Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marvel Press: Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Noa Denmon

Knopf Publishing Group: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Algonquin Books: The Wonders by Elena Medel, translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead

Minotaur Books: The Shadow House by Anna Downes

Soho Crime: One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips

Quotation of the Day

Michael Hyatt: 'Digital Transition' Will be Slower than Predicted

"I have no doubt that we are in the midst of a digital transition. It is here to stay and is proving disruptive--especially to brick-and-mortar booksellers. The only question is: How fast will the migration to digital happen?

"In my opinion, not as fast as the majority of my colleagues in the industry think. I do not believe that by 2014, 50% of all books sold will be digital. I believe the number will be closer to 25%. That is, in fact, the planning assumption we are using at Thomas Nelson."

--Michael Hyatt, chairman & CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, in a blog post presenting "Four Reasons Why the Sales Growth of e-Books Will Be Slower Than Industry Executives Think."


Broadleaf Books: A Complicated Choice: Making Space for Grief and Healing in the Pro-Choice Movement by Katey Zeh


Image of the Day: The Rite Stuff

The Rite, based on The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Mat Baglio, opened last weekend and earned $15 million, making it No. 1 at the box office. The Rite stars Anthony Hopkins and Colin O'Donoghue, who plays Father Gary Thomas, a priest who trains at the Vatican as one of 14 modern-day exorcists in the U.S. At the red carpet movie premiere of The Rite: Baglio (c.) and the real Father Gary Thomas.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Notes: Flintridge Bookstore & Coffehouse's New Digs

Good news: Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse, La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., is opening on Monday in its new, larger location in "a modern custom literary emporium" that has replaced "a drab former gas station," according to La Cañada Online. The store is increasing its inventory and is "offering a dedicated readings and special-events area independent from the din of the store's coffee and pastry counter." It will also have an Espresso Book Machine.

Owners Peter and Lenora Wannier, who opened the store in 2007, had intended to move into the site from the beginning--they had purchased the land in 2005. But the new building, costing at least $1 million, took much longer than anticipated to construct. New utility lines had to be installed. Soil contaminated by the gas station needed to be replaced. And the store had to install an elevator to allow disabled customers to enter the store from its below-ground parking area.

The Wanniers also had to contend with a runaway truck that plowed into and wrecked their store nearly two years ago (Shelf Awareness, May 5, 2009).


A last-minute rescue saved a Whittier, Calif., bookstore from closure this week. The Daily News reported that Diane Cox purchased the Little Old Bookshop, previously owned by Brett Brezniak, and will run it with her family under the name Half Off Books.

"We're excited for the chance to build on what Brett did," said Hilary, Diane's daughter. "There aren't any other huge bookstores around to compete with. We think you can make it if you have a product that can't be beat."


The latest subject of the Algonquin blog's Booksellers Rock! series is Stan Hynds of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt. Our favorite of his many great answers was in response to a question about the books that changed his life:

"I know the titles and the authors that are supposed to appear in this space. I haven't read any of them. I'll answer the question like this. I wasn't much of a reader from the time I was a teenager right through college and into my mid-twenties. I was living in Colorado in 1987 when a friend, for no apparent reason, sent me three paperbacks--Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella, A Short History of a Small Place by T. R. Pearson and Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith. That gift of those three books turned me into a reader."


On Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow chronicled the odyssey of Diane Duane's crowdfunded publishing experiment, which began six years ago when she "started to ask her readers if they'd be willing to subsidize her next book through subscriptions as she wrote it. Things went great for a while, and then they didn't. Diane's health, circumstances, and life went through a long, bumpy patch and her book went off the rails."

Doctorow expressed sympathy for Duane, who has now finished the novel and apologized for the delay to fans who backed her, but he also pointed out "an important--and underreported--problem with 'micropatronage' and 'street performer protocol'-style artistic experiments. Writers are often late with their books. Sometimes they're so late that the books are given up for dead.... We're going to see a lot of this in the future, as more writers try this kind of experiment. Off the rails is the normal state for most books, and readers rarely get to hang around the sausage factory watching the ugly production cycle."


For NPR's ThreeBooks series, Rick Baker, author of Vice: One Cop's Story of Patrolling America's Most Dangerous City, recommended "Three Eyewitness Books About Crime Fighting," including Memoirs of Vidocq: Master of Crime by Eugene Francois Vidocq, L.A. Rex by Will Beall and The Overlook by Michael Connelly.


To celebrate the upcoming release of Quirk Classics' The Meowmorphosis by Franz Kafka and Cook Coleridge, a "classic tale with a Lolcat friendly kitten instead of the original insect," Flavorwire matched "Famous Authors and Their Animal Counterparts."


