Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 31, 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

News

Image of the Day: Caddy Tour on the Jersey Shore

Before Hurricane Irene hit, BookTowne, Manasquan, N.J., hosted an event for Sean Nolan, author of Guys Like Us: A Memoir of Life Lost and Found (GemmaMedia), about his father's recovery from an accident that left him without memory. Here, on Nolan's "Caddy Tour on the Jersey Shore," are from l.: Nolan's girlfriend, Tracy; Nolan; BookTowne owner Rita Maggio; and Nolan's father, Mike.

 


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


B&N: Nook Sales Growth Makes Up for Book Sales Slip

Nook and e-book sales increased 140% in the first quarter at Barnes & Noble, making up for a dip in sales of printed books, and the company said it expects sales of digital items to grow faster than the amount of money it will invest in those products.

Wall Street liked the news: on a day the Dow inched up 0.2%, Barnes & Noble climbed 14.9%, to $13.13 a share, on more than double the usual trading volume.

Total sales at B&N in the quarter ended July 30 rose 2%, to $1.4 billion, and the net loss was $56.6 million, a slight improvement over the net loss in the same period last year of $62.5 million.

Sales at B&N bookstores fell 3%, to $1 billion, and sales at stores open at least a year were down 1.6%. College store sales fell 2%, to $220 million, and sales at college stores open at least a year dropped 1.8%.

But while sales of traditional books declined, the stores posted "large increases" in sales of B&N's Nook e-readers and of toys and games. And sales at B&N.com rose 37%, to $198 million, driven by "strong demand" for Nooks. E-book sales quadrupled. In all of B&N's businesses, Nook sales--including e-readers, e-books and accessories--rose 140% to $277 million.

"We plan to continue investing in the significant growth areas of our business, and in fiscal 2012, we expect to see leverage as our digital sales growth is projected to exceed the growth of investment spend," CEO William Lynch said. "Additionally, the return on investment is expected to increase in future years, as readers purchase increasing amounts of digital content on the platform we have built."

B&N estimated that during its full fiscal year, ending next summer, sales will total $7.4 billion. The company expects "a $150 million to $200 million sales lift" this year following the closing of the last Borders in September. Sales of all Nook products, including e-books, should double to $1.8 billion.

In a conference call, Lynch estimated that B&N's share of the e-book market is 26%-27%.


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Notes: DIESEL to Reopen in Malibu; Putumayo's New Song


DIESEL, A Bookstore, which closed its Malibu, Calif., store in February because of changing landlords and construction, will reopen in October in a new location, at the Malibu Country Mart, according to LA Observed.

The new Malibu DIESEL is "a bit smaller" than the old location, but is "a light-filled space with soaring ceilings, a beautiful wood floor, and a great view of the neighborhood's new hardware store across the street." It also has a courtyard, where owners Alison Reid and John Evans plan to hold some events.

DIESEL also has stores in Brentwood and Oakland.

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Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, author of The Madness of a Seduced Woman and Buffalo Afternoon, among many other titles, died last Friday. She was 71.

The New York Times called her "a novelist with a gift for evoking complex characters in the grip of extreme psychological stress and physical suffering." See the paper's full obituary for Schaeffer here.

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Putumayo World Music CDs have been an indie bookstore sidelines staple for many years, and the company's well-known resistance to digital downloads kept bookshops in the music game even as other CD sales dwindled. But those days officially ended yesterday when the record label released its first two digital albums, African Beat and Latin Beat, the New York Times reported.

Company founder Dan Storper had ignored the MP3 siren song for many years. "I’ve built a business focused on creating compelling physical packages that combine music, culture and travel, that make great gifts and that sound very good," he said. "I’m 60 years old. I still don’t own an iPod or iPad. I like reading physical books, magazines and newspapers, and buying CDs that have interesting liner notes. I’m certainly not an early adopter."

The digital versions of Putumayo's albums "will contain only the songs; for the full liner notes and other goodies, a customer will have to buy the CD versions," the Times wrote.

"I think it will be written on my tombstone," Storper said. “Better late than never."

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Mohammed Ali al-Bahbahy's bookshop was "among the first businesses to throw its doors open in Tripoli one week after the Libyan capital fell to rebels," AFP reported.

"I opened this used bookstore to fight ignorance under Moamer Kadhafi," said the bookseller. "Now I have 12,000 books.... Now that I am free, I am hungry to read history books that cover all sides." He added that during Kadhafi's rule, "You couldn't say a single word. We would discuss politics in our trusted circle of friends behind closed doors. But never in public and we would never never publish. Now you can."
 
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The Beat chronicles the evacuation of the contents of the Schulz Graphic Novel Library, White River Junction, Vt., from Hurricane Irene floodwaters on Sunday. Congratulations to the Library and "the heroic group of cartoonists" from the Center for Cartoon Studies!

