Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Penguin Press: Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan H. Walsh

Scribner Book Company: The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

St. Martin's Press: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Editors' Note

Neat New Feature

We've been asked many times to have individual articles (as opposed to the entire issue) be linkable. Today you will see a "share this" tag after each article break, which allows readers to share these on Facebook and other sites. Advertisers will note that the linked page includes the top banner ad of the day, which means it will be viewed by even more people than before.

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And happy 9/9/09 to everyone!

 


GLOW: Grove Atlantic: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop


Quotation of the Day

Village Books Jumps Right In

"There are obviously changes rapidly taking place in our industry, and instead of standing on the sidelines and waiting to see what will happen, we've decided to jump right in."--Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., in a Bellingham Herald story about the store's imminent addition of an Espresso Book Machine and Symtio cards that will allow customers to download books on their computers at home.

 


Clarion Books: The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst


News

Notes: NBN's New Fusion; Bonnet Novels Make Hay

National Book Network is launching NBN Fusion, which will offer clients digital book services such as file conversion, e-book distribution and sales representation to e-book vendors around the globe; manufacturing services that include POD and digital short run printing and print brokering services; production services that include copyediting, composition, file conversion, proofreading, indexing and consultation; and marketing services.

In a statement, NBN president Rich Freese said: "NBN Fusion will redefine what book distribution means for modern publishers. Full-service distribution must now include handling finished books, printer files and e-books, as well as providing online marketing tools."

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In a front-page story, the Wall Street Journal surveyed a genre that's new to us: Amish romance or bonnet novels, "a booming new subcategory of the romance genre. The books, written by non-Amish writers, are aimed at a mainstream audience. . . . Most bonnet books are G-rated romances, often involving an Amish character who falls for an outsider. Publishers attribute the books' popularity to their pastoral settings and forbidden love scenarios à la Romeo and Juliet. Lately, the genre has expanded to include Amish thrillers and murder mysteries. Most of the authors are women."

Barnes & Noble book buyer Jane Love told the Journal that Amish novels account for 15 of the chain's top 100 religious fiction titles. "It's almost like you put a person with a bonnet or an Amish field in the background and it automatically starts to sell well," she said.

Some in the Amish community, estimated at 233,000, mostly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, devour the books as religiously as "the English" do. Others look upon them warily. One religion professor noted that the church has "traditionally viewed fiction as distracting and deceitful," but has no specific strictures against contemporary novels.

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Great moments in publishing videos, part 1: "HarperCollins Children's Books had a dream. They wanted to achieve something never before attempted. They wanted, specifically, to line a load of books up and push them over."

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Great moments in publishing industry videos, part 2: The Making of a Five Million Copy Book: Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol."

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Cast your votes for your favorite book blogs. The awards are part of the annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week (September 14-18), launched last year by bibliophile and blogger Amy Riley "to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers" in promoting the written word. Among the 40 categories are Best Publishing/Industry Blog, Best Published Author Blog and Best Name (including nominee When Librarians Attack). Voting is open until this Saturday, September 12.

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In honor of a major birthday this coming Monday and the beginning of another five-day workshop for new booksellers, Donna Paz of Paz & Associates asks that anyone who wants to mark the occasions should consider making a donation to the non-profit humanitarian organization she founded, Care for Polish Orphans.


Oxford University Press: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly

Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (Amistad, $23.99, 9780061728976/0061728977).

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Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Joseph Sebarenzi, author of God Sleeps in Rwanda: A Journey of Transformation (Atria, $25, 9781416575733/1416575731). He will also appear tomorrow on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show.

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Tomorrow morning on ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning: John Calipari, author of Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life (Free Press, $26, 9781416597506/1416597506).

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Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Amber Tamblyn, author of Bang Ditto (Manic D Press, $16, 9781933149349/1933149345). She will also appear tonight on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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Tomorrow on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show: Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, editors of The TOON Treasury of Classic Children's Comics (Abrams ComicArts, $40, 9780810957305/0810957302).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin (Random House, $25, 9781400063734/1400063736). As the show put it: "Darkened by intimations of 9/11, this generous extravaganza of a novel brings together the lives of strangers who witness a high-wire artist dancing between the two World Trade Center towers. In this conversation, Irishman Colum McCann talks about imagining a happier America--but one that still requires we laugh through our tears."

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Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Rod Blagojevich, author of The Governor (Phoenix, $24.95, 9781597776462/1597776467).

 


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Movies: Coming Through Slaughter

Good news for Michael Ondaatje fans. According to Variety, "Thirteen years after The English Patient, plans are going forward for another movie based on . . . the Louisiana-set Coming Through Slaughter, about the birth of jazz."

Producer Paul Maslansky, who optioned the book in 2006, now "has a completed screenplay penned by Mark Bailey and approved by Ondaatje." 

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Great Lakes Book Awards; Man Booker Prize Shortlist

Winners of the 2009 Great Lakes Book Awards are:

  • Fiction: The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno (Norton)
  • General: The Foie Gras Wars by Mark Caro (Simon & Schuster)
  • Children's Chapter Book: The Blind Faith Hotel by Pamela Todd (Simon & Schuster)
  • Children's Picture Book: That Book Woman by Heather Henson, illustrated by David Small (Simon & Schuster)

The association is also giving the Voice of the Heartland Award, recognizing "a person or company in the book industry for a lifetime contribution to regional books," to Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill. The association cited her for being active in the leadership of the ABA, ABC and GLIBA and supporting "buy local" programs in Naperville and the Great Lakes region.

