Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 4, 2011


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

Quotation of the Day

Politics & Prose & A Cultural Institution & A Female Presence

"What was evident to us throughout the sale process was that Barbara and David were not selling just a business. They were selling a cultural institution that was part discussion forum, part neighborhood meeting ground, part event stage. And they were determined that Politics and Prose not only survive and thrive, but continue to reflect Barbara and Carla's legacy.

"Barbara also made clear that it was important to have a female presence at Politics and Prose, since women had founded and run the store. This point hit home especially with Lissa, who was already warming to the idea of a husband-and-wife team managing P&P. So what started as a solo enterprise for Brad quickly became a partnership."

--New Politics & Prose owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine in a Washington Post piece about buying the store from Barbara Meade and David Cohen, husband of the late Carla Cohen.

 


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


News

Shelf Awareness to Co-Sponsor Indie Booksellers Choice Awards

Shelf Awareness is very happy to announce that we are now co-sponsoring the Independent Booksellers Choice Awards, founded by Melville House. The awards honor titles published by independent publishers and are voted on by independent booksellers.

The long list of the inaugural Independent Booksellers Choice Awards can be seen here and includes 36 titles from 29 independent presses. The presses range from "giant indies" like Norton and Grove/Atlantic to long-established presses like New Directions, Seven Stories and Graywolf to micro presses like Two Dollar Radio, Small Beer Press and the Dorothy Project.

The short list for the awards will be announced May 1, and five winners will be celebrated during BookExpo America on Monday, May 23, at a ceremony at the Housing Works Bookstore in New York City. The five winners will be displayed at participating indie bookstores. They include, among many others, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.; Book Soup, Los Angeles, Calif.; Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.; St. Mark's Bookshop, New York City; Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.; City Lights, San Francisco, Calif.; 57th Street Books, Chicago, Ill., and WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y.

 


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Image of the Day: Will WondLas Never Cease?

 

Tony DiTerlizzi, author of The Search for WondLa, was named Global Ambassador for the Starlight Children's Foundation on Saturday night. Here he is surrounded by (from left to right) Nicky, Paris and Kathy Hilton, who were honorees for Starlight's Heart of Gold Award. DiTerlizzi said in a statement that ever since his daughter, Sophia, suffered from seizures from an early age, "it has been my mission to share the joys of reading, art and imagination with not only the healthy children in bookstores and schools across the world, but with other children who are not as fortunate." Starlight provides ongoing support to children, parents and siblings in the U.S. and Canada through outpatient, hospital-based and Web offerings. The author first got involved with Starlight 10 years ago and illustrated the collection Once Upon a Fairy Tale, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting Starlight.

 


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Notes: Plans for E-Harry Potter; Amazon Big Seventh?

J.K. Rowling's agent has confirmed that the author is considering plans to make the Harry Potter oeuvre available electronically, a move that could earn her as much as £100 million (US$160 million), according to the Scotsman.

"It is akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes," said professor Claire Squires, director of Stirling University's Centre for International Publishing and Communication.

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The week before last, Amazon.com made "its most aggressive move yet into territory traditionally occupied by the major New York houses," when it participated in the auction for four books by self-published bestselling novelist Amanda Hocking, Crain's New York reported. "Executives at several houses said they knew of no other instance in which the company had competed with major publishers for a high profile commercial author."

Until now, Amazon has made publishing deals "usually for backlist titles or specialty projects," Crain's said. And "to beef up its offer," Amazon brought in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which would have published print editions of the books--and presumably sold them.

Amazon made the highest offer, but lost out to St. Martin's Press, which paid $2 million. "Its failure to acquire the titles demonstrates some of the difficulties the company may have if it continues to pursue potential blockbusters as part of a strategy to maintain its Kindle store's dominance," Crain's concluded.

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Random House, which has been working with at least several videogame companies (Shelf Awareness, March 1, 2010), is partnering with THQ, a game producer, "to create a wide spectrum of original works that include novels, graphic novels and digital books, as wells as online, console and mobile-phone games," the Wall Street Journal reported. "Hollywood may participate as well."

The games and novels would take a minimum of 18 months to develop and a console game would take double that time.

