Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 14, 2010
Quotation of the Day
"The trouble is, you have to leave sometime. And once outside, the ordinary may seem more drab than ever."--Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times in his lengthy story on Wizarding World, the Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando, Fla., that opens this coming Friday--"not really an attraction that you do, it's one that you absorb."
Notes: B&N 'Best-Kept Secret in the E-Book Space'In a profile of Barnes & Noble following the ascension of William Lynch as CEO in March, Crain's New York Business wrote that the company has built its "e-book market share to around 20%" and has greatly improved relations with publishers--in contrast to publishers' relations with Amazon.
Two example of those improved relations: publishers have agreed to let users of the Nook lend e-books to friends (about half of bn.com titles can be lent) and some 70% of bn.com offerings may be streame via wi-fi on Nooks in B&N stores.Barnes & Noble is "the best-kept secret in the e-book space," David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Group, told the paper.
And Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, said that B&N is "always thinking how to sell more books. If they can figure out how to marry what is in their stores with what's online, they can survive."
KulturKaufhaus Dussmann, the multimedia
retailer in the heart of Berlin, is doubling the amount of space for
foreign-language books (95% of which are English-language), according to
Buchreport and Boersenblatt.
Opening in October, the "English Book Store" is moving within the store. The 3,200-sq.-ft. section will be in the rear part of the first and second floors, have its own entrance although still be connected to the main store and develop its own events program. Other languages represented are Italian, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian. The section has had double-digit growth.
KulturKaufhaus Dussmann, founded in 1997, has 75,000 square feet of retail space and stocks books, audiobooks, music, stationery and gifts. Its parent company is Dussmann Group, which operates a variety of building management and cleaning, catering and security services, office rentals and care and nursing for seniors.
"Seattle residents love their books. And they love their technology," TechFlash observed, adding that "those two passions will go hand-in-hand at a new bookstore called Ada's Technical Books," which hosted its grand opening over the weekend in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The bookshop's owners are software engineers Danielle and David Hulton, who "came up with the idea after noticing that many of their geeky friends would drive all the way to Portland to visit the vast aisles of Powell's Technical Books," TechFlash wrote.
Danielle Hulton noted that the shop will carry new as well as used books, some of which are are difficult to shop for online. "Especially with technical books, it is important to be able to look through a book to see if the information in the book is applicable to what a person is trying to learn," she said.
Buy the Book, Lafayette, Ind., has reopened in its new 3,000-sq.-ft. location in the Five Points area, "an upgrade from the 1,200 square feet they had to work with in Valley Plaza," the Journal & Courier reported. Co-owner Tami Marshall said, "The new space will give us the opportunity to have book clubs, youth activities and be more interactive with the community."
More summer reading lists:
Bookseller and author Robert J. Wiersema recommended some titles in the National Post to help Canadian readers make "the most of our 12-week ration of summer."
"Travel around the world through summer's best beach books," suggested the Newark Star-Ledger, adding "you can go anywhere your heart desires this summer--provided your first stop is a book store."
Cyclists can check out the Christian Science Monitor's "10 great books about cycling."
Don't overlook the value of great book blurbs, advised James Spackman, Hodder & Stoughton's sales and trade marketing director, during the Bookseller Cover Design Conference. "There is time and effort and strife that goes into finishes, foil and shine, etc.--but think about how many books are sold online these days and this means nothing. We're missing a trick. The words are commercially valuable.... We can afford to be positive about this, we have a chance to add value."
Spackman "discussed research from Book Marketing Limited which found that the blurb makes 62% of consumers buy a particular book," the Bookseller reported. He added: "It's a vital motivating factor in why people decide to buy a book and it is totally in control of the publisher."
John Grisham "remains a largely anonymous figure. He can stand under a huge billboard of his latest novel in virtually any bookshop and go unnoticed--and that's just the way he likes it," noted the Press & Journal, which reported on Grisham's visit to England to promote Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer.
"I laugh when I tell people I'm a famous writer in a country where nobody reads," he said.
