Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 18, 2011

Chronicle Books: Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton and Robert K. Oermann

Shadow Mountain: Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks

Christy Ottaviano Books-Little Brown and Hachette: Hannah Sharpe, Cartoon Detective by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian

Andrews McMeel Publishing: The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht

Mariner Books: The Night Parade: A Speculative Memoir by Jami Nakamura Lin

Frayed Pages X Wattpad Books: The Burning by Anna Todd

Tor Books: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

Quotation of the Day

A Library Is a 'Place Not Just a Facility'

"I have been discussing libraries as places and in the current struggle to preserve public libraries not enough stress has been laid on the library as a place not just a facility. To a child living in high flats, say, where space is at a premium and peace and quiet not always easy to find, a library is a haven. But, saying that, a library needs to be handy and local; it shouldn't require an expedition. Municipal authorities of all parties point to splendid new and scheduled central libraries as if this discharges them of their obligations. It doesn't. For a child a library needs to be round the corner. And if we lose local libraries it is children who will suffer. Of the libraries I have mentioned the most important for me was that first one, the dark and unprepossessing Armley Junior Library. I had just learned to read. I needed books. Add computers to that requirement maybe but a child from a poor family is today in exactly the same boat."

--Alan Bennett in his London Review of Books essay "Baffled at a Bookcase: Alan Bennett returns to the library"


Atria/One Signal Publishers: Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education by Stephanie Land


Notes: Liberty Media's 'Investment' Strategy Hits B&N Stock

Negotiations continue between Barnes & Noble and Liberty Media, but "constraints on financing may prohibit a whole company deal and instead lead to an investment," the Financial Times reported, citing sources who said the "parties were working on an opportunistic basis in the volatile markets in order to solidify some type of investment agreement on an 'as soon as possible' basis. Both the industry banker and the source said no other retailer was looking at Barnes & Noble at the present time. The source said this put Liberty Media in the cat bird's seat."

Wall Street did not like the report. On a day the Dow inched up slightly, B&N fell 10.5%, closing at $12.99 a share, well below the $17 a share Liberty Media offered this May.


Clark Kepler, owner of Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif., is joining forces with other Silicon Valley small business owners to "call on Amazon and other online retailers to abandon a multimillion-dollar effort to repeal the law and start collecting sales tax," the Palo Alto Daily News reported.

"I am an independent business owner and as such compete with these giant online retailers--Amazon being the biggest gorilla of the group. I collect sales tax and Amazon has not and that gives them an unfair advantage," said Kepler. "It's just time for Amazon to stop being a tax evader and step up and be a real corporate citizen."

Kepler said his inability to match discounts offered by Internet retailers led to the closing of his business in 2005, and an "outpouring of support from community members upset over the loss of their corner bookstore was all that allowed him to reopen," the Daily News wrote.

"Customers kept saying the same three things: 'I'm so glad you're back.' 'I'm sorry I put you out of business.' 'I'll never shop Amazon again,' " he said. "What was important for me was to sustain that awareness. I just needed them to change their behavior enough to keep shopping with me."


It could take three or four years before Congress passes national guidelines on tax collections by online retailers, Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said after a speech Tuesday to the Smith County Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Press (via Forbes) reported.

"The brick and mortar stores have turned out to be places where people look at the product and try it on and see if it works for them," he said. "And then they go to the Internet and actually buy the product [without] sales taxes. Obviously that's unfair."


Approximately 20% of all global Internet users visited Amazon's websites in June, according to a comScore report showing that out of a total Internet audience of 1.4 billion, Amazon had 282.2 million visitors for the month. Mashable noted that this represents a 27% jump from June 2010, when Amazon had 221.8 million visitors.

The report also found that 35.4% of Amazon's visitors came from North America, with Europe the number two market at 31.8% and Asia Pacific third with 24.1%.


During the second quarter, Amazon spent $450,000 lobbying the federal government on issues that included online sales tax rules, transportation safety, data protection and privacy, and patent reform rules, according to the disclosure report filed with the House and Senate clerk's offices July 20, the Associated Press reported.

Amazon spent $500,000 for the same period last year and $630,000 in the first quarter of 2011. The AP noted that the company also lobbied "on new 'network neutrality' rules adopted by a divided Federal Communications Commission late last year. Those rules prohibit phone and cable companies from interfering with Internet traffic flowing over their broadband networks."


