Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Little Simon: Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Timber Press: As the World Burns: The New Generation of Activists and the Landmark Legal Fight Against Climate Change by Lee Van Der Voo

IDW Publishing: Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni, illustrtaed by Thibault Balahy

Editors' Note

Look for More Shelf Awareness Anon

Within an hour or two (knock on wood), you will receive another issue of Shelf Awareness, one dedicated to Atria, the seven-year-old Simon & Schuster imprint that has become a major publisher in a variety of categories.


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer


Notes: On-demand Books Soar; Cormac McCarthy Archive

Traditional book production in the U.S. declined 3.2% in 2008, but the on-demand category showed dramatic growth at "462% above levels seen as recently as 2006," according to Bowker, which compiled the statistics from its Books in Print database. Bowker projected that U.S. title output decreased to 275,232 new titles and editions in 2008 from 284,370 in 2007, based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers.

Phenomenal growth in the on-demand books sector was reflected in Bowker's projections that 285,394 on-demand books were produced last year, a 132% increase over 2007's 123,276 titles and 462% above 2006 levels.

Bowker reported that the top five categories for U.S. book production in 2008 were fiction (47,541 new titles), juvenile (29,438), sociology/economics (24,423), religion (16,847) and science (13,555).


An archive of Cormac McCarthy's work papers was opened for research purposes May 18 at the Southwestern Writers Collection of Texas State University-San Marcos. The Guardian reported that the "Pulitzer prize-winning author's notes, handwritten drafts and correspondence for each of his 10 novels are included in the archive . . . Also featured in the 98-box archive, which spans McCarthy's literary career from 1964 to 2007, is his 1994 play The Stonemason, about an African-American family in Louisville, Ky., and four screenplays, including No Country for Old Men--which McCarthy started as a screenplay in 1984 and adapted into a novel 20 years later.

"Along with his unfinished novel, which has a working title of The Passenger--access to which is restricted until it is published--the Cormac McCarthy Papers also include an unproduced screenplay, Whales and Men. The Southwestern Writers Collection also has right of first refusal to purchase all future materials relating to work by McCarthy, who it said was in the process of writing three new novels."


One four new tenants in the downtown Theatre District of Petaluma, Calif., will be the children's bookstore A Likely Story, which "will open in the Theatre Square building in August," according to the Argus-Courier.  The bookstore has signed a seven-year lease.


Bethanne Patrick, host of the Book Studio, asked that word be spread throughout the land that "the #BEAtweetup [Shelf Awareness, May 18, 2009] Slanket prizes are my 'sponsorship'--I want to be sure to grab credit for these beauties."


Judith Thurman sent a dispatch from the Auckland, New Zealand, Writers and Readers Festival to New Yorker magazine's Book Bench blog describing her participation in a "powhiri," a Maori greeting ceremony. When Thurman asked her guide Muriwai Ihakara--a Maori storyteller and oral historian--about the proceedings, he said, "You were welcomed to Aotea Roa as master carvers from foreign lands who do for your people in books what we do for ours in wood."


Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti has died. He was 88. In its obituary, the New York Times praised Benedetti as "one of Latin America’s most respected, popular and prolific writers, who excelled as a novelist, poet, playwright and essayist while immersing himself in the region’s political struggles."


Once upon a time everyone believed that fairy tales were handed down through an oral tradition, but the Guardian observed that Ruth B. Bottigheimer, a professor at Stony Brook University, disputes this idea.

"It has been said so often that the folk invented and disseminated fairy tales that this assumption has become an unquestioned proposition," Bottigheimer wrote in her new book, Fairy Tales: A New History. "It may therefore surprise readers that folk invention and transmission of fairy tales has no basis in verifiable fact. Literary analysis undermines it, literary history rejects it, social history repudiates it, and publishing history (whether of manuscripts or of books) contradicts it."


Admit it; there are words you just hate. The Albany Times Union asked "why, exactly, do we have an aversion to some words, while others make our tongues (and minds) happy?"

"These reactions hinge on a combination of phonological and semantic factors," said Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus. "The word moist may trigger negative reactions, but not rhyming words like hoist or joist."

Subscribers to the Visual Thesaurus can pick their favorite and least favorite words. Most often selected as favorites are love, serendipity, grace and peace. Topping the least favorite list are hate, no, like and impossible.


