Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 6, 2012


Forge: Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury

imon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Becoming Rbg: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner

St. Martin's Press: Cilka's Journey: A Novel by Heather Morris

Park Row: The Ventriloquists (Original) by E.R. Ramzipoor

Henry Holt & Company: Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "the Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman

Other Press: Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

News

Bestsellers Café Re-Opens After 'Temporary' Five-Year Reno

In the worst case of disastrous construction delays we've ever heard of, Bestsellers Café, Medford, Mass., reopened last Thursday, more than five years after it shut down for renovations on its 19th-century building that were supposed to last five months.

Owner Rob Dilman said on Facebook, "the permits are in order, books have been discounted, food has been ordered, new books (plenty) have arrived, and the staff are anxious to meet everyone and welcome the community, too!" The store's grand re-opening celebration will be held this coming weekend, August 11 and 12.

During the hiatus, Dilman had another job and sold some books. Customers repeatedly asked when he would reopen. As the re-opening of Bestsellers Café approached, the Boson Globe wrote, Dilman has had "the curious task of relearning his own business with a new staff working in an unfamiliar layout." A major change at the store whose name emphasizes what's selling: Dilman has dropped the New York Times bestseller list and is using IndieBound's list. He's also planning to bolster the store's e-commerce, expand the events program and offer space for meetings and performances for small groups.

The construction delay occurred because Bestsellers Café's building on Medford Square was erected in 1860 on riverbank mud, making its foundation shaky. It took three years to secure the foundation by driving girders to the bedrock. Then the interior was gutted and rebuilt, and office space above the store was converted to condos. Not surprisingly, landlord Michael Casoli called the process "a horror show." Casoli has given the store free rent for almost two years and isn't charging for rebuilding the space, which now features bamboo floors and French doors overlooking the Mystic River.

Bestsellers Café is located (again) at 24 High St., Medford, Mass. 02155; 781-391-7171.

photo: Yelp.com




Amulet Books: Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas


Obituary Note: Gene Smith

Gene Smith, the author of 19 books who, "with a vivid touch depicted the lives of presidents, prime ministers and generals in a series of popular biographies, among them the 1964 bestseller When the Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow Wilson," died last month, the New York Times reported. He was 83.
 


One ELM Books: Trevor Lee and the Big Uh Oh! by Wiley Blevins, illustrated by Marta Kissi


Amazon: U.K. E-Book Sales Top Print; South Dakota Is Waiting

Two years after it began selling the Kindle in the U.K., Amazon.co.uk is selling more digital books than printed books--at a rate of 114 e-books to every 100 printed books sold--the company said. It took Amazon.com almost four years after the introduction of the Kindle in the U.S. to hit the same milestone.

Amazon also said that Kindle owners are buying four times the number of books from Amazon than they did than before owning a Kindle. While not offering statistics, the company said, "Kindle owners continue to buy physical books as well."

The sales figures include hardcover and paperback titles that do not have an e-book version and exclude free e-books.

With sales of more than two million e-books in four months, E.L. James, author of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, is the bestselling author at Amazon.co.uk. Her print and digital sales combined have made her the company's all-time bestselling author.

Besides James, the 10 most popular authors of the year in e-books are: Suzanne Collins, Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Lee Child, Nick Spalding, S.J. Watson, George R.R. Martin, Katia Lief and Kerry Wilkinson. Spalding, Lief and Wilkinson are all self-published authors via Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program.

The Guardian noted that unlike Amazon's printed book sales, e-book sales figures are unaudited. It added, "Despite revealing that more than half a million Kindle books are priced at £3.99 (US$6.20) or less, Amazon said a boost in e-book sales was not just about cheap books and argued that much of its printed range was also sold at a low price."

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South Dakota state officials are hoping to persuade Amazon to build a warehouse in the state, "a move that would not only bring jobs but potentially millions in uncollected tax revenue," the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

"If there's some way the state can encourage them to start remitting the tax on purchases made through Amazon, that might be an important first step towards wider acceptance of that tax," said Tony Venhuizen, a senior adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Pat Costello, the commissioner of economic development, said his office has been trying to reach out to Amazon for a month, but thus far state officials haven't made contact with an official from the company. He added that Amazon might be eligible for an incentive package.
 


