Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: The Night Is for Darkness by Jonathon Stutzman, illustrated by Joseph Kuefler and Greenwillow Books: Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel

Forge: Lionhearts (Nottingham, 2) by Nathan Makaryk

Zonderkidz: Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Suicide House (A Rory Moore/Lane Phillips Novel #2) by Charlie Donlea

Del Rey Books: Malorie: A Bird Box Novel by Josh Malerman


Notes: Tudor to Close; Brisingr Heats Up

The Tudor Book Shop and Cafe, Kingston, Pa., is ending its 32-year reign sometime in March, according to the Citizen's Voice. Co-owner Lynn Gonchar attributed the closing to Internet competition and two Barnes & Nobles across the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre, one in the Arena Hub, the other a new B&N college store downtown that serves Wilkes University and King's College and has a full selection of trade books (Shelf Awareness, September 2, 2006).

Tudor was founded in 1976 by Barbara Shaffer, Gonchar's sister. Gonchar joined the bookstore three years later. In 1987, the sisters opened a second Tudor Book Shop in Clarks Summit and closed it in early 2006 (Shelf Awareness, January 5, 2006). Over time, the Kingston store grew from 144 square feet of space to nearly 5,000.


The third title in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini will be called Brisingr--an old Norse word for fire, pronounced "BRIS-ing-gr"--and will go on sale at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, September 20. It's expected that many Potter-style parties will ignite.

Brisingr will have a first printing of 2.5 million copies, which marks the largest initial printing ever for a Random House Children's Book title.

In a statement, Nancy Hinkel, publishing director of Knopf Books for Young Readers, the Random imprint that publishes Paolini's titles, noted that the book's original pub date was to have been a more traditional Tuesday, September 23. "After the initial announcement of Book Three's release, we received an outpouring of requests from booksellers hoping to host midnight launch parties," she continued. "We have responded to their enthusiasm by advancing the date, and we know fans will welcome the opportunity to celebrate the publication together."

Eragon and Eldest, the first two titles in the series, together have sold more than 12.5 million copies worldwide.


Lewis Black, the stand-up comedian, playwright, actor, author and Daily Show regular, will be the headliner-ranter for BookExpo America's annual Saturday evening fundraiser for BEA Cares, which supports not-for-profit bookselling and publishing ventures that help protect free speech, promote literacy and develop new readers. The $35 event will be held at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles on May 31 at 9 p.m. Black's new book, Me of Little Faith (Riverhead), in which he takes on religion and faith, appears on the following Tuesday, June 3.

Lance Fensterman, industry v-p and show manager for BEA and a bit of a stand-up comedian himself (but never a ranter), said he is "ecstatic to have a comedian of Lewis Black's stature, who is both wickedly funny and a widely respected writer, perform at our show in support of literacy and free speech--the latter an issue that is clearly dear to him if you've ever heard his exceptional act."


Adrienne Eaton, owner of A. Eaton Books, "stands with one foot on each side of the battle line. She's the indie bookseller--online," Time Out Chicago wrote. For her part, Eaton said, "The best things to sell online are nonfiction, academic books and strange things, things people couldn't go into a Borders and find, or something that has such a small audience that few stores even want to carry them. . . . I don't see myself as competing with Chicago bookstores. When I'm selling some gourd book to someone in Tokyo, it's a totally different marketplace."


"New Orleans is rich with book groups," according to the Times-Picayune, which noted that "since Katrina, the continuation of area book clubs and reading groups has taken on an added significance for members."

The reading groups profiled meet at a number of venues in the city, including Barnes & Noble, Jefferson Parish Library, Garden District Book Shop, Octavia Books and Maple Street Book Shop.


The writers' strike may prove to be good news for Sundance indie films. USA Today reported that film production delays may create a movie shortage and "turn the Sundance Film Festival, starting Thursday, into a good place to pull out the studio credit card, though many execs are keeping quiet about any eagerness to spend." Among the Sundance films showcased in the article were a pair of adaptations from novels: Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Chick Palahniuk's Choke.


