Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Freeform: Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin

Poisoned Pen Press: The Whispering Dead (Gravekeeper #1) by Darcy Coates

St. Martin's Press: Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

Amulet Books: The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz

Mulholland Books: The Quiet Boy by Ben H Winters

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Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Chirp!: Chipmunk Sings for a Friend by Jamie A Swenson, illustrated by Scott Magoon

St. Martin's Essentials: Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting by Mary Gauthier

Amulet Books: DJ Funkyfoot: Butler for Hire! by Tom Angleberger, illustrated by Heather Fox

Two Dollar Radio: The Hare by Melanie Finn

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Listen by Gabi Snyder, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Quotation of the Day

Andrew Wylie, Publishing Contracts & 'The Wild West'

"Wylie's move is highly contentious (as usual with him) and highly significant. No one thinks more clearly about what's best for himself and his authors, and where the industry is headed, than Wylie. Yes, he's gambling--but he's basically backing a hunch that's confirmed by the trend. At the moment, halfway through 2010, the contractual situation in publishing resembles the Wild West. Ambitious prospectors must stake a claim, and defend it. Wylie's response to Random House is the literary equivalent of Pearl Harbor. The war was already raging worldwide. Like the Japanese in 1941, he has just opened a new front, with incalculable consequences. No question: these are interesting times for the world of books."

--Robert McCrum in his Guardian column headlined "Hold on to your hardbacks... we're in the middle of an ebook e-ruption"


Grove Press: Writers & Lovers by Lily King


Notes: Amazon 'Friends' Facebook; iPad's Vanishing Erotica

Amazon has "rolled out a new social feature" that integrates Facebook into customers' recommendations, according to TechCrunch, which reported: "If you go to your recommendations, using Facebook Connect, Amazon will now serve you social recommendations based on information in your Facebook profile.... So when you activate the feature, you'll see a dedicated Amazon Facebook page within the recommendations section of your account."

TechCrunch also noted that Amazon "explicitly says that it will not share your Amazon account history with Facebook nor will it share your purchase history with Facebook. And Amazon will not contact your Facebook friends."

Fast Company observed that the partnership between Amazon and Facebook "manifests itself in a totally opt-in system on Facebook, which is a good choice, seeing as how Amazon will have access to all kinds of information about you if you opt in, which not everyone will want. Amazon is being very careful about privacy here, saying that they will neither contact any of your Facebook friends nor reveal account (purchasing) history."


No sex please. We're Apple. The Telegraph reported "Apple has been accused of censoring the iPad book chart after four pornographic titles mysteriously disappeared from the bestseller list."
On Wednesday, the erotic quartet--led by Blonde and Wet, the Complete Story, which had been ranked first on the iPad top-10 list--"disappeared simultaneously and had been replaced with less risqué books, such as Peter Mandelson's autobiography, by the afternoon. Book chart analysts said it was unlikely that all the erotic titles could have dropped out of the list at the same moment without being deliberately removed."


It is the question of our times (or at least our industry): "Are e-books killing 'real' books?" KXLY-4 asked a writer and a bookseller in Spokane, Wash.

"You've known it was coming and the technology is catching up with that pretty quickly," observed author Jess Walter. "The delivery system is less important than the ideas themselves. I know people who bought e-readers and read twice as much as they used to, so I don't necessarily think its an awful thing."

Mary Jo King, general manager at Auntie's Bookstore, which is selling e-books on the shop's website, said, "It's probably going to pan out to, wisdom is, 10% to 15% of market penetration for e-books. We couldn't afford to give up another 10% or 15% of our business, so we joined." King added, however, that "we think it's a certain majority of book readers that will always want to hold a book in their hand. Try cuddling up with an iPad at night in bed, you know, it's just not the same effect."

And Walter offered a confirming anecdote: "I remember when my daughter was a newborn when I was very young and I was reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And, I had just a small break in my college classes and I would go home and be with my daughter and she would stretch out on my chest. She was a baby and her arms would only go to there. I would lie down and read and she would nap on my chest and that book is as connected to that moment and the feel of the pages and the look of the cover."


In a recent Web Faceoff poll, Mashable readers cast a decisive vote in favor of traditional books, with 41.9% (898 votes) for the printed book and 23.24% (498 votes) for e-books. "Interesting enough, a lot of you voted that you like both formats for reading your favorite novel; 34.86% of you (747 votes) said that it was a tie between the e-book and the print book," Mashable wrote.


