Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, October 20, 2010

St. Martin's Press: In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder

Shadow Mountain: Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

Nosy Crow: Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, selected by Fiona Waters

Quirk Books: The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con #2) by Ashley Poston

Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: The Illustrated Edition by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Pearl by Molly Idle


Image of the Day: Live at Square Books: Thacker Mountain Radio

Last week at Square Books, Oxford, Miss., Lucas McCarty and the Trinity House of Prayer's choir performed T.R. Pearson's Year of Our Lord as part of Thacker Mountain Radio, which is produced at the store. Square Books owner Richard Howorth said that in all the years of doing the show, "this was arguably the most moving and unusual evening we've ever been able to offer. There wasn't a dry eye in the audience."

Photo: Mark Yacovone

Enlighten Up: Divine Dog Wisdom Cards: A 62 Card Deck and Guidebook by Barb Horn and Randy Crutcher, illustrated by Teresa Shishim

Notes: Starbucks Serving Up E-Books; B&N's Free Offer

Effective today, in partnership with Yahoo, Starbucks is starting a new in-store wi-fi network called the Starbucks Digital Network that will offer a mix of free and paid content, including e-books, the AP (via NPR) reported.

The network offers some books through the Bookish Reading Club, which is a partnership with publishers, including HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. Others will be added, Starbucks said.

According to TechFlash, "People can read the books--sometimes the entire text, sometimes an excerpt--in their browser via an HTML5 reader while on the network. One of the first offerings is a preview of Anita Shreve's upcoming novel, Rescue. People who want to buy the titles will be directed to Apple's iBooks store."

Another book feature on the network is New Word City, which, Starbucks said, offers short e-books on business management, leadership and travel. The material includes excerpts and full books, including original travel guides. The network features an exclusive excerpt from Seth Godin's new book, Graceful.

Besides publishers, partners for the network include iTunes, the New York Times, Patch, USA Today and Zagat. The network will also offer news, music and movies.

Some of the material is exclusive and can be accessed only in Starbucks stores, which is intended to draw customers to the retailer for more than coffee. Much of the material is "in smaller bits" that can be read or viewed in five to 20 minutes. Burke Culligan, v-p of product management at Yahoo, commented: "Users across the Internet are moving more into this 'snackable behavior' to begin with."

The network will be the first thing that shows up when customers connect to Starbucks' Internet. The company began offering free wi-fi in July.


For the first time, Barnes & Noble is offering a free two-month membership to first-time members in its membership program, which is 10 years old. The program costs $25 a year.

Membership benefits include discounts on books in-store, including 40% on hardcover bestsellers, 20% on adult hardcover and 10% on many non-book items including cafe offerings, as well as free express shipping in 1-3 business days on B&


Is a new version of B&N's Nook e-reader coming? CNET noted that the original version of the device was launched October 20, 2009, and speculated about a media invitation to an event next Tuesday, October 26, in New York: "We presume--but can't confirm--that this is for the launch of a next-generation Nook e-reader.... Will it be more in the same vein or will the company bring out something more cutting edge, maybe even a color e-reader?"


Book trailer of the day: The Boombox Project: The Machines, the Music, and the Urban Underground by Lyle Owerko, foreword by Spike Lee (Abrams Image).


The Huffington Post featured "Chicago's Best Used Book Stores" and observed: "Sometimes strolling into a used bookstore can be a bit overwhelming. With books piled from floor to ceiling, it can take awhile to find the perfect pick--but that is part of the adventure."


"To get started just add books!" Boing Boing showcased the Little Librarian playset, "the first personal library kit made just for kids.... Kids can practice the important skills of organizing, sharing, borrowing, and returning. Book pockets, check out cards, library cards, and bookmarks are just like the ones from the real library. Little Librarians will issue overdue notices and awards. Favorite books can be stored in the reading journal and shared with friends."


"Look. There are only two truly great science fiction movies," wrote Damien Walter in the Guardian. "The first is Stanley Kubrick's 2001, written in collaboration with Arthur C. Clarke. The second is Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and adapted from Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. You may disagree with this statement. You would be wrong. Let's move on."


