Also published on this date: Wednesday, January 9, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Timmy Failure

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 9, 2013

William Morrow & Company: Death of the Author by Nnedi Okorafor

St. Martin's Press: Disney High: The Untold Story of the Rise and Fall of Disney Channel's Tween Empire

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Graphix: 39 Clues: One False Note (39 Clues Graphic Novel #2) by Gordon Korman, Illustrated by Hannah Templer

Running Press: Enter For a Chance to Win a Moonlit Explorer Pack!

Quill Tree Books: The Firelight Apprentice by Bree Paulsen

Quotation of the Day

Faber CEO: Merger 'Begins a New Chapter for Publishing'

"Authors are talked about as brands in their own right, and this is correct. Publishers rarely achieve the status of becoming consumer brands of scale and significance. Is the next story for publishing going to be one dominated by global and local author and publisher brands, especially in niches? Authors and readers are at the center of the world of books, and finding new ways to serve them will create further different structures. This [Penguin Random House] merger may be seen as a starting pistol or perhaps an explosion in the heart of the old order dominated by the book trade. Richard Ford's novel [Canada] ends, 'We try. All of us. We try.' Publishers better had. It will be worth it."

--Stephen Page, CEO of Faber & Faber, in a Guardian piece headlined "Penguin Random House merger begins a new chapter for publishing."

Zest Books: The Gender Binary Is a Big Lie: Infinite Identities around the World by Lee Wind


Macmillan, St. Martin's Engage with Entangled

Beginning February 1, Macmillan will distribute indie digital publisher Entangled's English-language e-books in all domestic and international markets and for all platforms where Macmillan currently does business. Entangled has 12 imprints, representing more than 350 authors, that release 30 titles per month. The deal includes additional resources and personnel from Macmillan to strengthen Entangled's infrastructure.

In a separate agreement, St. Martin's Press will launch a new joint venture imprint known as St. Martin's/Entangled, which will bring into print and publish some of Entangled's digital first titles.

"This partnership brings a global leader in print and digital distribution, ensuring Entangled can continue to support our rapid growth and success," said Liz Pelletier, CEO and publisher of Entangled.

Macmillan CEO John Sargent commented: "We are hugely impressed with Liz Pelletier's vision and what she has accomplished in such a short time. We found her out-of-the-box approach to publishing incredibly exciting and saw potential to work together with her on several levels. We think Liz and Entangled have found a new way forward and we think we can help build on that remarkable success."

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Private Rites by Julia Armfield

Richard Blanco Is the 2013 Inaugural Poet

Richard Blanco, a son of Cuban exiles who said he feels "a spiritual connection' with President Barack Obama, will be named the 2013 inaugural poet today, the New York Times reported, adding that--like the president--Blanco, who was conceived in Cuba, born in Spain and raised and educated in Miami, "has been on a quest for personal identity through the written word."

"Since the beginning of the campaign, I totally related to his life story and the way he speaks of his family, and of course his multicultural background," said Blanco. "There has always been a spiritual connection in that sense. I feel in some ways that when I'm writing about my family, I'm writing about him."

He will compose an original poem for the president's ceremonial swearing-in January 21 on the steps of the Capitol. Addie Whisenant, the inaugural committee's spokeswoman, said Obama picked Blanco because the poet's "deeply personal poems are rooted in the idea of what it means to be an American."

Blanco's books include Looking for The Gulf Motel (University of Pittsburgh Press), Directions to the Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press) and City of a Hundred Fires (University of Pittsburgh Press)

Alex Baker: Exceptional Design And Creative Services For The Publishing Industry

Amazon: N.J. Warehouse; Prime for Canada

Amazon plans to open a one-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Robbinsville, N.J., in early 2014. KTR Capital Partners is building the project, with the investment anticipated to exceed $200 million.

Governor Chris Christie said the project "will spur growth and investment for the Garden State and our local economies while bringing meaningful job creation opportunities for New Jersey's families. Amazon's multimillion dollar investment in this one facility alone is expected to result in the creation of hundreds of full-time jobs in addition to temporary, seasonal and construction jobs."

--- has launched its Amazon Prime membership program, whose main attraction is free shipping, in Canada for $79 annually. Steve Oliver, country manager for, told the Toronto Globe & Mail that while Amazon Prime in the U.S. also offers free e-book lending for Kindle users as well as streaming of TV/movies to subscribers, there are no plans for these options in Canada at this point.

Literati Bookstore to Open in Ann Arbor

It's official. Hilary Lowe and Michael Gustafson, who had been among the final three applicants for a "prime storefront" property in downtown Ann Arbor, Mich., have signed the lease and will soon open Literati Bookstore at 124 E. Washington Street.


