Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Harper Perennial: The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Andrews McMeel Publishing: How to Draw a Reindeer and Other Christmas Creatures with Simple Shapes in 5 Steps by Lulu Mayo

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt


Image of the Day: Big Rig

Alex Debogorski, star of the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers, is heading off on a coast-to-coast tour for his first book, King of the Road: True Tales from a Legendary Ice Road Trucker, coming next month from Wiley. And you won't be able to miss him: he'll be driving the longest fifth-wheel tractor in the United States. The tractor with the trailer is 93 feet from bumper to bumper. The tour kicked off at Wiley's Hoboken, N.J., headquarters last week. Here, Aaditee Shah, senior events coordinator; Dean Karrel, v-p, trade sales; trucker Debogorski; associate editor Constance Santisteban; sales manager Sarah Knapp; Mike Onorato, associate director of publicity; and marketing manager Malati Chavali, pose in front of the vehicle (which someone managed to parallel park!).



University of California Press: Smoke But No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry

Notes: Amazon Wins Summary Judgment

The state of North Carolina, which obtained some information about residents' purchases from for purposes of sales tax collection and sought more detailed information, has lost its case--at least in present form.

A federal district court judge in Washington State ruled that North Carolina's current request "runs afoul of the First Amendment," as quoted by CNET News. She added that North Carolina has "no legitimate need" for details about the literary, music and film habits of Amazon customers in the state. "In spite of this, [North Carolina] refuses to give up the detailed information about Amazon's customers' purchases, while at the same time requesting the identities of the customers and, arguably, detailed records of their purchases, including the expressive content."

CNET News said that Amazon "provided the state tax collectors with anonymized information about which items were shipped to which ZIP codes. But North Carolina threatened to sue if the retailer did not agree to divulge the names and addresses linked to each order--in other words, by providing personally identifiable information that could be used to collect additional use taxes that might be owed by state residents."

The judge did allow North Carolina the possibility of filing a more limited request for information from Amazon if the state destroys the information it already has.

The American Civil Liberties Union had intervened in the lawsuit wanting Amazon to be prohibited from "disclosing customer purchases without a subpoena, which the court did not grant."


Headline of the day: "Amazon Touts Kindle Sales Numbers Without Sharing Kindle Sales Numbers," noted TechCrunch in reporting that Amazon said "sales of the new generation Kindle devices have already surpassed total Kindle device sales from the holiday season of last year."


The e-book wars may have a holiday spirit all their own this year. With Amazon and B&N making e-reader news this week, Borders announced its own deals on several e-readers, beginning yesterday and running through October 31.

Customers ordering in advance the Velocity Micro Cruz Tablet at $299.99 receive a $25 Borders gift card; the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader with wi-fi is on sale for $169.99, $30 off the list price; and the Kobo eReader ($129.99) is selling for $99.99 this week. In addition, Borders is offering the Aluratek Libre for $99.99 through November 15.

Other e-promotions from Borders include five free e-books of the company's choosing with the advance order of a Kobo Wireless eReader; a free cover with built-in light with the purchase of the 2010 models of the Sony Touch and Sony Pocket; and a 20% discount on all e-reader accessories.

"It's a competitive market, and Borders doesn't nearly have the share that Amazon does," TechCrunch observed. "Price cuts can be a sales driver during the holiday time, and these sort of deals are necessary to compete with the big guys."


Gilbert Pili, who founded Cornerstone Books, Salem, Mass., five years ago and put the store up for sale last month (Shelf Awareness, September 15, 2010) in part because he has a full-time job elsewhere, has decided to close the store, according to the Salem News.

Pili was unavailable for comment, but the paper spoke with several authors, including Brunonia Barry, who launched The Lace Reader at Cornerstone, and Katherine Howe, who did a book signing for The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane there, both of whom lamented the closing of Cornerstone.


ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper spotted Jonathan Franzen leaving the executive mansion yesterday. Tapper reported on his blog: "Asked how his meeting with the president went, the celebrated author of Freedom said 'delightful.' "

During his vacation this past summer on Martha's Vineyard, President Obama famously received an ARC of Freedom at Bunch of Grapes bookstore.


Last Saturday, Carol Besse, co-owner of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky., gave a This I Believe essay on the Bob Edwards Radio Show on the subject "We Need a Revolution."

What to protest against? She replied: "The list is practically endless--the destruction of our environment, the takeover of our government by special interests, the meltdown of our economy, the growing inequity in our society--everywhere that entrenched corporate and political interests have a choke-hold on our culture. Insurance companies tell us we can't have national healthcare; oil and auto industries tell us we can't have fuel-efficient, clean cars; politicians tell us we can't have a government uncorrupted by money. But we must have these things."

Read the transcript here.


Poets & Writers magazine has a q&a with Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson, New York City. One of her more amusing answers was to a statement that McNally Jackson is a neighborhood bookstore.

"Well, and more than that. I mean, a place that is actually comfortable--there are chairs, it's very spacious. That might not seem like an important thing, but in New York it's a big deal. We had the radical idea of giving people chairs. [Laughter.] The chains took out all their chairs because people were falling asleep in them, and literally dying in them. So we wanted to have a place, you know, where you could sit and relax and look at books. It was almost like taking the bookselling strategy that everyone else around the country had already figured out and bringing it to New York."


The Algonquin Talks blog has a great q&a with Amy Salit, producer at Fresh Air for "25 long, grueling years." She talks about many things, including several legendary BEA parties--two of which we attended, too--and the disastrous interview with Gene Simmons. One of our favorite answers:

"I'm going to reveal a big secret that probably shouldn't go beyond this blog--Maureen Corrigan is actually a computer-generated voice driven by a book reviewing algorithm. They're still tweaking the program, but I think it's pretty good."


WMUR's New Hampshire Chronicle profiled RiverRun Books, Portsmouth, N.H., interviewing owner Tom Holbrook. Among some of the things highlighted: the "fresh hot books" table (instead of "new books"), the 20/20 table featuring 20 titles chosen by RiverRun booksellers that are discounted 20% for a month; and "second run books," the used book section.


Book trailer of the day: A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves (New World Library), which asks, "On any given day, a writer may write the best she's ever written. Is today your day?"


Next Wednesday, November 3, at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific, Terry Whalin is hosting a 70-minute webcast featuring Perfect Bound Marketing founders Ted Rogers and Vickie Mullins who will discuss special market book sales. Interested listeners may ask questions and register at; each participant will receive a free report, 26 Secrets & Steps for Book-selling Success. The event will be available later via replay links.

Rogers signed his first special market sales campaign contract in 1993 and with a single sale sold more than 100,000 copies of his book. Mullins is the author of the I Want You to Know Me series.


In a Boston Globe interview, Lawrence Ferlinghetti reminisced about Jack Powers--the founder of Stone Soup who died October 14--calling him "a great yea-sayer" for poetry. The Globe noted that Stone Soup "was a lot of things, chief among them a series of poetry readings that Jack Powers launched on May Day in 1971. It also was a bookstore, a publisher, and a place for poets to read silently or aloud--'a secular chapel,' "

"I met Jack when he still had Stone Soup bookstore," Ferlinghetti said. "It was on the back side of Beacon Hill, a small bookstore. City Lights was a small bookstore in those days, we were a one-room bookstore for many years, so naturally I gravitated toward a place like that and I met a lot of Jack's friends and hung out with a lot of them.... I had a lot of great times with him. Jack was a great yea-sayer. He was a great friend and promoter of poets, and he was very proud of having kept his Stone Soup poetry readings series going."


The inimitable Strand Book Store. "I went to New York last week for a work event. Totally fun but the 'work' part definitely limited my shopping time," wrote Adryanna in Chicago Now's Fashion Statement blog. "In fact, I only managed to visit two stores: Strand Bookstore, which in no way could be duplicated outside of its downtown Manhattan location, and the second, Uniqlo, a store that should open a location in Chicago ASAP, in my sartorial opinion!"


