Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Copperfield's Reinvents Events

As part of a "total reinvention" of the stores' events programs, Copperfield's Books, which has eight locations in Sonoma and Napa counties in Northern California, is launching several new themed series, all of which make us wish even more that we lived in the area.

The most striking is the Debut Dinner series, which this season consists of three dinners, each for a different first novelist, that will be held at local restaurants. Readers pay between $65 and $75, have a three-course meal with wine, speak with the author and receive a copy of the book. The first dinner features Amanda Coplin, author of The Orchardist, and takes place Tuesday, September 4. at Forchetta/Bastoni in Sebastapol. The next will be on Friday, October 12, at Risibisi in Petaluma and honor Kathleen Alcott, author of The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets. Then on Monday, November 12, at Bistro 29 in Santa Rosa, the debut dinner features Scott Hutchins, author of A Working Theory of Love.

Copperfield's marketing and events director Vicki DeArmon expects 30-50 attendees at each dinner and said that the staff are "voracious readers" who individually have championed debut authors before. This marks the first time the stores have done something company-wide. Customers and publishers are responding well, she added.

"It's a great way for us to say to our customers that they can get to discover the next great new author," she said. The dinners also emphasize "the role of the independent bookseller to champion new and emerging authors."

Like some of Copperfield's other new events, the Debut Dinner program resulted, she said, from staffers asking themselves, "What kind of events would we want to go to? What would inspire us?"

Earlier this year, after the staff decided to hold dinners for first novelists, DeArmon said, "we did a lot of reading, listened to the reps and decided on these three." The dinner format came in part because the area is "known for fabulous restaurants," she said. The staff is already reading up to decide on next spring's lineup of authors.

Another new ticketed series consists of High Tea events, which take place at Jacqueline's High Tea in Petaluma and celebrate "the best women's authors." The fall events feature Tatjana Soli, author of The Forgetting Tree, Joanne Harris, author of Peaches for Father Francis, and Laurie R. King, author of Garment of Shadows. Each tea costs $50 per person, accommodates about 80 people and includes "the company of other great women who love to read," as the store put it. The store's first High Tea, held last June as a test, sold out and was "excellent," DeArmon said.

Another ticketed event, on November 15, features Barbara Kingsolver, whose new novel is Flight Behavior. The Santa Rosa store is hosting her at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

As if this all isn't enough, next season Copperfield's is introducing Dinners to Die For, a mystery series.

"We do more than 500 events a year and 95% are free," DeArmon said. "These new ticketed events are very special."

Some of the bookstores' free events are very special, too: for example, on October 24, the Petaluma store hosts Michael Chabon, whose new novel is Telegraph Avenue. And the free authors on the stage series, which takes place outside next to the Santa Rosa store in Montgomery Village, includes appearances in September by Junot Diaz, whose new book is This Is How You Lose Her, and T.C. Boyle, author of San Miguel.

The Copperfield's Cooks series is held Saturday afternoons in the showcase kitchen of the Culinary Center in the Whole Foods behind Copperfield's new location in Napa. Cookbook authors demonstrate some of their favorite dishes.

Like so many of Copperfield's events, Copperfield's Cooks sounds like a delicious event. As DeArmon said, "The whole combo of food and wine and author works really well in Sonoma and Napa."


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Advisory Committee, Transfer on Tap for UM Press

Effective immediately, the University of Missouri, which had outlined reorganization plans for the UM Press last month, has transferred responsibility for the publisher to the MU campus in order to "more closely integrate" it with the academic and research missions.

The school is also forming an advisory committee "to provide advice and counsel" during the transition. It will consist of representatives from the faculties of the four UM campuses, student scholars, external representatives with expertise in scholarly publishing, a representative from the Press Committee and authors.

UM President Tim Wolfe called the decision to move the press to the Columbia campus "an important step in ensuring its full potential is realized and integrated into the academic and research missions of the university. My goal is to develop a press that is vibrant and adaptive, but I realize that change is often difficult."

In May, the University of Missouri had said the press would be phased out. After sustained protests from editors, authors, industry people and others, the UM System backtracked somewhat last month. Fans of the press say that even more must be done, particularly considering that key staff has left or was forced out, series editors have gone and many authors don't want to publish with a damaged press.  


Saratoga, Northshire Talk Bookshop at Garden Party

A "divine garden party" was held last week in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in honor of the Northshire Bookstore's Chris Morrow and his parents, Ed and Barbara [in photo, at Northshire's 35th anniversary last year]. Tentative plans are underway for a possible second Northshire location in the Spa City.

