Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Mira Books: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Workman Publishing: Flow

Center Street: Death Need Not Be Fatal by Malachy McCourt and Brian McDonald

RosettaBooks: Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir by Dawit Gebremichael Habte

Doubleday Books: Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Walden Pond Press: York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby

Quotation of the Day

'Parsing' the NYTBR's E-Book Bestseller Lists

"I sat with the Book Review yesterday at my local coffee shop, and I looked long and hard at the lists, and I waited, as the song goes, for the miracle to come. There are now many, many lists. Because this was a special occasion, I thought I should spend longer than usual parsing them--not from a marketer’s perspective but from a reader’s perspective--allowing them to give up whatever secrets they held....

"What I learned from reading the e-book lists is that I do not care what format people read books in. This was somewhat astonishing to me, because I thought I did. But no. I do not care whether people read The Lean Belly Prescription on their Kindles or their Nooks or their iPads or in hardcover or in paperback. Or, the only reason I can think to care is that toting around a weighty hardcover burns more calories than toting around a near-weightless Kindle. But you know what really burns calories? Lugging (definitively not toting) around a hardcover copy of The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Vol. 1."

--Macy Halford in her post, "A Reaction to the Times E-Book Best-Seller Lists," on the New Yorker's Book Bench blog.

 


ECW Press: The Dhow House by Jean McNeil


News

Image of the Day: West of Here

 

At the launch party last Thursday for West of Here by Jonathan Evison (Algonquin), the author signs a copy for Amanda Corr, a bookseller at the University Bookstore in Mill Creek, Wash.

 


DK Publishing: Out of the Box by Jemma Westing


Notes: B&N Woos Amazon Partners; 'Big Fancy Book Robot'

All's fair in love and war. Yesterday Barnes & Noble sent a Valentine's Day missive to Amazon.com affiliates, inviting them to shift to B&N.com, which for many years has collected sales tax on all purchases.

"We understand that Amazon.com has threatened to terminate its affiliate program in certain states that may enact e-fairness legislation that requires Amazon to collect sales tax due on purchases by residents in those states," B&N wrote. "Barnes & Noble is disappointed to hear that Amazon would threaten small businesses' livelihood rather than comply with state law."

The company singled out affiliates in the states where Amazon has severed ties with affiliates in an effort to avoid having to collect sales tax, writing, "If Amazon doesn't want you, we do!"

B&N promised to collect and remit all applicable sales tax "so you and our customers don't have to worry about being hassled or prosecuted by state tax auditors."

B&N said it has more than 13,000 affiliates. The Wall Street Journal noted that Amazon has severed relationships with affiliates in Rhode Island, North Carolina and Hawaii because of those states' efforts to make Amazon collect sales tax.

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Sad news from Seattle, Wash.: Fremont Place Books is closing on Sunday, February 27. Founded 22 years ago, the store has been owned for the last seven years by Henry Burton, who wrote to friends and customers: "Because sales have dropped precipitously and the bookstore's debts have increased dramatically, we have reached the point where the business is no longer sustainable. Whether people are using e-readers, using the library, buying books online, choosing to shop elsewhere, or simply not buying books at all, the basic fact is that we have not been selling enough books to keep the business going."

He also wrote in part, "I am immensely grateful to all of you for your support, encouragement and advice. What I will miss the most is my interactions with all the wonderful people who have come into the store, many of whom I now consider friends.  I will miss all of you greatly."

The store is holding a farewell open house on February 27, noon-6 p.m. As Burton wrote, "Please stop by and help us celebrate all that is great about books, bookselling, and being part of a community."

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NPR's Science Friday aired a segment about McNally-Jackson Books' new Espresso Book Machine, "a big fancy book robot," as John Turner, a buyer at the New York City store, put it. See it in action here.

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Book trailer of the day: Of Indigo and Saffron: New and Selected Poems by Michael McClure (University of California Press), in which a young McClure reads to lions, originally filmed by Richard O. Moore in a series called USA Poetry.

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When in doubt, ask the experts. To offer a little Valentine's Day assistance, USA Today asked romance writers to "share their secrets for a more romantic life."

