Also published on this date: Thursday, November 4, 2010: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Luka and the Fire of Life
Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Quotation of the Day
Print Books: 'Uniquely Effective Reading Platform'
"Lessons from music and movies need to be tempered by the nature of the media. Vinyl, VCR tapes, CDs, and DVDs do nothing but carry information and require a player. While some may wax nostalgic for the media of their youth (yes, the pun is intentional; note the resurgence in vinyl records sales), the media of yore are awkward and limiting, particular when compared to playing devices with enough built-in storage and connectivity to access everything users may ever want to hear or watch.
"Print books and magazines--black print on white paper--create a uniquely effective reading platform that integrates both storage and a player in a convenient package. Reading material is consumed differently than music and movies. Books generally take longer to read and aren't continually or frequently re-read, making the low storage density of books less of an issue than with music and movies. E-books and e-book readers are still maturing and may not be 'good enough' yet to effectively replace the print book experience."
"E-books and the threat from 'internal constituencies' "
Image of the Day: Happy Anniversary, Diane's
The staff of Diane's Books, Greenwich, Conn., at the store's combination 20th-anniversary/Halloween party last Sunday. Owner Diane Garrett is fourth from left, in the Queen of Hearts costume.
Notes: Cash Money Content, New Rap Book LineRonald and Bryan Williams, the owners of music company Cash Money Records, whose artists include rapper Lil Wayne, are launching a book imprint called Cash Money Content that will sell books at concerts and hold red-carpet launch parties and be sold and marketed by Atria, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Williamses plan to put out five or six books a year, with a focus on education, politics, food and life style. None of its initial titles are music-related. The first list includes its debut title, Raw Law: An Urban Guide to Criminal Justice by Muhammad Ibn Bashir, a lawyer, which appears in February; Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark, a paperback original novel that comes out in March; and Pimp, a memoir by the late Iceberg Slim.
"You're going to see TV commercials, billboards, and plenty of YouTube videos featuring artists and writers talking about books," Vernon Brown, the Williamses' attorney and business manager. "Our books will also be sold at our concerts. When you're out in front of 18,000 people, some will buy books, some not. But right now many of those fans aren't being told what books are great. We'll do that."
Student Life, the student newspaper of Washington University, celebrates the 10th anniversary of Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., which began selling new and used titles but now stocks only new books. The store also has an extensive events program and exhibits work by local artists and photographers. Subterranean Books also has two of our favorite tag lines: "From High Culture to Subculture" and "Independent Since the Turn of the Century."
The store's five staff members aim to provide excellent customer service and know the books they sell. "One of the requirements of working here is you have to be curious about things you don’t know about," owner Kelly von Plonski told the paper. "If you're interested in poetry, you also have to want to learn about something like crime books."
"After Philip Levy kept his family waiting for six hours outside the famous Blackwell's Books in Oxford, England, he decided to open his own bookstore back home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington D.C.," according to the Munch (a newspaper published by the University of Maryland's Smith Undergraduate Student Association), which profiled Bridge Street Books.
"Either we're snobby or creative, or both. We're certainly not a book store for everybody," said Levy, who opened Bridge Street in 1980, modeling it after some of his favorite independent bookstores, including St. Mark's Bookshop in New York City and Blackwell's. "We get the kind of customers who don't fit their stereotype."
"You can be stimulated just by walking into this bookstore in a very positive way," said customer Katy Bohinc. "Just by looking at the titles, you're going to see stuff that is interesting, challenging, inspiring and heartening. There's a strong intellectual rigor... it's easy to engage with what's going on in here."
"Franklin as a Bookseller." Negotiating the price of a book, circa 1854 (from Arthur's Home Magazine, via Futility Closet).
The New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Council has posted its fall galley review online: see the Interactive Fall Top Ten+ List and the Full Fall Review as well as the Indiebound NECBA Fall Top Ten widget.