Author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes have found a location for their much-anticipated indie bookstore in Nashville, Tenn. They plan to open Parnassus Books this October in Greenbriar Village--where Abbott Martin Rd. meets Hillsboro Pike--with a staff headed by Mary Grey James, formerly of Ingram.

"I think Nashville wants this and needs this, and I don’t want to live in a city that doesn’t have an independent bookstore," Patchett told the Tennessean. "The location was great. I would rather thrive in a small space than shiver in a big space. David Crabtree (executive v-p of Brookside Properties) is so spectacular. Some people said we don’t want a bookstore. Bookstores are dead, but he got our vision."

In addition to a curated book selection, Parnassus will stock greeting cards and journals, magazines and newspapers, locally produced products and art, and store-branded merchandise. Customers will also be able to buy e-books through the store's website. Web outreach will include an e-mail newsletter, Facebook page and a website featuring a monthly blog written by Patchett.

The owners also shared their mission statement for the new bookshop: "As Mt. Parnassus was the center of Greek learning and culture, Parnassus Books will serve as a center for Nashville's literary community by hosting author readings, workshops, book clubs, and music events. As a local independent bookstore, they will support the economy of Nashville, partner with area businesses and schools, and become an institution and resource for culture and community. It is Parnassus Books' goal to complement and enhance the rich cultural character of The Athens of the South."


The Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, Md., has been put up for sale, the Baltimore Sun's Read Street blog reported. "This was an exceedingly difficult decision to make and came as a result of my wanting to spend more time with my family," owner Darielle Linehan observed. "Beyond personal considerations, I have also become convinced that our business would benefit greatly from new leadership with the requisite new ideas, attitudes and skill sets to better position our business for the future."


Turn Borders into a "book store" preserved in the style of Colonial Williamsburg ("Ye Olde Borders-Towne"). Replace "old-fashioned" bookshelves with "beautiful, well-appointed downloading pods." These are just two of the suggestions comedian John Hodgman made on Tuesday night's episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart to help bricks-and-mortar bookstores survive in a digital book world, GeekWire reported.


If you're planning to be in Toronto September 25, feel free to adopt an author. Quillblog reported that for a $100 donation to Word on the Street Toronto, you can "select from a list of 50 adoptee authors.... Adopters will receive a copy of their author's book and a chance to meet them at WOTS. In addition, there will be a personalized certificate (and tax receipt) to honor the day, just like when you adopt goats through Oxfam.... No word yet on how much water authors require, or how many times a day they need to be fed."


President Obama's book club. The Daily Beast offered an infographic timeline of every book the Reader-in-Chief has read since the last campaign.


Whether you call the game football or soccer, the Guardian has a double feature for you, starting with a football in fiction quiz and finishing strongly with Football Book of the Year and Sports Book of the Year winner (for Promised Land: A Northern Love Story) Anthony Clavane's choices for top 10 football fictions.


Feeling a little guilty as your to-be-read pile continues to grow? Perhaps a gentle reminder is in order. Fast Company featured Niko Economidis's Read-Unread bookshelf, which "does exactly what the name suggests: It organizes books according to whether you've read them or not--which, in turn, can encourage you to read more."


Edinburgh Book Festival video of the day: Attendees talked about their book purchases, including titles by Neil Gaiman and Franz Kafka.


Book trailer of the day: Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees by Nancy Ross Hugo (Timber Press).

Rough Guides: The Rough Guide to Top LGBTQ+ Friendly Places in Europe (Inspirational Rough Guides) by Rough Guides

Writers Making Money: Forbes's Highest-Paid Authors List

The newly released Forbes list of the world's highest-paid authors may include the usual suspects, but their wages can still be as shocking as a cleverly conceived plot twist. James Patterson topped this year's list, earning $84 million between May 2010 and April 2011, up from $70 million the year before. Stephenie Meyer banked $21 million, half of her $41 million the previous year. J.K. Rowling made "only" $5 million, but the launch of Pottermore will likely alter that situation dramatically. The top earning authors were:

  1. James Patterson ($84 million)
  2. Danielle Steel ($35 million)
  3. Stephen King ($28 million)
  4. Janet Evanovich ($22 million)
  5. Stephenie Meyer ($21 million)
  6. Rick Riordan ($21 million)
  7. Dean Koontz ($19 million)
  8. John Grisham ($18 million)
  9. Jeff Kinney ($17 million)
  10. Nicholas Sparks ($16 million)
  11. Ken Follett ($14 million)
  12. Suzanne Collins ($10 million)
  13. J.K. Rowling ($5 million)

World Book Night's U.S. Soundtrack

The latest edition of Algonquin Annotations, the publisher's e-newsletter, paid tribute to Carl Lennertz as he prepares for his new role as CEO of the U.S. division of World Book Night (Shelf Awareness, July 29, 2011) by asking him to "create his World Book Night soundtrack--deep cuts that build to a literary crescendo that takes center stage on April, 23, 2012." Here are the tunes, with Carl's "liner notes" attached:

10. "Jump Into the Fire" by Harry Nilsson--What I just did!
9. "Truckin" by the Grateful Dead--Just to name a few places where World Book Night events will take place.
8. "Steady On" by Shawn Colvin--Indeed.
7. "Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone--Who we want giving out books on World Book Night.
6. "Need Somebody" by the Subdudes--Need ALL of you!
5. "Oye Como Va" by Tito Puente, then Santana--"Listen to how it goes." Also... "Check it out!"
4. "Do You Feel Like We Do" by Peter Frampton--Do ya? Well, we'll spend the next few months trying.
3. "Countdown to Ecstasy" by Steely Dan--O.K., so it's the name of the album, but it fits.
2. "Wild Night" by Van Morrison--Yes, it will be! Mark your calendars: April 23, 2012.
1. "Stoned Soul Picnic" by Laura Nyro--What I'm doing April 24, the day after World Book Night!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bethanne Patrick on Minnesota Public Radio

Today on Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning with Kerri Miller: Bethanne Patrick, editor of Shelf Awareness for Readers, discusses Amazon's recent signing of self-help author Timothy Ferriss to a publishing deal.  


Tomorrow on a repeat of the View: Chaz Bono, author of Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525952145).

This Weekend on Book TV: Class Warfare

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week 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, August 20

11:30 a.m. At an event hosted by Atomic Books, Baltimore, Md., co-authors Stephen Janis and Kelvin Sewell present their book Why Do We Kill?: The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore (CreateSpace, $19.98, 9781463534806). (Re-airs Saturday at 9 p.m., Sunday at 8 a.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

2:30 p.m. At an event hosted by Moe's Books, Berkeley, Calif., John Gibler discusses his book To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War (City Lights, $15.95, 9780872865174).

7 p.m. Book TV attends a book launch party for Armstrong Williams, author of Reawakening Virtues: Restoring What Makes America Great (New Chapter Publisher, $22.95, 9780982791851). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m.)

8 p.m. Former Florida Senator Bob Graham, author of Keys to the Kingdom (Vanguard Press, $25.99, 9781593156602), presents his novel about a senator who is killed just before his op-ed on the 9/11 investigation is published. (Re-airs Sunday at 5 a.m. and Monday at 2 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch interviews Steven Brill, author of Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools (S&S, $28, 9781451611991). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. At an event hosted by the Rainbow Bookstore Co-operative, Madison, Wis., Amitabh Pal, author of "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today (Praeger, $44.95, 9780313382901), contends that nonviolent movements exist everywhere and deserve recognition. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

Sunday, July 21

2 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics and Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., Don Peck talks about his book Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures & What We Can Do About It (Crown, $22, 9780307886521). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m. and Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

3 p.m. Mark Steyn, author of After America: Get Ready For Armageddon (Regnery, $29.95, 9781596981003), argues that the U.S. is headed for financial collapse and a decline in its role as a world leader. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. Ronald Kessler, author of The Secrets of the FBI (Crown, $26, 9780307719690), reports on the FBI's training center and lab.

Television: The Carrie Diaries to the CW Network?

The CW network has "emerged as the leading candidate" for The Carrie Diaries, a series based on Candice Bushnell's prequel to Sex and the City,'s Nellie Andreeva reported, cautioning that there "are no deals in place, and talks are in preliminary stages, but I hear that Warner Bros. TV would produce and Gossip Girl executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are being courted to shepherd the project through their Warner Bros. TV-based Fake Empire banner. Former Sex and the City writer/producer Amy Harris, who is writing for Gossip Girl this season, will likely pen the adaptation."

