Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Ghost Hawk

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Albatros Media: Words about Where: Let's Learn Prepositions by Magda Gargulakova, illustrated by Marie Urbankova

Blackstone Publishing: Ordinary Bear by C.B. Bernard

St. Martin's Griffin: One Last Shot by Betty Cayouette

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella

Quotation of the Day

'The Beauty of Book Selling'

"What I'm discovering in our area is a growing number of consumers who understand that neighborhood stores are part of the cultural framework that holds a community together, and every time you shop locally it's like applying a dab of personal glue on the framework that helps prevent it from coming apart.... The best way to keep this mutual support network thriving is to constantly be on the lookout for new ways to expand and improve that early allure of wide selection and pleasant atmosphere that adds some fun and entertainment to every visit. The products we sell are more than skin deep. What bookstores offer is a multitude of literary excursions that will expand your intellect, challenge your imagination, or just give you some relaxing mental recreation.

"In fact, it wouldn't be inaccurate to say our staff at Annie Bloom's is much like a group of beauty consultants. No, we don't sell cosmetics. But I think we are helping each one of our customers develop a more beautiful mind."

--Jeffrey Shaffer, a writer and bookseller at Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, Ore., in his NW Book Lovers column headlined "The Beauty of Book Selling."


HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo


Colin Bettam to Lead Kobo Marketing

Colin Bettam has been appointed the chief marketing officer at Kobo, where he will be responsible for building and expanding the company's brand internationally. Prior to joining Kobo, he was v-p of marketing for LG Electronics, where he played a key role in consolidating the brand positioning across all consumer categories under the "Life's Good" banner.

Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis said the company "continues to reach the most passionate readers through strong bookseller and retail partnerships as well as large-scale brand campaigns. We welcome Colin to the team and look forward to working with him on taking Kobo's brand to the next level to engage those people who truly make reading a priority in their lives."

Bettam, who has more than 20 years of marketing experience, said he was "thrilled to be joining the team to continue cultivating the love of reading around the world through brand initiatives that truly speak to them."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

E-Books: Just 3% of the French Book Market

While sales of digital books have grown dramatically in the last several years in the U.S. and U.K., "they're not having the same luck in France," the Digital Reader reported, citing a report from the Syndical national de l'édition, which "shows that e-books are still a negligible part of the French book market."

According to study, France's e-book market share rose from 1% in 2011 to 3% this year. The report predicted a further rise, noting "a number of positive trends, including a growing interest in France for e-readers and e-books."

NBF Appoints Three New Board Members

The National Book Foundation appointed three new board members "in its latest effort to expand its profile beyond the publishing world," the New York Times reported. Added to the NBF board were Anthony W. Marx, president and CEO of the New York Public Library; Deborah Needleman, editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine; and Annette Gordon-Reed, historian and Harvard professor.

"Our goal is to increase the impact that the best American writing has on our culture," said David Steinberger, chairman of the foundation's board and CEO of Perseus Books Group. "With that objective in mind, we are gratified to be welcoming three new board members of such extraordinary stature."

Steinberger "has pushed for more visibility" for the National Book Awards, "which have historically had a lower profile than the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes," the Times noted.

Amazon Launches Jet City Comics Imprint

Amazon Publishing has launched Jet City Comics, an imprint focused on comics and graphic novels, with the release of Symposium #1, an original Foreworld comic from the series created by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey and Cooper Moo. Plans also call for original adaptations of George R.R. Martin's short story "Meathouse Man" and Hugh Howey's novel Wool to follow in October.

Jet City issues will be published on Kindle as standalone comics, as serialized comics released over multiple episodes and as bundled graphic novels, with print editions available as well. Alex Carr is senior editor of Jet City Comics.

Harper Lee Copyright Lawsuit Update

Last May, Harper Lee filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan to re-secure the copyright for To Kill a Mockingbird, seeking unspecified damages from Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of her former literary agent, and companies he allegedly created.

In a new Vanity Fair (August issue) article titled "To Steal a Mockingbird?," Mark Seal attempts to untangle the legal threads of the story, and "sorts them out in a way that seems to make sense," Jacket Copy reported, adding: "Most interestingly, his piece gives a portrait of Lee through a handful of intimates who are willing and able to talk about her. Lee's seclusion included spending lots of time in New York, right in the heart of publishing, without being much recognized."


