Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 25, 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

Quotation of the Day

'Careful About When I Read'

"I live in the story that I'm reading and it just seems wrong to live two different lives at once. I become so involved in books that I can't put them down, and other things in my life suffer. I have to be really careful about when I read!"

--Natalie Hinkle Boddeker, a Barnes & Noble field training manager, explaining in the Bowling Green Daily News why she reads one novel at a time.

 


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


News

Image of the Day: West of Here Out West

To celebrate the publication in February of West of Here by Jonathan Evison, Algonquin hosted a dinner for booksellers at Pelican Inn at Muir Beach, Calif. Besides dinner, the evening including a bonfire on the beach and some close encounters with wildlife: a doe and buck who jumped out at the group on the walk to the beach, a skunk and a coyote crossing the road. All that was missing, said Craig Popelars, was "a bigfoot spotting." Booksellers included Michael Barnard of Rakestraw Books and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association president; Pete Mulvihill and Kevin Ryan of Green Apple Books; Paul Yamazaki of City Lights; Melinda Powers of Capitola Books; and John Evans of DIESEL.

 


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


Texas Nexus: State Bills Amazon for $269 Million

The state of Texas has assessed $269 million from Amazon.com in uncollected sales tax, interest and penalties for the four years running from December 2005 to December 2009, according to a note in the e-tailer's third quarter filing with the SEC. The company wrote, "The State of Texas is alleging that we should have collected sales taxes on applicable sales transactions during those years. We believe that the State of Texas did not provide a sufficient basis for its assessment and that the assessment is without merit. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this matter."

The American Booksellers Association, which has long campaigned to have Amazon be required to collect sales tax in jurisdictions with sales taxes and has corresponded for several years with Texas's comptroller of public accounts on the issue, was quite happy. ABA CEO Oren Teicher said, "We applaud the State of Texas for taking action against Amazon for its refusal to collect and remit sales tax despite its having clear nexus in the state." Amazon has a fulfillment center in Irving, its Woot subsidiary is in Carrollton and it has affiliates across the state.

"In our letters," Teicher added, "we stressed that Amazon.com has clear nexus in the state through its online affiliates and distribution facilities in the state. The state government should not be in the business of picking and choosing favorites. Our independent bookstores in the state follow the state sales tax laws--so should Amazon.com. Throughout this process, the state noted it was committed to resolving the issues we were raising, and we are pleased that it has decided to take action."

 


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


Notes: Kindle Title Lending; Apps; E-Books for Kids

Later this year, Amazon.com will allow e-books purchased for the Kindle to be lent by customers to other Kindle users, the AP reported. However, there are limitations: the e-books may be lent only for a two-week period, and during the two weeks, the owner will not be able to read the book. Also, not all e-titles will be available for lending, depending, the company said, on the book's publisher or rights holder.

The change was first mentioned in a discussion forum on the Kindle website. On his blog, Mike Shatzkin noted that a year ago when Barnes & Noble announced that users of its Nook could lend e-books, "many ridiculed the limitations. Among those who thought the offering was laughable was Jeff Bezos of Amazon."

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The New York Times surveys several book apps, including one for Stephen Elliott's memoir, The Adderall Diaries (Graywolf), which the author sees as a way to nurture connections with his readers. Electric Literature, Brooklyn, N.Y., which developed Elliott's app, has set up a division to create similar apps for other writers.

The company is working on an app for a Melville House title. Dennis Johnson of Melville House called apps a potential "fourth line of revenue," adding, "If you publish work that is hard to sell in the American market, say, literary fiction in translation, this is another format to hardcover, paperback and e-book."

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"Intent on winning over a new generation of readers, including some who haven't yet learned to tie their shoes," Barnes & Noble is launching 12,000 e-books for children 3-8 on NookKids.com and B&N.com, the Wall Street Journal reported. The books are mostly chapter books, although an estimated 100 picture books will be available in mid-November and 30 enhanced e-books will be ready around the end of the year.

Tomorrow, B&N is rumored to be introducing a color Nook. The Journal noted that "the enhanced titles have been designed specifically for touch-screen features that the current Nook doesn't offer. At the beginning of each book, users can tap on one of two buttons that enable them to read the work themselves, or instead have it read aloud by a narrator."

