Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 4, 2008


Bloomsbury YA: Dreamland (YA Edition): The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Central Avenue Publishing: Into Captivity They Will Go by Noah Milligan

Carolrhoda Books: A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine

News

Breaking Dawn Lures Midnight Masses

"By the end of the night, I'm starting to convert. Or maybe break down," wrote Wynter Holden, blogging live at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., for the Phoenix New Times during Friday's midnight release party for Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn. "As I'm walking to my car at 12:20 a.m., I spot a van full of kids with flashlights and open books. To my left, there's a woman my age in a silver Toyota--motor running, air-conditioning on full blast--furiously scanning the first few pages."

On a night of nationwide Twilight Series frenzy, bookstores were the focus of media attention as devoted readers debated, and celebrated, variations on themes of red and black, vampires and werewolves, Edward vs. Jacob and much more. Good Morning America Weekend reported on the midnight release as well as the excited fans at a Meyer booksigning appearance.

"Stephenie Meyer knows how to spin out the moral perplexity of growing into adulthood and making decisions you'll have to face the rest of your life," Nicole Selhorst, owner of the Red Canoe bookstore, Baltimore, Md., told the Sun. "And she knows how to write a lot of adventure. I was flipping pages, wanting to find whatever happens next."

The New York Times showcased the excitement with an article headlined "Book Stokes Vampire Fever at Stores' Parties." It opened with an anecdote about Changing Hands Bookstore and its early connection with the author, who is a Phoenix resident. When Changing Hands "hosted a book signing in 2005 to promote a new local author, Stephenie Meyer, the response for a first-time novelist was typically lukewarm."

"Maybe 50 people showed up," said general manager Cindy Dach. "And I'm pretty sure most of them were her friends and family."

Things have changed a bit three years and four books later.

The Times also noted that "Katie Herzer, 14, showed up at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, a couple of hours before the books were to go on sale. 'We got really sad when Harry Potter was over,' she said. 'It's great to find a new series we can read and maybe grow old with.' "

The Huntington News reported on a Midnight Masquerade Ball held at Empire Books and News, Huntington, W.Va., where "excitement was in the air at the bookstore which had been transformed for the evening to accommodate the book's dark, romantic theme."

 


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


Notes: Solzhenitsyn Dies; Amazon Buys AbeBooks


Russian author and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died Sunday evening at the age of 89. According to the Associated Press (via the New York Times), Solzhenitsyn's son said his father died of heart failure.

The AP also noted that "Solzhenitsyn's unflinching accounts of torment and survival in the Soviet Union's slave labor camps riveted his countrymen, whose secret history he exposed. They earned him 20 years of bitter exile, but international renown. And they inspired millions, perhaps, with the knowledge that one person's courage and integrity could, in the end, defeat the totalitarian machinery of an empire."

Solzhenitsyn's groundbreaking works include One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The First Circle, Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago trilogy. His obituary in the New York Times described him as a man "whose stubborn, lonely and combative literary struggles gained the force of prophecy as he revealed the heavy afflictions of Soviet Communism in some of the most powerful works of the 20th century."

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Borders Group, Inc. sold "more than a quarter million copies of Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn in total on its first day of sales, Saturday, Aug. 2," through its website as well as 1,000 Borders and Waldenbooks stores in the U.S., according to a press release in which the company also reported that "the number of pre-orders the retailer received for Breaking Dawn was second only in its history to the Harry Potter books."

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Amazon.com will acquire AbeBooks.com. In a press release, Russell Grandinetti, Amazon's v-p of books, said, "As a leader in rare and hard-to-find books, AbeBooks brings added breadth and expanded selection to our customers worldwide. AbeBooks provides a wide range of services to both sellers and customers, and we look forward to working with them to further grow their business."

The sale should close before the end of the fourth quarter of 2008. Amazon said that AbeBooks "will continue to function as a stand-alone operation based in Victoria, British Columbia."

AbeBooks calls itself "the world’s largest online marketplace for books," listing more than 110 million books from thousands of booksellers. It was founded in 1995 and in the past few years has acquired BookFinder.com, Fillz, Gojaba.com, Chrislands.com and a 40% stake in Librarything.com. 

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Blue Mountain Arts is setting up a book division that will focus on books on calendars. The company also publishes a range of cards and gift items. Blue Mountain Arts aims, it said, "to build on its current success by continuing to fill a unique need in the marketplace with its books on family, relationships, personal growth, teens/tweens, and its poetry gift books."

The heads of the new division are:

  • Frank Masek, director of sales, who was formerly at Harry N. Abrams and has 15 years of experience in publishing.
  • Patti Wayant, director of art and editorial, who has been the editorial manager at Blue Mountain for nearly 25 years.

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The Best Dang Bookstore, Centralia, Wash., has reopened eight months after a devastating flood severely damaged owner Jerry Bierdeman's home and business, according to the Chronicle.

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The Cape Cod Times, in its weekly feature "Look who's here!" focused upon Meta Reycraft, who is working for the summer at Where the Sidewalk Ends bookshop, Chatham, Mass.

