Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 30, 2010

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella

Quotation of the Day

The Coming 'Backlash Against E-Books'

"The backlash against e-books by those who aren't so in love with technology for its own sake has yet to begin, but it's coming.... And as for the death-by-2015 predictions of [Nicholas] Negroponte, it's just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of e-books will slow. The reason is simple: unlike the move from CDs to MP3s, there is no easy way to convert our existing stock of books to e-readers. And unlike the move from records and tapes to CDs, it's not immediately clear that an e-book is in all respects better than what it succeeds....

"So the world is left with an unconvertible stock of used books that is vast. If the bustling, recession-inspired trade in used books tells us anything, it's that old books hold value for readers in a way that not even movies and music do. That's value that no e-book reader can unlock.... Finally, and most importantly, as a delivery mechanism, e-books are nothing like music or even movies and television, and the transitions seen in those media simply don't apply to the transition to electronic books. Books have a kind of usability that, for most people, isn't about to be trumped by bourgeoisie concerns about portability: They are the only auto-playing, backwards-compatible to the dawn of the English language, entirely self-contained medium we have left."
--Christopher Mims in his Technology Review article
"The Death of the Book has Been Greatly Exaggerated."

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo


Image of Day: Isabel Wilkerson Scores Surprise Guest

Among the stories Isabel Wilkerson tells in The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (Random House) is one about the move by Charles and Katie Russell, along with many others, from Monroe, La., to Oakland, Calif., in the 1940s. The Russells' nine-year-old son, able to grow up with more opportunities, became basketball and cultural icon Bill Russell. He and two younger generations of the Russell family living in Seattle were part of an overflow audience of more than 300 that greeted Wilkerson at the Northwest African American Museum last Friday, a memorable, moving reading, co-presented with Elliott Bay Book Company.



Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Notes: Deborah Leonard Is New GLIBA Executive Director

Deborah Leonard will become the new executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, replacing Jim Dana, who is leaving, effective October 15, to join the Peace Corps.

Leonard was most recently a sales manager at Cengage Learning, where she won the President's Award for Top Sales Manager in 2006. Earlier she was a national account manager at Scholastic and Simon & Schuster and was a children's book buyer for Waldenbooks. She began her career as a bookseller at Zibart's in Nashville, Tenn., and worked as a bookstore manager for seven years.

GLIBA president Sally Bulthuis said that Leonard "brings a wealth of knowledge from her many years of experience in the publishing industry."

Both Leonard and Dana will be at GLIBA's fall trade show, which will be held October 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Mich.


Former President Jimmy Carter stayed again last night in a hospital in Cleveland and has canceled several appearances on his tour for White House Diary, including one at Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.

Carter had been taken to the hospital on Tuesday after arriving in Cleveland by plane and complaining of an upset stomach. According to the New York Times, the hospital described him as in "very good spirits" and said his doctors had recommended "additional observation."


The Borders Group special shareholders meeting scheduled for yesterday was postponed at the last minute until today, "to allow additional time for its shareholders to consider the proposals submitted to them for a vote." The meeting will be held at 5 p.m.

The proposals include a proposal to issue to LeBow Gamma Limited Partnership, which is controlled by CEO Bennett S. LeBow, a stock purchase warrant exercisable to acquire 35.1 million shares of Borders stock at $2.25 a share as well as to issue the shares underlying the warrant. Another proposal will require the company to obtain the consent of LeBow Gamma before it appoints, terminates or transfers the CEO or CFO or any executive officer or makes significant changes in their employment.

In a statement, Borders Group president Mike Edwards said, "While support for the proposals contained in the proxy statement has been strong, there are a significant number of shareholders who have not yet had the opportunity to vote and we want to give them time to consider the proposals and vote."

LeBow invested $25 million in Borders in May, obtaining exactly 11,111,111 shares, a stake amounting to nearly 16% of the company's stock. If the warrants are approved and exercised, his stake will rise to 35% of Borders. Also, as the AP noted, if the warrants are approved, Pershing Square Capital Management, which used to be the largest shareholder of Borders, will be eligible for a similar deal for 8.5 million shares at 65 cents a share. If Pershing Square, controlled by Bill Ackman, exercises those warrants, its stake in Borders will rise to 31%.