Barb Burg, most recently senior v-p and executive director of publicity and public relations for the Bantam Dell Publishing Group at Random House, has founded barb burg, ink, a publicity, public relations, media and brand management company. Burg, who said that she has "created, directed and executed more than 1,000 book publicity campaigns" in her 24-year career, intends to work "one-on-one with authors and clients to personally develop and execute their customized publicity, media and publishing plan."

Last year she worked on more than 50 book campaigns, including campaigns for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by MaryAnn Schaeffer and Annie Barrows and The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder. She was also spokesperson for Bantam Dell.

Burg can be reached at, 914-591-3390, 144 Trails End, Irvington, N.Y. 10533, and


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 07.06.20

BEA: Picks of the Panels, Part 4

Librarians will generate their own buzz at BookExpo this year. The Association of American Publishers' Trade Libraries Committee will feature "Librarian's Book Shout and Share" on Saturday, May 30, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., in room IE14 at the Javits Center. The AAP explained that "eight librarians from across the country will spend the first two and a half days of BEA listening to publishers spin their own much anticipated titles, hearing from scores of authors, and visiting hundreds of exhibitor booths before presenting an audience of fellow librarians with the titles they think patrons will be lining up for at libraries nationwide."
"Buzzers" will include Michael R. Colford, Boston Regional Library System, Barbara Genco, Brooklyn Public Library; Jason Honig, San Francisco Public Library; Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Library; Miriam Tuliao, New York Public Library; Neal Wyatt, Library Journal readers' advisory columnist; Katie Stover, Kansas City Public Library; and Lila Wisotzki, Baltimore County Public Library.


On Friday, May 29, 3:30-4:30 in Room 1E04, the Book Industry Study Group offers results from the 2009 edition of Book Industry TRENDS, which has comprehensive unit and dollar sales figures for 2008 and forecasts through 2013 in all major book categories. Presenters are BISG executive director Michael Healy and Outsell, Inc., chief analyst Leigh Watson Healy. Printed and PDF editions of Book Industry TRENDS will be published soon.


Ana M. Ma, chief of staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration, will speak at a new ABA session, "How SBA and the Federal Stimulus Package Can Help Your Business," which will be held Saturday, May 30, from 10:30 a.m.-Noon. This issue of obtaining access to capital could be of great interest to small publishers as well as booksellers.


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel

Image of the Day: Charlesbridge Turns 20

At the annual Charlesbridge open house at headquarters in Watertown, Mass., earlier this month some 27 authors and illustrators, including Jane Yolen, Brian Lies, Kathryn Lasky, Ralph Masiello and David Biedrzycki, attended along with booksellers, librarians and teachers. Among those celebrating the publisher's 20th anniversary: (from l.) Masiello; Brent Farmer, Charlesbridge president and publisher; Mary Ann Sabia, Charlesbridge v-p and associate publisher; Lies; and Biedrzycki.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Real Real

This morning Morning Edition celebrates the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare's Sonnets and will interview Clinton Heylin, author of So Long As Men Can Breathe: The Untold Story of Shakespeare's Sonnets (Da Capo Press, $24, 9780306818059/0306818051).


Today on Talk of the Nation: Simon Schama, whose new book is The American Future: A History (Ecco, $29.99, 9780060539238/0060539232).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Emma Mclaughlin and Nicola Kraus, authors of The Real Real (HarperTeen, $16.99, 9780061720406/0061720402).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Christine Avanti, author of Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads: Stop Starving, Start Eating and Losing (Rodale Books, $24.95, 9781605299976/1605299979).

Also on Today: Paula Deen, author of The Deen Family Cookbook (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9780743278133/0743278135).


Tomorrow on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Tamar Geller, author of The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior (Simon Spotlight, $24.95, 9781416938149/1416938141).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Elizabeth Edwards, author of Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities (Broadway, $22.95, 9780767931366/076793136X).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: John Ashbery, speaking about his translation of Pierre Martory's The Landscapist: Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press, $19.95, 9781931357524/1931357528). As the show put it: "As John Ashbery remembers his early years in Paris, where he traveled on a Fulbright scholarship to study French poetry, he tells us what he thought French poetry would be like, what it turned out to be, and about the very special case of Pierre Martory, his long-time friend, whose work he has now translated."


