Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 8, 2010

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Our Pool by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Tor Teen: The Hunting Moon (The Luminaries #2) by Susan Dennard

Atria Books: The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger

Berkley Books: Iris Kelly Doesn't Date by Ashley Herring Blake

For Dummies: For Dummies series


AAP: 2009 Book Sales Down 1.8%

Net book sales in 2009 in the U.S. fell 1.8%, to $23.95 billion, according to estimates by the Association of American Publishers based on sales data from 86 publishers as well as on data from the Bureau of the Census. In the last seven years, the book business has had a compound annual growth rate of 1.1%.

Category Sales Percent Change
E-books $313 million 176.6%
Higher ed    $4.3 billion  12.9%
Adult hardcover    $2.6 billion    6.9%
Children's/YA paperback    $1.5 billion    2.2%
Book clubs/mail-order $588 million   −2%
Mass market paperback    $1 billion   −4%
Children's/YA hardcover    $1.7 billion   −5%
Adult paperback    $2.2 billion   −5.2%
Religious books $659 million   −9%
Audiobooks $192 million  −12.9%
El-hi books    $5.2 million  −13.8%

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman

Obituary Note: Mimi Beman

Mimi Beman, longtime owner of Mitchell's Book Corner on Nantucket Island, Mass., died March 31 after a short illness. She was 62.

Beman sold Mitchell's two years ago to Mary Jennings, wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, but continued to work in the store (Shelf Awareness, January 10, 2008). She had owned Mitchell's--which was founded by her parents, Henry "Mitch" Mitchell and Mary Allen Havemeyer, in 1968--for 30 years.

The Inquirer and Mirror offers many tributes from friends and fans, including this from Lizbet Carroll Fuller, co-founder of the Nantucket Lighthouse School: "Mimi Beman was a fiery, passionate, intelligent, funny, dynamic and generous soul. It is hard to believe that her light has gone out so quickly... but she burned so brightly while she was here! Mimi and her lively bookstore were literal cornerstones of Nantucket's Main Street. Mimi's love of language and the written word was so great that she needed to share it with one and all. Of late, Nantucket Lighthouse School was the lucky recipient of Mimi’s energetic generosity and warm enthusiasm. As a board member and an ardent advocate for education, Mimi adopted Lighthouse School in her wholehearted, gregarious and generous way and invested her considerable energies in support of the school. It was truly a gift to get to know Mimi and we sorely miss her warm and wonderful self."


Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2023

Notes: Kindle's New Target?; 'Oprah's Next Chapter' may be selling the Kindle in Target, according to, which has posted "a shot of a Target inventory handheld showing a listing for Amazon's e-reader." Possible on-sale date is April 25.

Engadget is also reporting today that Best Buy will begin selling Barnes & Noble's Nook on April 18.


Oprah is planning to host an hour-long evening show on her new cable network, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which "could air as many as two or three times a week, will take Ms. Winfrey out of the studio setting that has been her home for 25 years and follow her around the globe for conversations in places such as Egypt and China," the Wall Street Journal said.

Called "Oprah's Next Chapter," the show would be a key feature of OWN, a joint venture between Harpo and Discovery Communications, which makes its debut January 1. No word on how or if books and authors will be covered on "Oprah's Next Chapter," although she has said there may be a book-club show on OWN.


In July, Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, Idaho, is moving to the downtown area, the Idaho Statesman reported. "The plan from the day we opened was to be a downtown bookstore," said Laura DeLaney, who owns the store with her husband, Bruce. The paper said that the move will allow for new partnerships with businesses such as the Record Exchange, lunchtime discussion groups, expanded children's programming and First Thursday events.

Rediscovered Bookshop sells new and used books.


Mary Miller has bought Rainy Days Bookstore, Nisswa, Minn., from Suzy Turcotte, who had owned the store for 19 years, according to the Lake Country Echo.

Miller and her husband, Doug, plan to add a website and a frequent buyers' program but otherwise maintain the store's character.

Turcotte said she will miss "my loyal customers," but is getting married this summer and wants to be free to travel and enjoy this new chapter in her life.


Book trailer of the day: Home Before Dark: A Family Portrait of Cancer and Healing by David, Kate, Michael and Sam Treadway (Union Square Press).


The Hoya, Georgetown University's student newspaper, wrote: "If Langston Hughes were alive today, Busboys and Poets would be his ideal hangout spot. Part restaurant, part bookstore, part poetry bar, Busboys and Poets is a place where just about anyone's appetites can be satisfied."

