Also published on this date: Thursday, Jun 26, 2009 Dedicated Issue: Abrams
Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Notes: Cheney Memoir; B&N.com Names Exec V-P, Shopping
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has signed an estimated $2 million deal with Simon & Schuster's Threshold Editions to write a memoir, the New York Times reported. The book should appear in the spring of 2011.
Thousands of Kindle users who have signed up on an Amazon website meet people who are interested in buying Kindles to demonstrate their e-readers and answer questions, according to the Wall Street Journal. The informal program was begun last year, but has found "new popularity" since the launch of the Kindle DX.
In part, the program addresses the problem of how an online-only company displays products that some customers want to try before buying.
Oddly one volunteer profiled in the story is a Borders bookseller who shows interested people her Kindle in the store parking lot before she goes to work.
Greenlight Bookstore Blog offered a "Look Inside the Space" of their bookstore-in-progress in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and noted: "We'll be posting much more detail about our plans, with lots of pictures, in the days to come. Hope you enjoy the peek inside, and share our excitement in imagining--and observing--Greenlight Bookstore taking shape in this space!"
Third Coast Digest featured "a summer reading guide, full of locally-sourced recommendations that run the gamut from pulse-quickening mysteries and thrillers to historical romance to classics you've been meaning to catch up on. Buy them locally, request them from the library or borrow them from a friend--whatever you do, READ ON!"
Amiong the Milwaukee-area recommenders were Boswell Book Company, Next Chapter Bookshop, A Broader Vocabulary Cooperative, Open Book Co-op and Woodland Pattern Book Center.
In the wake of Shaman Drum Bookshop's announced closing (Shelf Awareness, June 10, 2009), another Ann Arbor, Mich., bookstore has publicly expressed concerns about its own viability. The Chronicle reported that Martin Contreras and Keith Orr, co-owners of Common Language Bookstore, sent an e-mail to customers warning that the shop "is not making enough sales to support itself. Its very existence is in peril," and asking for community support.
Contreras and Orr told the Chronicle they have been subsidizing the bookstore with their personal savings as well as money from \aut\BAR, another business they own and "can't continue that indefinitely--sales have to increase to support the store." Despite the call for help from the community, the owners "aren't planning to shut their doors next week or even next month."
In addition to cutting costs and searching for additional sales, Orr said "they've gone to LGBT conferences and festivals, and they've tried to capture online sales through the store's website. They've run promotions connected to the \aut\BAR--10% off an entree if you buy something that same day at the bookstore," according to the Chronicle.
Orr acknowledged that while Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum's owner, also attempted to generate enough community support to stay in business, he thinks there are "key differences" giving him hope that Common Language will succeed, including the fact that his bookshop is a niche rather than general interest store.
Rizzoli Bookstore at Empire Gallery, Sag Harbor, N.Y., "spotlights art, architecture and design books accented by artwork," 27east.com reported in a profile of the shop. The "bookstore/gallery is a new venture with a name that might suggest a split personality . . . But the couple who launched the new enterprise, Anthony Petrillose and Kristen Roeder, are passionate about books and the visual arts."
Petrillose, who is also a managing editor at Rizzoli Publications,
observed: "We only have art and design and architecture and fashion
books. All the books are new. No one out here is doing anything like
this. We hope people will come in and look through our books . . .
Rizzoli works with their artists to make sure it's a book they're happy
with. I think people appreciate the quality and will be able to come
here and find something special."
Chapter & Verse, the Christian Science Monitor's
book blog, asked, "Breathes there a reader in the Western world today
who doesn't know that these are tough times for independent bookstores?
And yet it will still surprise and grieve many to learn that Brentano's
Paris is shutting its doors after 114 years at 37, Avenue Opéra."
In a Denver Post article headlined "Kindle gnaws at books' shelf-esteem," Tattered Cover's Joyce Meskis said, "The electronic hand-held book is just part of the experience now. But physical books--they're a tactile pleasure as well as a cerebral one."
The Post reported that Meskis "remains confident that e-books and websites can't replace the physical community and leisurely browsing that bookstores provide. 'We find our technologies of great use to us in today's world, but ink on paper between boards is a pretty good technology in and of itself,' she said."
ReadHowYouWant has signed six new publishing partners: Hay House, Springer, Poisoned Pen, Harvard Common Press, New Harbinger Publications and Cleis Press.
The Midwest Independent Publishers Association and the Independent Book Publishers Association (formerly PMA) are sponsoring a regional publishing university called Publishing Matters on Friday and Saturday, August 14 and 15, at the Minneapolis Airport in Bloomington, Minn. For more information, go to mipa.org.
Becky Anderson, head of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, Aurora and Downers Grove, Ill., and Dan Cullen, senior director of editorial content at the American Booksellers Association, have joined the board of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.
Anderson is the new v-p of the ABA. Cullen replaces Oren Teicher, ABA's new CEO.
Jamie Iannone has joined Barnes&Noble.com as executive v-p, shopping, where he will be responsible for "optimizing the online shopping experience" for customers as well as managing new business opportunities and other strategic initiatives.
