Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 14, 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

Quotation of the Day

Shiny E-Apple

"Whenever the Apple e-reader comes out, it will be cool and you will want one."--Kelly Gallagher of Bowker, speaking yesterday at the International Supply Chain Specialists seminar at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

 


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


News

Notes: Friedman's New E-venture; British Buy More Books

Open Road Integrated Media, the new business venture created by Jane Friedman, former HarperCollins president and CEO, and film producer Jeffrey Sharp "will republish old titles by big-name authors including William Styron, Iris Murdoch and Pat Conroy in electronic form," according to the New York Times, which reported that Open Road will "focus almost exclusively on digital publishing. The company will also seek new authors willing to be published in the electronic format first."

Friedman observed that electronic publishing "is going to be the center of the universe. . . . We really think that what we’re going to do is to help transform the industry, which is built on models that we all know are broken."

She also said that "between the backlist titles, new works and joint marketing agreements, which will include some self-published works, the company will help to market 750 to 1,000 titles in its first year," the Times wrote.

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Are British consumers outpacing Americans as book buyers? According to TheBookseller.com, a new report that includes data from Bowker’s PubTrack Consumer survey and BML's Books & Consumer survey "found that 57% of British consumers purchased one or more books last year, compared with only 50% of Americans surveyed. Americans tended to enjoy romance and mystery titles most, with these genres accounting for 57% of all fiction books bought, whereas it makes up just 31% in Britain." The report also found that bookstores accounted for 34% of British purchases, while the Internet ranked first as the book source of choice for Americans.

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In the American Lawyer magazine, Ben Hallman observed that although it "was a tough summer for the Google book search settlement," he believes "a deal still seems likely."

Hallman suggested that after lawyers for the litigants file an amended settlement November 9 (Shelf Awareness, October 8, 2009), "a fairness hearing will likely take place at the end of December or in early January. At that fairness hearing, Judge Chin can either approve or reject the settlement, but lawyers involved in the process say that even a rejection wouldn't be a death sentence for a settlement, since the judge could suggest specific fixes for a deal. (Whatever the outcome, Judge Chin's involvement in the process is likely to end soon. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama nominated him for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit)."

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed dissatisfaction with Google's digital library plan during her weekly video podcast, contending that it would put copyright protection at risk. The Observer reported that "Merkel appealed for more international co-operation on copyright protection and said her government opposed Google's drive to create online libraries full of scanned books."

"The German government has a clear position: copyrights have to be protected on the Internet," she said.

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Cool idea of the day: A reading of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to 21 pre-schoolers at the Blue Bunny bookshop, Dedham, Mass., last Thursday may have seemed like a common occurrence, but the Dedham Transcript reported that the event helped "set a record for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign. In its fourth year, the international campaign has kids read the same book on the same day across the world. Last year the campaign broke its record of 700,000, with the reading Don Freeman's book Corduroy. Each venue signed up for the campaign, submits its numbers through Jumpstart's Web site. While the numbers are still being counted, Jumpstart reports last Thursday's participants helped set a new record."

"We're always looking for some fun event to bring kids in," said Janet Reynolds, the Blue Bunny's general manager, who told the Transcript that the store participated in the quest because the bookshop "shares a similar mission with the nonprofit."

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There's nothing wimpy about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The New York Times reported that Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, "which was released Monday, is already the best-selling book on Amazon.com, ahead of the likes of Dan Brown and Glenn Beck. Early interest has been so strong that the publisher, Abrams, increased its initial print run to four million copies, from three million."

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During the Times Cheltenham Festival of Literature, P. D. James and Ruth Rendell confessed "they did not care for the television adaptations of their books because producers took liberties with their source material."

"I think that people expect us to be far more concerned with our television productions than we are," said Rendell. "You can say that television makes you famous and sells your books but you don't care very much about it."

"I don't read a script of adaptations because I know I'm not going to like it," James added. "They do things sometimes that are nonsensical."

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Book Trailer of the Day: The Promised World by Lisa Tucker (Atria).

