Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 11, 2008

Dutton Books: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls #2) by Hank Green

HP Piazza: Regain Control of Your Publishing Content - Register Now

Post Hill Press: Personality Wins: Who Will Take the White House and How We Know by Merrick Rosenberg and Richard Ellis

Walrus Publishing: I Will Be Okay by Bill Elenbark

Parson Weems Publisher Services - Click Here!


Notes: NAIBA's Legacy Award; Titcomb's IndieBound 4th

Morgan Entrekin, president and publisher of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., is the recipient of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Legacy Award for 2008.

NAIBA's board of directors called Entrekin "the embodiment of true spirit of independent bookselling. In an age dominated by media hype, quick celebrity bios, and fluff volumes driven by popular culture, Morgan has been an individual that has placed purposeful meaning above money, and quality content ahead of all other considerations. And not unlike those independent booksellers in the community that he has so passionately served, Morgan Entrekin has taken risks, suffered setbacks, cherished the power of the printed word, valued the reader, and soldiered onward. The world of literature is a much brighter, richer, and varied place because of his presence."
Entrekin will be honored for his achievements on September 21, at an awards banquet during NAIBA's Fall Conference in Cherry Hill, N.J.


Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., celebrated a "wild and IndieBound Independence Day," according to Bookselling this Week, which reported that owner Vicky Uminowicz opted to use her IndieBound "Eat Sleep Read" poster "on the back of the bookstore's red, white, and blue Fourth of July parade float."

Titcomb's traditionally chooses a theme for the parade based upon a children's book. This year it was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak because libraries in Massachusetts are celebrating "Wild Reads at the Library" this summer.

"We borrowed an antique Herreshoff wooden boat, where a costumed Max set sail for the land of the wild things," Uminowicz said. "My son and his cousins were all part of the float, and some of them squirted water at onlookers who squirted water back at them (a tradition)."


Somethin's Brewin' Book Cafe, Lakeville, Mass., will celebrate its first anniversary this weekend. South Coast Today reported that owners Lorraine Carboni and Kristen Scott "find it hard to believe that just last year close to 1,500 people came pouring into their newly opened . . . bookstore and coffee shop."

"The community response was huge and it's a lot more, in many ways," Scott said.

Customer Karen Yarmalovicz added, "Somethin's Brewin' is a unique gathering place. I feel that it has given Lakeville a meeting spot and a sense of community. Not only does it offer delicious coffee and special treats, it is also a wonderful setting to enjoy local musical talent. I have brought many friends and family members to the café. They have all enjoyed a memorable experience."


Hoping to reduce the environmental impact of the book trade in Japan, several Osaka Prefecture booksellers have joined forces to offer their customers "reusable cloth book covers and shopping bags made mostly from organic material," according to Daily Yomiuri Online.

"The bookstore industry is really lagging on environmental measures compared with the supermarket industry, which collects the cost of plastic shopping bags from customers. But we're taking positive steps on the issue," said a spokesman for the Osaka Tohan-kai Seinenbu, an organization of 16 book vendors.


What makes a perfect airline carry-on book? On NPR's Morning Edition, Nancy Pearl suggested you might want "something that's intriguing enough to make you forget that you're 34,000 feet in the air and, in your heart of hearts, you don't really understand how the plane stays up. The books I've chosen meet these criteria beautifully, and, as such, they've all been awarded the Nancy Pearl Wanderlust Award for Great Airplane Reading."


DK Publishing (a member of Penguin Group USA) announced two promotions in its publicity department:

  • Mindy Fichter, who joined the company three years ago, has been promoted to the position of senior publicist.
  • Susan Stockman, who began her tenure at DK as an intern before becoming an associate publicist, is now a publicist. 


Stephen Pugh has been named vice-president, sales, U.S. and Asia-Pacific, for Coutts Information Services, the international supplier of books and electronic content to libraries. He has been a sales executive with Coutts since June 2007.


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Julia Reed's New Orleans Story

Tonight on Charlie Rose: Nicholson Baker, author of Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization (S&S, $30, 9781416567844/1416567844).


Tomorrow on Weekend Today: Julia Reed, author of The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story (Ecco, $23.95, 9780061136641/0061136646).