But Grisham may want to change that. Speaking of the 13-year-old protagonist of Theodore Boone, Grisham said, according to the Telegraph: "Theodore is really an effort to catch Harry Potter. Back in the 1990s I was routinely introduced as the bestselling author in the world. I tried to pretend like it was no big deal.
"Then along came Harry Potter and suddenly I was number two. I've got to tell you, I really miss being number one. I'm going to catch Harry one way or another."
Dexigner.com showcased the Foldaway Bookshop, "a pop-up specialist bookshop created for the London Festival of Architecture 2010. Stocked by RIBA Bookshops, it will be a specialist architecture bookshop featuring the latest must-have high quality publications and the most coveted architecture classics.... The walls, shelving and sales counter will be constructed entirely from cardboard and recycled at the end of the Festival."
"Help us find our way to the best independent bookshops," the Guardian requested, noting, "It's Independent Booksellers Week next week, and in defiance of all the usual doom and gloom that surrounds the subject we thought we'd take this opportunity to celebrate the many wonderful bookshops all over the world that are still standing. After enjoying your pictures on our Hay festival Flickr group we thought we'd ask you to upload photos of your favorite independents--then take it to the next level, and make ourselves a map."
The Coop Tour: 'On, Wisconsin'
Michael Perry reports from his road trip:
Based on the first 12 hours, the official theme song of the East Coast leg of the Coop paperback tour will be a rousing rendition of "It's a Small World After All." Either that or "On, Wisconsin."
The kickoff event was held at Buffalo's legendary Talking Leaves bookstore, which is outfitted with one of my all-time favorite bookstore features: a creaky wooden floor. Owner Jon Welch had arranged a nice set of wooden chairs to match, and it was heartening for a cheesehead like me to see most of the seats filled, even though I am far, far from home. After the reading (during which I committed Acts of High Art, including a verbatim recitation of the "effective decay-preventive dentifrice" spiel on the back of the toothpaste tube and a seat-of-the-pants postmodern deconstruction of the term "snot rocket"), I learned that Jon's sister is one of the owners of Café Carpe, a renowned folk music venue in Fort Atkinson, Wis. Another lady said she was from Racine. "A-ha!" I said. "The home of kringle!"--and she fairly danced. I discovered kringle in the late 1980s while dating a physical therapist from Racine. I rather ham-fistedly (ham-heartedly?) scuppered the relationship, but my fire for kringle--O, glorious, buttery, flaky, icing-bedrizzled kringle--burns unabated. Then the woman asked if I knew an artist named Allan Servoss. Know him? He lives just outside of New Auburn, my hometown and central subject of my first book, Population 485. No one captures Wisconsin winter like Allan with his colored pencils.
Back at the hotel, I sat down to write this blog post with an eye toward getting to bed at a reasonable hour to be able to pack up and check out prior to an interview at 8:30 tomorrow morning and then hit the road for Brockport. Through the communicating door I could hear the members of some unidentified touring rock band having a good-natured argument about who was the best motorcycle racer and who was the best... umm... I guess carnal athlete might be the best way to express it in what I assume to be polite company. As a writer, obsessive-compulsive curiosity ranks simultaneously as both a top five chief motivator and a recurring liability: I immediately performed a Web search of the Buffalo music scene to see if I could suss out the identity of these deeply reflective fellows. I never did figure it out, however, because the first listing I found announced that a band called Megafaun was playing in a club six blocks from my hotel room at that very moment. This was a real mind-blower, because I have known brothers Phil and Brad Cook (two-thirds of Megafaun) since they were drooling little goobers (our mothers are dear friends) and Phil played on my first album, Headwinded. The boys live in North Carolina now, and the odds of us driving cross-country from our respective porches only to wind up within six blocks of each other in Buffalo followed by the odds of me discovering it by accident just as they were tuning up down the street... well, there was only one thing to do, which was to forgo sleep and buy myself a ticket to the show.
