Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: The Very Very Very Long Dog by Julia Patton

Shadow Mountain: Christmas Jars Collector's Edition by Jason F. Wright

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Malala's Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai, illustrated by Kerascoet

Katherine Tegen Books: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

Canterbury Classics: Compact Novel Journals

Katherine Tegen Books: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Quotation of the Day

Miami Book Fair: 'Right Here, Right Now, People Still Like Print'

"There hasn't ever really been a shortage of readers. Readers still want to read books and still have very strong interest in what authors have to say. What's happening in publishing and bookselling is that we're undergoing a massive change in the delivery system. It's a distribution issue more than anything else. Writers are writing great things, and readers want to read them.... In many ways, the book fair does it so perfectly. We're able to attract readership by having live authors.''

--Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and chairperson of the Miami Book Fair, in a Miami Herald article that observed: "Right here, right now, people still like print."

 


Freeform: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton


News

Image of the Day: Breaking the Walls


The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo., reopens tomorrow after being closed for three days for renovation and expansion. Events and marketing coordinator Besse Lynch wrote, "We're tearing down walls and making more space for books and better space for our friends and community members to gather." The renovations include more cafe seating, new checkout areas and an improved children's section. The store has been updating its progress on Facebook. Down and dirty (from l.): owners Kristi Allio and Nicole Magistro.

 


Other Press: Bookselling Without Borders Scholarship


Notes: Chelsea Handler's Imprint; B&N's Nook Color Ships Early

Comedian and bestselling author Chelsea Handler--whose most recent book is Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang--has been given her own imprint, Borderline Amazing/A Chelsea Handler Book, by Hachette's Grand Central division. The new imprint will launch next May with the publication of Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me.

"I wanted to give my family and friends a chance to make some money off all the nonsense I’ve put them through," Handler said. The second, as yet untitled, book in the three-book deal will be "written" by her dog, Chunk, who has almost 95,000 followers on his Twitter account. Handler will be involved in promoting the imprint's releases.
 
"We are absolutely thrilled not only to be continuing our relationship with Chelsea, but to take it to the next level with the imprint," said Beth de Guzman, v-p, editor-in-chief of paperbacks at Grand Central.

Added Handler: "I love books, and the publishing business has been kind to me. Now I can play a role in giving other talents I believe in the same opportunity."

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Road testing the Nook Color. Although the official release date is November 26, Barnes & Noble said it has already begun shipping advance orders of the new $249 Nook Color, which the Wall Street Journal called "a luxury model in the e-reader world currently dominated by the $139 monochrome Amazon.com Kindle" in its review praising the device's "book-size build and stylish design. Its user interface is inviting and its digital bookstore is redesigned to make shopping for books enjoyable. Nook Color is aimed at people who are primarily focused on reading but crave the iPad's color and some of its versatility.... The Nook Color is unapologetically focused on reading."

CrunchGear agreed, noting that its "bottom line" conclusion was that the Nook Color "is an e-reader. It isn't a tablet. Once you understand that and once you understand the market for the former and not the latter, the Nook Color begins to make more sense. It is an e-reader for people who want small size, a bright color screen, and a usable interface for buying, downloading, and reading books. It won't run Angry Birds and it won't let you do your taxes. This is not a back door into the world of tablets."

B&N also announced that Nook Color demonstration units, along with very limited quantities of devices available for purchase, will start arriving in B&N, Best Buy, Walmart and Books-A-Million stores beginning this week.

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Borders plans to close its downtown Santa Barbara, Calif., store. Jason Roy, general manager of the 900 State Street location, told the Pacific Coast Business Times that the bookstore will close in January.

"It’s sad that this Borders is leaving State Street," said Roy. "In general if you walk State Street all the businesses are slow. Walking it last night it was dead. I think it has to do with the economic times."

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Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011 showcased its picks for the world's greatest bookshops, "the best spots to browse, buy, hang out, find sanctuary among the shelves, rave about your favorite writers and meet book-loving characters."

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Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., is donating 100% of the profits from sales of former President George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points to the nearby San Francisco V.A. Hospital. SF Weekly reported that store co-owner Kevin Ryan "says this is not the first time they've donated the profits of a book San Franciscans probably aren't queuing up to obtain. Last year, all the proceeds from Sarah Palin's Going Rogue were sent to the Alaska Wildlife Alliance."

