Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 9, 2010


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

News

Amazon's Troubling Trifecta

It's only Tuesday, but this is shaping up to be a bad week for Amazon.

The Canadian Booksellers Association has demanded that the Canadian government reject the e-tailer's application to open a facility in Canada, according to Quill & Quire.

In a statement, CBA said that "allowing Amazon to operate a business within Canada would contravene the Investment Canada Act which requires that foreign investments in the book publishing and distribution sector be compatible with national cultural policies and be of net benefit to Canada and the Canadian-controlled sector."

And CBA president Stephen Cribar added, "Individual Canadian booksellers have traditionally played a key role in ensuring the promotion of Canadian authors and Canadian culture. These are values that no American dot.com retailer could ever purport to understand or promote."

Amazon applied early this year to Canada's heritage ministry for permission to open an operation in Canada; it could take 45 days for the ministry to make a ruling (Shelf Awareness, March 3, 2010).

---

More on Amazon.com's decision to drop all affiliates in Colorado, which recently passed a law that aims to make online retailers collect sales tax on sales in the state.

While other states have based sales tax-collection requirements on the basis of the nexus created by affiliates, the Wall Street Journal noted that Colorado doesn't use that basis. The Colorado law "requires online retailers to either collect sales tax or share information with the state about all of the purchases made by residents, ostensibly so that it can require those citizens to pay so-called use tax on the purchases."

The Journal quoted a statement by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who said, "Amazon has taken a disappointing--and completely unjustified--step of ending its relationship with associates. While Amazon is blaming a new state law for its action, the fact is that Amazon is simply trying to avoid compliance with Colorado law and is unfairly punishing Colorado businesses in the process."

"I have no idea why Amazon did this," Rebecca Madigan, founder of the Performance Marketing Alliance, which represents affiliates, told the Journal. "A lot of people are devastated because overnight their affiliate revenue from Amazon has dried up." She added that as of 2008, the latest data available, there were 4,200 affiliates in Colorado, who earned about $37.5 million.

---

And over the weekend, a data error caused "hundreds if not thousands" of comics and graphic novels on Amazon to be deeply discounted, a move that was noted by many fans and led to so many orders that the company's Top 100 Book List was dominated by comics and graphic novels, Publishers Weekly reported. "Prices included high-end boxed set hardcover collections, really priced at more than $100 but suddenly offered for $14.99 or less."

It remains unclear whether Amazon will honor the orders.

 


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


Notes: Blindsided; Times Book Review Joins E-Readers

In our item yesterday on Oscar winners of films based on books, we omitted a big one: The Blind Side, for which Sandra Bullock won best actress, is based on the book by Michael Lewis (Norton, $13.95, 9780393338386/039333838X). Our apologies!

---

The New York Times will soon offer its book review as a product separate from other Times material on three e-readers--the Sony Reader, the Kindle and the Nook--according to Poynter Online.

Speaking at the Digital Publishing Alliance and E-Reader Symposium, Times director of marketing James Dunn said the Sony Reader version will be ready "in the next couple weeks" and the other two will follow.

---

On the occasion of Holt's halt of publication of The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino because parts of it are based on false testimony and perhaps wholly fabricated, the New York Times has another OMG article about authors who play loose with facts and publishers who don't catch them.

---

On the organization's blog, members of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association gave testimony about to the power and importance of sales reps. For example, Nicole Magistro, co-owner of the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo., noted that Penguin rep Tom Benton suggested the store stack The Power of Kindness at the register for a month and promised the store would sell all of them. "We did, and since then, we've sold 117 copies!"

The posts came in response to the open letter MPIBA sent publishers last month to "express our alarm" at the cutback in sales reps calling on independent bookstores.

---

Book trailer of the day: The Big Bang Symphony by Lucy Bledsoe (University of Wisconsin Press), a novel that is an insider's look at scientists' summer camps in Antarctica.