GLOW: Inkyard Press: Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home edited by Adi Alsaid

Movies: Sherlock Holmes as Brainy, Brawny & Even Bizarre

Robert Downey, Jr. has committed to star in Sherlock Holmes, which Variety reported will be based on "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic tales, but also the comicbook Sherlock Holmes." Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film "will take advantage of [Downey's] physical skills as the character displays brawn as well as brains."

To get a jump on its immediate Holmesian competition, Sherlock Holmes is scheduled to begin shooting in October "before a comedy that just coalesced at Columbia Pictures, with Sacha Baron Cohen playing Holmes, and Will Ferrell playing his crime-fighting partner Dr. Watson."


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

Books & Authors

Awards: Midnight's Children is Best of the Bookers

Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children won the Best of the Booker award after being judged--through an online public vote that drew more than 7,800 responses--to be the greatest book ever to win the Booker Prize. The Guardian noted that this new honor, coming as the prize marks its 40th anniversary, is a repeat win for the novel, since it also garnered the Booker of Bookers during a 25th anniversary celebration in 1993.

"I have to say this is just a marvelous moment for me and for Midnight's Children," said Rushdie from Chicago, where he is promoting his latest book, The Enchantress of Florence. "I'm slightly lost for words which usually I'm not." Referring to the fact that his sons Zafar and Milan accepted the trophy on his behalf, he added, "I think there's something rather wonderful about my real children accepting a prize for my imaginary children."

According to the Times, "bookies had little doubt that Midnight's Children would win again today after seeing the initial shortlist drawn up by a panel of judges . . . Ladbrokes closed its Best of the Booker market with Sir Salman as its 'red-hot favourite.''"

Also watching the bottom line was Jonathan Ruppin, promotions manager at Foyles bookshop, who said Rushdie is "not to everyone's taste, but from a bookseller's point of view, authors who get books into the news are always welcome."


Book Brahmins: Carol Cassella

Carol Cassella is an anesthesiologist and writer. Her first novel, Oxygen (Simon & Schuster, July 2008), explores the tragic consequences of an operation gone awry. Before focusing on fiction, Cassella wrote articles about global public health projects for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She continues to practice medicine in Seattle, Wash., and lives on Bainbridge Island with her husband and two sets of twins. She is currently working on her second novel.

On your nightstand now:

Well, they aren't always on my nightstand because the stack gets so high they topple onto the floor. I am a terribly slow (but careful!) reader and an ambitious book buyer. Currently I have A Crime so Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner and Blood of Brothers by Stephen Kinzer, both of which I'm reading as research for my next novel. Also: Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos (so lovely), One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson, Better by Atul Gawande, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, You're Wearing That? by Deborah Tannen (I always have at least one parenting book), The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro. There are more, but it gets embarrassing. You should see the bookshelves.
Favorite book when you were a child:

Ooh, I've always hated picking favorites. Never had a favorite color!

I was younger than my siblings by four years and so books became my favorite playmates. Jokes, Riddles and Funny Stories--I read that every rainy day and managed to laugh every time. One Christmas I was given a book of short stories from China. I can't recall the name or author, but I read it dozens of times. As an adult, I realized that I felt a unique kinship with Asia as a result of that book. Cheaper by the Dozen by Gilbreth, the Bronte sisters, Gone with the Wind, The Secret Garden--I read all of them over and over. It makes me sad to realize I can't find the time to repeat books anymore--there are too many new and unopened ones on my shelves and so many more yet to be written.

Your top five authors:

On my current list I would include Cormac McCarthy, Vladimir Nabokov for his verbal music, Harper Lee, Philip Roth for his unflinching eye, Kate Atkinson for her ability to turn a character's mind inside out and still let you love them, George Eliot because you could be stuck on a desert island with Middlemarch and be pretty perpetually entertained.