"Our space is directly next door to Amadeus Restaurant and two doors down from our favorite happy hour spot Arbor Brewing Company," the co-owners wrote on their store blog. "We couldn't be more thrilled about the location! Washington Street is quickly becoming a hotspot for restaurants and businesses and we're happy to be adding to the vitality of the area."

They also said they "will have much more news in the upcoming days and weeks, and hopefully, we will be opening very soon, too. We have lots of work to do... but the biggest step is done!"

No small part of that work involves decisions about shelving and signage, which they have already begun to address: "When we started thinking about how we were going to shelve the store, we initially thought we’d use a mix of used and custom shelves. But then we heard that Borders No. 1 downtown Ann Arbor still had lots of shelving available. So we went and checked it out and decided, let's do this. We removed/disassembled more than 50 shelves....

"We'll try to give the new shelves some Literati personality and paint over that with chalkboard paint, making it easy to write in our sections. We're planning to accent the store in black and white so we can to keep in line with our logo design, hence our signage in the black/white of chalkboard. This was an idea passed along by Kate McCune, a Harper Collins rep, who suggested this after Parnassus Books in Nashville instituted chalkboard signage for their sections, making it easy to switch them up if need be."

Big Changes for Bookseller+Publisher

Bookseller+Publisher, Australasia's source of news about the book industry, is making a number of significant changes, including a new publication and a new name.

Bookseller+Publisher Daily will launch January 14, featuring "the latest local news each morning, as well as a round -up of interesting developments overseas." The daily newsletter is not replacing Weekly Book Newsletter, which will continue.

In February, Bookseller+Publisher magazine and online will be rebranded as Books+Publishing "to reflect the publication's growing audience among schools, libraries and bookish consumers, as well as its core audience of booksellers and publishers." Books+Publishing magazine will be a quarterly, with each issue including a flip-cover edition of Junior Books+Publishing.

Obituary Note: Harvey Shapiro

Harvey Shapiro, "an admired American poet who chose newspaper work over the time-honored academic vocation of his peers" and served as editor of the New York Times Magazine as well as the Times Book Review, died Monday, the Times reported. He was 88.


Capriola to Manage Kids' Programming at Decatur Book Festival

Diane Capriola, co-owner of the Little Shop of Stories bookstore, Decatur, Ga., has been named manager of children and teen programming, a new position, for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, which will be held this year on Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 1.

Festival executive director Daren Wang said that Capriola "has always been so involved that it's hard to believe we've just now found a way to formalize her work on the festival. As one of the smartest booksellers to children in the country, we are lucky to have her in our community and on our team."

Capriola is also on the American Booksellers Association's advisory board and the advisory board of the ABA's ABC Children's Group.

Last month, Philip Rafshoon, former owner of Atlanta's Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, was announced as the festival's program director.

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Book Geek Games'

"Think you have what it takes to out-geek the other book nerds in town?" asks Maria's Bookshop, Durango, Colo., which is inviting people to "test your book dweeb prowess" February 2 at the Book Geek Games, which will be part of the Snowdown 2013: Get Your Geek On festivities .

Here's the game plan: "Teams of two will face off in a relay race of literary nerd battles including speed alphabetization, book-on-the-head balancing, literary trivia, backwards walking read-aloud and book tower building.  Non-readers need not apply; all ages are welcome."

Jim McMullan: Telling My Story

Jim McMullan, who was recently honored by the School of Visual Arts with its Master Series Award and a retrospective exhibition of his work, took part in an interview at SVA on December 4 with his colleague and lifelong friend, Milton Glaser.

Milton Glaser (l.) and Jim McMullan.
Photo: School of Visual Arts

Glaser, himself an SVA Masters Series Laureate, kicked off the conversation with a revelation: the moment when he knew he wanted to become an artist. His cousin walked into Glaser's room carrying a brown paper bag and a pencil. "He said, 'Wanna see a horse?' I thought he'd pull a horse out of the bag. But instead, he stood there and drew one," Glaser recalled. "Mesmerized, I decided right then and there that I wanted to spend my life creating miracles. Did you have such a moment?" McMullan admitted, "I kind of sidled into being an illustrator." Between the ages of seven and 12, he spent hours copying comic books. "I was pretty good at it," he said with a laugh.

McMullan was born in 1934 in Tsingtao, China, where his Anglican grandparents did missionary work. He was fascinated by the Chinese scrolls in his grandparents' home. "I had to pay attention to see the subtly of the colors and patterns. Those scrolls were early influences in the way I saw art," McMullan said. He didn't attend any formal art classes until he and his mother emigrated to the United States. At 17, McMullan studied at a small art school in Seattle and, later, at Pratt Institute in New York City.  "Once I got to Pratt, I realized that if I were going to be an artist in 'razzmatazz America,' I had to create some drama," McMullan said.

