Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 14, 2011


Penguin Books: The Dying Game by Asa Avdic

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Tarcherperigee: Men & Dogs by Alice Chaygneaud-Dupuy and Marie-Eva Chopin / Rescued by Peter Zheutlin

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

News

Kindle Fire Reviews: Still Smoky

The Kindle Fire begins shipping tomorrow, but reviews are shipping today. Forbes.com quoted the last paragraphs of six of those reviews. Its own last paragraph: "To sum up: the Kindle Fire is very cheap, somewhat unpolished, and no iPad killer."

For his part, David Pogue in the New York Times called the Fire "not nearly as versatile as a real tablet. It's designed almost exclusively for consuming stuff, particularly material you buy from Amazon, like books, newspapers and video. It has no camera, microphone, GPS function, Bluetooth or memory-card slot. There is a serviceable e-mail program, but no built-in calendar or note pad." He concluded that the Fire is "a cross between a Kindle and an iPad, a more compact Internet and video viewer at a great price. But at the moment, it needs a lot more polish; if you're used to an iPad or 'real' Android tablet, its software gremlins will drive you nuts."

Still, Pogue called the updated versions of the Kindle and Kindle Touch "rather spectacular" and wrote that new traditional Kindle "is now so small, it fits in a pants pocket. But again, the news here is the price: $80.

"Do you have any idea how astonishing that number is? The first Kindle, born four years ago this month, cost $400. This model weighs 40% less, occupies a third less space and stores seven times as many books--at 20% of the price."

To help navigate the e-readerverse, PaidContent.org has a chart comparing Kindles, Nooks, Kobos and the Sony Reader.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


Berkley Book Corner Opens in Michigan

The Berkley Book Corner has opened in Berkley, Mich., and features more than 10,000 new and "gently used" titles in a 1,200 square feet space.

Victor Wooddell, who founded the store with his wife, Michelle, told the Patch that he had been intending to open a bookstore eventually, but that with the closing of Borders and his recent layoff from the Wayne State University business school faculty, the opportunity arrived 10 or 15 years early. "I was actually going to run a bookshop as my retirement," he said.

The store is arranged in "a guy-versus-girl format," Wooddell said, explaining that he oversees the nonfiction areas while his wife oversees literature and fiction. The children's area, called the Kid Zone, is "basically an extension of what we have at home." (The Wooddells have children aged four and five.)

The Berkley Book Corner is located at 2680 Coolidge Highway, Berkley, Mich. 48072; 248-439-0503; berkleybookcorner.com.

 


KidsBuzz for the Week of 06.26.17


Fire at Journeys of Life

Sad news from Pittsburgh, Pa., where there was a fire Saturday night at Journeys of Life, the spiritual store owned by Jean Haller. She wrote on Facebook, "All of us are numb right now. I will let you know the plan as soon as it is revealed to me."

Reportedly Haller is making arrangements to open in another location for the holiday season. The cause of the fire was apparently electrical.

 

 


Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


Holiday Pop-Up Bookshops: Love & Care in Manhattan

New Zealand publishing house PQ Blackwell is opening a pair of Love and Care pop-up shops in Manhattan for the holiday season. In addition to the publisher's own list of titles, the shops will carry books from Abrams and Chronicle at 50% off retail or more. Love and Care shops will also offer free gift wrapping and free same-day shipping within Manhattan on purchases totaling over $100.

The first pop-up opened this weekend in the Meatpacking District at 344 West 14th St., and the South Street Seaport location at 12 Fulton St. will open November 18.
 


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


Nook Finds Niche at hhgregg

hhgregg, which has 204 home appliance and consumer electronics stores in the South, Midwest and mid-Atlantic states, is beginning to sell Barnes & Noble's Nook e-readers this month.

 


Obituary Note: Barbara Grier

Barbara Grier, co-founder of Naiad Press, died last Thursday of complications of heart disease.