He joined B&N.com from eBay, where he was most recently v-p of global search and earlier v-p of buyer experience. Before that, he worked at Microsoft, Primedia Ventures and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
Effective July 1, Make Believe Ideas (MBI) will be distributed in the U.S. by Thomas Nelson, which will sell MBI to a range of markets, including Christian retail, independent bookstores and specialty stores.
In a statement, Tod Shuttleworth, Nelson's senior v-p of specialty and global publishing, said that MBI's "products will be a wonderful complement to our existing children's line."
Mike Park, MBI's commercial director, noted that MBI has "already built up an excellent working relationship with Thomas Nelson."
MBI has been distributed by Ingram Publisher Services.
Image of the Day: Father's Day Fun
Earlier this month, Chicago's go-to barbecue expert Gary Wiviott and Colleen Rush, authors of Low & Slow: Master the Art of Barbecue in 5 Easy Lessons (Running Press), posed with fans at a signing at a Barnes & Noble in Oak Brook, Ill.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: How to Win a Cosmic War
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Julie Sussman, author of Dare to Repair, Replace & Renovate (Harper, $16.99, 9780061343858/0061343854).
Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Matthew Dickman, author of All-American Poem (American Poetry Review, $14, 9780977639540/0977639541). As the show put it: "This young Kate Tufts Discovery Award-winner writes emotional and accessible poetry. Matthew Dickman's humor and high polish serve to reveal the devastation at the work's core."
Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Caroline Moorehead, author of Dancing to the Precipice (Harper, $27.99, 9780061684418/0061684414).
Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Reza Aslan, author of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror (Random House, $26, 9781400066728/1400066727).
Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Edmund L. Andrews, author of Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown (Norton, $25.95, 9780393067941/0393067947).
Movies: New Moon Cover; The Testament Film; Moneyball Out
Entertainment Weekly offered an early peek at the cover for the movie tie-in edition of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon from Little, Brown.
John Grisham has agreed to allow his 1999 novel, The Testament, to be adapted for film "after a decade of saying no," Variety reported. "Producers Mark Johnson and Hunt Lowry are teaming with 821 Entertainment Group to option the book, with 821's Eric Geadelmann and Ben Horton taking exec producer credit. . . . The last time Grisham ended a self-imposed moratorium on selling a book to Hollywood, his first novel, A Time to Kill, went to Warner Bros. and New Regency in a near-record $6 million deal that led to a 1996 hit movie on which Lowry was a producer."
Sony has "dropped the ball" on Moneyball, benching an adaptation of the Michael Lewis bestseller--directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Brad Pitt--that was supposed to begin filming this week.
According to Variety, "On Friday, Columbia Pictures topper Amy Pascal placed the picture into 'limited turnaround,' giving the filmmaker the chance to set it up at another studio, with Warner Bros. and Paramount the prime targets. . . . The move came after Pascal read a rewrite that Soderbergh did to Steven Zaillian's script and found it very different from the earlier scripts she championed. Pascal was uncomfortable enough with how the vision had changed that she applied the brakes."
Book Review: That Mad Ache
That Mad Ache by Francoise Sagan (Basic Books, $14.95 Paperback, 9780465010981, May 2009)
Why is that man reading his book upside down?
Because one side of That Mad Ache, the handsome, newly-released paperback original from Basic Books, is a fresh translation of Françoise Sagan's 1965 French novel, La Chamade, but flip the book over and you'll find another book altogether. Upside down on the other side is a brilliantly-written 100-page essay on the art of translation by the translator himself, Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning genius who created Godel, Escher, Bach.
Sagan leaped to fame in 1954 at the age of 18 when her novel Bonjour, Tristesse became an international sensation. That Mad Ache, written 11 years later, contains the same witty, ironic dissection of upper-class French lovers and disenfranchised young people, gracefully baring the souls of her characters and watching them misunderstand each other. Lucille is the aimless, 30-year-old lover of Charles, 20 years her senior. She sits next to a gloomy young man she doesn't much like at a high society dinner, someone else's lover, and together the two cause a scandal by a tactless burst of laughter. From there it's a labyrinthine journey into the human heart, as lively and invigorating in Hofstadter's fresh, airy translation as any novel written today.
Hofstadter lays bare the zillion-and-one decisions that confront any translator. He compares his choices with those of the earlier translator, Robert Westhoff, who was Françoise Sagan's husband and the father of her only child. Translation is a subtle, suggestive art, and Hofstadter reveals, among other things, his clever solution to the vous/tu dilemma and when to have English idioms come out of French mouths. His boldest assertion is blatantly favoring the meaning and idea over the literal translation, and he shows you his daring insertions, alterations and omissions to prove it. Hofstadter is a delightfully endearing smartie who adores the text he's translating, knows how to doubt himself and unabashedly admits his pleasures in this frequently laugh-out-loud funny personal essay.
Not only that, but it's a beautifully made book, a physical pleasure in weight and flexibility, super-readable type face, lovely cover--a book-lover's joy to hold and read in which every aspect of publishing (including the contents, both fiction and non-fiction!) are superbly executed for maximum reading enjoyment. Kindle, eat your heart out.--Nick DiMartino
Shelf Talker: A new translation of Françoise Sagan's La Chamade--subtle and daring--combined with an essay on translation by the translator himself, Douglas Hofstadter.