It was a doozy. Tough to describe what Megafaun does without devolving into post-neo-hip-hop-bohemian-hillbilly-alterna-music-journalism-yip-yap. The point is, if you can see them live you should. Afterward we just grinned and grinned at each other. To continue the weirdness, I learned that when I am rolling into Rhinebeck, N.Y., for my reading at Oblong Books & Music next Wednesday, Megafaun will be driving to a show in Eau Claire, Wis., along a route that will take them to within two miles of my farm and dear family.
I am supposed to be writing about books, not music. And perhaps this post is too personal to have relevance. But apart from the surprising bits of home that pop up on the road, what I'm above all thankful for is that these friends of mine have worked hard at their craft and have been rewarded for it. And I am equally grateful that I--a rural Wisconsin farm boy who trained as a nurse and wound up writing books by accident--should be allowed to take the words on the road to places far, far away from my ramshackle farm and dear wife and beloved daughters and yet spend the day surrounded by friends nonetheless.
Now I'm up way too late. But I'm happy in my heart. See you down the road.
BEA: Nonfiction for Kids & Teens
Speakers at a BEA panel focusing on nonfiction for children and teens made compelling arguments for a bright future.
Angela Carstensen, head librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart (a k-12 girls' school on Manhattan's Upper East Side) and inaugural chair of the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, pointed out that in addition to the establishment of the YALSA nonfiction award (which went to Charles and Emma by Deborah Heiligman), there are other recent other high-profile endorsements of nonfiction: Jim Murphy was named the Margaret A. Edwards Award winner (given by YALSA for an author's body of work); the Los Angeles Times prize for YA literature went to Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking/Penguin); and the National Book Award for Young People's Literature went to Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (Melanie Kroupa/FSG). Carstensen noted that the graphic nonfiction memoir Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Knopf) has attracted teens who thought of themselves as nonreaders.
The main difference Laura Godwin, v-p and publisher of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers--who edited Charles and Emma--sees in nonfiction's role today is that topics are more wide open. She added, "You need a point of view, just as you do in fiction." She mentioned Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and Cod by Mark Kurlansky as examples. "It's the depth, the layers, the way the author approaches the topic." Author Elizabeth Bluemle, president of the ABC and co-owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vt., added Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, Longitude by Dava Sobel and Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air to the list of nonfiction bestsellers with a strong point of view that she's also recommended to book groups.
The way to move nonfiction, according to Bluemle, is to handsell it the way you would fiction. At the Flying Pig, she integrates nonfiction with fiction in her displays and places books with a fictional treatment of historical events next to their nonfiction counterparts. "People look to what you're featuring," Bluemle continued. "We have the power to introduce kids to nonfiction."
Carstensen agreed that you have to give book talks for nonfiction titles to get them circulating. "I was not a huge nonfiction reader before I chaired the YALSA committee," Carstensen admitted. "When I booktalk nonfiction, they take them out." As for awards, Bluemle said the average customer in her bookstore recognizes only the Newbery and Caldecott Awards. Carstensen does see a difference in other award categories, mostly because Ingram often sells out of them immediately after the ALA Award announcements.
Steve Sheinkin, author of two humorous examinations of history, Two Miserable Presidents and King George: What Was His Problem?, said that as a former textbook writer, he was frustrated. "I confess I wrote textbooks written for kids, sold to adults!" He said his best stories were rejected by the textbook editors. Luckily he saved them and is releasing them as trade books. He described his new book about Benedict Arnold this way: "Benedict Arnold was the original loose cannon. He usually gets just nine lines in a textbook, but he's an 18th-century true action hero, even before Bruce Willis!" "Now that's how you booktalk nonfiction!" Bluemle chimed in.
Sheinkin said that when he goes to schools, kids tell him they hate history. "It's partly our fault," he said. "What they mean is, 'I hate textbooks.' You can't tell them history is cool, you have to prove it."
