Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Little Brown and Company: Circe by Madeline Miller

St. Martin's Press: After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

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

Editors' Note

The Widget for Readers

Many thanks to all the booksellers and bloggers who've embedded our spiffy book-giveaway button. Our newest contest is for signed copies of Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott (Riverhead). Written with her son (who is the subject of her book Operating Instructions), Some Assembly Required is a loving and humorous chronicle of Anne Lamott's first year as a grandmother to grandson Jax.

We've made a few changes in how the contest works. Contest entrants no longer have to be new subscribers to Shelf Awareness for Readers (we'll sign them up if they're not). Also, each entrant gets a referral link to the contest to share with friends, and for each friend who enters the contest through a referral link, the referrer receives another entry. We make it easy to share the referral link via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

If you'd like to share Shelf Awareness contests on your website or blog with our giveaway button, go here for instructions: http://www.shelf-awareness.com/giveawaybutton

If you already have the button, it will automatically update.

Please spread the word. Thank you!


Clarion Books: The Stone Girl's Story by Sarah Beth Durst


News

NACS/CAMEX 1: 'The Spring of Hope'

College stores are on "a wild ride" and will continue to be "for a number of years," but "we're all about the spring of hope," said National Association of College Stores CEO Brian Cartier. "We have everything before us."

Cartier spoke at the annual business meeting of NACS, held during the association's annual conference and CAMEX show, which began Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah, and ended yesterday.

Echoing him, NACS president Danny Key, director of bookstore services at Wingate University, Wingate, N.C., said that "challenging times continue," but college stores "are fighting back. We're optimistic. We're doing good things."

Both Key and Cartier cited a range of achievements and opportunities for college stores:

A few years ago about 50 college stores had textbook rental programs. Now, more than 2,500 stores have some kind of rental program, which help students save money.

NACS created the first National Student Day last year, intended to honor student volunteerism and build deeper connections with students, which was celebrated on 561 campuses. The second National Student Day will be held this coming October 4. Key put in a special plug for the event, noting that already some students at Wingate University have begun planning a theme of support for animal rescue initiatives in the county for the day. Cartier said he wants to see 1,000 stores participate in the event and called the day "an opportunity to create something very special for the industry and our members."

NACS Media Solutions continues to engage in r&d and help members work with new media, new forms of course material and their delivery. It has tested a regional POD program and worked with Verba Software to launch new tools. Several future projects relate to mobile commerce and custom publishing.

NACS's government relations operation has educated members about the Higher Education Opportunity Act and created an online toolkit for members to show their commitment to affordable course materials. During the past year, it also helped fight efforts to delay the interchange swipe fee reform and helped repeal some onerous 1099 reporting provisions. It also followed federal and state legislation relating to textbooks.

Concerning the government relations office in Washington, D.C., Cartier said, "We have arrived." The White House and the American Council on Education have sought advice and input from NACS. This has happened because, Cartier said, "We're visible. It's part of our advocacy."

NACSCORP, the association's wholesaling subsidiary, had another strong year--its eighth consecutive year of profitability--and offers members "shipping and freight opportunities that save you money," Cartier said. MORE

The NACS Foundation has continued to promote the College Store of 2015 Research Project. Key noted that "many members are following or adapting" recommendations of the project.

An upcoming NACS Foundation initiative is a three-day Campus Retailing Futures Think Tank, at which 60 leaders inside and outside the business will discuss strategies for NACS and college stores.

NACS itself is in a healthy financial state and has been able to invest in new and established initiatives and service that include National Student Day, NACS Media Solutions and the NACS Foundation. NACS dues remain at the same level they have been for several years.

Cartier concluded: "These are very, very challenging times, but they can be the best of times because they cause us to figure out how to operate differently." --John Mutter


Oxford University Press: Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship by Nadine Strossen


ABFFE Challenges PayPal on Censorship

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has joined the National Coalition Against Censorship to protest a recent threat by PayPal to close accounts of online booksellers, including Smashwords, that sell works with descriptions of rape, incest or bestiality.

In a letter to PayPal's parent company, eBay, ABFFE and NCAC argued that the company's decision would affect the sale of books adults have a legal right to buy and could potentially suppress important literary works: "Incest, rape and bestiality have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses." It also criticized PayPal's claim the policy only affects "low-value erotica," observing that literary assessments change over time: "Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover were banned as 'obscene' in the United States."

"The policy will have a dramatic impact on the sale of works that are protected by First Amendment," said ABFFE president Chris Finan.  

Joan Bertin, NCAC executive director, contended the policy would restrict Internet freedom: "Those who find sexual or any other kind of content disturbing or immoral don't have to buy it, but it is widely accepted that they have no right to impose their views on others."


GLOW: Grove Atlantic: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop


Google Play: 'One-Stop' Digital Shopping

Google has upped the ante in its bid to compete against Amazon and Apple with the creation of Google Play, a "one-stop shop" combining Google Music, Google Books and Android Market. The Los Angeles Times reported that visitors to those sites "will be redirected to a single page that features tabs for books, music, games and movies, whether they are browsing the Web on a computer, tablet or smartphone."

