Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville


Nantucket Bookworks to Operate Mitchell's Book Corner

Wendy Hudson, owner of Nantucket Bookworks since 2000, has created Nantucket Book Partners, which will run both Nantucket Bookworks and Mitchell's Book Corner as separate, full-service bookstores. Both stores are in Nantucket, Mass., on Nantucket Island.

"My vision is to continue to operate the two as unique but complementary sister stores open year-round," Hudson said. "We will have one website, one events program, one POS system that can share information, etc., and one unified approach to buying, but we will be able to offer more to the island's readers through less duplication and more diversification. Furthermore, we will have a dedicated event space upstairs at Mitchell's."

Mitchell's is owned by Wendy Schmidt, wife of Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and now Google executive chairman, through the Schmidt Family Foundation and its ReMain 54 subsidiary. She bought Mitchell's and its building in 2008. The store was run by Mary Jennings for four years, and after she left, Schmidt looked for a new operator and received seven offers.

Concerning those who made bids, Melissa Philbrick, executive director of ReMain 54, said that Hudson "has the highest likelihood of success in ensuring that Mitchell's will be a viable independent bookstore for the long term. Over the past few years, she has taken a strongly proactive approach to meeting the challenge of the changing market for books and understands the industry dynamics well."

Schmidt commented: "Here on Nantucket, we are exceptionally fortunate to have two independent bookstores, and now, for them to combine forces, while maintaining their individual characters, is a realistic approach for successfully engaging this industry-wide challenge.”

Hudson added: "The way the industry is moving I think this is the right solution for this small town. By channeling our energies rather than competing, we'll end up with a stronger entity and a unified 'Buy Local' message. In the short term it will be hectic getting ready for the summer season, but I'm confident that in the long run this will be good for the community."

Mitchell's was founded in 1968 by Henry "Mitch" Mitchell and Mary Allen Havemeyer and later run by their daughter Mimi Beman, who died in 2010.

photos: Wendy Hudson by Nicole Harnishfeger; Mitchell's by Jim Powers


G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

OverDrive Acquires Aussie E-Book Distributor

Digital book distributor OverDrive has acquired Australian e-book company, developer of a cloud-based platform for distributing, selling and reading e-books on any device with a modern Web browser. OverDrive plans to expand the distribution and digital bookstore platforms, as well as integrate HTML5 and ePub reading technologies into OverDrive's library and school services. founders and principals Joseph Pearson, Virginia Murdoch and Peter Haasz are joining OverDrive and will continue to work from their offices in Melbourne.

"Australia has a fantastically vibrant and engaged literary culture, and has flourished from the founders' strong ties to it," said Murdoch. "We're excited to be able to use our local knowledge to help OverDrive establish a base here, and to continue our work with local booksellers and publishers to promote the Australian book industry further afield."

PaidContent noted that the deal "means that library patrons could soon be able to read borrowed e-books on their Web browsers, as they can with Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader."

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

France to Digitize 'Indispensable' Books

The French government has passed a new law--La loi sur les livres indisponibles du XXème siècle--to digitize and sell half a million "indispensable" 20th century works. The project's goal "is to preserve and commercialize French books from before 2001 that are no longer for sale in print or online," paidContent reported, citing an article Swiss newspaper Le Temps. France's Senate and Assemblée Nationale have approved the plan.

The Bibliothèque nationale is compiling a list of books that will eventually be sold online, with the French government holding a "40% stake in a new royalty collection enterprise while publishers will control the rest. The project, which is receiving an initial subsidy of €30 million, guarantees that at least 50% of royalties will go to publishers and authors," paidContent wrote, adding that the French plan is "opt-out," and authors will be included unless they object within six months.

A group of 900 writers is opposing the measure as "an abuse of their intellectual property rights," and paidContent observed that the "French scheme also has a snobbish element to it as only 'indispensable' works will be included in the collection. As Le Temps notes, fans of bodice rippers and the like may have to wait to see their favorite titles online."

Kickstarter to Jumpstart App, Bookstore Fundraising

Ron Hogan, a longtime contributor to Shelf Awareness, was one of the first people to write about books and authors on the web--his literary website,, was launched in 1995. Although best known today as a blog, it originally featured dozens of extensive interviews with fiction and nonfiction writers, including some of the earliest published conversations with bestselling authors like Jennifer Weiner and Sam Lipsyte. Hogan wants to get back to interviewing, and he's developing an app version of Beatrice that will combine q&as with streaming video highlights.