Jayne Ann Krentz observed that one of the primary reasons readers enjoy romance fiction is that men in the books really talk to the women: "They talk things out rather than hide from the issues. They don't shut down. They will deal with charged emotional issues as opposed to running out and playing a game of basketball to work off the energy of an argument.... In a romance novel, when the heroes and heroines do quarrel, both sides fight fair. There is no name-calling, no verbal abuse. No one brings up old history."

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt named the guest editors for its 2011 "Best American" series. Bruce Nichols, senior v-p and publisher of the Trade & Reference Group, said, "2010 was another great year for the series with The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Comics on the New York Times Best Sellers list; 2011 has come together to be just as exciting." This year's series editors will be:

The Best American Short Stories: Geraldine Brooks
The Best American Essays: Edwidge Danticat
The Best American Comics: Alison Bechdel
The Best American Nonrequired Reading: Dave Eggers, with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro
The Best American Travel Writing: Sloane Crosley
The Best American Science and Nature Writing: Mary Roach
The Best American Sports Writing: Jane Leavy
The Best American Mystery Stories: Harlan Coben

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What is Little Red Riding Hood listening to on her iPod? Flavorwire suggested a literary mixtape for the girl who "would be struggling with her innocence post-wolf incident, clinging to the youthful, pretty songs she picked flowers to, while opening her world to new things. Also, we really think she'd be into mostly female singers, for some reason. Girl power and all that."

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"Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak." The Onion's A.V. Club featured "15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has or Will."
 
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The Washington Independent Review of Books, sponsored by the AIW Freedom to Write Fund, launched yesterday as a website "dedicated to book reviews and writing about the world of books." The president is historian and author David O. Stewart. The Independent says that Washington writers, including Alice McDermott, George Pelecanos, Kitty Kelley, Marie Arana and James Swanson, are supporting the review.

The Independent will have "a Washington, D.C., flavor to it," with a local bestseller list and literary events calendar, for example, but will also review "books spanning many genres, written by a variety of writers, some accomplished and some new on the scene, and published by presses both small and large. As for our reviewers, some of them will be well known and some will not." The Independent will post new editorial material daily.

The Independent cited declining book review coverage in newspapers as one reason for starting the publication and recalled the founding of the New York Review of Books during the 1963 newspaper strike in New York City as an inspiration.

For more information, contact outreach and marketing manager Gene Taft at GeneTaftPR@aol.com, 917-701-4072 or 301-593-0766.

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Anne Kubek has joined INscribe Digital, which offers global digital distribution, content conversion and optimization services via ONE Digital. She formerly worked for Borders Group for nearly 20 years, leaving in 2009 as executive v-p of merchandising and marketing. She was also senior v-p of stores, v-p of human resources, v-p of books and regional director.

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Erin Kottke has been promoted to publicity director at Graywolf Press. She joined Graywolf in 2005 as marketing assistant and was later promoted to marketing and publicity manager. Besides publicity, she is responsible for Graywolf's social media efforts and bookseller outreach initiatives.

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Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added the following publishers:

1001 Inventions, Manchester, England, was created by the Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilization to  promote the scientific and cultural achievements of Muslim civilization. The 1001 Inventions exhibition, which tours the U.S. for the next three years, has a tie-in book called 1001 Inventions. The book is available from Consortium March 1.

Behler Publications, Lake Forest, Calif., specializes in titles that deal with how people are influenced and changed by their experiences and how they deal with those repercussions. Behler's lead fall title is Throwaway Players: Concussion Crisis From PeeWee Football to the NFL by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president Gay Culverhouse. Another key title, Off the Street by Christopher Baughman, explores prostitution and offers parents guidance on how to protect their daughters from sex predators. Titles are available now.

GLAS New Russian Writing, Moscow, Russia, specializes in contemporary Russian literature in English translation. Since 1991, GLAS has been discovering new writers, such as Victor Pelevin and Lyudmila Ulitskaya, and rediscovering underappreciated works by past masters such as the early writings of Mikhail Bulgakov. Forthcoming titles are Michele Birdy's The Russian Word's Worth and Squaring the Circle, an anthology featuring the work of young Russian authors--winners of the Debut Prize. GLAS New Russian Writing titles will be available March 1.

