Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 15, 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

Quotation of the Day

Roy Blount Jr.: 'Let's Mount a Book-buying Splurge'

"We don't want bookstores to die. Authors need them, and so do neighborhoods. So let's mount a book-buying splurge. Get your friends together, go to your local bookstore and have a book-buying party. Buy the rest of your Christmas presents, but that's just for starters. Clear out the mysteries, wrap up the histories, beam up the science fiction! Round up the westerns, go crazy for self-help, say yes to the university press books! Get a load of those coffee-table books, fatten up on slim volumes of verse, and take a chance on romance! There will be birthdays in the next twelve months; books keep well; they're easy to wrap: buy those books now. Buy replacements for any books looking raggedy on your shelves. Stockpile children's books as gifts for friends who look like they may eventually give birth. Hold off on the flat-screen TV and the GPS (they'll be cheaper after Christmas) and buy many, many books."--Roy Blount Jr.'s holiday message, posted at the Authors Guild website.


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


Notes: Borders to Close Five Stores; Sports Book Crystal Ball

The Borders bookstore in downtown Tempe, Ariz., next to Arizona State University, will close in January, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. Several real estate projects in the area have stalled, sales are reportedly off in downtown and there is competition from the Tempe Marketplace, home to a Barnes & Noble. Borders has other stores in the area.

Nationally Borders is planning to close four other stores in January, including ones in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Santa Monica, Calif., according to the Arizona Republic.


More than a few booksellers--and customers--have loved a five-minute discussion of women and friendships by Kelly Corrigan, whose The Middle Place (Voice, $14.95, 9781401340933/1401340938), is coming out in paperback next week. Called Transcending: Words on Women and Strength, her "toast" can be seen on YouTube.


After buying the Rainy Day bookstore, Salisbury, N.C., in September, Jennifer Koerner made some changes and reopened in October as Laughing Sky, the Salisbury Post reported. Koerner told the paper she aims to make the used bookstore "a friendly place where those who love to read could buy books at half the cost of retail."


Columnist Dan Barker recommended that Fort Morgan, Colo., Times readers might consider bypassing the big box bookstores this holiday season because "Morgan County gift buyers can just as easily order those same books from the Book Nook in downtown Fort Morgan, without traveling to another city. That keeps the profit right here in the county, to be spent at local businesses and circulated through the local economy."


Barnett Books, a Meriden, Conn., store that sells overstocks, remainders and closeouts, will close December 28, after 20 years in business. "My customers are coming in and they're in tears," said owner Patricia Barnett, who will continue to sell some stock online.

She told the Record-Journal that the Internet, rather than chain bookstores, was the reason behind her decision: "If it wasn't for the big chain stores buying in the quantity that they buy, then there wouldn't be any remainders," she said. "Since the Internet has come along, and, the business has slowed down. It's so easy to shop online, and with the instant gratification from video games it's so hard to get that entertainment dollar."


One publisher's mistake; young readers' bonanza.

Komenar Publishing goofed on a print order and wound up with "200% more product than intended." As a result, Komenar is donating 1,000 copies of the trade paperback edition of Heroes Arise by Laurel Anne Hill, an illustrated sci-fi novel involving "a quest across an alien landscape," to public libraries that have bookmobiles for underserved people or programs to bring books into schools.

For more information, e-mail or call 510-444-2261.


"For obsessive collectors, nothing beats a classic golf book," the Wall Street Journal reported, but also warned new buyers in the field (or fairway) to "beware of falling prices."

"Golf is a sport with a great body of literature," said Bill Shinker, publisher of Gotham Books. "There's an aphorism in our business that is absolutely true: the smaller the ball, the better the books sell."


"Need a gift for a book lover?" asked the Detroit Free Press in a piece headlined "Books are a no-brainer gift, and they're the easiest thing to wrap."


Books for kids.

"Ogres and Dragons and Muggles, Oh My!" exclaimed while introducing its holiday children's books picks.

"Children's books to give and to cherish" were showcased by the Seattle Times.

The perfect gift for the kid who has everything? "A book, of course," the Kansas City Star suggested. "Not just any book but one to be read and re-read and shared with loved ones."

The New York Daily News featured a "best books to buy for kids" holiday shopping guide.


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

October Sales: Booksellers Slip, Publishers Fall

During October, bookstore sales slipped for the second month in a row, falling 5.6% to $1.060 billion, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. In September, bookstore sales fell 4.5% compared to the same period a year earlier. For the year to date, bookstore sales have risen 1.3% to $13.833 billion.

By comparison, total retail sales in October dropped 4.7% to $319.183 billion compared to the same period a year ago. For the year to date, total retail sales were up 1.5% to $3,355 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.


Publishers' net book sales fell 20.1% to $644.5 million in October, as reported by 80 publishers to the Association of American Publishers. Sales for the year through October were down 3.4% to $8.362 billion.