Busboys and Poets has three locations in Washington, D.C.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Image of the Day: Window Ode to Poetry

Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., celebrated National Poetry Month with this window display, created by Joseph Mattson, the store's visual merchandiser.




G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Imaginary Alphabet
by Sylvie Daigneault
GLOW: Pajama Press: The Imaginary Alphabet by Sylvie Daigneault

Lazy, lemon lollipop-licking lemurs join a menagerie of other merry and meticulously embellished animals in an extravagant abecedary for a wide-ranging audience. Publisher Gail Winskill admired author/illustrator Sylvie Daigneault's "stunning" previous work. But, Winskill said, "nothing prepared me for the beautiful art and clever alliteration" of The Imaginary Alphabet. Confident in the book's "appeal to readers of all ages, especially wordsmiths and art lovers," Winskill knew "within a matter of minutes" she wanted to publish it. With an elaborate search-and-find accompanying its alliterative linguistic delights, this playful and ornately illustrated alphabet book is a visionary accomplishment. --Kit Ballenger

(Pajama Press, $22.95 hardcover, ages 3-7, 9781772782998, September 19, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Eclipse of the Sunnis

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, April 10

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 2001, Bill Press, author of Spin This!: All the Ways We Don't Tell the Truth (Atria, $13, 9780743442688/0743442687) examined the practice of intentionally manipulating the truth.         

9 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis (Tarcher, $27.95, 9781585427659/1585427659), suggested humans are driven by empathy and cooperation. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Mohamad Bazzi interviews NPR foreign correspondent Deborah Amos, author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the East (PublicAffairs, $25.95, 9781586486495/1586486497). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, April 11

6 a.m. Wesley Smith, author of A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy; The Human Cost of the Animal Rights Movement (Encounter, $25.95, 9781594033469/1594033463), argues that human obligation to other humans is more important than any obligation to other animals. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)        
7:30 a.m. Arundhati Roy, author of Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers (Haymarket, $20, 9781608460243/160846024X), discusses her essay collection covering such topics as the U.S. war on terror, democracy in India and India-Pakistan relations. (Re-airs Sunday at 5:30 p.m.)

9 a.m. Ralph Peters talks about his book Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization (Stackpole, $27.95, 9780811705509/0811705501). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: NCIBA Books of the Year; Theatre Book Prize Shortlist

The winners of the NCIBA Book of the Year Awards, sponsored by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and honoring books published in 2009 and written or illustrated by Northern California authors and artists, are:

Fiction: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Knopf)
Nonfiction: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's)
Poetry: Chronic by D.A. Powell (Graywolf Press)
Food Writing: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter (Penguin)
Children's Illustrated: Zero Is the Leaves on the Tree, illustrated by Shino Arihara (Tricycle)
Children's Literature: Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (Penguin Young Readers)
Teen Lit: Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman (Delacorte Young Readers)
Regional: Tamalpais Walking by Tom Killion and Gary Snyder (Heyday Books)

This year's awards include two new categories: food writing and teen lit.


Finalists for the 2010 Theatre Book Prize--given annually for a book on the British theatre--are The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Historiography by Thomas Postlewait, Different Drummer: The Life of Kenneth Macmillan by Jan Parry, Opera for Everybody: The Story of English National Opera by Susie Gilbert, The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre, edited by Richard Dutton and The Pantomime Life of Joseph Grimaldi by Andrew Stott, the Stage reported. The winner will be named April 27.

Book Review

Book Review: The Complete History of American Film Criticism

The Complete History of American Film Criticism by Jerry Roberts (Santa Monica Press, $27.95 Hardcover, 9781595800497, February 2010)

"People have been complaining about the movies since 1914," veteran film critic Andrew Sarris has said, and, in this lively compendium, Jerry Roberts identifies the major players who got paid for both their complaining ("It stinks!") and their praise ("A masterpiece!") over the last century. In the early days just about anyone could be assigned the movie beat at a newspaper while the reporter awaited an opening on a more respectable desk, like covering horse races, but standards improved eventually.

Not until Otis Ferguson, whom Roberts deems America's first notable film critic, began writing in the New Republic in 1934 did anyone discuss film as an art bringing together dialogue, acting, camerawork and film editing. Alone among hundreds of hacks, he and Cecelia Ager (noted for her bright, brittle tone) believed movies worthy of intelligent analysis and prepared the ground for distinguished and passionate critics like James Agee, Manny Farber and Pauline Kael.