Hungry? The New Yorker's Book Bench blog served up a tempting menu of literary sandwiches, including the "Lady Cheddarley's Lover: a controversial abundance of melted cheddar and several unprintable ingredients" and the "Animal Farm: supposed to include a variety of meats in equal parts; in practice, though, mostly ham."


University of Minnesota Press: Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich

'Superman' Soars on the Screen and in Print

Waiting for 'Superman', the documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim about problems in the public school system and how to fix them, had a limited release October 8 and is now rolling out nationally. Last weekend the movie played in 182 theaters, was #18 and had ticket sales of $4,081 per show, which put it behind only the top two films, Jackass 3-D and Red. It's been lauded by many critics. Harvey Weinstein, who has nothing to do with the production, predicted it will win an Oscar.

The tie-in is doing very nicely, too: this Sunday Waiting for 'Superman': How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools, a Participant Media guide edited by Karl Weber and published a month ago by PublicAffairs, hits #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. The #1 reason for that, according to David Steinberger, president and CEO of Perseus Book Group, is because "when you come out of the theater, you want to do something, and our book answers that."

The book includes a range of concrete suggestions for helping fix public schools, as well as something we've never seen before: each copy has a code for a $15 donation the reader can make online at to benefit any of thousands of very specific classroom projects listed on the site. Steinberger himself donated his $15 to a classroom in Brooklyn, N.Y., for art supplies.

The book has done very well at some accounts but not everywhere. The problem: "People are aware of the film but not the book," Steinberger said. The solution: like the issue it discusses, this worthy book needs some tender loving care and a little extra visibility.


GLOW: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tom McCarthy on C

Tomorrow morning on the Early Show and Today Show: Stacy Kaiser, author of How to Be a Grown Up: The Ten Secret Skills Everyone Needs to Know (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780061941184/0061941182).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann: Bob Cavnar, author of Disaster on the Horizon: High Stakes, High Risks, and the Story Behind the Deepwater Well Blowout (Chelsea Green Publishing, $14.95, 9781603583169/1603583165).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Tom McCarthy, author of C (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307593337/0307593339). As the show put it: "Tom McCarthy's C is one of those post-modern novels designed to drill a hole in your head and help you inventory the contents of your mind. This conversation takes us into the twists and turns of a brainiac's ingenuity. We stop to take a shrewd assessment of the use of this kind of novel in a post-literate culture."


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Ted Fishman, author of Shock of Gray: The Aging of the World's Population and How it Pits Young Against Old, Child Against Parent, Worker Against Boss, Company Against Rival, and Nation Against Nation (Scribner, $27.50, 9781416551027/1416551026).


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Lauren Conrad, author of Sugar and Spice: An L.A. Candy Novel (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061767623/006176762X) and Lauren Conrad Style (HarperCollins, $19.99, 9780061989148/0061989142).


Tomorrow night in a repeat on the Late Show with David Letterman: Jon Stewart, author of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446579223/044657922X).


Greystone Books: The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst

Movies: Replay; Garden of Eden

Everything old is new again.

Warner Bros. is "in early talks" with Ben Affleck to direct and possibly star in Replay, adapted by Jason Smilovic from Ken Grimwood's 1987 novel. reported that Affleck "just met with Smilovic and Goldsmith Thomas, and gave them a bunch of notes. Smilovic has gone back to do another pass." 


Roadside Attractions acquired the U.S. rights to Garden of Eden, an adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's last novel directed by John Irvin and starring Mena Suvari and Jack Huston, wrote. The novel was published posthumously in 1986.


Dutton Books: The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott

Judy Blume Adapting... Judy Blume

Judy Blume has written a screenplay for Tiger Eyes with her son, Lawrence, who is directing the first Blume novel "to be translated to a feature film, although there have been several TV incarnations of her works," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Tashmoo Productions, the Blumes' production company, has partnered with Amber Entertainment to produce the movie, and U.K. chain retailer Tesco "is financing the film as part of a multipicture deal based on adaptations of best-selling novels."


Books & Authors

Awards: Prizes at Bouchercon; Saskatchewan Shortlists

Mystery and suspense authors were honored last weekend during Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco, where category winners were named for the Anthony, Macavity, Barry, Shamus and Derringer awards.

