Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Workman Publishing: Dinosaur: A Photicular Book, created by Dan Kainen, written by Kathy Wollard

Bantam: The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk #4) by Dean Koontz

Little Simon: But Not the Armadillo / Here, George! / Merry Christmas, Little Pookie / I Love You, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton

DC Comics: Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 2 by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Yanick Paquette

Simon Spotlight: Ready-To-Read Has It All ★Beloved Characters ★Exciting Nonfiction ★Award-winning Authors ★And More!

Arthur A. Levine Books: Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

Workman Publishing: Born to Dance: Celebrating the Wonder of Childhood by Jordan Matter


Image of the Day: Still Singing

Last Saturday, Hilary Williams held a program at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tenn. She sang and discussed her recovery from a severe car crash, and her new book about it, Sign of Life: A Story of Family, Tragedy, Music, and Healing (Da Capo Press). Backstage afterward, Williams (c.) appeared with her sister, Holly Williams; her father, Hank Williams, Jr.; photographer Ron Modra; and M.B. Roberts, co-writer.



Flame Tree Press: The Sky Woman by J.D. Moyer

Notes: &; Bush Draws Thousands

Borders has matriculated to textbook rentals:, the online textbook rental company, will be the exclusive provider of textbook rentals through The rental option is part of the new Borders Textbook Marketplace, which features more than 1.4 million new and used titles.

Founded in 2003, Chegg has raised about $200 million in financing, bought this summer and has a kind of "Netflix for textbook" model, as TechCrunch put it. Its sales may reach $130 million this year.


Yesterday morning more than 2,500 people attended former President George W. Bush's first signing for Decision Points, held at the Borders store on Preston Road in Dallas, Tex. Some fans had been waiting since noon on Monday, Borders said. Bush signed some 1,300 copies of his book, more than the publicized maximum of 800. Borders provided signed bookplates for books the former president couldn't sign.

Borders said it had sold out all copies of Decision Points the store had in stock. Likely all them were shelved and stacked front and center, not influenced by the campaign on Facebook and elsewhere to reshelve the memoir in the crime section. As Slate noted, "The group's goal, judging from its manifesto, is not necessarily to harm sales of Decision Points--the true-crime section probably attracts more motivated browsers than the tables stocked with dull, earnest nonfiction anyway--but rather to '[m]ake bookshops think twice about where they categorize our generation's greatest war criminals.' "

The campaign has its roots in similar reshelving attempts in the U.K. for former Prime Minister Tony Blair's memoir, A Journey.

Slate's final word: "Generally, though, covert book-moving is juvenile and pointless--it simply creates unnecessary work for the people who get paid to put the books in the right spot. Cyberprotesters, may I remind you of the prime directive: Fight the real enemy."


By day manager of Hopkins Fulfillment Services, the distribution division of Johns Hopkins University Press, Davida Breier (in photo at r. with collaborator "Grim Pickens") is also, under her nom de zom "DeadVida," the co-founder of Rigor Mortis, a 'zine devoted to horror with an emphasis on zombies.

In a story titled "Grave Concerns," Baltimore's City Paper profiled Breier and Rigor Mortis, which just published its third issue, writing, "Rigor is a mix of reviews--of zombie books, graphic novels, movies--well-informed articles (such as Dread Sockett's consideration of George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead with the 1990 remake in issue No. 2), and various ephemera (a great comic-book appreciation of movie special-effects man Tom Savini in issue No. 1)."

Breier is also a board member of No Voice Unheard and the Independent Book Publishers Association, runs Leeking Inc., which publishes several 'zines, and earlier was sales and marketing director at Blio Distribution and marketing director of NBN. She's also an amazing photographer.


PC World offered "5 Reasons You Don't Need an E-Book Reader," observing that "with technology changing so quickly and tablet computers cropping up in businesses, with color or not, the e-reader is a superfluous purchase." The five reasons:

  1. There's an App for That
  2. It's Not Cheap Enough
  3. Less Functionality for Work or Play
  4. E-books Are Not More Eco-friendly Than Paper Books
  5. Most Business Materials Aren't Available on an E-reader


Book trailer of the day: Vordak the Incomprehensible's How to Grow Up and Rule the World (Egmont USA).


