Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 17, 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

Editors' Note

The Widget for Readers

Many thanks to all the booksellers and bloggers who've embedded our spiffy book-giveaway button. This week our signed, first edition giveaway is The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris.

If you'd like to put this on your website or blog, go here.

If you already have the button, it will automatically update!

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

Quotation of the Day

Readers, Convenience & the Digital 'Book of Sand'

"It occurred to me that [Jorge Luis] Borges would have been thrilled and horrified in equal measure by the Kindle. In fact, in a weird way, he sort of invented it (in the same way that Leonardo 'invented' the helicopter and various other gadgets)....

"I don't look forward to a future in which my Kindle (or whatever device inevitably succeeds it) is the only book on the shelf. But it's a future I'm fairly convinced is awaiting us, and it's one that I, as a consumer, am playing my part in advancing us toward. There are moments when I wish I could follow the lead of Borges's retired librarian and bury my book of sand on some obscure shelf in a library basement and just forget all about it. But then I realize that the thing is just too useful, too crazily convenient a tool to not embrace. And then I tell myself that it’s not possible, anyway, to shelve the advance of technology, and that history is filled with examples of beautiful things being supplanted by more efficient versions of those things. Ultimately, you're never going to win an argument against convenience, no matter how much you love the anachronistic, heavy, unwieldy, and beautiful thing you want to save."

--Mark O'Connell in his essay "The E-Reader of Sand: The Kindle and the Inner Conflict Between Consumer and Booklover," which was published by the Millions.


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


Image of the Day: Oyster Parties R in Season


Last week the Marshall Store on Tomales Bay in Marshall, Calif., hosted a party for Oyster Culture by Gwendolyn Meyer (Cameron & Company) that featured fresh grilled oysters, wine and bread. At the pub fest (from l.): Douglas Gayeton, author of Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town; Meyer; and Cameron publisher Chris Greuner.


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

Notes: HP & the Sony Reader; Amazon's 4-Hour Pub Plan

Harry Potter & the Sony Reader. Beginning in November, Sony plans to bundle e-book versions of the Harry Potter novels with its next generation e-reader. Citing "well-placed sources in the vendor's retail channel," the Register reported that "the bespectacled wizard debuts in digital format in October--the same time as the Sony-sponsored Pottermore 'online reading experience' goes live... But for richer Potterites who can hang fire for a month, a second bundle will be released including all seven books in the series, a letter from author J.K. Rowling, subscription to Pottermore and a themed carry case." Eventually, Potter e-books will be sold through Pottermore, "but this won't happen until 2012," the Register wrote.

Fast Company observed that the move answers one mystery about Pottermore's debut: "Amid the slightly chaotic launch, it was curious why Bloomsbury was moving so slow to launch the Potter e-texts, and why it appeared to shun the current king of e-readers, Amazon, with its enormous international reach and millions of customers, and the current king of tablet PCs, Apple, with its tens of millions of iPad sales and the world's most accessible online app store as a distribution channel. Suddenly it makes sense. Sony sponsored the Pottermore site from the get-go. And Sony's reported to have paid 'millions' to convince Bloomsbury and Rowling to follow this route to market (the money is reported to be going to charities for learning-disabled children), showing how keen Sony is on the idea, and how much it's gambling."


There will be no audience with J.K. Rowling for self-published authors, after all. The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) reported that Rowling "is not amused" by a message on PublishAmerica's website [which was taken down yesterday] "telling authors that a 'delegation' will soon meet with her in Edinburgh and tell the Harry Potter author about some of their books. Writers are asked to submit 50-100 word notes that the delegation will present to Rowling. The price: $49."

Mark Hutchinson, a Rowling spokesman, called the message "completely false" and promised "appropriate action."

---'s ambitions as a publisher have taken another step forward with the signing of bestselling self-help author Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body). Amazon Publishing will release his next book, The 4-Hour Chef, in April 2012

"My decision to collaborate with Amazon Publishing wasn't just a question of which publisher to work with," said the author. "It was a question of what future of publishing I want to embrace. My readers are migrating irreversibly into digital, and it made perfect sense to work with Amazon to try and redefine what is possible. This is a chance to really show what the future of books looks like, and to deliver a beautiful experience to my readers, who always come first. I could not be more excited about what we're doing."