Barnes & Noble employees and former employees with B&N stock who sided with chairman Len Riggio were a key factor in the victory by Riggio and his slate at the company's annual meeting on Tuesday, according to a New York Times Deal Book analysis of the voting.

Other significant factors: several large funds that usually follow the advice of proxy voting advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which recommended a vote for Ron Burkle and his slate, ignored the ISS recommendations and voted for the Riggio slate. In addition, Yucaipa Companies ally Altheia did not vote 1.7 million of its 9 million shares, possibly because they were on loan to brokers and the firm did not want to appear to be acting in consort with Yucaipa. And State Street, which sided with Burkle, voted its million shares too late to be counted.


Children between the ages of 6-17 spend less time reading for fun and more time going online and using their phones for fun, but a majority of them are interested in reading an e-book and a third say they would read more books for fun if they had access to e-books, according to a study of 1,045 children and their parents sponsored by Scholastic.

Other findings of the survey:

39% of the kids said that information they find online "is always correct."
25% count texting with friends as reading and 28% consider catching up on Facebook reading.
25% of kids have read a book on a digital device, most on a computer.
66% of children surveyed said that they will always want to read printed books.


Book trailer of the day: Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson (Riverhead).


Forget the achievement of selling many millions of copies. Now we know Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series has made it: this year for the first time, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will include a Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon. It will be one of two new character helium balloons.

Kinney commented: "When I think of all of the iconic characters that have flown in years past, I feel humbled and honored that my character will be a part of the parade's history."

To celebrate, Amulet Books is holding a sweepstakes: the winner and three guests win a trip to the parade, including VIP grandstand tickets.


Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth said that Kindle's lower price point should "keep Amazon safe from the effect of the iPad," and estimated that Amazon would sell about five million Kindle e-readers this year, Electronista reported, adding that he predicted the "numbers would more than double over the course of the next two years to reach 11.5 million in 2012."

Anmuth observed that Amazon would "reap the benefits of work by Apple: as the Kindle app is still one of the most popular titles on the iPad, it still benefits when someone buys the competing tablet. The company could handle as much as 43% of the content on tablets, including not only Apple's but RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook."

Electronista also noted, however, that "Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has predicted iPad shipments that would at least double Kindle figures, reaching 10.7 million in 2010 and 21 million in 2011."


Annabel Lyon, author most recently of The Golden Mean, selected her top 10 books on the ancient world for the Guardian.


HarperMedia has made the following changes:

Christy Mirabal has been promoted to associate director, HarperAudio. She joined the company three years ago.
Beth Ives has been promoted to marketing manager, HarperAudio.
Galit Vaturi has joined HarperMedia as a product manager. Vaturi previously worked at ABC, WB Network and Walt Disney Records.
Esther Kim has been promoted to senior rights associate. She has also worked at the company for three years.
Isabel Tewes has joined HarperMedia as managing editor. She was formerly a managing editor at the Free Press and Scribner.


Effective November 1, Ingram Publisher Services will distribute Zondervan books, Bibles and other Christian materials to Zondervan's field sales, gift and special market segments.


Hello, It's the Living Room Book Salon

Chris Epting reports on one of the home events he's done for his new book, Hello, It's Me--Dispatches from a Pop Culture Junkie (Santa Monica Press), which he outlined last month (Shelf Awareness, August 3, 2010).

Okay, the fun is well under way, I'm happy to report. I had two more events this weekend, and I truly feel as though these events tap into an important way to tell people about your book.

Epting (in blue shirt) with salon guests.

Saturday night in particular, was special. I was the guest at Marcy McClelland-Massura's home in Yorba Linda, Calif. (She's a popular Southern California blogger who I have known for a year or so.)

About 20 invitees gathered for drinks, food and then a relaxed living room presentation of Hello, It's Me. We had an open, lively discussion of pop culture, what we grew up with, what has shaped our collective lives--favorite songs, movies, TV shows. It was much different from a bookstore environment in its relaxed intimacy, which I think encourages people to get involved in the talk once I'm done talking about the book.

