Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 6, 2014

Workman Publishing: The Reverse Coloring Book(tm) Mindful Journeys: Be Calm and Creative: The Book Has the Colors, You Draw the Lines by Kendra Norton

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull

Norton Young Readers: Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo

Union Square & Co.: Wait for Me by Sara Shepard

Grove Press: Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee

Peachtree Teen: Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt


Politics and Prose to Operate Busboys and Poets Book Sales

Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., is taking over the book operations at five current and future Busboys and Poets restaurants in the metro area. They include the locations at 5th and K streets in downtown Washington, in Hyattsville, Md., and in Shirlington, Va.--Politics and Prose will begin book operations at these stores next year. Politics and Prose will start the book operations at the two Busboys and Poets that are opening soon in the District neighborhoods of Brookland (next month) and Takoma (in January). The arrangement doesn't include the original Busboys and Poets, at 14th and V streets in the capital, which has a bookstore owned and operated by Teaching for Change.

Bradley Graham, who owns P&P with Lissa Muscatine, commented: "We're excited to join forces with Andy Shallal and his great Busboys and Poets organization, and to bring P&P's experience in bookselling and high-caliber events to other neighborhoods in the Washington area. Andy's restaurants have been devoted to more than just selling food. They're places for dialogue, for bringing people together, for celebrating the cultural diversity of our community. We see great synergy in this new initiative and believe that working with Busboys will enable P&P to make books and authors more available throughout the metro region."

Busboys and Poets, Shirlington, Va.

Andy Shallal said, "Politics and Prose epitomizes the greatness and reach of independent bookstores, and we are thrilled that they will partner with us to continue in our tradition of offering multicultural books that represent the diversity of Washington, D.C."

The book offerings will include book signings, author interviews, literary workshops, children's programming and other events. Busboys and Poets restaurants have large private rooms for special programs and are equipped with stages and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, including live streaming and webcasting.

The Washington Post described the arrangement this way: "The mini-stores, staffed by P&P employees, will be marked with a sign sporting the logo: 'Politics and Prose @ Busboys and Poets.' Customers will be able to get quick deliveries from the main store on Connecticut Avenue, place special orders and enjoy all their usual P&P membership discounts."

The paper said the arrangement evolved after Shallal met Graham and Muscatine at a dinner party recently.

Berkley Books: City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

New Venture for the Cookbook Store's Former Manager

Alison Fryer, manager of the Cookbook Store in Toronto until it closed last spring, "is cooking up a new chapter in her life" with the opening of a culinary book department in All the Best Fine Foods' Summerhill location, the Toronto Star reported.

Called All the Best Cookbooks, "it will echo Fryer's beloved Yorkville shop with visiting authors, cooking classes, food education, themed dinners--and plenty of cookery books," the Star wrote, adding that an "Alison's Picks" section "will carry more than 60 cookbooks, a number expected to expand." All the Best Fine Foods founder and cookbook author Jane Rodmell will also feature Jane's Classic Picks.

"I thought when we closed the store I'd casually fade away," Fryer said, adding: "My enthusiasm has not waned.... I think cookbooks are never going to go away. We all have to eat." She added that Rodmell and store co-owner Sue Merry also "love cookbooks. Jane has a collection that's just scary. She's my kind of woman.”

KidsBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

Amazon: Perks, Pitfalls, Analysis and Taxi Deliveries

Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro offers a long story called "The Perks, Pitfalls, and Paradoxes of Amazon Publishing," which delves into the advantages and disadvantages for authors of publishing with Amazon and includes these gems:

After Amazon Publishing, headed by Larry Kirshbaum, had trouble signing big-name authors because Amazon's bookselling competitors stocked few of the imprint's titles in store, "Even Amazon Publishing's unusual solicitousness toward writers--sending flowers and chocolates on publication day, designating 'author relations' staffers to keep writers happy--could not overcome this handicap. Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' wife MacKenzie, a novelist, came out with a new book. Her choice of publisher: Knopf Doubleday."

The focus of Amazon Publishing changed suddenly after the bookstore blockade. " 'The East Coast editors were sort of whipsawed,' [a] former employee recalls. Not only did Amazon ask them to change the type of authors they were looking for, but the company insisted upon a different way of evaluating them. Going with your gut was out. Data was in. What kind of track record does the author have? The category of books? What type of people bought them?"

