Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 13, 2012


HarperCollins: On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna

Johns Hopkins University Ptess: Playboys and Mayfair Men by Angus McLaren / A Year of Writing Dangerously by Keith Gandal

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

News

Huseby New CFO at B&N

Effective today, Michael P. Huseby is joining Barnes & Noble as chief financial officer. He replaces Joseph Lombardi, who resigned last October after eight years as B&N's CFO. Allen Lindstrom, v-p, corporate controller, had been interim CFO and continues at B&N.

Huseby was previously executive v-p and CFO of Cablevision and earlier had the same position at Charter Communications, another cable TV company. Before that, he was executive v-p, finance and administration, at AT&T Broadband and was a global equity partner at Arthur Andersen.

The Wall Street Journal emphasized that Huseby helped Cablevision spin off Madison Square Garden properties in 2010 and AMC Networks TV in 2011. William Lynch, CEO of B&N, which is considering spinning off its Nook and digital business, called Huseby's spinoff experience "interesting," but said it wasn't among the top reasons he was hired.

Still, Wall Street took notice. Analyst David Schick wrote to clients (as quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek): "Appointing a CFO with significant tech, spinoff and mergers-and-acquisitions experience suggests to us that Barnes & Noble is continuing to look at unlocking the value of Nook."

 


AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


Librotraficante Caravan Headed for Tucson

The Librotraficante Caravan, "a bus filled with about 60 Latino writers, artists, activists and students 'smuggling' Latino-themed books to Arizona," left Houston yesterday on its four-day, six-city trip to Tucson to protest the removal of books used for the Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District earlier this year. Those books were pulled following enactment of a state law that "prohibits public schools from teaching anything that promotes racial or ethnic 'resentment,' or that is designed 'primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group' or advocates 'ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals," as Bookselling This Week described it. The San Antonio Express-News said the law "has deemed some Latino books unpatriotic, accusing them of advancing the overthrow of the federal government."

Tony Diaz, organizer of the tour, said the caravan's "use of words such as 'trafficking, 'underground' and 'smuggling'--and its use of 'tricked-out taco trucks' to deliver them--has captured imaginations" with targeted satire: "It's meant to expose how unfair the law is." The caravan plans to help open at least four "underground libraries" to house many of the banned books.

In an opinion piece for CNN headlined "I am a book trafficker," Diaz wrote: "Arizona politicians never actually feared Latinos would overthrow the government by inciting violence. They feared Latinos would overhaul the government by voting them out of office. By prohibiting Mexican-American Studies, they very well may have created exactly what they feared the most."
 


Zondervan: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander


Russia's 'Burgeoning E-Book Market'

As the number of available e-book titles continues to increase and prices fall, Russians are exhibiting an "increasing affinity for reading on screens, [but] market players caution that it will be a long time before e-books replace printed titles," Moscow Times reported, noting that the "size of the Russian e-book market is currently $2.2 million, with e-books accounting for less than 1% of total book sales."

E-book prices on LitRes, the market leader in Russian e-book sales, range from 10 rubles (33 cents) for Tolstoy's novel Childhood to 250 rubles ($8.50) for the Russian translation of Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. RBK Research estimates that in a "best-case scenario, e-books' share of the Russian book market could hit 30% by 2015," Moscow Times wrote.

Mikhail Osin, director of the digital sales department for Ozon.ru--which has been called "Russia's Amazon"--said, "Sales of e-books are rising at a fast rate, and this trend will continue in the future.... new technologies are occupying a segment of the market, which of course is a concern to publishers, making them adapt their business model and even switch to the production of electronic books." Ozon.ru had a 40% increase in e-book sales in 2011, with e-reader purchases rising 250%.

Over the past two years, prices for e-reading devices have dropped about 30%. Yevgeny Militsa, director of e-reader retailer PocketBook Russia--whose e-readers range in price from 3,400 rubles ($115) to 15,000 rubles ($507)--said his company sold approximately 400,000 devices in 2011, which doubled 2010 sales. He expects the market to grow another 50% in 2012.

And yet, as Alexander Bobrowski of LitRes observed: "For many Russians, the value of a book still lies in its tangibility. For this reason paper still prevails."
 


Swiss Vote Down Fixed Prices

In the first national vote on price maintenance on books, Switzerland on Sunday rejected, by a 56.1% vote, a referendum that would have returned price fixing to the country. The French-speaking part of the country supported the measure, while the German-speaking part voted against it.

Price maintenance ended in the German-speaking part of Switzerland in 2007 while it ended in the French-speaking part 20 years ago.


