Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chronicle Books: Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K Oermann

IDW Publishing: Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni, illustrtaed by Thibault Balahy

Graydon House: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

St. Martin's Press: The Awakening: The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1 (Dragon Heart Legacy, 1)

Houghton Mifflin: Igniting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology) by Robin Lafevers


War Drums: B&N Adopts 'Poison Pill' Provision

Following the news that Yacaipa Companies, controlled by Ronald Burkle, has doubled its stake in Barnes & Noble to some 18.3% this month (Shelf Awareness, November 16, 2009), the company reacted by adopting a 'poison pill' provision. The "stockholder rights plan" allows current stockholders to buy a new series of preferred stock if "a person or group, without board approval, acquires 20% or more of Barnes & Noble's common stock or announces a tender offer which results in the ownership of 20% or more of Barnes & Noble's common stock. The rights also will be exercisable if a person or group that already owns 20% or more of Barnes & Noble common stock, without board approval, acquires any additional shares (other than pursuant to Barnes & Noble's compensation or benefit plans)."

Under the plan, stockholders "other than the person triggering the rights" will be able to buy B&N common stock at a 50% discount. The plan expires in three years and will be put to a shareholder vote in the next year.

B&N stated that the board adopted the plan "in response to the recent rapid accumulation of a significant portion of Barnes & Noble's outstanding common stock. The rights plan is intended to protect the company and its stockholders from efforts to obtain control of the company that are inconsistent with the best interests of the company and its stockholders."

Yacaipa has said that it is "concerned with the adequacy and enforcement of the company's corporate governance policies and practices, as evidenced in part by the recent acquisition of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers," which was owned by B&N chairman Len Riggio, who, with a 28% stake, is the single-largest shareholder of B&N.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Notes: 'Explosive' E-Books; Green Apple's Rogue Charity

E-book sales are showing an "explosive rise" for a number of publishers, according to Crain's New York (via, which reported that at Random House, "September 2009 sales (of Kindle e-books) were $22.6 million--a huge increase from a year ago when they were just $2.9 million. The Lost Symbol was a huge part with 100,000 e-book sales in its first week out (5% of total sales). In first half of 2009, Random House Kindle e-book revenue grew 400% from a year ago."

Anticipating the impact of e-book sales on this year's holiday retail climate and beyond, observed:

  1. We’re either in the middle of, or at the beginning of a huge tipping point--either Holiday Season 2009 or the year of 2010. By end 2010 e-book sales ought to be 10-20% of total sales.
  2. Publishers need to start figuring out how to survive on $7-$8 per e-book sale.
  3. Publishers should have a contingency strategy in case their take on e-books falls to $4-$5 per e-book.
  4. A huge opportunity for new companies to become successful publishers.
  5. The hard numbers are not the only sign that we’re seeing an intensification--lots of people are wondering about the shift, including more articles on the magic of physical books.


There's no place like your home page for the holidays. The Associated Press (via KFDM6-TV) reported electronics will top gift lists for travelers this holiday season, and noted that Priscilla O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Overseas Adventure Travel tour company, "says a Kindle ($260) or other electronic reader is great for travelers who love to read on the road but who don't want to lug books around. Netbooks, which are small and less powerful than regular laptops, are another splurge gift, lightweight to carry and easy to use in cramped spaces like tray tables."


In a piece headlined "Library in a Pocket," the New York Times asked the question many industry observers have been pondering in recent months as more e-reading devices hit the market: "Does the future of book reading lie in dedicated devices like the Kindle, or in more versatile gadgets like mobile phones?"


Cool idea of the day: The always innovative (and entertaining) Green Apple Books & Music, San Francisco, Calif., is donating 100% of the profits from sales of Sarah Palin's Going Rogue: An American Life to the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, according to the Green Apple Core blog.


Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her new book may be dominating national media attention this week, but back home in Anchorage, "the emergence of new bestsellers priced for cheap and the rise of digital books are prompting bookstore owners in the state's largest city to rethink their stores and position themselves for an uncertain future," the Daily News reported.