---

Although BookHampton is closing its Amagansett, N.Y., location, co-owner Charline Spektor told the Sag Harbor Express the company's other shops in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton are doing well: "East Hampton is a thriving store and they were too close together."

Spektor added that the "value of an independent bookstore is that you can see in our stores that we are making literary choices based on the community.... You have to be permanently optimistic, intrepidly optimistic as an independent bookstore. We are committed to the communities we live in and committed to making great recommendations for our customers. Reading is the future for all of our children and when people see that, they appreciate the value of keeping independent book stores in our communities."

---

Headline of the week: "Iliad Bookshop's impressive odyssey." The Los Angeles Times profiled a North Hollywood used bookstore that "has survived the years, a move and changes in the literary business with the help of loyal clientele."

"I'm sort of the last man standing," said owner Dan Weinstein.

---

Jonathan Shar has joined Barnes & Noble.com as general manager, digital newsstand and emerging content, a strategic focus for the company. He will work with newspaper, magazine, periodical, blogs and other content publishers to sell and market their digital editorial products to B&N customers.

Shar was formerly senior v-p and general manager of CNNMoney.com and earlier was v-p, consumer marketing, for the Sports Illustrated Group.


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


Image of the Day: Bookish Love

Congratulations to Rachel Evans, a bookseller at the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah, and her boyfriend, poetry aficionado Joey Heath, who recently became engaged at the store. With help from some other staffers, Heath asked Evans to find a book for him in the literary nonfiction room--a book that held an engagement ring. The store will host a reception for the couple this fall on the patio.


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


Media and Movies

Media Heat: A Little Bit Married

This morning on the Early Show: Hannah Seligson, author of A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It's Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $15.95, 9780738213163/0738213160).

---

Today on Fresh Air: David Walker, former comptroller general of the U.S. and author of Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility (Random House, $26, 9781400068609/1400068606).

---

Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Karl Rove, author of Courage and Consequence (Threshold Editions, $30, 9781439191057/1439191050).

---

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show:

Laurie Abraham, author of The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group (Touchstone, $25, 9781416585473/1416585478).
David Kirby, author of Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9780312380588/0312380585).
Brad Lamm
, author of How to Change Someone You Love: Four Steps to Help You Help Them (St. Martin's, $24.99, 9780312590826/0312590822).

---

Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Deborah Amos, author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East (PublicAffairs, $25.95, 9781586486495/1586486497).

---

Tomorrow on the View: Jesse Ventura, author of American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us (Skyhorse Publishing, $24.95, 9781602398023/160239802X).

---

Tomorrow on Ellen: Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316069908/0316069906).

---

Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Sean Carroll, author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525951339/0525951334).

 


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


The Pacific: Second Wave of Tie-in Titles

More books related to The Pacific, the HBO miniseries that begins this coming Sunday:

One of the three Marines followed in The Pacific is John Basilone, who was killed at Iwo Jima. Wiley has a title about Basilone: Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone by James Brady ($25.95, 9780470379417/0470379413).

And NAL has another tie-in book: Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific by R.V. Burgin ($24.95, 9780451229908/0451229908). Burgin is featured in the series.

 


Television: Too Big to Fail

HBO plans to film a TV movie of Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves. Screenwriter Peter Gould (Breaking Bad) will adapt the book.

The cable network "had hoped to rely on a book about the financial crisis by New York Times journalist Joe Nocera and Vanity Fair writer Bethany McClean, but that book has not yet been published," Reuters (via ABC News) wrote, adding: "Once it comes out, the material from that book is expected to be melded into the HBO movie."

 


Movies: The Help

DreamWorks will film an adaptation of The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Deadline.com reported that the "deal creates an extraordinary opportunity for Tate Taylor, who wrote the script and will direct. An actor who appeared in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning film Winter’s Bone, Taylor has only directed one feature. But he is completely intertwined with the author and her first novel.... Taylor and Stockett grew up in Mississippi, close enough that his mother inspired one of the white characters. His reward for serving as a sounding board was an early read. He optioned film rights at a time when Stockett couldn't find an agent, much less a publisher." 