One of the challenges for advocates of nonfiction is finding out about them. Bluemle does a round-up of multi-starred reviews for her Shelf Talker blog in Publishers Weekly. She would like to see NEIBA expand its biannual reviews to include nonfiction, and she urged publisher sales reps to get behind the nonfiction titles on their list. Carstensen noted that, in general, fewer nonfiction titles get reviews, and there's less buzz about nonfiction on blogs. She relies on Booklist and SLJ reviews, as well as Mark Aronson's SLJ blog, Nonfiction Matters. She uses the YALSA Nonfiction Award's full nomination list (of 43 titles) as a resource, and also suggested Ink Think Tank, a website mounted by a group of nonfiction authors.
As to the rise of digitized texts, most panelists agreed that this could only help nonfiction titles. "The infiltration of e-books may be contributing to nonfiction's rise in popularity," Carstensen suggested. And Godwin said the iPad could well save adult nonfiction. "Adults looking for information want someone with a point of view who organizes it around a topic," Godwin said. "Facts without a context don't mean much. Ultimately, it comes back to the teller, the author's voice and passion."--Jennifer M. Brown
Brown moderated this panel.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Pat Benatar on Today
This morning on the Early Show: Geneen Roth, author of Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything (Scribner, $24, 9781416543077/1416543074).
Also on the Early Show: Mario Batali, author of Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking (Ecco, $29.99, 9780061924323/0061924326).
This morning on the Today Show: Pat Benatar, author of Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061953774/0061953776). She will also appear tonight on Nightline.
Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Ori and Ron Brafman, authors of Click: The Magic of Instant Connections (Broadway, $23, 9780385529051/0385529058).
Today on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show: Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition (Scribner, $30, 9780743277020/0743277023).
Today on Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Samantha Bee, author of I Know I Am, but What Are You? (Gallery, $25, 9781439142738/1439142734).
Tonight on the Colbert Report: Stephen Prothero, author of God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780061571275/006157127X).
Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Alan Furst, author of Spies of the Balkans (Random House, $26, 9781400066032/1400066034).
Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Sam Kashner, author of Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century (Harper, $27.99, 9780061562846/006156284X).
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Maggie Griffin, author of Tip It!: The World According to Maggie (Hyperion, $23.99, 9781401324049/1401324045). She will also appear tomorrow on the View.
Also appearing on both the Today Show and the View: Tori Spelling, author of Uncharted Territori (Gallery, $25, 9781439187715/1439187711).
Tomorrow morning on Fox and Friends: Fred Willard, author of Fred Willard's Magnificent Movie Trivia: Put Your Knowledge of Movies, Actors, Facts & Firsts to the Test (Square One Publishers, $7.95, 9780757003110/0757003117). He will also appear tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Tomorrow on Access Hollywood: Heather McDonald, author of You'll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again: One Woman's Painfully Funny Quest to Give It Up (Touchstone, $15, 9781439176283/1439176280).
Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439102114/1439102112).
Tomorrow on Hannity: John Kasich, author of Every Other Monday: Twenty Years of Life, Lunch, Faith, and Friendship (Atria, $25, 9781439148273/1439148279).
Tomorrow night on Larry King Live: Anthony Bourdain, author of Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (Ecco, $26.99, 9780061718946/0061718947).
Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: James Tabor, author of Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth (Random House, $26, 9781400067671/1400067677).
Movies: Cleopatra; Breaking Dawn
Angelina Jolie will play the Queen of the Nile in a film adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life, which will be published later this year. Producers of the project, including Scott Rudin--who acquired the screen rights--"have yet to say who they want as Marc Anthony, but Jolie's partner Brad Pitt is reportedly being considered," the Telegraph reported.
"I think she'd be perfect for it and I can see a possible Oscar in her future," Schiff said. "Physically, she's the perfect look."
Summit Entertainment has made a longstanding rumor official: Breaking Dawn, the final book in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga, will be split into two movies. Variety reported that the first is "set to open on the previously announced date of November 18, 2011. Summit didn't disclose the second date." The third film in the series, Eclipse, opens June 30.
Television: Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin told the Hollywood Reporter she believes that actress Claire Danes deserves an Emmy for her portrayal of the animal scientist and bestselling author in HBO's Temple Grandin, which debuted earlier this year and is scheduled to be released on DVD in August.
