Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 21, 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

Quotation of the Day

The Book Trade: 'You’ve Got to Know Why You’re in It'

"Valerie and I struggle to call ourselves business people. We prefer to call ourselves people in business. It really isn't second nature to us. We started this business in middle age and it's been a sharp learning curve. We were struggling artists living below the poverty line. We knew how to work on a shoestring but at the same time we spent what we had to make a thing right. That's the payoff. I mean it's so hard, this business. If you're going to do it, you've got to know why you're in it.... We got into this because we thought we could do it better. Now we have something that could conceivably outlast us. It's a very satisfying feeling. When I walk into a bookstore and see that little house with the roof blown off it still throws me."

--Dennis Johnson, co-owner (with Valerie Merians) of Melville House Publishing, in an interview with the Economist


 


AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


News

OverDrive Suspends Potter E-Book Pre-Sales

OverDrive has "temporarily suspended pre-sales and display" of Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks for library lending. On the company's Digital Library Blog, public relations and social media specialist Michael Lovett wrote: "This is only a postponement, and libraries will soon be able to resume pre-ordering the titles in preparation for launch in April. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. We’ll keep you posted as the process unfolds."

Calling the move "a curious turn of events," eBookNewser speculated it might be "due to a technical issue. I bet OD’s servers were beginning to get bogged down by the requests for info about the e-books.... It seems likely that OverDrive is simply pulling the e-books now so they have time to make sure their servers can handle the load on the day that they are finally available to checkout."
 


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


France: Tax Big Booksellers to Support Indies

As part of a 13-point list of suggestions for the French publishing industry, Minister for Culture Frédéric Mitterand proposed a tax on "large booksellers to help French independent bookstores impacted by the rise of online giants like Amazon," TechCrunch reported, noting that the tax "would be applied not only to books sold online by companies like Amazon, but also those sold in larger physical stores, with the proceeds then going into a fund for smaller booksellers."

Mitterand also recommended "more monitoring/control over how books are priced when sold by the bigger companies," TechCrunch wrote, citing an article in Les Echos that also cautioned "these suggestions are being made in the lead-up to an election, and are most likely being put out there as talking points rather than anything that would actually get implemented soon."


Now Arriving at Platform 9¾: Watermark Bookshop

An 1,100-square-foot Watermark Bookshop has opened in the new London King's Cross station concourse between the "Platform 9¾" tourist attraction and an upcoming Harry Potter experience shop. The Bookseller reported that Watermark, which launched five years ago in Australia, hopes to open 35 more shops at British airport and railway locations.

"We wanted the shop to look both attractive and modern, but have the feel of a bookshop people would want to stay and browse in," Fin Casey, managing director of parent company LS travel retail U.K. & Ireland, adding he was "delighted" with the location next to Platform 9¾, where "shoppers had been queuing up to have their photos taken and then coming into the shop."
 


Digital Upgrade for Aussie Booksellers

Digital media platform creator Copia Interactive will partner with the Australian Publishers Association and Thorpe-Bowker to equip indie booksellers with a suite of e-book and e-reader services under the APA's "TitlePage" brand. Using Copia's technology, the APA will be able to provide indie stores with the ability to create localized content, commerce and community-based experience.

APA will also use Copia's e-book distribution services, integrated into a new release of TitlePage called TitlePage Plus. The Copia e-book platform is used by 900 independent college bookstores in the U.S.  

"Our bookstores comprise a large portion of the marketplace," said Maree McCaskill, APA's CEO. "We are glad to partner with Copia as our official e-book partner to bring such a powerful platform to our booksellers."
 



Notes

Image of the Day: It's a Divine Wrap!

More than 20 customers of Divine Inspirations Bookstore, Nutley, N.J., volunteered on a Sunday evening to be part of the cast of a booksigning scene for an upcoming sci-fi short film titled Proof. Directed by Frank Perrotto, Proof is about an author named Woods Ulmann who begins to experience alien abductions. In the bookstore scene, he's at a booksigning for his latest sci-fi novel, titled The Mesozoic Mind. Here (l.) Divine Inspirations owner Gloria Brown with happy actors.

 


British Bookshop Videos: Scarthin Books; Royal Court Theatre

"I think of a bookshop as a work of art," Dave Mitchell, proprietor of Scarthin Books, says in this at once wistful and joyous short film about his bookshop in Cromford, Derbyshire.

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Simon David, manager of London's Royal Court Theatre bookshop, offers a tour and some recommendations. The store's Web page suggests that a bookseller's job description is just a bit different here: "Our staff specialize in assisting with the selection of audition monologues and scenes. Personal advice is available to anyone wanting help in selecting new and interesting roles from our extensive range of modern plays. We also hold selections of classical plays, as well as books on acting and professional development. The best time to come in for advice is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday to Friday."
 


