Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yearling Books: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Pantheon Books: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

Tor Books: The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson

Editors' Note

Now We Are Six!

Six years ago today, we published the first issue of Shelf Awareness, which, for a long time, was a joint production solely of John and Jenn. Now, half a dozen years and 1,495 issues later, we have a team of excellent, hardworking people helping us--and we've had our second baby, Shelf Awareness for Readers, which made its debut 10 days ago after a somewhat demanding pregnancy, although at least it was a pregnancy that allowed for drinking.

It's a beautiful baby, we think, and judging by your feedback so far, you agree. In Shelf Awareness for Readers, we draw on the expertise and knowledge we have developed covering the book trade and providing information about books, authors and trends and have expanded it for a greater audience. We're presenting the 25 best books of the week as well as a mix of news and fun items about books and authors. Editor Bethanne Patrick's "Further Reading" section is getting much-deserved attention.

We want to thank everyone at Shelf Awareness their help and hard work in creating and getting Shelf Awareness for Readers off the ground. Bethanne Patrick has quickly become part of the team and given the new e-newsletter her passionate, humorous and book-loving voice. Reviews editor Marilyn Dahl has set up a top-flight book review department, and children's editor Jennifer M. Brown is covering the best of new children's books. Managing editor Robin Lenz is managing more than ever--we don't know how she juggles the editorial matter that goes into Shelf Awareness Pro, Shelf Awareness for Readers and our Maximum Shelf and Dedicated Issues.

Newsletter and Web producer Amber Elbon worked day and night on the myriad technical matters necessary to create Shelf Awareness for Readers. Sales and marketing manager Melissa Solberg harnessed our advertisers, doused them with her marketing savvy and steered all of us on how the Shelf clicks and links really work. CFO Richard Jobes continues to make the numbers work in his wise way.

Robert Gray has kept on doing an amazing job writing on a range of subjects and seamlessly sending out, on average, every other issue of Shelf Awareness Pro, which has allowed some of us to do the extra work that Shelf Awareness for Readers takes.

We have a great staff and a new stable of excellent reviewers, and we thank them all for their yeoman-like efforts. We also thank you, dear readers, for being with us on this amazing journey and allowing us to be of service to everyone who likes a good read--and wants to help others find those good reads.

Please send any birthday greetings to It's our favorite day to hear from you--after April Fool's, of course.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon

Quotation of the Day

Patchett's Place: 'Let's Leave Before a Rat Bites Us'

"What's amazing to me is that we go and look at these properties that have no walls and there is a toilet sitting sideways in the middle of the floor and no ceiling. And Karen looks around and says, 'You know, I think this place has great potential.' I'm like, let's just leave now before a rat bites us. I have no vision. I want everything to be clean and perfect and neat. I sort of expect to go into a building and see the shelves already there....

"[As a writer] I should be able to do this. There is a real discrepancy between the person who makes the product that's sold in the store, and the person who makes the store that sells the product. But I keep thinking if I was a watchmaker and all the jewelry stores went out of business, I'd have to open a jewelry store. Right?"

--Ann Patchett on NPR's Marketplace, speaking of the store she plans to open in Nashville, Tenn., with Random House rep Karen Hayes.

GLOW: Putnam: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


Image of the Day: The Gray Zone


At the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., (l.) Daphna Edwards Ziman, the foster child and sex trafficking activist whose new book is The Gray Zone (Greenleaf), with Book Stall booksellers and (far r.) actress Beverly Todd.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis

Notes: Hedge Fund Takes B&N Money and Runs

Altheia Research and Management, the hedge fund that seemed to work with Ron Burkle during his attempt last year to win board seats at Barnes & Noble, has again reduced its stake in B&N, to 5.4%. Just before John Malone's Liberty Media made its $17-a-share offer in May, Altheia owned 10.6% of Barnes & Noble stock. "Aletheia appears to be concerned that a higher acquisition offer from Malone or others isn't in the offing, and so the fund is taking its money and running in the opposite direction," the Wall Street Journal said.

Yesterday, while the Dow Jones rose 1.2%, B&N shares fell almost 2%, to $16.90, the first time they have been below $17 since Liberty Media's offer.


Chapters Bookstore, Pittsfield, Mass., which opened three years ago, just as the financial meltdown started and then has had to weather a disruptive, long-term construction project on its street, is closing, the Berkshire Eagle reported. The store will continue to sell online, focusing on bulk orders for book clubs, schools and others.

Sales early this year were "high," according to CFO Tracy Sheerin, but then dropped 50%-70% after the construction project began.


Another e-book special!