Obituary note: Eva Ibbotson, the "much-loved author of Which Witch? and The Secret of Platform 13," died last week, the Guardian reported. She was 85.


The Vowel Effect. Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog deconstructed Twitter book reviews by Tyra Banks, noting that the model-turned-talk show host "just mentioned that she finished Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins' trilogy. How good did she think it was? 'Soooooo good!!!' That is especially impressive, since six o's and three exclamation points is the highest possible score in Tyra's rating system. (By comparison, she thought Twilight was 'Soooo good!!' and she broke with critical consensus by only giving the new Franzen a tepid 'Soo good!')"


In honor of this week's release of Life by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, the Wrap featured Rock Books 101, noting: "When it comes to rock memoirs not all are created equal... but when they're good, and really bad, they can be great."


We're not sure whether this technically qualifies as library news, but Australian librarian Graham Barker has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for his collection of "belly button fluff," which he has been "harvesting" every day for 26 years, the Daily Mail reported.


GLOW: Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz

Hooray for SCIBA in Hollywood

This past Saturday, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association convened in Hollywood for its jam-packed, single-day annual education/trade show/authors feast/awards ceremony. While executive director Jennifer Bigelow noted that overall attendance was slightly down from last year, she was encouraged by an increase (10%) in the number of bookstores represented and overall publisher support. "We have a nice mix of major publishing houses and local presses--Angel City, Santa Monica Press and Getty Publications, among them--who are behind us, and that is very cool," Bigelow said. Another trend she finds encouraging: changes in ownership at member stores, including Yellow Brick Road and Book Carnival, and the opening of new stores: Pages in Manhattan Beach and another planned Mysterious Galaxy location in Redondo Beach.

SCIBA kicked off unofficially Friday night with a 25th-anniversary party for Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop in LaVerne, whose general manager/buyer, Andrea Vuleta, is the association's president.

Like all regionals, one of the highlights of SCIBA is the chance for front-line booksellers to mix with authors, publishers and other booksellers. Diesel co-owner John Evans said seven of his employees attended, and he believes the education sessions and trade show help make them "better booksellers."

Evans was particularly moved at this year's lunch when Andrew Smith (The Marbury Lens, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan) shared his recent experience with "Teen Reads Week." A teacher and father of two teens, Smith pointed out that while it seems normal for younger children to read aloud, it is an even more powerful experience to ask teenagers to read from the books that mean something to them.

Debut author Matthew Kirby (The Clockwork Three, Scholastic), a school psychologist, shared how, when was growing up and his family moved frequently, bookstores were his refuge. He had a full-circle moment when he kicked off his book tour at one such store, the King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah. "You guys are the ones who show us why we need bookstores, and I really appreciate that," he concluded.

Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse and Fallout (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S), said that she knows her books, which focus on contemporary issues like parental drug addiction, pose some shelving issues for booksellers, and she thanked them for making room for these titles among the fantasy-themed bestsellers by reading excerpts from fan letters. "This is the power of books," Hopkins said, holding up a printout of fan e-mails. "They come from children who are hurting, and children who want to help other children," she said.

In a lighter lunch-time moment, first-time author Al Yankovic (who has dropped the "Weird" from his name on his children's book, When I Grow Up, from HarperCollins) thanked his local bookstore "homies" for their spirited rendition of "Happy Birthday." Yankovic, who spent three years studying architecture, credited his father with always supporting his decision to pursue what makes him happy.

During the educational program sessions, Kristen McLean, executive director of the American Booksellers for Children, led two sessions: one explored innovative trends in fan fiction and other expressions fostered by new technology; the other explored the role booksellers play in anti-bullying efforts. Given the recent news about bullied teens, the session seemed prescient, but Vuleta (who participated as a bookseller and mom), said the program had been in the works since last spring because it is a perennial problem.