American movies embrace melodrama, comedies and gaudy epics. In Roberts's timeline, circles within the critical establishment mirror those industry genres: tight cliques exclude anyone threatening the status quo; personal vendettas, disguised as mere aesthetic differences, rage out of control; and monopolists defend their positions against competition from upstarts. The streets of New York City, Roberts shows, are no less mean than some of the allegedly high-minded cineastes. The nasty 1960s and 1970s battle between Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris holds special appeal for him; with evident glee, he recounts the duo sniping at each other--hot-gossip copy while their wonderful reviews made movies seem both sexy and central to the culture.

In case we'd forgotten, Roberts also reminds us of the influential Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Not only did it usher in a new frankness in portraying violence and bring techniques of the French New Wave into mainstream American movies, but it was instrumental in flushing out many entrenched reviewers. When they didn't get the film's importance and appeal, they were sent on their way, and new blood came on the scene at established newspapers and magazines and at a slew of new alternative weeklies. Television, too, moved beyond the morning-show niceties of Judith Crist and Gene Shalit to the more audience-involving thumb-action of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The populist swing with its call for fresh and livelier critical voices may have accelerated with the Internet, but Roberts argues that a century of steady change (in approaches, personalities and cultural status of film) underlies the criticism we see proliferating today. --John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A thorough and informative history of 100 years of film criticism in America that does not stint on satisfying gossip and score-settling.



A Paul Farley Poem, One More Time

Because of a typo, the meaning of a poem by Paul Farley, from his Atlantic Tunnel (Faber and Faber, $25, 9780865479173/0865479178, May 11, 2010), published here yesterday, was garbled. The correct version is:
For the House Sparrow,
In Decline

Your numbers fall and it's tempting to think
you're deserting our suburbs and estates
like your cousins at Pompeii; that when you return
to bathe in dust and build your nests again
in a roofless world where no one hears your cheeps,
only a starling's modern mimicry
will remind you of how you once supplied
the incidental music of our lives.

