Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 5, 2011


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

News

Image of the Day: Bindi Irwin's Wildlife Adventure

Last week at the Book Revue, Huntington, N.Y., 12-year-old Bindi Irwin, actress, author, TV host, conservationist and daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, spoke about and signed copies of books from the Bindi Wildlife Adventure series. Here Irwin appears with from l.: Book Revue owner Bobby Klein and booksellers Erik Fuhrer, Anne Davidson and Rachel Vetter.

 

 


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


Notes: Atlantis Aims to Rise Again



Founded on the island of Santorini in Greece in 2004 by "a small cadre from England, Cyprus and the States," Atlantis Books is listed in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011 as one of 10 "world's greatest bookshops." For its part, Fodor's wrote: "Atlantis Books is a tiny English bookshop that would be at home in New York's Greenwich Village or London's Bloomsbury; its presence here is a miracle. Only good literature makes it onto the shelves. Writers stop by to chat and give readings."

But in the past two years, the Greek economy collapsed, tourism is down, taxes are up and e-readers "pinched hard" on sales. The store has responded by cutting expenses, starting a publishing arm, Paravion Press
(Shelf Awareness, December 15, 2010), and more--and is asking fans and readers to contribute toward a goal of $40,000. The money will go to improvements, including "overdue renovations" to the store interior, transformation of the terrace "into a flexible retail and performance space" and a "fresh stock" of books.

So far, the store has raised more than $15,000 toward its goal, with a little less than three weeks left. The store said that if it doesn't raise the money, it does not "expect to be able to open our blue doors for another season."

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The Novel Experience, San Luis Obispo, Calif., will close at the end of the month, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported. Owner Jim Hill told the paper that the closing is a matter of "financial necessity," resulting from "a gradual decline" in business for several years because of online competition and the growing popularity of e-readers.

The Novel Experience was founded 50 years ago; Hill has owned it for the past 20 years. In 2004, he moved the store into a smaller space downtown. Although the store hasn't been profitable in recent years, "I've tried to honor the regular customers that kept me going over the years--those loyal locals who support the local community businesses because they virtually comprise the character of a community," he said. "I did everything I could to honor that idea."

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Ruth Erb, who has owned Book People bookstore, Richmond, Va., for 30 years, has put her shop up for sale and plans to close after this year if no buyer can be found, the Times-Dispatch reported.

"My problem is I'm losing energy. I'm getting older," said Erb. "It just gets to be too much. I don't want to deal with it." A closing date has not been set, but Erb added, "I don't want to see it die."

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What is the future of libraries in the e-book age? "Libraries have always been thought of as a kind of 'temple of books'... a place you can go to for peace and quiet, a place to read and think," NPR's Lynn Neary said in her report on a new era in lending. "They are intricate part of the fabric that pulls a community together. But if they are to be relevant in the future they will have to make space for themselves in the digital community as well."

Christopher Platt, director of collections and circulation at the New York Public Library, told Neary that libraries "use intermediaries to manage both their physical and digital book collections. He thinks libraries could work with these intermediaries to develop subscription packages of e-books. Libraries would pay the publishers for these subscriptions and use them as they see fit."

"So I'd buy a title with 1,000 uses," Platt observed, "and then it's up to us and our readers whether those 1,000 uses get used simultaneously in the first few days or whether they get drawn out over time. And then if they do get used quickly, we'll buy more."

Roberta Stevens, president of the American Library Association, would like to see more publishers involved in the e-book conversation: "When we look at the future then we have to really think very seriously about what is our role--and how can we actually serve the millions and millions of people who use our public libraries everyday if we can't even get access to titles."

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The estate of James Jones has made an agreement with Open Road Integrated Media to issue 10 titles by the author in e-book form, including an edition of the classic From Here to Eternity that restores "explicit mentions of gay sex and a number of four-letter words" that were deleted by his publisher, Scribner, when the book was originally published in 1951, according to the New York Times.