The biggest, most interesting angle as it applies to marketing is that Marcy, a gifted writer/communicator herself, then blogged about the event, which in turn helped promote the book and future events. Here is her piece:

And here is what she wrote me afterwards about her take on the evening and on the idea of the home being morphed into a salon for book events. She makes it sound like a true wave of the future:

"The concept of having a well known author come to my home, meet my friends and sit in my living room while sharing his back story was a little surreal dream for me. Suddenly my home was transformed from a homework/laundry/little league headquarters to an interactive salon filled with intellectuals bantering about pop culture and life experiences. Even more fascinating than Chris's written stories was hearing him tell how they came to be, and offering details about his life that can not be found in his books. In many ways, I felt that hosting this book party for Chris was a neat chapter in my own life story, and I was honored to have an evening of sharing him with my friends."

These events are becoming transformational for me. I'm discovering new, fertile, receptive areas to talk about this book and then sell this book. I can almost feel the playing field shifting under my feet. The bonus becomes when, after the event, it can live on thanks to creative bloggers.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rowling on Oprah

Tomorrow on Oprah: J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.


Tomorrow on 20/20: Michael Capuzzo, author of The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases (Gotham, $26, 9781592401420/1592401422).


Movies: The Reluctant Communist; I Am Number Four Trailer

Brett Ratner's Rat Entertainment has optioned the film rights to The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea by Charles Robert Jenkins. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ratner may also direct the project, Ross Katz (Taking Chance) is writing the screenplay and John Cheng, head of feature development for Rat, will be the executive producer.

"The story is heartbreakingly sad, yet funny and romantic all at the same time," said Cheng. "It has so many of the elements you look for in a great film."


DreamWorks has released a teaser trailer for the movie I Am Number Four, directed by D.J. Caruso from an adaptation of the YA sci-fi novel by James Frey and Jobie Hughes (under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore). "The primary takeaway? Boys, here is your Twilight saga," New York magazine observed. 


This Weekend on Book TV: C Street

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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, October 2

11:45 a.m. From the 2010 Fall for the Book Festival in Washington, D.C., a discussion between biographers Mimi Clark Gronlund, author of Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark: A Life of Service (University of Texas Press, $45, 9780292719903/0292719906), and J. Roderick Heller, author of Democracy's Lawyer: Felix Grundy of the Old Southwest (Louisiana State University Press, $45, 9780807135884/0807135887). (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Robert Scheer, author of The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street (Nation Books, $15.95, 9781568584348/1568584342), talks about the people and policies that led to the 2008 economic collapse. (Re-airs Sunday at 3 a.m. and Monday at 6 a.m.)

7 p.m. For an event hosted by Politics & Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., Jeff Sharlet, author of C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780060560058/0060560053), focuses on a residence in Washington that has housed politicians interested in transforming their religious beliefs into legislation. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m. and10 p.m.)

9 p.m. David Limbaugh, author of Crimes Against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama (Regnery, $29.95, 9781596986244/1596986247), argues that the current administration is encroaching upon individuals' rights. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Edna Greene Medford interviews Lincoln historian James Swanson, author of Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse (Morrow, $27.99, 978-0061233784/0061233781).
11 p.m. Nigel Hamilton, author of American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush (Yale University Press, $35, 9780300169287/0300169280), profiles the 12 American presidents since World War II. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

Sunday, October 3

12 p.m. In Depth. Dr. Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist and co-founder of the string field theory, is the author of eight books. He joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles out next Tuesday, October 5:

Nemesis by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547318356/0547318359) explores the bad luck and poor choices of a playground director.

Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press, $40, 9781594202667/1594202664) is a biography about the first president.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life
by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780767919388/0767919386) examines the origins and evolution of domestic living.

Cesar's Rules: Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier (Crown Archetype, $25.99, 9780307716866/0307716864) gives training tips from National Geographic's Dog Whisperer.

The Reversal by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316069489/0316069485) is the newest entry in the series featuring LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.

Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399156854/0399156852) is the 38th novel with Boston PI Spenser.

Can't Wait Till Christmas by Mike Huckabee and Jed Henry (Putnam, $17.99, 9780399255397/0399255397) is a children's picture book about impatient kids during Christmas.

Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781439150030/1439150036) is a story about a woman's crumbling family life and her infatuation with a mysterious man.

Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama's Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security
by Michael Savage (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062010971/0062010972) follows the anti-Obama Republican Party line.

The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Sam Harris (Free Press, $26.99, 9781439171219/1439171211) uses philosophy and neuroscience to disprove moral relativism.