In 1966, he joined Push Pin Studios--founded in 1954 by Glaser, Seymour Chwast, Reynold Ruffins, and, later, joined by Edward Sorel in 1966. McMullan left Push Pin in 1969, just as Glaser and Clay Felker were starting New York magazine, where McMullan helped establish the magazine's graphic style.

McMullan believes that his exposure to some of the German expressionists, such as Max Beckmann, deeply influenced him. "I loved the sense of truthfulness in the work," McMullan said. "I find that interesting," observed Milton, "because your work is so refined and elegant, so unlike the almost vulgar work of German expressionism." McMullan pointed out, "You can be connected to the bold immediacy of the German Expressionists and still want qualities of elegance and refinement. Once I started painting with watercolors, my impulse towards elegance was strengthened." He illustrated his forthcoming memoir, Leaving China (Algonquin, March 2014), with watercolor paintings, also featured in the exhibition.

"While working on those paintings about growing up in China during the Japanese occupation, I never felt closer to being my own artist," McMullan said. "Finally, I'm not telling someone else's story. I'm telling my own. I have a need to be understood." Glaser gently chided his friend, "I don't care if anyone understands me or not." He added, "Your memoir paintings are powerful and beautifully drawn. They are reductive in composition and clarity. They're as moving as anything I've seen of yours."

The Masters Series: James McMullan was on view through December 15 at the SVA Gallery, 209 East 23rd St., New York City. --Sally Cook

Cook is the co-author of Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers (Liveright, 2012) and the author of two children's books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jeff Bridges on Charlie Rose

Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Trevor Aaronson, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism (Ig Publishing, $24.95, 9781935439615).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Stanley McChrystal, author of My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591844754). He will also appear on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.


Tomorrow on Katie: Eben Alexander III, author of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Near-Death Experience and Journey into the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, $21.99, 9781451695182).


Tomorrow night on Charlie Rose: Jeff Bridges, co-author of The Dude and the Zen Master (Blue Rider, $26.95, 9780399161643).

TV: Parade's End Teaser Trailer

HBO released a teaser trailer for the British miniseries Parade's End, which the network will air over three consecutive nights beginning February 26. The show, adapted from Ford Madox Ford's classic tetralogy set in England during World War I, stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall and Adelaide Clemens. "And yes, it looks pretty damn good," Indiewire reported.

Books & Authors

Awards: Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year

Ron Charles of the Washington Post is one of eight finalists for Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year award, which was established to honor "the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months." The winner receives a golden hatchet and a year's supply of potted shrimp.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, January 15:

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307594884) is the memoir of the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.

Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives by Hoda Kotb (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451656039) shares six stories of suffering and success--by the Today Show co-host.

Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons by Ward Wilson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22, 9780547857879) explores common nuclear misconceptions.

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525953616) follows the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress.

Cover of Snow: A Novel by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine, $26, 9780345534217) follows a woman who questions the apparent suicide of her police officer husband, even though everyone else, including his partner, wants her to stop.

Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent by Gabrielle Walker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780151015207) chronicles the experience of working in Antarctica.

The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781451640205) is the latest Bob Lee Swagger thriller.

A Storm Too Soon: A True Story of Disaster, Survival and an Incredible Rescue by Michael J. Tougias (Scribner, $24, 9781451683332) tells of a series of maritime rescues in a single storm in 2007.

Book Brahmin: Maria Konnikova

Photo: Margaret Singer and Max Freeman  

Psychologist, journalist and author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes (Viking, January 7, 2013), Maria Konnikova writes the "Literally Psyched" column for Scientific American and formerly wrote the psychology blog "Artful Choice" for Big Think. Her writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Slate, the Paris Review, the Observer, the New Republic and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She graduated from Harvard University and is a doctoral candidate in psychology at Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

On your nightstand now:

There are actually four books on my nightstand (and a pile on the floor next to it, but who's counting); W.H. Auden's Collected Poems, which basically lives by my bed at all times. I often turn to it for inspiration when my writing is not going well. Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue, which I'm excited to read, at long last. (My favorite of his is The Yiddish Policemen's Union. I think he should write another noir-esque novel.) Jon Ronson's Lost at Sea. I'm loving it so far--not surprising, since he's a great writer. And Marina Vlady's Le Vol Arrêté, a memoir about the French actress's marriage to the famed Russian bard Vladimir Vysotsky.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I can't pick just one. Childhood books are a soft spot of mine, and I return to many of them over and over. But if I must narrow it down, it would be A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince and a book that I don't believe has ever been translated into English, Alexandra Brushtein's The Road Leads to the Horizon. It's an incredibly moving memoir of a childhood spent in pre-revolutionary Vilnius. I also must have read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy at least five times over the course of a few years.