Style Maniac showcased the new, Northeast branch of Miami's Books & Books, located on Main Street in Westhampton Beach, N.Y.. Style Maniac praised the store's "fresh, inviting modern interior; well-edited selection of new fiction, local authors and stylish coffee table books (many of which have been or will be featured on this blog); a helpful staff, robust events calendar and charming children's section--plus locations near some wonderful beaches."  


The late Stieg Larsson is the first member of the Kindle Million Club, according to Amazon, which announced that the Millennium Trilogy author has become the first writer to sell more than one million Kindle books.


NPR's Morning Edition profiled Concord Free Press, noting that under "the publisher's generosity-based publishing model, patrons can take the book for free, but they're asked to make a donation to charity."

"We just ask people, one, make a voluntary donation to a charity or person in need; two, chart your donation on our website. And three, pass the book along to someone else so that this project keeps going," said Stona Fitch, founder of the press.  


The Huffington Post featured nine of "the most amazing bookstores in the world--the places that would make any reader shut their laptop, put aside their eReader, and go out to buy a book. From New York to Portugal to China, we've picked the most beautiful, impressive, and inspiring."


Dublin, Ireland, has become the fourth city to be designated "a city of literature" by the cultural arm of the United Nations, UNESCO. The Irish Times reported that Mary Hanafin, Minister for Culture and Tourism, said Dublin was chosen "because of the rich historical literary past of the city, the vibrant contemporary literature, the variety of festivals and attractions available and because it is the birthplace and home of literary greats." The other three cities of literature are Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City.

"Literature has the unique power to distinguish us as a culture and as a people. It helps us understand what it means to be human. In Dublin, the city has been defined by its writers, and continues to be remade and discovered through their words," said Arts Council director Mary Cloake.


Book trailer of the day: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach (Norton), which will be published next Monday.


Obituary note: Les Pockell v-p and associate publisher at Grand Central Publishing, has died, the Associated Press (via ABC News) reported, noting that he "brought a deep and unpredictable intellect to projects ranging from the mystery novels of Donald Westlake to poetry and short story anthologies." Pockell was 68.


Susan Kamil, senior v-p, Random House editor-in-chief, has been promoted to the additional position of publisher of the Random House and Dial Press imprints. In a memo to staff, Random House Group president and publisher Gina Centrello also announced the following changes:

Tom Perry, executive v-p., deputy publisher, joins Kamil at the Random House imprint and will also be publisher at the Modern Library imprint.
Theresa Zoro has been promoted to senior v-p., director of publicity for the entire Random House Publishing Group.
Susan Corcoran is now v-p, director of publicity for Ballantine Bantam Dell.


Skyhorse Publishing has bought all assets of Arcade Publishing, which was founded in 1988 by Richard and Jeannette Seaver and has been in bankruptcy since shortly after Richard Seaver's death last year.

Arcade's list includes works by Ingmar Bergman, Octavio Paz, Umberto Eco, Samuel Beckett, Ismail Kadare, Elie Wiesel and many more.

Skyhorse was founded in 2006 by Tony Lyons, former president and publisher of the Lyons Press, and has more than 500 titles in print, primarily in history, politics, sports, memoir, true crime, business, reference and self-help.

Lyons commented: "We believe that the timeless quality of many of the books on the list fits nicely into the Skyhorse model of finding great books; producing well-priced, handsome packages; finding the customers who will read and love them; and keeping them in print year after year."


"Opening a Bookstore: The Business Essentials," an intensive workshop retreat for prospective booksellers conducted by the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, is scheduled for September 13-17 on Amelia Island (near Jacksonville, Fla.). The workshop, which is co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, is facilitated by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman and held every spring and fall. For more information, go to or call 800-260-8605.


The next Book Industry Study Group online webcast, called A Further Conversation on the Agency Model: Before, During and After the New E-book Selling Model, takes place next Tuesday, August 3, 1-2 p.m. Eastern time. Presenters are Michael Cader, founder, Publisher; Bob Kohn, chairman and CEO, RoyaltyShare; Dominique Raccah, CEO, Sourcebooks. All three spoke on the topic of the agency model at BEA.

For more information, go to


Mulholland Books: The Quiet Boy by Ben H Winters

Cool Idea of the Day: The 'Art of Filling a Bookshelf'


The "art of filling a bookshelf" was considered by Rita Konig in the New York Times design section. Suggesting there is no right or wrong way to arrange your bookshelves, Konig wrote, "the only thing that doesn't work for me is when they are empty. While scouring design books, I find that I am always drawn to rooms where an entire wall is devoted to books. Books, quite obviously, give depth to a room, since they are one of the sure signs that someone with a pulse actually lives there, and the colors of the spines give a wall that random pattern that modern interiors so often lack."