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Obituary note: Suspense writer Stuart M. Kaminsky died last Friday. He was 75. In his New York Times obituary, Kaminsky was described as "a film scholar turned detective novelist who was widely known for his prodigious output, complex characters and rich evocations of time and place, including Hollywood in its Golden Age."

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As part of "new leadership in the U.S.," John Boris has joined Lonely Planet as executive v-p, Lonely Planet, and managing director, Lonely Planet Americas. He will be responsible, the company said, for "defining and delivering the strategy to drive growth in revenues and audiences across the U.S. and leading Lonely Planet's global client solutions business."

Lonely Planet CEO Matt Goldberg called Boris "pivotal to transforming Lonely Planet in the U.S. and connecting with audiences across all channels--print, digital and other emerging opportunities."

Boris was formerly senior v-p of marketing and interactive at Zagat Survey and earlier managed brand development and communications at 1-800 FLOWERS and helped launch Fresh Direct in New York.

In addition, Laura Sullivan has joined Lonely Planet as v-p, marketing. She was most recently v-p of consumer brand strategy at American Express.

 


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


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Crush It!

This morning on the Today Show: Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion (HarperStudio, $19.99, 9780061914171/0061914177).

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Katie Lee, author of The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions (Simon Spotlight, $26, 9781439126745/1439126747).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jimmy Carter will promote If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity by David Rubel (Candlewick, $19.99, 9780763647018/0763647012), for which he wrote the foreword.

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Ivanka Trump, author of The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439140017/1439140014).

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Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Ruth Reichl, author of Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40, 9780618610181/0618610189).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Hardball: Jim Cramer, author of Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439158012/1439158010).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author of The Angel's Game (Doubleday $26.95, 9780385528702/0385528701). As the show put it: "The Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón has attracted an international audience with his series of metaphysical thrillers. Here, he expresses his love of 'low' genre writing, his distrust of the overtly literary writing of some of his countrymen, and his desire to create a novel that can't be put down. In other words, his characters and his readers enter a pact with literature's oldest devils: plot and artifice."

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Mackenzie Phillips, author of High on Arrival (Simon Spotlight, $25.99, 9781439153857/143915385X).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Marketplace: Carmen M. Reinhart, author of This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly (Princeton University Press, $35, 9780691142166/0691142165).

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Tomorrow night on Dateline: Dean Radin, author of Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality (Paraview Pocket Books, $14, 9781416516774/1416516778).

 


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


Movies: Freaky Monday; Apaches

CBS Films "is developing the teen comedy Freaky Monday with producers Andrew Gunn and Mark Waters," Variety reported, noting that the company "has optioned the body-switching novel from Freaky Friday writer Heather Hach. Hach co-wrote Freaky Monday with Mary Rodgers, author of the 1973 novel Freaky Friday."

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Although a film version of Apaches has been in development since 1997 by Jerry Bruckheimer Films, now the company "has tapped Sean O'Keefe and Will Staples to take a stab at adapting Lorenzo Carcaterra's novel about a group of renegade cops," according to Variety, which observed that a "number of writers have made an attempt to adapt the book over the years, including Marshall Todd (Bad Boys II), John Ridley, John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom) and David Klass (Walking Tall).

 


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



Books & Authors

Awards: German Book Prize

Kathrin Schmidt won the 2009 German Book Prize for her novel Du stirbst nicht, which the judges praised for being "positioned both unobtrusively and with great skill in the echo chamber of the historical-political era of change."

The shortlist included recently named Nobel laureate Herta Mueller, as well as Rainer Merkel, Norbert Scheuer, Clemens J. Setz and Stephan Thome. 

 


Book Brahmin: Mary Pearson

Mary E. Pearson is the author of four novels for teens, including The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which has been translated into 12 languages and is being developed into a film for 20th Century Fox. Her fifth and newest novel, The Miles Between, was published by Holt last month. Pearson is working on her sixth novel in Carlsbad, Calif., where she lives with her husband and two golden retrievers. For more about her and her books, go to marypearson.com.

