Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 1, 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

Cool Idea of the Day: Handselling Favorites of Indie Booksellers

Sometimes the customer is really right. A few weeks ago, a patron of Micawber's bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., asked co-owner Hans Weyandt for a list of his top 100 books. He thought she meant the shop's all-time bestselling titles, but she quickly said, "No, I mean your personal favorites." From that catalyst, a great idea was born. Weyandt has since contacted several other booksellers nationwide with the aim of getting top 50 lists from at least 20 different people or stores.

Last night, he posted his own selections on Mr. Micawber Enters the Internets blog and plans to add a new list each weekday. Thus far, he has received 20 lists (a total of 1,000 books) from booksellers in 17 states.

"All contributing stores will get copies to place in-store or use on-line as they please," he noted. "Once I've posted all of the lists, I will compile the most frequently mentioned titles. What I told everyone was that I was looking for either a top 50 list or 50 favorite books to handsell. Some booksellers chose to add their own restrictions, such as fiction only, deceased authors only, etc."

Weyandt added, "All of this has been a great deal of fun and an incredible way to touch base with some old friends and a way to open the door on new ones."
 
To whet your biblio-appetite, these are some of the booksellers who have agreed to contribute to the project:

Staff lists from Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., and the Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass.
Neil Strandberg from the Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, Colo.
Michael Boggs of Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.
Libby Cowles of Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.
Liberty Hardy of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.
Jay Peterson of Magers and Quinn, Minneapolis, Minn.
Toby Cox of Three Lives & Co., New York City
Matt Lage of Iowa Book Co., Iowa City, Iowa
Emily Pullen of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.
Emma Straub of BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Paul Yamazaki of City Lights, San Francisco, Calif.
Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa
Stacie Michelle Williams of Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
Joseph DeSalvo of Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, La.

Weyandt noted that if "there is a bookseller out there that would like to join this you can contact me and I will continue this project until its very end. Being involved in this has been the highest honor possible."
 


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


Notes: Over 40 Days, Tattered Cover Celebrates 40 Years


Congratulations to the Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., which was founded in 1971 and begins a "40 Years in 40 Days Celebration" this Monday. During the celebration, Tattered Cover's three stores and website will offer a range of discounts, giveaways, special offers, events and more. The celebration culminates on Saturday, October 15, with a birthday party at each of the three stores.

The Tattered Cover will have ongoing celebration details in e-mails and on tatteredcover.com, which includes a history of the store. (Short version: the original Tattered Cover was 950 square feet and had two employees. Joyce Meskis bought the store in 1974, and the rest, as they say, is history.) The Tattered Cover is also asking customers and others to contribute favorite stories and remembrances about the store, authors, staff members even "your favorite nook to spend an afternoon reading."

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Book trailer of the day: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Orbit). The video was written and directed by filmmaker Leo Kei Angelos.

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The eight titles on the autumn list for the Richard and Judy Book Club are:

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The Black House by Peter May
Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall
Next of Kin by David Hosp
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

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The Alliance of Radical Booksellers, a coalition of "left-leaning political bookshops" is set to launch in the U.K. this October, the Bookseller reported, adding that the ARB "seeks to support bookshops working to keep progressive books on the high street."

An ARB spokesperson described the group as "an organization which allows its member booksellers to support each other, promote one another’s work and sell books together." The group also plans to sponsor a book award called the Bread and Roses Prize.

"We definitely want to speak to publishers as more of a group, but we are [also] more of a support group which comes up with campaigns and promotions," said ARB co-founder Nik Gorecki of Housmans bookshop in London.

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For crossword aficionados who find the Sunday Times puzzle too daunting, Buzzfeed featured the "World's Smallest, Cutest Crossword Puzzle."

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In an upset, potions master Severus Snape was voted favorite character from the Harry Potter series--besting the boy wizard himself--in a recent fan poll conducted by Bloomsbury. The Guardian reported that Snape garnered 13,000 (20%) of the 70,000 votes cast, with Hermione Granger finishing second, followed by Sirius Black, Harry and Ron Weasley.



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


Digital Download: Sony's New Reader; Nook Finds New Nook


Yesterday, Sony introduced its new Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1), which weighs less than 6 ounces and features a 6" E-Ink Pearl V220 touch screen. The device is expected to be available in October with a suggested retail of $149.