After recounting some good experiences her authors have had with Amazon, agent Jane Dystel said others "have had far less success with Amazon. In such cases, the company's marketing methods fell flat. In its haste to get a lot of books out quickly, Amazon 'might not have understood the market,' she says. 'Or the market might not have been as easily defined.' And when that happened, Amazon let the data make its next decision: It passed on the author's next book.

" 'All publishers do this,' Dystel acknowledges, 'but they aren't usually so aggressive in seeking out authors, building them up, and then almost spitting them out.' "


For its part, in a long piece titled "The War of the Words," Vanity Fair's Keith Gessen explored "how did Amazon--which was once seen as the book industry's savior end up as Literary Enemy Number One? And how much of this fight is even about money?"

Among the points: "The Amazon-Hachette dispute mirrors the wider culture wars that have been playing out in America since at least the 1960s. On the one side, super-wealthy elites employing populist rhetoric and mobilizing non-elites; on the other side, slightly less wealthy elites struggling to explain why their way of life is worth preserving."

Agent Andrew Wylie commented that "like ISIS, Amazon is so determined to wreak havoc on the culture that unlikely alliances have been formed."

Gessen also wrote: " 'Book publishers had the longest time horizon to prepare for the digital transition,' [an] industry lawyer told me, 'and they were the least prepared.' From Amazon's perspective, demographics is destiny: people who read print are dying, while digital natives are being born. But in fact e-book adoption has been slower among young readers than among adults, and the growth in e-book sales overall has slowed considerably. And it is possible that Wylie was right, that the publishers were finally standing up for themselves. A less optimistic industry analyst wasn't so sure. 'The publishers are going to say, "Beyond this line we shall not cross," ' the analyst argued. 'Then a year later they'll say, "Actually, beyond this line we shall not cross." The question for publishers is "How long can we say yes and still have a business?" ' "


Amazon has tested using taxis for package deliveries in San Francisco and Los Angeles and may launch such a service on a broader basis, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Taxis represent Amazon's latest experiment to speed package shipments to compete more directly with brick-and-mortar retailers, and to seek alternatives to United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service after shipping delays last Christmas," the paper wrote.

For the test, Amazon used Flywheel, the taxi-hailing mobile app, which competes with Uber and Lyft. "Amazon summoned cabs through the Flywheel app to mini-distribution centers before loading them with as many as 10 packages bound for a single ZIP code, paying about $5 per package for delivery within one hour."

The deliveries were usually done in the early morning when cabs had fewer customers. The Journal noted: "With taxis, Amazon also may be seeking to contain shipping costs, which have risen annually as a percent of sales, to 8.9% last year from 7.2% in 2009. Amazon in October posted its biggest quarterly loss in 14 years amid a 32% jump in shipping expenses."

Forrester Researcher analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told the Journal that Amazon may be developing a "same-day delivery algorithm," which would figure out which form of delivery is fastest and cheapest. But she added that same-day delivery isn't appealing to most customers. "The reality is, people generally aren't willing to pay enough for the service to make it worthwhile."

In one of our favorite comments about taxi delivery, called the service "sadly not nearly as cool as drones."

Bookworm of Edwards: Simple Renovation, Multiple Benefits

The Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colo., closed last weekend, from Friday evening until Monday morning, for renovations. The primary goal of the renovation, said owner Nicole Magistro, was to consolidate the store's two checkout areas into one in the center of the store.

Bookworm of Edwards's new checkout desk

"In 2010, we expanded our store by about 1,000 square feet," explained Magistro. "We knocked down a few walls and expanded into a neighboring space. We built a secondary checkout desk instead of reconfiguring the current checkout desk--we didn't know if our expansion would work the way we wanted, and we felt it was too big of a risk if we moved the entire workspace and then a year later had to put those walls back up and do it again."

The expansion has been a success, but over the past three and a half years, the store has had to contend with complications arising from having two checkout desks. For one, it caused some confusion with customers. Gift wrapping was available at only one desk, and special orders were held at the other. And though customers and staff eventually got used to it, Magistro and her team felt that it was not ideal. Receiving was also done at those checkout desks, and the busier it was in store, the more difficult receiving became.

"Right around Christmas last year, I said that if we have a good year [in 2014], I really wanted to do a little renovation," recalled Magistro.

