Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 23, 2012

Thank You Booksellers For Making Our Award-Winning Books a Success!

St. Martin's Press: Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Franz

Walker Books: The Good Hawk (Shadow Skye, Book One) by Joseph Elliott

Tor Books: Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha

Quotation of the Day

Judy Blume's Reading Tip for Parents: Reverse Psychology

"First, invest in one with a new cover. Even if you like the old, original covers. Second, don't give it to them. Just leave the books strategically placed around the house and then occasionally say: 'Oh no, you're not reading that--you're not ready for it yet.' "

--Judy Blume, speaking at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


G.P. Putnam's Sons: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle


New Bookstore in Riverhead, N.Y.

Former forensic accountant and teacher Wendy Yusin is opening Jewl's Book Shoppe and Writing Centre in Riverhead, N.Y., "a haven for readers and writers," according to Riverhead Patch.

In the store at 8 East Main St.--Yusin has bought the building--she will hold seminars for writers on a variety of subjects, including how to self-publish books, some of which can be sold in the store. Suffolk County poet laureate Ed Stever will be involved with workshops. Jewl's will also exhibit artists' work, have a pottery kiln and possibly hold yoga retreats.

The store's name combines the first letter of Yusin's name and the names of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.


Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

World Book Night: Closing Ceremony Tonight

Open invitation!

The U.S. branch of World Book Night is holding a "closing ceremony" tonight, 7-8 p.m., at the Barnes & Noble Union Square store in New York City to celebrate the first World Book Night here. Festivities include music, raffles, authors, giver testimonials--and "a special presentation," according to executive director Carl Lennertz. (Congratulations to Carl and the many people and companies who have contributed to making World Book Night a reality.)

BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

Obituary Note: Doris Betts

Doris Betts, the author of author of six novels (including Souls Raised from the Dead) and three collections of short stories who "was sometimes compared to the great Southern writer Flannery O'Connor," died Saturday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. She was 79.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger


Image of the Day: Three Wise Men

On Tuesday night, Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., hosted an event for Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith (Grand Central), a version of the Nativity story by the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln and Vampires as well as of the screenplay for Dark Shadows, which is being released next month. Here Grahame-Smith (c.) is flanked by booksellers Dan Graham and Ted Nava.


Cool Idea of the Day: Book Launch Tour of Turkey

Joy E. Stocke and Angie Breener are kicking off the publication of their new book, Anatolian Days & Nights: A Love Affair with Turkey--Land of Dervishes, Goddesses, and Saints (Wild River Books, $16.95, 9780983918806), with a 10-day tour in Turkey. Starting May 19, they are visiting Istanbul and Cappadocia, and along the way they will share stories from the book and introduce the people they write about.

The two have traveled in Turkey many years, "another world where western values and eastern perspectives often collide, yet the warmth of the people and place overcome whatever differences the authors encounter in their travels--revealing the magic and mystery of this beautiful country."


A Century of Bookselling in Karachi

Habib Abbasi and author Patrick Laude at Abbasi Kutub Khana (photo courtesy Patrick Lau

The Abbasi Kutub Khana in Karachi, Pakistan, is "a lone modest-looking bookshop that seeks to nourish the mind. It has been doing that for 102 years, an anomaly among its worldly surroundings," reported, adding that even more intriguing is "the man who sits behind the counter, Habib Husain Abbasi, whose maternal grandfather founded this shop in 1910."

Habib is a bookseller "in the true meaning the word," noted, adding: "Bookselling is a phenomenon which allows books to subsume the seller so totally that he becomes a part of them. Habib doesn't see his work as a commercial activity. For him his vocation is an act of promoting education and knowledge--khidmat-i-khalq (service to humanity) he calls it."

When asked about future prospects for the book industry in Pakistan, Habib "is reticent and as a matter of principle keeps a low profile. He says he lacks the four key qualities for successful bookselling, namely Qaroon ka khazana (wealth), umr-i-Nooh (long life), sabr-i-Ayub (patience) and Ibn-i-Sina ka ilm (knowledge)."

