Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Workman Publishing: Meltdown: Discover Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Lily Padula

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Graphix: The Tryout: A Graphic Novel by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Joanna Cacao

Yen on: Dark Souls: Masque of Vindication by Michael Stackpole

Grove Press: A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories by Leonard Cohen

Apollo Publishers: Why Not?: Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah by Mark Schiff

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari


Image of the Day: Full Regalia

Last week, author Brandon Mull, in full Beyonders regalia, gave a talk and autographed books at Cottonwood High School  in Murray, Utah, on the laydown date of his A World Without Heroes: Beyonders, Book 1 (Aladdin/S&S, March 15).



Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

Notes: Amended Google Settlement Nixed; Apple Sues Amazon

The amended Google settlement was rejected yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin. In the proposed settlement of a 2005 lawsuit brought by the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers against Google for violating copyright laws, the company had agreed "to pay $125 million to people whose copyrighted books have been scanned, and to locate and share revenue with the authors who have yet to come forward," Reuters wrote.

In his decision, Chin wrote that the Amended Settlement Agreement "would give Google a significant advantage over competitors, rewarding it for engaging in wholesale copying of copyrighted works without permission, while releasing claims well beyond those presented in the case."

He concluded that the settlement "is not fair, and reasonable. As the United States and other objectors have noted, many of the concerns raised in the objections would be ameliorated if the ASA were converted from an 'opt-out' settlement to an 'opt-in' settlement.... I urge the parties to consider revising the ASA accordingly."

Because Chin rejected the settlement "without prejudice," a revised pact can be submitted, Reuters noted, and Authors Guild president Scott Turow said the organization hopes to talk with Google and the AAP to "arrive at a settlement within the court's parameters that makes sense for all parties."

In a statement, Google's managing counsel Hillary Ware said, "This is clearly disappointing, but we'll review the court's decision and consider our options. Regardless of the outcome, we'll continue to work to make more of the world's books discoverable online through Google Books and Google eBooks."

"Opt-in doesn't look all that different from ordinary licensing deals that publishers do all the time," James Grimmelmann, a professor at New York Law School, told the New York Times. "That's why this has been such a big deal--the settlement could have meant orphan books being made available again. This is basically going back to status quo, and orphan books won't be available."

John Sargent, Macmillan's CEO, said in a statement that publishers are prepared to enter into a more narrow settlement using Chin's guidelines "to take advantage of its groundbreaking opportunities. We hope the other parties will do so as well.... For more than a decade, publishers have been making substantial investments to enable and enhance online access to content in accordance with copyright laws and we will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the litigation. We believe that the provisions of the settlement would give these efforts a tremendous boost and would open a world of opportunities for readers, researchers, authors, libraries and publishers for decades to come.”


Amazon has launched its Appstore for Android, which includes Test Drive, a feature that enables customers to test apps, directly from their browser, on a simulated Android phone. "Test Drive lets customers truly experience an app before they commit to buying," said Paul Ryder, v-p of electronics for Amazon. "Our customers have told us that the sheer number of apps available can make it hard to find apps that are high quality and relevant to them."

One company that is less than pleased by the launch is Apple, which has sued Amazon, claiming unfair use of its App Store trademark. Forbes reported that the lawsuit, filed late last week in California, alleges Amazon "is improperly using the name for what it calls the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal online. Amazon appears also to plan to use the name for a mobile download service."

BBC News noted that Apple is seeking to trademark the App Store name in the U.S., but a decision "is still being considered by a trademark trial and appeals board."


La Jolla, Calif., residents "don't have to worry about their local independent bookstores going anywhere," the Village News reported, noting that "the unique business models and personalized customer experiences of Warwick's and D.G. Wills Books provide stability during a time of economic recession."

"We're very passionate about the community and are very involved in several community fundraisers and endeavors," said Adrian Newell, Warwick's book buyer. "In this economic environment, big superstores don't work. We’re a much smaller operation, which allows us to be nimble and react quickly to change. I'm sure some of the Borders stores are stuck in leases for 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot spaces. For us, everything is done right here in the store. In this case, small is beautiful."

Dennis Wills, owner of D.G. Wills Books, added, "We are blessed to share with our good friends at Warwick's up the street. We are on the phone with each other daily, checking on the availability of titles for customers. If there is an important new book on almost any subject, Warwick's is likely to have it if we don't. Conversely, if someone needs one or five different translations of Homer, Plato, Cicero or Dante, or a particular edition of a Shakespeare play, we may be more likely to have that in our 'emergency Shakespeare section' in the warehouse."