"It's like a perfect storm," said Julie Drake, co-owner of Title Wave Books, who told the Daily News that "she and her husband, co-owner Steve Lloyd, began thinking hard about their future last spring, soon after the recession hit Alaska and hurt their sales. The first e-book reader, Kindle, had launched the previous spring. The couple decided to return to Title Wave's origins as a used-book seller. They stopped buying most new books--Alaska books are still on the menu--and non-paper novelty gifts. They lowered their prices. In making the changes, the couple returned to what they loved doing the most."

"We enjoy being hands-on with the used books. It's like a treasure hunt," she said.

Regarding the influx of e-book readers, David Shimek, owner of Metro Music and Books observed: "I think there will always be booksellers. In some ways books are actually better positioned than a lot of other products . . . most people would rather have a book than a computer screen to look at. A friend of mine purchased a Kindle a few weeks ago and now he's scratching his head, wondering where he left it. I don't know what happens when you lose your Kindle but I don't think it's good."


Graphic Arts Center Publishing "filed to liquidate in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland [Ore.] on Friday, less than three years after it reorganized under bankruptcy protection," the Oregonian reported.

"They're having a hard time like everyone else," said Michael Powell, owner of Powell's Books. "They did every cost cutting thing they could do."

Powell, who had been on the publisher's board until early this year, "blamed its demise on declining book sales, the difficult economy and fewer independent bookstores, which was 'the bread and butter for them,'" the Oregonian wrote.


New York indie booksellers Marva Allen of Hue-Man Bookstore, Christine Onorati of WORD and Sarah McNally of McNally Jackson were guests on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, where they discussed "their business and the first Independent Bookstore Week NYC."


Karen Hall and Chris Walker are the new owners of Black Bear Books, Boone, N.C. The Mountain Times reported that the couple "have owned property in the area for nine years, often visiting in the summer, and they decided it was time to settle down and find a way to spend their time and energy in Boone."

"We were up here this summer and wanted to find something to do," said Hall said. "I've been in a lot of bookstores, but this was the first one I thought I'd like to own."

"We both love books," Walker added. "We're big readers. We want to settle in and learn, and it's been great so far. We've met a lot of wonderful people."


Two more novels by this year's Nobel laureate, Herta Mueller, will be available in English translations. The New York Times reported that Metropolitan Books has acquired rights to Everything I Possess, I Carry With Me (Atemschaukel), which will be published in September, 2011; and The Fox Was Always a Hunter (Der Fuchs War Damals Schon Der Jager), to be released in September, 2012. Philip Boehm will translate the books.


It's a cold, cold virtual world indeed. The New Oxford American Dictionary chose Facebook's  "unfriend" as its 2009 Word of the Year, according to the OUP blog.

"It has both currency and potential longevity," observed Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford’s U.S. dictionary program. "In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most 'un-' prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar 'un-' verbs (uncap, unpack), but 'unfriend' is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of 'friend' that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal."

Other finalists for this year's Word of the Year included hashtag, netbook, paywall, sexting, freemium, zombie bank, birther, ecotown and deleb.


O'Reilly Media and Ingram have signed a new multi-year distribution agreement--effective November 30--designed to support and expand O'Reilly's previously announced distribution and publishing deal with Microsoft Press.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 07.06.20

AAP: September Sales Jump 12.3%, Up 3.6% for the Year

In September, net book sales rose 12.3% to $1.26 billion, as reported by 91 publishers to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, net book sales are up 3.6% to $8.1 billion.

Results by category:

  • E-books soared 170.7% to $15.9 million.
  • Adult hardcover rose 74.1% to $302.4 million.
  • Adult mass market was up 33.3% to $89.9 million.
  • Children's/YA paperback increased 8.6% to $54.2 million.
  • Higher education jumped 5.8% to $408.3 million.
  • University press paperback rose 5% to $6.4 million.
  • Audiobook climbed 2.9% to $22 million.
  • El-Hi was up 1% to $335.6 million.
  • Children's/YA hardcover fell 24.3% to $92.7 million.
  • Religion declined 18.4% to $67.4 million.
  • Professional and scholarly dropped 3.7% to $58.7 million.
  • University press hardcover fell 3.6% to $5.7 million.
  • Adult paperback decreased 1.7% to $132.4 million.