"We ended up selling like 10 or 12 copies," he noted. "That's 8 or 10 more than we would have sold." Ryan considers this the perfect way to "make a political statement about a book but still offer it to customers. Every bookstore has the right to not sell a book. But that's not us."

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For some other bookstores, Decision Points has been decisive in boosting sales as the holiday season approaches. Last week, the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., had former President Bush at a breakfast event in a private club in downtown Chicago. The store sold 1,476 copies of Decision Points to the 490 people in attendance. "We came with 1,200 signed books and were able to secure another 276 signed copies for special orders," owner Roberta Rubin said. "It will make our fourth quarter for sure."

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Adam Tobin, owner of Unnameable Books, Brooklyn, N.Y., spoke with the Prospect Heights Patch about his work as a bookseller. "The things that I most love are the very basic everyday things," Tobin said. "Dealing with people, dealing with my neighbors and people who read. Interesting people. Weird people. People who have particular interests who come to me for books, who come to me and talk about books. I enjoy that, although it is very frustrating some times. Some days I am more gracious towards people than other days.

"The other thing is the books themselves. I really love going through piles of books and picking out the ones that I want. I really enjoy trafficking in them, moving them from the hands of one person into the hands of another person. And just coming across surprising things all the time."

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"One of Nashville's best friends is dying," wrote Gail Kerr in the Tennessean regarding the imminent closure of the Davis-Kidd Booksellers store there (Shelf Awareness, November 12, 2010). Kerr's paean concluded: "At another location, Davis-Kidd could easily thrive again. Surely to goodness there is some book-loving Nashvillian with ample resources who is willing to administer CPR."

In addition, a Keep Davis-Kidd Nashville Open Facebook campaign has been launched, with organizers pleading, "This isn't just any bookstore... it has been your bookstore. Isn't that what they told us? Its bricks are the milestones of your life cemented with the loving presence of the booksellers and servers who have helped you for three decades. And now, your bookstore needs you. Now, it is time to take your bookstore back."

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Police blotters and the book trade. The Consumerist took note of the following from the Hudson Hub Times: After a local man called police to report he had seen an unidentified person leave a package at his house, the officer who investigated the incident "said he could see the package was clearly labeled with the Amazon.com logo and asked the man if he had ordered anything from the firm recently. The man reportedly said 'Why yes, I did.' The officer told the resident his order had arrived. The resident then said he was comfortable opening the box. The officer then left the scene."

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In a post titled "Digital Underclass: Libraries Aren't Dead Yet," ZDNet featured commentary by New Jersey librarian and library advocate Andy Woodworth, who recommended a video about the Darien, Conn., Public Library: "This library is one of the top public libraries in the United States if not the world. It’s a marvelous video about a new library that was constructed and how it has became the focal point of the community. The reason that this has reached to the hearts of the community is that it is completely people oriented: the library staff members work hard to make the connection between the customer and the information or material that is sought. The library of the past is no longer an information gatekeeper, but now an information launch point. The enormous increase in the amount of information that is available to an individual will increase (not decrease) the need for librarians and other information professionals."

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A NASA photo of astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson viewing Earth from the International Space Station was deemed by Boing Boing the "perfect cover for the perfect unwritten/unread SF novel I wanted to read when I was thirteen."

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Bookcase of the day: Modern Residential Design showcased Aakkoset by Kayiwa, which "can also serve as a room divider bookcase."

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Book trailer of the day: Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (Knopf), featuring the book's illustrator, Loren Long.

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Columbia University Press has made the following appointments:

Peggy Garry has joined the Press as director of intellectual property and subsidiary rights. She was formerly counsel at Vook, earlier worked in legal and business affairs at Wiley, Golden Book and Disney and has taught publishing law at New York University.
Justine Evan has been promoted to manager of subsidiary rights from subsidiary rights associate.
Brad Hebel has been promoted to assistant director of the Press and continues as director of sales and marketing.
Meredith Howard has been promoted to assistant marketing director and continues as publicity director.
Todd Lazarus has been promoted to assistant marketing director and direct marketing manager from direct mail manager.