The "outlook is a lot more bright for smaller book retailers" in Kansas City, Mo., as well. Vivien Jennings, co-owner of Rainy Day Books, told Fox4KC: "We focus on books.  We do books well, we read, we're able to connect with customers with the author experience as well.... Bigger isn't better.  Better is better. "


Obituary note: A memorial service will be held April 9 for the late Ralph Charles Kohn, manager of Kepler's bookstore, Menlo Park, Calif., from the late 1960s until 1997. He died last month at the age of 93. The Almanac noted that Kohn "became close to the Kepler family and when Roy's son, Clark, became the owner, the two of them became close, the family said. He and his wife Irene became the keepers of Kepler's traditions, and each summer, hosted a taco party at their home so that former employees of the store could catch up with the extended family of Kepler's people." 


Everything old is new again: Rocket Bomber found an article from the January 7, 1888, edition of Publishers Weekly expressing concern over troubling developments in the book business, where a modern retail option was threatening local bookstores. Mail-order operations, including "Library Associations," were "doing business from catalogue orders, and therefore doing it at little risk and without the necessary margin for stock and store expenses."

The book trade had "departed more and more from what we may call the local method, and become more and more centralized" partly because it desired to reach areas that weren't serviced by bookstores, and "to take advantage of mail facilities to save himself the profit formerly allowed the bookseller. Alongside of this, in the course of the competition, the discount system developed until the nominal or advertised price of books did not correspond to the practical selling price. The result of this has been to decrease not only the number of book-stores in proportion to the community, but probably the actual number of book-stores throughout the country, and the publisher more and more relies upon mail orders as a centralized means of pushing his books."

In a letter to the magazine, bookseller A. Setliff said that "you, the publishers, and the trade must unite in an effort to bring about such reforms as will save what there is left and build up a new generation of booksellers" and called for "an organization of publishers strictly, and an organization of booksellers strictly, each organization to have an executive committee to act conjointly."


"10 famous authors who went Hollywood" were showcased by Flavorwire, which noted, "Since their inception, the moving pictures have offered scribes the opportunity for comparatively easy money--a few weeks' work dashing off a screenplay or a punch-up job to subsidize the year it's going to take to write The Great American Novel."

Flavorwire also featured "books that inspired fashion designers," along with a quote from Virginia Woolf's Orlando: "Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm."


In a variation on the traditional desert island books theme, sci-fi and fantasy blog Grasping for the Wind asked readers: "If you had to leave your house in a hurry, and you could only grab five volumes off your shelf, which five would they be and why?"

Book trailer of the day: Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life by Douglas Kenrick (Basic Books).


Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley

Launch of Publishers Launch

Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Lunch, and Mike Shatzkin, head of the IdeaLogical Company, are forming Publishers Launch Conferences, a partnership that will stage educational events at BEA, the Frankfurt Book Fair and other locations--eight events in four cities in the next year. The Copyright Clearance Center and Perseus Books Group's Constellation will sponsor the entire year of events.

Digital Book World and F+W Media will serve as a producing partner for Publishers Launch. Shatzkin has been programming chair for the DBW since its inception, and Publishers Lunch is its original presenting sponsor. The entities will also work together on other F+W Media events, including the inaugural StoryWorld Conference in San Francisco in October.

The first Publishers Launch Conferences event is eBooks Go Global, a day-long program that will be held during BEA and is geared to international visitors who want to "maximize the opportunities as the big North American e-book players expand worldwide and each territory nurtures its own competitive offerings."

On June 21, Publishers Launch Conferences will hold a show in conjunction with the Publishers Association in London focused on "opportunities and challenges for British publishers in the world English-language e-book market."

The Frankfurt activities will include a full-day conference and a separate half-day show.

Cader said that he and Shatzkin have "worked together informally ever since I was a last-minute panelist at a conference he organized in London 10 years ago. We've spent the last two years collaborating happily on building the Digital Book World conferences, but the digital transition poses challenges and opportunities so big and so fast-moving that it requires frequent exploration."