The awards will be presented on Friday, October 2, during the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association fall trade show in Cleveland, Ohio. Winners receive $500 and an award designed and produced by Pewabic Pottery.

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The £50,000 (US$82,793) Man Booker Prize for fiction shortlist consists of The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt, Summertime by J. M. Coetzee, The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, The Glass Room by Simon Mawer and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters .

"The choice will be a difficult one," said James Naughtie, chair of the judges. "There is thundering narrative, great inventiveness, poetry and sharp human insight in abundance. These are six writers on the top of their form. They've given us great enjoyment already, and it's a measure of our confidence in their books that all of us are looking forward to reading them yet again before we decide on the prizewinner. What more could we ask?"
 
The winner will be named October 6 during a dinner at London's Guildhall and will be broadcast on BBC News on television and radio as well as online.  

 


GBO's September Pick: The Alchemaster's Apprentice

The September pick of the German Book Office in New York is The Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers, translated by John Brownjohn (Overlook Press, $25.95, 9781590202180/159020218X).

In this fourth installment of the Zamonia series, Echo, a "crat" or cat-like creature who is left to die of starvation after the sudden death of his caretaker, makes a deal with the powerful and feared Zamonian alchemist Ghoolian. Tempted by a promise of daily feasts, a warm bed and endless entertainment Echo agrees to give his fat for the rendering, not to mention his life.
 
Echo is transported to a world of culinary magic, where the secrets of Ghoolians trade take shape in the kitchen. As the new moon approaches and Echo's knowledge grows, Ghoolian learns that this particular crat may have been more than he bargained for.

A recipient of the Max and Moritz Award for the best German-language comic publications, Walter Moers is the creator of the satirical German comic strips, The Little Asshole and Adolf. His books include Rumo: And His Miraculous Adventures and The 131/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, which was adapted for film in 1999.


Children's Book Review: Solace of the Road

Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling/Random House, $17.99, 9780375849718/0375849718, 272 pp., ages 14-up, October 2009)

Still haunted by images from Siobhan Dowd's debut novel, A Swift Pure Cry (Shelf Awareness, April 4, 2007), this reader continues to be impressed by the legacy of the late author. Holly Hogan, the heroine of Dowd's final novel, might well have been friends with Michelle Talent, the star of the author's first. Both young women have a keen sense of independence born of necessity. For Shell, it was due to her mother's death and her father's alcoholism. For 14-year-old Holly living in England, it's because her mother abandoned her as a small child ("She'd had to leave England in a hurry and meant to send for me, but before she could, the social services came and took me away," Holly tells herself). The book begins with the heroine on her way to Ireland to find her mother, then flashes back to the events that have led her to this point.
 
She likes Trim and Grace, the fellow "care-babes" at the Templeton House, as well as her "key worker," Miko. Miko, however, is about to leave his job, and he encourages Holly to make a go of it with Ray and Fiona Aldridge, who want to take her into their home. But one day, when Fiona tries repeatedly to get Holly to come with her shopping, "the nail bomb" goes off, the teen swears and throws things and calls Fiona "Mrs. Empty Ovary." Finally alone, Holly tries on Fiona's ash blond wig and renames herself "Solace." As Solace, the name of the lucky horse she and her Mam had bet on, the teen can be someone else entirely, older and more worldly. The day before her 15th birthday, two related incidents send Holly off on the road, where she encounters a variety of colorful characters. Dowd offers inklings that Holly knows what really happened to her ("Without the wig on, Solace was gone. I was plain old Holly Hogan again, the girl nobody wanted"), but readers will put the pieces together before she does. Still it does not make Holly's truth any less painful, even with the Aldridges so willing to accept her. Holly's situation may not be the same as theirs, but teen readers will relate to how honestly Dowd taps into the universal adolescent feelings of not being loved or understood.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


Shelf Starter: The Jaguar's Shadow

The Jaguar's Shadow: Searching for a Mythic Cat by Richard Mahler (Yale University Press, $27, 9780300122251/030012225X, September 7, 2009)

Opening lines of books we want to read:

Sprawled spread-eagled on the ground, I am held captive by the citrine eyes of a cat that outweighs me by twenty pounds, thrives on raw flesh, and could--if so inclined--crack my cranium like an eggshell. This lithe carnivore is crouched less than a yard from my face, close enough for me to feel the damp breeze of his exhalation. My nose flares to receive a pungent odor that is decidedly feline: equal parts well-licked fur, rich body oils, and muscle-braided flesh. My peripheral vision registers a restless tail, as twitchy as an angry serpent. I admire the burnished gold of a satin coat, splotched with dark squiggles encircling flecks of coal. Daubs of cream--streaked with black coffee--adorn throat, chin, toes and belly. I see paws as wide as oven mitts, canines the length of my index finger, and a boxy skull as formidable-looking as an infantry helmet.

--Selected by Marilyn Dahl


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