Sony also announced its first offer in collaboration with J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website--a Reader Wi-Fi with a Pottermore promotion (PRS-T1HBC), which includes a voucher enabling Harry Potter fans to download the e-book version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone free from Pottermore when it becomes available.  

ZDNet reported that the "latest Reader's 'enhanced' multi-touch display works with both finger and stylus input, the latter of which also allows users to both take notes and highlight text. At 8.9mm thick and 168g in weight, the latest Reader is far lighter than the Nook, Kobo, and Kindle. That's a big deal for a portable device--assuming, of course, that its build quality isn't sacrificed."

PCWorld noted that "price and design are the two biggest factors driving the e-reader market; and in the past, Sony severely dragged its feet on the former. But today the company has rectified the situation.... With a list price of $149, the reader costs 35% less than the Touch Edition model it replaces. In addition to the dramatic price drop, Sony has shaved weight off the design to make it, by a hair, the lightest e-reader on the market; and it has consolidated its lineup from three models to just one."

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Starting this Sunday, appliance and electronics retailer P.C. Richard & Son will sell Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader both online and in the company's 65 stores in the New York City metropolitan area. The Nook is also sold at Books-A-Million, Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, Office Max and Fred Meyer.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dick Cheney on the Tonight Show

This morning on WOR's Joan Hamburg Show: Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World (Vanguard Press, $25.99, 9781593156596).

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Tomorrow on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Dick Cheney, author of In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir (Threshold, $35, 9781439176191).

 


Movie Trailer: Ecstasy

A new trailer has been released for the film version of Irvine Welsh's Ecstasy. The Playlist reported that the "project has been in development for more than a decade, with financing coming and going before it was finally locked into place, with Kristin Kreuk, Billy Boyd, Adam Sinclair, Colin Mochrie and Dean McDermott coming on board to star."

Director Rob Heydon called the film "a transformational love story going from the love of ecstasy of the drug to the ecstasy of love. A lot of people think it’s 'Oh, it's Irvine Welsh, it's going to be about drugs' and that's it, and sort of write it off at face value. It's really about different states of modality and what is ecstasy and how do we get there and how do we live in a state of ecstasy every day."

Welsh said he did not object to changes that were made in the adaptation because he believes he didn't get Ecstasy quite the he way he wanted on the page: "[It] kind of turned out to be formally kind of a straighter book than I wanted it to be--it's much more of a straight-down-the-line-story--and I wanted it to be a bit more trippy than that. That was my disappointment in the book, it wasn't realized quite the way I wanted it to.... To me it was very much realized as a stage play... to me it worked better on the stage than on the page... so I was excited about what would happen if it was given the cinematic treatment."
 


This Weekend on Book TV: David Graeber's Debt

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this Labor Day weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday 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, September 3

10:45 a.m. For an event hosted by McNally Jackson Books in New York City, John McWhorter, author of What Language Is (And What It Isn't and What It Could Be) (Gotham, $26, 9781592406258), examines the principles behind the world's languages. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m. and 6:45 p.m.)

12 p.m. For an event hosted by Melville House Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years (Melville House, $32, 9781933633862), talks about the history of debt and its impact in the world. (Re-airs Saturday at 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 a.m.)

2 p.m. Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin talks about his book Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm (CreateSpace, $17.99, 9781460959718). (Re-airs Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 a.m.)

3:45 p.m. Kevin Mitnick, author of Ghosts in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316037709), recounts his three years on the run from the FBI. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. April Ryan interviews Randall Kennedy, author of The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency (Pantheon, $26.95, 9780307377890). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, September 4

12:15 a.m. Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, author of Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230805), presents his thoughts on political and economic matters. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

1 a.m. For an event hosted by Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Jeremy Ben-Ami, author of A New Voice for Israel: Fighting for the Survival of the Jewish Nation (Palgrave Macmillan, $26, 9780230112742), argues that Jewish Americans are not single-issue voters. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

12 p.m. In Depth. Ellis Cose, author most recently of The End of Anger: A New Generation's Take on Race and Rage (Ecco, $24.99, 9780061998553), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to booktv@c-span.org or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)
 


Books & Authors

Awards: Goethe Prize and Rittenhouse Award Winners

Syrian poet Adonis became the first Arab writer to win Germany's €50,000 (US$72,286) Goethe prize, awarded every three years on Goethe's birthday to an individual whose work reflects the spirit of the German master. The Guardian reported that the jury called him "the most important Arab poet of our time," and praised his "eminent literary talent, his cosmopolitanism and his contribution to world literature."