Shatzkin said, "We both see major global opportunities for publishers and booksellers in all languages, regardless of the adoption of digital platforms so far in any particular country. One part of what we're doing is to help English-language publishers capitalize on these growth markets, and another part is to help others get the greatest value they can from what U.S. and U.K. publishers have already learned."


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

BAM Sales Down for Fourth Quarter, Year

Net sales at Books-A-Million in the fourth quarter ended January 29 fell 2.6% to $153.1 million and net income was $6.8 million compared to net income of $11.9 million in the same period a year ago. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 6.7%.

For the full fiscal year ended January 29 net sales fell 2.7% to $495 million and net income was $8.9 million compared to net income of $13.8 million a year ago. At stores open at least a year sales fell 4.9%.

BAM chairman, president and CEO Clyde B. Anderson said that the results "illustrate a dynamic and rapidly changing retail environment for booksellers. We were pleased with the results of the launch of our partnership with the Nook range of e-readers in the fourth quarter and the performance of the new and expanded toy and game business as well as our entry into the electronic accessory category."


Weiser Books: Hearth and Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dan Savage on NPR's Fresh Air

Tomorrow on Good Morning America: Mike Moreno, author of The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor's Plan Designed for Rapid Results (Free Press, $25, 9781451648652).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: part two of a two-part interview with Carlos Fuentes, author of Destiny and Desire (Random House, $27, 9781400068807). This episode emphasizes culture and politics. As the show put it: "Will narco-politics defeat government? Will a 'New Deal' be negotiated to help the ni-nis (a portion of the population, seven to eight million strong, with neither education nor jobs)? For Fuentes, one thing is certain, books and literary culture will outlast us all."


Tomorrow on CBS's The Talk: Dan Abrams, author of Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that Women are Better Cops, Drivers. Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else (Abrams Image, $17.95, 9780810998292).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: T.C. Boyle, author of When the Killing's Done (Viking, $26.95, 9780670022328).


Tomorrow on the View: Sarah Brokaw, author of Fortytude: Making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life--through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond (Voice, $23.99, 9781401341190).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Dan Savage, author of It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living (Dutton, $21.95, 9780525952336).


Harper Muse: When We Had Wings: A Story of the Angels of Bataan by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

Masterpiece Adapts Book & Film Club Discussion Guides

For its 40th anniversary, Masterpiece has collected more than 25 book-to-film discussion guides from its Book & Film Club archives for such works as Jane Eyre, The Diary of Anne Frank and Dr. Zhivago. The guides are sorted by title or author and provide discussion questions, author biographies, background essays, interviews, activities--and even recipes. They can be found at

Agatha Christie is the next author to be added to the Masterpiece Book & Film Club. Book-to-film discussion material for Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple will available in June at


Broadleaf Books: Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli

Television: HBO Developing Cheney Miniseries

HBO has optioned Barton Gellman's Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency for a miniseries that will also use the PBS Frontline documentary The Dark Side as source material. Producers told that the project will center on the former vice-president's "single-minded pursuit of enhanced power for the Presidency (that) was unprecedented in the nation's history." Rick Cleveland (Six Feet Under), who shared a writing Emmy with Aaron Sorkin for NBC's The West Wing, is writing the miniseries. 


Movies: HP's FInal Shot; Heat; The Floor of Heaven

During its Harry Potter movie marathon last weekend, ABC Family featured "a behind-the-scenes look at the very last shot to be filmed for the decade-long series," the Daily What reported.


Screenwriter Stan Chervin and producer Rachael Horovitz have optioned Bill Buford's 2006 memoir Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany, reported.


Fox 2000 acquired screen rights to The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum, which will be published April 26 by Crown. noted that the book "is the fact-based story of Charlie Siringo, a cowboy who, after the taming of the Old West, became a Pinkerton detective. He's drawn into a case that takes him to the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897. George Carmack, whose early discovery of gold fueled the rush for riches, has been robbed of a fortune in heavy gold bars and Siringo tries to solve the crime."


Books & Authors

Awards: Sami Rohr Prize

Austin Ratner won the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in fiction for his debut novel, The Jump Artist (Bellevue Literary Press). The award honors "the contribution of contemporary writers in the exploration and transmission of Jewish values and is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest in the future."

The Jewish Book Council also named Joseph Skibell, author of A Curable Romantic (Algonquin), the runner-up and recipient of the $25,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Choice Award. This year's other finalists were Allison Amend for Stations West (Louisiana State University Press), Nadia Kalman for The Cosmopolitans (Livingston Press) and Julie Orringer for The Invisible Bridge (Knopf).