The New York Times reported that Ferriss approached Amazon about a book deal and his former publisher, Crown, "did not get a chance to match the offer because in the writer’s view, it never could have." Ferriss said, "The opportunity to partner with a technology company that is embracing publishing is very different than partnering with a publisher embracing technology."


Amazon's Kindle million club may have to add another room to the clubhouse now that Janet Evanovich and Kathryn Stockett have joined the list of authors who've sold more than one million paid copies of their books in the Kindle Store. They join Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly and John Locke.


Microsoft will discontinue its Microsoft Reader e-book service, which "has been around since 2000, long before the e-ink displays that power modern e-readers like Amazon's Kindle became commercially available," ReadWriteWeb reported, adding: "It would appear that Microsoft Reader launched ahead of its time."

---, the online tools and service for authors wishing to promote their own books, will shut down September 1 and all author data will become unavailable, L.A. Observed reported. In an e-mail to authors, said a decline in author tours "and changes in book marketing budgets have made our company financially unviable."


The Boston Herald told a "tale of two bookstore sites," noting that city officials "expect the Borders site in Downtown Crossing to be quickly filled by a new tenant and are pressuring the landlord at the former Barnes & Noble location just down Washington Street--now vacant five years--to get his act together."


The Boston Globe's Names Blog put together a reading list for President Obama's vacation on Martha's Vineyard, including "a few new books he should read, and a few we know he won't." Dawn Braasch, owner of Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, recalled the uproar she caused last year when she gave the president an ARC of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and the White House told reporters he had bought the unreleased book.


Last Sunday, Books & Books, Westhampton Beach. N.Y., hosted an author event for Candace Bushnell on the patio of Margarita Grille. Jack McKeown, the bookstore's owner, told the Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch this was just one example of his ongoing efforts to make writers "visible and accessible, breaking down barriers between the author and the audience, in an atmosphere that's both educational and entertaining. Since many chain bookstores are in a state of retraction, I think it's important for a community bookstore to have a presence in their locale."

Space was the catalyst for holding more events outside the shop. "Our bookstore holds about 50-60 people, and the more talks we did with major authors, the more the crowds started growing," said McKeown. "We needed a bigger space, and so we're now doing fewer events in our store, and more events at other venues including restaurants. We liked the added benefit of having affiliate relationships with local restaurants that could offer food and beverages."

--- its 12 years of existence, Bird and Beckett Books & Records, San Francisco, Calif., "has more than survived with Eric Whittington and his family at the helm. The thriving community of Glen Park is also behind him 1,000%--from pancake breakfasts, to fundraising parties--to helping him set up a special trust. No one wants to see this important community asset fail. People fight for what they love and fight hard. And the community loves Bird and Beckett. The store offers a way of life--a cultural center--that reminds all of us of what's important: community, friendships, exchange of ideas, music and of course BOOKS," Louise Nayer wrote in the Huffington Post.


Watch booksellers from the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., handsell their favorite summer reads during a presentation held recently in the shop's events space.


Book Bench showcased a sign in front of the Paradox Bookstore, Wheeling, W.Va., which offers books on the porch for 50 cents each, unless the store is closed. Then customers can "borrow them or keep them and pay me later." Also, for those who "don't have money to buy books and need or want to read, help yourself."


BookLamp has launched "a new kind of book recommendation engine... that scans the texts of its partner publishers to establish what it calls 'Book DNA,' " Mashable reported. Much like Pandora assigns specific qualities to music, BookLamp "measures the story components of a book (characteristics like history, domestic environments, physical injury) and how it's written (density, pacing, dialog, description, motion)."

Mashable noted that the technology behind BookLamp "has been used primarily in the publishing process, and company CEO Aaron Stanton "intends to keep publishers as BookLamp's main customers. The motivation behind the public-facing site is partly to entice new publishers to purchase BookLamp's tools."