Paul Bailey, author of Chapman's Odyssey, selected his top 10 stories of old age for the Guardian, noting that old age "is a fact of life and should not be isolated from it. More sentimental rubbish has been written about the 'plight of the elderly' than I can bear to contemplate. There are hundreds of novels in which elderly characters feature--in the great works of Dickens, Dostoevsky and Balzac, for example. They function in the narrative but don't occupy centre stage. Here are some titles in which the old take precedence."


Book trailer of the day: Pat the Zombie: A Cruel (Adult) Spoof by Aaron Ximm, illustrated by Kaveh Soofi (Ten Speed), which goes on sale April 26.


Congratulations to Nan Graham, one of our favorite editors, who has been named senior v-p, editor-in-chief of Scribner. In 16 years at the house, she has worked with Frank McCourt, Stephen King, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Solomon, Don DeLillo, Annie Proulx, Colm Toíbín, Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, Jeannette Walls and many others.

Susan Moldow, executive v-p and publisher, commented: "If any of our contemporaries can be said to fill the shoes of Charles Scribner's Sons' celebrated editor Maxwell Perkins, there can be no better candidate than Nan, for she is truly creating the backlist of the future, whatever form it takes."


University of California Press: Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo (1st ed.) by Peter Richardson

Egyptology 2: Egypt on the Brink and Two Others

Three new paperback originals from Yale University Press relate to three countries in the news in the Middle East:

Tarek Osman's Egypt on the Brink: From Nasser to Mubarak chronicles Egypt's recent history. Osman is a Western-educated Egyptian banker and writer who lives in Cairo and was interviewed in the last week by CNN, ABC News and WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show. His opinion pieces have been published in the London Times, on CNN and elsewhere.

Yemen: Dancing on the Heads of Snakes by Victoria Clark explores the historical and societal forces operating in this volatile state whose president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, announced yesterday, after protests like those in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, that he would not run for yet another term and would not hand over power to his son. Clark, who was born in Yemen and lives in the U.K., visited Yemen extensively and interviewed politicians, tribal leaders, oil workers and jihadists as well as ordinary Yemenis.  
Sudan: Darfur and the Failure of an African State by Richard Cockett, Africa editor for the Economist, draws on interviews with many leaders there to show how and why Sudan, historically close to Egypt, has disintegrated. In a referendum last month, the southern part of the country voted to secede, effective in July.


What's Known about Known and Unknown

In a preview of Known and Unknown, the memoir by Bush administration secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld (Sentinel) that appears next week, the New York Times wrote that the author made the following newsworthy points:

  • Only 15 days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush asked Rumsfeld to review and revise war plans involving Iraq.
  • Rumsfeld never rejected "formal" requests from commanders for more soldiers to invade Iraq in 2003.
  • Rumsfeld was against the buildings of "a larger prison" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and noted that the Bush administration transferred some 500 prisoners from the prison.
  • Rumsfeld's approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" were not as severe as those used by the CIA--for example, he did not approve waterboarding.
  • Rumsfeld criticized the Bush and the National Security Council for often ending meetings either without determining goals or without deciding how to reach stated goals.
  • Rumsfeld criticized Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice for "interagency feuding."
  • Rumsfeld criticized L. Paul Bremer, the "viceroy of Iraq," for delaying the transfer of power to Iraqis and for bypassing the Defense Department and State Department.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Aron Ralston, Author of 127 Hours

Saturday on CBS News' 48 Hours: George K. Simon, author of In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People (Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, $16.95, 9781935166306) and Character Disturbance: The Phenomenon of Our Age (Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, $19.95, 9781935166337), which will be released in May.


Sunday on Dateline NBC: Aron Ralston, author of 127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Pocket, $7.99, 9781451617702).


Movies: Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer

Relativity Media has acquired the domestic rights to Smokewood Entertainment's Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. The script was written by Kathy Waugh and Megan McDonald and is based on characters from McDonald's children's book series published by Candlewick Press. McDonald has also written a novel, to be published later this year, that was inspired by the film's script.

Variety reported that John Schultz (Aliens in the Attic) is directing, Jordana Beatty (Superman Returns) will play Judy and Heather Graham her aunt "as the third-grader sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life." 

"Judy Moody has an enormous fan base the world over," said producer Sarah Siegel-Magness. "We are excited to partner with the savvy team at Relativity to bring this beloved character to the big screen."


This Weekend on Book TV: Ron Reagan, Michael Reagan

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, February 5

9 a.m. For an event hosted by Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Ron Reagan, author of My Father at 100: A Memoir (Viking, $25.95, 9780670022595), recounts the late President Ronald Reagan's personal life and political career. (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.)