A list of "10 Essential Books from the Last 25 Years" was featured by Flavorwire, which noted that these titles "have found a place in Generation X's (and for that matter, Y's and W's, too) common culture; books that people know about, relate to, and converge around, all from the last 25 years."


University of Maryland student and quidditch player Valerie Fischman is "waging a long-shot campaign for recognition from the National Collegiate Athletic Association," NPR reported.

"I think that having NCAA status will give it a little more credibility and help keep it around a little bit longer," said Fischman of the competition that plays a central role in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. "I'm hoping that it stays around after the Harry Potter generation leaves college." Collegiate quidditch "has been around since 2005, when Middlebury College students Alex Benepe and Alexander Manshel first began playing the game at their school," NPR noted.


Lisa Faith Phillips has joined Hachette Book Group as director of digital strategy and development. She was most recently digital marketing consultant with Flip Global Marketing and earlier was v-p and general manager at Random House Direct.


Disney-Hyperion: Incognito (Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker #2) by Shelley Johannes

Indigo Second Quarter: Sales Slip, Net Loss

In the second quarter ended October 2, revenue at Indigo Books & Music grew 3.8%, to $214.8 million (about US$212.3 million). Sales at Indigo and Chapters superstores open at least a year fell 0.7%, while same-store sales for small format locations dropped 4.8%. The net loss was $1.7 million (US$1.68 million), compared to a net profit of $2.2 million (US$2.17 million) in the same period last year.

Commenting on the results, CEO Heather Reisman said, "Our core retail book business experienced a challenging quarter against a very strong line up of titles in the same period last year. Our gift and toy businesses continued to show significant growth and reinforced our decision to expand these categories meaningfully in a majority of stores moving forward." Indigo launched expanded toy sections in six stores during the quarter and is "poised to become the largest specialty toy retailer in Canada in time for the holiday period."

At the same time, Reisman called the digital business "rapidly growing" and said "consumers have responded very favourably to our Kobo eReader, launched in the middle of our first quarter, and are showing even greater response to the new Wi-Fi model launched this past month." Kobo, in which Indigo has a 59% interest, is seeking to raise additional financing.


Houghton Mifflin: The Goodnight Train Rolls On! by June Sobel, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Heavens
by Sandra Newman

When Grove Press senior editor Peter Blackstock (The Sympathizer, Miss Burma, Freshwater) preempts a submission six days after receiving it, I tend to sit up and pay attention. In Sandra Newman's (In the Country of Ice Cream Star) transportive new novel, The Heavens, Ben meets Kate in New York, in 2000, and the two fall in love. But Kate's recurring dreams of Elizabethan England are becoming alarmingly realistic, and Ben wonders if she's losing her grip on reality. The reader's not sure of anything, other than that she never wants the book to end. Strange, stunningly clever and absolutely immersive, this book proves Blackstock's gut should be insured. --Stefanie Hargreaves, editor, Shelf Awareness for Readers

(Grove Press, $26 hardcover, 9780802129024, February 12, 2018)
Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gerald Blaine and The Kennedy Detail

This morning on the Today Show: Adriana Trigiani, author of Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers (Harper, $22.99, 9780061958946/0061958948).


This morning on Live with Regis and Kelly: Rainn Wilson, author of SoulPancake: Chew on Life's Big Questions (Hyperion, $19.99, 9781401310332/1401310338).


Today 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 morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Gerald Blaine, co-author of The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Gallery, $28, 9781439192962/1439192960).


Tomorrow on the Bill O'Reilly Show: George W. Bush, author of Decision Points (Crown, $35, 9780307590619/0307590615).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Susan Straight, author of Take One Candle Light a Room (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780307379146/0307379140). As the show put it: "The complexities of race and community are at the center of this lively discussion about family, memory, migration and history. Susan Straight is her family's chronicler, both in her novels and in day-to-day life. She tells us exactly what that entails."