Titles from Random House and Kensington Books account for most of the 20,000 books currently catalogued on the site. Stanton said, "It's up to the community [and publishers] to tell us if we're doing something worthwhile. And we hope they look at this and say, 'I like the idea, I can see what they're doing with it, but it really needs an extra 100,000 books. What can I do to help?' "


Edinburgh Book Festival video of the day. Alexander McCall Smith escorted the Guardian's books editor Sarah Crown on a walking tour of Edinburgh's New Town, where his 44 Scotland Street novels are set.

Book trailer of the day: Shame the Devil by Debra Brenegan (State University of New York Press).

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Art Spiegelman on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Vicky Tiel, author of It's All About the Dress: What I Learned in Forty Years About Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9780312659097).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Art Spiegelman, author of MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus (Pantheon, $35, 9780375423949). As the show put it: "After twenty-five years, Art Spiegelman gathers his thoughts about his prize-winning, ground-breaking graphic novel, Maus. He talks about the difficulty of treating the Holocaust in comic form and the structure of memory that unifies the whole work."


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Kevin Mitnick, author of Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316037709).


Tomorrow on a repeat of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Dick Van Dyke, author of My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780307592231).

Also on the Late Late Show: Kristin Gore, author of Sweet Jiminy (Hyperion, $23.99, 9781401322892).

Game of Thrones: Bloodraven's Quest for Stolen Scripts

George R.R. Martin has enlisted his fans' help in tracking down some missing scripts that were to be auctioned off for charity at worldcon this week. On his blog, he wrote that he had hoped "to bring a couple of signed scripts from the first season of the HBO series Game of Thrones with us, and the good folks in Belfast were kind enough to donate them. Dan Weiss sent them across the pond (registered and priority, signature required). All that arrived was a battered envelope and Dan's cover letter."

Martin is convinced the scripts were stolen, so he is "putting out the word to all my fans and readers. Whoever sold these scripts will presumably try to cash in at some point. So if any of you ever see scripts fitting this description turn up on eBay, one of its competitors, or on some dealer's table--notify me at once, and report the stolen property to whatever local authorities are appropriate."

The missing teleplays include the final shooting scripts for episodes nine and ten of season one, "Baelor" and "Fire and Blood," autographed by writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and director Alan Taylor, printed on white paper.

"Like Bloodraven, I have a thousand eyes and one," Martin wrote. "So let's keep 'em all peeled, boys and girls."

Top 10 Lists for Book-to-Film Adaptation Fans

Ten great movies for book lovers were recommended by Flavorwire, which conceded that film adaptations don't always "do right by the written word, but a few fine films have celebrated literature and writers in ways memorable, thought-provoking, and entertaining."

Flavorwire also asked, "What are critics' favorite 'chick lit' film adaptations?" The search for an answer led first to an admission that "chick lit can be a loaded term--just ask Jennifer Egan. But it also provides an easy (if admittedly dated) shorthand for a category of fiction written for a female audience about the female experience." Then the researchers used Rotten Tomatoes to compile of a short list of "chick lit film adaptations that were a hit with critics."

Movie Casting: The Company You Keep; The Gray Man

Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie and Richard Jenkins have been added to the cast of The Company You Keep, reported. The film version of Neil Gordon's novel stars Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte and Brit Marling. Redford is directing a script by Lem Dobbs. Production is set to begin in Vancouver next month.

Brad Pitt will star in The Gray Man, an adaptation of Mark Greaney's novel directed by James Gray. reported that while the production schedule is not set, it appears Pitt will "finish World War Z in late fall and The Gray Man will begin production in January or February. That's how it's looking now, because I'm told that Pitt has been locked down for that first quarter 2012 slot."

Books & Authors

Awards: NAIBA Books of the Year; Lane Anderson Shortlists

The NAIBA Books of the Year, chosen by members of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, are:

Fiction: The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht (Random House)
Nonfiction: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton (Random House)
Trade Paperback Original: Extra Indians by Eric Gansworth (Milkweed Editions)
Picture Book: Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown (Little Brown)
Middle Readers: Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson (Atheneum)
Children's Literature and YA: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (Random House)

Authors will receive their awards at the NAIBA Awards Banquet on Tuesday, September 20, during NAIBA's Fall Conference.