Nortia Press, in Orange County, publishes high-quality, affordable literature, with an emphasis on current events, foreign affairs, business and historical fiction. Lead titles include The Myth of Western Civilization by Touraj Daryaee and Morning Calm, a semi-autobiographical first novel written by Jason Morwick, a West Point graduate who served in South Korea. Nortia Press titles are available now.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Touch by Courtney Maum


Obituary: Richard Daley

Richard Daley, co-owner and manager of Pass Christian Books in Pass Christian, Miss., died on February 2.

The store noted that Daley's "zeal for promoting and discussing favorite authors will be fondly remembered by both customers of the store and friends." He was particularly interested in Native American history, was "an enthusiastic participant" in several Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans and Pass Christian and worked passionately for the care of animals.

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed Pass Christian Books, Daley and co-owner Scott Naugle started over. For a time, Daley sold books from his home, his car and at street fairs until the store found a new home.

A memorial fund has been established in his name at the South Mississippi Humane Society.

 

 


Soho Crime: The Second Day of the Renaissance (Inspector Trotti #6) by Timothy Williams



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kurt Andersen on Creativity

This morning on the Today Show: Tracey Jackson, author of Between a Rock and a Hot Place: Why Fifty Is Not the New Thirty (Harper, $25.99, 9780061669279).

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Today on the Joy Behar Show: Carolyn Savage, author of Inconceivable: A Medical Mistake, the Baby We Couldn't Keep, and Our Choice to Deliver the Ultimate Gift (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062004635).

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Today on Dr. Phil: Steve Harvey, author of Straight Talk, No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man (Amistad, $24.99, 9780061728990).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Liz Seccuro, author of Crash Into Me: A Survivor's Search for Justice (Bloomsbury, $25, 9781596915855).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Kathy Freston, author of Veganist: Lose Weight, Get Healthy, Change the World (Weinstein, $25, 9781602861336).

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Tomorrow on CNN's Headline News: Janet Jackson, author of True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself (Karen Hunter, $25.99, 9781416587248).

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Tomorrow on the View: Wayne Rogers, co-author of Make Your Own Rules: A Renegade Guide to Unconventional Success (AMACOM, $23, 9780814416570).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Stefan Kanfer, author of Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307271006).

Also on the Diane Rehm Show: Mark Richard, author of House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $23.95, 9780385513029).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Iyanla Vanzant, author of One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth (Fireside, $16, 9780684841342).

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Jenni "JWoww" Farley, author of The Rules According to JWOWW: Shore-Tested Secrets on Landing a Mint Guy, Staying Fresh to Death, and Kicking the Competition to the Curb (Morrow, $19.99, 9780062075390).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Kurt Andersen, co-author of Spark: How Creativity Works (Harper, $24.99, 9780061732317).

 


Spiegel & Grau: Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown


Movies: Odd Thomas

The film adaptation of Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas has begun casting, with producer Stephen Sommers naming Anton Yelchin to play the title role. Word & Film observed: "Of the various Dean Koontz adaptations that have been made, none have particularly held our attention. But now, with Yelchin attached to star and Sommers slated to produce (and direct, we hope), this is one we'll follow through to the finish. The film's release is set for far-off 2012."

 


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Greatest Story Ever Told--So Far: Why Are We Here? by Lawrence M. Krauss


Breaking Dawn Honeymoon Destination Photo

To celebrate a vampiric Valentine's Day yesterday, Summit released a preview shot of Isle Esme from Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. "The film franchise's official Twitter account tweeted a photo of the tropical island Bella and Edward visit for their honeymoon along with the message, 'Happy Valentine's Day from Isle Esme!'... The gloomy image, set on a deserted beach, features a number of lanterns leading to a boat anchored in a foggy harbor," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: NMF's Green Earth Book Awards

Winners of the Newton Marasco Foundation's 2011 Green Earth Book Awards, which honor authors and illustrators whose work inspires young readers to appreciate and care for the environment, are:

Picture Book: The Earth Book, written and illustrated by Todd Parr (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Children's Fiction: Mallory Goes Green by Laurie B. Friedman, illustrated by Jennifer Kalis (Darby Creek/Lerner Publishing Group)
Young Adult Fiction: Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald (Candlewick)
Nonfiction: Not Your Typical Book about the Environment by Elin Kelsey, illustrated by Clayton Hammer (Owlkids Books)

For more information about the awards and its honor books, click here.