Book you've faked reading:

I picked up War and Peace on a backpacking trip through Asia and got all the way to the last 100 pages. Then I left the book in a noodle shop and couldn't find another copy. I never finished it! Well, I'm not dead yet. And, of course, Ulysses. I took a whole college course in that novel and still skipped sections.
Book you are an evangelist for:

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. I think it is one of the best American books of the century. Also Lolita; how could one person write so many perfect sentences?
Book you've bought for the cover:

Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett. It lived up to the promise.
Book that changed your life:

They all change my life for the time I live inside them. Can I cheat here? My own novel thoroughly changed my life by transforming my concept of work and my relationship with words.
Favorite line from a book:

Uh oh, a "favorite" again. How about this one for the time being:

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta."
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

A go-back here: Middlemarch. Or All the Pretty Horses. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier is also on the list. I wonder, often, what it must have been like to live in an age when you could read all that was published. How wonderful. How frustrating!


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: On the Road with Bookstore Reading Groups

We bring this series to a close (I think, depending upon reader response, which has been great and kept the book group theme running much longer than I anticipated) with a road trip, a patented bookstore websiteseeing tour. Today's run will be a speedy cross-country dash (though not as fast as this guy) and hyperlink frenzied, so I'll just fire up the virtual engine and hit the digital pavement.

Pedestrian readers beware.

Here are some highlights from my purely subjective tour, a sampling that would have been labeled "stuff I liked" on the postcard I forgot to send you:

As might be expected, most bookstores offer discounts (generally 10%, 15% or 20%, though one shop mysteriously gives 21%) to local book clubs willing to pre-order titles in quantities as small as five copies. Some shops host in-store, staff-led discussion groups while others tend toward serving the needs of private reading groups. Some do both, and even though a few seem to offer neither, this impression could be misleading, since bookshops don't necessarily reveal everything about themselves online.
One of the most common questions I'm asked in the bookstore by newcomers to our area is, "Do you know any local book groups I might join?" It's a tough one to answer, since many groups are private and have a circle-the-wagons approach when it comes to adding members they don't already know. This is understandable, given that a mismatched addition to a discussion group might well tip the balance. Still, bookshops can help. I like the fact that Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., offers a matchmaking service to "bring like-minded people together and provide resources to make some lively and successful book groups."

The art of naming a book group is worth considering. I think I've even become a connoisseur during this trip. Page Turners, Mother-Daughter Book Club and Happy Bookers are among the most popular monikers coast to coast. Some of my favorite discoveries include book groups at Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, Mich. (Bibliobabes, Dissident Daughters), Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis. (Between the Sheets, Wine & Spine), the Learnéd Owl Book Shop, Hudson, Ohio (Yada Yada Book Club), Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex. (Tough Broads Out At Night Book Club), The Bookloft, Great Barrington, Mass. (Manhattan Transfers) and Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif. (The Quick & the Read, Oh My Gosh! Stories!!).

Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., wins the overall prize for its treasure trove of local book group names, among them Bodacious Bibliophiler, Book Whine & Thinkers Book Group, Bookies & Cookies and Not Now I'm Reading.

Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., features a Top 10 Book Club Bestsellers list and, taking advantage of the fact that Rainy Day hosts more than 300 events annually, offers "Book Club Author Events." Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., also highlights its "meet your favorite authors" option.

The plot thickens. I love the fact that Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, Salt Lake City, Utah, hosts a Nancy Drew Mystery Monthly Bookclub as well as a Hard Boiled Bookclub.

Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., has one of the most wide-ranging lists of store-sponsored discussion groups, including Capital James Joyce Club, Fascinating History, Futurist, Poetry, Public Affairs, Spanish Language, Travel and more.

We end by considering a simple fact of bookselling life. Independent booksellers know that sometimes the biggest challenge we face is getting people simply to open that front door and walk in for the first time. There are doors on bookstore websites, too. McLean & Eakin, Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., holds theirs wide open, adding a homey welcome mat to entice potential book club members inside. It's worth quoting in full:

"Reading a great book and then not being able to discuss it is like winning the lottery and telling no one. Hence, the creation of the book group. Designed for individuals passionate about great literature and interested in pushing their usual literary boundaries (for some, nonfiction=dentist office visit), the McLean & Eakin book groups are not intimidating; no one will ask for your highest level of education completed. There is no pop quiz. Selected works are diverse but not obscure. You may read a new release one month and a classic the next. But do come fully expecting to be surrounded by very avid readers."--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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