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Latino Books y Mas, Palm Springs, Calif., is "a family's effort to share its passion with [the] public," according to the Desert Sun. In an interview, the bookshop's owners, Luciano Ramirez and Tonia Bustamante-Ramirez, said they "wanted to open a bookstore that looks like our house (and) carry books and things that Borders, Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart didn't carry."

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FYI: Chuck Palahniuk does not live in Vancouver, Wash. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer book blog featured "10 things you should know about Chuck Palahniuk," a list garnered from his recent visit to University Bookstore, Seattle, Wash., for a booksigning.

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Five years ago, Port Washington, N.Y., resident Nancy Comer--whose 29-year-old son has Down syndrome--helped form Books for Dessert, a book club "for adults with intellectual disabilities," according to Newsday. Since its inception, the club "has grown to include about 50 participants in three weekly groups and is now expanding its efforts. Club leaders are preparing a manual, due to be available this fall, that will outline how others can form groups."

Newsday also profiled Next Chapter Book Club, a similar program that "was founded in 2002 at Ohio State University's Nisonger Center in Columbus and now has more than 100 chapters across the country."

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As a literary gift for the summer season, the Guardian offered "five original stories from Julian Barnes, William Boyd, Tessa Hadley, Alice Sebold and Chris Ware."

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Baby Loves the Five Senses by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan


Pennie Picks The Lace Reader

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has picked The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061624766/0061624764) as her August pick. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she writes:

"I try to not make too many guarantees, but I feel confident in saying that if you read and like this month's pick, you will be so eager to discuss it with someone--anyone--that you might start asking random members at your local warehouse if they've read it yet.

"I wasn't prepared to be bowled over by this novel, but it's weeks later and I'm still processing the plot twists and characters' actions. Barry's writing is detailed and vivid, and the characters are so real you'll lament that you can't call them up or pop by for a visit--after being left feeling that you've always known them."

 


imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Reading the OED

Today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Jerome R. Corsi, author of The Obama Nation (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781416598060/1416598065).

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Today on NPR's Morning Edition: Ammon Shea, author of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages (Perigee, $21.95, 9780399533983/0399533982).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061624766/0061624764)

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Kate Brennan, author of In His Sights: A True Story of Love and Obsession (Harper, $24.95, 9780061451607/0061451606).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Ron Suskind, author of The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism (Harper, $27.95, 9780061430626/0061430625).

Also on Today: Olivia Gardner, author of Letters to a Bullied Girl: Messages of Healing and Hope (Harper, $14.95, 9780061544620/0061544620).

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Tomorrow on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Stephen Coonts, author of The Assassin (St. Martin's, $26.95, 9780312323578/0312323573).

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Tomorrow on Fresh Air: David Carr, author of The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life--His Own (S&S, $26, 9781416541523/1416541527). He is also on the Colbert Report tonight.

Also on Fresh Air: Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule (Metropolitan Books, $25, 9780805079883/0805079882).

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Tomorrow on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes: Stephen Mansfield, author of The Faith of Barack Obama (Thomas Nelson, $19.99, 9781595552501/1595552502).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Gardner, author of The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger (Dutton, $24.95, 9780525950622/0525950621).

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki


Movies: Half-Blood Prince Gets Full Royal Treatment

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been selected as this year's Royal Film Performance. The Guardian noted that "by picking a Harry Potter movie, event organisers may have been keen to avoid the controversy that marred last year's event, when Brick Lane, the film adaptation of the Monica Ali bestseller, was pulled."

This is the first film adapted from one of J.K. Rowling's novels to be so honored, and the November 17 event will also be the movie's European premiere. The Guardian reported that "the money raised will go to the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund, which supports industry employees and their families who have fallen on hard times."

"Directed, filmed and produced in the U.K. with a hugely talented and largely British cast and crew, it is particularly fitting that this Warner Brothers film will help raise funds to support those from the British film and television community most in need," said Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Brothers U.K.

 


Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


Books & Authors

Awards: Forward Prize for Poetry; WNBA Award

The shortlist for the £10,000 (US$19,752) Forward Prize for Poetry includes previous winner Jamie McKendrick (for Crocodiles & Obelisks), but the BBC reported the most notable feature is this "is the first time since 1999 that women have dominated the shortlist for the prize."

In addition to McKendrick, the shortlist includes Pure Lizard by Sujata Bhatt, The Lost Leader by Mick Imlah, Another Country by Jane Griffiths, Nigh-No-Place by Jen Hadfield and Lip by Catherine Smith. The winners will be announced October 8 in London.

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A drum roll is most appropriate:

Author, musician and Rock Bottom Remainders founder Kathi Kamen Goldmark has won the 2008 Women's National Book Association award. A reception for her will take place Saturday, November 8, in San Francisco, Calif.

The WNBA gives the award every other year "to honor a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and the allied arts and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the responsibilities of her profession."