Book Brahmin: Jim Al-Khalili

Jim Al-Khalili is the author of The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance (April 4, 2011; Penguin Press). He earned his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Surrey and has been a SERC Postdoctoral Fellow at University College, London, an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He is now the chair of the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey.


On your nightstand now:

Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder and Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A big hardback 1940s book called The Boy's Companion. It had chapters on everything from conjuring tricks to soccer to stamp collecting. I was bought it for Christmas when I was about 12.

Your top five authors:

J.R.R. Tolkien (naturally), John Fowles, Robert Heinlein, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett.

Book you've faked reading:

War and Peace; The Brothers Karamazov--I started it once and got about a quarter of the way through. I went through a rather pretentious period in my mid-20s when I felt that a real intellectual needed to be reading Dostoyevsky. Nonsense, of course.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Dan Dennett's Consciousness Explained--while Dennett is very much a reductionist, materialist philosopher, I am not alone in being swayed by his sheer logic and clarity.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Levitt and Dubner's Superfreakonomics--I had not read their earlier book, Freakonomics, but was captivated by the anarchic picture on the paperback cover. I must confess, however, that I did not finish it.

Book that changed your life:

Roger Penrose's The Emperor's New Mind--it showed a tantalizing worldview based on modern physics that brought together lots of really big ideas. It had a big impact in academic circles in the late 1980s.

Favorite line from a book:

"Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."--Robert A Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

There are other quotes I like but have forgotten, but this is one that rings true with me: I am an optimist, but my wife, Julie, is a pessimist (she would say a realist).

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

John Fowles's The Magus--I would love to be transported again to the tiny, beautiful Greek island of Spetses on which the location of the novel is based.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Sundown Rule

The Sundown Rule by Wendy Townsend (Namelos, $18.95 Hardcover, 9781608980994, February 2011)

Wendy Townsend's (Lizard Love) heartfelt story about a girl who feels most at home in nature will make even hardcore city dwellers wake up to the wonders of the natural world. As 12-year-old Louise Eliot describes daily life with her father near Michigan's Marl Lake, she leads us into the realm of experience with all five senses: the smell of coffee grounds that she leaves in the compost pile at the edge of the woods;  the sounds of the scout crow when it discovers the cornbread the girl has set aside for the birds; the feel of the cool spring morning before Lews, as her father calls her, adds fuel to the woodstove that heats their cabin. Louise loves her life so much that she can't bear to think of going away to college one day. When her constant companion, Cash, her cat as "black as the crows" (but "dark chocolate" in the sunlight), brings Louise a dead mouse, she simply adds it to the compost pile. She accepts the ways of nature without judgment as she aids a heron whose leg has been injured by a snapping turtle. Louise takes in so many wild animals that her park ranger father had to implement "the sundown rule": Louise must set free every animal where she'd found him by sundown. Louise's world seems perfectly in balance.

But when her father accepts a summer writing assignment with National Geographic, Louise must leave her idyllic world to stay with her highly allergic Aunt Kay and Uncle Jack in the suburbs of Indiana--without Cash. Townsend exploits the juxtaposition of these two ways of life. One of the best moments occurs after Louise goes in search of the creek for which her aunt and uncle's Creekside Court address is named--and rescues an orphaned baby raccoon. Louise takes the raccoon into the house to nurse it back to health, forgetting that Aunt Kay is hosting a luncheon. Aunt Kay is an excellent cook and very kind, but she won't even allow Louise to keep the raccoon until sundown--out to the garage it goes until someone from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Council can take it away. Aunt Kay does, however, introduce Louise to a neighbor girl named Sarah, and the two become fast friends. Sarah introduces Louise to church and offers her friendship. Louise in turn opens up Sarah's eyes to the beauty of nature breaking through corners of the suburbs. A moving subplot develops in which the two explore the spiritual aspect of nature and animals. Louise shows Sarah that a whole civilization lurks beneath a piece of roofing.

A terrible loss prompts Louise to open her heart to Sarah, and a moving conversation about heaven and nature demonstrates the respect that the girls show to one another, whatever their beliefs may be. Jean Craighead George fans will be thrilled to discover Wendy Townsend, a writer with a kindred spirit. --Jennifer M. Brown


AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen
Powered by: Xtenit