Among categories:

  • E-book sales rose 73% to $5.2 million.
  • Adult mass market rose 6.3% to $65.3 million.
  • Children's/YA hardcover rose 0.8% to $86.4 million.
  • Professional and scholarly sales slipped 4.4% to $46.3 million.
  • Audiobook sales dropped 9.1% to $18.4 million.
  • University press paperbacks fell 13.9% to $4.2 million
  • Children's/YA paperback fell 14.8% to $43.8 million.
  • University press hardcovers dropped 20.4% to $6 million.
  • Adult paperback dropped 23% to $95 million.
  • Adult hardcover fell 25% to $246.2 million.
  • Religious books fell 25.6% to $57.1 million.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

Image of the Day: Talk of the Town Book Store

One of Shelf Awareness's youngest--and cutest--reporters checked out the Town Book Store, Westfield, N.J., this past Saturday, where an IndieBound message helped lure shoppers. Several booksellers in the area indicated that traffic and sales were picking up nicely in December.








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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Strong Kids, Healthy Kids

This morning on the Today Show: Fredrick Hahn, author of Strong Kids, Healthy Kids: The Revolutionary Program for Increasing Your Child's Fitness in 30 Minutes a Week (AMACOM, $21.95, 9780814409428/0814409423).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Les Standiford, author of The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits (Crown, $19.95, 9780307405784/0307405788).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: former Governor Mike Huckabee, author of Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America (Sentinel, $25.95, 9781595230546/1595230548).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Geoffrey Canada, the subject of the book Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America by Paul Tough (Houghton Mifflin, $26, 9780618569892/0618569898).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: David J. Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters (HarperOne, $24.95, 9780061633348/0061633348).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Don Rickles, author of Rickles' Letters (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416596639/1416596631).


Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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


The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell (Vanguard, $15.95, 9781593154875/1593154879). "In The Spy Who Came for Christmas, David Morrell has woven the Christmas story into an entertaining, modern-day spy novel. This is a great little stocking stuffer for the thriller reader on your Christmas list!"--Carl Wichman, Varsity Mart, Fargo, N.D.

Twisted Head: An Italian American Memoir
by Carl Capotorto (Broadway, $23.95, 9780767928618/076792861X). Carl Capotorto's Twisted Head is a spirited memoir of growing up as the only son in a working class Italian-American family during the '60s and '70s in New York City. Rich with tales from home, the family business, school, work, and friends, fans of memoirs of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs will find this tale kinder and gentler."--Jean Petrovs, Books Galore, Watkinsville, Ga.


Asian Dining Rules by Steven A. Shaw (Morrow Cookbooks, $15.95, 9780061255595/0061255599). "Steven Shaw demystifies the Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and other Asian restaurants for the general foodie. Insights include what to eat, how to eat it, tricks to the best places, and some insider stories of eating pleasures. Great information presented in a fun way!"--Syrinda Sharpe, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8

Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert (Blue Apple Books, $16.95, 9781934706336/1934706337). "This is my new favorite Hanukkah picture book, presenting the holiday traditions with a new spin. Every page is filled with whimsical paintings worth framing, colors that swirl and whirl, and a haiku for each night of the holiday."--Victoria VanZile, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Shelf Awareness Picks of the Year: Part Two

We asked Shelf Awareness people for their 10 (or so) favorite books of the past year. Most of them were published in 2008, but not all, since we wanted to know what gave them reading pleasure no matter the pub date. This is our second batch of selections.

Jennifer Brown:

Breakdowns (1978; Pantheon, 2008) and Jack and the Box (Toon Books) by Art Spiegelman. Forgive me, but I could not separate these two. As Spiegelman said in his interview in Shelf Awareness (October 7, 2008), "It's all on a weird continuum." These two books (especially the new intro to Breakdowns)--one aimed at adults, the other at children--could serve as a tutorial on what makes comics work.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). A heroine graced with extraordinary physical strength and skills meets her match in a fellow graceling from a neighboring kingdom. First novelist Cashore delves deeply into questions of whether love confines or expands us as individuals.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial). This is on Marilyn's list, too. (She's the one who told me I had to read it; she was right.) Reminiscent of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road in its depiction of the intimate relationship between author and editor, this exquisite novel also exposes the ways in which complicated situations bring about surprising results.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic). In a future America, two dozen children are charged with fighting each other to the death until one emerges victorious, in a televised extreme reality show. Collins cunningly constructs a way for her heroine to survive without killing anyone. Just try to put it down.

Masterpiece by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Holt). Not since Charlotte's Web has there been an interspecies relationship so compelling. A beetle and a boy learn to communicate in order to solve an art theft in this superior novel that celebrates the virtues of art, truth and friendship.