Image of the Day: Freud's Mistress

Vienna at the turn of the 19th century came alive last night in Brentwood, Calif., at DIESEL, A Bookstore, when authors Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman celebrated
the launch of their book, Freud's Mistress (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam). It is
believed that in spirit, Freud (though not his mistress) joined the audience of more than 100.

Bookstore Tips of the Day: Building E-Newsletter Subscribers

Subscriptions for the weekly and monthly newsletters put out by Bookworks of Albuquerque, N.Mex., have grown by 20% in the last six months. Amanda Sutton, the store's marketing and events manager, offers a few tips for booksellers also looking to expand their subscriber bases.

  • The allure of free stuff: "We do a monthly drawing for a $20 gift card. At every event we host, we have people write their e-mail addresses on slips of paper, and we draw from those to give away the gift certificates. We collect a lot of addresses that way."
  • The value of off-site events: "Events outside the store are a great way to draw people who are not regulars. Recently we did an event for Denise Kiernan [author of The Girls of Atomic City] at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. We were able to target a lot of people outside of our usual audience; we got a lot of unique e-mails there."
  • Topics and choices: "The e-mail list is segmented so that people can sign up by topics. We have lists for food, children's books... sometimes we do really targeted mailings."
  • Don't make it an afterthought: "Signing-up for the e-mail list is a huge part of our events program, and we heavily promote that. We also have a very prominent sign-up button on our homepage."
  • Beyond the store: "We are kind of the bookseller of choice for conferences in Albuquerque. We definitely take our sign up sheets with us wherever we sell books."
  • The importance of opting in: "We don't buy e-mails or acquire them in any way other than people opting in. Beyond that, we do anything we can to get people to sign up."

Bookworks is a bookstore partner of Shelf Awareness for Readers. For more information about the program, click here.

Cool Idea of the Day: You Could Be in a Novel

Tomorrow night, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., will host Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins Rock-and-Roll Book Tour, with special guest Stephen Kiernan, author of the debut novel, The Curiosity.

The bookstore noted that this event offers an additional special treat: "Would you like to be a character in Chris's next novel, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands? Be in attendance at the program to be entered in a drawing. He'll use the winner's name (and maybe likeness) in this next novel. You must be here to enter and win."

Another character for the next book will be named July 13 at the Beachwood Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio.

Free Booklet: Lonely Planet's Guide to Responsible Travel

The booklet Lonely Planet's Guide to Responsible Travel, mentioned here yesterday as part of the Lonely Planet/TOMS partnership in celebration of Lonely Planet's 40th anniversary, is free. Bookstores interested in carrying copies to give to customers may contact for more information.

12x12 Project Opens Door at Queens Botanical Garden

The World Policy Institute, New World Library and artists from across New York City have collaborated on the first 12x12 Project art installation, which began on July 2 at the Queens Botanical Gardens.

The installation was inspired by Twelve by Twelve: A One Room Cabin, Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream by William Powers (New World Library), about resource consumption and the author's season spent living off the grid in a 12' by 12' sustainably designed building on a permaculture farm. Artist Beth Grossman is in-residence at the installation through the rest of the month. The project's goal is to "engage the public in dialogue about how smarter consumption might change their lives--and the planet."

The installation will have a full-fledged launch party this Saturday, July 13, and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, during July. A second installation will follow at First Park on Manhattan's Lower East Side in August. More information can be found on the project's website.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Daniel Silva on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Kate Christensen, author of Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385536264).


Today on MSNBC's Morning Joe and Bloomberg TV: former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, co-author of Gridlock (Forge, $26.99, 9780765327383).


Tomorrow morning on the Steve Harvey Morning Show: Mimi Spencer, co-author of The FastDiet Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Calorie-Controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy (Atria, $25.99, 9781476749198).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Katherine Preston, author of Out With It: How Stuttering Helped Me Find My Voice (Atria, $24, 9781451676587).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Silva, author of The English Girl (Harper, $27.99, 9780062073167).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Tom Drury, author of Pacific (Grove, $25, 9780802119995). As the show put it: "Tom Drury's novels take the American Midwest as their stage. His latest, Pacific, follows Micah, a resident of his fictional Grouse County who has moved to Los Angeles to reunite with his mother, co-star of a New-Agey television series. Drury talks about his affection for the Midwest, the status of belief today, and the 'provisional' quality of contemporary American life."