"When I found out Claire was playing me, I had to look her up on the Internet," said Grandin. "You know, I don't follow those things. So I typed her name in, and there was this pretty blonde girl. You would have never known it was her in the movie! I saw the movie four or five times--she literally became me. The way she walked, talked, everything was me."
Her verdict on the performance by Danes: "I think Claire deserves the Emmy. She went above and beyond what anyone else would have done. I've been invited to the (Emmy) show. I may go; I'm not sure. Right now I have it on the calendar with a big question mark."
Books & Authors
IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites
From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook (Voice, $24.99, 9781401341169/1401341160). "When you finish this delightful story, you will want to grab your girlfriends, let your hair down, and call for a margarita! They say every seven years you reinvent yourself, and Jill Murray is ready to do just that. But first she must juggle two jobs, her 10-year-old daughter, an ex-husband, and an intriguing bike-riding entrepreneur. Get ready to laugh from the first page to the last."--Karin Beyer, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.
Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese by Eric LeMay (Free Press, $22, 9781439153048/1439153043). "As a 'Cheesehead,' I must admit to some initial skepticism regarding this book. However, Eric LeMay's first three words, 'Consider the Stilton,' intrigued me. This book is a delightful cheese tour replete with international characters and places, literary references and yes, Wisconsin cheese curds. Foodies and travel junkies will salute this terrific tale, as will any reader in line for a fact-filled, fun read--a winner!"--Kathleen Dixon, Islandtime Books & More, Washington Island, Wis.
Turn Left at the Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey by Brad Herzog (Citadel, $14.95, 9780806532028/0806532025). "This is the story of one man's journey across small towns in America's heartland that are named for places out of Greek mythology. The author is looking for meaning in his life, and what he finds is as true today as it was in ancient Greece. Heroes are everywhere if you just look for them, and the author finds his own heroic story along the way."--Catherine Carpenter, Cate's Books and Stuff, Louisiana, Mo.
For Ages 4 to 8
Food Chain by M.P. Robertson (Frances Lincoln Children's Books, $17.95, 9781845079291/1845079299). "The food chain will never seem the same after a boy throws a goldfish down the toilet to see what happens. The story comes full circle to a hilarious conclusion."--Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]
Reading the West: June Picks
From the Mountains & Plains Independent Bookseller Association: two recent Reading the West picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong regional appeal:
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall (Norton, $26.95, 9780393062625/0393062627) follows a Mormon polygamist with a family of four wives and 28 children.
Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler (Viking, $17.99, 9780670011421/0670011428) takes place outside Yellowstone National Park, where the daughter of a fisherman leads an idyllic life until she meets an intriguing new boy.
Shelf Starter: The Eighth Day
The Eighth Day by Mitsuyo Kakuta, translated by Margaret Mitsutani (Kodansha International, $24.95, 9784770030887/4770030886, May 2010)
Opening lines of a book we want to read:
She grips the doorknob. It is like holding a piece of ice. The chill tells her it's too late to turn back now.
Kiwako knows that on weekdays from around 8:10 this door will be unlocked for about twenty minutes. A moment before, she was crouched in the shadow of a vending machine, watching the wife and husband leave. Without hesitation, she turns the cold doorknob.
Opening the door she is assailed by a mixture of smells that soften the cold--charred toast, cooking oil, face powder, fabric softener, nicotine, wet rags. Kiwako slips inside. It's strange how naturally she moves, as though this were her own home, even though she is seeing it for the first time. Yet she is hardly at ease. The pounding of her heart shakes her body from inside; her hands and legs tremble; her head throbs in time to her heartbeat. Standing in the entranceway, Kiwako trains her eyes on the lattice door, shut tight, beyond the kitchen. She stares at it, the faded fusuma, yellowing at the corners.
She won't actually do anything. She'll just look. Just a glance at his baby, that's all. That will put an end to it. Tomorrow--no, this afternoon--she'll buy some new furniture and look for a job. She'll forget everything that has happened and start a new life, she tells herself over and over again as she takes off her shoes.--Selected by Marilyn Dahl