Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 24, 2012


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

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

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Quotation of the Day

World Book Night: 'My Life May Be Forever Changed, Too'

"To give away twenty copies of Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, I chose the Covenant House, a shelter for homeless, throwaway and runaway teens. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.... Word Book Night is about hoping that through an introduction to the love of reading, people can change their lives for the better. And I think that because of today and Voltaire and the other eager, grateful receivers of the books that I was able to share, that my life may be forever changed, too."

--Author Chris Cander in a post on her blog




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


News

World Book Night Reactions: A Sampler

World Book Night generated plenty of excitement nationwide yesterday. The #wbnamerica Twitter hashtag was working overtime as a steady stream of enthusiastic commentary poured in. Here's a sampling of WBN reactions from various sources:

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"Tonight, all over this country, thousands of people are distributing books in celebration of World Book Night. We would like to thank everyone who volunteered as a giver here in our area, and we hope that you will share photos or stories to share about your experience.

"Each day we take pleasure in suggesting great books to read to our customers. Today, thanks to the generous support of all of the authors and publishers of thirty fantastic books, many, many people will experience the joy of passing on a great book to someone else."

--Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis. (e-newsletter)

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‏ @wbnamerica: "They even brought homemade signs!!! #wbnamerica #bookgivers."--@YoungToPub NYC event http://pic.twitter.com/Qdko6d4k."

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"For two hours I handed out FREE BOOKS for World Book Night in front of my shop, then went to the local bar and everywhere I could find people congregating to hand out the books. What a fantabulous idea and I feel so good from this endeavor I wish I could give books away free everyday! Here is my favorite photo."

--Kathy Patrick, owner of Beauty and the Book, Jefferson, Tex.


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"Sometime today, if you're lucky, somebody will shove a paperback book in your face and demand you take it home and read it. There are worse fates that could befall a person," the Riverfront Times in St. Louis noted, adding that staffers from the RFT would be participating, but "before that, we stopped by the Arch to check out the ReadMob, organized by the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance. About 150 people, including a couple of busloads of students from Christ Community Lutheran School, gathered on the Arch steps at 12:30. The booksellers had marked off, with chalk, where everyone should plop their butts down to read so their bodies would spell out 'Read Books.' So many people showed up, the crowd had to form the letters twice, so everyone would get a chance."

"It was so much better than I expected," said Jarek Steele of Left Bank Books, who, along with Nikki Furrer of Pudd'nhead Books directed the readers into position. "It was beautiful!"

"It got really quiet," said Left Bank's Kris Kleindienst, Steele's co-owner. "Everybody was reading. I'd like to stay and read for a while." Check out the very cool ReadMob video here.

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One of the givers in Santa Cruz, Calif., set up this stand on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz near Bookshop Santa Cruz and gave copies of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak to non-readers.

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At Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., more than 60 people signed up as givers, handing out books at  Family Court in Newark, a shelter for abused women, Toni's Kitchen, the Human Needs Pantry, local parks, parent support groups in schools, Penn Station and the subways, the Brookdale dog park, cafes, burger joints, St. Vincent's Academy in Newark, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, substance abuse centers in Newark and in Montclair, as well as to municipal workers, foster care teenagers, teens hanging out in Watchung Plaza, book groups for reluctant readers in various schools and other places. Owner Margot Sage-EL added: "The cold rain is a bit of a deterrent, but it looks like people are still going forth and spreading the love of reading! It's really amazing that we can all participate! Many kudos to Carl Lennertz for pulling this all together!"

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Partners Village Store and Kitchen, Westport, Mass., distributed books at the Bristol County Jail and House of Correction in North Dartmouth, Mass. In photo at right: Debbie Brooke, Brenda Costa, Partners Village Store co-owner Jan Hall and Deborah Torre.

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"Celebrated @World Book Night by giving away copies of Peace Like a River at the Veterans Restoration and Transitional Housing Center in Asheville. Teamed up with the Swannanoa Library (giving away The Things They Carried). It was a marvelous experience. Everyone was so appreciative, and gave blessings to us for thinking of them."


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@HousingWorksBks: "Our buddy Brendan on #worldbooknight--handing out JUST KIDS on Patti & Robert's old stoop in Brooklyn <3"



Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


'Activist' Hedge Fund Becomes Major B&N Investor

Jana Partners, a hedge fund that has "in some cases turns activist," has accumulated shares representing nearly 12% of Barnes & Noble, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is now the company's fourth-largest investor after chairman Len Riggio; Yucaipa Companies, controlled by Ron Burkle; and Liberty Media Corp., controlled by John Malone. Malone and others have pressured the bookseller to spin off its digital operations, including the Nook.