On your nightstand now:

Way too many books. On the top of the pile, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved the Mother Goose nursery rhymes because they made absolutely no sense, and I could ponder them endlessly. I also adored The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and the poem "Little Boy Blue" by Eugene Field, which had a similar theme of a toy's devotion to a child. Maybe that's why I still have my favorite childhood toy, a stuffed dog named Wiggles who has a bell in his tail.

Your top five authors:

I don't know how other authors can even begin to narrow it down. Do we focus on how they influenced us personally or their skill at craft? Off the top of my head, I would have to name so many poets who I would shudder at the thought of never having read. Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, E.E. Cummings, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, just to name a few.

Book you've faked reading:

I am sure I must have faked reading a book or two when I was in high school and I was assigned to read something I didn't like, but those books have vanished from memory. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have faked reading Beowulf.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Reads as beautifully today as it did the first time I read it.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I was in an airport looking for something to read and that cover did it for me.

Book that changed your life:

Dick and Jane. As dry and voiceless as the stories were, they were still the key that unlocked the world of books to me. I could read on my own! What a gift. There is nothing more life changing than the gift of reading. I was in awe of the thousands of books waiting for me at the library.

Favorite line from a book:

"So now do you know why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life." From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

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

My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier. I remember being stunned by the honesty, balance and insights of this Revolutionary War story. Little wonder it earned a National Book Award nomination and Newbery Honor.



Book Review

Children's Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Liar by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $16.99 Hardcover, 9781599903057, September 2009)



High school senior Micah Wilkins is a liar. She begins her first-person narrative, "I was born with a light covering of fur." As her story unfolds, she makes a case for why she has lied: No one would believe the truth. By page six, Micah reveals that her secret "after hours" boyfriend, Zach Rubin, is dead. She divides her story into alternating sections "before" and "after" the murder and splices in some "school history," "family history" and "a history of me." But she starts with a "promise": "I will tell you my story and I will tell it straight. No lies, no omissions." In each slightly adjusted version of the events, what remains consistent is Micah's feeling that she is "stuck somewhere in between . . . half black, half white; half girl, half boy; coasting by on half a scholarship. I'm half of everything." She speaks the truth when it comes to emotions ("The place is thick with grief and dust. And emptiness," she observes from outside Zach's window), and she's keenly aware of the smells and sounds of her surroundings. Micah felt most alive and content during her clandestine late-night runs and rendezvous with Zach.
 
Can an unreliable narrator be trustworthy? And isn't hypocrisy lying? As Micah says, "Chantal's a hypocrite and every bit as big a liar as I am." Using this clever premise of the fine line between truth and falsehood, Larbalestier mines the larger questions teens confront. How much do I reveal to my parents? How much do I omit in order to protect myself--and them? At what point do I begin to take responsibility for myself? The author also explores how alien one's body becomes with puberty, and the wild hormonal impulses that take over--including rage and lust. These themes all tie together in a larger revelation halfway into the book. Considered a "freak" by her classmates and a suspect in Zach's murder, Micah could easily give up. Instead she fights for what she wants for herself and for her own view of justice. This suspenseful and page-turning novel suggests that much of life's experiences exists in the gray area, "somewhere in between" the masculine and feminine, human and animal instincts. There is no black or white.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


Deeper Understanding

NAIBA, Part 2: The Tween Reader

At a New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association panel about "tween readers," Stephanie Anderson of WORD bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., suggested that "the crux of this debate is we have 8- to 12-year-olds and YA. Should there be another shelf in between?"

Association of Booksellers for Children executive director Kristen McLean moderated the panel, which besides Anderson included Liz Szabla, editor-in-chief of Feiwel & Friends, and Deborah Roffman, a sexuality and family life educator and author of Sex and Sensibility: A Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking about Sex.

McLean, whose background is in children's books and toy companies, credited the toy market with inventing "tween" as a category. "Fifteen years ago the toy business realized that the definition of 'child' was changing," she explained. Children from up to age eight were considered the target for "play-based toys," but a "tween" category would skirt the area between play and "life skills."

