Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Del Rey Books: The Violence by Delilah S Dawson

Wednesday Books: Omens Bite: Sisters of Salem by P C Cast and Kristin Cast

Sterling Children's Books: Mango All the Time (Mango Delight, 3) by Fracaswell Hyman

Margaret Ferguson Books: Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

Blue Box Press: The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash #4) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Hogarth Press: Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso


Notes: Aussie Import Change Nixed; Spoonbill & Sugartown Sing

After a year of study and a recommendation for change, the Australian government has decided not to change its parallel importation policies, Bookseller & Publisher Magazine's Weekly Book Newsletter reported. The authors' and publishers' association expressed satisfaction with the decision. The booksellers' association had wanted some revisions in the policies, which require copyright holders of books to publish them within 30 days and resupply them within 90 days.


Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers, Brooklyn, N.Y., had one very good reason to celebrate their 10th anniversary yesterday, according to the New York Times: "They’re still open."

The Williamsburg booksellers held a "ceremony on the sidewalk in front of the shop, on Bedford Avenue. Over the din of construction, a co-founder of the store, Miles Bellamy, urged the crowd of about two dozen book lovers to reflect for 10 seconds on a book they had read over the past decade. Then 10 women dressed in white sang a song written by Mr. Bellamy in the store’s honor. 'May the books flow, may the books flow 10 more years,' they crooned."

The Times noted that co-founder Jonas Kyle "credits the store’s survival to its focus on art books, which are much more than words just as easily read on a screen."

And customer Patrick Stettner "said that even though he bought some books on, he often needed to see art books before he could purchase them. He adds that books remain an integral part of Williamsburg mating rituals. 'Paint on your pants, a book, cigarettes, an espresso,' he said. 'It’s an important accouterment to pick up girls,'" the Times wrote.

More on the celebration from the New Yorker's Book Bench blog.


The Independent Booksellers of New York City will host a Photo Scavenger Hunt during Independent Bookstore Week NYC, November 15-21. The hunt is designed to encourage photo enthusiasts and bookstore lovers to participate in a fun quest that will take them to indie bookstores throughout the city.

According to the contest rules, "You must photograph yourself, or some part of your person (hand, foot etc.), in front of each object on the list. Each object is given a point value, based on how hard we believe it is to find or photograph. The goal of the hunt is to accumulate as many points as possible. Keep in mind that this is more of a choose-your-own-adventure hunt: if you're able to get one or two of the high-scoring bonus points, you can opt out of getting a few of the lower-point objects. You don't necessarily have to find everything on the list to win."

The Indie Bookstore Week NYC Scavenger Hunt will begin when the list of hunt items is posted on IBNYC's blog during the morning of November 15, and the hunt will close at 11:59 p.m., November 21, after which no submissions will be accepted. More details are available on IBNYC's blog and Facebook page.


A visit to Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill., on a "rare, perfect day" last weekend for the bookstore's 45th anniversary celebration and sale caused the Sun's Tim West to get "a positive feel that the economy might be turning around just a bit."

"The place was packed," wrote West. "Better yet, the customers were buying things, as evidenced by the fact that the line at the cash registers stretched from the front of the store past the help desk about two-thirds of the way to the back. And people were buying more than one book. Most people had a fist full of not just books but the other things the store carries, such as children's toys and cards. . . . On Sunday, people were buying so much stuff that with our measly three books I felt like a piker."


In a report on the impact of the digital world on reader's lives, Barbara Theroux of Fact and Fiction bookstore, Missoula, Mont., told that she "doesn’t prefer to read e-books over traditional books but she understands the bookstore must make some adjustments to stay afloat in a world of online competition. Theroux says, 'Now through our store website, you can order e-books and download them directly from the website.'"

Referring to the new Espresso Book Machine at Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., owner Chuck Robinson said, "On Demand books has signed a pact with Google for about two million books that are out of print, in the public domain. As publishers make decisions about putting their copyrighted books online, we're not sure how long that will take. We're most excited about some local books that we'll be able to bring back into print.”

Robinson observed that people still frequent bookstores because "they’re a place where all kinds of ideas are exchanged. It’s a little like the local bar without the alcohol, I suppose."

Theroux added that even with the changes in book technology, "there has to be somebody there that teaches you about books."


"The real beating heart of democracy is the place people love books. I salute you for your love of reading," author Barbara Kingsolver told an SRO crowd during a Monday night event at Miami Book Fair International. The Miami Herald reported that she "was right to pay tribute: The silent, rapt crowd hung onto every word as she read of howler monkeys, the death of the Mayan civilization and the vibrancy of Mexico City, all part of her latest novel, The Lacuna (an English word, not a Spanish one, she cautioned)."