Instead of being reactive, McLean said, booksellers can help teach peace with books like Kathryn Otoshi's One and Zero (KO Kids/distributed by PGW) and Mary Hanlon Stone's Invisible Girl (Philomel), both featured on the panel. Operating on the idea that booksellers are an integral part of the "village" it takes to raise healthy children, attendees left with helpful book lists.

Don Winslow, bestselling author of Savages (S&S), gave the keynote that evening and took the opportunity to talk about how booksellers had supported him throughout his career and about his new book, Satori, a prequel to the Trevanian classic Shibumi, to be published by Grand Central next March.

Acting as awards emcee was Paul Cimusz, retail territory manager at Baker & Taylor, which has sponsored the moveable feast dinner for 12 years. This year's SCIBA awards went to: in fiction, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Doubleday); nonfiction, Tattoos of the Heart by Greg Boyle (Free Press); children's novel, This Book Is Not Good for You by Pseudonymous Bosch (Little, Brown); and children's picture book, All the World by Liz Garton Scanlo, illustrated by Marla Frazee (S&S). The T. Jefferson Parker Award (presented by the popular SoCal author it is named for), went to The First Rule by Robert Crais (Putnam). Crais, who was unable to attend because of a death in the family, asked poet Kim Dower (Air Kissing on Mars, Red Hen), aka "Kim-from-L.A.," to accept for him. "You're his favorite booksellers, and this is his favorite town," Dower told the crowd.

In presenting the Glenn Goldman Book Award to Los Angeles, Portrait of a City by David L. Ulin, Jim Heimann and Kevin Starr (Taschen), Harper's Gabe Barillas said that while lots of people have strong opinions about Los Angeles, few "get" and appreciate the cultural life of the city the way the late Goldman did--which is the guiding principle behind the award. "This is especially meaningful because I loved Glenn," Ulin said in acceptance. "When Book Soup first opened, I was there," added Heimann.

Earlier in the evening, Diesel's John Evans and Warwick's Adrian Newell presented the Glenn Goldman Scholarships, allowing two front-line booksellers to attend SCIBA and the ABA's Winter Institute--to help perpetuate the "engagement and curiosity" Goldman felt were essential to the bookselling trade.--Bridget Kinsella


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer

The B&N College Lawsuit: 'Another Headache for Mr. Riggio'

In the New York Times Deal Professor column, Steven M. Davidoff mulled over how independent Barnes & Noble directors are.

The matter is an issue in the lawsuit brought by several public employee retirement funds concerning B&N's purchase of Barnes & Noble College, a separate company owned by B&N chairman Len Riggio and his family, for $514 million last year. The purchase was also a major issue brought up by Ron Burkle when he and two others ran unsuccessfully for seats on the B&N board September 28. A Delaware judge ruled last week against a motion to dismiss the suit against B&N.

The Delaware court Vice Chancellor Strine said three of the four members of the special committee that oversaw the purchase for B&N might not be truly independent. These three members, Davidoff wrote, were: "Irene Miller who was reportedly Mr. Riggio's protégé and had served as chief executive of Barnes & Noble under Mr. Riggio's tutelage; Margaret T. Monaco, who had reportedly been removed from the Barnes & Noble compensation committee because of a problem with options back-dating and was subsequently appointed to the audit committee; and William T. Dillard II, who controls the Dillard's clothing chain and was in what Vice Chancellor Strine referred to as the 'controller's club' with Mr. Riggio. The plaintiffs alleged that Mr. Dillard and Mr. Riggio 'are close friends and frequently socialize and play golf together.'

"Four other directors were also found by Vice Chancellor Strine not to be independent: Mr. Riggio, by definition; his brother Stephen Riggio; Larry Zilavy, an executive at the college bookseller; and Michael J. Del Giudice. Mr. Del Giudice had been found not to be independent....  [He] runs an investment fund in which Leonard Riggio is a significant investor. These seven directors in question constituted a majority of the Barnes & Noble board at the time of this suit."