--Selected by Marilyn Dahl


Deeper Understanding

Shelf Talk/Graphic Lit: Mythmaking Lore

The success of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which chronicles the adventures of a modern demigod, descendent of the Greek god of the oceans, has elevated the pantheon of ancient Greek gods to the same exalted levels teenage wizards and star-crossed nosferatu enjoy among YA and middle readers.
"I have definitely seen more kids asking for mythological-themed titles," said Stephanie Anderson, of WORD Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y. "There's a YA title that I feel never got enough attention that is now much easier to sell: Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs [Speak]. And the classic D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths [Delacorte] is selling well."
Beth Puffer at Bank Street Books in New York City, said that the trend carries over to non-Greek myths and legends: "Kids ask specifically for books 'like' the Percy Jackson series," she said. "We then recommend other books connected to Greek myths but we might also steer them toward some with other kinds of mythology." She cited the Samuel Blink series by Matt Haig (Putnam), based in Norse mythology, and the Theodosia books by R.L. LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin), rooted in Egyptian myth.
And there are some noteworthy graphic novels that may interest young readers looking for more myth-themed adventures.
Zeus: King of the Gods by George O'Connor (First Second) is the first of a proposed four-volume series on the Greek gods; it chronicles young Zeus's overthrow of Kronos and the Titans, the brutal race of proto-god giants that ruled the Earth before the better-known pantheon of Greek deities took over. O'Connor's book combines the brisk pop style of comic book heroics with a story that focuses on the under-explored "origin story" of the Greek gods. The book features a family tree of the gods, character profiles, recommendations for further readings and other resources for readers who can't get enough of these ancient stories. (For older readers, this might be the first time you'll see Zeus presented in a truly heroic light. Though the seeds of his flaws--his brutal temper and his weakness for the ladies--are there, O'Connor's Zeus is a hero who genuinely earns the title King of the Gods.) The next novel is the series focuses on Athena and will be released next Tuesday, April 13. Look for future titles on Hera and Hades.
For younger readers, there's Michael Townsend's comedic take on these classic tales: Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders (Dial). Jennifer Laughran at Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif., called it "Matt Groening–esque and so cute!" Townsend's book goes beyond stories of the gods to include important figures such as Midas, Icarus and Pandora. The graphics are bold and cartoonish, keeping with the gag-filled tone, but the stories are surprisingly accurate to the sources. Plus, readers will find out how many centaurs it takes to screw in a light bulb.
For middle-reader comics fans, both DC and Marvel have important properties rooted in the classic Greek myths. Wonder Woman, the distaff corner of the DC's central triumvirate of characters (along with Batman and Superman) is herself an Amazon princess. Recent collections by Gail Simone have emphasized Wonder Woman's mythological origins. In Wonder Woman: Rise of the Olympian, the famed superhero clashes with Zeus, Ares and gods from other pantheons (gods from native Hawaiian culture play a major role; no foolin'). Marvel recently refurbished its previously comedic Hercules character, darkening up his adventures and adding a layer of irony to his stories. Herc stars in four recent collections: Against the World, Sacred Invasion, Dark Reign and The Mighty Thorcules. The plots of these graphic novels assume a level of familiarity with the broader "universes" of each comic publisher. If your store doesn't already carry superhero stuff, this might not be the place to start.
Also, keep an eye on the October 2010 graphic novel adaptation of Percy Jackson (Hyperion). As the brisk preorder business of the Twilight graphic novel proves, young readers eagerly follow their favorite franchises into other formats. If you sold significant numbers of the Percy Jackson series in prose, then the graphic novel will be a safe bet.
For adults who are tired of kids getting all the coolest graphic novels, there's Eric Shanower's brilliant Age of Bronze (Image Comics), possibly the best modern retelling of the Trojan War. Shanower strips the tale of supernatural elements, foregrounding the realpolitik crisis that lead to antiquity's defining conflict. Crisp black-and-white art informed by Shanower's extensive research into the period helps makes Age of Bronze the definitive modern take on the seminal tale. The series has been collected into three graphic novels: A Thousand Ships, Sacrifice and Betrayal, Part One.
Other Graphic Novel News
Middle readers into epic fantasy and fans of Jeff Smith's classic graphic novel series Bone will gobble up Kazu Kibuishi's excellent Amulet series (Graphix). Amulet seamlessly weaves together so many classic tropes of fantasy lit, it feels like Kibuishi is cheating. After a family tragedy, a young brother and sister, Navin and Emily, move to an old house that, naturally, contains a doorway to an exciting and dangerous world. Lush artwork that blends Pixar and manga influences brings this grand-scale adventure to vibrant life.
Fans of hip memoirs like Fun Home will dig Laurie Sandell's The Impostor's Daughter (Little, Brown). In a darkly humorous voice, Sandell recounts the true story of her relationship with her father, a larger-than-life eccentric genius who turned out to be a con man. Sandell's story is poignant and her ironic self-awareness prevents this from becoming a pity party. Her simplistic art style evokes the art of Persepolis and the New Yorker cartoons of Roz Chast.
The trailer for the film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim lit up the Internet on its release and is an indication that the film, to be released in August, is going to be a big deal. That means you can expect interest in Oni Press's Scott Pilgrim series. Created by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Pilgrim follows the adventures of a young man who, to win the right to date the girl of his dreams, must defeat her seven evil exes in videogame-style combat. A winning combination of wit, charm and action has made the Pilgrim series a hit among comic fans. The film, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera as the title character, should give this deserving series mainstream traction. The sixth and last volume of the series hits stores in July.
(So how many centaurs does it take to screw in a light bulb? Zero. There were no light bulbs in ancient Greece!) --Michael Bagnulo
Our new graphic novel columnist, Michael Bagnulo, has worked in publishing for a decade, edited graphic novels and been a comic book reader for life. Moreover, he's the husband of Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and near Chicago during the week ended Sunday, April 4:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Solar by Ian McEwan
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
4. The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
5. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
2. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
4. I Am an Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler
5. Giada at Home by Giada DeLaurentis

Paperback Fiction

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
3. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
4. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
5. The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
2. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
3. The Other Side of Paradise by Staceyann Chin
4. Fresh Flavor Fast by Martha Stewart
5. The Possessed by Elif Batuman


1. Wimpy Kid the Movie by Jeff Kinney
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
3. Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
4. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
5. Easter Egg by Jan Brett

Reporting bookstores: Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove; Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock; the Book Table, Oak Park; the Book Cellar, Lincoln Square; Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest; the Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka; and 57th St. Books; Seminary Co-op; Women and Children First, Chicago.

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]



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