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Amy Baker has been promoted to senior marketing director of Harper Perennial. She has been with HarperCollins for 10 years.

 


Ingram Publisher Services: Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Dundurn Press


Berlinica Publishing: A Bridge to the U.S.


All things Berlin might well be the motto of Berlinica Publishing, "the first publishing company in the U.S. devoted to Berlin," as founder Dr. Eva C. Schweitzer put it during a launch party last week at the German Consulate in New York City. "We're planning a huge, ambitious program," she said. "Our idea is to get books from Germany, translate them and turn them into American books." Berlinica is also selling DVDs and CDs from Germany; movies will have English subtitles. Its first list should be "up and running" by Christmas, and the list will include histories, guides, novels, cookbooks and more.

Schweitzer is an author and journalist from Berlin with a degree in American culture who lives in New York City. The author of the first book she is publishing here is her mirror image in many ways: Holly-Jane Rahlens grew up in New York City and has lived in Berlin for the past 40 years. Speaking at the Berlinica party, where she read from her novel Wallflower, Rahlens recalled what drew her to make such a big move: "In 1970, I fell in love with a Berliner," she said. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, she thought she saw Dustin Hoffman. "He turned out to be Helmut."

An appropriate inaugural title for a publishing house linking Berlin with the U.S., Wallflower is the story of Molly Lenzfeld, a 16-year-old New Yorker in West Berlin in 1989 for a year with her father, who is originally German and teaching for a year in the divided city. Molly doesn't like Berlin, however, and decides to move back to New York early. Two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, just before she is to leave, she decides to visit newly opened East Berlin to see the house where her late mother, who was Jewish, lived before fleeing the Nazis. On her long, convoluted trip via subway to the east, she meets Mick, an East German boy a few years older--and her life changes forever.

Rahlens recounted that "one of the great tragedies of my life" was that when the Wall came down, she was shopping in Macy's in San Francisco. "On 50 TV screens in the electronics department, I saw scenes from Checkpoint Charlie," she said. "Tom Brokaw was reporting from the Brandenburg Gate. I got goosebumps. I kept saying, 'That's my city! That's my city!'" Suddenly Berlin became "the center of the universe," she said. "Millions came." In Wallflower, a YA title that works well for adults, too, she aimed to "capture the feeling of what it was like right after the Wall fell," particularly for "teens today" who weren't alive then.

The city, now arguably the cultural capital of Europe, is hotter than ever--and Berlinica hopes to capture that feeling and convey it to Americans.--John Mutter

 


Disney-Hyperion: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Apolo Anton Ohno on Tavis Smiley

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: a feature on the document Harmony made by Prince Charles. The tie-in book is Harmony: A New Way of Looking at the World (Harper, $29.99, 9780061731310/0061731315).

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Tomorrow on BloombergTV's In Business: Steve Rattner, author of Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547443218/0547443218). He will also appear tomorrow morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Lan Samantha Chang, author of All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost (Norton, $23.95, 9780393063066/0393063062). As the show put it: "This short novel emerged virtually whole--unique in the writing life of its author, Lan Samantha Chang. Perhaps this is because the book is about the writing life. Two writers meet in an MFA program and remain in an odd, life-long relationship. Chang, the chairman of the famous writing workshops at Iowa, speaks about the fragility of the writer’s life, its sacrifices and its rewards."

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Apolo Anton Ohno, author of Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday (Atria, $26, 9781451609066/145160906X).

Also on Tavis Smiley: Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life (Little, Brown, $29.99, 9780316001922/0316001929).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Philip K. Howard, author of Life Without Lawyers: Restoring Responsibility in America (Norton, $15.95, 9780393338034/0393338037).

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: George W. Bush, author of Decision Points (Crown, $35, 9780307590619/0307590615).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Dennis Lehane, author of Moonlight Mile (Morrow, $26.99, 9780061836923/0061836923).

 


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Lilac Lane by Sheryl Woods


Movies: The Great Gatsby

Actress Carey Mulligan has been offered the role of Daisy Buchanan in director Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Luhrmann "has been meeting with actors and conducting table reads over the past couple of months in order to find the right mix for his cast, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire pegged to play Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway, respectively."