PC World offered the "top 10 Amazon Kindle irritations": its setup allowing just a single user; no apps; a dictionary for single words only; lack of book cover art; TMI, as in the progress display bar that can't be turned off; only two fonts; "free 3G that isn't free"; font choices are global, not per title; a couple of oddly placed keys; and inconveniently placed page-turn buttons.
Book trailer of the day: Kasey to the Rescue: The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle by Ellen Rogers (Hyperion).
Only now, five months after the iPad launched in Australia, the iBookstore has opened, offering titles from six publishers. Other publishers are complaining about Apple's slowness in negotiating and with logistical issues, according to the Australian.
Australian iPad owners have been able to use the iBookstore only for out-of-copyright titles.
Oddest news of the day: India's environment minister has blamed the popularity of Harry Potter in part for a decrease in the population of owls in the country, the BBC reported.
"Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Jayram Ramesh said.
A report on endangered owls also attributed some of the problem to religious sacrifices.
Luke Magerko has joined Diamond Book Distributors as executive director of new business development and will head a new division focused on increasing sales of comic and non-comic products to sales channels outside the traditional book and hobby markets Diamond currently serves. His early focus will be on large non-bookstore retail chains, which include Home Depot, Lowes, Office Max and Joann Fabrics, among others.
Magerko has 17 years of magazine and book publishing industry and distribution experience and worked for many years at Meredith Publishing.
Obituary Note: Cathy Green
Cathy Green, who with her husband, John, opened children's bookstore Tikes and Tales, Phoenix, Ariz., only this past spring, died Tuesday, October 26.
The Greens founded Creative Colleagues, a graphic design business, in 1985, and Cathy was for many years a preschool teacher. Her lifelong dream was to open a children's bookstore, and the Greens spent two years researching and opening Tikes and Tales. Her diagnosis of cancer was recent.
Melanie Tighe of Dog-Eared Pages Used Books in Phoenix wrote: "Although the loss to her family is devastating, and our hearts go out to them, the loss to our community is too great to ignore. It takes a special person to run a bookstore for children, someone with immense patience and a great love of books. Someone devoted to making a difference in the world, one child at a time. Cathy was such a person. Although you may have never had the pleasure to know her, trust me when I tell you that you and your children will miss her."
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Mona Simpson on My HollywoodThis morning on the Early Show: Michael Chiarello, author of Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California's Wine Country (Chronicle, $40, 9780811875394/0811875393).
This morning on the Today Show: Jeff Dunham, author of All by My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525951414/0525951415).
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show:
Shannen Doherty, author of Badass: A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with Style and (the Right) Attitude (Clarkson Potter, $25.99, 9780307591524/0307591522).
Rick Perry, author of Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington (Little, Brown, $21.99, 9780316132954/0316132950).
Gary Dell'Abate, author of They Call Me Baba Booey (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9781400069552/1400069556).
Tomorrow morning on Regis and Kelly: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Double Delicious!: Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives (Morrow, $28.99, 9780061659331/0061659339). She will also appear tomorrow on Rachel Ray.
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Antonia Fraser, author of Must You Go?: My Life with Harold Pinter (Nan A. Talese, $28.95, 9780385532501/0385532504).
Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Mona Simpson, author of My Hollywood (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307273529/0307273520). As the show put it: "Mona Simpson's new novel corkscrews its way into the heart of a Santa Monica marriage, a marriage in which child raising duties are agreed to be divided fifty-fifty between husband and wife. Instead, they are divided fifty-fifty between wife and nanny. Simpson talks about the nannies she has known, particularly one whose kindness and wisdom taught Simpson about motherhood and inspired this novel."
Tomorrow on Martha Stewart: Nigella Lawson, author of Nigella Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home (Hyperion, $35, 9781401323950/1401323952).
Tomorrow on the View: Laurie David, author of The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time (Grand Central Life & Style, $29.99, 9780446565462/0446565466).
Tomorrow on Ellen: Portia de Rossi, author of Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain (Atria, $25.99, 9781439177785/1439177783).
Tomorrow on Dr. Phil: Kelly Cutrone, author of If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You (HarperOne, $22.99, 9780061930935/0061930938).
Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Cornel West, author of Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir (Smiley Books, $15.95, 9781401921903/1401921906).
Movies: Cast Additions for The Hobbit
Recent cast additions for The Hobbit include James Nesbitt (Millions) as "Bofur, described by the producers as 'a disarmingly forthright, funny and occasionally brave Dwarf,' " and Adam Brown as another dwarf, Ori, Variety reported. The cast now features Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Rob Kazinsky, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow and Peter Hambleton.
ABC picked up Dealbreaker, a relationship comedy based on the book--and the blog--Dealbreaker: The Definitive List of Dating Offenses by comics Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson. Deadline.com reported that executive producer Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad) "will co-write Dealbreaker, which landed a premium script commitment with penalty from ABC, with American Dad writer Laura McCreary.... Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures, which had optioned the rights to the book, will serve as executive producers on the TV project."
Books & Authors
Awards: World Fantasy Winners; Books for a Better Life Finalists
The World Fantasy Awards winners for works in 2009 are:
Novel: The City & The City by China Miéville (Macmillan UK/Del Rey)
Novella: "Sea-Hearts" by Margo Lanagan (X6)
Short Story: "The Pelican Bar" by Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
Anthology: American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now edited by Peter Straub (Library of America)
Collection: (tie) There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin) and The Very Best of Gene Wolfe/The Best of Gene Wolfe by Gene Wolfe (PS /Tor)
Artist: Charles Vess
Special Award, Professional: Jonathan Strahan for editing anthologies
Special Award, Non-Professional: Susan Marie Groppi for Strange Horizons
Finalists for the 15th annual Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by the Southern New York Chapter of the National MS Society, may be found here. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York City March 7. At the ceremony, Jamie Raab, executive v-p of Hachette Book Group and publisher of Grand Central Publishing, and Dr. Nancy Snyderman, author and NBC News's chief medical editor, will be inducted into the organization's hall of fame.
Book Brahmin: Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson has explored the complexities of awakening sexuality (The House You Pass on the Way), interracial relationships (If You Come Softly) and coming to terms with a painful history to retain a sense of hope (Show Way, which earned a Newbery Honor citation). In addition to Show Way, Woodson received Newbery Honors for Feathers and After Tupac and D Foster. She is the youngest person ever to win the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Young Adult Library Services Association. She won a Coretta Scott King Award and the Los Angeles Times Prize for Miracle's Boys, which was made into a miniseries directed by, among others, Spike Lee. And her first play, Locomotion, adapted from her National Book Award Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor book of the same name, will be produced at the Kennedy Center in November 2010, coinciding with the publication of her most recent book, Pecan Pie Baby, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Putnam/Penguin, November 2010). Pecan Pie Baby navigates the complicated feelings of young Gia as she anticipates a new brother or sister, and her loving mother's ability to reassure Gia that she will always be loved.
On your nightstand now:
The Ticking Is the Bomb by Nick Flynn, The Long Song by Andrea Levy and Hardheaded Weather by Cornelius Eady.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I read the same books over and over as a kid. Teachers and my family didn't understand why I did this and why it took me so long to get through seemingly "simple" texts. But I realize now I was studying how writers wrote, how they made me feel what I was feeling as I read. Two of my favorite books from that period are The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde and The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen.
Your top five authors:
James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, Audre Lorde and Edwidge Danticat.
Book you've faked reading:
I don't think I've faked reading any books but I've definitely not finished the ones that didn't feel worth finishing. I'm not one of those people who can push past the boring or overly written parts. The writer loses me if I'm not completely engaged. But I don't lie about it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
As a kid, I was an evangelist for the Bible--but that's probably because my family was religious. I haven't revisited that book since young adulthood but do remember some good stories in there. Recently, I read David Benioff's City of Thieves and was completely blown away. I plan to read it again... and again.
Book you've bought for the cover:
A few--and was bummed each time.
Book that changed your life:
The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde. It taught me a lot about living and writing.
