Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 28, 2012
BAM Opens Third Chicago-Area Store
Last week Books-A-Million opened its third Chicago-area store, this one in a former Borders Express location in Chicago Ridge Mall, Chicago Ridge, Ill., according to the Oak Lawn Patch. BAM will soon open another store, at the Fox Valley Center in Aurora, Ill.
"We have more than enough customers who don't like to read e-books or books online," manager Brandon Wolak told Patch. "They like the feel of a real book."
Talking Drum in Portland, Ore., Closing
Talking Drum Bookstore and Reflections Coffeehouse, the African-American bookstore and café in Portland, Ore., is closing at the end of the month, according to the Skanner. Owner Gloria McMurtry said that the causes were gentrification and her own "exhaustion."
She told Skanner, "As a Black book store, we have books you wouldn't find at Barnes & Noble or Powell's. The community uses it to communicate, as well as have meetings."
Classics Makeovers: 'Romeo in Stubble'
In order "to tap into the soaring popularity of the young-adult genre," publishers are putting new covers on classics--"provocative, modern jackets in bold shades of scarlet and lime green that are explicitly aimed at teenagers raised on Twilight and the Hunger Games," the New York Times wrote.
Examples include Romeo "in stubble and a tight white tank top on a new Penguin edition of Romeo and Juliet"; a Harper cover for Wuthering Heights with "a stark black background, a close-up of a red rose and an inscription that reads, 'Bella & Edward's favorite book' "; and a Puffin cover of Dracula with "a ghostly woman floating in the center, her platinum hair flying in the air. The title and author are scrawled in cursive over a large pool of blood, rivulets of red dripping down the page."
Concerning the Dracula cover, Puffin president and publisher Eileen Kreit, said, "We had that Urban Outfitters customer in mind. We wanted to appeal to that teenager and give a fresh look to these stories that have been around a very long time."
Sales of some repackaged titles have been strong. That's the case at the Book Revue, Huntington, N.Y., where Julie Klein said, "I wasn't sure they would sell at all, to be honest. As a bookseller, I appreciate the classics and I love when I can sell them to a new generation. Anything that gets the kids to look at them."
But at Book Passage, Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., a special display was not a draw. Elaine Petrocelli said, "If kids want to read Emma, they want to buy it in the adult section, not the teen section. Kids don't want to feel like they're being manipulated."
Google Nexus 7 Tablet Officially Unveiled
As predicted, Google unveiled its new 7-inch tablet yesterday at the company's developer conference. The Nexus 7, which will be ready for shipping to consumers within the next two to three weeks, is available in an 8 GB version for $199 and a 16 GB version for $249. The device features a camera, wifi and, at 12 ounces, weighs less than Kindle Fire.
"Nexus 7 is an ideal device for reading books," said a Google spokesperson at the conference. The device comes preloaded with a copy of The Bourne Dominion by Robert Ludlum.
Image of the Day: Half Price's Full Effort
In January, to celebrate its 40th anniversary, Half Price Books launched the Million Book Donation Project, which has donated books to 1,400 schools and nonprofit organizations around the country for people in need to start libraries in homes and schools. Recently Half Price Books donated its millionth book under the project, to the Vickery Meadow Learning Center (VMLC) in Dallas, Texas. Here marking the occasion are (from l.): Scott Ward, donations manager for Half Price Books; Sarah Papert, executive director of VMLC; Sharon Anderson Wright, president and CEO of Half Price Books; Mitch Gatson, Dallas police officer; and BW, the Half Price Books Bookworm.
Kinky Promotion of the Day: 50 Ways to Play
In an effort to whip up interest in its new book 50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People by Debra and Don Macleod, Tarcher/Penguin is including some 450 packages of rope (bought at Home Depot) in promotions for booksellers and media.
Publisher and v-p Joel Fotinos said it's no surprise the imprint is seizing the initiative in this realm: Tarcher has "a long history of publishing books on the topic of sexuality. With Fifty Shades of Grey catapulting the subjects of sexuality and BDSM into the mainstream, it was natural for Tarcher to publish a book that would answer the next big question those readers would be asking themselves: 'How do I get started?' Fortunately, we had the perfect title in mind and expert authors who could make this come together in a matter of weeks rather than months."