The Fitzhenry Family Foundation announced shortlists for the Lane Anderson Award, which recognizes two Canadian books--one for adults, one for young readers--published in the field of science, Quillblog reported. Winners, who will be named September 14, receive $10,000 each.

Book Brahmin: Joanne Bogart

Joanne Bogart, librarian at Boston Public Library, won our contest to be featured as a Book Brahmin by having the most friends, family, coworkers (and possibly strangers) cite her as the reason why they signed up for our new publication, Shelf Awareness for Readers. She used e-mail to good effect. Thanks for helping us spread the word, Joanne! (If you have friends and family who would like to get reviews of the best books coming out each week delivered to their inbox, click here to invite them to sign up.)

Joanne graduated from the University of Michigan, then worked at some horrid office jobs for about five years before deciding to go to library school. She worked in a hospital library while working on her degree and for many years now she has worked at Boston Public Library in a variety of reference/Readers Advisory departments; she is now working in collection development which suits her to a T at this point in her career--after 22 years of working with the public and working odd hours, she was ready for a change.


On your nightstand now: 

Netherland by Joseph O'Neill; the new Tom Perrotta, The Leftovers; and Faith by Jennifer Haigh.

Favorite book when you were a child:

So many but I guess most of all Charlotte's Web.  I know it's not original but it's a great book and had such a profound influence on me. I never killed another spider and try not to kill any living being.

Your top five authors:

I read everything that comes out by these authors, or want to anyway, some are just too prolific: P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Sue Grafton, Anne Tyler and Margaret Atwood. I guess I gravitate to women authors.

Book you've faked reading:

I have never faked reading anything but I am embarrassed to say that I have never read Shakespeare, though I have tried.

Book you're an evangelist for: 

The Grapes of Wrath. Out of all the so called classics I had to read this is the one that brings me to tears each time I read it.

Book that changed your life:

I am not sure that any book changed my life or maybe so many have that it's all a blur.  As I said, Charlotte's Web changed my ideas about killing insects so it definitely changed their lives for the better.

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

The Grapes of Wrath and Sophie's Choice. Both are so beautifully written and show the best and worst in humanity.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle (Philomel/Penguin, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 3-5, 9780399257131, October 4, 2011)

As with most of Eric Carle's work, this beautifully conceived picture book is deceptively simple. "I am an artist and I paint...," the book begins. A boy in a striped T-shirt and jeans applies blue paint to a virgin gold background. His palette of many colors appears on a gray table beside him. A turn of the page reveals the completed composition: "a blue horse" with a black mane, begun with that first blue stroke. He follows with a painting of a red crocodile against a white background with a band of teal blue at the top to indicate its aquatic habitat. Next comes a saturated portrait of a yellow cow. Carle fills the background with deep dark blues and greens, and dots the sky with stars. The golden hues of the cow pulse against the night sky. Thus Carle introduces the three primary colors: blue, red and yellow.

But this is not an art lesson in the standard sense; he doesn't follow next with binary and tertiary colors (though they do appear here). Carle's book urges children to break the rules when it comes to creativity. He stays true to the animals' musculature and defining features, then populates the pages with a pink rabbit, a black polar bear and a polka-dotted donkey. He alternates the direction in which they face, the postures of the animals and the band of color that suggests the ground or sky to hold a child's visual interest. The palette Carle shows us at the beginning contains all of the colors he uses in the book; at the end we see how thoroughly the young artist employed his palette, with colors blended and paint splattered on shirt, pants and table.

Carle often strays from convention. The blue elephant on the cover of Do You Want to Be My Friend? grabs readers' attention and shifts the focus to the gray mouse in search of a companion. His "very hungry caterpillar" may not look like most found in nature, but it served Carle's purpose to teach the days of the week, counting to 10 and the eventual metamorphosis of the tiny hero into a "beautiful butterfly." This book, which he calls an "homage to Franz Marc," who painted Blue Horse I at the turn of the 20th century, teaches children to trust their own unique perceptions, and to render the world as they see it. Most literally, Carle's encouragement applies to artists, but also to budding writers, dancers and musicians, as well as aspiring Einsteins and architects. Know the rules, Carle seems to say, and then make them yours. --Jennifer M. Brown


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