Your top five authors:

Again, it's tough to narrow down the field. But if I must, in no particular order: J.D. Salinger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Bulgakov and W.H. Auden.

Book you've faked reading:

E.M. Forster's A Room with a View. Maybe I was too young for it when I tried to read it for the first--and only--time, but I got bogged down in the first chapter and have never wanted to touch it since. Perhaps I'm missing a great work of literature that I'd end up loving if I ever gathered the courage to pick it up again--but I don't know that I ever will. I feel guilty every time I see it on any "greatest book of the century" lists. And let me tell you, it appears often.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince. Too many people dismiss it as a children's book. To them I say: please, please read it as an adult. It's a masterpiece. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm quite the evangelist for Auden's collection of essays, The Dyer's Hand. I think it should be required reading for any aspiring writer.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Martin Gardner's The Annotated Alice. I didn't really need another copy of Alice in Wonderland, and it was a very expensive book, but I just couldn't resist. It's far too gorgeous. It still sits on my bookshelf, right above my desk.

Book that changed your life:

There have been too many to list. I think every great book changes your life in some way; that's why it's great. I suppose I should say Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. And they certainly did change my life. I read them at a very impressionable age, and clearly, they stuck!

Favorite line from a book:

"Manuscripts don't burn." --from The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.

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

Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. I still remember the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed when I read it for the first time. The scope of Bulgakov's imagination is astounding. It inspires you to never settle for mediocrity in writing, be it fiction or non.

Most overrated Russian author:

Leo Tolstoy. There. I've said it. Lev Grossman summed it up perfectly in his Time piece, "I Hate This Book So Much: A Meditation" when he wrote, " 'Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' I have often maintained that this is utter bullsh**t, and I'm convinced that its bullsh**tiness would be widely recognized if it did not have the rest of Anna Karenina attached to it. But it does, and people give those lines the benefit of the doubt. Because, you know, Tolstoy." Except, I don't know, Tolstoy. I am not a fan. And he's one author whose books I have not faked reading. I've actually read them. Cover to cover. Can I also just add, as a psychologist, that he really doesn't understand human psychology?

Book Review

Children's Review: The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook

The Bird King: An Artist's Notebook by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $19.99 hardcover, 128p., ages 10-up, 9780545465137, February 1, 2013)

This book is a gift not only to fans of Shaun Tan's work but also to anyone interested in the creative process. "Staring at a blank piece of paper, I can't think of anything original," he writes in his introduction. But anyone who's seen his work can't imagine this to be the case. His characters look at once completely alien and utterly familiar.

Thumbnail sketches in his "Notebooks" section demonstrate how Tan thinks sequentially. Notes in the margins of other sketches record possible story ideas for characters. He plays with color combinations in the section "Drawings from Life": an image of the haunches of a bull seems to be rendered in pastels, while a pair of studies of a stony, almost lunar landscape, in neutral colors with splashes of red, appear side by side in oils and, next, in pastels. Studies of rabbits chronicle his process for arriving at the characters he illustrated in John Marsden's The Rabbits. Sketches of objects from a pre-Columbian exhibit in Mexico City could be the seeds for The Lost Thing. These attest to the artist's grounding in reality, along with a pastel rendering of Mexico City in all its gritty beauty.

Themes emerge from among these seemingly disparate sketches. "The boy with a sewn-on cat head" and "The troubles of horse-girl" portray the outcasts of society, a theme central to many of his works. He can't resist designing the presentation of even these seemingly random drawings. The pastel-and-pencil "Heart-bell," depicting a woman pale in her vulnerability, dangling her bell-shaped heart by a string among birds, appears opposite a vulture with preying eyes, rendered in pastel and charcoal, dressed in finery and sipping a wine glass filled with blood ("Never lost a case"). Tan juxtaposes prey and predator.

It is a gift of generosity Shaun Tan gives his readers. He talks about breaking through the equivalent of writer's block by just drawing, and quotes Paul Klee's description of "taking a line for a walk." He then opens his sketchbooks to bear this out. This raw material could be the artist at his most vulnerable, the dangling of the bell heart, but Tan offers it as a strength, to fortify others with a creative impulse. For his fans, we see that these raw elements and a dedication to craft can yield superior storytelling. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: A gifted artist opens his notebooks and allows his fans and anyone with a creative impulse to witness the journey on the way to completing a work of art.

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