50 Ways to Play offers "50 edgy and erotic ways to spice up bedroom activities, covering everything from Japanese rope bondage to 'the softer, soapier side of BDSM.' " Previous books by the Macleods, who are husband and wife and apparently well acquainted, include Lube Jobs: A Woman's Guide to Great Maintenance Sex and Lip Service: A His and Hers Guide to the Art of Oral Sex and Seduction.
Time Off for Good Reading Behavior
Inmates in Brazil's crowded federal prisons are being offered the chance to trim 48 days off their jail terms each year if they read 12 books. The Guardian reported the Brazilian government said inmates "will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay that must 'make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing.' "
Andre Kehdi, a lawyer in São Paulo who heads a book donation project for prisons, said, "A person can leave prison more enlightened and with a enlarged vision of the world. Without doubt they will leave a better person."
Kurtz and Kelley Joining Melville House
Dustin Kurtz is joining Melville House as marketing manager. He has been a buyer and general manager at McNally Jackson Books, where he also ran the store's website and social media platforms and oversaw the launch of the Espresso Book Machine.
Claire Kelley is joining Melville House as director of library and academic marketing. She has been marketing manager at Free Press, where she directed such digital initiatives as app development and redesign of the company website. Earlier she was academic marketing manager at the Knopf Doubleday Group and a bookseller at Shakespeare & Company in Paris and at Atlantis Books in Greece.
Book Trailer of the Day: City of Ravens
City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and Its Famous Ravens by Boria Sax (Overlook Press).
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Yes, Chef, Marcus Samuelsson
Today on CNN Newsroom with Wolf Blitzer: Jonathan Fleece, co-author of The New Health Age: The Future of Health Care in America (Sourcebooks, $19.99, 9781402273933).
Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Marcus Samuelsson, author of Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Random House, $27, 9780385342605).
Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Squire Rushnell, author of Divine Alignment (Howard, $19.99, 9781451648560).
Tomorrow on NPR's Science Friday: James Kakalios, author of The Physics of Superheroes: Spectacular Second Edition (Gotham, $17, 9781592405084).
This Weekend on Book TV: Jill Biden
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, June 30
10 a.m. Joe Jackson discusses his book Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic (FSG, $30, 9780374106751).
2:45 p.m. Jill Biden, author of Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops (Paula Wiseman Books/S&S, $16.99, 9781442457355), presents her children's book about a girl whose father has gone off to war. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:15 a.m.)
3:45 p.m. Monica Crowley talks about her book What the (Bleep) Just Happened?: The Happy Warrior's Guide to the Great American Comeback (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062131157). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)
4:45 p.m. At an event hosted by the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., former Governor Madeleine Kunin discusses her book The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work and Family (Chelsea Green, $17.95, 9781603582919). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)
7 p.m. Catholic priest and co-founder of the Acton Institute Rev. Robert Sirico talks about his book Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy (Regnery, $27.95, 9781596983250). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:15 a.m.)
8 p.m. A panel on Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, featuring Chase Madar, author of The Passion of Bradley Manning (OR Books, $15, 9781935928539); Kevin Gosztola, co-author of Truth and Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning (Sinclair Books, $12.99, 9780615621975); as well as Mark Doten and Ted Hearne, who are working on a play about Manning. (Re-airs Monday at 4:30 a.m.)
10 p.m. After Words. Phyllis Bennis interviews Fawaz Gerges, author of Obama and the Middle East: The End of America's Moment? (Palgrave Macmillan, $28, 9780230113817). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)
11 p.m. Thomas Mann talks about his book It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism (Basic Books, $26, 9780465031337).
Sunday, July 1
12 p.m. In Depth. David Pietrusza, author most recently of Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America (Union Square Press, $24.95, 9781402767487), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)
Books & Authors
ALA Celebration in Disneyland
This past week, at the American Library Association conference held in Anaheim, Calif. (aka Disneyland), award winners celebrated with great speeches, feasts, singing and dancing.
The Coretta Scott King Award Sunday breakfast was filled with music from Shane Evans's guitar, the poetry of Ashley Bryan and, sung by the attendees, the anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by James Weldon Johnson.
Shane Evans, winner of the 2012 CSK Illustrator Award, explained that Underground (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook) began on a train while he was traveling across Japan. He found himself sketching the journey of a man and woman escaping a life of captivity, moving toward freedom.
Kadir Nelson, who won the 2012 CSK Author Award for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans (Balzer + Bray), spoke of entering the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., in 2008. Its giant paintings of key moments in American history do not include a single African American. Nelson's book places African Americans at the center of America's history and remedies the Capitol's omission by depicting an African American man in the rotunda in the first full-page image.