James had fought the censorship, arguing to his editor that "the things we change in this book for proprietary's sake will in five years, or ten years, come in someone else's book anyway."

Incidentally there is no truth to the rumor that the novel's title will revert to From Here to Freakin' Eternity.

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WANT: As part of Milan Design Week, Venice designer Kostas Syrtariotis presented BookTree.

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(Hilarious) book trailer of the day: Got Milf?: The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great, and Rocking a Minivan by Sarah Maizes (Berkley).

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Allan Wolfe, former East Coast regional sales manager for Penguin, passed away on Saturday, April 2. Wolfe began his publishing career with New American Library in 1975.  He continued to work in sales after the company merged with Penguin Group USA in 1986 and retired in 2004 after 29 years of service.

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Larry Norton has joined INscribe Digital, which offers global digital distribution, content conversion and optimization services via ONE Digital, and will be in charge of content and client acquisition. He was most recently senior v-p of merchandising and distribution at Borders. Before joining Borders in 2009, he had been president of Larry Norton & Associates and earlier held senior sales positions at Simon & Schuster for 13 years and at William Morrow for 12 years.

Norton's boss is Anne Kubek, who joined INscribe Digital in February and had hired Norton at Borders.

 


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


Pennie Picks My Name Is Mary Sutter

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen My Name Is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira (Penguin, $15, 9780143119135) as her pick of the month for April. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Did you know that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War? I hadn't given it much thought until I read this month's book pick, Robin Oliveira's debut novel, My Name Is Mary Sutter.

"I've never been what you might call a history buff, but Mary Sutter is such a well-crafted and interesting character that I was immediately drawn into her life and determination to pursue a career in medicine.

"It's fascinating to look back and see how far medicine has advanced--along with women's careers in the field. Oliveira also succeeds in examining the implications of being driven to achieve one's goals to the exclusion of other obligations.

"When you combine such a strong character with thorough research, you get a historical novel that educates while it engages."

 


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


BISG NEXT: Publishing Crossroads

"This is not your typical conference," Scott Lubeck, the executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, told several dozen publishing insiders gathered at midtown Manhattan's Roosevelt Hotel last Thursday morning. "But it's not an UNconference, either."

The theme of the BISG NEXT conference was "Developing the 2020 Publishing Program," and towards that end attendees would not simply sit and listen to a bunch of other people's opinions on where the industry is headed. After a keynote address from Magellan Media's Brian O'Leary (a repeat of his bravuro performance at February's Tools of Change), everyone split up into small teams to plot out the next decade of an independent publishing company called Crossroads. Each group was assigned one of four prime topics--identifying customers and core business models, developing a mobile strategy, developing a content strategy and making content discoverable--and given two hours to put together a short presentation. After lunch, members of each team outlined their strategies and fielded questions from the other participants, sparking some lively discussions.

Interestingly, the fictional profile for Crossroads led most of the teams in directions far from traditional book publishing. While Crossroads had a modest but well-respected fiction portfolio and some narrative nonfiction, its offerings also included books about music and computing, as well as magazines on both those subjects; the music magazine was described as "once competitive with Rolling Stone." Throw in a small record label with a focus on concert recordings, and just about every team decided, to one degree or another, that Crossroads would reinvent itself as a multimedia, multi-platform music resource. This was especially striking given that the profile attributed only 15% of the company's revenue to its recordings and just 12% to the music magazine; by contrast, technology and business books accounted for 27% of revenue, and the technology magazine another 28%.

Some groups focused on how the existing audio recordings and critical writing on music from books and magazines would be reconfigured for new technologies, while others focused on integrating contributions from their user community, like uploaded concert footage, and still others pondered how to raise their content's profile in search engines. One thing they didn't talk much about: people finding Crossroads books in bookstores. (The one time the subject did come up, it was to announce that "there aren't any more independent bookstores" in 2020, which set off a short burst of nervous laughter.)