In a random survey of 100 SoHo pedestrians on "whether information--and entertainment--wants to be free," New York magazine reported the following bookish responses:

How much do you spend a year on books?

  • Don't buy books: 10
  • $0–$50: 22
  • $50–$100: 30
  • $100–$250: 18
  • $250+: 19

Do you have an e-reader like the Kindle or the Nook?

  • Yes: 10
  • No: 90

Would you download pirated copies of books if they were available?

  • Yes: 27
  • No: 68


NPR's "What We're Reading" list for November 10-16.


Fans of Stephen King's latest novel have been playing an elaborate game of hide and seek in anticipation of yesterday's release. The Guardian reported that they were "concealing snippets of text from his new novel Under the Dome in random locations around the U.K. and cyberspace. One reader dangled a snippet from Hungerford bridge; another scribbled their extract on a wall in central London's Bourne housing estate. Others took an electronic route, hiding text in website code or blogs. One put two snippets up for sale in a fake auction."


New Yorker reading lists:

In this week's issue, Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, asked, "Why is feminism still so divisive?" And on the New Yorker's Book Bench blog, she recommended books for background reading on the topic.

For the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, George Packer offered some reading suggestions on his New Yorker blog.


Best book-related headline of the day for a non-book article: "Headed to the emergency room? Bring a book," which appeared in the health section of the Los Angeles Times.


Jeff McCall has been promoted to v-p, Ingram international and national accounts at Ingram Content Group. He continues to oversee Ingram national accounts and, in his new role, will lead Ingram's international sales efforts.

He joined Ingram Book Company in 2002 as v-p of sales, focusing on national accounts and e-commerce retailers. Earlier he was director of sales for Doane Pet Care and held sales positions at Kraft Foods, Oscar Mayer Foods and Odom's Tennessee Pride Sausage Co.


Atheneum Books: Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan, illustrated by Mercè López

Osondu Booksellers and Blue Ridge Books & News Merge

Blue Ridge Books & News and Osondu Booksellers in Waynesville, N.C., are merging.

Margaret Osondu, who founded her eponymous store in 2004, will become director of operations at Blue Ridge, which was founded in 2007. Her store will stay open until the end of the year, and then will be merged in Blue Ridge Books & News's site, which is five blocks away in downtown Waynesville.

Robert Baggett, president of Blue Ridge, who becomes head of the new merged bookstore, told the Mountaineer: "We have some exciting long-term plans to serve the community better. It will be a positive thing for book-lovers of Haywood County." His sister Betsy Baggett, who remains a v-p, added: "Margaret has the kind of store I always wanted to have. We have so much in common. This will make bookselling much more fun."

"It's a small town to have two little bookstores," Osondu told Shelf Awareness. She called the move somewhat bittersweet, but said she is looking forward to expanding the combined store's events schedule, increasing advertising and inventory and generally applying her bookselling expertise to the combined store's operations. She also said she happily anticipates having a regular paycheck and weekends off.


Amanda Lydon, manager and curator at the Tenement Museum, New York City, and Margaret Osondu's daughter, offered this tribute to her mom and independent bookselling:

Osondu Booksellers is on a quaint little Main Street in downtown Waynesville in Western North Carolina. I know the shop very well. When my mother bought and opened the store five years ago, I was fortunate enough to be there. I managed Osondu Booksellers for about a year. I know the readers who live and shop there. They were an instant family to my mom and me both. My mom does an incredible job fostering a community of readers and book buyers. Within a short time, the Yankee lady from Boston was writing book reviews for the local paper, fundraising with a local writers circle and hosting several book groups. Margaret Osondu is a crucial and valuable part of her community. She runs an annual author fair that attracts writers and readers from all over the south. She works with the library. She hosts local musicians in her store.

She knows her customers. It's not uncommon for her to call me with exciting news that a customer is expecting a child or is getting married (yes, such comments may be hints). It's commonplace for my mom to call and tell me what a certain customer is reading or writing or that she's reading what they are writing. My mom grieves with her customers when they lose loved ones. When I visit, we lunch with customers, drink with customers and she hosts them in her house at holidays. The people who buy books from Osondu Booksellers are her community, our friends. My mom is certainly interested in their reading tastes and makes sure to connect with each patron via literature, but at the end of the day, she knows and understands the members of her community as complete people.

Now her store is merging with another. In an instant, the community has gained one united bookselling team. While it's emotional within our family and some people in the community may be angry or sad or feel caught off guard, this is not the story of a community losing its independent bookstore. This is the story of a shrewd businesswoman who is also a community-minded book lover recognizing an opportunity that has the potential for everyone to win. While what happens next remains a little unclear, the community will absolutely hang onto an independent bookstore. What's better? They'll still be greeted by Margaret at the store. My mom will still be the face there. She'll be the book buyer and the events planner. Instead of worrying about bills, she'll focus on which books are best for her readers. She'll continue her role in the community. 