She also advised bookish designers to "have fun with your bookshelves and keep everything moving. Nothing should remain too static: books come on and off shelves as you use them, and the objects beside them should change, too."



GLOW: Walnut Street Books: Cousins: Connected through slavery, a Black woman and a White woman discover their past--and each other by Betty Kilby Baldwin and Phoebe Kilby

Image of the Day: Lovefest

Earlier this month at Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., family, friends and fans of the band Love and its late founder Arthur Lee gathered to celebrate his legacy. From l. to r.: Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records; John Einarson, author of Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love (Jawbone Press); and engineer and producer Bruce Botnick.

Photo: Nurit Wilde

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Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jane Smiley on Bookworm

Tomorrow on CNN's Joy Behar Show: Samantha Bee, author of I Know I Am, But What Are You? (Gallery, $25, 9781439142738/1439142734).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Jane Smiley, author of Private Life (Knopf, $26.95, 9781400040605/1400040604). As the show put it: "In her new novel, Jane Smiley explores lives limited by repression, narrow scope and boundless ego. She describes the sadness of a genius whose work never catches on, and the frustration of a wife whose husband never achieves his potential--and who barely discerns her own. In other words, we discuss what marriage was like before sexual liberation, women's liberation, psychoanalysis and self-help expanded our options."


Berkley Books: The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

Television: All Creatures Great and Small Redux

Fans of the BBC/PBS staple All Creatures Great and Small--adapted from the bestselling books by a Yorkshire veterinarian--can look forward to a new three-part series, Young James, which "is due to be filmed and set in Glasgow, the city where veterinary surgeon Alf Wight--author of the original diaries, which were written under the pseudonym James Herriot--learned his trade. The new show will feature the earlier years of Herriot's career," the Guardian reported, noting that at the peak of its popularity, the original show drew an audience of more than 13 million.


Red Lightning Books: Cheers!: Around the World in 80 Toasts by Brandon Cook

'Very Bad Day' Could Make a Very Good Movie

Shawn Levy and 20th Century Fox will team up to turn Judith Viorst's classic picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day into a "high-concept family comedy," according to Variety. Although the book was the basis for a half-hour HBO animated musical in 1990, and Viorst and the Kennedy Center created a musical in 1998--with music and lyrics by Viorst, scored by Shelly Markham--this will be the first feature film based on the children's book.


Cross-Promotion World Premiere: 'Drink, Wear, Sniff'


The anticipation for Eat Pray Love's August 13 release "has spilled over into a massive merchandise campaign that includes clothing, furniture, jewelry, candles and scents," USA Today reported, adding that numerous companies "have partnered with Sony Pictures Entertainment to offer consumer goods inspired by the movie and the hugely popular 2006 memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert."

"Women around the world have embraced this story and are eagerly awaiting the movie," said Marcia Maizel-Clarke of Dogeared Jewels & Gifts, which offers a line of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, journals and bookmarks. "The book, the locations, and the emotional journey of Elizabeth Gilbert inspired us."

Noting that the "Eat Pray Love logo is ubiquitous in the marketplace," USA Today highlighted some of the offerings, including the Republic of Tea's Eat Pray Love Tea; Cost Plus World Market's licensed products (leather journals, prayer beads and clothing); Sue Wong's fashion collection; and Fresh's eau de parfum collection, with fragrances inspired by the book's locales.



Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker Longlist; CWA International Dagger

The longlist for the £50,000 (US$77,991) Man Booker Prize for fiction was unveiled yesterday in London. Chair of judges Andrew Motion said, "Here are thirteen exceptional novels--books we have chosen for their intrinsic quality, without reference to the past work of their authors. Wide-ranging in their geography and their concern, they tell powerful stories which make the familiar strange and cover an enormous range of history and feeling. We feel confident that they will provoke and entertain."

The shortlist will be announced September 7, with the winner revealed October 12 during a dinner at London's Guildhall. This year's longlist includes:

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
C by Tom McCarthy
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
February by Lisa Moore
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Trespass by Rose Tremain
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner

EarlyWord's Nora Rawlinson analyzed the Booker longlist and its implications for the U.S. book market.