Open Road Integrated Media has begun a "50 Summer Steals" program featuring 50 e-books priced between 99 cents and $4.99. The deal runs through Tuesday, July 12, and includes "literary fiction, white-knuckle thrillers, narrative nonfiction, or inspiring stories for the soul." Among the titles: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Butler, The Eagle Has Landed by Jack Higgins, Damage by Josephine Hart, Lie Down in Darkness by William Styron, The Moviegoer by Wallace Percy and Monkeys by Susan Minot. Each day Open Road will offer videos of books and authors featured in the program. A world map, with links to places where some of the books are set, offers another way to access titles.

Participating retailers are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and Sony. Prices vary among retailers and sometimes aren't discounted. Not all books are carried by all retailers.


Yesterday, Penguin released the Penguin Classics Complete Annotated Listing app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In addition to featuring annotated descriptions of more than 1,500 Penguin Classics titles, the app challenges readers to test their Penguin Classics knowledge and features a "Discover the Classics" section that lets readers choose which classics they should read based on their interests (or they can give their iPhone a shake and let the app pick a title for them).

The New York Times was particularly impressed by the quizzes: "There are 65 books in the app that have quizzes associated with them so you can test your knowledge of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence ('To what animal does Archer compare May and the rest of Old New York?') or Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn ('What do Huck and Jim find inside the floating house?'). The app also has quizzes that ask questions across all 65 titles (you can choose a quiz that takes one, five or 10-minutes long) if you want to relive that comp lit class you took freshman year."


A 30-year-old man who tried to set off an amateur bomb outside a strip club in 2005 has been arrested for placing two bombs in a Borders store in Lakeland, Colo., over the weekend (Shelf Awareness, June 27, 2011), the Denver Postreported.

The suspect was arrested late Saturday for drunken driving and resisted police, who said information received while he was in jail linked him to the Borders bomb case.

In the 2005 case, the man pled guilty and said only that he was "trying to pull a prank." He was apparently planning to bomb other strip clubs.


Moleskine, the maker of notebooks beloved by writers everywhere and a dependable bookstore sideline, is rolling out a new line that includes pens, pencils, reading glasses, travel bags and storage cases--creating "a lifestyle brand for the urban explorer," as the New York Times put it. The products will be sold exclusively by several retailers, including Bloomingdale's and A.I. Friedman, the art supply store. Displays are tailored to the retailers' markets but always include the notebooks. The new line will expand to other retailers in August.


Who says nobody reads anymore? The Guardian reported that "many of the highest-profile events at the Edinburgh book festival sold out on the first day of full ticket sales after an unprecedented surge in demand caused chaos for its online booking service.... The website had more than 300,000 hits and the phone lines took 25,000 calls in the first hour of sales, more than double last year's volumes."


What, no Oprah iBooks? The July iPad issue of O, The Oprah Magazine features an enhanced version of Oprah's annual summer reading list, and iPad users can read exclusive excerpts of 21 of the 28 books featured in the issue. But reported that while readers can buy the titles in-app through Amazon or B&N, "the app doesn't lead to featured titles in the iBookstore because that format doesn't allow in-app purchasing," according to Michelle Shih, O director of digital editions & lifestyle.


Here's a Shelf Awareness first.

The book proposal trailer of the day: Dumped by Maryjane Fahey and Caryn Beth Rosenthal, a book being repped by Steve Ross at Abrams Artists Agency. The authors have already designed the book, created a website, gotten advance blurbs and enlisted film and acting friends to help create a video giving the basics about this "grown-up guide to gettin' your ass in gear and over your ex in record time."


"I am sewing these little poems into as much clothes as I can, so that poems can be in everyday life," said Agustina Woodgate in a video featured on Buzzfeed. Woodgate "goes to thrift stores and secretly sews poems inside the clothes."


If Lord of the Rings was set in Brooklyn. Noelle Stevenson "illustrated a gaggle of endearing hipsterfied LOTR images," io9 reported. 


Effective July 1, Fiell Publishing Ltd. will be distributed by Continental Sales/Innovative Logistics. Fiell was formerly distributed by D.A.P., which will accept returns on Fiell titles it sold through December 31, c/o Perseus Distribution Returns, Jackson, Tenn.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fact: Facts Are Subversive Author on Colbert

Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Thomas Lennon and Robert B. Garant, authors of Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! (Touchstone, $23.99, 9781439186756).


Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525952244).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Geoff Dyer, author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition (Graywolf, $18, 9781555975791). As the show put it: "Geoff Dyer, novelist and essayist, celebrates his first published essay in the New Yorker. He tells us how his amateur interest in jazz led him to write a book--and how his interest in writing a book depends upon amateurism so much so that, he says, when he finishes writing he's at the point where most writers would start."


