Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 12, 2011


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

Minotaur Books: The Shadow House by Anna Downes

Soho Crime: One-Shot Harry by Gary Phillips

Ballantine Books: The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice by Benjamin Gilmer

News

Image of the Day: Clifford the Big Red Dog Teams with RIF

 

Clifford the Big Red Dog and Richard Robinson, chairman, president and CEO of Scholastic, greet the Reading Is Fundamental "Be Book Smart" Smart Car outside Scholastic headquarters in New York. The "Be Book Smart" car is touring the country in partnership with Macy's to promote the importance of literacy programs for low-income students. RIF recently had its funding eliminated by the federal government.

Photo by Tyler Reed


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


Notes: Google eBooks E-Reader; California Scheming

On Sunday, July 17, iriver's Story HD e-reader, the first e-reader whose platform is the Google eBooks e-bookstore, goes on sale at Target stores and Target.com. The device will retail for $139.99 and offers more than three million free titles and "hundreds of thousands" of titles for sale. Story HD's arrival adds to the competition between Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nook.

Story HD also has some of the features that are standard on the best e-readers: the ability to buy and download books directly via wi-fi and the ability to read the same title on different devices, picking up where the reader left off. Story HD has an e-ink screen and titles are stored in the Google cloud.

Since its launch last December, Google eBooks has been available as an app on most every computer, smartphone, tablet, etc., except the Kindle--and is available through IndieCommerce--but this is the first e-reader that is integrated with Google eBooks. Google said there are other integrated devices "to come."

TMCnet noted that Story HD "has 63% more pixels and faster page turns than its closest rival [and] is also expected to be lighter and have a greater battery life than the Kindle or the Nook. Unfortunately, Google's first entrance into the e-book space won't come on a touch screen device. The Story HD comes with a QWERTY keyboard positioned just below the 6-inch display."

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In related news, Barnes & Noble Color was the most popular e-reader in the first three months of 2011, the first time Amazon's Kindle did not hold that distinction, according to IDC, which focuses on worldwide shipments. IDC noted that Amazon's current lack of a color e-reader had hurt its sales. E-reader shipments in the quarter fell to 3.3 million units from the holiday quarter but were still up 105% over the same period a year earlier. IDC forecasts that some 16.2 million e-readers will be shipped worldwide in 2011, a 24% jump from 2010.

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Seeking to overturn California's new law requiring it and other online retailers with operations or affiliates in the state to collect sales tax, Amazon is calling for a referendum on the issue "as early as February, which could ignite an expensive and noisy political battle pitting the deep-pocketed Seattle-based Internet seller against a much larger coalition of brick-and-mortar retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy and Target," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Amazon's v-p of global public policy Paul Misener called the action "a referendum on jobs and investment in California. We support this referendum against the recent sales tax legislation because, with unemployment at well over 11%, Californians deserve a voice and a choice about jobs, investment and the state's economic future."

Amazon has filed papers for a referendum and needs to collect signatures from 504,760 registered voters.

According to the New York Times, Evan Westrup, a spokesperson for Governor Jerry Brown, said, "Amazon should be spending less time punishing its affiliates, threatening lawsuits and collecting signatures and more time doing what every other retailer does in California every day." He added, "Where does Amazon plan to collect these signatures--in front of bricks and mortar retailers that collect sales tax everyday?"

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USA Today has launched books.usatoday.com, which will allow consumers to discover, discuss, share, preview and purchase books online. The site will include USA Today's current 150-title bestseller list as well as the more than 10,000 titles that have appeared on the list. Users will be able to browse books, news and reviews, comment on them and share recommendations. Users will be able to preview titles on the bestseller list.

Readers who purchase books on the site will be able to do so from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore or IndieBound.

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Algonquin's latest Booksellers Rock entry focuses on Liberty Hardy, "book slinger" at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. Our favorite of the q&a's:

"Why I do what I do: If I didn't have an outlet for talking about books, my brain would swell and ink would leak out my ears. And it's so satisfying putting great books into people's hands, especially ones they haven't considered before, like High Wind in Jamaica or Jamestown. I think books are the greatest thing in the world, and being taught to read at a very young age was the best present I have ever been given. (A signed copy of Skippy Dies made out to 'Lady McSexypants' was a close second, though.)"

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Beach read season continues. Flavorwire suggested "10 decidedly highbrow but still beach-appropriate summer reads."

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The Forbes list of "10 teetotalling moguls," included Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer.