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Matt Taibbi, author of Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9780385529952/0385529953).


Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Gary Dell'Abate, author of They Call Me Baba Booey (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9781400069552/1400069556).


Shelf Awareness Giveaway: Berkley Books: Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins

Movies: Jane Eyre Trailer

Flavorwire featured a trailer for a new adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, which will be released March 11, 2011, and wrote that there "are many things that make us excited about the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre: For starters, it has been way too long since there was a period romance in theaters--The Young Victoria? The director is indie filmmaker Cary Fukunaga, whose debut feature, Sin Nombre, we absolutely loved. The cast includes Mia Wasikowska, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Sally Hawkins. There are beautiful shots of moody walks across even moodier moors. And most importantly, judging from the trailer, the film embraces the dark Gothic romanticism that always made us prefer Team Brontë over Team Austen."


Television: The Rabbit Factory

Steven Weber and D.L. Hughley will star in TNT's untitled pilot from writer Allan Loeb (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). The project is based on Marshall Karp's novel The Rabbit Factory; Loeb wrote the pilot script and is an executive producer, reported. 


Books & Authors

Awards: Giller, Wellcome Trust, National Outdoor Winners

Johanna Skibsrud has won this year's $5,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, which honors the best Canadian novel or short story collection in English, for her novel, The Sentimentalists.

The book was published by Gaspereau Press, Kentville, Nova Scotia, in a first printing of only 800 copies, making it "undoubtedly the most obscure book ever to win a major literary award in Canada," as the Globe and Mail put it. Gaspereau publisher Andrew Steeves declined a larger publisher's offer to do a second printing for wider distribution, telling the paper, "If you are going to buy a copy of that book in Canada, it's damn well coming out of my shop."

The jury said that The Sentimentalists "charts the painful search by a dutiful daughter to learn--and more importantly, to learn to understand--the multi-layered truth which lies at the moral core of her dying father's life. Something happened to Napoleon Haskell during his tour of duty in Vietnam that changed his life and haunted the rest of his days. At the behest of his daughters, he moves from a trailer in North Dakota to a small lakeside town in Ontario where his family can only watch as his past slips away in a descending fog of senility. The writing here is trip-wire taut as the exploration of guilt, family and duty unfolds."

Skibsrud is a 30-year-old poet who lives in Nova Scotia and is the daughter of a Vietnam War veteran. At a ceremony in Toronto last night, she thanked her father, saying, "I can't imagine how proud he would have been."

Douglas Pepper, president of McClelland & Stewart, told the paper that the influence of the Giller Prize has increased "as independent bookstores disappear and readers lose a valuable source of advice in selecting new fiction." He told the Globe and Mail: "With fiction especially, people need guidance. They want to know when they plunk down their $30 whether or not they are going to like the book."


Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks won the £25,000 (US$40,381) Wellcome Trust Book Prize, which honors an outstanding work of fiction or nonfiction on the theme of health and medicine.

"This is an engaging account of the life of Henrietta Lacks who died in Baltimore nearly 60 years ago and the immortal life of her cancer cells, which continue to replicate in research laboratories around the world to this day," said chair of the judging panel Clive Anderson. "There are several stories to be told: the changing attitudes and ethics of the medical profession; the economics of healthcare; and the successes and slip ups of modern scientific methods. In addition, the book reveals the human story of Henrietta Lacks' family, who the author got to know in the course of her extensive research. A worthy winner of a prize designed to honor fine writing on a medical theme."

Clare Matterson, Wellcome Trust's director of medical humanities and engagement added: "It's wonderful that the prize has been awarded to a book that was such a labor of love for its author. Rebecca Skloot's work absolutely meets the objective of this prize.  It has something of everything--a compelling science story, an emotional personal story and intriguing ethical dilemmas--and all woven together and written with great style."

The shortlist included Grace Williams Says it Loud by Emma Henderson, Medic: Saving lives--from Dunkirk to Afghanistan by John Nichol and Tony Rennell, Teach Us to Sit Still by Tim Parks, So Much for That by Lionel Shriver and Angel of Death: The Story of Smallpox by Gareth Williams.