 



Books & Authors

Awards: Cundill Prize in History; Costa Shortlist

Diarmaid MacCulloch's A History of Christianity: The First 3000 Years won the $75,000 Cundill Prize in History, which is administered by McGill University's Dean of Arts, with the help of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

"At a time when quarrels between believers and non believers, new atheists and old faithfuls, dominate so much of our public discourse, Diarmaid MacCulloch has given us the one thing that we most need--not polemic but history, high, wide, and lucid, and, given the enormity of his task, often winningly light of touch," said Adam Gopnik on behalf of the jury. "Though all of the books in the short list seemed to us wonderful works of narrative history--and well written, too--MacCulloch's stands out. If any book could truly fulfill the charge of the Cundill Prize--to make first class history more potent to a wide reading public, and above all to remind us that history, even three thousand years worth, matters--this one does."

The other finalists, Giancarlo Casale's The Ottoman Age of Exploration and Marla Miller's Betsy Ross and the Making of America received Recognition of Excellence prizes of $10,000 each.

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Finalists have been named for this year's Costa Book Awards, which recognize the most enjoyable books in five categories--first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book--published during the past year by writers living in the U.K. and Ireland. Category winners will be announced January 5, 2011, with the 2010 Costa Book of the Year named January 25 at an awards ceremony in London. The complete Costa Book Awards shortlist is available here

 


Hudson Booksellers' Best Books of 2010

Hudson Booksellers, which has 65 bookstores and sells books in more than 350 Hudson News newsstands in airports and transportation terminals in North America, has selected its best books published in 2010. The lists are displayed in all the stores and were picked by a panel of company booksellers and managers.

Book of the Year: The Big Short by Michael Lewis

Best Fiction:

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Room by Emma Donoghue
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Eden Hunter by Skip Horack
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

Best Nonfiction:

The Possessed by Elif Batuman
Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell
The Wave by Susan Casey
Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Fatal System Error by Joseph Menn
Birdology by Sy Montgomery
The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Last Call by Daniel Okrent
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Best Young Readers:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
It's a Book by Lane Smith
Art & Max by David Wiesner

Best Business Interest:

Switch by Chip and Dean Heath
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Getting Naked by Patrick Lencioni
The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Aftershock by Robert Reich

 


Children's Reviews: 'Tis the Season Round-Up

It's time to make merry with a few of our favorite selections.

12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora (Putnam/Penguin, $16.99, 9780399250736/0399250735, 32 pp., ages 3-5, October 2010)

Incorporating the fabrics, sights and sounds of Africa into stunning collage artwork, Isadora ('Twas the Night Before Christmas) once again uses a holiday favorite to transport us to another continent. An endnote says she took her inspiration for "nine ladies dancing" from the women of Swaziland, and the drums of the 12 drummers from Ghana and Nigeria. A map of the continent orients readers, and a small rebus that runs across the top and bottom margins of each spread keeps track of the previous gifts. Children will want to get on their feet and dance to the beat.

 

Captain Sky Blue by Richard Egielski (Michael di Capua/Scholastic, $17.95, 9780545213424/0545213428, 32 pp., ages 5-7, September 2010)

Here's a Yuletide tale of high adventure--literally! Jack finds Captain Sky Blue under the tree on Christmas morning, pieces together the toy plane, and the wild ride begins. Much of the fun derives from the contrast Egielski (Hey, Al! ) creates between the toy plane and its actual-size surroundings. Boys and girls who pine for action will learn a plethora of pilot-style vocabulary ("We've hit the goo!") and cheer for Sky as he helps Santa guide his sleigh.

 

The Child in the Manger by Liesbet Slegers (Clavis [IPG, dist.], $15.95, 9781605370842/ 1605370843, 32 pp., ages 3-6, October 2010)

This Nativity story's spare text and bold colors invite even youngest children into the central story of Christmas. Mary and Joseph come across as any loving parents with a newborn child would: "They hugged and kissed their little baby. And they covered him with straw to keep him warm." Slegers makes this Holy child seem just like every cherished child.