Gartner media analyst Michael McGuire called the move "a crucial step Google had to take to keep competitive. Google is trying to simplify delivering to consumers something they will pay for or load onto their device. Anything Google can do to streamline that is important."

"We're creating this notion that the consumer has a single relationship with Google as the ecosystem for their content," said Jamie Rosenberg, the company's director of digital content.
 


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


Scholastic Unveils Storia E-Reading App

Yesterday, Scholastic released an expanded beta test version of its Storia e-reading app, featuring approximately 1,300 e-books and about 250 "enhanced offerings" for teachers and parents who purchase through Scholastic Book Clubs and other Scholastic sales channels. The publisher noted that when Storia officially launches to the general public next fall, there will be about 2,000 titles (including 300 enhanced).

Storia offers enhanced books with extras like audio narration, pronunciation tools, phonics and vocabulary activities. In addition, the app allows "parents check in on their kids' reading progress, even showing them how many pages and minutes they've read and new words they've learned," the publisher noted.  

Deborah Forte, Scholastic Media president, told the Associated Press the idea was to make e-books "more accessible and more relevant." She views the app "as a way to support reading and something that's just plain fun.... We see Storia as following three basic principles. One size does not fit all. Parental involvement. And the activities and functions allow for interactive engagement."
 


EBM for Brooklyn Library

The Brooklyn Public Library now has an Espresso Book Machine. Linda Johnson, the library's president and CEO, told the Wall Street Journal: "One of the jobs that we need to do is to better support the creative community. What it means to be a great library is up in the air right now. I've always believed that reflecting the community that you serve is really how you be great."

Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand Books, said there are approximately 70 EBMs currently in operation, primarily in Canada and the U.S., with 30 more expected to come online by summer.
 


Notes

Image of the Day: Pink Carnations in Michigan

Late last month Lauren Willig (l.) came to Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., to share her latest Pink Carnation title, The Garden Intrigue (Dutton). One of her fans was the oldest person who has ever attended a Nicola's event: Marge, 99, and her daughter Lettie. They arrived early to claim the best seats, dined beforehand and had the first autograph line ticket. Marge has read every book Willig has published and had looked forward to meeting her for months. Events coordinator Lynn Riehl commented: "We hope to see her at many more, and to celebrate her 100th birthday next year."

 


New York Magazine Loves Posman Books

Posman Books garnered this year's "Best Bookstore" nod in New York magazine's annual "Best of New York" feature, which noted that the "family-owned Posman is an indie mini-chain with the clout of a megachain. Its three branches--Grand Central, Chelsea Market and Rockefeller Center--have won over readers from tween Hunger Games obsessives to highbrow jet-setters with their exhaustive selection and well-curated event programming."
 



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Marcus on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Chloe Coscarelli, author of Chloe's Kitchen: 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Making the Food You Love the Vegan Way (Free Press, $18.99, 9781451636741).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David Wolman, author of The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society (Da Capo, $25, 9780306818837).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan: Hogan Gorman, author of Hot Cripple: An Incurable Smart-ass Takes on the Health Care System and Lives to Tell the Tale (Perigee, $16, 9780399537288).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307379375). As the show put it: "What if language turned on its human users? What if language, as Williams Burroughs used to say, is a virus from outer space? Ben Marcus discusses the consequences of a communications breakdown that amounts to a social and spiritual dissolution. Where will wisdom be found? How will it be expressed? We discuss the fundamentals that underlie a complete breakdown."

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Trita Parsi, author of A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, $27.50, 9780300169362).

 


John Carter: The First 10 Minutes

Disney has released a 10-minute extended clip of John Carter, based on Princess of Mars, the first book in the Martian tales series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The movie, which will be released Thursday, is directed by Andrew Stanton and stars Taylor Kitsch in the title role.
 


Books & Authors

Awards: Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction

Andrew Westoll won the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction for his book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery. In his acceptance speech, Westoll thanked the jury, his wife, his agent and his parents, then he thanked "a woman named Gloria Grow and a rather unusual list of individuals: Binky and Regis, Jethro and Chancey, Rachel and Petra, Yoko and Toby, Sue Ellen and Pepper and Spock. This, he explained, was Grow’s 'family of chimps, who welcomed me into their world so warmly. Well, most of them did. Some of them threw stuff at me,' " the National Post reported.
 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

New titles appearing next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13 and 14:

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780307885289) includes more than 150 Italian recipes.

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman (Crown Business, $26, 9780307886057) chronicles the No. 2 U.S. automaker's revival.

Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power by Andrew Nagorski (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439191002) shows what American diplomats, athletes, journalists and others living in Germany thought of Hitler's rule in the 1930s.