Ecco Press: Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha


Notes

Image of the Day: An Oxford Welcome for John Brandon

Last month, Square Books, Oxford, Miss., hosted an event for John Brandon, whose new book is A Million Heavens (McSweeney's), that drew nearly 100 people. Relaxing afterwards (we presume): (from l.) PGW rep Jon Mayes; Square Books bookseller Cody Morrison; John Brandon; author and Believer and Oxford American columnist Jack Pendarvis; and Square Books owner Richard Howorth.

 


NCIBA & SCIBA: Holiday Catalog


Harvard Book Store: Best Reading Series

Congratulations to the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., which again has won the "best reading series" category in Boston Magazine's annual best of issue. The magazine wrote:

"Plenty of bookstores host signings, but for a truly enlightening author event, two venues always vie for our top spot: the Brookline Booksmith and the Harvard Book Store. Both are homey, friendly, and proudly independent. But Harvard wins this year for its muscular lineup: This past spring the store brought to town political heavyweights Paul Krugman and Madeleine Albright, fiction legends Joyce Carol Oates and Peter Carey, and local writers Audrey Schulman and Pablo Medina."

 


Starscape Books: Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby


Owning a Bookstore: Paz September Workshop

The weeklong workshop "Owning a Bookstore: The Business Essentials," co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and facilitated by Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, will take place September 10-14 on Amelia Island, Fla., near Jacksonville. This workshop is both for prospective and established booksellers.

As the organizers note, "Retail bookselling is a low-margin business that demands attention to many different aspects of the start-up process and ongoing operations to achieve financial sustainability. With increased pressure from alternative formats like e-books, it's more critical than ever to understand every aspect of the business and to establish a tangible competitive advantage."

Subjects include planning and managing money, using a computerized management system to manage your inventory, creating a special sense of place, getting customers to do business with the store, delivering exceptional customer service and more.

ABA members are eligible for a discount. For details, visit PazBookBiz.com or call 800-260-8605.


Personnel Changes at HarperCollins

The following changes have been made in the HarperCollins sales department:

Kristine Macrides has become director of sales and retail marketing, overseeing day-to-day operations for mass merchandising, club and ID sales channels. She joined the company 11 years ago and worked in the sales department before becoming director of marketing at Avon in 2006.
National account representative Rachel Levenberg will now call on BJ's and help with Costco and Sam's. She continues to be account manager for Target and Baker & Taylor. She joined the company in 2005.
Lillie Walsh has been promoted to assistant manager of sales and retail marketing and will work with the regional trade associations, IndieBound, Harper's POD program and other initiatives. She continues to call on airport accounts. She joined the company in 2006.
Eric Lovaas has been promoted to manager, sales operations, and will continue to work closely with Amazon as well as focus on increasing backlist business and help with acquisitions. He joined the company in 2005.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Senator Lieberman Busy Promoting Rest

This morning on CBS's This Morning: Doug Fine, author of Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution (Gotham, $28, 9781592407095).

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This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, authors of The Betrayal of the American Dream (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781586489694).

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This morning on NPR's Marketplace Morning Report: Mike Lofgren, author of The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted (Viking, $25.95, 9780670026265).

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Today on Radio America's Gill Report and Westwood's Dennis Miller Show: Stanley Kurtz, author of Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities (Sentinel, $25.95, 9781595230928).

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jenny Brown, author of The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Avery, $26, 9781583334416).

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Today on Fox News' Hannity: Senator Joe Lieberman, co-author of The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath (Howard, $22, 9781451606171). He will also appear today on Kilmeade and Friends and the Michael Medved Show and tomorrow on CBS's This Morning, CNN's Early Start and the Mike Huckabee Show.

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Pete Seeger, author of Pete Seeger: His Life in His Own Words (Paradigm, $29.95, 9781612052182).

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Tonight on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: the Rock Bottom Remainders with Stephen King and Dave Barry.

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Tomorrow on ABC Radio's John Batchelor Show: Jerome Preisler, co-author of Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II (Berkley, $26.95, 9780425245255).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Saima Wahab, author of In My Father's Country: An Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate (Crown, $25, 9780307884947).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Mark Shriver, author of A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver (Holt, $24, 9780805095302).