"Just as Goethe popularized Arabic poetry with [his book] West-Eastern Divan, Adonis carried the accomplishments of European modernity into Arabic cultural circles, with great effect," said the jury.

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Jack Jensen, president of Chronicle Books, has won the 2011 Jack D. Rittenhouse Award, sponsored by PubWest, for "his extraordinary career and his lifetime of work with Chronicle Books that has shaped and inspired the book publishing community." He will accept the award during PubWest's 2011 conference in Henderson, Nev., November 3-5.

As PubWest noted, "During his 35-year career, Jensen transformed Chronicle Books from a tiny, regional house into a global brand known for its high-quality design and eclectic subject matter." Jensen is also president of the McEvoy Group, the holding company for Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press, Becker & Mayer!, Spin Media and California Home & Design and 7x7 Magazines.

 



Book Review

Book Review: There but for the

There but for the by Ali Smith (Pantheon, $25 hardcover, 9780375424090, September 13, 2011)

Far beyond merely clever, Ali Smith (The Accidental; Hotel World) has devised a wise and punny, witty and funny story of people caroming off one another like billiard balls on a table. Their connections, and lack thereof, make up the import of this quirky, one-off modernist story.

Once a year, Genevieve and Eric Lee give an "alternative" annual dinner party, to which they "invite people who were a bit different from the people they usually saw, as well as friends they saw all the time." Maybe a Muslim, a Jew or a Palestinian--a foray into diversity. This year a friend of a friend, Mark Palmer, brings Miles Garth with him. The title of the first section is "There," followed by "was once a man who, one night between the main course and the sweet at a dinner party, went upstairs and locked himself in one of the bedrooms of the house of the people who were giving the dinner party." That man is Miles. And thereby hangs the tale.

Suspend disbelief that anyone would allow this situation to continue unimpeded for three months and enjoy the ride through words, concepts, figures of speech and the idiosyncrasies, rhyming, singing, foibles, eccentricities and downright oddments of all the characters. The story unfolds through the eyes of four people who have known, ever so slightly, Miles Garth. Who he is remains somewhat ambiguous as we read the accounts of Anna, an age-mate who knew him perhaps 30 years ago, briefly. Oh, but then she remembers another, more telling encounter.

Next in the recounting is Mark Palmer, a gay man, who meets Miles and, on a lark, invites him to this dinner he doesn't want to attend. Of course, we learn more about Mark then we do about Miles, which is the way of things in this book. Miles is a memory catalyst, a prism through which to focus certain times, people and events. May Young, an octogenarian, has the most poignant tale to tell and also gives the reader insight into Miles. Precocious 10-year-old Brooke Bayoude is a constant through several narrations, and the only person who connects with Miles in any meaningful way.

Ali Smith is probably some kind of genius--and way entertaining in the bargain. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A dinner guest excuses himself from the table, goes upstairs and locks himself in a bedroom, where he remains for three months. We wonder why. Four people try to tell us.

 


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 28:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
3. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
4. Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry
5. One Day by David Nicholls
6. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
7. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
8. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
9. Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo
10. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Books & Books, Coral Gables, Miami Beach, Bal Harbour: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
The Book Mark, Neptune Beach: Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry
Inkwood Books, Tampa
Vero Beach Book Center: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

[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 28:

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
3. Big Nate on a Roll by Lincoln Peirce
4. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
7. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
9. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
10. One Day by David Nicholls

The reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:

Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly
Book Cellar, Lincoln Square: Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka: The Submission by Amy Waldman
Book Table, Oak Park: American Dreamers by Michaek Kazin
Books & Co., Oconomowoc: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson
57th St. Books, Chicago
Lake Forest Books:
Next Chapter, Mequon
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock
Seminary Co-op
Women and Children First, Chicago: The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]


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