Red Lightning Books: The Legend of Bigfoot: Leaving His Mark on the World by T.S Mart, Mel Cabre

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Albom, Atwood, Agassi and More

Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Mitch Albom, author of Have a Little Faith (Hyperion, $23.99, 9780786868728/0786868724)


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Margaret Atwood, author of The Year of the Flood (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385528771/0385528779). As the show put it: "Margaret Atwood thinks she has done something new: her novel The Year of the Flood takes place simultaneously with Oryx and Crake--her nightmare novel about the biotechnological future. In this conversation, we discuss the various possibilities for hope--religion, community action, art."


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Andre Agassi, author of Open: An Autobiography (Knopf, $28.95, 9780307268198/0307268195).


Tomorrow night on 20/20: Sarah Palin, author of Going Rogue (HarperCollins, $28.99, 9780061939891/0061939897).


University of Pittsburgh Press: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories by Caroline Kim

Television: Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli Series

Lorraine Bracco, best known recently for her portrayal of mobster Tony Soprano's psychotherapist, has joined the cast for the pilot episode of TNT's Rizzoli, which is based on Tess Gerritsen's Jane Rizzoli series of suspense novels. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "Bracco will play Rizzoli's [Angie Harmon] mother, Angela, who despite her tough Boston exterior is a beautiful woman, loyal wife and mother of three."


Books & Authors

Awards: Man Asian Literary Prize; Governor General's Awards

Chinese author Su Tong won the $10,000 Man Asian Literary Prize for his novel, The Boat to Redemption, the story of a "Communist Party official who moves to a community of boat people after his revolutionary lineage is refuted," the Associated Press reported. The award is given annually to an Asian novel that has not yet been published in English. Previous winners were Jiang Rong's Wolf Totem and Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado.

Judges Colm Toibin, Gish Jen and Pankaj Mishra called The Boat to Redemption "a picaresque novel of immense charm.... It is also a political fable with an edge which is both comic and tragic, and a parable about the journeys we take in our lives, the distance between the boat of our desires and the dry land of our achievement."

The shortlist also included Omair Ahmad's Jimmy the Terrorist, Siddharth Chowdhury's The Descartes Highlands, Nitasha Kaul's Residue and Eric Gamalinda's Day Scholar.


Recipients of the Governor General's Literary Awards were named yesterday at a ceremony in Montreal, the National Post's Afterword blog reported. Each winner receives $25,000 (US$23,791) and publishers of the winning books receive $3,000.

Governor General's Literary Award winners:
English-language books

  • Fiction: The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
  • Non-fiction: A Place Within: Rediscovering India by M.G. Vassanji
  • Poetry: The Fly in Autumn by David Zieroth
  • Drama: Where the Blood Mixes by Kevin Loring
  • Children's literature, text: Greener Grass: The Famine Years by Caroline Pignat
  • Children's literature, illustration: Jirina Marton for Bella’s Tree (text by Janet Russell)
  • Translation, French to English: Susan Ouriou for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras

French-language Books

  • Fiction: Le discours sur la tombe de l’idiot by Julie Mazzieri
  • Non-fiction: Pointe Maligne: l’infiniment oubliée by Nicole V. Champeau
  • Poetry: Thérèse pour joie et orchestre by Hélène Monette
  • Drama: Le bruit des os qui craquent by Suzanne Lebeau
  • Children's literature, text: Harvey by Hervé Bouchard
  • Children's literature, illustration: Janice Nadeau for Harvey (text by Hervé Bouchard)
  • Translation: English to French: Paule Noyart for Le miel d’Harar by Camilla Gibb


Children's Reviews: 'Tis the Season Round-up

It's time to make merry with a few of our favorite selections.