Goldmark was cited for founding the Rock Bottom Remainders, which includes Stephen King, Dave Barry and Amy Tan as members and since 1992 has raised more than $1.5 million to support writing, literacy and freedom of expression efforts. Last year the band formed the Remainders Foundation.

Goldmark also produces CDs through her company, Don't Quit Your Day Job. For the 1998 release, Stranger than Fiction!, she cajoled 40 writers into singing their favorite songs for a good cause--the PEN Writers Special Fund.

She is author of the novel And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You (Chronicle) and co-author of Mid-Life Confidential (Viking) and The Great Rock & Roll Joke Book (St. Martin's). She has contributed essays to several other books and co-writes a regular advice column, "The Author Enablers," for aspiring authors in BookPage. Goldmark is author liaison for the San Francisco Library Laureate's dinner and is an organizer of Book Group Expo. She produces a weekly radio show, West Coast Live, and performs regularly with her "real" band, train wreck.

  


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:

Hardcover

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman (Bloomsbury, $25.99, 9781596914759/1596914750). "In 1599 Constantinople, an English woman is enslaved in the sultan's harem. In contemporary London a small manuscript scrap leads a doctoral researcher to Istanbul. As these stories interlink, The Aviary Gate is, by turns, neurotic, exotic, erotic, and mesmerizing."--Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

Loose Girl
by Kerry Cohen (Hyperion, $21.95, 9781401303495/1401303498). "This is an amazing story about a form of addiction most people see as taboo yet is still common among America's teens. It is honestly written and allows you to see a very private aspect of a person's life."--Autumn Lynn, River Reader, Lexington, Mo.

Paperback

Unlucky Lucky Days by Daniel Grandbois (BOA Editions, $14, 9781934414101/1934414107). "The short, interconnected pieces of Unlucky Lucky Days should be on the shelf of every high school English teacher, every writer who's sat and stared at a blank page, and every reader who is looking for a quick laugh. Very, very strange--in a good way, of course."--Keri Holmes, the Kaleidoscope, Hampton, Iowa

For Teen Readers

Pirates of the Retail Wasteland
by Adam Selzer (Delacorte, $15.99, 9780385734820/0385734824). "Pirates of the Retail Wasteland follows the exploits of a group of cynical, disaffected, and talented high school students who rouse themselves from their torpor to try to save the last non-chain business on their town's strip--a grungy, congenial coffee shop called Sip. Selzer's character are dead-on, and his readers will thoroughly enjoy this one."--Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Me.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 



Book Review

Book Review: Real World

Real World by Natsuo Kirino (Knopf Publishing Group, $23.95 Hardcover, 9780307267573, July 2008)



In Natsuo Kirino's gripping new novel, Real World, four teenage girlfriends in Tokyo, sharing secrets and cramming for exams, become spellbound when the neighbor's son violently murders his mother and steals one girl's cell phone as he goes on the run. It's thrilling stuff, hard to put down, with an uncomfortable, low-key urban realism that makes it creepily believable.

Ryo, the troubled young murderer whom the girls nickname Worm, believes that his mother deserved to die, and Kirino draws him with a Dostoevsky-like complexity. He's a scary lad, just vulnerable enough to make him slightly sympathetic, far more cunning than the four girls he begins phoning, who think they can play with him.

Kirino's girls are skillfully brought to life, each of them distinct characters. The four become implicated with the young killer, curiously at first, hesitantly, and then more boldly, all in different ways. Toshi doesn't report the loud shattering sound she hears next door. Yuzan lends the young murderer her bike to escape. Pretty Kirinin meets him and decides to go with him, hoping to turn him against her old boyfriend. Only brooding, complicated Terauchi would dare to phone the police.

But what is the right thing to do? Don't be so sure you know. Kirino leaves the reader with no comforting answers. Simple actions have hugely complex moral repercussions in Kirino's honest, head-on look at young people today. Her four girlfriends are trying their hardest to grow up, trying to see through adult lies while at the same time navigating the treacherous waters of social cliques. These kids are living under pressure of parental expectations in a world where none of the parents really understands what's going on, where adults ask the wrong questions and try to trap the girls into simple answers that are lies.

In a morally complex story that hurtles headlong toward its breathless ending, the prose is simple and clear and utterly convincing. The moral ramifications are subtle. The consequences catch you off-guard, unexpected and yet feeling completely true. Written from five points of view, Real World leaves plenty of room for interpretation as it swiftly spins out its disturbing cautionary tale of four ordinary, everyday girls who think they can dabble in evil without consequences.-–Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: After a neighbor boy murders his mother, four ordinary girls become involved with him, thinking they can dabble in evil without consequences. A gripping and disturbing cautionary tale set in Tokyo, told with a thrilling, low-key urban realism.

 


Ooops

A Clarification: Perseus Distribution Terms Stay the Same

The new free freight terms offered customers of Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, mentioned here on Friday, makes freight and discount terms uniform between only Consortium, Publishers Group West and the Perseus Books Group. Discount and freight terms for Perseus Distribution clients have not changed, the company stated.

 


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