeeded if not for the support of fellow Rockaway businesspeople, some of whom gave space within their own stores when ATD was just a pop-up.

The Heuers' vision for their shop "is to develop a literary, arts, and perhaps musical acoustic salon where the community can fully take advantage of the indoor space year-round, creating a location where budding poets and novelists can immerse themselves in this new refuge for book lovers," the Wave noted.

In a Facebook post after the shop's soft opening last week, Avoid the Day noted: "A lifelong dream came true this past weekend--we opened a bookstore cafe! We couldn’t have done it without all the support of our friends, family and rockaway community! Thank you to everyone who came out and welcomed us to the neighborhood and thank you to all the people who helped build this beautiful space."

New in Lafayette, Colo.: The Read Queen Bookstore and Cafe

Barbra Huntting and Deirdre Appelhans, who bought the inventory and naming rights from the closed Book Cellar in Louisville, Colo., plan to re-open in nearby Lafayette, and they've chosen a new name: The Read Queen Bookstore and Café. A nod to the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, the Read Queen should open later in February or in March, according to the Colorado Hometown Weekly.

"There was a lot of research of what could be involved in the project," Appelhans told the Weekly. "There was a lot of structural improvements that had to take place, especially because it's a building that's almost 120 years old."

The store is offering new and used books and will have a café and outdoor patio. Jigsaw, the stuffed red dragon, is among items from the Book Cellar that will remain in the Read Queen. The store is near Boulder.

Wi15: Batch for Books, 'in America'

At the Batch for Books panel at Winter Institute last month, Batch for Books CEO Fraser Tanner updated the audience on the introduction in the U.S. of the electronic invoicing system that is widely used in the U.K. and 78 other countries. Owned by the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, Batch is free for booksellers and, besides handling invoicing, it can be used for payments, stock returns and more. (Publishers and other suppliers pay to be on the platform.) To great applause, Tanner said, "Batch is coming to America." A moment later, to even greater applause, he added, "Batch is in America."

He described the "phased rollout" as "a journey." Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Macmillan have signed on, and "more suppliers will follow." (He encouraged booksellers to urge publishers to join Batch.) For now, Batch is adding groups of 20 bookstores at a time and plans to speed that up. "It's a learning process for bookstores and vendors and their systems," he said. Batch is adding a staffer in the U.S. "to look after booksellers and booksellers alone. We want to make sure you have a good experience."

The panel included three U.K. booksellers who use Batch and two U.S. booksellers--Tegan Tigani of Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash., and Ron Tucker of Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.--who are part of the U.S. beta test of Batch. The three British booksellers all lauded Batch and emphasized that they and other U.K. booksellers use it in somewhat different ways. (Tanner stressed the versatility of Batch, saying, "People use Batch how they want it. You use it how it suits you.")

Antonia Squire, owner of the Bookshop, Bridport, England, said that "ultimately, as a payment system there's nothing like Batch." She added that it saves a great amount of time, which is important in her "tiny shop. I spend about five or six hours a month on accounts."

Nic Bottomley, co-owner of Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, England, and president of the Booksellers Association, said his shop pays 90%-95% of all invoices through Batch, with the exception of non-book items, a few tiny local publishers and a foreign language supplier. He noted that all invoices are electronically loaded into the store's system, "effectively creating an online archive for all invoicing."

He praised Batch for its "speed, the fact that it's all in one place and the certainty of payment. It helps how you organize yourself around the financial elements of the business." Using Batch also is important for relationships with suppliers, he added: " 'I pay on Batch' goes far."

David Prescott of Blackwell's, the academic book retailer with 28 shops in the U.K., said that "the vast majority of our top 25 suppliers are on Batch," which is now automatic. He called Batch "absolutely hugely transformational," even though Blackwell's actually makes payments separately. One example: "We can do a returns request for a publisher or distributor [for all 28 stores] and run it in an hour." He noted, too, that Batch has reduced to 10 minutes from two hours the amount of time needed for processing a typical big shipment of titles in September.

The British booksellers said Batch had been relatively easy to learn, with Bottomley calling it "a very clean and intuitive system." Tanner noted that for U.S. booksellers, Batch offers how-to guides and will create videos. --John Mutter

Obituary Note: Roger Kahn

Roger Kahn

Roger Kahn, whose best known book, The Boys of Summer (1972), chronicled the Brooklyn Dodgers of the early 1950s and "melded reportage, sentiment and sociology in a way that stamped baseball as a subject fit for serious writers and serious readers," died February 6, the New York Times reported. He was 92. In the spring of 1952, as a 24-year-old reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Kahn was assigned to travel with the Dodgers during "a rich time in the game's history, especially in New York, the undisputed center of the baseball universe," and it was "this fecund territory that Mr. Kahn, looking back from a distance of decades, harvested in several books, often entwining memories from his own Brooklyn boyhood and his coming-of-age as a journalist with tales from the clubhouse and the barroom and the diamond."

