Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 26, 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

Quotation of the Day

The Book, Greatest Weapon in War Against Stupidity

"The book is second only to the wheel as the best piece of technology human beings have ever invented. A book symbolises the whole intellectual history of mankind; it's the greatest weapon ever devised in the war against stupidity."


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


Amazon's Third Quarter: Sales Up 44%, Net Income Falls 73%

In the third quarter ended September 30, net sales at rose 44%, to $10.88 billion, and net income fell 73%, to $63 million. The e-tailer had forecast a big drop in profit because of major investments, including 17 new warehouses, expansion of data storage and the sales of millions of Kindles priced below cost.

Wall Street didn't like the news since the loss was larger than analysts' consensus. Amazon stock fell more than $25 a share in after-hours trading, to just under $200 per share, after having fallen $10 just before the report. The New York Times noted that as a result, Amazon's market capitalization fell $16 billion.

North American and international sales, $5.93 billion and $4.94 billion, respectively, both grew at the same 44% as total company sales. Worldwide media sales, which includes books, rose 24%, to $4.15 billion. Worldwide electronics and other general merchandise, presumably including the Kindle, grew 59%, to $6.32 billion.

The company predicted that in the fourth quarter, net sales will grow 27%-44%.

Among the news bits the company included in its third-quarter results press release:

  • Amazon Publishing released 61 titles and added its sixth imprint during the quarter.
  • Amazon launched a Spanish-language website and launched a French Kindle store.
  • Full- and part-time employees grew 64%m to 51,300 in the quarter, compared to 31,200 in the same quarter last year.

As usual, Amazon did not give any meaningful figures on Kindle sales. CEO Jeff Bezos said orders for the new Kindle Fire, which appears next month, are high enough so that "we're increasing capacity and building millions more than we'd already planned."

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

Cooper Union Nixes St. Mark's Rent Reduction

Saying that the school is "losing a lot of money," Cooper Union has refused to lower the rent of St. Mark's Bookshop in New York City, according to the Daily News. St. Mark's has been seeking a $5,000 cut in its $20,000-a-month rent. Cooper Union's only gesture of aid was to allow the store to skip a month's rent and repay it over time.

Co-owner Bob Contant told that Cooper Union proposed a partnership whereby the store could sell more course texts but said the store wouldn't "see a return on that immediately."

Co-owner Terry McCoy told the Daily News that despite the disappointing decision, community support for St. Mark's, including a petition signed by 40,000 people, has "helped us enormously. People have gone out of their way to patronize the store."

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

Angus Killick Moves Up at Macmillan's Children's Publishing

Effective November 14, Angus Killick becomes v-p, associate publisher of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, a new position. The Group includes Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers, Feiwel and Friends, First Second, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Priddy Books, Roaring Brook Press and Square Fish.

Killick will coordinate publishing programs, lead the children’s marketing team, oversee marketing campaigns and pursue business development opportunities. Killick was most recently the associate publisher and director of marketing for Kingfisher, a division of Pan Macmillan, and he will retain those responsibilities through the end of the year. He previously has held senior marketing positions at Disney Publishing Worldwide, Penguin Young Readers Group, DK and Cassell in New York and London.



Image of the Day: S-p-e-l-l-i-n-g B-e-e

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses held its seventh annual spelling bee fundraiser Monday night, and as always the evening began with referee Jesse Sheidlower (left) and master of ceremonies Ira Silverberg explaining the rules, including the traditional warning to the audience not to groan at obvious mistakes and thereby give clues to the next contestant. This rule actually proved its value during the first round, when authors Francine Prose, David Rakoff and Elissa Schappell all confused "antecedence" with "antecedents" before Helen Simonson thought to ask for a definition. After 90 minutes of fierce competition, Ben Greenman reclaimed the title by correctly spelling "pyrosis" after HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham and former New Yorker TV critic Nancy Franklin stumbled. (Other words that eliminated Greenman's 14 rivals included "strychnine," "virgule," "opprobrious" and "aardwolf.") --Ron Hogan


Happy Birthday, Brookline Booksmith!

Congratulations to Brookline Booksmith, which turns 50 next week. The store is celebrating with a day-by-day 20% off sale for five days, starting Tuesday, November 1, in a different category each day: hardcovers; used books and remainders; children's books; gifts and learning products; and finally, going back to the store's roots, paperback books. The store will have a celebratory party after the holiday season.

Originally known as Paperback Booksmith (which for a time became a string of stores in the Northeast), the store was founded by Marshall Smith and at the time was one of only three paperback-only bookstores in the country. Eventually the store changed its name and began selling hardcovers, remainders and used books. In recent years, the store added gifts, greeting cards, a "brain fitness center" and a "fine arts center." Now owned also by manager Dana Brigham and treasurer Evelyn Vigo, Brookline Booksmith has a strong events program.