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America by Eugene Robinson (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385526548/0385526547) argues that the African-American population has split into distinct groups, some prospering while others wallow in poverty.

New in paperback:

In the Time of the Girls by Anne Germanacos (BOA Editions Ltd., $14, 9781934414385/1934414387) is a debut collection of short stories.

Crave by J. R. Ward (Signet, $7.99, 9780451229441/0451229444) is the second book in the Fallen Angels series.


Awards: William Hill Sports Book of the Year

Call it the Bookie Prize. The longlist for this year's William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award includes:

Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
A Book of Heroes: Or a Sporting Half Century by Simon Barnes
No Place to Hide: How I Put the Black in the Union Jack by Errol Christie with Tony McMahon
Trautmann's Journey: From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend by Catrine Clay
The Grudge: Scotland vs. England, 1990 by Tom English
Tea With Mr Newton: 100,000 Miles, The Longest Protest March in History by Rob Hadgraft
A Last English Summer by Duncan Hamilton
Blood Knots by Luke Jennings
Liston & Ali: The Ugly Bear and the Boy Who Would Be King by Bob Mee
Beware of the Dog: Rugby's Hard Man Reveals All by Brian Moore
We Ate All the Pies by John Nicholson
Blood, Sweat and Treason by Henry Olonga
Bounce: How Champions Are Made by Matthew Syed

Book2Book reported that the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award "is the world's longest established and most valuable literary sports-writing prize. As well as a £22,000 [US$34,728] cash prize, the winning author will receive a £2,000 William Hill bet, a hand-bound copy of their book, and a day at the races." The shortlist will be announced October 26 and the winner honored in London November 30.


Book Review

Book Review: Grant Wood

Grant Wood: A Life by R Tripp Evans (Knopf Publishing Group, $37.50 Hardcover, 9780307266293, October 2010)


Celebrity cut two ways for painter Grant Wood, according to this provocative biography by art historian R. Tripp Evans. Before his painting American Gothic was shown at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1930, Wood had only a local reputation in his native Iowa; afterward he was lauded for creating "one of the finest records of America that has ever been painted," and his fame spread like a prairie wildfire. Press interest meant, however, that Wood had to create something even more complex than his paintings: he needed a sturdy cover story for himself.


Prior to 1930, Wood had "cultivated a childlike dependence, passivity, and appearance" that kept busybodies at arm's length and maintained what Evans characterizes as Wood's high degree of self-surveillance; after celebrity came his way, he presented himself as a farmer-painter (although he had never farmed) and pretended that he was self-taught (just forget he had studied in Paris and Munich). To play the part he created for himself, Wood went so far as to dress in overalls (reining in his inner dandy). Noting that Wood "considered the farmland of Iowa, above all, as a metaphor for male strength and beauty," Evans deftly analyzes the origins of the enduring power of Wood's imagery; he also strips away the totally bogus cover story of a man who was deathly afraid that his homosexuality would be exposed.

Wood's secret was hidden in plain sight. The iconography of his paintings may have appeared to be "overwhelmingly masculine" (gone was the Impressionist-influenced style that American critics at the time dismissed as "feminine"), but Evans reveals the homoerotic charge to certain works and much coded imagery. Then, there were the protégés from the mid-1920s onward; standing side by side, they would define Wood's "type" to anybody paying the slightest attention. To neutralize any suspicions that such a long line of handsome protégés might create, Wood always lived with his mother and late in life married an older woman who seemed to understand the arrangement perfectly.

Following that 1935 marriage, Wood's productivity declined, his debts mounted and he ran into trouble with his college teaching job; divorce came for the couple in 1939, an inevitability that also brought an end to an unseemly crush that Wood harbored for the adult married son of his wife. Recovering from various personal disasters, Wood tried to make changes in his life, although his last major work continued to reflect "the twin themes of exposure and punishment," sources fundamental to his greatest artistic achievements.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A powerful biography that both reclaims Grant Wood as an important American artist and reveals the tyranny of the homosexual closet on the man.




Fallen Fail

The winner of the Indigo Teen Read Awards for best new writer, for Fallen, is Lauren Kate, not Kate Lauren, as we wrote yesterday. Indigo got it wrong, and Awareness Shelf regrets the error.


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