As part of the effort, B&N has deals with more than 15 children's book publishers to create enhanced e-books of classic titles, including Jamberry by Bruce Degen (HarperCollins), which "features a page with a sky full of falling blueberries, which kids can pop with their fingers," and Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman (Random House).

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The Wall Street Journal examines the happy problem that often confronts small houses when they publish a title that wins a major prize or breaks out in other ways: How many more copies should it print so as to meet demand but not cause huge and crippling returns?

In this case, the press is McPherson & Co., whose Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon is a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. McPherson usually prints 2,000 copies of a title; after the NBA short list was released, Barnes & Noble alone wanted that many copies. The problem is compounded because Lord of Misrule's pub date isn't until November 15, two days before the NBA award ceremony.

Bruce McPherson has decided to print 8,000 copies, telling the Journal: "It's a gamble that I'm not used to taking."

Andrei Codrescu, one of the fiction judges, called Gordon "an underrated great writer who hasn't been talked about very much, partially, I think, because she's shy and doesn't self-market herself. But she has an incredible command of other voices, and a sense of music in language that is unequaled."

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Congratulations to BookPeople, Austin, Tex., which marks its 40th anniversary on November 11. The iconic store is celebrating the entire month by selling 40th anniversary T-shirts (proceeds of which benefit AIDS causes), appearances by Condoleezza Rice and Jeff Kinney and a party on Saturday, November 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The store was founded in 1970 as Grok Books (named after a term in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land) and originally focused on alternative politics, political theory, metaphysics and Eastern religions. The original location was one floor in a two-story duplex near the University of Texas campus. In 1978, Philip Sansone bought the store and expanded its offerings and eventually changed its name. Bookpeople now has a 28,000-sq.-ft. space and one of the largest selections of book titles in the country. It is owned by a group of investors, including Sansone and CEO Steve Bercu, who is on the ABA board and is president of the Austin Independent Business Alliance.

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Congratulations, too, to Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, Pa., which is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a combination Halloween-birthday party this coming Sunday, October 31, from noon to 5 p.m. (Owners Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman noted, "We were so pleased the Steelers decided to hold the game after our celebration... such local supporters!")

Festivities include a pub party for Michael Ayoob and his debut mystery, In Search of Mercy (he won the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America best first novel competition); ghost stories with Alison K. Babusci; free cappuccino; sweets; a Ten Cent book sale of ARCs that benefits the Oakmont Library; 20% off most hardcovers; and a 20 Years: 20 Dollars anniversary promotion.

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This past weekend the Dolphin Bookshop, Port Washington, N.Y., held a grand opening party for its new location, at 299 Main Street, according to the Port Washington Patch. The store offered food, raffles, music--and signings by Len Berman, author of The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, Peter Brown, author of Children Make Horrible Pets, and Kat Yeh, author of You're Lovable to Me.

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Fire Petal Books, Centerville, Utah, which opened in August and had difficulties "getting a regular flow of customers," as owner Michelle Witte told the Standard-Examiner earlier this month, has closed. The store said in an e-mail, "Despite everything we've done, we just didn't have enough business to stay open."

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Citing "a precipitous drop in textbook sales" during the past semester, Food for Thought Books, the not-for-profit workers' collective bookstore in Amherst, Mass., last week appealed to customers and fans for support in dealing with debt caused by the drop in sales of textbooks--which have provided a financial cushion for the store--and in helping "create a new economic model that will sustain us into the future."

The store is asking people to donate money, which can be sent to the store at 106 N. Pleasant St. Amherst, Mass. 01002; to join Friends of Food for Thought, which among other things supports the store's fundraising; and simply to buy books at the store, whether in person or via the store's website.

The store's letter stated, "During the thirty plus years that we have been part of the Amherst community, we have prided ourselves in being able to stay true to our mission of disseminating radical & progressive media in all its various forms as well as providing a space where voices and ideas silenced and ignored by the mainstream media can be heard, seen, supported and realized. As you can imagine, it has been no small task, in this capitalist world, to try and run a business that treats its workers fairly and that turns whatever profits it makes back over to the community."

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Book trailer of the day: Never Kiss a Frog: A Girl's Guide to Creatures from the Dating Swamp by Marilyn Anderson (Red Rock Press), produced by the author, who is also a screenwriter.