Cormac McCarthy's archives have been purchased by the Southwestern Writers Collection at Texas State University-San Marcos for $2 million. The AP reported "the archives include correspondence, notes, drafts and proofs of his 11 novels. There is also a draft of an unfinished novel and materials related to a play and four screenplays. The center hopes to open the archives to the public in the fall."

"Ever since I read the first paragraph of Blood Meridian and went on to read all of his other books, I've known how exceptional he is," said Connie Todd, curator of the writers collection. "And now to be in a position to make his archives available to people who love his work as much as I do and preserve them forever . . . is a great responsibility and one that we welcome."


Priscilla Painton, a former reporter, editor and deputy managing editor at Time magazine, is becoming editor in chief of the adult imprint at Simon & Schuster, aiming to fill the shoes of Michael Korda, who retired several years ago. Painton had worked at Time for 18 years.

S&S executive v-p and publisher David Rosenthal told the New York Times that Painton would bring "a very fresh perspective of things" and that her connections would benefit the house, adding, "Media is critical to how we publicize and promote our books, so a sophisticated knowledge of that ain't a bad thing to have."


Check out Collecting Children's Books, a new blog by librarian and children's book author and reviewer Peter Seiruta, who on Tuesday discussed "Newbery Day," similar to some people's NFL Draft Day or Election Evening. On that day, he wrote, "I always take the day off work, then get up early and sit anxiously in front of computer and telephone, waiting for the big news. Then, when it arrives, I often need to run out."


Atheneum Books: Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata, illustrated by Marianna Raskin

After Fire, Through Rebuilding, Gallery to Stay Open

Gallery Bookshop and Bookwinkle's Children's Books, Mendocino, Calif., will undergo "a complete overhaul" that will be done in sections, owner Christie Olson Day wrote in a general e-mail. The store's building was damaged in a fire earlier this month that started in an apartment upstairs (Shelf Awareness, January 8, 2008). The apartments will be rebuilt.

The store has remained in business and will continue to stay open through construction. "The work will be done in sections, so we'll be here throughout, growing and shrinking our displays to accommodate the projects," Day wrote.

Day noted that "the silver lining" of the fire has been "the remarkable outpouring of concern and offers of help. It reminds me again that this is why we live and work here--even more than the natural beauty, it's the community that makes Mendocino County magic. I'll never be able to say it enough: thanks."

Beginning today, all stock is discounted 25% "to make room" for fresh stock.


University of Minnesota Press: Listening: Interviews, 1970-1989 by Jonathon Cott

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Science of Sexy; Love and Sex; Telephones

This morning on the Early Show: fashion designer Bradley Bayou, author of The Science of Sexy: Dress to Fit Your Unique Figure with the Style System That Works for Every Shape and Size (Gotham, $17.50, 9781592403363/1592403360).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Seth Shulman, author of The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret (Norton, $24.95, 9780393062069/0393062066).


WETA's Author, Author! features a conversation with Richard Peabody, editor of Electric Grace: Still More Fiction by Washington Area Women (Paycock Press, $18.95, 9780931181252/0931181259).


Today on KCRW's Bookworm: James McCourt, author of Now Voyagers: The Night Sea Journey (Turtle Point Press, $17.95, 9781933527086/1933527080). As the show put it: "This big, hilarious and joyful book has been twenty-five years in the making. The best description of it came from Fran Lebowitz who called it 'The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization set to music.' James McCourt describes this first volume (of three) of his masterpiece-in-progress."


Today on Inside Edition: Andrew Morton, author of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography (St. Martin's, $25.95, 9780312359867/0312359861). He will also appear today on Fox & Friends.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: David Levy, author of Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061359750/0061359750).