Movies: The Giver; The Sea

Jeff Bridges's long-gestating project to bring Lois Lowry's classic novel The Giver to the big screen has taken a significant step forward. Brenton Thwaites has been cast opposite Bridges in the Weinstein Company's adaptation, directed by Philip Noyce, reported, adding: "Aged up from the book, the Jonas character is selected to become the next Receiver of Memory in the heavily ordered and seemingly perfect society. He bonds with the previous Receiver (Bridges) and discovers the lies that dominate their society and a more independent way of living." The project is slated to begin filming in South Africa this fall.


A trailer has been released for The Sea, adapted from John Banville's novel and starring Ciarán Hinds and Charlotte Rampling. The Guardian reported that the film, "which had its premiere at the Edinburgh film festival, will be released in the U.K. in September."

Books & Authors

Awards: Frank O'Connor International Short Story

David Constantine won the €25,000 (US$32,204) Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his collection Tea at the Midland and Other Stories. The Guardian reported that the author, "who doesn't have an agent and spends much of his spare time at a bolt-hole in the Scilly Isles, describes himself as belonging 'on the periphery.' "

Book Brahmin: Peter Stenson

photo: Robbie Lane

Peter Stenson's debut novel, Fiend (Crown July 9, 2013), gives a fresh twist to the zombie apocalypse, with meth addicts as the unlikely survivors contending with hordes of the undead. Peter Stenson received his MFA from Colorado State University in 2012. His stories and essays have been published in the Sun, the Bellevue Literary Review, the Greensboro Review, Confrontation, Post Road, Fugue, Harpur Palate, the Pinch, Blue Mesa Review and elsewhere. He is a recovering addict and has been sober for 10 years. Stenson lives with his wife and daughter in Denver. 

On your nightstand now: 

Being reared in the Sesame Street Generation, I'm a reader who likes to be working his way through two books at the same time. Call it ADD. Call it matching mood to reading material. Really, I have no idea, only that inevitably, when I'm attempting to read a single novel at a time, my mind wanders. So right now, I'm reading Philipp Meyer's The Son and George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones. Meyer's ability to add beauty to violence is unparalleled (except, of course, by Cormac McCarthy), as is Martin's gift of creating the most intricate alternative worlds since Tolkien.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I have a four-month-old daughter. She's our first. The moment my wife told me she was pregnant, I pretty much ran from the bathroom straight to the bookstore (side note to expecting fathers: this was not a good reaction). I bought Steve Kroll's The Biggest Pumpkin Ever. It's about two field mice who, unknown to one another, nurture the same pumpkin. I remember the intense anxiety I felt as a child about what would happen when the other found out, and what the fate of the pumpkin would be (win the village contest or be carved into a massive jack-o-lantern). And, still, 30 years later, reading it to my daughter made my chest all sorts of tight.

Your top five authors:

I've always felt that music heads are much better at the top five questions than writers (top five albums, top five guitar solos, top five bass riffs, etc.). I feel like writers are a bit reluctant to actually commit to the listing of greatness, as if somehow ranking them shows our literary heroes/influences too much, or maybe out of a sense of guilt for those left off. With that said, I would have to say Lawrence Durrell's Justine has been my favorite novel over the past 15 years. It's the one book I can restart as soon as I finish it. Nabokov's playfulness with words makes me sincerely happy. I want somebody to read Cormac McCarthy's prose to me when I'm on my deathbed. The final scene of James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues is the most magical bit of writing I've ever come across. And nobody knows the complex darkness of humanity like Dostoyevsky.