Children's Art Auction: Tickets on Sale

Tickets are now on sale for the Children's Art Auction and Reception at BEA, sponsored by the ABC Children's Group of the American Booksellers Association. The silent auction features original artwork by artists and illustrators in children's publishing; proceeds support the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and its defense of the free speech rights of young readers.

The auction will be held Wednesday, June 6, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at the end of the South Concourse (Level 2) at the Javits Center. Light refreshments, beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks will be served. There will also be a live auction of some unusual pieces. Author Walter Dean Myers, the honorary chair, will share the auctioneering duties with his son, Christopher, who has illustrated many of his father’s books. There will be a preview of the art from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets for the auction and reception are $95 ($75 for bookseller members of the ABC Children's Group) and can be purchased online. Tickets purchased onsite will be $105 ($85 for ABC Children's Group members).

Illustration: Homer by Elisha Cooper


Bookmasters Distributing Pearson Mexico Titles

Bookmasters is distributing Spanish-language educational books for middle and high school age students from Pearson Mexico's publishing arm in the U.S. and Canada.

Francisco Tellez, Pearson Mexico's CFO, commented: "Bookmasters' POD distribution model allows us to enter the market with minimal investment and risk, and their strong Spanish department gives us a high degree of confidence that we will achieve good penetration for our titles."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: For Earth Day Plus One, Garbology

This morning on CNN's Morning News: Eric Erlandson, author of Letters to Kurt (Akashic Books, $17.95, 9781617750830).


This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Jane Gross, author of A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents--and Ourselves (Vintage, $15.95, 9780307472403).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Edward Humes, author of Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash (Avery, $27, 9781583334348).


Tonight on 20/20: Ricki Lake, author of Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits (Atria, $25, 9781451627176).


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Zach Wahls, author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family (Gotham, $26, 9781592407132).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Rodney King, co-author of The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062194435).


Tomorrow morning on CBS's This Morning: Robert Draper, author of Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives (Free Press, $28, 9781451642087). He will also appear on Morning Joe and Tavis Smiley.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Marilu Henner, author of Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future (Gallery, $26, 9781451651218). She will also appear on Nightline.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Martha Nussbaum, author of The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, $26.95, 9780674065901).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Madeleine Albright, author of Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (Harper, $29.99, 9780062030313).

Stephenie Meyer to Produce Down a Dark Hall

Twilight series author Stephenie Meyer is seeking to "extend her notoriety by bringing other YA-friendly literature adaptation to the multiplex," according to Indiewire, which reported that the 1974 Lois Duncan novel Down a Dark Hall "will be optioned through Meyer and Meghan Hibbett's Fickle Fish Films to be turned into a feature."

Indiewire noted that Meyer will be joined on the project by Wyck Godfrey, "the man who pulled together the Twilight movies. But before Meyer gets to this, she'll be wrapping up her producer duties on an adaptation of Shannon Hale's Austenland."

TV: The Angry Buddhist; Berlin Noir

Showtime is developing The Angry Buddhist, a drama series from Anonymous Content based on the upcoming novel by Seth Greenland (HBO's Big Love). Greenland will write the adaptation, reported. The novel, which has already been published in France, will be released in the U.S. April 24 by Europa.  


HBO and Playtone Productions (Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman) "are in early talks to acquire the Berlin Noir novel series by Philip Kerr," reported, noting that although a number of studios and producers pursued the series as a possible film adaptation, "the author decided to go for a prestige series." According to Deadline's Mike Fleming, the "deal isn't done yet, but I'm told that it will close."

Books & Authors

Awards: First Chautauqua Prize Winner; L.A. TImes Book Prizes

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press) has won the first Chautauqua Prize, which "celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts." Sponsored by the Chautauqua Institution, the prize includes $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency for the author at Chautauqua, in Chautauqua, N.Y. Krivak will hold a public reading and book signing on August 6.