 


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

Gone by Mo Hayder (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, 9780802119643). "Mo Hayder's gritty, intense thriller series featuring detectives Jack Caffery and Flea Marley is a must for anyone who likes breakneck timing and detectives who walk on the dark side. In Gone, an apparent carjacking turns into a kidnapping, then becomes even more sinister. While the detectives race against time to find the perpetrator before he strikes again, dark events from Flea's past threaten to overwhelm them both."--Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story by Ree Drummond (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061997167). "Our favorite Okie is back with her own story of how she came to be Marlboro Man's lovely wife instead of a Chicago attorney. She writes in such a friendly humorous style, you'll be forgiven for thinking you're reading a letter from your new best friend or oldest sister. Now to try the recipes!"--Patricia Worth, River Reader, Lexington, Mo.

Paperback

The Devil's Star: A Harry Hole Novel
by Jo Nesbo (Harper Paperbacks, 9780061133985, $14.99). "Oslo detective Harry Hole is a great character to follow in this dark, twisted, and intriguing story of a serial killer. This page-turner is a Scandinavian crime novel at its finest."--Suzanne Droppert, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, Wash.

For Teen Readers

Plain Kate by Erin Bow (Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99, 9780545166645). "Plain Kate is a gifted carver in a world where talent is perceived as witchcraft. When her father and many townspeople die of a flu, Plain Kate is forced to live on her own. To escape being burned as a witch, she trades her shadow for travel gear and her hearts desire. I was hooked till the end by this original, thought-provoking story!"--Cinda Meister, Booksmart, Morgan Hill, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Book Review

Book Review: I Is an Other

I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World by James Geary (Harper, $19.99 Hardcover, 9780061710285, February 2011)

As he demonstrated in his last book, The World in a Phrase, James Geary is a man intoxicated by words. Now he's turned his attention from aphorism to metaphor, arguing that it "shapes our view of the world, and is essential to how we communicate, learn, discover and invent."

Geary embarks from this thesis on a wide-ranging exploration of the subtle, often hidden, power of metaphor. Drawing extensively on behavioral studies of the sort popularized in works like Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, he is convinced we ignore that influence--from our pocketbooks to our politics--at our peril.

With the wounds of the 2008-2009 economic meltdown still fresh, Geary's assertion that the seductive financial metaphors ("the Dow fought its way upward" or "dropped off a cliff") we grasp to impose apparent order on the often chaotic financial markets create an "expectancy bias" that has little basis in reality should bring about rueful nods of agreement. Many of us like to believe we're inured to the power of metaphor in advertising, but from his discussion of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), described metaphorically as "kind of like taking a Rorschach test administered by Carl Jung," designed to discover "deep metaphors" that influence consumer behavior, that confidence may not be well-founded.

There's no realm of modern life in which metaphor has come to predominate more than our politics (just ask Frank Luntz), and Geary devotes a chapter to some of the ways metaphor packaged as sound bites is mobilized to influence our electoral behavior. In one study, a firm that assists nonprofits' communications discovered that use of the term "public structures" to describe such functions as highways, health and safety agencies and educational institutions noticeably diminished participants' hostility to the activity of "government." Geary also spotlights the proclivity of politicians and media to lean on sports metaphors (there are some 1,700 in common use), citing 59 football metaphors alone that were invoked during the first Gulf War.

Discoursing with considerable assurance about a host of other disciplines, Geary reveals how metaphorical thinking pervades our lives. Our brains are primed to think metaphorically, and the absence of that ability, displayed in the behavior of people suffering from Asperger's syndrome, is a significant impediment to normal social interaction. Whether it's the analogical reasoning of scientific giants like Einstein or Stephen Hawking or the use of metaphor to transform imagination into the reality of inventions, we rely on it at a level almost below conscious thought.

For James Geary, metaphor is "not merely a matter of language alone but of thought itself." He's made an impressive case for that proposition, prompting us to reflect on its importance in our own lives and in the world around us.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: James Geary's energetic study of the power of metaphor draws on the latest research to demonstrate its critical role in our lives.

 


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