Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 23, 2009


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

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

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

News

Notes: Google Hearing Delay Sought; iRex E-Reader in U.S.

The Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild have requested a delay in the October Google settlement hearing "to gain time to amend the deal" after objections raised by the Justice Department last week (Shelf Awareness, September 21, 2009), the Wall Street Journal reported. In a filing with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, they asked the court to "schedule a conference on November 6 or at its convenience, to discuss any progress made during continuing negotiations."

"In order for the process to go forward in a reasonable and productive manner, we need more time than would be allowed by keeping the October 7 date for the fairness hearing," said Allan Adler, AAP's v-p for legal and governmental affairs.

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The New York Times reported that iRex Technologies will enter the U.S. market "with a $399 touch-screen e-reader. . . . The iRex DR800SG will be able to buy digital books and newspapers wirelessly over the 3G network of Verizon, which is joining AT&T and Sprint in supporting such devices. And by next month, the iRex will be sold at a few hundred Best Buy stores, along with the Sony Reader and similar products."

"The e-reader has high awareness, but most people have still not seen or touched or played with them," said Chris Homeister, senior v-p for entertainment at Best Buy. "We feel that this is a technology that is beginning to emerge and that we can bring a unique experience to the marketplace."

"The iRex has an 8.1-inch touch screen and links directly to buy digital books in Barnes & Noble’s e-bookstore and periodicals from Newspapers Direct, a service that offers more than 1,100 papers and presents them onscreen largely as they appear in print form," according to the Times.

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Author events like the International Writing Program and Iowa Writers' Workshop series at Prairie Lights Bookstore thrive in Iowa City, Iowa, according to the Press-Citizen, which reported that it has been "less than a year since Iowa City was designated by UNESCO as the third City of Literature in the world. Edinburgh, Scotland, and Melbourne, Australia, also have received the designation."

"It seems to me that every literary event is well attended right now," said Christopher Merrill, director of the international program. "It seems when I first came here, you could go to a reading and six people would show up. Now, 60 on a Sunday afternoon is normal."

"We come here to do the workshop, and we know it will be really intense, but it is nice to know the community is so receptive," said poet Erika Jo Brown.

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The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny is the latest pick in the Barnes & Noble Recommends program. B&N said that one of its booksellers praised the book as "a riveting story that unfolds like a chain of paper dolls, until it reaches its startling conclusion." Another bookseller said, "Thank you for introducing me to a terrific new mystery writer. Why hadn't I discovered this series before? Inspector Gamache is magnifique! I can't wait to read the first four books. This is the perfect autumn curl-up-on-your-couch-with-a-café au lait read."

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Some Canadian indie booksellers gave a lukewarm reception to Oprah Winfrey's latest book club pick, Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan. According to Quill & Quire, "While larger retailers such as Indigo and Costco are likely scrambling to stock the book, most of the Canadian indie retailers Q&Q Omni talked to on Monday weren't in any hurry to do likewise. In fact, most said they don't even plan to order copies unless customers specifically ask."

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"The Bookstore Cometh" headlined the Local Fort Greene/Clinton Hill New York Times blog post reporting that Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, co-owner of Brooklyn's highly anticipated Greenlight Bookstore, admitted "'there was a moment last fall when we thought we were going to have to put this off.' But she said that the spirited neighborhood and other fortuitous circumstances seemed to bring it all back together. Greenlight's grand opening weekend will be October 24 and 25, but the store, on Fulton and South Portland, will likely open before then."

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For those of you keeping score at home, the Associated Press (via Business Week) reported that hardcover, audio and e-book sales of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol "topped 2 million copies for its first week of release in the United States, Britain and Canada. The total is 'well over' 2 million for English-language editions worldwide, according to Doubleday spokeswoman Suzanne Herz." She also noted that approximately 5% of the total were sold as e-books.

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The French National Book Centre awarded more than 400 independent bookstores the new three-year quality label. Bookseller.com reported that booksellers "had to respond to a number of criteria to qualify for the LIR, or librairies indépendantes de référence. These included deriving at least half their turnover from the sale of books, proof of independence, diversity of stock, the quality of staff and services, and a strong programme of events.

"In exchange, they are entitled to exoneration from the payroll tax, or taxe professionnelle (TP), that is levied by local authorities, starting from next year. The label, which was officially launched last April, was one of the proposals in the 'Plan Livre' that was adopted by the cabinet in November 2007 to bolster the book business."