"Naiad was founded in 1974 in part because Barbara Grier believed that words matter and books are forever," Karin Kallmaker noted on her blog, Romance & Chocolate. "She had a lifelong commitment to making lesbians in books visible. She did this with her own early lists of lesbiana where she detailed any book with lesbian content, no matter how minor. She did this by publishing books that, as Naiad's submission guidelines read, included lesbians who were 'superior at once.' "

Lambda Literary has a long tribute to Grier from Victoria Brownworth, who wrote in part: "Somewhere, someplace, a woman is reading a lesbian book--perhaps in a room hidden away where no one can see, or perhaps right out on the subway on her way to work. All those women reading all those lesbian books--be they intellectual treatises or pulp fiction in the Ann Bannon tradition--owe a deep and abiding debt of gratitude to the force of nature that was Barbara Grier."


Notes

Image of the Day: Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards

Last week, Fodor's celebrated its 100 Hotel Awards, representing the editors' top hotel picks for 2011 from around the world in eight categories. At 632 on Hudson: Fodor's Travel publisher Amanda D'Acierno; Jeff Palmer, hotel manager of the Mondrian Soho, one of the winners; and Fodor's Travel executive director, editorial and content, Arabella Bowen.

Photo: Jeff Fowler Photography


Best Indie in New York: Here's a Book Store

Here's a Book Store in Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn has been named best independent bookstore in New York by the Daily News. The paper wrote in part:

"Lined with shelves stacked three deep with every type of book imaginable, Here's a Book Store maintains the cluttered, dusty ambiance that New Yorkers expect from a top-rate neighborhood bookstore. The shop not only caters to the over half-dozen nearby yeshivas, carrying many books on the curriculums, but also has half a million other books, 80% of which are used. And while parking can be tough on Coney Island Ave., the Levys provide a valet service that delivers books to drivers idling in their cars outside the store."

The paper also praised Boulevard Books and Café in Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Housing Works Bookstore Café in SoHo in Manhattan.


Ford's Theatre Passes on Lincoln Assassination Tome

Ford's Theatre, which has a bookstore specializing, of course, in titles about Abraham Lincoln and his assassination, has decided not to stock a seemingly obvious title, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (Holt), because it judged the book "sloppy with the facts and slim on documentation," as the Washington Post described a report by the historic site's deputy superintendent.

Addressing one of the most-researched episodes in American history, the book has no footnotes and lists only sources consulted, and apparently none of them are primary sources. Some reviewers have been critical, too. For example, in a review in the November issue of North & South--The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, historian Edward Steers Jr. criticized factual errors and wrote, "If the authors made mistakes in names, places, and events, what else did they get wrong? How can the reader rely on anything that appears in Killing Lincoln?"

 


Creepy Book Note of the Day

As of Friday, the Penn State University Bookstore, State College, Pa., was still carrying Touched, the 2001 autobiography of former Penn State defensive coordinator and accused child abuser Jerry Sandusky, according to the Patriot-News.

A spokesperson for the bookstore, which is managed by Barnes & Noble, told the paper that he was aware that the book was still on display in the local interest section, adding, "We haven't changed any operating procedure.''

Customers on Amazon.com are debating whether the e-tailer should list the book, according to the Christian Science Monitor. "Some on Amazon have called for the books behemoth to remove Touched from the site," the paper said. "Writes one, 'How can you, in good conscience, have this book, with the unbelievably ironic title, still for sale?' "

 


Book Trailers of the Day: Moby-Dick in Pictures

Moby-Dick in Pictures by Matt Kish (Tin House Books). The author, a self-taught artists and a librarian in Columbus, Ohio, illustrated every page of the Melville classic, one illustration a day for 18 months, on pages from discarded books using a variety of media, including ballpoint pen, marker, paint, crayon, ink and watercolor.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gabby Giffords on 20/20

This morning on the Today Show: Diane Keaton, author of Then Again (Random House, $26, 9781400068784).

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This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Lee Myung-Bak, author of The Uncharted Path: The Autobiography of Lee Myung-Bak (Sourcebooks, $26.99, 9781402262913). The South Korean president is also on NPR's All Things Considered today.