THQ director of creative and business development Lenny Brown said, "The Holy Grail here would be for Random House to produce a book that sells well, with us ultimately investing $35 million in a triple-A console game backed by a $12 million marketing campaign that draws a commitment from Hollywood for a movie or television event." That Holy Grail would include toy company involvement.

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A Different Light Bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., is apparently closing, according to the Bay Citizen. The store has "everything must go" signs, and "dismantled shelving sat in a pile in the back of the store," according to the paper.

The store's branch in West Hollywood, Calif., closed two years ago (Shelf Awareness, February 26, 2009), and the store in New York City shut its doors in 2001.

Last year owner Bill Barker told the Bay Citizen that business was not good and had been affected by the Kindle and other "digital innovations," as the paper put it. In addition, he complained that fewer gay and lesbian authors appeared in gay and lesbian bookstores and said, "You can only tell the gay and lesbian story so many times."

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On Saturday, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., celebrated the grand opening of Oblong Jr., the new, expanded children's book section in the Rhinebeck store. The festivities included a storytime featuring Stephen Savage, whose most recent book is Where's Walrus? Here Savage reads his first book, Polar Bear Night, to a young fan.

The expansion added 1,000 square feet to the 2,800-sq.-ft. space. The new area will be used mainly for books and toys for children and teens. Oblong has long had an Oblong Jr. children's store in its Millerton location.

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A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis., has received from 450 customers pledges to buy five more books a year--enough to cause "a spike in sales," Bookselling This Week reported.

Owners Sandi Torkildson and Nancy Geary and the staff sent an e-mail to more than 3,000 customers in mid-February asking 365 of them to make the pledge so that the store would feel comfortable about signing a new lease.

"It raised awareness that they can order online from us, that they can order e-books from us, and that if they buy books here, we'll stay here," Torkildson told BTW. "People got that really quickly. We had one customer who didn't realize he could buy online from us. Now he does, and we just picked up a $200 sale from him."

The pledgers' names appear on long ribbons in the store's entranceway.

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On Slate, Emma Straub, who works at BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., and whose debut collection of short stories, Other People We Married, has just appeared from FiveChapters Books, wrote warmly of "love in bookstores."

"There are many reasons why bookstores are naturally romantic environments: the smell of paper, the soft lighting, the baseline understanding that those inside like to read, and are therefore probably not morons. Browsing customers often circle each other like timid sharks, the piles of books in their hands their only weapons. Heidegger implies late-night conversations over coffee and cigarettes; Rumi, a bathtub surrounded by candles. Ayn Rand indicates a need for a wide berth; Sarah Vowell means mornings spent listening to NPR while baking gluten-free cupcakes."

 

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Book trailer of the day: All That Is Bitter & Sweet: A Memoir by Ashley Judd (Ballantine), which goes on sale tomorrow.

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Book organizing idea of the day: "How to build a bookshelf from used chopsticks."

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No rest(room) for the weary at this closing Borders store in Chicago.

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Are manual typewriters on the rebound from technological redundancy? The New York Times reported on "a growing movement. Manual typewriters aren’t going gently into the good night of the digital era. The machines have been attracting fresh converts, many too young to be nostalgic for spooled ribbons, ink-smudged fingers and corrective fluid. And unlike the typists of yore, these folks aren’t clacking away in solitude."
 
And forget about Tweet-ups; they're so early 21st century: "In the last three months, type-ins have clattered into cities from coast to coast and even overseas."

For those of you unwilling to make a complete leap back in time, Buzzfeed featured a docking station that "has hipster written all over it": Spinning Hat's Typescreen for iPad, created because "we have often wished for the convenience of a touch screen interface with the ease of a traditional typewriting keyboard."

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Adam Rothberg has been promoted to senior v-p, corporate communications, at Simon & Schuster. He has been v-p, corporate communications, since 1999. He first joined S&S in 1985 as a publicity assistant at Pocket Books, eventually becoming that imprint's associate director of publicity. In 1994 he joined Villard Books/Random House, first as director of publicity and then as associate publisher before returning to S&S.