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Bowker's PubTrack Consumer and the Association of American Publishers will host "The Big Picture," a webinar for industry professionals on consumer book buying trends for the first half of 2009, from 2-3 p.m., Thursday, October 22. The webinar will include the most recent book consumer population demographics, types of books being purchased, where readers buy their books, how they learn about new titles, the impact of the Internet and interest in e-books and audiobooks. For more information, contact PubTrack Consumer or e-mail PubTrackInfo@bowker.com.

 


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


Digital Over Paper?: Not in These Cases

BlackBerrys, laptops and other electronic devices have become an integral part of daily life. But for some things, many consumers still prefer paper and pen.

At Bookin' It in Little Falls, Minn., sales of journals "remain strong," said owner Laura Hansen. The store carries journals from seven companies, one of which is Under the Mango Tree. "We took a chance on them a couple of years ago--we thought the price point might be too high for us--and we sell out several times a year," said Hansen. "They're made of lush, soft leather, some with stone embellishments and hand-tooled elements--very earthy and rustic." The journals are handmade from 100% recycled materials using a 2,000-year-old paper recipe that, according to the company, is the same kind of paper on which Shakespeare penned his sonnets and the U.S. Constitution is written.

Earlier this year Bookin' It began carrying notebooks from Whitelines, a three-year-old Swedish company that launched in the U.S. in April. Hansen became aware of Whitelines at last year's Midwest Booksellers Association trade show. "They were mentioned during one of the Rep Pick of the List sessions," she said. "We visited [Whitelines distributor] Consortium's website every few months watching for them to become available."

Whitelines' signature product is a sleek-looking white notebook with orange accents that comes with a hardcover or softcover and in a variety of sizes and bindings. The paper, pale gray with white lines, has been dubbed "paper without distractions" by the company's founder, designer Olof Hansson. The light hues are easy on the eyes, and the lines don't compete with what's written or show up when photocopied, making, he said, for a more pleasurable writing experience. "We see it as a lifestyle product," said Michael Walters, Whitelines's director of business development in North America. "What we've been finding is that people who start using it become very brand loyal."

Appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers, each notebook is labeled with the item's carbon footprint. "It has become the world's healthiest paper," said Walters, who noted that very low levels of carbon dioxide are emitted in the creation and distribution of Whitelines' notebooks. (The plant in southern Sweden where the products are manufactured reuses carbon dioxide in a closed loop.)

Whitelines is carried by more than 250 accounts in the U.S. and Canada, many of which are bookstores. "We're getting the most traction right now in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago," Walters said. He noted that recently customers in Boston and elsewhere in New England have been inquiring about which stores in the area carry the notebooks.

Like some other booksellers, Emoke B'Racz, owner of Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville, N.C., received a sample of a Whitelines notebook and a note from Olof Hansson. "Not only did I like the personable note, but I loved the design and feel of the notebook," said B'Racz. Gina Moon, the store's mistress of cards and sidelines, added: "It's fast becoming one of our bestselling journal lines. They're attractive, inexpensive, and well-made." Malaprop's also carries journals and notebooks from Èccolo, Ecojot, Seltzer, Yellow Owl Workshop, Moleskine (which makes the store's bestselling date book) and Paperblanks.

The latter brand is popular with Malaprop's customers for gift-giving. Paperblanks, based in Vancouver, B.C., has been producing journals for nearly two decades and has a 450-item backlist--journals, guest books, address books and day planners--with new products added twice a year.

Journals come in a wide array of styles, from the evergreen bestsellers in the Old Leather Collection--which are crafted from paper to resemble antique leather--to a new line called Japanese Lacquer Boxes, inspired by the ancient craft of lacquerware. Recent additions to the popular Embellished Manuscripts line--adorned with excerpts from the works of writers, artists, musicians and philosophers--are F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Edgar Allan Poe's epic poem "Tamerlane." (This year is the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth.)

For its paper, Paperblanks uses pulp harvested from damaged lodgepole pine trees. In the American West and Canada, large swaths of the trees are being destroyed by the mountain pine beetle. Once infested, they either rot away or can be harvested for pulp.

Paperblanks products are sold in more than 500 independent bookstores, Borders and Barnes & Noble, served by the company's team of 85 sales representatives. Paperblanks exhibits at several regional trade shows--PNBA, MPIBA, NEIBA and, for the first time this year, MBA--where the company offers specials and giveaways. "We really value our relationships with bookstores," said Laurel Rivers, U.S. sales director. "Given the economy, this year we've made some positive changes to show our partnership commitment with our bookseller retailers." One involves volume discounts based on how many units are ordered. Another is a rebate: accounts that grow their business a certain percentage in 2009 will receive a check at the end of the year that can be cashed or applied toward future purchases.