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Self-publishing company Blurb has opened "a pop-up store," its first, in SoHo in New York City to demonstrate that a finished Blurb book "is not a scrapbook, this is not a photo album, this is not a handmade craft thing," as CEO Eileen Gittins told the New York Times. "We make you a real book." The store is open through the week.

Last year the online company said it shipped more than 1.2 million books and had sales of more than $45 million.

The Times wrote: "The company does a good deal of business around the holidays, for people who are designing books to give as gifts. Throughout the year, there are sales to hobbyists, photographers and newly married couples who want their wedding pictures in a book, not an album."

 


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


Media and Movies

Movie: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, based on the book by Stieg Larsson (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307269997/030726999X), opens this Friday, October 29. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist star in this final part of the Millennium trilogy.

 

 


Media Heat: Jane Seymour, Jessica Seinfeld

This morning on the Today show: Michael Caine, author of The Elephant to Hollywood (Holt, $28, 9780805093902/0805093907).

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Today on the Ellen: Hilary Duff, author of Elixir (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781442408531/1442408537). She will also be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow night.

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Today on Fresh Air: Keith Richards, author of Life (Little, Brown, $29.99, 9780316034388/031603438X).

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Today on CNN's Parker-Spitzer: Rebecca Traister, author of Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women (Free Press, $26, 9781439150283/1439150281).

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Today on Tavis Smiley: Jimmy Carter, author of White House Diary (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374280994/0374280991).

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Tonight on Charlie Rose: Nora Titone, author of My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy (Free Press, $30, 9781416586050/1416586059).

Also on Charlie Rose: Arianna Huffington, author of Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream (Crown, $23.99, 9780307719829/0307719820).

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Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Gary Dell'Abate, author of They Call Me Baba Booey (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9781400069552/1400069556).

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Tonight on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Condoleezza Rice, author of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780307587879/0307587878).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Marion Jones, author of On the Right Track: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed (Howard Books, $25, 9781451610826/1451610823).

Also on GMA: Kelly Valen, author of The Twisted Sisterhood: Unraveling the Dark Legacy of Female Friendships (Ballantine, $25, 9780345520517/0345520513).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show:

Brian Walker, author of Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau (Yale University Press, $49.95, 9780300154276/0300154275).
John Grisham, author of The Confession (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385528047/0385528043).
Ina Garten, author of Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307238764/0307238768).

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Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Amy Sedaris, author of Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446557030/044655703X).

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Tomorrow on Fox News' Glenn Beck Show: Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Thomas Nelson, $29.99, 9781595551382/1595551387).

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Tomorrow on Ellen: Bethenny Frankel, author of The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life (Fireside, $16, 9781416597995/1416597999).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Dante Chinni, author of Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth About the 'Real' America (Gotham, $26, 9781592405732/1592405738).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Double Delicious!: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives (Morrow, $28.99, 9780061659331/0061659339).

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Tomorrow on the View: Jane Seymour, author of Among Angels (Guideposts, $14.99, 9780824948504/0824948505).

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Tomorrow night on Lopez Tonight: 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).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Garry Wills, author of Outside Looking In: Adventures of an Observer (Viking, $25.95, 9780670022144/0670022144).

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Tomorrow night in a repeat on Last Call with Carson Daly: James Ellroy, author of The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307593504/0307593509).

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Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Mike Birbiglia, author of Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781439157992/1439157995).

 


Television: The Locator

A potential spinoff series from Fox network's show Bones is being developed, "built around a character that would be introduced as a recurring on the series this season. Casting for the role is expected to begin shortly," Deadline.com wrote. The unusual twist to this project is that the new character, Walter Sherman would debut in an episode of Bones, then subsequently appear in the spinoff show based on Richard Greener's Locator series of novels--The Lacey Confession and The Knowland Retribution--"that center on Walter Sherman... an eccentric, obstreperous and amusing reclusive man in his late 20s-30s with highly sought after abilities to find anything."

 



Books & Authors

Awards: ReLit Prizes

Canada's 2010 ReLit Awards, which celebrate literature published by small presses, went to Michael Kenyon for his novel The Beautiful Children (Thistledown Press), Stuart Ross for his short story collection Buying Cigarettes for the Dog (Freehand Books) and Gillian Jerome for her poetry collection Red Nest (Nightwood Editions). The winners were honored at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, Quillblog reported.