The three owners wrote: "Collectively we have over 100 years of residence, community involvement, activism, and devotion to the Town of Brookline. We are deeply proud to have fostered not just a bookstore but a cultural center that so clearly reflects the essence of Brookline and surrounding areas: Their thirst for knowledge and education; their sense of humor and fun; and their commitment to the importance of community for all residents. So often people tell us how much they love the store, that the 'store has a certain buzz to it.' (Not to mention the creaky wood floors.) All of this is reflected in our extraordinary staff, many of whom have been with us for decades…

"In spite of the dire predictions on the fate of bookstores, libraries, and books on paper, Brookline Booksmith is thriving. This is in no small part because of the loyalty of our beloved customers. However, loyalty can only persist as long as we provide an exciting place for knowledge and learning in an atmosphere of community and conviviality. And as long as we keep current with the digital world of e-books and online retailing--we provide both, and soon to be added print on demand."

Emily Books: No More Nice Girls

Emily Gould (l.) and Ruth Curry (r.) recently started a boutique online bookstore, Emily Books, with a single title, an electronic edition of Ellen Willis's 1992 essay collection No More Nice Girls. Last Saturday night, they commemorated their launch with the first in a series of book club meetings that will be held at WORD in Brooklyn, N.Y. Using a battered paperback in lieu of a "talking stick," nearly 20 participants spent an hour and a half enthusiastically debating the ongoing relevance of Willis's blend of autobiographical confession and cultural criticism to the contemporary feminist movement. 

"This woman had it down," said Tiger Beatdown blogger Sady Doyle (center). "She was speaking about things that would influence the ways women spoke about their lives for generations." Doyle cited "Escape from New York," one of the essays in the collection, as a particularly strong example of how Willis could shift from "achingly human" personal experiences to larger political and cultural points without ever falling into the trap of conflating the two or pretending to offer a universal theory of feminism.

After the discussion, Gould announced that the next Emily Books offering would be revealed at the beginning of November, with additional books to follow on a monthly basis. She added that about 60 to 70 customers had already signed up for a one-year subscription for whatever titles she and Curry selected. --Ron Hogan


Sparta Books Marches to New Location

On November 1, Sparta Books, Sparta, N.J., is moving five doors from its current location to 29 Theatre Center. Owner Donna Fell said the new space will give her a better floor plan and the chance to make a visual statement through colors, layout and flooring, according to NAIBAhood News.


IPS's Four New Clients

Ingram Publisher Services has added four new publishers:

  • The Planning Shop, Redwood City, Calif., which specializes in business resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Its books and products are based on the real-world experience and strategies of entrepreneurs, CEOs, investors and lenders. Titles include The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies, Six-Week Start-Up, Business Plan in a Day and Successful Marketing.
  • Founded by interior designer Moll Anderson, Moll Anderson Productions, Knoxville, Tenn., offers home, design and lifestyle books and products. Her newest line of books is the Seductive Home series.
  • Dundurn Press, Toronto, Ont., is one of the largest publishers of adult and YA fiction and nonfiction in Canada, with more than 100 new titles a year, particularly in the areas of Canadian heritage, natural history, biography and art. Established in 1972 by Kirk Howard, Dundurn Press has more than 1,700 titles in print.
  • Arundel Publishing, Warwick, N.Y., is a new independent press founded by a group of publishing veterans and will specialize in YA, nonfiction, mystery and thriller. Titles include the Eden Thriller series, the Movie Mystery series, the Wacko Academy YA series and the nonfiction Now You Tell Me! series. Arundel is dedicated to fair business practices and philanthropy and is donating a portion of each title's proceeds to charity.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: West on West on West

Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Joe Darger, co-author of Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062074041).


Tonight on Chelsea Lately: Tip "T.I." Harris, author of Power & Beauty: A Love Story of Life on the Streets (Morrow, $23.99, 9780062067654).


Tonight on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight: Mario Batali, author of Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours (Ecco, $29.99, 9780062095565).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781451648539). He will also appear tomorrow on CNBC's Squawk Box.


Tomorrow morning on Live with Regis and Kelly: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Confessions of a Guidette (Gallery, $25, 9781451657111). She will also appear tomorrow on Access Hollywood.


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Russell Banks, author of Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco, $25.99, 9780061857638). As the show put it: "Russell Banks's new novel takes breathtaking risks in exploring a morally complex story. The protagonist is a renegade and convicted sex offender searching for freedom, including freedom from homelessness. Our conversation centers on how he entered the 'forbidden zone' and structured this unconventional novel."


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Robert Frank, author of The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good (Princeton University Press, $26.95, 9780691153193).