The result of those renovations has been the consolidation of the two checkout desks into one checkout island in the middle of the store. Along with solving logistical problems, the move has opened up sight lines throughout the store, making the space feel bigger and more open. Both former checkout areas were also against walls, and now those walls can be used for displays and shelves. Also, the staff now no longer has to move bookcases and furniture to make space for storytime sessions and other events.

"We didn't add square footage, but it feels that way," said Magistro. "Our customers are just buzzing. They walk in with a smile and say, 'this looks amazing.' "

The Bookworm of Edwards also used this opportunity to create a mobile receiving station, so that receiving no longer has to be done at the register. The receiving station can be pushed against a wall to free up space when not in use, moved to different sections of the store, and can even be used as an information system for customers.

The staff is also excited about the renovations. "Now that they're working in the space, they're really happy," reported Magistro. "They work at the same station together instead of having to go constantly back and forth through the store. They feel that buzz the customers feel, every time they walk in the store."

Roughly one-third of the store's approximately 3,000 square feet is taken up by a 35-seat restaurant-cafe. And though the renovation did not directly change anything about the cafe, Magistro said, it has improved the customer experience by making the cafe feel more like a part of the bookstore.

"Customers in the cafe can see all the way through to the book side much more clearly. There's an improved relationship with the middle of the store; there's not such a walled-off kind of feel," Magistro said.

The renovation also coincides with a significant redesign of the store's website; Magistro hopes that the two experiences, online and off, will now feel much more complementary. Magistro decided not to celebrate immediately following the re-opening, but plans to have the store's annual Customer Appreciation party, scheduled this year for December 9, to be something of a new launch.

"We're in our off-season right now," remarked Magistro. "It gives us a little time to move into the space and decorate and receive our gift items. And by then, all of our people will be back in town." --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Writer in Residence, via the Shelf

At Shelf Awareness, we often run links to galleries of gorgeous libraries. Our readers enjoy them, but it's not often that they change someone's life. One of those images, of Gladstone's Library in Wales, caught the eye of Patricia Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown (Viking). Intrigued by the photo, she discovered that the library has a Writers-in-Residence program. Bracewell was accepted and is currently in her second week immersed in research for her next book; you can read about her experience here.

Moscow's Metro System Adds E-Library

Moscow's metro system is opening a digital library of Russian classical literature. The Guardian reported that more than 100 "canonical Russian books have been made available for commuters to download free on train platforms, where scanning a code with a smartphone or tablet allows users to browse the library's virtual shelves."

The digital selection, which will be available to the 2.5 million passengers traveling on the metro annually, joins a similar project already operating on 700 of the city's buses, trams and trolleybuses.

Pennie Picks Victoria: A Life

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Victoria: A Life by A.N. Wilson (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594205996) as her pick of the month for November. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"For better or worse, when talk turns to how far women have or have not come in the last several decades, I like to take a moment to ponder famous women in history. I find endless fascination in women who were either born or married into power. And I never tire of reading about how they don't demure from doing what they have to do. In this month's Book Buyer's Pick, Victoria: A Life by A.N. Wilson, readers get a look at a powerful woman whose life has often been shrouded in secrecy.

"Thoroughly researched, this biography addresses everything about the woman whose coronation happened under unusual circumstances and whose reign ended an eponymous era that was marked by morality, peace and prosperity. Readers will never look at Queen Victoria the same way again."

Personnel Changes at Touchstone

Amelia Possanza has joined Touchstone as a publicist. She was formerly an associate publicist at Little, Brown.  

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Martin Short on Meredith Vieira

Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Martin Short, author of I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend (Harper, $26.99, 9780062309525).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Herbie Hancock, co-author of Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (Viking, $29.95, 9780670014712).


Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Linda Tirado, author of Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399171987).

TV: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Netflix has acquired rights to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, "with plans to adapt them as a live-action series," reported. The search is now underway for a director "to help re-create Snicket's visual world on TV." Netflix is producing the project, "which is being fast-tracked," with Paramount Television. Paramount was behind the 2004 movie starring Jim Carrey, wrote.

"On the search for fantastic material that appeals to both parents and kids, the first stop for generations of readers is A Series of Unfortunate Events," said Cindy Holland, v-p, original content at Netflix. "The world created by Lemony Snicket is unique, darkly funny and relatable. We can't wait to bring it to life for Netflix members."

"I can't believe it," Snicket said "from an undisclosed location," according to Netflix. "After years of providing top-quality entertainment on demand, Netflix is risking its reputation and its success by associating itself with my dismaying and upsetting books."