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Katrina vanden Heuvel, author of The Change I Believe In: Fighting for Progress in the Age of Obama (Nation, $16.99, 9781568586885).

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Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Confessions of a Guidette (Gallery, $25, 9781451657111).

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Tonight on an ABC 20/20 Special with Diane Sawyer: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, authors of Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (Scribner, $26.99, 9781451661064). Kelly will also appear tonight on Nightline and tomorrow on Good Morning America, NPR's All Things Considered and the Daily Show.

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize winner and author of Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War (Beast Books, $25.99, 9780984295159).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Thomas Thwaites, author of The Toaster Project: Or a Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch (Princeton Architectural Press, $19.95, 9781568989976).

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Tomorrow on the View: Shaquille O'Neal, author of Shaq Uncut: My Story (Grand Central, $27.99, 9781455504411).

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Tomorrow on OWN's Rosie Show: Darrell Hammond, author of God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live, and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem (Harper, $25.99, 9780062064554).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jean Baker, author of Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion (Hill and Wang, $35, 9780809094981).

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Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Stuart Isacoff, author of A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians--from Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between (Knopf, $30, 9780307266378). [FF]

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Tomorrow on CBS' the Talk: Carrie Fisher, author of Shockaholic (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9780743264822).

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Confessions of a Guidette (Gallery, $25, 9781451657111).


Books & Authors

Awards: PNBA Shortlist; Aura Estrada Winner

The shortlist for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's 2012 Book Awards, selected by PNBA bookseller members, consists of the following 12 titles:

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (Ecco)
Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle by Thor Hanson (Basic Books)
Habibi by Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch (Hawthorne Books)
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi (Hyperion)
The Bled: Poems by Frances McCue (Factory Hollow Press)
West of Here by Jonathan Evison (Algonquin)
Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Morrow)
Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber (Norton)
Ed King by David Guterson (Knopf)
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings (Scribner)
Shards by Ismet Prcic (Black Cat/Grove)

The winners will be announced in January.

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Majo Ramírez, a short story writer living in Mexico City, has won the second Aura Estrada Prize, given to a woman under 35 writing creative prose in Spanish who is a resident of the U.S. or Mexico. The winner receives $10,000, publication in Spanish Granta and the opportunity to do residencies, up to two months each, at Santa Maddalena in Tuscany, Italy, Ledig House in New York City, the UCross Foundation in Wyoming and Villa Guadalupe in Oaxaca, Mexico. The prize is given biennially at the Oaxaca International Book Fair.

Aura Estrada was a Mexican writer who died in 2007, at age 30, in a body-surfing accident. The prize was founded by her husband, writer Francisco Goldman, and their friends. Sponsors include the Oaxaca publishing house Almadía and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.   


What Would Mindy Kaling Read?

One of the very funny stars and writers of the Office, Mindy Kaling has just published Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (Crown Archetype, $25, 9780307886262). Here she offers an annotated list of her favorite books:

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith is such a funny writer, and just, well, so cool. I want to be in a Christmas Gap ad with Zadie Smith.

House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

My first favorite book, chosen in 10th grade. I was a dramatic kid. I considered myself my high school's Lily Bart.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

I am half-Bengali and grew up on the East Coast, so Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing resonates so much that it's eerie. Sometimes I get confused when re-telling a story of my family: is this a memory of mine or something Jhumpa Lahiri wrote?

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

I hope I never meet Jonathan Franzen because he is such a keen observer of human flaw. I never want to know what he thinks of me. Am I Patty? Am I Richard Katz? Am I Connie? He is so good with character. Too good.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

Why is this not a movie? I love this book and its complicated, lovely, dark heroine.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

I love this book so much that when I found out it was based on King Lear, I read the play. But A Thousand Acres is so much better than King Lear! Sorry, Shakespeare!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Completely frightening, gruesome at times, but a moving love story between a father and son. One of the only totally "male" books that I love.