Wall Street liked Jana's interest: yesterday B&N shares rose 18% to $13.41, its largest gain since May 20. Share prices have declined 7.4% this year.

"This increases the possibility of action," Michael Glickstein of G Asset Management, another B&N shareholder that supports a digital spinoff, told Bloomberg. "Jana has experience in the publishing space, and a track record in finding value in breakup plays."

Jana had a major role in the split up of McGraw-Hill last year, among other examples of shareholder activism.

The Journal pointed out that Jana bought its seven million shares on April 11, the day the Justice Department announced its civil case against Apple and five publishers concerning the agency model for e-books. That move is considered by many to be a boon to Amazon, B&N's major rival in the digital world--and caused B&N stock to drop 6.4%, to $10.98.

 


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Curious George Reopens: New Owners, New Name

Curious George Books & Toys, Cambridge, Mass., reopened last week under new ownership. The Harvard Crimson reported that co-owners Adam S. and Jamie S. Hirsch "have sought to reinvent the store, which has been a fixture in Harvard Square for decades, as a fresh and dynamic destination for tourists and residents of the Boston area."

"We want to continue to get children of all ages excited about reading," Adam said. "We're going to be creating a lifelong relationship with our patrons."

He told the Harvard Crimson that during the past three months, the store underwent major renovations, gutting the interior and revamping the store with higher ceilings and large windows, with the goal of creating a space that "while fun and whimsical was also easy to navigate for parents with strollers.

"We want people to look at the store and say 'wow,' " he added.

The Hirsches opened their store in the same location as the former Curious George & Friends store, which closed last summer.  


Middle-Age Makeover for Brazos Bookstore

Thirty-eight-year-old Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., has received a makeover "as it approaches middle age," resulting in a "less-cluttered, more-curated version of itself," the Chronicle reported, calling the changes "not a facelift, exactly. More like a literary peel."

"Reimagining the physical store is very much like an art project," said manager Jeremy Ellis, who has an art degree and a theater background. "It's a constantly changing platform."

Several changes were noted by the Chronicle: "The floor rugs are gone. Piles of books that sprouted like small cities around the register have been relocated. Shelves that blocked the front window have disappeared, leaving a larger space for visiting authors to interact with audiences."

Lex Gillan, chair of the bookstore's board, praised the "slick, Zen-like quality" Ellis has created, including an Inu-chan sculpture created by a staff member. Inu-Chan is the name of the bookstore's new curated subscription book recommendation program.

photo: Houston Chronicle/Nick de la Torre

 


Notes

Image of the Day: Ellie's Owner's Long Book Tour

A week ago, Mendham Books, Mendham, N.J., hosted children's book author Pam Flowers for a signing for Ellie's Long Walk (Westwinds Press), her account of hiking the Appalachian Trail with her rescue dog, a lab named Ellie. Flowers, who has also traveled by dogsled to the North Pole, drove from Alaska to the lower 48 for a series of store events--she had driven more than five hours to Mendham and afterward was driving on to Washington, D.C. Here she is, center, with Ellie (in front of the shorter girl). Mendham Books owner Tom Williams (in the back) is holding the store dog, also named Ellie!

 

 


GBO Picks Part of the Solution

The German Book Office New York's pick for April is Part of the Solution by Ulrich Peltzer, translated by Martin Chalmers (Seagull Books, $21, 9781906497651).

The GBO described the book this way: "It's Berlin in the summer of 2003--sunshine for weeks on end, weather to fall in love. And that's just what Christian Eich, the main character, ... does; but that's not all. Christian Eich, a 30-something freelance journalist, is researching a story on the radicals of the previous generation in Germany. His path keeps crossing with Nele, a young member of a left-wing group of student activists who are resistant to the increasing control and surveillance of all spheres of life by the state and by commercial institutions. Not just a simple love story, Part of the Solution is in fact a thriller that leads from Berlin into the East German countryside and finally to Paris."

Peltzer has won the Berlin Literature Award of the Preussische Seehandlung Foundation and Spycher: Literature Award Leuk. Chalmers has translated works by Nobel laureates Elfriede Jelinek and Herta Müller as well as works by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Bertolt Brecht and Hubert Fichte. He won the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for his translation of The Diaries of Victor Klemperer.


Literary Tourism: It's Not Just for Hunger Games Fans

Many fans of The Hunger Games found that the books and movie just aren't enough adventure for them and have made the pilgrimage to locations in North Carolina where scenes from the film were shot. Reuters noted that Katniss devotees "will soon have a chance to channel the survivalist spirit of the novel's heroine by zip-lining through a North Carolina forest and taking classes in camouflage, archery, making fire and shelter-building."