More complications: Davidoff wrote that at the time of the B&N College purchase, the special committee handling the B&N College purchase "granted a waiver to allow Barnes & Noble's usual counsel to represent Mr. Riggio instead of the company, depriving the board of crucial knowledge it might otherwise have. In addition, at the request of Mr. Riggio, the board went out of its way not to consider an alternative transaction."

Davidoff's conclusion: "This is another headache for Mr. Riggio. This lawsuit will proceed to discovery and depositions. No good can come of this for Mr. Riggio. Documents may come to light that show this already 'fishy' transaction to be actually biased in his favor. Given the criticisms of the transaction at the time, this appears to be something I would bet would occur. It is doubtful that it will ever go to a full trial, but settling this matter is going to be yet another cost for Barnes & Noble at a time when it can ill afford it. It has not been a good year for the company."


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Apolo Anton Ohno with Zero Regrets

This morning on the Today Show: Days of our Lives cast members Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady) and Peter Reckell (Bo Brady), who will discuss the 45th anniversary of the soap opera and Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos by Greg Meng and Eddie Campbell (Sourcebooks, $29.99, 9781402243493/1402243499).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Kim Barnouin, author of Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your Bod (Running Press, $29.95, 9780762439379/0762439378).

Also on the Today Show: Stefanie Powers, author of One from the Hart (Gallery, $26, 9781439172100/1439172102).


Tomorrow on Fox & Friends: 4TROOPS, the musical group comprised of four young U.S. Army combat veterans and authors of 4TROOPS: The Mission Is Music (Newmarket Press, $16.95 paperback with CD, 9781557049476/1557049475; $24.95 hardcover, 9781557049483/1557049483).


Tomorrow on the Joy Behar Show: Nicolle Wallace, author of Eighteen Acres (Atria, $25, 9781439194829/1439194823).


Tomorrow on NPR's The Takeaway: Pauline Maier, author of Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9780684868547/0684868547).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Apolo Anton Ohno, author of Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday (Atria, $26, 9781451609066/145160906X).


Movies: The Lorax

Danny DeVito is the Lorax. USA Today reported that DeVito "will speak for the Lorax" in a 3D animated version of the classic Dr. Seuss book "about a stumpy little guy who stands on a tree stump deploring the destruction of a forest."  

"Danny has this wonderful ability to be acerbic and grouchy but at the same time absolutely lovable," said Illumination Entertainment chief Chris Meledandri. "It's almost like Walter Matthau had. His comedic edge was very sharp, but he always maintained that warmth."

The film's villains will be played by Daily Show alums Ed Helms (as the Once-ler) and Rob Riggle as "a new character: O'Hare, another industrialist who sells cans of fresh air to the polluted world the Once-ler creates and wants to keep it that way," USA Today wrote. Zac Efron will be the voice of Ted and the ubiquitous Betty White will play Ted's grandmother.

DeVito said the environmental message of the book is key: "Look, I don't want to be gruff about it, but we've got to wake up and smell the oil burning. I'm hoping that the squeakiest wheel gets the least grease. I feel sometimes the only way to get things done is shake people up a little bit, and the Lorax is not a guy who pussyfoots around. He's not a guy who uses kid gloves. No, no, the Lorax means business."


Television: The Happiness Project

Kristin Davis (Sex and the City) will star in and produce a show based on Gretchen Rubin's book The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. Variety reported that the "untitled single-camera project is based on the real-life experience of Gretchen Rubin. A former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Rubin embarked on a quest to explore the nature of happiness while writing a book... She also launched a related blog,, that piqued Davis' interest."


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, November 1 and 2:

Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel
by Armistead Maupin (Harper, $25.99, 9780061470882/0061470880) stars Mary Ann Singleton, who returns to San Francisco.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446557030/044655703X) is a farcical guide to crafting hobbies, such as making a "bean-and-leaf James Brown mosaic."