The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin won the Crime Writers' Association's International Dagger award for a crime novel that has been translated into English, the Guardian reported. Judges called the novel "impossible to reduce... to ghost story, a police procedural or a gothic tale." Theorin bested a shortlist that included Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, Tonino Benacquista's Badfellas, Andrea Camilleri's August Heat, Arnaldur Indridason's Hypothermia and Deon Meyer's Thirteen Hours.


Book Brahmin: Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and began writing romantic thrillers while she was on maternity leave. Her first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her books have been translated into 37 languages, and more than 20 million copies have been sold around the world. Her crime series featuring detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, Rizzoli & Isles, airs on TNT. Now retired from medicine, Gerritson writes full time. She lives in Maine.


On your nightstand now:


The Way of Herodotus: Travels with the Man Who Invented History by Justin Marozzi. (I'm almost finished reading it, and will be so sorry when it ends!)


Favorite book when you were a child:


When I was very young: a picture book about dinosaurs--I don't remember the title or author.


As a young adult: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.


Your top five authors:


Robert Harris, Lisa See, Barbara Kingsolver, Larry McMurtry, Stephen King.


Book you've faked reading: 


A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.


Book you're an evangelist for:


Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.


Book you've bought for the cover:


Midnight in the Garden of Good And Evil by John Berendt.


Book that changed your life:


Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. (It made the craft of writing far less mysterious and even do-able.)


Favorite line from a book:


"No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace. In peace, sons bury fathers, but in war fathers bury sons."--The Histories by Herodotus


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


Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.



Book Review

Children's Review: The Search for WondLa

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $17.99 Hardcover, 9781416983101, September 2010)

Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles, with Holly Black) constructs a fantasy world that reveals truths about our 21st-century society. Imagine that you are 12 years old and have never left the confines of your home. Now imagine that you were raised in an underground Sanctuary by a multi-limbed robot named Muthr and have never seen the sun, the sky (except in holograms), or another human being. Still, you are convinced that there is someone out there who is just like you. That is Eva Nine's plight. Surrounded by holograms and machines that fill her mind with facts, Eva Nine "just want[s] to have friends." She wants to search for people like her. People like the ones in the image she discovered of a child, adult and robot on "a small, thin item," which she calls "WondLa" because of the few letters still legible on it. Her opportunity arrives sooner than expected when an intruder breaks into the Sanctuary, forcing Eva to flee while Muthr stays behind to try and extinguish the fires he sets. Even though Muthr has been training Eva, with the aid of an Ominpod (a handheld device with a small eye-like opening), to survive on their planet's surface, nothing prepares Eva for what she discovers there.

DiTerlizzi creates a tantalizing paradox: a world of creatures who seem at once primitive yet extraordinarily advanced. The intruder who devastates Eva's Sanctuary, a towering Dorcean named Besteel, flies in a glider and carries a sonic boomrod (a futuristic stun gun), yet thinks like a single-minded beast in search of prey. An armored behemoth named Otto (which Eva's Omnipod identifies as a kind of "tardigrade or water bear") communicates with her telepathically. And a blue-hued rabbit-like Caerulean who comes to Eva's aid speaks a seemingly nonsensical language then hands her a transcoder that acts as a translator. His words may be the wisest of all. He introduces himself as Rovender Kitt, "an old creature in a new world." The heroine replies, "I am Eva Nine... a new creature in an old world." The author threads other lyrical symmetries throughout the narrative: at the novel's start, Eva ponders the delicate construct of a piece of moss, which leads her to ask, "What is its purpose? What is my purpose?" Much later, when she is captured for possible inclusion in Her Majesty's museum, the curator echoes her musings, "All organisms strive toward a common goal... to understand one of the universe's biggest mysteries: Why are we here?" Instead of going down the rabbit hole with Alice, we travel up to the surface with Eva. But the two share much in the sense of exploring a wonderland: here a blue Caerulean leads us through forests and the winding roads of an island city filled with captivating creatures--like Arius, the many-tentacled soothsayer who speaks in riddles ("I have siblings. Siblings that I know. Yet siblings that I hide from.... You have siblings. Siblings you don't know. Siblings you've been hidden from"). DiTerlizzi's illustrations manage to be both futuristic and deeply rooted in the moment—no small task. He brings the volume to a highly satisfying conclusion yet leaves enough unanswered questions (how did Eva and Muthr end up in the Sanctuary, and what happened to civilization as we know it?) for the remaining books in the planned trilogy.--Jennifer M. Brown

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