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

This Weekend on Book TV: The Strategy of Campaigning

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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, January 19

12 p.m. Seth Shulman, author of The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret (Norton, $24.95, 9780393062069/0393062066), contends that Bell stole the idea for the phone from Elisha Gray. This event was held at Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m and 8 p.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Book Notes. In a segment first aired in 1998, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, author of Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement (Harvest, $16, 9780156007085/0156007088), discussed his life as an activist and politician.

7 p.m. Michael Shermer, author of The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics (Times Books, $26, 9780805078329/0805078320), talks about the evolutionary basis for our thinking on economics. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.)

9 p.m. After Words: Marcus Mabry, international business editor at the New York Times, interviews Kiron Skinner, co-author of The Strategy of Campaigning (University of Michigan Press, $35, 9780472116270/0472116274). Skinner wrote the book with three other authors, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)
10 p.m. Joseph Palermo, author of Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Liberalism (Longman, $20.67, 9780321386106/0321386108), explores Kennedy's life and influence on American politics in the 1950s and '60s. This event was held at the Avid Reader bookstore, Sacramento, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.)


Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: Smash! Crash!

Smash! Crash! by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and David Gordon (S&S, $16.99, 9781416941330/1416941339, 40 pp., ages 3-7, January 2008)

The author of The Stinky Cheese Man goes to town--Trucktown, that is--in this inaugural title in a multi-book series. Scieszka, recently named the first-ever National Ambassador for Young People's Literature (Shelf Awareness, January 3, 2008), clearly has children's interests and skills in mind, as he introduces a cast of four-wheel (or more) vehicles poised to party and tells their tale with a limited vocabulary. "Jack Truck. Dump Truck Dan. Best friends." With hoods that resemble baseball caps and plenty of attitude, they set out to do some damage. " 'What should we do, Jack?' 'What we always do, Dan . . .' Smash! Crash! Smash-Crash!" One can almost hear the chorus of kindergartners at the refrain. But sometimes Jack and Dan help. When Monster Truck Max faces a pile of barrels to be sorted, the boys create  a sculpture ("Smacked, whacked, . . . and stacked to the max!" says Max), and when the girl trucks want to play pirates, Jack and Dan construct a pirate ship. As the trucks go about the city, the illustrators convey a plethora of construction sites that seem to invite the smashing, crashing duo. In a terrific twist, Scieszka creates a character that follows the boys with a recurring, "Hey, you two. I want you . . ." in very large type, as a shadow leaks across the spreads. Just when you think it might be a parent or principal, Scieszka reveals a voice belonging to the biggest smash-crasher of them all. With their distinct voices and charming visual characteristics, these characters will be sought out, book after book.--Jennifer M. Brown


Deeper Understanding

Brian Selznick: Former Bookseller on Winning the Caldecott

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic) won the 2008 Caldecott Medal on Monday, and its journey from the germ of an idea to award-winning, um, picture book, shares many of the serpentine turns of Hugo's plot. Selznick started in the children's book field as a bookseller at the former Eeyore's Bookstore on Manhattan's Upper West Side. His first book was The Houdini Box, edited by Anne Schwartz at Knopf (1991). But we first met him when he published his first, shall we say, traditional picture book, Doll Face Has a Party! by the late Pam Conrad (HarperCollins/Geringer, 1994). Here Shelf Awareness's Jennifer M. Brown speaks with Selznick, who reflects on the events of the past few days and how, in some ways, he's come full circle.

Congratulations! How do you feel?

I have no idea how I feel. [Laughter.] I feel great.
Did you ever think a 500-plus page book about a boy and a French silent filmmaker could win the Caldecott Medal?

I love that the committee was willing to take this chance and say this is a picture book. Someone started joking with me early on about how this is a 555-page picture book. It's amazing that [the committee] went with it and opened up the criteria in that way.
But it didn't start out as a 500-plus page book, did it?