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Yesterday, we reported on Gwyneth Paltrow's pre-hurricane event at BookHampton bookstore, East Hampton, N.Y., and today Gwyneth returns with her "religion bookshelf," one of the "things she can’t live without" featured in the latest Elle Décor magazine. Paltrow noted that the shelf's "built-in slots hold holy books--including the Qur'an, Bible, and Tao Te Ching--all at the same level (which is how I like to think about religion)."

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In a Financial Times column headlined "Shed no tears for the bookshop," Harry Mount wrote that there "should be an expression for shops we like the sound of, even if we do not use them much: charming lossmakers, perhaps. Butchers, bakers and--a long time ago--candlestick-makers: they all have a nice, wholesome feel to them. And most of them have been swept from our high streets."

Mount contended that even though indie bookshops "are joining the exodus," it is "not an either/or game. A growing Internet market does not mean eradicating the high street bookshop. It just means the high street shop has to do different things from Amazon... As a pure disseminator of ideas, Amazon wins; as a quiet yet communal atmosphere in which to sift through those ideas, the best-run high street bookshops prevail."

Concluding that there "is no need for them to be charming but lossmaking," Mount observed: "Thousands of candlestick-makers must have cursed Thomas Edison’s light bulb. The clever ones got to work on making more beautiful and desirable candlesticks."

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The owner of the Book Barge who was kept from doing business waterside by the city of Bristol, England, has been offered a market stall on dry land, the BBC reported. The city had declined to give Sarah Henshaw a business license and said her British Waterways license didn't apply.

Henshaw allows people to barter for books as well as pay, and told the Guardian last month (Shelf Awareness, July 15, 2011), "I hoped that by creating a unique retail space, customers would realize how independent bookshops can offer a far more pleasurable shopping experience than they're likely to find online or on the discount shelves at supermarkets."

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Book trailer of the day: Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels with Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley (Beacon Press), which appears September 6.

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Where's Waldo's back? The Guardian found John Mosley, a 22-year-old Norwich man who last week had Wally (the U.K. original of the U.S. Where's Waldo? book series) and 150 other characters tattooed on his back, enduring "a mammoth backscratching operation that lasted more than 24 hours." Wally is hiding in a crowd that also includes Darth Vader, a beached shark, and a humanoid horse, but even Mosley hasn't spotted him yet. "I still have not seen the finished result so I don't know where Wally is on my back," he said.

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Roald Dahl's "weird and hilarious" 1983 letter to a group of students who had asked questions about his collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More was featured on Buzzfeed.


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Cool Idea of the Day: Books of Wonderstruck

Books of Wonder owner Peter Glassman is renaming his children's bookstore Books of Wonderstruck for a week next month in honor of Brian Selznick's extraordinary new novel, Wonderstruck. The New York City bookstore's new name will launch with Selznick's new novel at an event on Tuesday, September 13, from 6-8 P.M., on 18 West 18th Street, where the author-artist will sign copies of Wonderstruck. Free gifts, including tote bags and pens, will be showered upon those who purchase copies.

During last Wednesday's broadcast of the Today Show, Al Roker announced that Wonderstruck is the latest Al's Book Club for Kids selection. Selznick's Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret was Roker's first pick when the Book Club launched in 2007.


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


Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Persistence of the Color Line

Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Jesse Ball, author of The Village on Horseback (Milkweed Editions, $18, 9781571314420) and The Curfew (Vintage Originals, $15, 9780307739858). As the show put it: "Tales of romance and adventure inspire Jesse Ball's novellas and prose poems. It's sort of a Robert Louis Stevenson kind of thing, maybe even a J.R.R. Tolkien kind of thing. To accomplish this, he's learned the techniques of lucid dreaming which allows him to write as if he's in a living fairy tale."

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Conor O'Clery, author of Moscow, December 25, 1991: The Last Day of the Soviet Union (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781586487966).

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Tomorrow on the G. Gordon Liddy Show: Michael Smith, author of MI6: The Real James Bonds 1909-1939 (Dialogue, $29.95, 9781906447007).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Randall Kennedy, author of The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency (Pantheon, $26.95, 9780307377890).

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Tomorrow a repeat on the Daily Show: Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525952244).

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Tomorrow on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly: Sarah Vowell, author of Unfamiliar Fishes (Riverhead, $25.95, 9781594487873).


Television: Under the Dome

Showtime will partner with Steven Spielberg and Stephen King for a dramatic series based on King's 2009 novel Under the Dome. Deadline.com reported that the project will be produced by DreamWorks Television and a search is underway for a screenwriter.  
 


True Blood's Fashion Sense: Who Is Sookie Wearing?

Vulture.com's Fug Girls rated the fashion sense of True Blood's characters in a photo slide show, and observed that you "can't spend too much time fussing on your outfit when your blood-sucking quasi-boyfriend is under the control of a centuries-old witch. Then again, as Lafayette would say, bitch, please. A little carnage is no reason not to keep it cute."
 


Books & Authors

Awards: Scottish Book of the Year

Jackie Kay's autobiographical novel Red Dust Road won the £30,000 (US$48,844) Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year award. Kay "was born in Edinburgh to a Scottish nurse and a Nigerian student, then adopted at birth by a white couple from Glasgow," BBC News reported. The novel traces her search for her birth parents.