Auntie Claus: Home for the Holidays by Elise Primavera (S&S/Wiseman, $17.99, 9781416954859/1416954856, 40 pp., ages 4-8, October 2009)

In her third Yuletide adventure, Auntie Claus, determined not to miss her niece in the plum role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, decides to move the North Pole to New York City. Naturally, this is much harder to pull off than Auntie thinks, but it makes for grand entertainment.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Josh Greenhut, illustrated by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins, $17.99 9780061650994/0061650994, 40 pp., ages 5-up, September 2009)

"Marley was dead. There was no doubt whatever that Marley was dead as a doornail," begins this adaptation of Dickens's cautionary Christmas tale. And who better to illustrate it than the artist who created Lemony Snicket's Unfortunate characters? An introduction sure to lead readers deeper into Dickens.


The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jon J Muth (Scholastic, $16.99, 9780439774970/0439774977, 40 pp., ages 4-8, September 2009)

"Far, far north, where the reindeer are, there is a snug little house with a bright red door." Thompson (Mouse's First Christmas) takes youngsters inside Santa Claus's cozy home where he prepares for the Christmas magic "when the nights are longest and the stars shine brightest." In stunning watercolor and pastel illustrations that seem to glisten with snow and starlight, Muth (Zen Shorts) characterizes Santa as a kindly old-man-next-door who's transformed by holiday spirit.


The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup, illustrated by Matt Tavares (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763632236/0763632236, 32 pp., ages 4-10, September 2009)

It's a time-honored tradition to leave cookies for Santa. But what if those sweet treats are gingerbread pirates that need saving by Captain Cookie? Kladstrup (The Book of Story Beginnings) makes the most of the adventurous possibilities, while Tavares's ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) sumptuous full-bleed spreads and spot illustrations play with a cookie's-eye perspective.


The Nutcracker, retold by John Cech from the E.T.A. Hoffmann text, illustrated by Eric Puybaret (Sterling, $17.95, 9781402755620/1402755627, 40 pp., ages 5-12, October 2009)

As he did with his illustrations for Puff, the Magic Dragon, Puybaret once again captures the darker undercurrents of an iconic tale, as Marie moves between her familiar home and the mysterious world of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Cech's retelling of Hoffmann's original story dispenses with some of the old-fashioned phrases. An elegant and accessible version of a holiday classic.


The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, $16.99, 9780312549657/0312549652, 32 pp., ages 4-8, September 2009)

"I had just nodded off, at a quarter past four, when the Spirit of Christmas stepped in through my door," begins the first-person account of the adult narrator, with a tip o' the hat to Clement C. Moore's head of household. Here, too, Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) expertly swirls together reality and fantasy--the narrator's child delights in the sight of the decorated tree, the lion lies down with the lamb--as is fitting for such a magical night.


The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Rachel Isadora (Putnam/Penguin, $16.99, 9780399254086/0399254080, 32 pp., ages 4-8 , October 2009)

Isadora creates neon-bright collage illustrations in an African setting, and her Santa sports leopard print and gray dreadlocks. The stockings hang by a wood-burning stove, and "visions of sugarplums" dance in the heads of three colorfully night-capped and beribboned children, while cat and mouse sleep peacefully side by side.


What's Coming for Christmas? by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben (Frances Foster/ FSG, $15.99, 9780374399481/0374399484, 40 pp, ages 4-8, September 2009)

The team behind And if the Moon Could Talk once again imbues the nighttime with a whisper of magic, and on this special evening on a certain present-day farm, a sense of expectation, too. On the same night, a gift arrives in the manger, and in the house, "No one saw who put the gifts under the tree and filled the stockings." Not even the pups that slumber by the hearth stir in the moonlight. A beautiful homage to Christmas past and present.