Tomorrow on the View: Hal Rubenstein, author of 100 Unforgettable Dresses (Harper Design, $35, 9780061151668).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Jerry West, author of West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316053495).

Magic Act: Harry Potter DVDs to Vanish Dec. 29

Effective December 29, Warner Bros. will stop shipping DVDs of all Harry Potter theatrical film titles (including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, and Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection). reported that the "moratorium does not include digital--electronic sell-through & VOD--or games."

Business Insider observed that "this at first glance might seem like a company leaving massive amounts of money on the table. However, this strategy has been used in the past--in theory, the rarer your product, the higher its value rises, and such scarcity would then allow Warner Bros. to make an event of rereleases down the road.... There's just one big problem: the Internet."

TV: Girls in White Dresses; The Red Tent

Jennifer Crittenden (Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond) and Gaby Allan (Scrubs) are the writers-executive producers of a new comedy series sold to ABC/ABC Studios that is based on the book Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.


Lifetime is developing a miniseries based on the 1997 bestseller The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Variety reported that "Paula Weinstein is set to produce. Weinstein normally produces big-screen projects, but has also worked on several telepics, including HBO's Recount and Iron Jawed Angels."

Books & Authors

Whiting Award Winners: First a Kiss, Then a Slap

Each year, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation selects 10 writers "of exceptional talent and promise" at the early stages of their careers, and gives them a $50,000 award. Tuesday night, at a brief ceremony at the Times Center in midtown Manhattan, 1994 Whiting recipient Mark Doty spoke to the most recent winners. "I want to encourage you to savor this brilliant moment of attention," he said, "because you're going to need it.... Tonight the world is giving you a kiss on the cheek. Soon you will probably be receiving a slap on the other one." Doty went on to explain that rejection was an inevitable part of any writer's life--something he was sure they had already learned for themselves--but that they must resist falling prey to bitterness or resentment, and that the best remedy was to keep writing. "May these awards be sustenance for you and help you to negotiate with your doubts," he concluded.

The winners of the 27th annual Whiting Writers' Awards are (front row, l.-r.) Shane McRae, Amy Herzog, Ryan Call, Scott Blackwood and Kerri Webster; (back row, l.-r.) Daniel Orozco, Eduardo C. Corral, Don Mee Choi, Paul Clemens and Teddy Wayne. --Ron Hogan

Photo: Jennifer Keller


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, October 31 and November 1:

Zero Day by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446573016) follows an army special agent investigating the murder of a family in West Virginia.

Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28, 9780385343176) explores life for guests and owners of a luxury New York hotel.

The Corn Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates (Mysterious Press, $24, 9780802126023) is a collection of short horror stories.

Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family by Laurie Sandell (Little, Brown, $26.99, 9780316198936) chronicles the effect of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi fraud on his family, including exclusive interviews and photos.

Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border by Jan Brewer (Broadside Books, $25.99, 9780062106391) is a memoir by the governor of Arizona, with a foreword by Sarah Palin.

Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire (Morrow, $26.99, 9780060548940) concludes the re-imagining of the land of Oz that began in Wicked.

No Regrets by Ace Frehley, Joe Layden and John Ostrosky (VH1 Books, $26, 9781451613940) is the memoir of a Kiss guitarist.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9780743264822) gives another dose of Fisher's simultaneously humorous and searing personal commentary.

The Last Testament: A Memoir by God and David Javerbaum (Simon & Schuster, $23.99, 9781451640182) clarifies God's version of Earthly events--as dictated to a comedy writer--such as the reality of "Adam and Steve," or how He hid fake fossils to trick scientists.

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick, Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem (Houghton Mifflin, $40, 9780547549255) ties Dick's late work with his personal experiences using previously unreleased notes.

Now in paperback:

New Jersey Noir by Joyce Carol Oates (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617750267).

Listen to This by Alex Ross (Picador, $18, 9780312610685).

Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris (Picador, $22, 9780312611699).

The Next Always: Book One of the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy by Nora Roberts (Berkley, $16, 9780425243213).

Lover Unleashed: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward (Signet, $7.99, 9780451235114).

Book Brahmins: Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs

Amanda Hesser has been named one of the most influential women in food by Gourmet Live. A longtime food reporter and editor at the New York Times, Hesser wrote the books Cooking for Mr. Latte, The Cook and the Gardener and The Essential New York Times Cookbook and edited the essay collection Eat, Memory. Hesser lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband, Tad Friend, and their two children.

Merrill Stubbs is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in London and worked for a decade as a private chef, cooking instructor and recipe developer. She was the food editor at Herb Quarterly and has written for the Times's T Living, Edible Brooklyn, Body+Soul and She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

Hesser and Stubbs are the co-founders of and co-authors of The Food52 Cookbook (Morrow, October 25, 2011).