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen

Pride & Prejudice gets the most attention, but my favorite set of sisters is Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. You can see yourself in both the Dashwood girls.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

When I was 22, I read this on three consecutive Chinatown bus rides from Boston to New York, one of which broke down. I didn't even care. It's such a vivid adventure; I forget this isn't a graphic novel.

Sphere by Michael Crichton

I read this when I was 10 years old and thought Michael Crichton is the best writer in the history of the world. I skimmed through it recently: still amazing.


Book Review

Review: Mister Blue

Mister Blue by Jacques Poulin, trans. by Sheila Fischman (Archipelago, $16 trade paper, 9781935744313, December 2011)

Narrated with disarming candor and directness by Jim, the self-described slowest writer in Quebec, Mister Blue unfolds in and around Jim's hodge-podge of a rebuilt house far out in the middle of the bay, transported there long ago by his father on a barge from the village on the other side of the river. Other than seeing his beloved younger brother for the occasional game of tennis, Jim lives there alone with several cats, most notably his old companion, Mister Blue.

The mysteries in Poulin's world are small, everyday ones--in this case, a set of footprints on the deserted beach near Jim's isolated home that are exactly the same size as his own. They lead to a cave where Jim finds a copy of The Arabian Nights inscribed with the name Marie K. He concludes that Marika, as he calls her, is the owner of the mysterious little sailboat anchored just off the sandy inlet, the Dinarzade, named after Scheherazade's sister and not in very good shape. Grieving over the loss of his wife to a rival referred to only as Superman, repeatedly finding the cave deserted but the bookmark in The Arabian Nights quickly moving forward, Jim becomes increasingly spellbound by a woman he can't even manage to meet, while he struggles to write a love story.

When a mysterious, broad-shouldered woman of 40 named Bungalow asks to borrow a blowtorch and a cylinder of gas, offering in return to patch his leaky roof (how did she know the roof needed repairing?), Jim is led into a relationship with the Girls' House, an official shelter in Old Quebec for women in distress, and in particular with La Petite, a 16-year-old runaway who looks like a boy and who has fled the sexual liberties taken by her adoptive father.

Never has a 16-year-old girl climbing into bed with a man in his 40s been described with less moral alarm. Never has a sexual three-way transpired with such casual, graceful understatement. Jacques Poulin has perfected the art of making simplicity look artless. This delicate tale is told with Hemingway-like sparseness and minimal melodrama. His characters are certainly aware of the sadness of life, but quietly, stubbornly opt to be happy. Jim's struggle to write a love story results in something quite else, also filled with love and just as profoundly moving. As usual in life, while our hero relentlessly pursues a woman who may not even exist, real love is happening to him without his knowing. Poulin earns his lump-in-the-throat ending. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf-Talker: A reclusive author trying to write a love story finds himself caring for a 16-year-old runaway in this light, refreshing tale by Quebec's most delightful stylist.

 

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in St. Louis

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around St. Louis, Mo. During the week ended Sunday, November 6:

Adult

1. That Is All by John Hodgman
2. Blue Nights by Joan Didion
3. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
4. The Litigators by John Grisham
5. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
6. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
7. Amazing Adventures of a Nobody by Leon Logothetis
8. Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry by Hutton Wilkinson, Stephanie Hanchett and Glenda Bailey
9. The Cardinals of Cooperstown by Greg Marecek
10. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Children's/YA

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
3. Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
4. Press Here by Herve Tullet
5. The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Book 1: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman
6. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
7. Curious George: Curious About Christmas by H.A. Rey
8. Emako Blue by Brenda Woods
9. Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber
10. Spongebob Square Pants: Attack of the Zombies by Alex Harvey

Reporting bookstores, all of which are members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance: Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, Pudd'nhead Books, Subterranean Books, Sue's News.

[Many thanks to the booksellers!]


Disney-Hyperion: Serafina and the Splintered Heart (Serafina # 3) by Robert Beatty
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