Notes

Images of the Day: Extreme Booksignings


Clive Oppenheimer, author of Eruptions that Shook the World (Cambridge) often works on volcanoes around the world, and has had opportunities for more "extreme" book signings than the typical author! These are photos he's sent back from his work on Antarctica's Mount Erebus.

In Oppenheimer's globe-trotting spirit, the publisher is offering a free Cambridge tote bag to anyone who sends in a photo of him/herself with a copy of the book by the end of April.




Sylvia Whitman: A Bookseller's 'Beginnings'

The second installment of Beginnings, a short film series directed by Chiara Clemente about the "early inspirations" of artists and creative types, will be shown on the Sundance Channel (and online at www.sundancechannel.com) tonight. Among those featured in the new episode set in Paris is Sylvia Whitman, "who stepped into the role of her father, George Whitman, as the proprietor of the Left Bank literary institution Shakespeare and Company," Book Bench noted.
 


Cool Idea of the Day: Franzen's Wild Bird Fundraiser

Jonathan Franzen will speak about his love of birds at a fundraiser for the Wild Bird Fund on Tuesday, April 3, 6:30-9 p.m., at the Vanderbilt Mansion in New York City.

The Wild Bird Fund is the only organization in New York City that provides emergency care for injured wildlife and is planning to open the first wildlife rehabilitation center in the city.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Elizabeth Weil, author of No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried to Make It Better. (Scribner, $25, 9781439168226).

Also on the Today Show: Susan Stiffelman, author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected (Atria, $16, 9781451667660).

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Sheryl Lee Ralph, author of Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl (Karen Hunter Publishing/Gallery Books, $14, 9781451608427).

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Tomorrow on the View: John Ramsey, author of The Other Side of Suffering: The Father of JonBenet Ramsey Tells the Story of His Journey from Grief to Grace (FaithWords, $24.99, 9780892963850).

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Tomorrow on OWN's Rosie Show: Storm Large, author of Crazy Enough: A Memoir (Free Press, $25, 9781439192405).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Richard Davidson and Sharon Begley, authors of The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live--and How You Can Change Them (Hudson Street Press, $25.95, 9781594630897).


TV: Karin Slaughter's Grant County Series; 666 Park Ave.

Entertainment One and Piller/Segan/Shepherd, who partnered on the Syfy network series Haven, are working on a new show based on the six-book Grant County series by Karin Slaughter, featuring pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton. Deadline.com reported that the project "will go into development immediately, with Slaughter co-writing the pilot script with Piller/Segan/Shepherd principal Scott Shepherd."
 
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Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives) will co-star in the ABC pilot episode of 666 Park Avenue, based on the novel by Gabriella Pierce. According to Deadline.com, "the project centers on a young couple (Rachael Taylor, Dave Annable) who accept an offer to manage one of the most historic apartment buildings in New York City. Unwittingly, they begin to experience supernatural occurrences that complicate and endanger the lives of everyone in the building." Williams plays "the coldly beautiful and sophisticated wife of the building’s owner (Terry O’Quinn)."
 


Books & Authors

Awards: Andersen; Burroughs; Books for a Better Life

Five authors and five illustrators have made the shortlist for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is given every other year by the International Board on Books for Young People to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made lasting contributions to children's literature. Winners will be announced at the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

The five authors are: María Teresa Andruetto from Argentina; Paul Fleischman, U.S.; Bart Moeyaert, Belgium; Jean-Claude Mourlevat, France; and Bianca Pitzorno, Italy.

The five illustrators are: Mohammad Ali Beniasadi, Iran; John Burningham, U.K.; Roger Mello, Brazil; Peter Sís, Czech Republic (lives in U.S.); and Javier Zabala, Spain.

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Sex and the River Styx by Edward Hoagland (Chelsea Green) has won this year's John Burroughs Medal, given by the John Burroughs Association to "the author of a distinguished book of natural history." Hoagland will receive the medal at a ceremony in April at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City during the association's annual meeting.

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Winners of the Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by the Southern New York Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and recognizing "self-improvement authors whose messages are aligned with the chapter's mission of inspiring people to live their best lives," were celebrated last night in New York City. In addition, David "Skip" Prichard, president and CEO, Ingram Content Group, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Shelley Peterman Schwarz, author and president of Meeting Life's Challenges, won the MS Awareness award.