A growing segment of Paperblanks's business is day planners--60 different designs for 2010. Sales of day planners have risen 25% year over year since they were added in 2006. "I don't think computers are going to be replacing the ease of a day planner any time soon," said Rivers. One reason is that having information like holidays available at a glance aids in planning and scheduling. "People still keep wall calendars in their kitchen for the same reason," added Rivers. "You're not going to run upstairs to your computer to look at the date. You want it in front of you."

Whether it's a practical matter like ease of use or something more intangible, journals, day planners and the like continue to hold their appeal. "There are people who find it important to write things down," said Whitelines's Walters. "We can do digital artwork, but we still paint, we still draw, we still sculpt. The sense of expression in human nature is always going to be there."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ken Burns and The National Parks

This morning on Fox and Friends: Chris Paul, author of Long Shot, illustrated by Frank Morrison (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9781416950790/1416950796).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Mackenzie Phillips, author of High on Arrival (Simon Spotlight, $25.99, 9781439153857/143915385X). She will also be on tomorrow's episodes of Entertainment Tonight.

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Tomorrow on Talk of the Nation: Craig Ferguson, author of American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot (Harper, $25.99 9780061719547/0061719544). He is also on the Late Show with David Letterman tomorrow night.

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Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Lisa Lampanelli, author of Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat, and Freaks (It Books, $24.99, 9780061733154/0061733156).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Rod Blagojevich, author of The Governor (Phoenix, $24.95, 9781597776462/1597776467).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Ken Burns, author of The National Parks: America's Best Idea (Knopf, $50, 9780307268969/0307268969), the companion volume to the 12-part PBS series that begins this Sunday, September 27, and runs daily through Friday, October 2.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Movies: Wish List for Kids' Flicks

In the wake of last weekend's strong box office performance by the animated adaptation of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs--and high expectations for upcoming movie versions of Where the Wild Things Are and Fantastic Mr. Fox--Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog suggested "classic children's books we'd like to see receive the Hollywood treatment."

The choices included The Giving Tree, "starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as the eponymous tree and Abigail Breslin as a neglected Upper East Side child who takes its gifts for granted"; and Goodnight, Moon, in which "director Michael Bay hopes to maintain the original's basic structure while replacing 'saying goodnight to' with 'exploding into an infernal fireball' and 'a young boy' with 'Will Smith.'"

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Frank O’Connor Short Story; Malott Prize

Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy won the £30,000 (US$49,120) Frank O'Connor Award, the world's richest short story prize. The Irish Examiner reported that in his acceptance speech at the award ceremony, Van Booy said he was surprised and "very, very grateful" to be chosen.

"I was very nervous coming to Cork for the Frank O'Connor Festival," he said. "But I stopped being nervous when I read the other short-listed books. I was shocked by the quality of the work, and I knew I had no hope of winning."

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The Langum Charitable Trust named Bruce Barcott, author of The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird, the first winner of its biannual Gene E. & Adele R. Malott Prize for Recording Community Activism. The author receives $1,500, and $1,000 is donated to the underlying project of community activism.

"Barcott's book exemplifies the journalistic values which Gene and Adele Malott wanted to encourage and recognize," said David J. Langum, Sr., founder of the Langum Trust. "The book gives the reader a deeper understanding of the spirit of the activist, and the dedication it takes to fight for a cause."

 


Children's Book Review: Leviathan

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Keith Thompson (S&S, $19.99, 9781416971733/1416971734, 448 pp., ages 12-up, October 2009)

Scott Westerfeld has a gift for imagining alternate realities, whether in the near future, as he did for So Yesterday and his Uglies series, a heightened present (as with Peeps, where he combined science and legend in a parasitic vampire tale) or a different possible past as he does here. His novel opens with a bang, as 15-year-old Alek is swept from his room by moonlight on June 28, 1914, by Otto Klopp, master of mechanics, and Wildcount Volger, his fencing master, to "a walker" waiting behind the stables. A Cyklop Stormwalker, that is, an "engine of war." "Alek" is short for Prince Aleksandar of Hohenberg, son of the Archduke Ferdinand. Alek's parents have been murdered, and when a full-out attack on the Stormwalker erupts, Alek realizes that his parents' enemies want him dead, too: "This was his first real battle, when only hours before, he'd been playing with tin soldiers." Meanwhile, Westerfeld also introduces Deryn Sharp, 15, who disguises herself as a 16-year-old boy named Dylan in order to enlist in the Royal Air Service. A storm interferes with her first test, and she's rescued by none other than the Leviathan, a giant living, breathing airship.
 