In a time when many of us are feeling downright anxious about the future of the bookselling and publishing businesses, it is more important than ever to remember that at the end of the day the most important thing is connecting with readers. My mom understands this and it is with this in mind that she embarks on her new role as bookstore employee. Her community is blessed to have her! 


University of Minnesota Press: We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World edited by Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura

BookPeople to Train Future Rangers

Now that camp director Topher Bradfield (children's outreach coordinator for BookPeople in Austin, Tex.) has successfully shaped up more than 500 Camp Half-Blood demi-gods, plus Spiderwick and Kiki Strike Campers and Half Moon Investigators, he is turning his attention to apprentices for the Ranger Corps for the summer of 2010. John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentices, that is. As fans of Flanagan’s bestselling series (published by Penguin Young Readers Group) already know, the books star Will Treaty, a 15-year-old living in Araluen in medieval times. After Will is rejected for training as a warrior-knight, he apprentices to the Ranger Corps--who act as the king’s eyes and ears.

Applications to the Ranger Corps will be accepted beginning this Saturday, November 14. (Registration packets are available to download now.) Only the fittest need apply. Training exercises will include instruction in archery, tracking, concealment, rock climbing and sword and sax knife training. And of course, each camper will be expected to complete a quest (so brush up on the Ranger’s Apprentice series). All campers who graduate to apprentice status will earn a silver oak leaf pin (naturally).--Jennifer M. Brown


Book Industry Charitable Foundation: Penguin Random House is matching donations up to a total of $15,000!

Image of the Day: Burn, Baby, Burn! month, the Bookstore, Dillon, Mont., celebrated a happy milestone: during the town's Oktoberfest, Bookstore owner Debbie Sporich, her husband, Bill, and Cathy Weber burned the mortgage on the building. The three share ownership of the building and operate separate businesses in it.

Sporich bought the Bookstore 18 years ago from Art and Pat Blade after working in the insurance business. She wanted to buy the Bookstore, approached Pat Blade several times and eventually was hired for on-the-job training for what calls her dream job. Nine months into her training, she bought the store.

The store is 25 years old. This year Sporich celebrates her 50th birthday and sixth year as a breast cancer survivor. Congratulations on all counts!


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Under the Dome

This morning on the Today Show: David Gaus, author of DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style (Taunton Press, $25, 9781600851186/1600851185).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Ali Eteraz, author of Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780061567087/0061567086).


Tomorrow on Fox News's Hannity: William J. Bennett, author of The True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to Christmas (Howard Books, $16.99, 9781416567462/1416567461).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: James Galvin, author of As Is (Copper Canyon, $15, 9781556592966/1556592965). As the show put it: "One of our most tender poets (tough but tender), James Galvin, investigates his growing tendency toward poems that express his bitterness--toward politics, environmental despoilment, big business. Still he affirms, in poems that breathe with sweet relief, the ongoing possibility of love."


Tomorrow on the Bonnie Hunt Show: Michael Groover, author of My Delicious Life with Paula Deen (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439159996/1439159998) and Paula Deen, author of It Ain't All About the Cookin' (Simon & Schuster, $14, 9781439163351/1439163359). Both authors will also appear tomorrow on Extra.


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Al Gore, author of Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (Rodale, $26.99, 9781594867347/1594867348).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Jane Goodall, author of Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446581776/0446581771).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Stephen King, author of Under the Dome (Scribner, $35, 9781439148501/1439148503).


Movies: Fight Club Retrospective

The film adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's 1996 novel, Fight Club, "stirred vitriolic ire when it came out 10 years ago and today inspires obsessive, often worshipful scrutiny in both lowbrow and highbrow quarters," the New York Times observed in its examination of Fight Club's elevation to cult status.

Although the movie was a box office disaster, it has had a successful sales afterlife in DVD and book formats, and has even inspired a video game and a men's fashion line. Director David Fincher said that when he read the novel, "I thought, Who is this Chuck Palahniuk and how has he been intercepting all my inner monologues?"

Palahniuk called the film "the best date flick ever," the Times wrote, noting that the high-testosterone story has also found a substantial female audience: "The Fight Club generation is the first generation to whom sex and death seem synonymous, [Palhniuk] said, pointing out that the 'meet-cute' between the characters played by [Edward] Norton and Helena Bonham Carter occurs in a support group for the terminally ill. Having grown up with an awareness of AIDS, younger readers and viewers, he added, 'could identify with the implied marriage of sex and death; and once that fear was acknowledged those people could move forward and risk finding romantic love.'"