President and CEO Carolyn Reidy called him "a tireless guardian of Simon & Schuster's image and legacy.  He is cool under the pressure of deadlines, and brings to the job a diplomat's ability to reconcile disparate agendas when working on projects with multiple partners. His well-deserved reputation as a straight shooter has made him a trusted counselor on communication and general business questions in every corner of Simon & Schuster, from our publishing and operations units to our corporate staff and international companies, and at CBS, where he works closely with his communications counterparts at both corporate and divisional levels. He is highly regarded by his many contacts in the media, who view him as a consummate communications professional and a reliable source for story ideas, answers to specific factual queries and general guidance about events in our industry."

 

 


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Obituary Note: Manning Marable

Manning Marable, whose biography of Malcolm X is being published today, died last Friday. He was 60 and had been hospitalized with pneumonia in March and had a double lung transplant in July, the New York Times said. The paper called him "a prolific writer and impassioned polemicist [who] addressed issues of race and economic injustice in numerous works that established him as one of the most forceful and outspoken scholars of African-American history and race relations in the United States."

Marable was a professor at and director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University, editor of Souls and the author of 15 books, including How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, Black Liberation in Conservative America, The Great Wells of Democracy, Beyond Boundaries: The Manning Marable Reader and biographies of W.E.B. DuBois and Medgar Evers.

Marable worked on Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Viking, $30, 9780670022205) for the past decade. The Times described it "a hefty counterweight" to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, drawing on new sources and material unavailable to Malcolm X and Alex Haley. The new book offers "a fuller account" of Malcolm X's life and views and "a revisionist portrait of Malcolm X at odds with Mr. Haley's presentation of him as an evolving integrationist."

 


Cool Idea of the Day: St. George's Backlist Contest

For the third year in a row, Bookpeople, Austin, Tex., is celebrating the Catalan holiday St. George's Day by having a staff handselling contest of Random House backlist titles during April. On St. George's Day, or the Day of the Book, held April 23, people give loved ones a rose and a book.

For the contest, Bookpeople booksellers pick favorites from a list of slow performers at the store, then create staff selections and all books are put on display in the store for the month. The bookseller who sells the most copies of his or her book receives some free books from Random. The contest was originally suggested by the store's Random sales reps, Liz Sullivan and Gianna Lamorte.

The first year 14 employees participated and sold more than $800 of books from the display. Elizabeth Jordan, buyer and inventory operations supervisor, noted that one of the titles had never been carried in the store before the contest and has in the past two years sold 120 copies.

Last year 21 employees participated and sold $2,000 worth of books in April. Jordan estimated that the contests have resulted overall in sales of almost $15,000 and almost 1,000 books.

For this year's contest, 35 booksellers are participating. Already last week, even before April began, they sold more than 40 books for a total of $640--and are on track to "blow last year's results out of the water," Jordan said.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: A Passion for Mars

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Jeff Greenfield, author of Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399157066).

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This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Steven Levy, author of In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416596585).

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This morning on the Today Show: Laura Bush, author of Spoken from the Heart (Scribner, $18, 9781439155219). She will also appear today on Fox & Friends.

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This morning on Good Morning America: Jesse Ventura, author of 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read (Skyhorse, $24.95, 9781616082260).

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Today on NPR's the Takeaway: Jennet Conant, author of A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439163528).

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Today on the View: Jerry Weintraub, author of When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man (Twelve, $13.99, 9780446548168).

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Tonight on a repeat of the Late Show with David Letterman: Sarah Vowell, author of Unfamiliar Fishes (Riverhead, $25.95, 9781594487873).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Andrew Chaikin, author of A Passion for Mars: Intrepid Explorers of the Red Planet (Abrams, $35, 9780810972742).

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Tonight on Last Call with Carson Daly: Patton Oswalt, author of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (Scribner, $24, 9781439149089).

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Tomorrow on the Today Show:

Caroline Kennedy, author of She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems (Voice, $24.99, 9781401341459).
Shirley Strawberry, author of The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn't Sexy (One World/Ballantine, $22, 9780345525505).
Jillian Michaels, author of Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life (Crown, $26, 9780307588302).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Wayne Pacelle, author of The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them (Morrow, $26.99, 9780061969782).