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Larry King, author of My Remarkable Journey (Weinstein Books, $27.95, 9781602860865/1602860866). He's also on the View today.


Movies: Golf in the Kingdom, Clooney & Orwell at Cannes

Rumors of a film version of Golf in the Kingdom--Michael Murphy's classic golf novel first published in 1972--have been circulating for decades now, but hope may be on the horizon for fans at last.

Variety reported that film rights to the bestseller "have been held by various studios over the years, most recently by Warners. Now, Golf will be produced independently. Santa Monica-based Lightning Entertainment is shopping the project at the Cannes Market. Susan Stretfield is directing and producing with Mindy Affrime. George Stephanopoulos is exec producing. David O'Hara, Mason Gamble, Frances Fisher and Malcolm McDowell are starring."


A pair of George Clooney projects involving book-to-film adaptations are making news at the Cannes Film Festival. According to Variety, Clooney will star in A Very Private Gentleman, an adaptation of Martin Booth's novel, directed by Anton Corbijn. Shooting will begin this fall in italy.

And in what Variety described as "the first major pickup of the festival," Overture acquired domestic rights to Jon Ronson's Men Who Stare at Goats, which features Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.


In other Cannes news, Colin Firth and Kevin Spacey will star in an adaptation of George Orwell's Catalonia, directed by Hugh Hudson. Variety reported that "Arclight Films is repping the film at the Cannes market. . . . Al Clark is producing with veteran French producer Alian Sarde and Fernando Meirelles through his Brazilian company O2 Films. Clark was co-producer on the last film adaptation of an Orwell book, 1984, toplining John Hurt and Richard Burton. Sarde's credits include Roman Polanski's The Pianist and Mike Leigh's Vera Drake.


Books & Authors

Books for Understanding: Cuba

The Association of American University Presses has unveiled its latest Books for Understanding bibliography. The subject is Cuba, where changes in leadership are occurring at the same time that the new administration in Washington is moving slowly toward more open relations.

Following Castro's revolution, the AAUP noted, "Cuba has played an immense role on the international stage, from its connections with the Soviet Union and Communist China, to military interventions across the globe, and to the influence Cuban policy and Cuban immigrants have had on U.S. politics and culture."

This bibliography of more than 150 titles from 24 scholarly publishers includes "the important scholarship that may help us understand what changes are ahead." Among titles featured:

  • Che's Chevrolet, Fidel's Oldsmobile: On the Road in Cuba by Richard Schweid (University of North Carolina Press, 2008)
  • Cuban-American Literature and Art: Negotiating Identities edited by Isabel Alvarez Borland and Lynette M. F. Bosch (State University of New York Press, 2009)
  • The Real Fidel Castro by Leycester Coltman (Yale University Press, 2005)


The AAUP has also updated and revised several other bibliographies, including:


Book for Understanding Boys: Boyology

Congratulations to HarperStudio's associate director of marketing Sarah O'Leary Burningham, author of the recently released Boylogy: A Teen Girl's Crash Course in All Things Boy (Chronicle, $12.99, 9780811864367/0811864367), a fun field guide and manual to all things about boys that girls might want to understand. Highlights include: the basics of boys (what is that head nod thing, anyway?), what breed is your boyfriend? (tortured artist? tech-tillian? if you're really not sure, check his ring tone), how to ask a boy out without actually asking, text flirting and how to tell the difference between a boy friend and a boyfriend. It's geared for teens, but, um, some of us in the office could have used this gem years ago. Sarah, let us know if you're available on a consulting basis.--Jenn Risko


Book Brahmin: Samantha Peale

Samantha Peale was born and raised in New Jersey. Her first novel, The American Painter Emma Dial, published by Norton this month, is the story of a virtuoso painter who must choose between the security of being a studio assistant to a renowned painter and an unknown future as an artist in her own right. Peale lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons.

On your nightstand now:

Blame by Michelle Huneven, Love and Obstacles by Aleksandar Hemon and Portraits by Michael Kimmelman.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Alice in Wonderland
, Watership Down and Naked Lunch. My parents' den walls were lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that lacked an organizing principle, at least not a discernable one; I could read any book that I could reach.