No, it was going to be a 100-page traditional novel about a kid who met Georges Méliès, with maybe a drawing per chapter. But I kind of knew I wanted to do something different with the pictures. In good picture books, the plot is advanced when you turn the page. In Where the Wild Things Are, you move through the wild rumpus without any language. In Fortunately by Remy Charlip, every time you turn the page, there's a huge laugh because a joke has occurred when you turn the page. I thought, what if I could do that in a narrative, and use the page turns in the same way?
Then I thought, what if the book unfolds like a film so that the pictures aren't just showing what you're learning in the text, but they're giving you information that's not in the text. So the story in language picks up from [the wordless images] and moves forward. I had a hope that readers wouldn't remember what they saw and what they read, but just remembered one narrative arc.
You act as somewhat of a film director in these spreads--the cutaway view from the toymaker's eye, to the clock face, to Hugo's eye peering out from his hiding place behind the clock, then Isabelle's face as a near mirror image of Hugo.

I wanted [the book] to flow and move like a movie. I was thinking about edits and close-ups and the camera panning across something, and I was very conscious of that with the sequences.
When you mirror something, you make an immediate connection between those two things. I wanted to make a connection between Hugo and Isabelle, and [I used examples from] films by Truffaut, and René Clair and Hitchcock, and how the camera tells the story by what it shows you and how it moves.
In your first book, The Houdini Box, the boy hero gets to meet Houdini. Was it your own fantasy to meet this magician and pioneer filmmaker, George Méliès?

The idea for The Houdini Box came directly from wanting to meet Houdini. He was my hero when I was a kid. But I didn't learn about Méliès until later. I can't say that it was that I wanted to meet Méliès--although I'd love to. I was thinking of using that idea of a kid meeting Méliès the way the child met Houdini. But I didn't want it to be just like The Houdini Box--Houdini Box II! I was waiting to see who the kid would be and what the story would be.
So the germ of the idea was planted some time ago. How long did you work on this book?

The germ of the idea came from seeing [Georges Méliès' film] A Trip to the Moon in college. So it sat in the back of my head for all these years, while I did all my other books. Every now and then I'd learn more about Méliès. I'd find out he was a magician, his parents owned a shoe factory, and he hated shoes. Even the old films he made, he sold [because he was so poor], and someone melted them down and made them into shoe heels! A huge percentage of his films were lost. Everything in his life was perfect for a story.
Then when I found out about the automaton, I thought, that's the story. A kid finds it and wants to fix it. That happened about three-and-a-half years ago.
You began your career as a bookseller. Do you think that helped you connect with your readers early on?

I think everything about being at Eeyore's was completely important to everything I do now. I still feel like I'm a bookseller. You want to get the right book into the right person's hands.
I was there two years, I think. Not only did I learn everything about books from Steve Geck, the manager [who's now an editor at Greenwillow Books], he'd send me home every night with bags of books to read. One kid would come in and say, "I love horse books," and another was into adventure stories, and I'd give him adventure stories. Most of the time they liked the books, and I'd give them other books. That experience was incredibly helpful. Oh, and painting the windows! I'd do these paintings that had to look good from across the street--great practice for a book cover, which had to look good from the shelf and also in your hand.
I had several years when all the books I made went out of print, but luckily that turned around. I hear about a kid who liked Hugo, and I think about being a bookseller at Eeyore's and feel a sense of satisfaction about giving the right kid the right book. That's what the whole point of this is.


The Bestsellers's Top 10 in December

The following were the bestselling titles on in December:

1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett  
3. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
4. World History: Connections to Today by Elizabeth Gaynor
5. The 8:55 to Baghdad by Andrew Eames
6. Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews by Douglas Max
7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
8. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden
9. This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin
10. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

[Many thanks to!]


AuthorBuzz: Revell: An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart
AuthorBuzz: Radius Book Group: The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen: Soul-Stirring Lessons in Gastrophilanthropy by Stephen Henderson
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