Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Artisan Publishers: Signs of Resistance: A Visual History of Protest in America by Bonnie Siegler

Little Brown and Company: The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

Ingram: Booklove: A Rewards Program for Independent Bookstores

Andrews McMeel Publishing: A Psalm for Us by Reyna Biddy

Greenwillow Books: You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Workman Publishing: Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice by Elle Luna and Susie Herrick

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Appear Normal at Social Events: And Other Essential Wisdom by Lord Birthday

Harper Teen: Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer

News

MacArthur 'Geniuses' Include Díaz, Mengestu

The 23 winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius" awards--formally known as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships--include two writers, Junot Díaz and Dinaw Mengestu. At least one another winner has published a book: David Finkel, a staff writer at the Washington Post, wrote The Good Soldiers, about an army battalion in Iraq. Each winner receives $100,000 a year for five years.

The Foundation described Díaz this way: "Fiction writer Junot Díaz won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Mr. Díaz, who was born in the Dominican Republic and has lived in the U.S. since his teens, writes from his own experience and from the perspective of an immigrant." He also has just published This Is How You Lose Her.

The Foundation wrote this about Dinaw Mengestu: "A young writer who was born in Ethiopia, Dinaw Mengestu writes novels and non-fiction pieces that shed light on the African diaspora in America. His work tells tales of immigrants who escaped from violence in their homelands. Mr. Mengestu is also a freelance journalist, recently travelling into sub-Saharan Africa to write about life in Darfur, northern Uganda, and eastern Congo near the border with Rwanda."

His works include How to Read the Air and The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears.

Riverhead Books should be granted some kind of genius award, too. The Penguin imprint is publisher of both Díaz and Mengestu.


Random House: Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen


Pietsch New Chair of World Book Night U.S.

World Book Night U.S. has made several changes to its board:

Michael Pietsch, executive v-p of Hachette Book Group and publisher of Little, Brown, who becomes CEO of Hachette April 1, is the new chairman of WBN U.S. He replaces Morgan Entrekin, head of Grove/Atlantic, whose spot on the board is being taken by Elisabeth Schmitz, v-p and editorial director of Grove/Atlantic.

Madeline McIntosh of Random House has also stepped down and is being replaced by Suzanne Herz, senior v-p, publishing, Doubleday. Herz is chair of the new WBN media strategy committee.

Board members returning for a second year are: Molly Barton of Penguin; Patricia Bostelman of Barnes & Noble; Dennis Eulau of Simon & Schuster; Josh Marwell of HarperCollins; Phil Ollila of Ingram; Jeff Seroy of Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and Oren Teicher of the American Booksellers Association.

WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz commented: "Words cannot express how vital Morgan and Madeline were to the formation of World Book Night in the U.S. and guiding us to a successful first year. I will miss them terribly as advisors, but, alas, change is part of the process. Elisabeth will bring a new perspective to things, and Suzanne has already made a great impact on our publicity plans for year two, as you will come to see.  Michael Pietsch was a strong hand in year one, and I'm thrilled that he wants to continue helping WBN as we grow and evolve."


GLOW: Scribner Book Company: The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner


Notes

Image of the Day: Lotus-Driving Fast Girl

A week ago last Saturday, Ingrid Steffensen, author of Fast Girl: Don't Brake Until You See the Face of God and Other Good Advice from the Racetrack (Seal Press), arrived in style in her Lotus for her book launch at [words] Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J. Steffensen parked the car a few hours beforehand and put flyers on the Lotus to market the event. [words] owner Jonah Zimiles (at l. with Steffensen) commented: "I have always admired fast girls." Fast Girl chronicles the author's transformation from art history professor to racing car instructor.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Tin Man by Sarah Winman


Wichita Booksellers 'Read the Future' in the Past

A year after Wichita, Kan., "saw its biggest contraction in chain bookstores," the Eagle reported that local indie booksellers "are mostly upbeat about their business and their futures. They think their local ownership is a factor in their ability to survive, as is their willingness to adapt to the changing market."

Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books & Cafe, said that among the steps her store has taken over the years to compete effectively were the opening of a cafe in the bookstore, increasing partnerships with institutions and putting more emphasis on a variety of events. "All these local things... people really do support those," she said, adding that there has been "a real renaissance" for indie booksellers during the past couple of years.

Her plans for the future are firmly rooted in the store's past: "We just figure it out. We want to stay vital to the community, manage our inventory to sales, have the right mix of events, book clubs and traffic, being as smart as we can be about the business."

Warren Farha, owner of Eighth Day Books, observed that he did not become a bookseller to make a fortune in the first place: "I planned to do it as a lifetime vocation when I opened it. I had no idea whether it would work, but at the time that wasn't the major consideration. It was what I saw as the delight of books. That was the engine behind the store."
 


NSFW Audio Clip of the Day: The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days

Ian Frazier's new book, The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days (FSG), is being released today, along with the audiobook version from Macmillan Audio that features Cynthia Nixon as the delightfully foul-mouthed narrator. If you're at work, please turn down the volume. If you're easily offended, cover your ears and move on to the next article.


Personnel: Robert Marsh, Shelby Meizlik

Robert Marsh is joining the Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group as executive v-p of finance and operations. He is currently CFO of Bloomsbury Publishing and previously was group finance director for Continuum International Publishing and CFO of Morehouse Publishing.