The shortlist for the Chautauqua Prize was:

All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen (Permanent Press)
Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (Crown)
We Are Taking Only What We Need by Stephanie Powell Watts (BkMk Press)
Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)

The Chautauqua Prize reviewers called The Sojourn "a novel of uncommon lyricism and moral ambiguity." The organizers described the book this way: "It tells the story of young Jozef Vinich, uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, as he returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd's life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy."
Krivak, the grandson of Slovak immigrants, teaches in the Honors Program at Boston College. The Sojourn is his first novel.

For five-year-old Bellevue Literary Press, this is the publisher's third book of eight works of fiction published to have received major literary honors: The Sojourn also was a 2011 National Book Award finalist; The Jump Artist by Austin Ratner won the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature; and Tinkers by Paul Harding received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.


Winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, which were announced Friday to launch the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, are:

Biography: Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned by John A. Farrell (Doubleday)
Current interest: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (FSG)
Fiction: Luminarium by Alex Shakar (SoHo Press)
First fiction: Shards by Ismet Prcic (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic)
Graphic novel: Finder: Voice by Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
History: Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White (Norton)
Mystery/thriller: 11/22/1963 by Stephen King (Scribner)
Poetry: Double Shadow: Poems by Carl Phillips (FSG)
Science and technology: Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius by Sylvia Nasar (S&S)
Young adult literature: The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman (Scholastic)
Lifetime achievement: Rudolfo Anaya
Innovator's award: Figment, co-founded by Jacob Lewis and Dana Goodyear

Shelf Sample: Natural Selections

[Editors' note: in honor of National Poetry Month, we offer here a short excerpt from a new poetry title.]

Natural Selections by Joseph Campana (University of Iowa Press, $18 trade paper, 9781609380816, April 1, 2012)


Always a song sliding
under a porch

always a tooth dragging
stars around dirt:

skin is not for air
skin is not for water.

Something wants a voice
in dark places.

Something wants
to curl around

the whirling earth.

Book Review

Review: Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22 hardcover, 9780618982509, May 1, 2012)

Alison Bechdel's new graphic memoir, Are You My Mother?, confirms what anyone who has read Fun Home already knows: Bechdel is the premier master of graphic comic narrative. Her text and pictures never merely coincide, they are two rich languages talking at once, supplying different information, supplementing and complementing each other, often comically, sometimes profoundly. Having explored her father's secret gayness and suicide in her first memoir, this complementary second volume takes on her sometimes chilly, smart and ambiguous mother--a poet who gave up her art for love, an actress and a housewife with three children.

Bechdel's stream-of-consciousness structure is labyrinthine but extremely well organized. As the reader jumps backward and forward in time, Bechdel relentlessly explores her relationship with her mother, peeling back the layers of the onion in a visually exhilarating manner. Her double-page spread of five old photographs of mother and child spread on a desktop is a mini-masterpiece of subtle emotional depths with an actual dramatic trajectory from first snapshot to last. She masterfully sets up a sequence where she hangs up on her mother and then breaks down crying, perfectly arranged graphically for maximum impact--you'll gasp at the expertly delineated pain.

"I went to therapy. I read about therapy. I wrote about therapy," says Bechdel, and on one level Are You My Mother? is a psychoanalytic plunge, guided by the writings of child psychologist Donald Winnicott, into the mystery of that first intimate bond between mother and child. Each of the seven chapters begins with a hauntingly visualized dream sequence expressing one of Bechdel's anxieties or repressed emotions about her complex, elusive parent. She taps into the universality of the mother experience with extraordinary revelations, engaging the thoughtful reader with her insights, using comic book tools to take you to terrifying places.

As in Fun Home, the cartoon frames are littered with books with their titles appealingly visible, so that you can constantly see what the characters are reading. With references ranging from Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child to Sigmund Freud's The Parapsychology of Everyday Life and The Interpretation of Dreams, from Virginia Woolf to Adrienne Rich, from Dr. Spock to Dr. Seuss, Are You My Mother? leaps from one gorgeously orchestrated sequence to the next with hardly space to catch your breath. Together, Bechdel's memoirs form one of the most detailed, entertaining and harrowingly honest portraits of parents in gay literature. --Nick DiMartino


Shelf Talker: Alison Bechdel's second memoir completes one of the greatest portraits of parents in gay literature.

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