Six Innings by James Preller (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan). Organized around the six innings of a Little League baseball game, this middle-grade novel delivers as much on-the-field action as it does life lessons.
Sunrise Over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers (Scholastic). Without judgment, Myers paints a realistic, sometimes gruesome but never gratuitous picture of the ambiguities of war and the violence--physical and emotional--endured by a group of young men and women in the Iraq war.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Harcourt/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). This perfect picture book for new parents, new siblings and newborns everywhere celebrates babies around the world and the families who love them.

The Thirteen Clocks
by James Thurber. illustrated by Marc Simont (1950; New York Review of Books, 2009). Brimming with wit and wordplay, this fairy tale stars a Duke as disturbing as the Judge in Sweeney Todd, the beautiful Saralinda (his "niece"), her suitor Xingu and the incomparable Golux, who speaks in delectable riddles.
Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion). Porcellino's judicious use of wordless panels allows readers to breathe in the air around Walden Pond, hear the owls, smell the snow. He distills Thoreau's big ideas into digestible, nourishing bites.
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (S&S/Atheneum). This mythic tale set in an ancient forest unspools in the rhythms of a primal drum beat as the lives of the Alligator King, Grandmother Moccasin (a venomous half-serpent, half-human) and a calico cat and her two kittens who live beneath a porch with a loyal bloodhound intertwine. Appelt's story eloquently demonstrates that there can be no joy without pain.

John Mutter:

Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil (Holt). Like Jon Krakauer in Into Thin Air, Heil chronicles triumph and tragedy during one climbing season on Mt. Everest--in this case May 2006. Page after page the reader is amazed at the insanity of what it takes to scale the world's highest mountain and yet every so often thinks, hmmm.

A Load of Bull: An Englishman's Adventures in Madrid by Tim Parfitt (Macmillan). In the late 1980s, Parfitt helped launch the Spanish edition of Vogue, planning to spend about six weeks in Madrid. The stay lasted nine years, and Parfitt's account of his initial unease with Spanish culture--and then full-scale love of it--is laugh-out-loud funny, reminiscent of Tim Parks's books about Italy.

Five Germanys I Have Known by Fritz Stern (FSG paperback, 2007). A little late, but this isn't breezy material! Stern, the former Columbia professor, friend of Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt, among many other Germans, and author of Gold and Iron and Einstein's German World, to name a few titles, grew up Jewish in Nazi Germany and was able to leave with his family in 1938. Unlike many refugees who understandably never looked back at that horrible time, here Stern mixes his personal story with his vocation and tries to make sense of and reconcile with the beastly chapter of what had been one of the most civilized nations on earth.

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture
by Ruth Benedict (1946, Mariner Books, 2005). A striking exploration of a complex, fascinating culture originally published in the postwar period to help Americans understand their former mortal enemies. Among many other things, the author explains how the Japanese people could immediately switch total loyalty from the Imperial government to occupation forces and why there are a bewildering variety of ways of addressing other people, depending on relationship, in Japanese.

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, translated by Anne Born (Picador). Winner of the IMPAC Dublin award and by the Norwegian writer who was once a bookseller, this novel is a precise, eerie, slow-paced, reluctant rumination by an older man who has moved to the country and wants to live out the rest of his life in peace. But the arrival of a stranger stirs up memories he longs to avoid.

Voices by Arnaldur Indriðason, translated by Bernard Scudder (Picador). The third in the series starring Reykjavik inspector Erlendur Sveinsson, Voices is a classic police procedural where mood is everything: this time the force investigates the grim, sleazy murder of a hotel Santa Claus that takes place during a very unmerry Christmas season for Erlendur.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland (Knopf). A bestseller in Europe, this first in a trilogy by the late Swedish author features one of the most intriguing characters in a mystery: Lisabeth Salander, a 24-year-old hacker and researcher--she of the dragon tattoo. Salander aids Mikael Blomkvist, a muckraking journalist much like author Larsson, in solving a 40-year-old mystery that involves a powerful Swedish family.

Whacked by Jules Asner (Weinstein Books). This gem of a novel by the former model, E! Entertainment host and wife of Steven Soderbergh is distinguished by its style: with exquisite wit and a wonderful sense of timing, Asner shows but does not describe the crazed, competitive world of life in Hollywood. More please.

Fear and Yoga in New Jersey by Debra Galant (St. Martin's). Who knew that life in the Garden State could be so funny and entertaining--even for those of us intimately familiar with it? Thank you, Debbie.

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone (Norton). The author's interest in learning her great grandmother's recipe for ravioli becomes a journey into her family's past that involves travel to Italy and meetings with many long-lost relatives. A course for dinner morphs into a delicious feast.

Melissa Mueller:

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf).

View from the Seventh Layer by Kevin Brockmeier (Pantheon).

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Free Press).

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Dial).

Home by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (Doubleday).

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (Viking).

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic).