Books & Authors

Awards: Giller Prize; Roald Dahl Funny Prize

Linden MacIntyre's The Bishop's Man, which "chronicles the emerging crisis of conscience in a worldly priest who has been assigned to keep a lid on church-related sex scandals that are destroying the lives of the faithful in rural Cape Breton," won the 2009 Giller Prize, the Globe and Mail reported.

The Giller jury called MacIntyre's work "a brave novel, conceived and written with impressive delicacy and understanding." The Globe and Mail described this year's jury--Alistair MacLeod, Russell Banks and Victoria Glendinning--as "the most international in the 16-year history of Canada's premier literary prize, which is worth $50,000 [US$47,662] to the winner."

"We had a good serious conversation about each book in turn," said Glendinning. "It was serious and calm. Nobody threw a wobbly, and the final decision was totally consensual. There was no compromise."


This year's Roald Dahl Funny Prize winners were Grubtown Tales: Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky by Philip Ardagh (for ages 7-14) and Mr. Pusskins Best in Show by Sam Lloyd (for ages six and under), the Guardian reported.

"It was an extraordinarily strong shortlist and I really didn't expect to win. Except that my book is better than theirs," said Ardagh. The Guardian also noted that the author "pointed out that three of the judges of the prize have beards and that perhaps it was all a conspiracy."

"I think we were looking at gags per page which is definitely a prime consideration in a funny prize," said judge Andy Stanton. The winners received £2,500 (US$4,183) and a bottle of wine from Roald Dahl's personal wine cellar. 


Book Brahmin: Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown is the author of the thrillers Smash Cut, Smoke Screen, Chill Factor and Ricochet. Her newest novel, Rainwater, published by Simon & Schuster last week, is historical fiction set during the Great Depression.

On your nightstand now:

Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island.

Favorite book when you were a child:

An illustrated collection of Grimm's fairy tales--disguised thrillers!

Book you've faked reading:

Atlas Shrugged.

Book you’re an evangelist for:

Books, actually--the Josephine Bonaparte trilogy by Sandra Gulland.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring (but also for the story).

Book that changed your life:

It's too easy, and a bit pious, to say the Bible... but it's the Bible.

Favorite line from a book:

This is a tie, but from the same book, A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." and "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done...." And all the sentences in between aren't bad at all.

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

Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower. Pure escapism and enchantment.


Book Review

Children's Review: Refresh, Refresh

Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff (First Second, $17.99 Paperback, 9781596435223, September 2009)

A small town in Oregon serves as a microcosm of war's effects in this powerful graphic novel, as seen through the eyes of three high school seniors. The opening triptych of images sets up the essential contradiction in each of the main characters: a young boy snuggles his puppy in the grass, the puppy licks the boy, then the boy shouts out, "Hit him in the face!" The next spread reveals the boy's older brother, Cody, boxing with Josh, who turns out to be one of Cody's best friends. Yet Josh hits Cody near his left eye with a serious enough punch to draw blood; the third friend, Gordon, eggs them on. They believe these boxing matches toughen them and prepare them for self-defense.

Each of the central characters experiences a bipolar pull toward love and fear, compassion and violence. Danica Novgorodoff's (Slow Storm) scenes takes us inside the households of all three of the characters, and we see that they each experience moments of tenderness--Gordon and Cody with their siblings; Josh with his grandfather; even Gordon with the schoolmate who bullied him--but also violence triggered by anger at their situations and the void left by their absent military fathers. Even the way they resolve their transgressions against the military recruitment officer ends with a paradox. Josh aspires to go to college, while Cody tries to persuade his buddies that all three should enlist together ("The Marines operate in threes… There's three men to a rifle squad. Three rifle squads to a platoon. Three platoons to a company. Three companies to a battalion").

Full-page illustrations, with color by Hilary Sycamore, depict a town with the military recruitment center as its hub, while smaller panels zero in on the teens' homes or step up the pacing in more suspenseful sequences. The palette resembles the muted hues of military camouflage, which makes the red of the boys' boxing gloves and blood pop.

The title, Refresh, Refresh, carries with it a chilling double meaning: no matter how many times they hit the "refresh" button on the computer, no new e-mail messages come in from the teens' fathers, and the cycle in real life, too, seems never to change. Novgorodoff's graphic novel is adapted from a screenplay by James Ponsoldt, which in turn was based on a short story by Benjamin Percy (first published in the Paris Review and included in Best American Short Stories 2006). The graphic novel form is ideally suited to the target audience--if they can find the book in time to hear its message.--Jennifer M. Brown


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