 


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover

Stranger Here Below: A Novel by Joyce Hinnefeld (Unbridled, $24.95, 9781609530044/1609530047). "In Stranger Here Below, Joyce Hinnefeld introduces the reader to three generations of women, each with their individual strengths and frailties, and explores the sometimes tenuous bonds of friendship. This is an excellent book to share among sisters, mothers, daughters, and friends."--Sandy Scott, Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt.

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball (Scribner, $24, 9781416551607/1416551603). "Kristin was very much a city girl until a writing assignment brought her to Mark's small plot of land, where he was growing food to feed many families. It was love at first sight, at least for the farming. Falling for Mark didn't take too much time after that. The resulting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a new model in which the members can be completely supported by the produce, meat, eggs, and cheese they can pick up weekly, year-round. This is a fascinating story of what love of the land and the desire to feed people can do for individuals and communities, and the potential impact it could have on a global scale."--Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, Colo.

Paperback

The Truth-Teller's Lie: A Novel by Sophie Hannah (Penguin, $15, 9780143115854/0143115855), previously published as Hurting Distance. "Desperate to find her lover, adulterous Naomi Jenkins decides to embellish a lie to speed up a missing persons investigation. She relates a horrific experience in which she was a victim, yet changes the identity of the perpetrator in hopes of finding Robert, her true love. How else will she save him? However, Naomi isn't aware that in telling her long-ago secret, she is eerily close to figuring out the truth. This psychologically tense thriller will keep you on the edge with its many dark turns and frightening twists."--Kristin Bates, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8

The Last Train by Gordon M. Titcomb, illustrated by Wendell Minor (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99, 9781596431645/1596431644). "You can almost hear the train's whistle from these expressive, beautifully rendered paintings by Wendell Minor that capture the magnificence of that dying steel behemoth--the steam train. Gordon Titcomb's song is a sad refrain for the life that was centered around those engines. Rail enthusiasts--and others--will rejoice in this evocative pairing."--Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Book Review

Book Review: And the Pursuit of Happiness

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman (Penguin Press, $29.95 Hardcover, 9781594202674, October 2010)

And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman"All of this history makes me want to embrace Lincoln and bring him into my world," Maira Kalman (Max Makes a Million) writes after she spent time examining the Abraham Lincoln Archive at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia. Her strong personal connection with Lincoln made her sure he would love viewing self-portraits of Frida Kahlo at New York's Museum of Modern Art before adjourning to a down-home restaurant for a bite to eat (maybe a baked potato) while they talked and talked. And that enchanting fantasy is just one entry from Kalman's month-by-month visual diary during her 2009 travels to meditate on the meaning of democracy in America's past and present.

Her journey is eclectic to say the least. When Kalman meets U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she wants to claim her as her BFF. Ginsburg wins her over by revealing that Matisse is her favorite artist. Kalman, equally entranced by Matisse's love of color and sensuality, memorializes her visit to Ginsburg with a truly lovely Matisse-like illustration. (I want to think that she sent the original to the good Justice.) Stopping by a town meeting in Newfane, Vt., Kalman finds spiritual balm in seeing participatory democracy in action. She finds an entirely different kind of tonic for her soul in visits to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and to George and Martha Washington's Mount Vernon. To see how these historical personages lived fills her with joy as she browses their libraries and reads that the Washingtons loved dogs, one of whom was named Sweet Lips.

By turns thoughtful, witty, whimsical, chatty, odd, charming and insightful, And the Pursuit of Happiness will tempt many to wolf it down in one sitting. The more disciplined among us will slowly savor her delightful monthly entries. As a visual artist, Kalman has some unique reactions to the places she goes: she'd love to live in the Lincoln Memorial with its stately columns; she admires George and Martha Washington for choosing rich colors for their walls; she really really feels the Pentagon could goose up its interior with a little more style. Contemplating Thomas Jefferson's inclusion of "and the pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence (he changed the wording from its earlier "and the pursuit of property"), she confides how she pursues her own happiness in our democracy: she works, walks around the city and goes to museums. The sheer joy of her perambulations through cities, towns and museums, captured here in engaging pictures and hand-printed text, is a rare pleasure to be consumed along with her delectable spread of food for thought.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: An illustrated diary of Maira Kalman's meditation on American democracy that brims with visual pleasures and much food for thought.

 

 


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