Where Teddy Bears Come From by Mark Burgess, illustrated by Russell Ayto (Peachtree, $16.95, 9781561454877/1561454877, 32 pp., ages 4-8, August 2009)

A little wolf who stays wide awake one night believes that a teddy bear can help him sleep, and sets off to find out where teddys come from. Burgess (When Vegetables Attack) sends the fellow to "three not-so-little pigs" and Little Red Riding Hood before the furry hero gets the answer from an old man in red, who says "Ho, Ho, Ho!" Ayto's (One More Sheep) nocturnal, slightly askew illustrations make an ideal match for a pleasingly cock-eyed tale.--Jennifer M. Brown


Book Brahmin: Andrea Raynor

Andrea Raynor is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, a hospice chaplain and a cancer survivor. She served as a chaplain to the morgue at Ground Zero in the aftermath of September 11, offering comfort to the many workers there. Her new book, The Voice That Calls You Home, published by Atria this week, is a collection of essays that explore the connection between the spiritual and the everyday. Raynor lives with her family in Rye, N.Y., where she is the chaplain to the Rye Fire Department.

On your nightstand now:

Nightstand? What nightstand? If you mean that pile of books I have on the floor in the corner of my room, then that is another matter! I always have a volume or two of Rumi nearby (translated by Coleman Barks). This time it is The Essential Rumi and Rumi: The Book of Love. I've been trying to get to The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, which a friend sent me some time ago, and I'm rereading The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. I'm hoping this doesn't refer to that space under my dresser!

Favorite book when you were a child:

Old Yeller by Fred Gipson made quite an impression on me. I was eight years old, and it was the first time I remember shutting myself in the bathroom because a book made me cry. I read the last pages over and over from the comfort of that private space, enveloped in the images and the newfound experience of being transported. I also dearly loved The Pricehill Tigers by my dad, Dick Ruehrwein. I will always hear his voice and feel his love on every page. It was he who handed me a copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery when I was about 12. It both fascinated and scared me. The isolation of the prince, the foreboding presence of the snake and the prince's death were beyond my grasp, but the whimsical drawings and the mystical nature of the story made it impossible to put down.

Your top five authors:

This is, of course, torturous! How to choose? Different authors have spoken to me at different times in my life. Some of the many that have made a lasting impression: Leo Tolstoy, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Ellen Gilchrist, Anne Lamott and Cynthia Rylant.

Book you've faked reading:

Don't tell anyone, but I don't think I've read the whole Book of Revelation. Freaked me out. Hopefully I'll get to it sometime before the Apocalypse (beats trying to get through Finnegan's Wake).

Book you're an evangelist for:

God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant. There is something so lovely about Rylant's writing. I first encountered her when a friend gave me Cat Heaven after my cat had died. Although it is ostensibly a children's book, I found it utterly comforting; I have given it (and Dog Heaven) to many friends since. In God Went to Beauty School, Rylant is at her creative best, offering images of the Divine that are completely unique. Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Annunciation by Ellen Gilchrist are such staggering works of fiction that I can remember exactly where I was when I read them, what I was feeling, and the push-pull sensation of racing to the finish because you can't put it down, and being sorry when that last page arrived. Since then, I think I've read everything ever written by these two amazing authors.

Book you've bought for the cover:

How to Be Happy, Dammit: A Cynic's Guide to Spiritual Happiness by Karen Salmansohn. This just cracked me up. I loved the cover, loved the title, and thoroughly enjoyed the 44 life lessons presented in an incredibly artistic and cool way. Who knew profundity could be so fun?

Book that changed your life:

Fifteen years after finishing Harvard Divinity School, a friend handed me the only book of spiritual significance I ever really needed to read: Man's Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl. When I finished the last sentence, I could not fathom how I managed to get through college (as a religion major) and divinity school without having read this. It has profoundly influenced my thinking, my work and how I cope with my own times of struggle.

Favorite line from a book: 

The first time I read Wuthering Heights, I was 17, genuinely anguished to be separated from my first love (who had moved an ocean away) and perfectly positioned to be riveted by the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff. These lines defined for me what it was to be in love. And they continue to haunt and challenge.

Catherine to her servant: "Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind--not as a pleasure, any more than I am a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."

Heathcliff (after Catherine's death): "I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always--drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!"

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

Beloved by Toni Morrison. Then, after I have recuperated, any of the Travis McGee mysteries by John D. MacDonald, starting with The Turquoise Lament--just for fun!


AuthorBuzz: Constable: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (A Crown Colony Novel) by Ovidia Yu
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