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz (Riverhead, 2007)

Super Natural Cooking
by Heidi Swanson (Celestial Arts, 2007). Every recipe that I have tried from either this cookbook or from Swanson's website has turned out great with little or no alteration--plus they're healthy and vegetarian-friendly!

Jenn Risko:

Serena by Ron Rash (Ecco). I sorely miss the Deadwood series on HBO. This was like Deadwood for women. Finally.

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss One Song at a Time by Rob Sheffield (Three Rivers Press, 2007). Gives whole new meaning to listening to songs that you grew to love with a loved one. And how possibly to listen to them again after they're gone. Keep a box of Kleenex near.

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher (Razorbill, 2007). A YA title that was astonishing in its telling of a young girl with so much promise who took her life and the clues she's left for the town to understand why.

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein (Harper). Enzo attacking that zebra. Killed me.

The Garden of Last Days by Andre Dubus III (Norton). No one does foreboding like Dubus. I almost called Bill Rusin at Norton in the middle of night while I watched over my young daughter sleeping.

The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present edited by Scott Plagenhoef and Ryan Schreiber (Fireside). So. Much. Fun. The editors of Pitchfork and others compile their favorite songs from the late '70s until present. (Yes. There are some songs in here from the '80s. Shush.) Blew out my iTunes budget for the year.

Bloom! A Little Book About Finding Love
by Maria Van Lieshout (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, 2007). My daughter loves this book about a little pig looking for love. I love it because it was the first book she could "read" to me.

Revolutionary Road
by Richard Yates (1961; Vintage movie tie-in). You must read or reread this before you see the movie coming later this month. I found it years ago because I read somewhere that it was Raymond Carver's favorite novel. But when I read it again, I loved it because it's so wonderfully written and very, very Mad Men.

Nick DiMartino:

Animal's People
by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster). A brilliantly written, devastating account by a 17-year-old deformed boy, Animal, of the industrial chemical spill that destroys his town.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes
by Mohammed Hanif (Knopf). A dark, funny confession by the man who blew up the plane with the dictator of Pakistan inside.

How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic (Grove Press). A colorful little town in Bosnia is violently liberated during the civil war in this sobering, stunning, frequently hilarious masterpiece.

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh (Penguin Press). A courageous young man's personal study of urban poverty--funny and brave and profoundly touching.

The Howling Miller by Arto Paasalinna (Canongate). The delightful tale of a nonconformist, packed with plenty of Finnish drier-than-dry humor and grumpy good-heartedness.

Life Class by Pat Barker (Doubleday). The Booker Prize-winner follows three young art students through the art world of pre-war London and into the war.

Night Train to Lisbon
by Pascal Mercier (Grove Press). A thoughtful philosophical entertainment about a man who walks away from his job. A European sensation.

Real World by Natsuo Kirino (Knopf). An unputdownable account of four Japanese girls who become involved with a very troubled boy who's just killed his mother.

The Soloist by Steve Lopez (Berkley). A soul-stirring tale about a homeless musician who went to Julliard and the Los Angeles Times reporter who tries to rescue him.

A Sun for the Dying
by Jean-Claude Izzo (Europa). The last novel of master writer Izzo to be translated by Howard Curtis. A homeless man makes his way back to Marseilles to die in this overpowering, heartbreaking farewell to life.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Free Press). Booker Prize-winner and best novel of the year. An Indian chauffeur tells you what drove him to kill his boss in a morally-complicated tour de force.

Shannon McKenna Schmidt:

The Book of Unholy Mischief
by Elle Newmark (Atria). The story of an orphan who becomes an apprentice to the doge's chef in 15th-century Venice is a savory blend of history, intrigue and the culinary arts.
The Girl with No Shadow by Joanne Harris (Morrow). The sequel to Chocolat brings back Vianne Rocher and her daughter, Anouk, for more confections and magic.
Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Plume). In this fast-paced tale, scholar turned stage director Kate Stanley is searching for a lost Shakespeare play . . . and evading a killer enacting murders in the manner of the Bard's fictional villains.
Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me by Jon Katz (Villard). Katz reminisces about two of his canine companions, including Izzy, a once-abandoned border collie with whom he takes up volunteer work with hospice patients.
The Journal of Hélène Berr (Weinstein Books). Berr's true account of life as a young Jewish French woman and Sorbonne student in Nazi-occupied Paris is both tragic and uplifting.
Land of a Hundred Wonders
by Lesley Kagen (NAL). In this humorous and poignant novel set in small-town Kentucky in 1973, fledgling newspaper reporter Gibby McGraw sets out to prove herself by solving a murder.
Murder in the Marais by Cara Black (Soho, 2003). Each of Cara Black's atmospheric Aimée Leduc mysteries is set in a different quarter of Paris. Her latest is Murder in the Rue de Paradis.


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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