The 18 winners of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards, "honoring the best in outdoor writing and publishing" and sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, can be found here.



Book Brahmin: Paul Auster

Paul Auster is the author of Invisible, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, Oracle Night and the New York Trilogy. He also edited I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology. His work has been translated into 35 languages. Auster lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and his most recent novel, Sunset Park, was published on November 9, 2010 (Frances Coady/Henry Holt).


On your nightstand now:

With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge. And the essays of Montaigne.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Chip Hilton sports books, written by Claire Bee--now forgotten by everyone, I would imagine.

Your top five authors:

Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dickens, Dostoyevsky and Kafka.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The stories of Heinrich von Kleist.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Believe it or not, I have never done that.

Book that changed your life:

Crime and Punishment.

Favorite line from a book:

"I write for those on whom the black ox hath trod."--Fulke Greville, Elizabethan poet

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

Molloy by Samuel Beckett.

Listen to Paul Auster read an excerpt from Sunset Park, beginning with the first chapter, here.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Marbury Lens

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 Hardcover, 9780312613426, November 2010)

Andrew Smith (Ghost Medicine; In the Path of Falling Objects) once again proves his ability to penetrate complex psyches and mature themes within the framework of a spellbinding plot. Just days before 16-year-old narrator John ("Jack") Wynn Whitmore is to leave for a two-week trip to England with his best friend, Conner Kirk, Jack gets kidnapped. He blames himself: he gets drunk at a party at Conner's house, falls asleep on a park bench in Steckel Park, and accepts a ride from a doctor. The doctor, Freddie Horvath, drugs him, and Jack winds up bound to a bed in the man's house. After Freddie uses a stun gun on Jack and nearly rapes him, the teen begins to disassociate from himself, moving from a first-person narrative to third-person references: "Jack doesn't cry, though. Never has." A strange sound ("Roll. Tap. Tap. Tap") from beneath the bed leads Jack to discover a sharp spring that he uses to cut the bindings on his hands. Jack escapes physical confinement by page 31, but his mental imprisonment and his struggle to break free of it have just begun.

Jack confides the details of his kidnapping to Conner but refuses to go to the police ("What would they do, anyway? I'd just end up in trouble for being drunk and on drugs," Jack says). When Jack spies Freddie's Mercedes near Steckel Park, Conner seizes the chance for retribution. Freddie, however, catches them in the act of vandalizing his car, things spin out of control, and Freddie winds up dead. While Conner seems to take their self-determined act of justice in stride, Jack becomes even more distanced from himself. He arrives in London a few days ahead of Conner, and events grow even stranger. A man named Henry Hewitt follows Jack from his hotel to the Prince of Wales pub. He tells Jack he's known the teen for "a very long time.... Not from here, though, from Marbury." The stranger gives Jack a pair of glasses, and when Jack puts them on, they transport him to another world--Marbury. It's a world at war and ravaged by plague. Harvesters--zombie-like creatures with one black eye and one white eye who feed on human flesh--are tracking Jack and two half-brothers, Ben and Griffin. Jack begins to recognize people in Marbury as counterparts to those in his present-day world. He also learns that a ghost named Seth (marked by his signature sounds, "Roll. Tap. Tap. Tap") has been looking out for him, acting as Jack's escort between the two worlds. As Jack feels increasingly trapped by his secret, Marbury draws him back like a drug: "Being in Marbury was in some ways like being imprisoned by Freddie Horvath: I didn't have the time or energy to worry about what was real." Smith simultaneously demonstrates Jack's unraveling and the valiant efforts of his friends--both Conner and his new love interest, Nickie--to keep him afloat as he sorts through his conflicting feelings of guilt, anger and depression. While Seth's story does not feel as integral to the overall arc of the novel, Smith keeps the tension between Marbury and the present-day worlds as taut as the tightrope Jack walks. As readers, we feel the addictive pull of The Marbury Lens every bit as strongly as the hero does. Just try to put this book down.--Jennifer M. Brown


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