Borrowing Books from a 'Walk-By Library'

Commuters waiting for their trains in Union Station, Worcester, Mass., now have a "walk-by library" to help them pass the time. The recently opened Give and Take bookshelf  "is stocked with donated books and encourages riders to keep the books, return them or replace them with another book," the Telegram reported.

The project was created by Friends of the Worcester Library, which is also looking for other locations to expand the program, including one of the city's hospitals. "It's another way to get the word out about the mission of the public library," said Friends board member Paul Reynolds.

photo: T&G Staff/Paul Kapteyn


Cambridge Signs with IPS

Effective June 1, Ingram Publishers Services will manage all warehousing and physical fulfillment of Cambridge University Press's U.S. inventory. Cambridge will continue to provide all order processing and customer service from its offices in New York.

Among other advantages, Cambridge will have its physical distribution next to Lightning Source, Ingram's POD service, which already manufactures titles for Cambridge.

Ingram Content Group president and CEO David "Skip" Prichard commented: "By using Ingram's full range of publisher solutions--physical and digital distribution, inventory management and printing--to create a new U.S. model, Cambridge can focus time and resources on the best content for today's dynamic market."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Edward St. Aubyn on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Sheryl Lee Ralph, author of Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the Original Dreamgirl (Gallery, $14, 9781451608427). She will also appear on the Wendy Williams Show.

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: part two of a two-part interview with Edward St. Aubyn, author of The Patrick Melrose Novels: Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother's Milk (Picador, $20, 9780312429966) and At Last (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25, 9780374298890). As the show put it: "With the five-book series completed, Edward St. Aubyn sees The Patrick Melrose Novels as a chronicle of the breakdown of British class society. While St. Aubyn cautions that the book is not a sociological treatise, he discusses the new freedoms and liberation from the misuse of power in England today."

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show: Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594203220).

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Tomorrow on NPR's It's Your Health Radio: 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).


Movie: The Trouble with Bliss

The Trouble with Bliss, based on East Fifth Bliss by Douglas Light, has a limited release this Friday, March 23. Michael C. Hall stars as a 35-year-old New Yorker whose inert life gains momentum after he starts dating an 18-year-old. The cast also includes Lucy Liu, Peter Fonda and Rhea Perlman.


Trailers: Breaking Dawn Part 2; Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter

A teaser trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 offers a glimpse at the full trailer debuting "ahead of The Hunger Games this weekend in a synergy move between Summit and new owner Lionsgate," Deadline.com reported.

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In a new trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, based on Seth Grahame-Smith's novel, "we learn that Honest Abe came upon his vampire hunting ways well before he ever took the oath of office," CNN's Marquee blog reported. "One can only guess how audiences will respond to this historical fiction horror film when it hits theaters on June 22."
 


Books & Authors

Awards: Astrid Lindgren; Lambda; James Beard; Montana

Dutch author Guus Kuijer won the prestigious 5 million Swedish kronor (US$742,000) Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which recognizes a body of work in the spirit of the creator of Pippi Longstocking. He will be honored May 28 in Stockholm.

"With an unprejudiced gaze and a sharp intellect, Guus Kuijer portrays both the problems facing contemporary society and life's big questions," the jury observed. "Respect for children is as self-evident in his works as his rejection of intolerance and oppression. Kuijer combines serious subject matter and razor-sharp realism with warmth, subtle humour and visionary flights of fancy. His simple, clear and precise style accommodates both deep philosophical insight and graceful poetic expression.

Kuijer expressed gratitude for the recognition and "hope that it will positively influence the position of children's literature in the Netherlands and abroad. As for my work, I consider The Book of Everything the most important."

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Some 119 finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards have been selected from a record number of nominations, organizer Lambda Literary Foundation said yesterday. Winners will be announced Monday, June 4, in New York City at the CUNY Graduate Center with an after-party at Slate.

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The James Beard Foundation announced its 2012 book award nominations in 11 categories. The complete shortlists can be found in the Los Angeles Times. Winners will be named May 4.

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Raptors of the West by Kate Davis, Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop (Mountain Press) has won the 2011 Montana Book Award, recognizing "literary and/or artistic excellence in a book written or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, is set in Montana, or deals with Montana themes or issues."

The judges called Raptors of the West, the latest collaboration of photographers Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop and author/photographer Kate Davis, "a glorious photographic ode to the 45 birds of prey that roam the skies of the American West. The book is arranged by the habitat type, which gives a great way to identify many birds in one area. While the 430 stunning color photographs are enough to set this book apart on their own, Davis's informative and entertaining captions make this a perfect guide for all age groups."