"It's been cool to dig deep into a few aspects of a problem," said Laura Dawson, the content chief at Firebrand. "Breaking it down into specific areas is extremely productive." Dawson did note, however, that the participants seemed skewed toward publishing consultants and service providers and recommended that future conferences involve more people working at publishing companies: "Overall it's extremely valuable. I think publishers would benefit a lot from this, and it would make for an even more dynamic discussion."

"You get a lot of intensity because of the [two-hour] deadline," said Sourcebooks president Dominique Raccah, one of the actual publishers at the conference. (Kaplan also sent a sizable contingent, including president Maureen McMahon.) "But it's really fun." Next Group principal Ann Michael said that the case study profile at a future conference might be tweaked to keep attendees' thoughts closer to book publishing, but also noted that a fictional company allowed them to brainstorm freely, without worrying about their own companies' futures or about revealing too much to competitors. But would the day-long intellectual workout have a lasting effect on participants? "We won't know until later whether this was useful," Dawson concluded. "If we find ourselves referring back to this over and over in the next few months, then we'll know. And if we never talk about it again, we'll know, too."--Ron Hogan

 

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ashley Judd on the View

On a range of radio sports and news shows today and tomorrow: Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, author of Knuckler: My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547517698).

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This morning on Imus in the Morning: Bethenny Frankel, author of A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439186909).

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Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Susan Lucci, author of All My Life: A Memoir (It Books, $25.99, 9780062061843).

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Today 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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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Jim Blascovich, author of Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061809507).

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Tonight on Chelsea Lately: Mark Macdonald, author of Body Confidence: Venice Nutrition's 3-Step System That Unlocks Your Body's Full Potential (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780061997273).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jennet Conant, author of A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439163528).

Also on Today: Alan Paul, author of Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing (Harper, $25.99, 9780061993152).

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Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Caroline Kennedy, author of She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems (Voice, $24.99, 9781401341459).

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Tomorrow on the View: Ashley Judd, author of All That Is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir (Ballantine, $26, 9780345523617).

Also on the View: Jesse Ventura, author of 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read (Skyhorse, $24.95, 9781616082260).

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Tomorrow on Conan: Jeremy Wade, author of River Monsters: True Stories of the Ones that Didn't Get Away (Da Capo, $26, 9780306819544).

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Tomorrow on the Late Show with David Letterman: Eva Longoria, author of Eva's Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780307719331).

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Tomorrow on the Daily Show: Mike Huckabee, author of A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't!) (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230737).

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Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Wade Graham, author of American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to Our Backyards: What Our Gardens Tell Us About Who We Are (Harper, $35, 9780061583421).

 


Television: Pompeii

Sony Pictures Television has hired legendary screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown, The Firm, The Last Detail, Shampoo) to adapt Robert Harris's novel Pompeii as a miniseries. Variety reported that Sony, which "is co-producing with Tandem Comms., Peace Out Prods., Dolphin Ent., Leder Prods. and Scott Free Television, has already sold to Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 and BSkyB in the U.K."

"All of us, I think, have fantasies about living in the past and Pompeii uniquely allows you to indulge that fantasy," said Towne. "The Harris book tells a compelling story with contemporary relevance. If you want an idea of what it was like to live life back then, Pompeii is it."

Executive producer Ridley Scott said Towne would "bring his trademark vision to this remarkable project. In portraying an historical world on the brink of destruction, he will no doubt capture and engage audiences globally. His adaptation will truly make for an astonishing television event."

 


Movie: The Hunger Games Cast

Lionsgate has added two more actors to the cast of The Hunger Games, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins and directed by Gary Ross. Deadline.com reported that Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right) will play Peeta Mellark, the baker's son, and Liam Hemsworth (The Last Song) is set to play Gale Hawthorn. They join a cast that already includes Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen. The movie, which is expected to be part of a trilogy, is scheduled to be released March 23, 2012.