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Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Late Show with David Letterman: R.A. Dickey, co-author of Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399158155).


Movie Trailers: The Paperboy; Killing Them Softly

The Paperboy, adapted from Pete Dexter's novel, has a new trailer. The movie is directed by Lee Daniels (Precious) and opens October 5. The cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack and Nicole Kidman.

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A new trailer has also been released for Killing Them Softly, based on the George V. Higgins novel Cogan's Trade. The film, written and directed by Andrew Dominik and starring Brad Pitt as a hitman, is set to open October 19.
 



Books & Authors

Pennie Picks Dog on It

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Dog on It: A Chet and Bernie Mystery by Spencer Quinn (Atria, $15, 9781416585848) as her pick of the month for August. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"There are two things I can't imagine being without. One, of course, is books. The other is my dog, Bear. As most pet owners will understand, I get no small pleasure out of imagining the thoughts behind his beautiful amber eyes. Sometimes I verbalize those thoughts for him; sometimes we enjoy a knowing silence. Ahem. Getting back on track, it will be no surprise to hear that for me a book/dog combo--especially when the dog lives--is a treat.

"Spencer Quinn's 2009 Dog on It marks the beginning of a thoroughly enjoyable series with Chet the dog serving as narrator and not-always-right detective. In the novel, Chet and his human, Bernie Little, of the Little Detective Agency, are hired by a wealthy divorcee to track down her missing 15-year-old daughter.

"Whether you're a fan of four-legged friends or not, I believe this book is so cleverly written that it will appeal to all readers."

Quinn's next Chet and Bernie mystery is A Fistful of Collars, which appears September 11.

 


Book Review

Review: The Bartender's Tale

The Bartender's Tale by Ivan Doig (Riverhead Books, $27.95 hardcover, 9781594487354, August 21, 2012)

Twelve-year-old Rusty is a reliable chronicler of events both within and beyond his understanding in The Bartender's Tale. Ivan Doig has previously written about Two Medicine County in northern Montana in Work Song and The Whistling Season--a place where nature is, indeed, raw in tooth and claw, where characters abound and where the ordinary can become extraordinary in an instant due to hostile weather, natural disaster or the sheer orneriness of its denizens. In this evocative novel, there is some of each.

Doig, a consummate storyteller, tells us that Rusty is the result of "an accident between the sheets," so his first six years are spent with an aunt, uncle and two hateful cousins in Phoenix after his mother walks out on her four-month-old infant. The story begins when Tom, Rusty's father, fetches him home to Gros Ventre and the Medicine Lodge, its finest bar. Six years pass uneventfully--or at least unknown to the reader--until 1960, when Rusty turns 12. A red Cadillac appears and out steps Proxy, a former taxi dancer well known to Tom, and her 21-year-old daughter, Francine. They both have a connection to Tom, which Proxy decides warrants a favor: Tom needs to teach her how to be a bartender.

Rusty and his friend, Zoe, whose parents run the local cafe, respond to this new development as they do everything else in Gros Ventre, by acting out theatrical bits gleaned from the movies--she is Muscles, he is Ace--in vintage Doig patter. Their lives during this magical summer revolve around an area in the bar which has a vent conveniently located so Rusty and Zoe can hear everything but cannot be seen. There is also an enormous back room, which Tom operates like a pawnshop, making mysterious trips to Canada to sell merchandise.

A wild card appears in the person of Delano Robertson, who arrives with a grant from the Library of Congress to record the "MissingVoices" of America for posterity. How this all plays out is replete with twists and turns aplenty as a boy, his friend and his father find their way through landscape, character and cataclysm, learning as they go. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Ivan Doig returns to familiar territory with a new story about a boy, his father, a bar and a soon-to-be-lost way of life.

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in July

The bestselling books on AbeBooks.com in July:

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
2. The Color of Water by James McBride
3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
7. Life of Pi by Yan Martel
8. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry
 
The bestselling signed books at AbeBooks in July:

1. 50 Shades Trilogy Box Set by E.L. James
2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
3. Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
5. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
6. A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers
7. Ancient Light by John Banville
8. The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva
9. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
10. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]


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