Although HBO owns the rights to The Carrie Diaries, the network is looking for another outlet for the project because the book "is much younger skewing than HBO's audience," wrote. The CW is co-owned by Warner Bros. and CBS.

Movie Trailer: The Woman in Black

CBS Films has released a trailer for The Woman in Black, which stars Daniel Radcliffe "as a lawyer who travels to a remote English village and discovers that the ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals," reported. Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer co-star. The film, which opens February 3 and was directed by James Watkins, is "a remake of a 1989 TV movie that was adapted from a play that was adapted from Susan Hill's novel."

Book Review

Book Review: We the Animals

We the Animals by Justin Torres (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18 hardcover, 9780547576725, August 30, 2011)

This debut novel's titular "animals" are three boys, nine, eight and six, fighting each other, their parents and life in general. Their Paps is Puerto Rican, big and strong and violent; Mami is white, barely five feet tall, fragile and fierce. There are some good times but mostly bad times in this Brooklyn household. Paps is a serial womanizer, and Mami works the graveyard shift at the brewery. The boys are left, unsupervised, without food, waiting for Mami to come home, wondering if she will be drunk or sober. When Paps disappears for weeks, Mami is too desolate to work, so their situation becomes even worse.

Mami was 14 when Paps, 16, convinced her that what they were up to would not make her pregnant. Despite Paps's reassurances, Manny was born, followed by Joel a year later and then the narrator, Justin, the odd boy out. The disillusionment, desperation, fear and anger felt by these parents--really just kids themselves--is frequently mitigated by their love for each other and for their boys. When Torres writes of the occasional calming influence of their love, it is as if a cooling rain has suddenly fallen on a raging fire. The heartbreaking "You Better Come" has the boys playing a game where they hide in the bathtub behind the shower curtain. The game had been played many times, always ending with the parents "discovering" the boys, to great joy all around. This time, Mami and Paps didn't play properly. The boys vent their terror and anger, their constant feelings of abandonment, by striking their parents, the way they've been hurt. Paps and Mami allow it to go on. They understand their failures; they have been rendered powerless by circumstance.

The three brothers are wild animals, out-of-control marauders in hand-me-down camo clothes, playing war in the woods--who then use all their pocket money to buy milk for a stray cat. They stick together because there is no respite from the privation that is their lives, except curled around each other, feral and afraid.

Justin Torres's first-rate prose will leave you gut-socked and breathless, with a lump in your throat. His style is in-your-face: narrator Justin tries so hard to be macho for his Paps and his Mami, his brothers--and mostly--himself. But macho is not who he is. He is smart, perceptive, Mami's favorite, destined for a better life. He is the glue that holds the wild bunch together. In the end, his true nature is discovered. In "The Night I Was Made," he returns home from cruising the bus station lavatory, to find his family gathered, his mother reading his journal. In a mad scene to rival Lucia di Lammermoor or Ophelia, this "made" boy comes apart altogether. He is filthy, unkempt, reeking of sex and the street, wounded in too many ways and now raging at his family. His father bathes him tenderly; they pack his suitcase and take him to a hospital where his wounds, internal and external, will be cared for. Everyone is exhausted, including the reader, but the redeeming factor here is that the writing is exquisite, making the painful trip so worthwhile. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A touching, frightening story of three boys who grow up amid neglect, poverty, violence and occasional moments of pure, radiant love.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Florida Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in Florida during the week ended Sunday, August 14:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
3. The Confession by John Grisham
4. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
5. Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland
6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
8. Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo
9. Shallows by Nicholas Carr
10. The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxter

Reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Books & Books, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour: The Bridge to Neverland by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
The Book Mark, Neptune Beach: The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Inkwood Books, Tampa
Vero Beach Book Center: The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxter

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland and Milwaukee Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas during the week ended Sunday, August 14:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
3. Bossypants by Tina Fey
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
5. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
6. Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo
7. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
9. The Color of Water by James McBride
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly
Book Cellar, Lincoln Square: Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby
Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka: Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson
Book Table, Oak Park
Books & Co., Oconomowoc: Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julie Pandl
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
57th St. Books, Chicago
Lake Forest Books
Next Chapter, Mequon: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock
Seminary Co-op
Women and Children First, Chicago: City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

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