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From classics to bestsellers, Huffington Post readers chose the "books they hated that everyone else loved."

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Weezer's "Tired of Sex" just had to make Alexander Portnoy's literary mixtape. Flavorwire assembled "what we think Alex Portnoy would suffer--suffer!--and get spoiled and, um, borrow the liver to."    

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Effective January 1, Sasquatch Books, Seattle, Wash., will be sold and distributed in the U.S., Canada and internationally by Random House Publisher Services. The agreement is for traditional books and e-books in both trade and special markets. Sasquatch is currently distributed by Publishers Group West.

Founded in 1986, Sasquatch publishes a range of nonfiction titles, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and California, and has grown to include such national books as the Book Lust series by Nancy Pearl and The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery.

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Olivia L. Griffiths has joined Sourcebooks as associate marketing manager, children's and YA. She has six years of experience in book marketing, most recently at Holiday House Books for Young People, where she was associate marketing manager. Earlier she worked at Random House Children's Books.

 


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


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sex on the Moon on Imus

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Ben Mezrich, author of Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385533928).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Diane Farr, author of Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After (Seal Press, $24.95, 9781580053907).

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Laura Ingraham, author of Of Thee I Zing: America's Cultural Decline from Muffin Tops to Body Shots (Threshold, $25, 9781451642049). She will also appear on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Seamus McGraw, author of The End of Country (Random House, $26, 9781400068531).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Marion Roach Smith, author of The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life (Grand Central, $12, 9780446584845).

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Tomorrow on Hannity: Nicole Wallace, author of Eighteen Acres (Washington Square Press, $15, 9781439195932).

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Tomorrow on the View: Roseanne Barr, author of Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm (Gallery, $15, 9781439154847).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Matthew Richardson, co-author of Guaranteed to Fail: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Debacle of Mortgage Finance (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691150789).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: David McCullough, author of The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781416571766). He will also appear on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.


Little Bigfoot: A Home Under the Stars by Andy Chou Musser


Television: True Blood, a Sidelines Buyer's Dream

True Blood's "fangbuyer" fans have turned the HBO series--based on the novels by Charlaine Harris--into a merchandise hit as well. Variety reported that True Blood fans' "love of all things vampire doesn't stop, by any means, with DVDs. At its website, HBO sells a variety of T-shirts and trinkets, branded with the show's logo. And there's also the Tru Blood Beverage, based on the drink served in episodes of the show. It's made from (you guessed it) blood oranges. Priced at $16 for a four-pack, more than one million of the bottles have been sold."

"We have fans that are really dedicated to this show," said Courteney Monroe, executive v-p of consumer marketing and digital platforms for HBO. "The key is really to choose items that fit the brand... because the fans will sense right away if something isn't a good match."

HBO is branching out beyond its website this summer with several new items: "Six different versions of True Blood V-Moda headphones will hit stores, priced from $39.99 to $199.99. Both Sephora and Ultima stores will carry upmarket cosmetics line Tarte's new True Blood-branded cheek stain, lip liner and an eye shadow palate that comes in a specially designed box, with prices ranging from $24 to $52. And high-end handbag purveyor Hammitt will feature a new line of True Blood bags named after five of the show's characters. Prices for the bags, available only at select retailers, will land between $395 and $675," Variety wrote.

Michael Schrager, president of the Entertainment Marketing Co., said, "This is a show that's got a potentially high-disposable income audience watching, and it's a show that pushes some boundaries, too. Some people really like being associated with that kind of program, and they'll spend the money on big-ticket items like a purse, or maybe someone who knows them will buy it for them as a gift."

What's the merchandising limit for True Blood? Perhaps there isn't one. Schrager can even "see them matching other things, like a high-end car brand, with this show."




HP7.5 Countdown: NYC Premiere; Prop Stats

Hundreds of muggles lined up for hours near Lincoln Center for yesterday's New York City premiere of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. E! Online featured quotes and video clips, as well as photos, from the red carpet. 

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Daniel Radcliffe wore out 60-70 wands and has been through 160 pairs of glasses during the making of the Harry Potter films. These are just two of "25 surprising facts about the wizard's wands, props" presented by the Hollywood Reporter

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In the Guardian, Naomi Alderman considered "7 things in Harry Potter I wish were real," including a time turner, magical sweets and the possibility that "every child had access to an education that helped them reach their full potential." 

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Quick review before the finale: Deadline.com featured a condensed video looking back at the Potter films, and Buzzfeed showcased the "complete Harry Potter series in comic book form."