"I happened to write the book, but it feels like my whole family is the winner. The book doesn't just belong to me," she said. "And now it seems like it has a whole life of its own in the heart-warming and unexpected way that readers have been finding connections to their own life in it."
 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 6:

Second Nature: A Love Story by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Random House, $26, 9781400067756) explores the tumultuous life of a woman whose beauty is lost--then restored--after a fire.

Prey: A Novel by Linda Howard (Ballantine, $26, 9780345506917) follows rival Montana wilderness guides forced to cooperate against a killer on their trail.

Dark Predator by Christine Feehan (Berkley, $26.95, 9780425241974) continues the supernatural Carpathian series.

Living Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Emotions So They Don't Control You by Joyce Meyer (FaithWords, $22.99, 9780446538527) is a Biblical take on managing emotions.

Now in paperback:

All Our Worldly Goods by Irene Nemirovsky (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307743299).

Naruto, Vol. 52: Cell Seven Reunion by Masashi Kishimoto (VIZ Media, $9.99, 9781421539577).

Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker (Berkley, $9.99, 9780425243626).

Serendipity by Carly Phillips (Berkley, $7.99, 9780425243831).


Book Brahmin: Drew Magary

Drew Magary's first novel is The Postmortal (trade paperback, Penguin, August 30, 2011), a dystopian take on what it would be like to live forever. He's a writer for Gawker's Deadspin, the blog Kissing Suzy Kolber, GQ, Maxim, NBC and anywhere else that will offer him money to spout off about random crap.

On your nightstand now:

Life, the Keith Richards autobiography. I'll read anything about people doing lots of drugs and/or getting lost at sea. My wife also threw The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls on my book stack but I'm never gonna read it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Green Eggs and Ham. Mostly because of the ham.

Your top five authors:

John Kennedy Toole, Jon Krakauer, Shakespeare, James Joyce, J.K. Rowling

Book you've faked reading:

In sixth grade, I picked A Christmas Carol for a book report because I knew the basic story. Then when my teacher asked me about the particulars of the book, I had to open it right in front of her and figure it out in real time. I did not do well.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Usually I'm the one who's being proselytized to about books because I can be extremely lazy about reading stuff. But I will say that anyone who hasn't read The Dirt by Motley Crue and Neil Strauss needs to read it and memorize it immediately.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. They didn't even need artwork. It was just like, "Hey, here's the title and we don't need to do anything more to it because this book will ruin your s***."

Book that changed your life:

Probably Catch-22, because it was the first time I was assigned a book in school that I actually ended up enjoying. Before that, books were just horrible things that I tried to survive reading.

Favorite line from a book:

"This a lotta s***." --From A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

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

The Dirt. I'll never get tired of reading about Nikki Sixx nailing his roommate's ear to the floor.

 



Book Review

YA Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown, $18.99 hardcover, ages 15-up, 9780316134026, September 27, 2011)

Laini Taylor (Lips Touch) once again blends romance, otherworldly beings, and the yin and yang of joy and pain, light and dark in her latest tantalizing novel. Karou, 17 years old, five foot six, with bright blue hair and a "constellation of tattoos," lives in Prague, where she's recovering from a first love gone sour. His name is Kazimir. Taken in by his beauty, Karou began sketching Kaz in a bar one night. But he soon strayed, and Karou ended it. Kaz, however, wants the woman he can't have. When he shows up as the model in her life drawing class, Karou takes out her hidden cache of wishes and uses them to give the model an itch. Then other itches in more suggestive places, until Kaz has to run out on his modeling commitment.

Taylor's use of humor leavens the weighty themes at the root of her thought-provoking novel. Through Karou's sketchbook, we learn of her "secret world," populated by chimaera: Issa, a serpent from the waist down and woman from the waist up; and Brimstone, the Wishmonger with ram horns and reptilian eyes, the patriarch of their patchwork family. They raised Karou as their own from age five, and Karou knows nothing else of her past. Karou buys teeth for Brimstone, and in return, she receives scuppies (wishes) as payment. His network of doors opens out into a marketplace in Morocco and a Parisian black market. On one of these errands, Karou comes face to face with one of the seraphim. She uses the eye-like tattoos on her hands to repel the creature. But he is even more beautiful than Kaz, and she finds she cannot kill him, just as he cannot bring himself to kill her. The rest of the novel delves into the mystery of the connection they feel, which drills down into the question of Karou's identity. The answers reveal the root of the age-old hatred between the seraphim and the chimaera and raise questions about the legends told to both sides in order to sow the seed of hatred. The two lovers dream of "a world remade," one large enough to contain their love. As Brimstone says, "Hope is the real magic."

Taylor elevates this tale beyond a story of two star-crossed lovers by exploring the ways that society demonizes "the other" and by filling her tale with captivatingly complex characters. The book is roundly satisfying, and readers will eagerly await the planned sequel. --Jennifer M. Brown


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