The Book of Lost Fragrances: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose (Atria, $24, 9781451621303) centers on a perfume created in the time of Cleopatra and lost for 2,000 years that may or may not lead to reincarnation--but definitely leads someone to kill to obtain it.

The Vanishers: A Novel by Heidi Julavits (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385523813) follows a student psychic struggling with her mother's suicide.

Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull (Aladdin, $19.99, 9781416997948) is book two of the fantasy Beyonders series.

This Morning by Michael Ryan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20, 9780547684598) is a collection of new poetry.



Book Brahmin: Dan Barden

Dan Barden is the author of John Wayne: A Novel and The Next Right Thing (March 6, 2012; The Dial Press), which Jonathan Letham described as "The Long Goodbye in rehab." Barden, a native of Southern California, teaches creative writing at Butler University in Indianapolis. His essays have appeared in Esquire, GQ, Details and Poets and Writers.

On your nightstand now:

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou. Lahiri makes such gorgeous paragraphs. Who else can you say that about? The subtitle of Schou's book is The Brotherhood of Eternal Love and Its Quest to Spread Peace, Love, and Acid to the World. I think I'm reading this one to research my next novel, but I'm also falling in love with these hippie-thugs from the Laguna Beach of the '60s and '70s.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Don't tell my mom, but the only books I can remember loving as a child were the Collier's Encyclopedias. I spent years reading them and almost nothing else.

Your top five authors:

Walker Percy, Richard Rodriguez, Jennifer Egan, Raymond Chandler and Robert B. Parker.

Book you've faked reading:

There was a time in my life when I wanted everyone to believe I had Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man committed to memory. He was a Jesuit philosopher/paleontologist and this fit in with my aspiration to be mistaken for an intellectual. The fact is that I had memorized sentences but hadn't read much else.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. I give it to smart guys who say they don't read novels. Also, for the same reason, Charlie Huston's Caught Stealing and The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Theories of Authorship by John Caughie because it had a great picture on the cover of the film director John Ford telling John Wayne what to do. I never read a word.

Book that changed your life:

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. My high school guidance counselor sent it home with me as a gift for my mom, who was a friend of his. I still have that copy with his inscription to my mom. She's never seen it. It felt like Percy was reading my mail. I wanted to make a book just like his.

Favorite line from a book:

"A good father is not a good father." --from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki.

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

Jamesland by Michelle Huneven. I was angry when I finished reading it because I recognized that I would never get to read it for the first time again. I cursed. I would have thrown the book if I hadn't been on an airplane at the time. A novel about people I would recognize if I saw them on the street, characters who are as dear to me as friends.


Book Review

Children's Review: Green

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, $16.99 hardcover, 40p., ages 2-up, 9781596433977, March 27, 2012)

As with so many of Laura Vaccaro Seeger's books (The Hidden Alphabet; First the Egg), with her latest addition, she blows open the possibilities of the picture book to expand both its conceptual and physical definition. The simplicity on the surface of this ode to the color green masks the planning and seamless execution of a series of intricately connected images.

Seeger's homage starts as a study of green's many hues. She begins with a white rabbit in a thick grove of trees--"forest green"--and closes with a girl and her father admiring a majestic tree near a barn--"forever green." Two leaves sprout from the tree on the right-hand edge of that first spread of the forest; two leaves sprout from the tree in that last picture with the barn. Even the youngest of Seeger's fans have learned to search for the holes in the pages of her books, and in the forest spread, those two leaf shapes are die-cut holes filled in by a deep green patch on the following full-spread illustration, where a turtle swims in a pool of "sea green." For the ocean depths, those leaf-shaped holes now outline a pair of fish, with details showing through from the forest painting to fill out their markings and eyes. The author-artist later hides the letters for "jungle" (in "jungle green") and, for the following spread, "khaki," in what appear to be random blades of grass and background paint spatters. She demands readers' close observation, and suggests that each piece of art tells a story unto itself, but also that these interdependent images contribute to a larger narrative about nature, and all the places we see green in our experience of the world.

She moves from woods to sea to jungle, but her artwork also places children on their backs, looking up through a lacework of fern leaves and gazing up at the moon, a trio of moths and a fern-colored butterfly. She stretches the concept to the abstract, the "slow green" of a caterpillar and the "glow green" of fireflies. She raises themes for conversation: the "never green" of a stop sign, contrasted with a "no green" winter landscape. Every child who's been through the cycle of the seasons knows that this snowy scene will be green before long. That spread has the standout die-cut: the full moon itself is the round hole, looking like an extension of the snowman pictured, and on the next page that circle becomes a sun that shines on a boy planting a seedling.

Could that boy planting the seedling have grown up to be the father with his daughter admiring the full grown tree on the final page? Laura Vaccaro Seeger gives us a meditation on nature's gift for keeping us in the moment and its constancy through the ages. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Laura Vaccaro Seeger's ode to green breaks the bounds of picture book–making as her series of images form a whole that mirrors the cycle of life.

 


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