On your nightstand now:

Stubbs: The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Man with a Pan by John Donohue and Land of a Thousand Hills by Rosamond Halsey Carr, plus a few others I can't think of at the moment!
The Four-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, but I've been working too hard to read it. 

Favorite book when you were a child:

Stubbs: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother is convinced that this book is the main reason I ended up pursuing a career in food--I suspect she's right.
Grimms' Fairy Tales. It was my first thick, hardcover book, a gift from one of my sisters. I remember reading it and not understanding much but feeling that it was very, very important to read.

Your top five authors:

Stubbs: Charles Dickens, John Irving, Jane Austen, Bill Bryson, Isabel Allende.
Shirley Hazzard, John Berger, Leo Tolstoy, Larry McMurtry, Gabrielle Hamilton. When I was first married, my husband, who is a voracious reader, guided me through his favorite novelists from A to Z. That's how I discovered Hazzard and McMurtry.

Book you've faked reading:

Stubbs: I listened to the audiobook version of The Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, but I always just say I've read it when it comes up in conversation. Same with John Adams by David McCullough.
On the Road. Until I stopped faking and just put it down. Have been much happier ever since.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Stubbs: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time and an honest look at the challenges of shifting from an urban to a completely rural existence.
Selma by Jutta Bauer (it's a children's book). I like a little darkness in children's books. This one is about a sheep who is chased by a fox during the day and who chats up her friend, a vulture, in the evening--and yet, she's happy and has accepted her fate. 

Book you've bought for the cover:

Stubbs: Insatiable by Gael Greene.
Are you calling me shallow?

Book that changed your life:

Stubbs: See question about my favorite book as a child above!
The Preppy Handbook. My sister gave it to me when I was about eight or nine. I didn't realize it was satire, so I read it like a guide to life and began dressing preppy and dreaming of wood-paneled station wagons.

Favorite line from a book:

Stubbs: My husband tends to highlight memorable lines as he reads, but I've never done that while reading for pleasure (of course, I did plenty of it as a Comparative Literature major in college). I tend to be affected more by a book as its whole, rather than gravitating toward specific lines.
It's from Lonesome Dove, and it's a little juvenile of me to choose this, but always makes me laugh: "He knew he would be a long time living down having to mount his horse with his dingus flopping."

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

Stubbs: Jane Eyre.
Anna Karenina.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Future of Us

The Future of Us by Carolyn Mackler, Jay Asher (Penguin/Razorbill, $18.99 hardcover, 368p., ages 12-up, 9781595144911, November 21, 2011)

In this perceptive, often humorous novel, Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) and Carolyn Mackler (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things) tap into the obsession with the future that possesses high school juniors Emma and Josh, and how that diverts their attention away from what's right in front of them.

The novel opens on Sunday, May 19, 1996, when Alanis Morissette, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews dominate the airwaves. Josh walks next door to give Emma a CD-ROM with 100 free hours of America Online. Somehow, with her download of AOL, she also receives Facebook--which hasn't been invented yet. In a funny scene, Josh and Emma try to make sense of it ("Why does it say she has three hundred and twenty friends? Who has that many friends?" asks Josh). They also quickly discover that they can see their futures, 15 years from now. At first they think it's a hoax, but then they realize that it's impossible for someone to alter their "walls" so frequently. Josh likes his future--at least initially--because he winds up with beautiful and wealthy Sydney Mills. Emma, however, continues to find fault with hers.

Both of them begin acting in the present in ways that they hope will either preserve (in Josh's case) or alter (in Emma's case) their futures, then check their Facebook pages compulsively to see if their schemes worked. But when they each discover some things they wish that they hadn't, they begin to question whether they should be looking at Facebook at all. Teens will recognize themselves in Josh and Emma's behavior--the enslavement to Facebook, status updates and wall postings--as well as the teens' reaction to the inanity of the posts. Emma starts out as quite myopic and not entirely likable. But as she sees how these traits play out in her future, she grows more sympathetic, and readers begin to observe in her glimmers of the friend she had once been to Josh.

The solid foundation of lifelong friendship between these two next-door neighbors--as well as Emma's with her friend Kellan, and Josh's with Tyson--anchors the novel. There's little doubt what the outcome will be. But teens will savor knowing more than the narrators--from the ins and outs of Facebook to the chemistry they'll recognize between Emma and Josh. Their story serves as a cautionary tale: to live for some perceived future goal sacrifices life in the present. --Jennifer M. Brown



What Fools We Mortals Be

Our item yesterday about Anonymous, opening this Friday, got things backwards, very backwards. The film, which posits that the Earl of Oxford may have been the real writer of Shakespeare's plays, is not based on Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James S. Shapiro. To the contrary, Shakespeare scholar Shapiro has criticized Anonymous.


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