Your top five authors:

Michael Ondaatje for his generosity, particularly with women; Joan Didion for her restraint; Ernest Hemingway for his paratactic style; Alice Munroe for her decisive, self-possessed protagonists; Lydia Davis for making familiar emotional landscapes strange.

Book you've faked reading:

Hamlet. I've seen a few productions of the play, but that's it for me.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Mating by Norman Rush. Friends gave me a copy for my 23rd birthday with the proviso that it could take 50 pages to get into the story. I didn't crack the book until three years later. The first sentences hooked me:

"In Africa, you want more, I think.

People get avid. This takes different forms in different people, but it shows up in some form in everybody who stays there any length of time. It can be sudden. I include myself."

Now I read Mating annually and give the book as a gift at the slightest provocation.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Road Home by Rose Tremain. The American hardcover edition has a color photograph of a London street seen through a rain-splattered window. The image sets an elegant and provocative tone without trying to tell the story.

Book that changed your life:  

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood. David Bowie mentioned Isherwood in an interview I read when I was an adolescent. This is another volume I plucked from my parents' shelves. These two novellas set in 1930s Berlin made me yearn for a wider world and a commanding prose style of my own.

Favorite line from a book:

"I found out some time back that it's idleness breeds all our virtues, our most bearable qualities--contemplation, equableness, laziness, letting other people alone; good digestion mental and physical: the wisdom to concentrate on fleshly pleasures--eating and evacuating and fornication and sitting in the sun--than which there is nothing better, nothing to match, nothing else in all this world but to live for the short time you are loaned breath, to be alive and know it. . . . But it was only recently I have clearly seen, followed out the logical conclusion, that it is one of what we call the prime virtues--thrift, industry, independence--that breeds all the vices--fanaticism, smugness, meddling, fear, and worst of all, respectability."

From The Wild Palms by William Faulkner.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Sula by Toni Morrison. Bold, demanding, intelligent, sensual and deep.

Book Review

Book Review: Some Dream for Fools

Some Dream for Fools by Faiza Guene (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $20.00 Hardcover, 9780151014200, July 2009)

Her voice is intoxicating. It's like no one else's writing. Young Algerian immigrant sensation Faiza Guene has conquered the French literary scene with her tough, honest style, her disarming candor and her mouth full of dirty street slang. Of course, she's also as angry as a bull in the ring. She hasn't got time to waste humoring you.

Does Guene's new novel, Some Dream for Fools, actually tell a story? Not really. It's more like a montage of rapid sketches in the life of 25-year-old Ahleme, fighting for survival in the housing project outside Paris called Insurrection. The narrative has a couple tenuous plot threads which give it a bit of an arc--including a brief romance with Tonislav, a mysterious, sexy stranger from Eastern Europe--but it's not plot that you read Guene for, and really, it's not her characters, either. It's her voice.

Her first novel, hilariously deadpan and touchingly vulnerable, was Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow, narrated by blunt 13-year-old Doria from Morocco, fighting to survive in the Paradise housing projects just outside Paris and fighting to grow up at the same time. Doria's no-holds-barred take on life as an impoverished outsider marked Guene's astonishing debut at the age of 16.

Ahleme, the narrator of Some Dream for Fools, is 12 years older than Doria but fired up with the same spirit. Ever since her mother died and her family fled from Algeria, Ahleme has had her hands full living on a residency permit while taking care of her brain-injured father and trying to raise her little brother, Foued, who is now 16 and a little too interested in local teenage gang activity.

When she finds a shoebox under Foued's bed containing bundles of bills, you'll be just as aghast as her younger brother when he turns on the lights and finds her sitting in his dark bedroom, waiting for him. There's nothing halfway about Ahleme. She's got two fists and a mouth that knows no bounds. Though the odds are stacked against her, there's never any question of her going down without a fight.

Faiza Guene writes with so much confidence and in-your-face self-knowledge that the reader laughs all the way through this too-short novel, coming away from it saddened by the grim terms of an immigrant's life but experiencing a rather pleasant after-effect, a cocky little flare-up of feisty defiance.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A tough, honest and defiant novel of Algerian life in a housing project near Paris by of the hottest new European authors writing today.


AuthorBuzz: Constable: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (A Crown Colony Novel) by Ovidia Yu
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