 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, March 15 and 16:

Twilight: The Graphic Novel (Vol. 1)
illustrated by Young Kim (Yen Press, $19.99, 9780759529434/0759529434) is based on the books by Stephenie Meyer.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis (Norton, $27.95, 9780393072235/0393072231) aims to explain the collapse of the economy.

Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9780312380755/0312380755) is the 13th novel featuring Bennie Rosato and her all-female Philadelphia law firm.

The Best of Friends: Martha and Me
by Mariana Pasternak (Harper, $25.99, 9780061661273/0061661279) tells the story of a woman's long friendship with Martha Stewart.

Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202766/1594202761) considers the social problems of the U.S. and offers new political solutions.



Shelf Starter: Wild Comfort

Wild Comfort: The Solace of Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore (Trumpeter/Shambala, $15.95 trade paper original, 9781590307717/1590307712, March 9, 2010)

Opening lines of books we want to read:

The snakes have spent the winter underground, thick and torpid in dark cracks between the rocks along the railroad. They tangle together down there, sealed in by a glaze of ice. In March, Frank and I checked all the snake tins on our land, thinking that a warm week might have tricked the snakes into coming up early.... On a good snake morning, lifting a snake tin can be like opening a door to the underworld and peering into its dark, bare-earth tunnels, its flickering red tongues.--Selected by Marilyn Dahl




Book Review

Book Review: Wild Punch

Wild Punch by Creston Lea (Turtle Point Press, $15.95 Paperback, 9781933527406, April 2010)


 
In his brilliant debut collection of short stories, Creston Lea creates an unbearable tension that something awful is about to happen to the people he features. Set primarily in a harsh, unforgiving part of New Hampshire, the tales share an elusive, mysterious quality that keeps readers on edge: sometimes what you worry might happen doesn't and life goes on; then again, nature will take an unexpected turn that sends shock waves through characters and readers simultaneously.

In two pages or 20, Lea can paint portraits of people vibrating with nature's challenges, yet verging on near-paralysis as they realize the small town life they know is on its last legs. They do not, however, ask for sympathy--they are as tough as the granite for which their state is famous. A preacher, on a particularly bad day, can still say, "I could feel my whole head fill up with the fluids that come with tears. The perfect swaying beauty of the tall hydrangea trees on the side of the road as I pulled off the pavement and climbed the rise of the Old Cemetery carrying the wasted body of a black rooster on a hot Indian summer Sunday made me turn inside out."

Comparisons will inevitably (and deservedly) be made between Wild Punch and the short stories of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver. Like Joyce especially, Lea displays enormous empathy for his characters. Struggling, tight-lipped and self-deprecating, they are members of a generation that sees no hope for themselves unless they leave the place they call home. In capturing the physical and psychic attachment his characters harbor for their dying home towns, Creston achieves greatness as a poet of place. His incisive, heartfelt descriptions of gray-to-white winter skies, black fly and mosquito swarms in summer, hay fields at harvest time and ice-covered lakes are enough to explain why nobody in his stories can depart the territory without suffering even greater loss.

Each time one of his stumbling, barely articulate guys looks at some local signpost rather than meet the eyes of the person standing beside him, familiarity with the terrain is the only thing that helps him see what has changed at that moment and what remains unsaid. "The house was different that time of night and I might as well have not spent a single minute there before, it felt so unfamiliar standing in the yard with Michelle. 'Do you mean you were locked up?' Normally I would have had trouble asking something like that, but I was starting to not feel much like myself." Lea's astonishing use of plain-spoken language lets us be present at just such moments.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker:
An exquisite and gritty short story collection that illuminates the people and harsh landscapes of New Hampshire with love and empathy.


Powered by: Xtenit