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What would Harry read? Or, more precisely: What would Daniel Radcliffe read? The Washington Post listed his favorites: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling, Germinal by Emile Zola, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson. 

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"I went to the theatre and I noticed this boy in the audience--he had big eyes, and seemed to be an old soul in a young body. I knew his father, who was with him, so I called the next day to ask if he would bring Dan in to audition. What I didn't know was they'd already turned the request down once--Chris had seen him in the BBC's David Copperfield--but I persuaded Dan and his mother to come for a coffee. This boy was curious and enthusiastic and decent. But it was all about casting the group. We had three or four other boys in the mix, and several Rons and Hermiones."
--David Heyman, producer of the series, recalling the casting process for Daniel Radcliffe in a Guardian piece headlined "Ten years of making Harry Potter films, by cast and crew."

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Caine Prize for African Writing

Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo's story "Hitting Budapest" won the £10,000 (US$15,900) Caine Prize for African Writing, Books Live reported, noting that NoViolet Bulawayo "is the pen name of Elizabeth Tshele, who is currently a Truman Capote Fellow at Cornell University." Chair of judges Hisham Matar called the story "reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange."

 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles published next Tuesday, July 19:

Burnt Mountain by Anne Rivers Siddons (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446527897) explores a disintegrating marriage and familial betrayal in rural North Carolina.

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780547500607) follows a recent Ghanaian immigrant investigating a murder in London's housing projects.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva (Harper, $26.99, 9780062072184) is an espionage thriller whose protagonist is both an art enthusiast and secret agent.

Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn (LucasBooks, $27, 9780345511256) is a new adventure for Luke Skywalker and friends set during the original trilogy.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399157431) continues the FBI Thriller series with agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock.

The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA by Joby Warrick (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385534185) investigates the intelligence failures that allowed a suicide bomber to kill seven CIA agents in Afghanistan.

The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (Ballantine, $30, 9781400066599) uses a decade of new information to analyze the 9/11 attacks.



Book Review

Book Review: Northwest Corner

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9781400068456, July 26, 2011)

How do survivors carry on after their lives are scarred by tragedy? What causes a legacy of violence to echo from one generation to the next? Those are the questions John Burnham Schwartz poses and answers with a gentle touch in this moving sequel to his popular 1998 novel, Reservation Road.

Like its predecessor, Northwest Corner begins with an act of violence. This time it's not an automobile accident, but a blow with a baseball bat that ends a bar fight. It's administered by Sam Arno, a college baseball star and son of Dwight Arno, whose reckless driving 12 years earlier killed 10-year-old Josh Learner. Sam flees from Connecticut to Santa Barbara, "a pathetic tracing of his father's running from his crime twelve years ago," where Dwight is attempting to fashion a new life for himself as the manager of a sporting goods store, after losing his law license and serving 30 months in prison.

Echoing the narrative technique of Reservation Road, Schwartz employs a chorus of voices--Sam; Dwight and his ex-wife, Ruth; Josh's mother, Grace, and her daughter, Emma; and Dwight's friend Penny--with their lives and perspectives intertwining in a complex counterpoint. Each struggles with the implacable realities of loss and grief, unable to elude an essential fact: "We think we are solid and durable, only to find that, placed under a cruel and unexpected light, we are the opposite: only our thin, permeable skin holds us intact."

There are echoes of Rosellen Brown's outstanding Before and After in Schwartz's story. Like the parents in Brown's novel who must come to terms with their teenage son's inexplicably violent act, it's easy to picture Schwartz's characters leading comfortable upper-middle-class lives in a bucolic corner of Connecticut but for the sudden intercession of the unexpected. And he offers an at times uncomfortable reminder that the wall dividing joy from tragedy is a mere illusion, teaching a "gloomier truth"--that "the breakage usually happens in an instant, life changing in a single wordless act."

Although Schwartz's novel can be appreciated without reference to Reservation Road, it will be especially rewarding for anyone who valued the depth of characterization, keen psychological insight and ability to sustain narrative suspense that marked the earlier work. It's unlikely we'll see the Arnos or the Learners again, but we can be grateful to their creator for allowing us to leave them with a fuller sense of their lives. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: In this moving sequel to his novel Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz explores the aftermath of a tragedy 12 years later.

 


Ooops

Wrong Message

On Friday, we ran the wrong information about a book by Brendon Burchard, who appeared that day on the View. The book, The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice, is published by Morgan James Publishing and distributed by IPS ($21.95, 9781600379383).

A million apologies!

 


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