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Tomorrow on Premiere Radio's Glenn Beck Program: Richard Paul Evans, author of Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9781439191378).

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Tomorrow on the View: Eva Longoria, author of Eva's Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780307719331). She will also appear on Good Morning America.

 


Movie: Soul Surfer

Soul Surfer, based on the book by Bethany Hamilton and Rick Bundschuh, opens this Friday, April 8. AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt star in this true story about a young surfer who struggles to continue the sport after losing her arm in a shark attack. MTV has the movie tie-in edition (MTV, $14, 9781416503460).

 

 


Silva's Gabriel Allon Series Booked for Films

Universal has acquired the screen rights to Daniel Silva's bestselling series of novels that focus on "semi-retired" Mossad agent Gabriel Allon. Deadline.com reported that former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker "became involved as the film's producer because he and Silva are close friends and the author wanted it that way. Silva will be executive producer and the studio will go out to writers immediately." The studio "will get a writer before figuring out which book to focus on. Allon has been in 10 of Silva's novels." The author's next book in the series, Portrait of a Spy, will be published in July.

 



Books & Authors

Awards: Fadiman Medal Winner

The Death of Sweet Mister and its author, Daniel Woodrell, have won the 2011 Clifton Fadiman Medal, which is sponsored by Reba and Dave Williams and the Center for Fiction and goes to "a living American author in recognition of a work of fiction published more than ten years ago that deserves renewed notice and introduction to a new generation of readers."

Each year the Center for Fiction asks a distinguished writer to select the Fadiman award winner. This year's selector was Dennis Lehane, the first mystery writer to serve in this capacity. On May 1, Busted Flush Press is bringing out a new edition of The Death of Sweet Mister with a foreword by Lehane ($15, 9781935415084).


The Center called Woodrell "a master of country noir" and "one of the best-kept secrets in American literature, though he has a large following in Great Britain and Ireland and was long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC Award in 2000 and 2003." He is the author of eight books, including Tomato Red, which won the 1999 PEN Center USA Award for fiction, and Woe to Live On, which was adapted into a movie by Ang Lee.

The award ceremony will take place at the Center for Fiction, 17 E. 47th St. in New York City, on Wednesday, June 8, at 6:30 pm. At the event, Lehane will talk about Woodrell's work and his reasons for selecting The Death of Sweet Mister. Woodrell will speak as well. He receives a $5,000 prize.

 


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 Fiction

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino (Minotaur, $24.99, 9780312375065). "A chess game or a battle of the brains? A bestseller in Japan, this is a mystery about the aftermath of an unintentional murder. Ishigami, a mathematician, is in love with one of the murderers. He is coaching her on how to deal with the police to avoid suspicion. His old friend, a physicist, is helping the detective on the case. Two brilliant minds battle with each other--a fascinating game of cat and mouse. The ending has a twist that only increases the reader's pleasure. This is excellent!"--Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, N.M.

The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061824555). "The Savage City is a fascinating chronicle of a brutal decade in the history of New York City. The story begins in 1963 with a double murder and then continues through the city's difficult struggle with the emerging civil rights movement. Alternating chapters follow a falsely accused black male, a dirty cop, and a rising member of the Black Panther Party, and together portray a time when corruption ruled. Readers are led through 10 years of murder, rape, race riots, and back door deals until, finally, real justice can begin to prevail."--Daphne Safrit, Literary Book Post, Salisbury, N.C.

Paperback

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell (Mariner, $14.95, 9780547423180). "Alternating chapters tell the story of two women in London in two very different times: Lexie, the journalist in post-war London, and Elina, a new mother struggling with her baby and her boyfriend in the present day. The portraits of these women are spellbinding in their depth of understanding, and the way O'Farrell weaves them together is dazzling."--Jude Sales, Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8

His Shoes Were Far Too Tight: Poems by Edward Lear, edited by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Calef Brown (Chronicle, $16.99, 9780811867924). "The wild and exuberant nonsense of Mr. Lear is brought to vibrant life by the madcap master of children's book illustration, Calef Brown. Topping off the fun is a biography of Lear and an introduction by fellow nonsense-artist, the 'runcible' Daniel Pinkwater."--Jennifer Laughran, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Book Review

Book Review: Quiet Chaos

Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi (Ecco Press, $13.99 Paperback, 9780061572944, April 2011)

Sandro Veronesi is the most dazzling pyrotechnic stylist of Italy's upcoming generation. Until now, only one of his novels has been translated into English, the unforgettable and now out-of-print The Force of the Past. But even that wonderful novel can't prepare you for Quiet Chaos. Four years in the writing, this most recent novel is a flat-out masterpiece, so skillfully orchestrated it successfully juggles several dozen plot threads all at once, with astonishing, profoundly moving results.