Netflix noted that "Mr. Snicket's participation will be limited, given his emotional distress, but the project has the full involvement of his legal, literary and social representative Daniel Handler, who is often mistaken for him."

This Weekend on Book TV: The Boston Book Festival

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, November 8
12 p.m. Coverage of the 2014 Boston Book Festival. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. John Lanchester, author of How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means (Norton, $26.95, 9780393243376), with Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker (25th Anniversary Edition): Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street (Norton, $25.95, 9780393246100).

5:15 p.m. Anne Sarah Rubin, author of Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and American Memory (University of North Carolina Press, $35, 9781469617770), at the Southern Festival of Books.

7:30 p.m. Richard Preston, author of The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus (Anchor, $7.99, 9780385479561). (Re-airs 4:15 p.m.)

8:30 p.m. Joel Simon, author of The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom (Columbia University Press, $27.95, 9780231160643).

10 p.m. Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be: The Colorization of America (St. Martin's Press, $32.99, 9780312571290). (Re-airs Sunday 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Richard Brookhiser, author of Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (Basic, $27.99, 9780465032945). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:15 p.m.)

Sunday, November 9
1 p.m. Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (University of California Press, $29.95, 9780520275966). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

1:35 p.m. William Easterly, author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (Basic, $29.99, 9780465031252). (Re-airs Monday at 1:35 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Frances Beinecke and Bob Deans, authors of The World We Create: A Message of Hope for a Planet in Peril (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 9781442236370).

6:45 p.m. Joyce King, author of Exonerated: A Brief and Dangerous Freedom (River Grove Books, $15.95, 9781938416484).

8 p.m. Mark Edmundson, author of Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594205750).

10 p.m. Edward O. Wilson, author of The Meaning of Human Existence (Liveright, $23.95, 9780871401007).

11 p.m. Laura Auricchio, author of The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered (Knopf, $30, 9780307267559).

Books & Authors

Awards: Goncourt, Specsavers National Book

Pas Pleurer (Don't Cry) by Lydie Salvayre has won the Goncourt Prize, France's most prestigious literary award. "Salvayre's narrative interlaces the voice of her own mother recounting her experiences of the Spanish Civil War with that of the rightwing French writer Georges Bernanos and is set in the summer of 1936," the Guardian wrote. Both of the authors' parents were exiles from Franco's Spain; Salvayre grew up in southwestern France speaking Spanish and didn't learn French until she went to school. The book is a mix of French and Spanish.


Finalists in 10 categories have been named for the Specsavers National Book Awards, a "literary prize that covers every genre of publishing, each year reflecting the books most loved by readers." The category winners will be announced November 26, with the Specsavers National Book of the Year Award, which is decided by a public poll, named December 26. The awards are presented in association with the Books Are My Bag campaign.

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:

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss (Graywolf Press, $24, 9781555976897). "Biss's essays about the immunization debate range from the personal to the body politic and back again. Drawing on her experiences as a mother and employing an astonishing diversity of sources, Biss plumbs our ancient fear of infection. Acknowledging the permeability of both our borders and bodies, she arrives at the conclusion that 'immunity is a shared space--a garden we tend together.' Biss's precise language and wry humor make On Immunity as engaging as it is informative." --Brooke Alexander, Brazos Bookstore, Dallas, Tex.

Gutenberg's Apprentice: A Novel by Alix Christie (Harper, $27.99, 9780062336019). "This novel about the making of the first printed book, the Gutenberg Bible, is a dramatic and gripping tale of betrayal and intrigue. A young scribe is apprenticed to the visionary and difficult genius Johann Gutenberg at the behest of his father, Gutenberg's financial backer. Tension between genius and finance, between old ways and the new, that is aggravated by threats from the Church and the traditional guilds make for a great read. Christie is a master printer herself, and in Gutenberg's Apprentice she brings a real feeling for the beauty and artistry of printing and honors one of the most revolutionary achievements in history." --Rod Froke, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, Calif.