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane (Morrow, $26.99, 9780061836923/0061836923) forces Boston PI Patrick Kenzie to face the mistakes he made in a past case.

Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Houghton Mifflin, $26, 9780547435572/0547435576) re-imagines Henry James's The Ambassadors.

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
by Simon Winchester (Harper, $27.99, 9780061702587/0061702587) chronicles the geological and sociopolitical history of the Atlantic Ocean.

They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell'Abate and Chad Millman (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9781400069552/1400069556) recounts the early life and career of the Howard Stern Show producer.

Me by Ricky Martin (Celebra, $26.95, 9780451234155/0451234154) is the memoir of a pop music superstar.

Indulgence in Death by J.D. Robb (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399156878/0399156879) is the 32nd future cop thriller with NYPD Lt. Eve Dallas.

Edge: A Novel by Jeffery Deaver (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781439156353/1439156352) pits an interrogator against a government agent trying to protect his target.

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor, $29.99, 9780765325945/0765325942) is the second novel based on work left unfinished by Jordan before his death in 2007.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (Little, Brown, $29.99, 9780316001922/0316001929) separates historical fact from popularized myth regarding the life of ancient Egypt's queen.

Audrey 100 by Ellen Fontana (Sterling, $40, 9781402778360/1402778368) is a collection of the most iconic Audrey Hepburn photographs.

Now in paperback

Happy Ever After
by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $16, 9780425236758/0425236757).

Rachael Ray's Look + Cook
by Rachael Ray (Clarkson Potter, $24.99, 9780307590503/030759050X).

Good Housekeeping Drop 5 Lbs: The Small Changes, Big Results Diet by Heather K. Jones and the Editors of Good Housekeeping (Hearst, $19.95, 9781588167866/1588167860).


Awards: IPA Freedom Prize--Special Award

A Turkish publisher who is on trial for publishing certain books, including a translation of Guillaume Apollinaire's classic Les exploits d'un jeune Don Juan (The Exploits of a Young Don Juan), was honored with an IPA Freedom Prize--Special Award by the International Publishers Association in Geneva.  

"The owner of Sel Yayıncılık publishing, Irfan Sanci, has been sued under Article 226 of the Turkish penal code (TPC; obscenity)," said IPA Freedom to Publish committee chair Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, "for having published the following books: Ben Mila's The Fairy's Pendulum; Guillaume Apollinaire's Adventures of the Young Don Juan; and Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady by P.V., facing up to 9 years in jail. In May 2010, despite an experts' report from the Galatasaray and Bahcesehir Universities, concluding that the books were works of literature, an Istanbul court decided, for the first time in history, to send the three books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications for review, deciding whether they constitute literature or obscenity. The next hearing is due on 2 November 2010. There is potential political censorship in the air. We therefore call for Sel's acquittal."

The Guardian reported that Sanci is also due to receive his award from the IPA's Freedom to Publish committee on November 2 at the Istanbul TÜYAP book fair, the same day as his next court hearing.

"I am being punished in my own country but am also getting an international award," Sanci said. "This is tragic. Everything aside, Apollinare's book, which is a part of the world's cultural heritage, is being tried for hurting the public's sense of shame."


Shelf Starter: Howards End Is on the Landing

Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill (Profile Books, $15.95 trade paper, 9781846682667/1846682665, October 12, 2010)


Opening lines from a book we want to read, about an author's voyage through her bookshelves:


It began like this. I went to the shelves on the landing to look for a book I knew was there. It was not. But plenty of others were and among them I noticed at least a dozen I realised I had never read.

I pursued the elusive book through several rooms and did not find it in any of them, but each time I did find at least a dozen, perhaps two dozen, perhaps two hundred, that I had never read.

And then I picked out a book I had read but had forgotten I owned. And another and another. After that came the books I had read, knew I owned and realised that I wanted to read again.

I found the book I was looking for in the end, but by then it had become far more than a book. It marked the start of a journey through my own library. --Selected by Marilyn Dahl


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