The citizens of the early 20th century are divided between the "Clankers" and the "Darwinists." The "Clankers" place their faith in machinery such as the Stormwalker, which literally moves on "feet" and protects its crew with an armored exterior and cannons. The Darwinists, in Westerfeld's alternate past, have capitalized on Charles Darwin's discovery of DNA, which has spawned the interbreeding of species such as the Leviathan, "made from the life threads of a whale, but a hundred other species were tangled into its design . . . fitting together like the gears of a stopwatch." Keith Thompson's illustrations handily capture the fantastic inventions of both groups. Even though readers will know that Alek's and Deryn's lives are destined to cross, their intersection is still thrilling, with plenty of air strikes, food shortages and runs for their lives. At the center of it all lies a mystery about the Leviathan's true purpose, transporting and incubating egg cargo of an uncertain nature for a powerful female scientist, Dr. Barlow. Will Alek be able to keep his identity secret from the Darwinists? Will someone figure out that Dylan is really Deryn? Will readers discover the contents of the species contained in the precious eggs? An afterword differentiates historical fact from the engrossing fabrications. Westerfeld supplies enough answers to come to a satisfying conclusion but leaves a few tantalizing questions dangling for the series's next installment.--Jennifer M. Brown


Book Brahmin: Lauren Myracle

Lauren Myracle is the author of what we believe is the first instant-message YA novel, ttyl, and its sequels (ttfn; l8r g8r) as well as bff: a girlfriend book you write together, just published by Abrams. Last year, Myracle shook things up with Bliss (Abrams), a high-school horror novel set in 1969-1970. Next month Abrams will release the first of a planned four-book preteen series called Luv Ya Bunches, about the dynamics between four fifth-grade girls and told through a combination of instant messages, straight narrative, blog posts and pseudo-screenplay. 

On your nightstand now:

Can I lie? I kinda wanna lie, not to sound more, like, literary or anything (heaven forbid), but just to sound more SPARKY! But fine. I will not lie to the children. Or grown-ups. Or whomever is reading this.

On my nightstand now: an empty Kleenex box. Pink earbuds for listening to Eckhart Tolle on my iPod as I fall asleep. (Just, yeah. Roll your eyes or whatever and move on. "Carry the water! Chop the wood!" That is my E.T. wisdom of the day, by the way . . . ) An AB-FAB not-even-to-the-galley-stage copy of Carolyn Mackler's latest, Tangled. My Friend Is Sad by Mo Willems. Suspicious River by Laura Kasischke. Hmm, and a pen. It's blue and has little creatures (of the cute sort) printed all over it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Ramona the Pest--OH YEAH BABY!!!!!!!

Your top five authors:

Oh, man. You're kidding me, right? If not--you're killing me! Top FIVE? Can't I do top 500?!

Grrrr. Will try. But at the pearly gates of heaven, if there is a heaven, I refuse to swear by these, k? CUZ THINGS CHANGE AND STUFF.  And plus, I just have so many faves!

O.K., here goes, all in one great rush so I don't overthink:

Flannery O'Connor
Harper Lee
Beverly Cleary
J.D. Salinger
emilylockhartsarahmlynowskimtandersonjohngreenallycartersuzannesuppleecarolynmackler-normafoxmazercynthiavoigtkatherinepatersonjudyblumelibbabraymaureenjohnson-justinelarbalestierscottwesterfeldshananorrisjenniferlynnbarnestaraaltebrandomaggiemarr-lauraresauingridlawmaryrosewoodsalangratzterramcvoysarazarrgrahamsalisbury-carolyncomanbrockcolechrislynchloisduncanpaulzindelannemccaffrey

(P.S. That was hard and horrible and now I feel unclean. Just so you know. ☺ )
 
Book you've faked reading:

Ha. None, I swear. I have an odd ethic against not playing that game.

Book you are an evangelist for:

Today? Pure by Terra McVoy!!!!!!! Soooooo good, and so perfect to be an evangelist for, as it deals with--don't be frightened!--evangelicalism, even. Kinda. In a purity-rings-donned-by-high-school-girls sort of way. IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

Book you've bought for the cover:

Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita. 

Book that changed your life:

Oh, must you? Grrrr. Every book changes my life! But . . . let's go with . . . my first dip into Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle, which I read when I was 14. Man, that book made me laugh--and made my brain go whooooosh.
 
Favorite line from a book:

I don't know! Ag. I'm not a quote collector--sorry!!!!!! I soak it all in . . . and it becomes part of me . . . but I can't pull up specific quotes!
 
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Ahhhh, now this question I like!  I get a happy feeling just imagining reading one of my darlings again for the first time. What joy. To Kill a Mockingbird, with no hesitation.  ☺

Thanks, dudes and dudettes! Until next time! Mwah!!!!!

 



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