 

The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Hughes (Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763644727/0763644722, 32 pp., ages 4-8, September 2010)

In a heartwarming story just right for reading aloud, Hughes (Don't Want to Go! ) takes as inspiration an episode from her own childhood as she describes a Christmas Eve scare for young Bronwen and Dylan. Lovingly rendered illustrations show the siblings' modest yet comfortable home in 1930s Liverpool, where they've recently moved with their newly widowed mother. While their mother is out, the children hear a "ghostie" in their washroom. They seek help from their neighbor Mrs. O'Riley, and smooth the way for a friendship between the two families.

 

The Christmas Giant by Steve Light (Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763646929/076364692X, 32 pp., ages 3-6, September 2010)

Every year, the giant Humphrey and tiny elf Leetree make the wrapping paper for Santa's gifts. But this year Santa also asks them to grow his Christmas tree. Light's (Trucks Go) pen-and-ink and pastel illustrations depict with affection and humor the pair's dedication to their cause: "Leetree plants the small seed. Humphrey carries the big can of water." When events take an unexpected turn, the two come up with a clever solution. This gentle lesson in opposites proves that differences can make a friendship (and teamwork) stronger.

 

Christmas Is Here by Lauren Castillo (S&S, $12.99, 9781442408227/1442408227, 32 pp., ages 4-8, October 2010)

This nearly wordless picture book (with just a few lines from the King James Bible) brilliantly connects a present-day child's discovery of a Christmas pageant in progress with the very first Christmas under a star in Bethlehem. Through her ink and watercolor illustrations, Castillo creates a glow that seems to emanate from the child in the manger. Her subtle connection between the modern baby dressed in white and the long-ago baby wrapped in swaddling clothes speaks to the way a new life feels miraculous to every family.

 

The Elves' First Christmas by Atsuko Morozumi (Matthew Price [Consortium, dist.], $16.95, 9780984436668/0984436669, 32 pp., ages 3-6, November 2010)

With gauzy illustrations that suggest Christmas magic, Morozumi (One Gorilla) imagines how Santa's elves came to the North Pole. Driven from their treetop home by humans seeking lumber, the elves travel to the far North. A blizzard forces them into a barn--which belongs to a certain Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Santa helps the elves build a village of their own, and when he falls ill, they fill his workshop with handmade toys. Cozy scenes of the industrious elves make this ideal fireside reading.

 

It's Christmas, David! by David Shannon (Blue Sky/Scholastic, $16.99, 32 pp., ages 2-6, 9780545143110/054514311X, September 2010)

The star of the Caldecott Honor Book No, David! can't wait for Christmas. But his naughtiness takes on a whole other connotation when his mother dangles the threat of Santa plunking a lump of coal in his stocking. The usual holiday rituals (making a list, waiting in line for Santa) become the source of high comedy in Shannon's hands.

 

Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia's Christmas Kitchen by Lidia Bastianich, illus. by Laura Logan (Running Press Kids, $15.95, 9780762436927/0762436921, 56 pp., ages 4-8, October 2010)

Lidia Bastianich, chef extraordinaire and cooking show host, here tells a story from her own childhood in Italy to her five grandchildren, with warmly painted portraits by Logan. As the woman describes making homemade cookies and handmade crafts for the Christmas tree, she inspires the children to try their hand. Recipes for 16 holiday treats and decorations are included (and require adult supervision).

 

Odetta: The Queen of Folk by Stephen Alcorn (Scholastic, $17.99, 9780439928182/ 0439928184, 40pp., ages 9-12, December 2010)

For years, Odetta led the moving conclusion to the annual World Peace Concert on New Year's Eve at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Her lone voice and candle ("This little light of mine...") began a chorus and string of interconnected lights that filled the massive church and flowed out into the streets of Manhattan. Her final album (she died in 2008) was Gonna Let It Shine: A Concert for the Holidays. Alcorn's picture-book biography similarly illuminates Odetta's legacy, and the way her music inspired the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. With a rap-like lilt to the text and glorious illustrations that capture Odetta as both iconic and earthbound, he depicts her as a woman who preached equality through her music.