At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel by Daniel Alarcón (Riverhead, $16, 9781594632839). "Set in an unnamed South American country years after a protracted civil war has ended, At Night We Walk in Circles chronicles the life and dark fate of Nelson, a bright and promising young man who joins a small guerrilla theatre group. Nelson and the group's two founders, one of whom is a psychically battle-scarred casualty of the political conflict, bring their play, The Idiot President, to villages in the countryside and mountains, looking for escape, renewal, and perhaps redemption. The village that is the troupe's final destination holds deep secrets, and an innocent and kind act results in a shocking outcome. Alarcón is a genius, and this novel is a work of brilliance." --Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

For Teen Readers
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin (Egmont, $17.99, 9781606845189). "Sixteen-year-old Sarah has been subjected to procedure after procedure to have her memory taken away and to make her into a blank slate--a tabula rasa. When elite soldiers storm the building during her last operation, she finds her new start quickly coming to an end. During this journey, she is slowly unlocking memories about why she is really there and she is determined she will not be silenced. Anyone who loved Divergent or The Bourne Identity will love this amazing new adventure." --Angie Talley, the Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 11:

Revival: A Novel by Stephen King (Scribner, $30, 9781476770383) follows an addict and his childhood preacher over five decades.

Let Me Be Frank With You: A Frank Bascombe Book by Richard Ford (Ecco, $27.99, 9780061692062) is a collection of four novellas featuring his character Frank Bascombe.

Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062325341) is the 22nd Kay Scarpetta thriller.

The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year by Andy Cohen (Holt, $26, 9781627792288) is the diary of the TV producer and host.

Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars by Daniel Bolger (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544370487) explores U.S. shortcomings in recent Middle Eastern conflicts.

@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex by Shane Harris (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544251793) looks at recent developments in American cyberwarfare.

Now in paperback

Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer's Edition by Guinness World Records (Guinness World Records, $14.99, 9781908843661).

New Slow City: Living Simply in the World's Fastest City by William Powers (New World Library, $15.95, 9781608682393).


The Homesman, a western based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout, has a limited release on November 14. Tommy Lee Jones adapted, directed and stars in the film alongside Hilary Swank, Miranda Otto and John Lithgow.

Rosewater, based on Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari, opens November 14. The Daily Show's Jon Stewart directed this true story of a jailed Iranian journalist. A retitled movie tie-in (Random House, $16, 9780812981803) is available.

Book Review

Review: A Map of Betrayal

A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin (Pantheon, $26.95 hardcover, 9780307911605, November 2014)

One of the two interwoven plotlines in A Map of Betrayal, the seventh novel from National Book Award winner Ha Jin (Waiting; War Trash), is narrator Lilian's reconstruction of the life of her father, Gary Shang, the most important Chinese spy ever caught in North America. In the other plotline, Lilian's Caucasian mother has died, which frees Lilian, a 50-ish professor, to contact her father's Chinese mistress, a silver-haired broadcaster in Montreal who gives her his six-volume diary. In it, Lilian discovers that her father had a previous wife whom he was forced to leave behind.

An expert, longtime mole for three decades in the CIA, highly valued by Chairman Mao, Gary is revealed to have been homesick during his entire life on a "protracted mission," forced to move to the U.S. at age 31 and remarry. Convinced that the government is looking after his Chinese wife, he grows to love the America he needs to betray and tries to benefit both countries--until he makes one mistake, out of love for his American wife.

When Lilian is granted a Fulbright lectureship in Beijing in 2010, she seizes the opportunity to reconstruct the part of her father's life she doesn't know by secretly contacting his first wife and children, in spite of Chinese government prohibitions. Though she's too late to find them alive, she does find her half-niece, and then discovers her half-nephew already back in the U.S. The charming, handsome twentysomething runs a small business outside Boston and begins to entangle Lilian's husband in unusual microchip purchases, acting more and more like his grandfather the spy.

Jin quietly piles up facts, creating an impossible situation in which a good, patriotic man becomes emotionally entangled with two nations intent on deceiving each other. A confident and knowledgeable explicator of China, Jin probes the failure of the Great Leap Forward, the inequity between country Chinese and city Chinese, Internet censorship, the national problems of food contamination and the illiteracy of more than half the population, while placing historical touches throughout (such as the Russian astronaut dog Laika and the Kennedy assassination).

Written without the slightest whiff of melodrama, in a cool, factual, unadorned style, A Map of Betrayal is a quietly humane, painstakingly detailed portrait of an idealistic man who tries to set himself morally apart. Ever present in this dense, compelling tale are provocative questions about the nature of patriotism: When do you betray your country? When does your country betray you? --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Shelf Talker: A lonely Chinese spy is forced to leave his young wife and remarry in the U.S. in this compassionate study of a man caught between two wives and two countries.

KidsBuzz: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova
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