Honor books:

  • Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse's Life by Mary Jane Nealon (Graywolf Press)
  • Conjugations of the Verb To Be by Glen Chamberlain (Delphinium Books)
  • Hand Raised: The Barns of Montana by Chere Jiusto and Christine Brown with photographs by Tom Ferris (Montana Historical Society Press)
  • Where Elk Roam: Conservation and Biopolitics of Our National Elk Herd by Bruce L. Smith (Lyons Press)

Presentations and a reception with the winning authors will take place in April, during the Montana Library Association Conference at Big Sky.



Book Brahmin: Jessica Maria Tuccelli

http://www.jessicamariatuccelli.com/bio.htmlWhile a student at MIT, Jessica Maria Tuccelli had a change of heart and left the field of molecular biology for anthropology. Since then she has parlayed her curiosity with other people's lives (some call it nosiness) into a career in the arts. Viking/Penguin published her debut novel, Glow, on March 15, 2012. She divides her time between New York City and Rome.

On your nightstand now:

Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History by Robert Hughes, Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy by John Julius Norwich, Il Nuovo Testamento (the New Testament in Italian), The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson and Shards by Ismet Prcic. Basically a slice of my life: research for my new novel, a book to help me understand my toddler's development and a novel set in Bosnia, where I recently traveled.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. I still hope to step through that mirror one day!

Your top five authors:

Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Flannery O'Connor, Michael Chabon and the poetry of Victoria Redel. I enjoy writers whose love of language is boldly apparent.

Book you've faked reading:

I've never read Moby Dick. I didn't fake reading it, but I didn't admit to not reading it either!

Book you're an evangelist for:

It's a four-way tie between The Bluest Eye, The Known World, The Things They Carried and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I seem to favor books with the word "The" in the title. I never noticed that before.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave (U.K. edition). I covet that cover, so complete in its design, evocative and allegorical.

Book that changed your life:

The Diary of Anaïs Nin. I wanted to be Anaïs--her intense curiosity, her impassioned lifestyle, living in France in the '20s and '30s (the golden age of the literary expatriate in Paris) and carousing with Henry and June Miller.

Favorite line from a book:

"Tomas did not realize that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love." --from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

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

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

 


Book Review

Children's Review: My Dad Is Big and Strong, but...: A Bedtime Story

My Dad Is Big and Strong, but...: A Bedtime Story by Coralie Saudo, illus. by Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion, dist. by Consortium, $16.95 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-up, 9781592701223, May 8, 2012)

A turning of the tables and charming artwork set this warm and funny bedtime book apart from its kin.

In the beginning, the tale seems familiar, both to the narrator and to readers--but don't let that fool you. "My dad is big and strong, but every night it's the same old story," says a child barely visible in the lower right-hand corner of the opening spread, sporting a cornflower-blue crewneck. The boy's father towers over him, leaning unsteadily over the book's gutter in a white collared shirt, black tie and wool hat. The background resembles a brown-paper grocery bag, with a superimposed photograph of a Victorian-era padded chair, and a drawn-in hanging plant, coffee cup and a clock that says 9:00. "I don't' want to go to bed!" reads a message taped onto the wall.

We might assume that's the boy's sentiment, but we would be wrong. "At first, I try to be nice: 'Dad, I say, it's already quite late.' " Di Giacomo's minimalist art depicts a disembodied big toothy smile, the essence of "nice." The smile seems to flutter to the ground in a series of iterations, as it fades to gray, and later just a dark hollow hint of a grin, while a clock on the table shows 9:45.

Father swaps roles and adopts a childish rant: "No no no, I won't go to sleep!" A brown pooch lifts its forepaws in a "what gives?" sort of shrug as Dad does a handstand under a clothesline draped with skivvies. The boy's promise of a story brings Dad down from the chandelier where he hangs by one foot, and as the man begs for "One more story pleeease" on bended knees, readers will erupt in giggles as Dad holds his son captive, high in the air, then lays prostrate on the floor. (The dog, too, seems to keel over on its back in exhaustion.) Saudo gets the inflections just right in her parent-child turnabout, and Di Giacomo exploits the situation's comic possibilities. When Dad appears in the boy's bedroom to ask, "Son, can I sleep in here with you?," it's with hat in hand. The limited palette of gray teals, warm browns and bare whites play up the nighttime contrasts and the father's vulnerability: children discover that even big, strong dads can be afraid of the dark. A guaranteed bedtime winner. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This bedtime book shakes up the formula when a big strong Dad forestalls his son's pleas to hit the hay.


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