 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 12:

The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric (Random House, $26, 9780812992779) offers advice from the possibly soon-to-be former CBS News anchor on achieving success by those who have excelled in their fields, including Steven Spielberg and Michael Bloomberg.

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316043120) is an encyclopedia of all things Twilight.

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9780312380786) features a mother and elementary school volunteer in legal trouble after her heroic actions during a fire.

Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399157448) follows a band of "smoke jumpers" whose dangerous profession is fighting forest fires.

Mister Wonderful: A Love Story by Daniel Clowes (Pantheon, $19.95, 9780307378132) is a graphic novel about a cynical divorced man on a tumultuous blind date.

This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx
by Nikki Sixx (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062061874) includes photos and stories by the bassist for Mötley Crüe.


Now in paperback:

True Compass: A Memoir by Edward Kennedy (Twelve, $16.99, 9780446539265).

 



Book Review

Book Review: My New American Life

My New American Life by Francine Prose (Harper, $25.99 Hardcover, 9780061713767, May 2011)

Nothing is beyond the artistic reach of Francine Prose, whose writerly accomplishments include 16 novels, acclaimed works of nonfiction such as Reading Like a Writer, and three YA novels. Her last adult work of fiction, Goldengrove, was a poignant meditation on the overwhelming grief felt by a family when their eldest daughter drowns and the younger daughter must find her own emotional rudder. After that came Touch, a YA novel about a girl's sexual awakening.

In My New American Life, Prose has returned to seriocomic mode. Lula, a 26-year-old immigrant from Albania, is living in New York on an expiring visa when she scores a job with Mister Stanley, taking care of his son Zeke. Seventeen-year-old Zeke doesn't actually need much caring for--just a nudge to do his homework and some semblance of dinner while his father is commuting home. Mister Stanley is an idealistic academic at heart, now mired in the Wall Street banking debacle. He believes that Lula has fled the Balkan wars and needs his help, so he puts his oldest friend, Don Settebello, on the job. Don is a red-hot lawyer devoted to defending the underdogs. His commute is to Guantánamo, where he goes to help those imprisoned, bringing back horror stories to Mister Stanley, Lula, Zeke and his own creepy daughter, Abigail. Both men have been left by their wives; Mister Stanley's is the certifiably crazy Ginger, who makes a stunning cameo appearance, and Don's, the invisible Betsy. Lula muses about what these two men do for sex. No answers are forthcoming. Both Mister Stanley and Don love to hear or read Lula's tales about the horrors of life in Albania, which Lula insists happened to her family members and friends.

Lula is part paranoid and part opportunist, each facet coming to the fore as required by life's vicissitudes. Living in suburban New Jersey--three buses from Manhattan--turns out to be boring in the extreme. Her ho-hum existence is shaken up when three Albanian "brothers" show up at the house, driving a new Lexus SUV. They ask her for a favor: please keep this gun for us. Lula is fascinated, attracted to one of them (Alvo) and scared in equal parts. The Chekhovian gun is fired, of course, before story's end.

A friend of Lula, Dunia, calls her out of the blue after Lula has been worried (that paranoid facet) that she has been sold into white slavery, if not worse. Lula finds out that Alvo is a criminal and asks Don (opportunistic facet) to intercede for him. In an ending that would play well in an old Busby Berkeley musical, Lula begins a really new American life. It's an Albanian-American success story!--Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Lula, an Albanian immigrant, sometimes guileless, sometimes wily, navigates the wilds of suburban New Jersey as a nanny for a 17-year-old boy. His father, an immigration lawyer and three Albanian thugs round out the cast of this very funny tale. 

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in March

The bestselling books on AbeBooks.com during March:

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
6. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
7. The Dukan Diet Recipe Book by Pierre Dukan
8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
9. Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
10. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom
 
The bestselling signed books on AbeBooks.com during March:

1. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
2. One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde
3. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
5. Swamplandia by Karen Russell
6. Known and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld
7. Just Kids by Patti Smith
8. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
9. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
10. Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]

 


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