The original plan for the Beatrice app was to sell bundles of interviews as "issues" for $1.99 or $2.99 each, but in an effort to make the initial release--including interviews with memoirists Darin Strauss, Deb Olin Unferth and Alina Simone--available for free, Hogan has launched a Kickstarter campaign. For those who contribute to the app's development, he's offering e-books compiling some of the best of the original Beatrice interviews; the first volume is available for a $5 donation, while donors who pledge $20 will receive three e-books with up to 75 interviews.

Recently, Hogan learned about another Kickstarter campaign started by Ad Astra Books and Coffee House. The indie bookstore, which opened in Salina, Kan., last November, is hoping to raise $15,000 to purchase sound and light equipment for in-store events and start a statewide marketing campaign. "We're a worker-owned cooperative with a social mission," said William Justice, one of Ad Astra's seven co-owners. "We provide a place to buy and order books and a community gathering spot that is not a bar. We want to become an open-source institution that had the ability to grow and change with the community for decades." Ad Astra also has pledge options for as little as $5 (although $25 will get you a book and a personal message from one of the team).

Hogan was so impressed with Ad Astra's project description that, in addition to making a pledge, he contacted Justice and together they hatched a plan. If both Beatrice and Ad Astra are successful in their fundraising efforts in the next three weeks, Hogan will emcee a multiple-author event at Ad Astra later this year, recording interviews with the authors that will also be distributed within the Beatrice app at no cost to readers. "I'd love to do events like this at indie bookstores around the country," Hogan said, "and if I'm fortunate enough to surpass my $4,500 fund-raising goal, that's definitely an option, starting with cities a bit closer to home. Right now, though, I would love to see Ad Astra get their business off to a strong start, and this seemed like a great way to call attention to their efforts." The Beatrice campaign, which is already nearly 50% funded, runs through March 26; the Ad Astra campaign, which had raised $3,300 as of this morning, ends two days later.



Image of the Day: Connelly and Crais on Chandler

The weekend before last, crowds thronged the Lincoln Middle School auditorium in Santa Monica, Calif., to hear Michael Connelly and Robert Crais discuss Raymond Chandler and how he influenced, inspired and changed their writing. The event kicked off the 10th annual Citywide Reads program, sponsored by the Santa Monica Library, which this year is reading Chandler's The Lady in the Lake.


Future of Publishing in Three Words

Nine people with a vested interest in books, including Barry Eisler, J.A. Konrath, Jane Friedman and Seth Godin, found three words each to answer the question asked by Writing Edits: "What is the future of publishing?"

Book Trailer of the Day: Exogene

Exogene by T.C. McCarthy (Orbit), for this SFF book, a series of clips from interviews of Subterrene War soldiers made by a documentary film team.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dictionary of American Regional English

Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Noam Scheiber, author of The Escape Artists: How Obama's Team Fumbled the Recovery (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439172407).


Tomorrow on Hannity: Douglas MacKinnon, author of Rolling Pennies in the Dark: A Memoir with a Message (Howard Books, $24, 9781451607888).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Joan Houseton Hall, chief editor of Dictionary of American Regional English, Vol. V, SI-Z (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, $85, 9780674047358).

TV: The Carrie Diaries

Austin Butler (Lifetime’s The Bling Ring) will play the male lead, Sebastian Kydd, in the CW pilot of The Carrie Diaries, based on Candace Bushnell’s novel, reported. Butler joins AnnaSophia Robb, who will play the title role, Carrie Bradshaw.

On the Road: New Pics & First Poster

"Time to take a look at some impressive shots" from On the Road, FirstShowing noted in showcasing the initial poster and several new photos from the adaptation of Jack Kerouac's classic Beat novel. Directed by Walter Salles and starring Sam Riley (Sal Paradise) and Garrett Hedlund (Dean Moriarty), the film is anticipated to premiere in Cannes this year, but is still looking for a U.S. distributor.

Books & Authors

Awards: Indies Choice and E.B. White Finalists

Finalists for the 2012 Indies Choice and E.B. White Book Awards have been announced by the American Booksellers Association. ABA members will now vote for the winners, which will be announced on April 5 and receive their awards at the Celebration of Bookselling at BEA in New York City.

The Indies Choice awards are drawn from titles on the 2011 Indie Next Lists, recommendations by independent booksellers nationwide, and chosen by a jury of indie booksellers. The E.B. White Awards reflect "the playful, well-paced language, engaging themes, and appeal to all age groups of Mr. White's books." Finalists were chosen by children's bookseller members of the ABC Group at ABA.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:


Contents May Have Shifted: A Novel by Pam Houston (Norton, $25.95, 9780393082654). "Houston's Cowboys Are My Weakness was the book that sent all of us gals out West, and kept us here. In her new novel--a thinly disguised narrative featuring a central character named Pam--Houston showcases her wiser, more mature voice as she drops the reader into locales as far-flung as Alaska, Bhutan, Northern California, and Durango, Colorado. The prose is read-aloud gorgeous. Each mini-chapter reads almost like a Zen koan, inviting us to ponder its significance in this beautiful testament to the way good friends and the incomparable perspective of travel can help us find home and family." --Libby Cowels, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo.