Shortlists in six categories for the 2010 Saskatchewan Book Awards have been named, Quillblog reported. Winners will be honored in Regina on November 27.


Baseball!: A Rundown of Some Great Titles

As the league championship series move along and the World Series begins next week, Marilyn Dahl offers her lineup of some of the best baseball books ever, most published in the past several years.


Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, the First Women to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League by Martha Ackmann (Lawrence Hill Books, 2010)

Baseball Haiku: The Best Haiku Ever Written About the Game by Nanae Tamura and Cor van den Heuvel (Norton, 2007) (Shelf Awareness)

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting (Vintage, 2009)

The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer's Inside View by Doug Glanville (Times Books, 2010) (Shelf Awareness)

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn (Harper Perennial, 2006)

The Entitled: A Tale of Modern Baseball by Frank Deford (Sourcebooks 2008) (Shelf Awareness)

Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks by Zack Hample (Vintage, 2007) (Shelf Awareness)

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant (Pantheon, 2010)

The Complete Game: Reflections on Pitching an the Art of Baseball by Ron Darling (Vintage, 2010)

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (Norton, 2004)


Book Brahmin: Sharon Robinson

In her first book, Jackie's Nine: Jackie Robinson's Values to Live By, Sharon Robinson introduced young readers to the powerful example of her father, not only as an extraordinary second baseman who broke the color barrier in major league baseball, but also as a man. Her most recent book tells the true story of a friendship between a Jewish family that welcomes the Robinsons into their Brooklyn neighborhood, when others are not as hospitable, and how the Robinsons attempt to do a kind turn to show their gratitude. Jackie's Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Viking/Penguin, ages 3-5) went on sale October 14, 2010.

On your nightstand now:

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Nancy Drew series. 

Your top five authors:

Maya Angelou, John Grisham, Anita Shreve, Edwidge Danticat, James Michener. 

Book you've faked reading:

Anna Karenina. 

Book you are an evangelist for:

Easy--Jackie's Gift! 

Book you've bought for the cover:

African Ceremonies by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher. 

Book that changed your life:

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. 

Favorite line from a book:

"Just like moons and like suns,/ With the certainty of tides,/ Just like hopes springing high,/ Still I'll rise!" --from And Still I Rise! by Maya Angelou. 

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

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.



Book Review

Children's Review: Lots of Dots

Lots of Dots by Craig Frazier (Chronicle Books, $15.99 Hardcover, 9780811877152, September 2010)

As Frazier (Stanley Mows the Lawn) points out all the places we find dots, he also demonstrates the ways in which they appeal to our five senses. "Some dots are big," he begins, as the cover character, now appearing in a golden hue and holding a blue stick, beats on a giant drum that spills across the gutter. On the next page, "Some dots are small," and a ladybug sits on the green-tinted fellow's nose. "Some dots float" (balloons) "and some dots fall" (oranges). The author-artist addresses taste sensations with ice cream ("dots for licking") and scents with a field of flowers ("dots that smell sweet"). One standout contrast occurs over two spreads, beginning  with "Some dots are heavy," picturing the hero once again in golden hues, battling a giant barbell that stretches across two pages, and ending with "some dots are light," as the hero (now pink) blows light blue bubbles from the lower right corner that float to the upper left corner. And one of the wittiest spreads depicts the character, his car and a traffic light all in gold, with the green light at the intersection: "There are dots for going."

With a simple adjustment of the hero's pupil size or its position within the whites of his eyes, Frazier can change the fellow's temperament. The same applies to the color values he assigns to the composition. Frazier moves from "some dots are colorful," in which the hero and the gumball machine appear in a cherry red, and we watch him pop a yellow gumball into his mouth. Then, with the turn of a page, Frazier creates a planetarium on the spread--"and some dots are bright"--and we stare with the hero at a night sky through a cornflower-blue telescope. The hero's white gloved hand and his eye create a through line to the stars, and Frazier evokes a mood of quiet contemplation. A final spread revisits all of the images from the previous pages. This will send youngsters off on a dot odyssey of their own, both in the spirit of going on a scavenger hunt and also as artists awakened to the abundance of shapes in the world around them.--Jennifer M. Brown



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