Tammy Hopkins, co-founder of The Hunger Games Fan Tours in Brevard, called the frenzy "fandemonium," adding: "These are the super fans. They want to see the film locations, but they also want to experience what their favorite character experiences in the movie."

Reuters pointed out that this is just "the newest spin on a long tradition of literary tourism packages and events across the U.S. South, a region rich in an American literary legacy that includes William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams."

Fans of Twilight head to the Pacific Northwest. Monroeville, Ala., is marking the 50th anniversary of the movie release of To Kill a Mockingbird with events for literary tourist. And devotees of The Help flock to Greenwood, Miss., a state that--as home to William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Richard Wright, Eudora Welty, Willie Morris and Shelby Foote--has become a "literary mecca" for tourists, Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, Oxford, told Reuters.

"Literary tourism's been going on in this town since before Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in 1950 because he created this mythical kingdom of Yoknapatawpha," Howorth said. "People were curious about it. They came from all over the world to see Faulkner's home."
 


Alberto Rojas Joining Regnery Publishing

Effective May 1, Alberto Rojas has joined Regnery Publishing as director of publicity. He was most recently senior director of publicity at HarperCollins. He has also worked at the Advertising Council, Consumer Reports and Simon & Schuster.

 



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Madeleine Albright on Prague Winter

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Madeleine Albright, author of Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (Harper, $29.99, 9780062030313).

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Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Anna Quindlen, author of Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake: A Memoir (Knopf, $26, 9780307957276). She is also on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Matthew Hutson, author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane (Hudson Street Press, $25.95, 9781594630873).

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Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Ricki Lake, author of Never Say Never: Finding a Life That Fits (Atria, $25, 9781451627176). Lake is also on Chelsea Lately tomorrow.

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Tomorrow on the View: Marilu Henner, author of Total Memory Makeover: Uncover Your Past, Take Charge of Your Future (Gallery, $26, 9781451651218). She will also appear on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Karen Spears Zacharias, author of A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder (MacAdam/Cage, $25, 9781596923751).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Planet Money: Ian Bremmer, author of Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World (Portfolio, $26.95, 9781591844686).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Judy Blume.

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Michael Sandel, author of Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15, 9780374532505).


Movie Stills: The Paperboy; On the Road

The Paperboy, based on Pete Dexter's novel, will be shown at next month's Cannes Film Festival, and Indiewire reported that a few new stills from Lee Daniels's film have been released, "featuring the leading trio of Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey.... And here's a fun fact: the project was developed by Pedro Almodóvar for nearly a decade as his potential English-language debut. And while he eventually moved on, the script we saw last year was credited to both Almodóvar and Daniels, so perhaps it will have some of the former director's edge? We'll soon find out."

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More images have been released from On the Road, with Indiewire asking: "So, will the romance of the open road, and a whole other America waiting in the distance in On the Road inspire young people everywhere to journey across this land? Or at the very least get them to read Jack Kerouac's book? That remains to be seen, but the spirit of the beats is alive in the upcoming film from Walter Salles."
 


Casting Call: The Glass Castle; Walter Mitty

Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Winter's Bone) is "in talks" to star in a film adaptation of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Deadline.com reported that Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the memoir, which Gil Netter (The Blind Side, Life of Pi) will produce, with Marti Noxon (Fright Night, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) writing the screenplay.

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Sean Penn may be returning to comedy, joining the cast of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the Ben Stiller movie based on James Thurber's story, Indiewire reported. The film will also star Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine and Kathryn Hahn. Filming begins in New York City later this month.
 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 1:

Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22, 9780618982509) is a graphic novel in which the author explores her complicated relationship with her mother.

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan (Hyperion, $19.99, 9781423140573) concludes the Kane Chronicles fantasy trilogy.

Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News by Dan Rather and Digby Diehl (Grand Central, $27.99, 9781455502417) is the memoir of an iconic American journalist.

Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden--from 9/11 to Abbottabad by Peter L. Bergen (Crown, $26, 9780307955579) chronicles the hunt for the leader of al-Qaeda.

The Woman Who Changed Her Brain: And Other Inspiring Stories of Pioneering Brain Transformation by Barbara Arrowsmith Young and Norman Doidge (Free Press, $26, 9781451607932) shows how people with learning disorders have regained brain function.

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (Ace, $27.95, 9781937007447) is the 12th Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Ice Fire: A Thriller by David Lyons (Emily Bestler Books/Atria, $24, 9781451629293) follows a Louisiana judge's fight against a dangerous energy company.


Now in paperback:

Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny by Garrison Keillor (Penguin, $15, 9780143120810).