Immortal Bird: A Family Memoir by Doron Weber (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451618068). "To open the cover of Immortal Bird is to enter the intimate, admirable, mournfully beautiful life of the Weber family. Damon is the center of the family, a larger-than-life teenager who was born with a potentially fatal heart defect. Damon was also born with an unstoppable personality and the emotional heart of a lion. His father, Doron, tells the family story in an open manner that makes you feel that you are sitting around the family dinner table laughing at their jokes and rooting when Damon yet again rallies. This is a story that makes your own heart stronger for reading it." --Janis Segress, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash.


Three Stages of Amazement: A Novel by Carol Edgarian (Scribner, $16, 9781439198315). "I have nothing but praise for this wonderful novel! Edgarian's ability to capture the reality of the everyday routines and dilemmas of her characters results in a powerful connection with the reader. Her interconnected stories grip us not only because of the lessons they teach, but also because of her astonishing skill and wisdom as a storyteller who makes the mundane become so compelling. I truly couldn't stop thinking about these people long after turning the last page." --Roberta Rubin, the Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill.

For Ages 4 to 8

Otto the Book Bear by Katie Cleminson (Hyperion Books for Children, $16.99, 9781423145622). "Otto is a book bear, but he also has a secret. He comes to life when no one is looking! When Otto is out on an adventure, his book is accidentally taken away and he has to find a new home. After much searching, Otto comes to a beautiful library where he makes great friends, has fantastic adventures, and has lots of new readers! This is a lovely story for any book lover, and Cleminson's soft illustrations help to make this a wonderful book to share." --Amanda Snow, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: City of Bohane

City of Bohane by Kevin Barry (Graywolf Press, $25 hardcover, 9781555976088, March 13, 2012)

Limerick-born Kevin Barry's first book, the short story collection There Are Little Kingdoms, won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. City of Bohane is his first novel and it's, well, different. Barry seems to relish splashing around in the literary mud puddles left behind by language-obsessed writers like Flann O'Brian, Cormac McCarthy and Irving Welsh. Meanwhile, an equally passionate love of film (think Quentin Tarantino and Sergio Leone) casts a flickering shadow over Barry's fictional world; pop culture crashes into language, and they are both dressed to the nines.

It's 2053 in western Ireland. The Bohane river has a "taint of badness" in it, a "blackwater surge, malevolent." The city, "spawned by it," is run by the Fancy gang, led by Logan Hartnett--he of the hand-stitched Portuguese boots and a "mouth of teeth on him like a vandalised graveyard." Logan is accompanied by his wife, Macu (short for Immaculata), his ancient mother, Girly, and a crew of 17-year-old lieutenants with names like Wolfie Stanner, F***er Burke and Jenni Ching, the last a "saucy little ticket in her lowriders and wedge heels."

Then, into this "black forlorn... and violently windy" town, arrives Gant Broderick, a rival gang leader with hands the "size of Belfast sinks." Gant had a thing for Macu 25 years ago, and the stage seems set for a violent conflict of Shakespearean proportions. The book's four parts, set over 11 months, resemble dramatic acts: think Montague versus Capulet, or Scorsese's Bull the Butcher against Amsterdam Vallon.

Barry populates City of Bohane with language as strange and colorful as the characters. The Bohane accent is "flat and harsh through the consonants, sing-song and soupy on the vowels, betimes vaguely Caribbean," and the dialect is full of slang and swearing. There's talk like "my brud's gone loolah," to go along with the hoors, grog pits, needle alleys and dream salons--y'check me?

Readers can enter City of Bohane anywhere and enjoy the language and the descriptions without worrying about the story. There is a story, fierce and destructive, but it seems to be overwhelmed by the novel's awesome, even over-powering, use of language. If Kevin Barry can next join his words to a tale worth telling, watch out. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: A dystopian polyglot novel full of language that reads like a perverted hybrid of A Clockwork Orange and Trainspotting.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Books in February

The following were the most popular book club books during February based on votes from readers and leaders of more than 32,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
3. The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
6. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
7. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford
8. The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
9. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
10. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson
Rising Stars:

Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (#11 from #40)
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey (#21 from #63)

[Many thanks to!]

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