Book you've faked reading:

I've read a little of all of Jonathan Franzen's books, yet haven't finished a single one (lied about each). Something about his overindulgence in internalization makes me want to die. And I still haven't finished a book by James Joyce. I find them maddening; I'm simply not smart enough.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I've been a fan of Stephen Elliott for a while now. I think in his memoir, The Adderall Diaries, something clicked, and it came out with so much energy, so much passion, so much pathos, while also being clean and full. It's absolutely phenomenal. I tell everyone to read it. On a very different note, the same is true for Ernest Cline's Ready Player One. This book is obviously a major hit, so my evangelizing is usually pointless, but I do it nonetheless. It is the one book over the last five years that I happily gave up my writing time to read.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Back when Borders was alive, I stumbled across James Boice's MVP. The cover showed a giant man dressed in a suit shaking hands with a smaller man (obviously an athletic draft of some sort). But both of their faces were blotched out with a large orange circle with the book's title. And the image on the cover was kind of done in a pixilated/pointillism style, also adding to the mystery. I didn't even read the back, just picked it up and walked to the counter (turned out to be a great read).

Book that changed your life:

In my late teens, I was walking around Minneapolis during my lunch break. I was working at a travel agency, living in a halfway house for recovering addicts and not really in love with life. I stumbled across a free book bin outside of a used bookstore. There was one book left: Herbert Gold's The Great American Jackpot. I read the book in a day. I loved it. I fell in love with San Francisco and with run-on sentences and with broken characters going to extremes because they'd messed up all of their other options (i.e., I fell in love with a fictionalized version of what I was going through). I'd always wanted to be a writer, but this book, serendipitously found, and read during a somewhat desperate time in my life, affirmed that desire, somehow making it a fact--I would be a writer.

Favorite line from a book:

As I mentioned earlier, Durrell's Justine is my favorite novel. So it's only fitting that my favorite line comes from its pages. Durrell writes, "These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean." Not to sound corny, but I believe this line pretty much pinpoints that unnameable quality that makes up a person (soul or psyche or whatever the hell you want to call it) in a beautiful and profound way. This quote is tattooed along my left ribs (cool now, probably won't be when I get fatter and text tattoos become the lame equivalent to barbed wire tattooed around one's bicep in 10 years).

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

I've been meaning to reread Dennis Cooper's The Marbled Swarm for the past two years. The book haunted me--the language, the perverse desires, the absurdity that for some reason seemed anything but. I was blown away by this novel. It wouldn't leave my mind for months. Which, when I think about it, is probably why I haven't reread it yet (not sure I want my dreams once again plagued by the nightmares of people living in hollow rooms behind my walls).

Book Review

Children's Review: Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by K.G. Campbell (Candlewick, $17.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 8-up, 9780763660406, September 2013)

Ten-year-old Flora Belle Buckman has read enough superhero comics to know it's best not to underestimate anyone... not even a squirrel. Indeed, as one cartoon bubble posits: "Who can say what astonishments are hidden inside the most mundane being?" Newbery Medal–winning author Kate DiCamillo's (The Tale of Despereaux) latest adventure begins when a Ulysses Super-Suction, Multi-Terrain 2000X vacuum cleaner sucks up an ordinary squirrel by accident, thus transforming him into a super-strong superhero who can type poetry, if not vanquish villains. Flora, a quirky-smart girl as lonely as a giant squid, fears for the life of her extraordinary new friend Ulysses, with good reason. Her mother (an unhappy romance novelist who might love her monstrously frilly shepherdess lamp more than she loves her own daughter) wants Flora's father to whack the critter with a shovel and bury him. Arch-nemesis, check.

The heart-tugging story of Flora's loneliness, her rocky relationship with her divorced parents, and a peculiar but possible new friend, William Spiver, interweaves seamlessly with the side-splitting shenanigans and ponderings of a sentient squirrel superhero. When we get inside the fuzzy head of Ulysses, we discover that not only is he always very hungry, he's enamored with the world: "He loved all of it: smoke rings and lonely squids and giant donuts and Flora Belle Buckman's round head and all the wonderful thoughts inside of it." K.G. Campbell's charming, funny, cartoon-panel, black-and-white pencil-sketch vignettes zero in on Ulysses in action, whether typing, flying or outmaneuvering an evil cat. (The squirrel's love of the world most often excludes cats.)

Eccentric characters, snappy prose and the fantastical plot give this delightful novel a giddy, over-the-top patina, but the core is big and hopeful, contemplative and bursting with heart. No small feat, even for a superhero like DiCamillo. --Karin Snelson

Shelf Talker: Newbery Medal author Kate DiCamillo tips her hat to the comic-book world in this winningly illustrated, slapstick-yet-soulful novel about a thoughtful squirrel superhero and the lonely girl who loves him.

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