The Morrows "came to talk to a select group of Saratogians about their hope to expand the Northshire Bookstore to Saratoga; taking over the first floor of the former Borders space which has remained vacant for over a year," Toga Tattlers reported, adding: "They are keen on Saratoga Springs and see similarities between the market they thrive in and the market we have here. There is one challenge that they face and it is whether or not they can raise enough money to make the expansion to our community. From the energy and show of support that night, we can say that they definitely have the community rallying for them."


Image of the Day: Avid Booksellers Cutting Up for a Cause

Janet Geddis, owner of Avid Bookshop, Athens Ga., wrote: "Our friends at the salon next door (Model Citizen--a local joint!) volunteered to work on their day off to do a fundraising project they called 'Cuts for Mutts.' A local guy needs to pay for his dog to have surgery & needed some assistance from others to make it happen. I decided to offer free haircuts to my booksellers so that we could make a donation on behalf of Avid while having fun as a team (& looking better for it!). Here are our before & after shots--see how sad we were to have such messy hair?" Pictured from l.: Jim Wilson, Geddis, Tom Eisenbraun and John Gladwin.

Photo by Rachel Watkins

Meghan Stevenson Sets Up Own Business

Meghan Stevenson recently left Hudson Street Press and Plume (Penguin Group) to start her own editorial business focusing on editing, collaborating and writing nonfiction book proposals and full-length projects. A list of her services is available at and she can be reached at

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nunberg Discusses Ascent of the A-Word

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Geoffrey Nunberg, author of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781610391757).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Mary Ruefle, author of Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, $25, 9781933517575).


Tomorrow night on Conan: Mike Birbiglia, author of Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories (Simon & Schuster, $14, 9781476705767).


TV: Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, will be adapted as a six-hour miniseries for BBC2. The Guardian reported that the project is expected to be broadcast in late 2013. Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will write the screenplay. The Mirror and the Light, the not-yet-published final novel in Mantel's award-winning Thomas Cromwell trilogy, "might form a standalone drama at a later date."

Movies: As I Lay Dying

James Franco will direct an adaptation of William Faulkner's classic novel As I Lay Dying. ShowBiz411 reported that filming "is set for October in Mississippi. Avi Lerner's Millenium Films is financing it. And Franco is busy lining up his cast. Names already on the roster include Danny McBride, Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall Green, Ahna O'Reilly and Jim Parrack."

Books & Authors

Awards: James Tait Black Winners; Toronto Book Awards

The winners the University of Edinburgh's £10,000 (US$15,820) James Tait Black Prizes are novelist Padgett Powell and biographer Fiona MacCarthy. The awards were presented during the Edinburgh International Book Festival.


Finalists for the $10,000 Toronto Book Awards, which recognize authors who evoke the Canadian city in works of literary and artistic merit, have been named. The winner will be announced October 11. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, the Music, and the World in 1972 by Dave Bidini
Copernicus Avenue by Andrew J. Borkowski
Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor
Writing the Revolution by Michele Landsberg
Paramita, Little Black by Suzanne Robertson

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:


The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns: A Novel by Margaret Dilloway (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399157752). "Galilee Garner needs a kidney transplant. At 31, single, and teaching science in a private school, she breeds roses for pleasure. Dialysis every other day and her roses keep her life busy and organized. Then her 15-year-old niece shows up at school needing a place to live, and turns Galilee's life upside down. No longer able to think only of herself, she must come to terms with her responsibilities, and eventually realizes that change is inevitable, and could even be for the better!" --Beth Carpenter, the Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

Home Is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family's Journey in China by Aminta Arrington (Overlook Press, $26.95, 9781590208991). "Few authors are able to take us inside the daily lives of the Chinese people and turn a spotlight on both the shades of difference between our societies and, perhaps more surprising, the similarities. Love of family, desires for the future, and hope for growth and advancement are themes found in these pages. But so, too, are the pain of generational gaps, fear of change, and interpersonal prejudices that still lead to harshness and even violence. If you want to look through a window at the real China of today, this is the book to read." --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.


What Language Is: And What It Isn't and What It Could Be by John McWhorter (Gotham, $16, 9781592407200). "This is a light-hearted investigation into how linguists view language. From languages that change tone for different tenses to languages that do not have any regular verbs, this is an entertaining foray into what language is and what it is not. I look forward to reading more from this talented linguist." --Fran Wilson, Colorado State University Bookstore, Fort Collins, Colo.