10 a.m. Charles Kupchan, author of How Enemies Become Friends: The Sources of Stable Peace (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691142654), argues that diplomacy, not economic interdependence, is the currency of peace. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7 p.m. Jonathan Schneer, author of The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (Random House, $30, 9781400065325), discusses the British declaration that split historic Palestine between the Israelis and Palestinians. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

8 p.m. For an event hosted by Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans, La., Daniel Rasmussen, author of American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt (Harper, $26.99, 9780061995217), chronicles a revolt by 500 slaves in 1811 and its exclusion from many historical accounts of the time.  (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. The Daily Beast's John Avlon interviews Michael Reagan, son of the late President Reagan and author of The New Reagan Revolution: How Ronald Reagan's Principles Can Restore America's Greatness,  (Thomas Dunne, $25.99, 9780312644543). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Monday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, February 6

8:45 a.m. Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos talk about their YA book Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science (Clarion Books, $20, 9780618574926).

12 p.m. In Depth. R. Emmett Tyrrell, author most recently of After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery (Thomas Nelson, $24.99, 9781595552723), 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

Awards: B.C. National Award for Nonfiction

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant won the $40,000 British Columbia National Award for Nonfiction, Canada's richest nonfiction prize, Quill & Quire reported. Vaillant bested a shortlist that included James FitzGerald's What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son's Quest to Redeem the Past, Stevie Cameron's On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver's Missing Women and Charles Foran's Mordecai: The Life & Times. Cameron and Foran are also nominated for the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize for Nonfiction, which will be announced on February 14.


Book Review

Book Review: Gone

Gone by Mo Hayder (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.00 Hardcover, 9780802119643, February 2011)

Gone is British writer Mo Hayder's seventh novel, the fifth to feature Detective Inspector Jack Caffrey of Bristol's Major Crime Investigation Unit, the third with police diver Sgt. Phoebe "Flea" Marley and the third in the Walking Man series. In other words, there are many threads to follow if one needs or wants them. Happily, however, readers who are unfamiliar with this talented--and very dark--writer need not worry about missing anything here. Twisty, fast-moving and often creepy, this satisfying thriller stands very well on its own.

The premise, if not the plot and characters (which take several turns along the way), is fairly straightforward; a carjacking by a man wearing a Santa Claus mask turns sinister when Caffrey realizes that the jacker wasn't after the car, but the 11-year-old girl in the backseat. It soon becomes evident that this isn't the first such abduction, that the jacker takes a particular pride in both taunting the police and torturing the families of the kidnapped girls, and that he is planning another abduction right... now. As in the most effective police procedurals of this nature, the lines between good and evil are porous and ill-defined. Both Caffrey and Marley are haunted by their own demons and by a dark secret corroding their once-simmering relationship--factors that soon begin to take their toll as the case becomes ever more nightmarish.

While Hayder does a bang-up job larding her page-turning plot with blind alleys and unexpected curves, it is her in-depth character portrayals, especially of the mothers of the missing girls, that give the novel its depth and complexity. The terror and anguish these parents feel is conveyed with pinpoint accuracy, offered in well-balanced counterpoint to the dread Caffery feels as the case starts to get away from him and Flea's desperate need to redeem herself. Yet even packed solid with the points of view of several different characters, secondary storylines and detailed descriptions of Flea's increasingly risky dives, Hayder never sacrifices pacing or tension. This is quite a feat for a novel as frontloaded as Gone; part of the enjoyment of reading it comes in wondering and then admiring how she pulls it all off.

Mo Hayder has publicly acknowledged her penchant for gruesome violence--and has stated that if she were a male writer she'd likely not be able to get away with it. But in fact, if there is one quibble here it is that the end of this fine thriller is much less dark and violent than the rest of it promises. Then again, a happy ending never killed anyone.--Debra Ginsberg

Shelf Talker: A terrific, expertly crafted thriller from British crime writer Mo Hayder featuring her series character DI Jack Caffrey.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around Chicago during the week ended Sunday, January 30:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
2. The Instructions by Adam Levin
3. Hell's Corner by David Baldacci
4. Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
5. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
3. Hey Buddy by Gary Moore
4. The Wave by Susan Casey
5. The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene

Paperback Fiction

1. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
2. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
3. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
4. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
5. Bloodroot by Amy Greene
5. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Just Kids by Patti Smith
2. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
3. The Real ACT Prep Guide by Peterson's
4. The King's Speech by Mark Logue
5. Michelin Red Guide Chicago, 2011 by Michelin


1. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
2. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead
3. It's a Book by Lane Smith
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5. The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

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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