Kahn's other books include A Season in the Sun (1977), Joe & Marilyn: A Memory of Love (1986), The Era: 1947-1957, When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World (1993), A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and The Roaring Twenties (1999), Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the Yankees' Miraculous Finish in 1978 (2002), Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life (2006) and Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball (2014).

But it was The Boys of Summer that made the most lasting impression on his readers. Sports Illustrated ranked it #2 among the "Top 100 Sports Books of All Time," praising the work as "a baseball book the same way Moby Dick is a fishing book."

Retired Dodgers broadcasting great Vin Scully, who knew Kahn from their early days together with the team, told the Associated Press: "You couldn't travel with them without getting emotionally involved. Roger captured that familial spirit of the players in those days.... He got it right."

Several writers paid tribute to Kahn on Twitter, including John Feinstein, who observed: "Reading--and re-reading--Roger Kahn's Boys of Summer inspired me to want to cover baseball and write well about it. Met him in Clearwater in 1993 and he was completely down to earth, kind and funny. Saddened to hear of his death. An icon and a mensch."

And Howard Bryant tweeted: "Just four days ago after my @HarvardBooks reading, @GwashburnGlobe, @pcnaslund, @Dart_Adams and Christopher Vyce were talking at length about Roger Kahn. Roger was very kind to a young writer on his first book. 92 is a good run. RIP, my friend."

In a remembrance published by the Athletic, Joe Posnanski recalled his decades-long connection to The Boys of Summer as a reader: "More than anything, this was a book about fathers and sons and the space in between. 'Outside, the summer sun was taunting,' he wrote of that moment after he chose his father’s coffin. 'I walked to the car, a lawyer at each elbow, wholly alone. The wrongness of things seized me. At the Parade Grounds, boys were throwing footballs. It was that season; baseball would come again. The team was broken up and with my father dead there was no one with whom I wanted to consider that tragedy, and because there was no one I recognized that the breaking of a team was not like greater tragedy: incompleteness, unspoken words, unmade music, withheld love, the failure ever to sum up or say good-bye.' I cannot tell you how many times I have read that paragraph. And it hits me every single time."


Image of the Day: Literature Lovers Returns

The Literature Lovers' Night Out program returned to Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn., featuring authors Paul Yoon (Run Me to Earth), Rita Woods (Remembrance) and Kiley Reid (Such a Fun Age). Fellow authors Kawai Strong Washburn (Sharks In a Time of Saviors) and Christine Clancy (The Second Home) and Mary Morgan from Reading Group Choices were in the audience. Pictured: (back row, l.-r.) bookseller Julie Korsgren, Mary Morgan, Valley Bookseller manager Gretchen West, booksellers Dellzie Hodler and Carol Tollefsrud; (seated middle row) Kawai Strong Washburn, Rita Woods, Paul Yoon, Kiley Reid, Christine Clancy; (floor) bookseller Rachael Johnson; Pamela Klinger-Horn, host of Literature Lovers' Night Out. (photo: Rachael Johnson)


'Flahooliks Are Welcome Here!'

"Our new word of the week... Flahooliks are welcome here!" Island Books, Mercer Island, Wash., posted on Facebook as its "word of the week (or so): Flahoolick/fla-hoo-lik/n.): generous, full of largesse. An exuberant spender. Used in a sentence: Flahoolicks are welcome here."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Sedaris on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Daily Show: Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Riot Baby (Tor, $19.99, 9781250214751).

Good Morning America: Allison Pataki, author of The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire (Ballantine, $28, 9780593128183).

Jimmy Kimmel Live: David Sedaris, author, most recently, of Calypso (Back Bay, $17.99, 9780316392426).

Movies: All the Bright Places; The Wind in the Willows

Netflix has released a trailer for All the Bright Places, a film adaptation of Jennifer Niven's novel that will debut February 28. Directed by Brett Haley (I'll See You in My Dreams, Hearts Beat Loud) from a script by Niven and Liz Hannah (The Post), the project stars Elle Fanning, Justice Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Alexandra Shipp, Kelli O'Hara, Lamar Johnson, Felix Mallard, Sofia Hasmik, Luke Wilson and Virginia Gardner.

Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan (owner of Books & Books in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands) of Mazur Kaplan are producing along with Echo Lake's Andrew Spaulding, Doug Mankoff and Brittany Kahan.


Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes has teamed up with producer Gerald R. Molen on a film adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame's classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Variety reported that Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital "is on board for the CGI for the four main characters--Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger.... The project comes four years after a musical version of The Wind in the Willows premiered in the U.K., with Fellowes having written the script, with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe." Filming will take place at Jackson’s Stone Street Studios in New Zealand.

"We are finalizing some of the finest actors to lend their creative and vocal talents," Molen said. "We could not have dreamed of a better writer and creative force than Julian Fellowes to work with Ray Griggs to bring to life the classic English novel’s characters, nor finer visionaries than Weta to capture the look and feel of Grahame’s world.... We have all the right pieces to create what will prove to be the definitive adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic."

Books & Authors

Awards: Frost Medal Winner; Int'l Excellence Shortlists

Toi Derricotte is the recipient of the 2020 Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry, sponsored by the Poetry Society of America.

The Society wrote: "There are few poets who are as brave as Toi Derricotte; brave in her subject matter and brave in how she insists that even the deepest hurts must sing on the page. Derricotte's New and Selected is an amazing statement of her dedication to craft, vision and invention, which she has built, book by book through her writing life. Her work dives into the interior of African American womanhood, and brings back such lyric beauty. Her poems have given vast permission to the poets who have followed her to tell the truths of their lives, and in doing that, have allowed us all a chance to re-discover the world."

Derricotte's sixth collection of poetry, "I" New and Selected Poems, was published last year and was shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award. Her other books of poetry include The Undertaker's Daughter, Tender, Captivity, Natural Birth and The Empress of the Death House. Her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.


Shortlists for the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, sponsored by the London Book Fair and the Publishers Association, have been announced and include:

Bookstore of the Year (sponsored by Gardners):
Rahva Raamat AS (Estonia)
Unity Books, Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand
Yemen Bookstore (Yemen)

Library of the Year:
City of Johannesburg Libraries (South Africa)
Maadi Public Library (Egypt)
Shanghai Library (China)

Book Review

Review: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein, illus. by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press, $30 hardcover, 320p., 9781594204609, March 3, 2020)

With a text first published in 1933, this illustrated version of Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas transports readers to early 20th-century Paris and the birth of modernism in painting and literature. Artist Maira Kalman's (And the Pursuit of Happiness) lustrous images bring this classic to life. Kalman is a renowned fine artist who has illustrated other classic works, notably William Strunk and E.B. White's The Elements of Style. Here she captures the intricacies and material culture of Parisian salon life.

Stein authored the "autobiography" of her life partner, Toklas, by imitating her plainspoken, matter-of-fact voice. Actually a biography of Toklas and autobiography of Stein herself, the book focuses on the couple's time living in Paris before and after World War I. It was a magical time of modern innovation in technology and the arts. The book describes the women's relationships with leading intellectuals, writers and artists such as William James, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, among myriad others. The famed scene of Paris at the time gave birth to cubism in painting and modernism in literature, and the book provides a front-seat view of artists, many before they were famous, leading a life of the mind and pushing the boundaries of media. Brought into focus are not only works of art, but eccentric personalities, squabbles and human foibles. Nonetheless, a sense of affection permeates these pages, perhaps best exemplified by the long, abiding relationship between Stein and Picasso.

Rendered in broad, colorful strokes--themselves reminiscent of the artistic period--Kalman's portraits of now-famous artists and writers are lively and evocative, including Picasso and his partner Fernande, the Matisses and the Cézannes, Hemingway, William James and, of course, Stein and Toklas, among many others. Some portray Stein's famous home, the salon, the kitchen, all quaint yet lush interiors, while others capture the greater neighborhood, city and even countryside. The pictures are captioned with Stein's handwritten words, adding a certain charm and glamour to the story.

Though written in a plain style, the book offers sophisticated takes on the formation of modern art and the "heroic age of cubism." It bristles with intellectual energy and keen art criticism. "His portraits had the aridity but none of the elegance of David," Stein, the actual narrator, comments on a painter. Her critiques follow the evolution of cubism and the surrealism that followed. (Not all the takes are good. Stein's reductive comments on "negro" art would be considered insulting and problematic today.) Not only is painting analyzed by the narrator, but the art of writing as well. Stein describes many conversations with other writers, like the young Hemingway, about form and the craft of writing. Some of the best moments in the book are about Stein's particular writing process. "She was much influenced by the sound of the streets and the movement of the automobiles," the narrator says of Stein. "She also liked then to set a sentence for herself as a sort of tuning fork and metronome and then write to that time and tune."

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas reads like a love letter to a bygone era, when human imagination still teemed with possibilities. This illustrated version will appeal to fans of art history and literature. It's a testament to writers and artists who changed the world. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Shelf Talker: Maira Kalman's beautifully illustrated version of Gertrude Stein's nonfiction book reminds readers of a vibrant bygone era.

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