 

The Toymaker's Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself by Marilyn Scott-Waters (Sterling, $7.95 paper, 9781402768521/1402768524, 48 pp., ages 8-11, October 2010)

Sumptuous nostalgic illustrations printed on sturdy cardboard pages allow older children to punch out and assemble useful and attractive crafts, such as a "treat box" for Santa, to leave near the stockings, and a "Secret Christmas Box" to tuck under the tree. The best, though, is an Advent wheel that shows eager children how many days remain until Christmas.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


Shelf Starter: Lord of Misrule

 

Lord of Misrule: A Novel by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson & Company, $25, 9780929701837/0929701836, November 14, 2010)

 

Opening lines of a book we want to read, from the 2010 National Book Award fiction winner:

 

Inside the back gate of Indian Mound Downs, a hot-walking machine creaked round and round. In the judgment of Medicine Ed, walking a horse himself on the shedrow of Barn Z, the going-nowhere contraption must be the lost soul of this cheap racetrack where he been ended up at. It as stuck there in the gate, so you couldn't get out. It filled up the whole road between a hill of horse manure against the backside fence, stubbled with pale dirty straw like a penitentiary haircut, and a long red puddle in the red dirt, a puddle that was almost a pond. Right down to the sore horses at each point of the silver star, it resembled some woebegone carnival ride, some skeleton of a two-bit ride dreamed up by a dreamer too tired to dream. There'd been no rain all August and by now the fresh worked horses were half lost in the pink cloud of their own shuffling. Red dust from those West Virginia hills rode in their wide open nostrils and stuck to their squeezebox lungs. Red dust, working its devilment, he observed to himself, but he shut his mouth. They were not his horses. --selected by Marilyn Dahl

 


Book Brahmin: Paul L. Gaus

 

Paul L. Gaus was born and raised in Ohio, and has lived for the past 33 years in Wooster, Ohio, where he taught chemistry at the College of Wooster. He took an interest in writing fiction in 1993 and, with the advice and encouragement of author Tony Hillerman, he began to write mystery novels set in Holmes County, Ohio, among the Amish. The first of Gaus's mysteries, Blood of the Prodigal: An Ohio Amish Mystery, was published in June 1999 by Ohio University Press; a total of six novels have appeared in this series. Plume is republishing them as trade paperbacks, retitled the Amish-Country Mysteries, beginning with Blood of the Prodigal, Broken English and, due out November 30, Clouds Without Rain.

On your nightstand now:

I finished a manuscript recently, and then I got myself out to a fine bookstore, looking for something to read besides my latest. So, this list is a little longer than usual. The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain, One Fearful Yellow Eye by John D. MacDonald, The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger, City of Thieves by David Benioff, Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley and Dressed for Death by Donna Leon.

Favorite book when you were a child:

That's an easy one--any western by Zane Grey. I read the hardcover first editions that my father collected, and I couldn't get enough of them. Ride through the west on a horse with a six-shooter? That seemed like freedom to me.

Your top five authors:

I promise to work really hard to limit this to five. The list includes Tony Hillerman (especially the early work), James Clavell, John le Carré, Pat Conroy (but not particularly My Losing Season), F. Scott Fitzgerald, John D. MacDonald (his Travis McGee series), Dennis Lehane (anything, everything), Stephen R. Donaldson (particularly the Thomas Covenant series), Alex Haley and a constellation of the darker Russians (Dostoevsky, Pasternak, Tolstoy and Solzhenitsyn). Is that five? I think it is. Close enough.

Book you've faked reading:

The Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945 by Tindall (for a college history class).

Book(s) you are an evangelist for:

Two, which I consider to be among the most important American works of their era: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. These two books capture slices of American culture with the same power and flare as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Book you bought for the cover:

I don't remember it, and I can't seem to find it in my library, but there was once a book titled something like The Structure of the Molecular World. Fantastic cover. Didn't read it. That's got to mean something about covers.

Book that changed your life:

Shōgun by James Clavell. Mariko-san's love letter from the grave to Pilot-Major Blackthorn set me on a new path.

Favorite line from a book:

Again from Shōgun: "It may come to a choice, my love: Thee or thy ship. So sorry, but I chose life for thee.... This ship is nothing. Build another. This thou canst do."

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

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson.

 

 


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