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Shelby Meizlik has been promoted to group publicity director at the general books group of HarperCollins. She will oversee publicity for all Morrow and Avon imprints and formats, including Morrow hardcover, trade paperback, Avon, Harper Voyager and Cookbooks. She joined the company in 1998 and was formerly senior publicity director.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kenny Rogers on Colbert

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Bill O'Reilly, author of Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot (Holt, $28, 9780805096668).

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This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Callista Gingrich, co-author of Land of the Pilgrims' Pride (Regnery, $14.95, 9781596988293).

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This morning on Good Morning America: Jenny McCarthy, author of Bad Habits: Confessions of a Recovering Catholic (Hyperion, $26.99, 9781401324650).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Talia Leman, author of A Random Book About the Power of ANYone (Free Press, $14.99, 9781451664843).

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Tomorrow on CNBC's Squawk Box: Arnold Schwarzenegger, author of Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story(Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781451662436). He is also on NPR's Talk of the Nation today.

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Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Stephen Colbert, author of America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't (Grand Central, $28.99, 9780446583978). He is also on Good Morning America today.

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Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Rick Santorum, author of American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom (Tyndale, $16.99, 9781414379081).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Senator Rand Paul, author of Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds (Center Street, $21.99, 9781455522750).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Kenny Rogers, author of Luck or Something Like It: A Memoir (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062071811). He is also on the View tomorrow and Good Morning America today.


Movie Visuals: The Paperboy Clip

A new clip has been released from The Paperboy, the film adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel that opens Friday, Indiewire reported. Directed by Lee Daniels, the movie stars Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman.  
 



Books & Authors

Awards: Thurber Winner; Forward Prize for Poetry

Calvin Trillin has won the 2012 Thurber Prize for American Humor for his book Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff (Random House). The runners-up for were Nate DiMeo for Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America (Hyperion) and Patricia Marx for Starting From Happy (Scribner).

Trillin won a $5,000 prize and a commemorative crystal plaque, which were presented last night at Carolines on Broadway in New York City. Appropriately Trillin has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1963, and Thurber was a longtime New Yorker cartoonist.

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Jorie Graham became the first American woman to win the £10,000 (US$16,132) Forward Prize for Poetry for her collection Place, which the judges called "powerful, never predictable" and "a joy" to read. They also expressed hope that her win would give Graham's "startling, powerful" poetry a wider readership in the U.K., the Guardian reported. The £5,000 Felix Dennis award for best first collection went to Sam Riviere's 81 Austerities.
 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, October 8 and 9:

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Robert Finn (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307700285) takes place in Turkey, where a family struggles on the eve of the 1980 coup.

NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Little Brown, $27.99, 9780316199865) follows a police task force created to safeguard an influx of movie stars into New York.

Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand by William J. Mann (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780547368924) chronicles the formative years of Streisand's career.

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780618969029) is the biography of an early 20th-century photographer who captured vanishing Native American cultures.

Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill and Iacopo Bruno (Little Brown, $16.99, 9780316056731) is a young adult fantasy novel.

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You by Matthew Inman (Andrews McMeel, $14.99, 9781449410247).

True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure by Andrew Weil, Sam Fox and Michael Stebner (Little Brown, $29.99, 9780316129411) includes 125 recipes created by the proprietors of True Food Kitchen.


Book Review

Review: Ancient Light

Ancient Light by John Banville (Knopf , $25.95 hardcover, 9780307957054, October 4, 2012)

John Banville's Ancient Light uses English property law as a fundamental metaphor, with a title that invokes the right of a building or house owner to the light received from and through his windows, which, when used for 20 years or more, could not be obstructed by the erection of an edifice or by any other act by an adjacent landowner. Banville adds another layer of meaning, too, as protagonist Alexander Cleave engages in conversation with a fellow bar patron about "the ancient light of galaxies that travels for a million... miles to reach us." Wherever we look, Banville tells us, "we are looking into the past."

The past is what Alexander Cleave is about, starting with a nostalgic reminiscence of an adolescent love affair with the mother of his best friend. She is more than twice his age and, as might be imagined, their time together is one of lust unalloyed. There is no pretence of getting to know one another; indeed, Alexander doesn't bother to learn Mrs. Gray's first name. In recalling past events, he has a hard time remembering significant details, yet Banville's genius for description puts the reader in the picture completely. Banville has said elsewhere it is impossible to write about sex, so he doesn't. Instead, he shows us everything else: the landscape, the color of Mrs. Gray's dress, the texture of her skin, the apprehension and anticipation of their time together--and the inevitable end of the affair, which isn't exactly as Cleave thinks it was.

Banville readers have met Alexander Cleave before, in the novel Eclipse. This time, the stage actor is invited to star in a movie. He is somewhat puzzled at being chosen but takes the role, playing a man who was in Portovenere at the time his pregnant daughter killed herself there. Could they have known one another? (If you've read another Banville novel, Shroud, you already know the answer.) Meanwhile, after Cleave's co-star attempts suicide, he takes her to Portovenere, an act that leads him to revisit the anguish over his daughter's suicide. In his heart of hearts, Cleave knows he cannot bring his daughter back, but is still compelled to search for some ancient light that might illuminate his past. Banville, an exquisite prose stylist, takes the reader along. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Is there any difference between memory and invention? Booker Prize winner John Banville probes this question through the fictional memoir of Alexander Cleave, a character familiar to his fans.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com.

1. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young
2. Guinness World Records 2013
3. His Every Touch by Kelly Favor
4. Let Me Be the One by Bella Andre
5. Taking Chances by Molly McAdams
6. Death on a High Floor by Charles Rosenberg
7. Down to You by M. Leighton
8. Better Off Without Him by Dee Ernst
9. The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle
10. White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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