Favorite line from a book:
"These August afternoons--when your shift is finished, there is absolutely nothing to do. You might as well walk down to the Forks Falls Highway and listen to the chain gang." --This is slightly different than it appears in the book, The Ballad of the Sad Café. It comes from a recording I have of McCullers reading from her work. She changes it a bit and her soft, Southern drawl is one not heard anymore unless you have older relatives from the South. I've read the book so many times but can listen to her read from it all day long.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor.
Children's Review: A Tale Dark & Grimm
A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (Dutton Books, $16.99 Hardcover, 9780525423348, October 2010)
In this captivating first novel, Adam Gidwitz reimagines a half-dozen Grimm tales with Hansel and Gretel in the starring role. This clever through-line allows him to examine the relationship between children and adults in classic fairy tales. I know, I know. You're saying, "Must I really open yet another book published this year inspired by the Brothers Grimm?" Yes, you must!
The narrator's irreverent tone and the breakneck (sometimes literally) pace will enthrall readers of all ages. Because the author does not shy away from gore, however, you will want to heed his warning: "Are there any small children in the room now? If so, it would be best if we just let them think this really is the end of the story and hurried them off to bed." The first, perhaps less familiar tale, "Faithful Johannes," tells of a servant loyal to generations of kings. When the old king is on his deathbed, he makes Johannes swear to show his son, the new king, all of his estate except for one room--the room with the portrait of the golden princess. "For if he sees the portrait, he will fall madly in love with her. And I fear it will cost him his life," says the dying king. And of course, the newly crowned king wants to enter the forbidden room. The sarcastic narrator says, "Why didn't Johannes say something else? Like, 'It's a broom closet.' " Johannes ends up saving the king three times after he seeks out the golden princess. But in return, the faithful servant demands that the king cut off the heads of his children, Hansel and Gretel (okay, so in the original version, it's two sons--but trust me, the Hansel and Gretel motif really works in this collection). The siblings get their heads restored to their rightful places but "they believed firmly in their little hearts that parents should not kill their children"--and who can blame them? And that's when they run away from home and discover the baker woman who makes her house of chocolate cake. It makes perfect sense!
Gidwitz creates logic where there was none in story after story as he threads together "The Seven Swallows" (Gretel plays the sought-after daughter) and "Brother and Sister," to which the author adds an environmental twist. Hansel turns into a beast because he takes more than he needs from Lebenwald, the Wood of Life. The two siblings separate at this point, and Gretel enters into a "Robber Bridegroom" retelling (called "A Smile as Red as Blood" in this book), and again the author adds another layer when Gretel places herself in danger by following the object of her infatuation into the Schwarzwald, the Wood of Darkness, against her kind guardian's warning. Meanwhile, Hansel winds up a pawn to the devil in "The Three Golden Hairs." Each tale builds on the one before. The boy hero's gluttonous ways in "Hansel and Gretel" are a foreshadowing of his downfall in "Brother and Sister." Gretel's resourcefulness in "A Smile as Red as Blood" comes into play when she and Hansel make a plan to rid their father's kingdom of a dragon that's terrorizing the people. Key elements of earlier tales make the final story's solution plausible.
There is no happily-ever-after in Gidwitz's vision of Grimm. Instead, there is "well, not really," "almost" and "nearly." Sometimes that is the only word or phrase on an entire page. Sometimes Gretel acts the part of the hero, sometimes Hansel saves the day. Always, the author proves, as he reiterates, "In life, the darkest zones are where one finds the brightest beauty and the most luminous wisdom." A luminous new wisdom has emerged from the dark Grimm zone and its name is Adam Gidwitz.--Jennifer M. Brown
Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com Last Month
The bestselling titles at AbeBooks.com during October:
1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest by Stieg Larsson
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
5. The First-Time Supervisor's Survival Guide by George Fuller
6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
8. The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The bestselling signed books at AbeBooks.com during October:
1. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
2. The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
3. Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre
4. Nemesis by Philip Roth
5. In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa
6. Great House by Nicole Krauss
7. Flotsam by David Wiesner
8. Room by Emma Donoghue
9. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
10. Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]