The winners:
 
Childcare/Parenting: Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran (Scribner)
First Book: Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo (Free Press)
Green: The Neighborhood Project by David Sloan Wilson (Little, Brown)
Inspirational Memoir: Enjoy Every Sandwich by Lee Lipsenthal, M.D. (Crown)
Motivational: Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? by Touré (Free Press)
Personal Finance: Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times by Clark Howard with Mark Meltzer and Theo Thimou (Avery Books)
Psychology: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins (Hyperion)
Relationships: Spousonomics by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson (Random House)
Spiritual: Holy Ghost Girl by Donna M. Johnson (Gotham)
Wellness: The Longevity Project by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin (Hudson Street Press)



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

The Healing by Jonathan Odell (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $26, 9780385534673). "During the years before the Civil War, Master Ben purchases Polly Shine, a slave woman known to possess healing powers, to help 'doctor' his slaves suffering from a mysterious plague. Polly also needs to pass on her healing knowledge to the next generation and focuses on Granada, a young slave girl. Granada is not so willing to accept her gift and is not interested in learning anything from Polly. Despite Granada's impatience and resistance, Polly teaches her that the gift of healing is much more than just learning to heal." --Julia Barth, Blue Willow Bookshop, Huston, Tex.

The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9780312642808). "In a world of privilege, Jaguars, Renoirs, and competitive sailing, Jason Prosper has already lost what money can't buy: a best friend and lover. At Bellingham Academy, a last-shot boarding school for those on their third strike, Jason must learn to rebuild his life and navigate the stormy seas of friendship and love. Dermot recreates both the pain and promise of youth with beautiful clarity. She peoples her work with young adults doing their best to assume the very adult roles their world demands, complete with their flaws, fears, and insecurities masked by false bravado. An outstanding debut." --Christopher Green, the Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo.

Paperback

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier (Vintage, $15, 9780307387776). "Brockmeier's latest novel weaves together disparate voices in a stunning meditation on pain and beauty. Like the best speculative fiction, it wields the paranormal to show us a very present truth. The Illumination is a reminder that, no matter how dramatically the world changes around us, people are and always will be people--and that there is a brightness in that, regardless of our failings." --Jenn Northington, WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y.

For Ages 4-8

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, $12.99, 9780062081957). "Young Penny has a song of her own and wants to sing it for all to hear, but the babies are sleeping. What is she to do? Why sing, of course!

One is nice, two is nice,
Three is even better.
Four is nice, five is nice,
Six in rain is wetter.

Yet another reason to love Henkes!" --Lorna Ruby, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.
 
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Book Review

Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (Knopf, $25.95 hardcover, 9780307592736, March 20, 2012)

Cheryl Strayed's itinerant upbringing comes to an end as she, her mother, father-in-law, sister and brother end up in Minnesota, building a house on land the family has bought. Cheryl and her mom, whom she loves deeply, begin college together. Just before finishing, her mom is diagnosed with cancer and, soon after, dies. Cheryl is devastated. Before she leaves town, she lies in the dirt where they spread her ashes: "I had to go. She wasn't there for me in that flowerbed anymore anyway," she writes. "I'd put her someplace else."

Thus begins Wild, a poignant, no-holds barred, kick-ass memoir that will grab you by the throat and shake you to your core. Strayed is 22 when her mom dies, and for the next four years she's a mess: after her marriage breaks up, she sleeps around like a feral cat in heat, has an abortion and becomes addicted to heroin. Near rock bottom, she sees a book at a checkout counter about the Pacific Crest Trail, a wilderness trail running from the Mexican border to Washington State. She buys the book, deciding that to save herself she must hike the trail, solo; this "was what I had to do," she says. "I had to change."    

In a motel room in Mojave, Calif., about to embark, she packs up and realizes she's never really hiked, never really carried a pack as heavy as a small car before. Nevertheless, she takes a shaky step into the hot light, a bundled astronaut beginning her first moonwalk. The very first day, she's stabbed by a Joshua tree, then loses her bandages in a gust of wind while trying to open her first aid kit with bloodied hands. That evening, she pulls out one of the few books she has allowed herself to carry and reads an Adrienne Rich poem entitled "Power" over and over. As her journey continues, Strayed seamlessly weaves events on the trail with memories, good and bad, that explain why this hike had to be.

And so it goes, for 1,100 miles and three arduous months--through injuries, hunger, thirst, strangers met, kindnesses shown, ice and snow, some hilarity, much suffering, almost quitting and much learning. She thinks about the "old thread I'd lost, the new one I was spinning," everything that had broken her, and how to make herself "whole again," and in the end, found. --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: A not so distant cousin to Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, this powerful and raw, deeply felt, often humorous, and beautifully written memoir turns hiking into an act of redemption and salvation.


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