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Timothy Garton Ash, author of Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name (Yale University Press, $35, 9780300161175).

Movie: Lincoln

DreamWorks announced that David Strathairn (Temple Grandin) will play Secretary of State William Seward in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, adapted from Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, reported. Strathairn joins a cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The film will begin production this fall in Virginia for a late 2012 release. Tony Kushner wrote the script.


Television: The Big Girls

Emmy-winning screenwriter Adam Mazer (You Don't Know Jack) will write a pilot for HBO based on Susanna Moore's novel The Big Girls, reported. Joel Schumacher is in discussions to direct.


Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Ann Brashares

Ann Brashares is the author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which became an international bestseller and was followed by three more books in the YA series: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood, Girls in Pants and Forever in Blue. She's also written two adult novels: The Last Summer (of You and Me) and My Name Is Memory. Her new novel, Sisterhood Everlasting (Random House, June 14, 2011), is a return to the Sisterhood characters 10 years later. Brashares lives in New York City with her husband and children.


On your nightstand now:

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, Chekov stories, A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Your top five authors:

Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Marcel Proust, Judy Blume and Vikram Seth (I might give different answers if you ask me tomorrow).

Book you've faked reading:

I've never read Updike--well, only the first couple of chapters of Rabbit, Run. I sort of hum my way through conversations in which people assume I have.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Recently I've been talking up The Gathering by Anne Enright. She writes so beautifully. I'm always trying to get adults to read the Philip Pullman trilogy His Dark Materials. Oh, and the Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. Don't even get me started.

Book you've bought for the cover:

I remember The Secret History by Donna Tartt had a lovely cover with the vellum and the cool trim size and everything. The book delivered, too.

Book that changed your life:

Summer Heat. It was the first book I worked on in an editorial capacity right out of college. The first draft wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great. I realized that a book is a process. Also I remember having the idea for the first time: I think I could write a book as good as this.

Favorite line from a book:

"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." --from The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

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

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell.


Book Review

Children's Review: Grandpa Green

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9781596436077, August 30, 2011)

In what may well be his greatest achievement thus far, Caldecott Honor artist Lane Smith introduces Grandpa Green and the garden that tells his heart-tugging story.

The opening image introduces a baby sculpted in greenery, with a stray twig that suggests a lone curl, and a spray of what looks like tears where the eyes would be. "He was born a really long time ago," the book begins, "before computers or cell phones or television." A turn of the page reveals a boy in overalls and boots, holding a hose--the source of the "tears." Playful discoveries like these abound. A canopy of trees offers plentiful places to tuck a hedge shaped like a rabbit, and to mask a real rabbit that leads the boy into the next spread, dominated by a giant carrot-shaped hedge ("He grew up on a farm with pigs and corn and carrots"). Each topiary tells a story. Variegated shades of green add texture to the trees, the garden floor, the shrubs. While Smith's artwork in the past has consisted of saturated, velvety images of the fledgling Founding Fathers in John, Paul, George & Ben, and the stylized forest of Lulu and the Brontosaurus, here the compositions exude the airiness of a cultivated Eden. Pen-and-inks outline the trees, the stone paths and the boy himself. Abundant white space suggests sunlight, and the boy's broccoli-green boots connect him to his horticultural surroundings.

Roughly halfway into the story, we learn the boy is the narrator, describing his great-grandfather. Smith introduces additional colors to call attention to important details of the man's life: the red berries that symbolize the chicken pox he had in fourth grade, a daisy that doubles as the fuse on a cannon-shaped hedge that represents his "world war" experience. Smith plays with perspective, alternating the horizontal image of the cannon with that of a spinach-colored, three-tier wedding cake, decked out in flowers and stretching to the sky. As the boy fills a wagon with stray items he finds (a trowel, a gardening glove, a dust pan), we gradually realize he is picking up after someone ("He used to remember everything"). A gnarly yet majestic tree fills an entire spread and seems to move through all four seasons at once--lush on one side, wintry spare on the other. It's a metaphor for the cycle of life and the generations of a family tree. As the boy reaches from the top of a ladder to retrieve a floppy straw hat from the brow of an elephant topiary, the image resonates with the cover portrait of Grandpa Green, sporting the floppy hat, standing on a step stool to prune that same elephant. An elephant never forgets, and neither does the garden. Its evergreen monuments hold Grandpa Green's memories when he cannot, and a parting image suggests that the boy will carry those memories into the future. Opening this book is like opening a gate to a secret garden, filled with the treasures of a life well lived. In his portrait of a boy who adores and honors his forgetful great-grandfather, Smith shows us that the things that are meaningful to the ones we love become part of our garden, too.--Jennifer M. Brown



Powered by: Xtenit