For Ages 4 to 8

Laundry Day by Maurie J. Manning (Clarion, $16.99, 9780547241968). "When a little shoe-shine boy finds a red scarf, he tries to return it to its owner, by climbing higher and higher up the fire escape of an apartment building in his search. On his way, he meets immigrants from all over the world and receives a friendly 'hello' from each. Manning's use of graphic novel panels perfectly captures the movement of her busy story, while dynamic angles allow readers to take in every aspect of the city. A wonderful exploration of diversity and a celebration of a neighborhood." --Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

SIBA Harvest: Fall Okra Picks

The Fall Okra Picks, selected by Southern independent booksellers, sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and recognizing titles that are "Southern in nature," are:

American Ghost by Janis Owens (Scribner, October)
Around the Southern Table: Coming Home to Comforting Meals and Treasured Memories by Rebecca Lang (Southern Living/Oxmoor House, October)
Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, the Gallows, and the Black General Gabriel by Gigi Amateau (Candlewick, September)
Cruel Harvest: A Memoir by Fran Elizabeth Grubb (Thomas Nelson, August)
Gone by Randy Wayne White (Putnam, September)
The Hot Country by Robert Olen Butler (Mysterious Press, October)
Jean Anderson's Preserving Guide: How to Pickle and Preserve, Can and Freeze, Dry and Store Vegetables and Fruits by Jean Anderson (University of North Carolina Press, August)
Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris (Tyndale House, August)
Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart
(Gibbs Smith, November)
The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife by Patricia Harman
(Morrow, August)
Palmetto Blood: A Mystery by Reed Bunzel (High Country Publishers, September)
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
(HarperCollins, September)
Tea Cakes for Tosh by Kelly Starling Lyons (Putnam, December)
Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies by William Joyce (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, October)
A True History of the Captivation, Transport to Strange Lands, & Deliverance of Hannah Guttentag by Josh Russell (Dzanc Books, August)


Book Review

Children's Review: The Peculiar

The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (Greenwillow, $16.99 hardcover, 384p., ages 9-up, 9780062195180, September 18, 2012)

In Stefan Bachmann's impressive debut--set in a hybrid steampunk-faerieland England--two unlikely paths cross due to a string of murders of changeling children.

In the old city of Bath, a door opened between the human and faerie worlds in a rainshower of black feathers. Since then, some of the faeries became relegated to slums, while other Sidhe faeries, once lords and ladies in their own world, learn how to manipulate the weapons of the English against them. ("A word could cause a riot, ink could spell a man's death.")

Bartholomew Kettle, born of a human mother and a Sidhe father, doesn't bear the outright markings of a changeling the way his younger sister, Hettie, does, with branches that grow like antlers in place of hair. Their mother warns them, "Don't get yourself noticed and you won't get yourself hanged." We meet Bartholomew as he spies out of an attic window a pretty lady in a plum-colored dress. She arrives at the house across the street and takes Barth's friend away. A gnarly face "like a twisted root" at the back of the woman's head sees Barth staring just before the plum-dressed figure and boy disappear in a flurry of black wings. When his friend turns up dead, Barth fears for his own life--with good reason. Soon after, a tiny "raggedy man" begins terrorizing Hettie at night, and Barth worries that the visitations may be a consequence of his actions. Meanwhile, Mr. Jelliby, a member of Parliament, becomes drawn into the situation when he visits fellow councilman Mr. Lickerish, a Sidhe, for an ale meeting and spies a woman in plum-colored finery. Readers will make the connection before Mr. Jelliby ascertains Lickerish's connection to the crimes. Bachmann weaves a tale that pulls the two characters' fates together as Mr. Jelliby tries to do the right thing and Bartholomew tries to find his sister.

The author's descriptions of the sinister parts of the faerie world and their intersection with human society will hold readers' rapt attention. Faeries keep the lamps lit, odd metal bird-like contraptions deliver messages, and readers will feel slightly off kilter much of the time, in a tantalizingly suspenseful way. The author taps into the universal childhood impulse to cover up a misdeed with snowballing consequences. If only Barth had confessed to his mother that he'd been seen! Similarly, Mr. Jelliby, afraid that no one will believe his observations about Mr. Lickerish, keeps his suspicions to himself. Bachmann charts the growth of both main characters to a satisfying conclusion while also leaving the door open for another adventure in this colorful, chilling world. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: In this debut novel set in England, steampunk meets faerieland and slums intersect with high society as a changeling boy and a member of Parliament team up to halt a string of child murders.


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