Veronesi is, above all, a joy to read. His exhilarating, frequently hilarious technique is in the Saramago tradition--blocks of paragraph-less print spanning several pages, with dozens of semicolons and often no period in sight--but in Veronesi's work, these long, luscious, run-on sentences are often audacious literary comic stunts, witty interior monologues of moral struggles, urban angst and candid human observations. There's no one else like him.

The novel opens with a tour-de-force set piece: Pietro Paladini, the narrator, a 43-year-old executive at a cable TV channel, is spending the day surfing with his brother, when he unexpectedly finds himself swimming with Carlo to the rescue of two drowning women. The brothers save the women, but Pietro returns from his heroic act to discover an ambulance in front of his home and his own wife dead.

Suddenly a widower, unable to connect with his own grief, Pietro begins to spend every day parked in front of his 10-year-old daughter's school. He watches the windows of her rooms in the building, waiting for Claudia to wave, and attends her gymnastics team practices instead of going to the office, where tensions and anxieties are mounting in the face of an impending corporate merger to create the biggest telecommunications group in the world.

As more and more people find out about the widower parked every day in front of his daughter's school, others are drawn to him to share their pain--his brother, his sister-in-law, his work associates, the financial titans of the merger, an old man in a nearby window, a mother with a Down syndrome child, a woman with a dog.

These characters grow and change before our eyes, deepening and opening up with surprising new dimensions, all connected thematically to Pietro's inability to grieve over his loss. With a narrative spanning three months, from a lingering, scorching summer to an Italy whitened by a snowstorm, the novel builds steadily in intensity to its deeply moving, resonant, perfectly pitched finale. Like a literary Fellini, Veronesi brings to life the larger-than-life human comedy as only an Italian would dare, uproariously funny in the face of stark tragedy. It's a reading experience not to be missed.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A dazzling novel about love and loss, uproariously funny in the face of stark tragedy, by one of Italy's most brilliant stylists.

 


The Bestsellers

In-Demand: Most Ordered Gardening Books

The following were the most-ordered upcoming gardening books on Edelweiss during the last 60 days. The listings include links to the titles on Edelweiss and links to the publishers' e-catalogues:

 

  1. The Old Farmer's Almanac 2012 Gardening Calendar (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 28) Spring 2011 Adult Frontlist Catalog
  2. Good Bug Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser (St. Lynn's Press/IPS, May 1) IPS Trade Spring/Summer 2011
  3. Weeds by Richard Mabey (Ecco, July 1) HarperCollins Adult Summer 2011 Compilation
  4. Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell (Rodale Books, April 26) - RODALE SPRING 2011
  5. The Vegetable Gardener's Container Bible by Edward C. Smith (Storey Publishing/Workman, March 2) WORKMAN PUBLISHING SPRING 2011 - Master Catalog
  6. The Secret Garden 2012 Calendar (Workman, July 15) Workman Calendars 2012
  7. Gardening for a Lifetime by Sydney Eddison (Timber Press/Workman, April 13) WORKMAN PUBLISHING SPRING 2011 - Master Catalog
  8. Jamie Durie's The Outdoor Room by Jamie Durie (Harper Design, June 1) HarperCollins Adult Summer 2011 Compilation
  9. Your Farm in the City by Lisa Taylor (Black Dog & Leventhal/Workman, February 23) WORKMAN PUBLISHING SPRING 2011 - Master Catalog
  10. The Edible Front Yard by Ivette Soler (Timber Press/Workman, February 23) WORKMAN PUBLISHING SPRING 2011 - Master Catalog

 

[Many thanks to Above the Treeline and Edelweiss!]

 


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