Book Brahmin: Elizabeth Norris

Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading Southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's winters. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, Unraveling (Balzer+Bray, April 14, 2012), is a romantic YA thriller about one girl's fight to save her family, her world and the one boy she never saw coming.

On your nightstand now:

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour; Wild Thing by Josh Bazell; an advance copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth; and the Australian edition of Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. Each of these novels is one I've been waiting for--not so patiently--since I finished the author's last novel.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It's a tie. I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson the same year in school, and I absolutely devoured them. Then I reread them so I could experience the story again. Because of both of these stories, that was the year I really became obsessed with books. I even went through a phase where I was so desperate to know what happened at the end, that my mom started tearing out the last chapter of every book she gave me so I couldn't spoil it for myself.

Your top five authors:

Jane Austen, Melina Marchetta, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult and J.R.R. Tolkein.

Book you've faked reading:

I can't actually remember a book I ever faked reading. For a long time, I refused to read Harry Potter, mostly because when I was in college, children's books were for children. Or at least, that's what I thought. When I finally relented, I swept through the series and was ashamed I'd been such a snob. I also skipped entire sections of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens when I was supposed to be reading it in eighth grade. I just could not force myself to get into it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I was lucky to have an absolutely brilliant English teacher my sophomore year of high school when I was first introduced to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't think I ever would have truly understood the depth and the beauty of it without her.

Book you've bought for the cover:

There are so many. I'm shamelessly attracted to covers. When I go into a bookstore, I usually have a specific book I want to buy, but I end up picking up at least two more books because the cover catches me and the copy sounds interesting. One of those purchases that turned out really well was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Book that changed your life:

Lucky by Alice Sebold is a book that saved my life during a particularly hard year in college. A few years later, amid a deluge of essays and term papers that I needed to grade, I read Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon, and it reintroduced me to fantasy, storytelling and reading for pure enjoyment. It also got me to start writing again in my spare time, so I owe that novel for where I am today.

Favorite line from a book:

"You save yourself or you remain unsaved." --Lucky by Alice Sebold. In one simple line there's so much wisdom that is invaluable for someone working through tragedy or emotional trauma.

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

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I read it for the first time on vacation several years ago, and couldn't think of anything else for days. It's one of those novels that you have to commit to as a reader. In the beginning you're not going to know exactly what's going on, but you follow the characters because you have to, and everything comes together in the end in a way that only the best stories can.

 


Book Review

Review: The Right-Hand Shore

The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 9780374203481, May 1, 2012)

Fifteen years ago, Christopher Tilghman's first novel, Mason's Retreat, introduced readers to Edward and Edith Mason; their sons, Sebastien and Simon; and to their pre-World War II life at the Retreat, the legendary Mason family estate on Chesapeake Bay. In The Right-Hand Shore, Tilghman reveals the family history.

In 1922, Edward Mason is called to the Retreat by then-owner Miss Mary Bayly. She is dying and wishes to leave the estate to the closest direct descendant of the original immigrant owner. Miss Mary has never married and her brother, Thomas, has renounced all claim. Her ownership comes through her mother, Ophelia, who hated the Retreat and left her husband, Wyatt, to do with it what he would, visiting periodically and running back to Baltimore.

Edward's morning visit to Miss Mary ends with him going on a tour of the property with Mr. French, who has been property manager for years. It is during this tour and the subsequent visit to the French's home that Edward learns the family story, starting with Boss Mason selling all his slaves before Emancipation, a startling and shameful episode that separated families forever.

Wyatt Bayly was a peach grower, a passionate orchardist who envisioned miles and miles of peach trees on the Retreat. He and his employees, black and white, planted, pruned, tended and harvested for many productive years, until a blight took all of them and left Wyatt a broken man.

Abel Terrell, a black freeman, performed or supervised the grafting of most of the trees. Abel's son, Randall, and Wyatt's son, Thomas, were best friends. Wyatt quickly saw that Randall was exceptionally bright and not dreamy like Thomas, so he arranged for them to be schooled together at the mansion. The boys were closer than brothers--until Thomas's friendship and blossoming affection for Beal, Randall's sister, threatened to tear apart the natural order of things of that time.

Miss Mary leaves her schooling to live at the Retreat with her father and to try to revive the land and be of solace to him. She stays throughout her life, until this day of reckoning. At the end of her visit with Edward, when she tells him that he may claim the Retreat, she also tells him what happened to Randall, Thomas and Beal. Tilghman, in stunning and evocative prose, has written a carefully explored and beautifully nuanced saga of time and place, family and land, good intentions and unexpected results that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A story of families black and white, land that nurtures and fails and the hope for a different future.

 


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