"I'm 24," Anderson said. "My generation is the first to grow up with a YA section in the bookstore." Books dealt with "drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll," she recalled. "There was a lot of boundary-pushing." Ellen Hopkins and Lauren Myracle were banned. But, she argued, reading those authors' books "didn't hurt me or any of the people I know. I learned that meth is a bad idea." Still, Anderson also said that strong readers at the age of 12 often think they're "too smart" for teen books.

Then there are the parents who think Twilight is appropriate for their 10-year-old. "I tell them, maybe this [the first in the Twilight Saga] is acceptable, but book #4 has this," said Anderson. "Then you have the parent who responds to a suggestion of The Secret Garden with 'They'll be too sad.' I just have to walk away from that." She said she believes the best ammunition with the 10-year-olds themselves is to tell them that Twilight is boring. "It is boring when you read a book that you're not ready for yet," she said.

Roffman, who has been teaching human sexuality at the Park School, Baltimore, Md., since 1977, said she "used to think we were bipolar in this culture. Now we're full-blown psychotics about sex." She cited the "sexy Halloween costumes for six-year-olds," and took issue with the term "tween" because it is "not a bona fide developmental stage." She blames the marketing machine: "They decided that eight-year-olds were short teens, and teens are short adults," Roffman said.

Szabla, like Anderson, expressed concern that elementary students are reading Twilight.  A former bookseller, Szabla said that the best way to sell a children's book is still word of mouth. "If a friend is reading it, they have to have it." After that, favorite authors, the cover and the title are other great selling points. She held up as an example Jordan Sonnenblick's Dodger and Me with an all-out boy-appeal cover and Ann M. Martin's Everything for a Dog, which invites both boy and girl readers. (The topic of book covers could have commanded its own panel discussion: booksellers chimed in on various series makeovers that either did a disservice to the books or confused their core readership.)
 
Another challenge for booksellers is that "kids often know more than the bookseller," McLean pointed out. "They know laydown dates and even obscure authors." She urged greater collaboration among children, booksellers, teachers and librarians and suggested that the "ongoing discussion" among parents is, "Do we have a protective approach, or do we read with them and talk about it, looking for the teachable moment?" "We can't say to the customer, 'You're being too protective,'" McLean said.

Ellen Mager of Booktenders' Secret Garden, Doylestown, Pa., said that another common dilemma is parents who say, for example, "I have a fourth-grader reading on an eighth-grade level." Mager said she tries to address this with the kids themselves by asking them to write in-store reviews. "I'll pull out eight books—Hugo, the Magyk series and Charlie Bone for kids who want 'big' books, and then Diary of a Wimpy Kid," she said.

"The more conservative a parent is, the more concerned they are about the topic itself. There's an inherent power in sexuality," Roffman said. "The extreme liberal parent believes [the children] can read anything they want." She argued that "context is key." Are sexuality and graphic violence inherent to the story's development or are they there to titillate? Anderson said she often recommends Pure by Terra McVoy, which "discusses sex in a way that's okay," (the teens wear purity rings, and when one friend breaks their vow of chastity, they discuss what that means). Anderson also often recommends to parents that they read a book before giving it to their children.

"But what about the kid who's trying to work through something alone?" asked Francine Lucidon from the Voracious Reader, Larchmont, N.Y. "I ask kids, 'What do you like?'" But Roffman countered that "It's the adult's responsibility to keep a child in a child's world and to set limits. They're already being told, 'Everything's for you.'" McLean said she'd like to see booksellers use the editing mode in the Edelweiss software to enter notes on individual titles and discuss these topics.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


The Bestsellers

USA Today's Third Quarter Bestsellers

USA Today's bestselling books for the third quarter:

  1. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  2. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  3. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  4. Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck
  5. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  6. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  8. The Shack by William P. Young
  9. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  11. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  12. Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell
  13. South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  14. Swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  15. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  16. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
  17. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  18. 92 Pacific Boulevard: A Cedar Cove Novel by Debbie Macomber
  19. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich
  20. Smoke Screen: A Novel by Sandra Brown

 


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