Ashley Bryan, winner of the 2012 Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, spoke of his personal connection to Hamilton and how her work embodied the words of the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, who said, "I believe when an author ceases to climb, he ceases at the same time to lift his reader up with him." Bryan said he would like "this lifting up of others... to be as it was for Virginia: at the heart of all I do."
Family emerged as the theme of Sunday afternoon's Pura Belpré Awards Celebracíon. Guadalupe Garcia McCall, winner of the 2012 Author Award for Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low), spoke of the healing that took place when she explored the rift between father and daughter in her novel, following her own mother's death. She spoke of her respect for books, and that she wants her readers to love her book, and "to love it they have to live with it." She wants her pages to be stained with tears. The Celebracíon concluded with dancing and music.
On Sunday night, Chris Raschka, 2012 Caldecott Medal winner for A Ball for Daisy (Schwartz & Wade/Random House), invited everyone to pull up a seat at the table. He imagined the audience in an intimate Manhattan apartment, just like Sunday dinners his family often shares with another artist neighbor, an opera singer, and his family. He described what it's like to "see like an artist" and described the importance of allowing time to enter between observing and drawing. "Even the brush contains the time of the making of the art," he pointed out. That lets memory enter into the equation, and "as soon as you have memory, you have emotion," Raschka said.
Jack Gantos took memory to a whole other level, using Mrs. Volcker's "This Day in History" column, made famous in his 2012 Newbery-winning book Dead End in Norvelt (FSG/Macmillan) as a launch pad for a side-splitting speech. The date he chose was January 23--the day he was awarded the Newbery Medal. He threaded together John Hancock's birthday, Hancock's planting of a tree to block a view of the prison, Gantos's own imprisonment and performing "a happy dance" under Hancock's tree when his first book, Rotten Ralph, was published. He purported to structure the speech like an obituary but eventually abandoned the form, closing with a quote from Mark Twain, "The reports of my death have been wildly exaggerated."
On Monday morning, winners of the Sibert, Geisel and Batchelder Awards gave their acceptance speeches. Melissa Sweet, who won the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Award for the best in informational books for her picture book biography Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), thanked the committee for honoring "a picture book that celebrates the creative process"--a process that also inspired her subject, Tony Sarg.
The winner of the 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, Josh Schneider, author of Tales for Very Picky Eaters (Clarion), said, "I've always lived my life in a way in which I could avoid receiving compliments." Schneider professed to be shy but had the crowd laughing as he described researching other acceptance speeches and discovering that they were all "personal in a way that discourages theft."
Anita Eerdmans, publisher of Eerdmans, accepted the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman, translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson. In this time when our culture is often polarized, when "foreign" and "European" are often used as insults, Eerdmans said, "We need books that act as a bridge to understanding." --Jennifer M. Brown
Review: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, $14.95 paperback, 9780307949332, July 10, 2012)
It seems terribly inadequate to call "Dear Sugar" an advice column, because it exists in a category all its own--as thousands of readers of Cheryl Strayed's pseudonymous biweekly column at the literary website The Rumpus can attest. Part memoir, part essay collection, the aptly titled Tiny Beautiful Things gathers together stunningly written pieces on everything from sex and love to the agonies of bereavement.
Line by line, Strayed offers insights as exquisitely phrased as they are powerful. To college graduates at their commencement, in a column titled "The Future Has an Ancient Heart," she writes, "The most terrible and beautiful and interesting things happen in a life. For some of you, those things have already happened. Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will."
A noteworthy theme throughout the column is Strayed's courage in confronting some of the biggest and most painful of life's questions. Among the people who write to "Dear Sugar" are a father whose only son was killed at 22 by a drunk driver, a woman who lost her baby and another woman whose infant is about to be operated on for a brain tumor. In her responses, Strayed shines a torch of insight and comfort into the darkness of these people's lives, cutting to the heart of what it means to love, to grieve and to suffer. Writing to the bereaved father, Strayed describes her own grief at the loss of her mother--a theme in all her work, including her memoir, Wild--and the "obliterated place" the loss created. Then, she tells us, "Sugar is the temple I built in my obliterated place."
The implication is that the power of Strayed's column, and her courage to confront darkness, come from a previous, intense experience of annihilation. Perhaps it is for that reason that reading "Dear Sugar" can be such an emotionally grueling experience--when Strayed is at her best, the reader is, in some sense, obliterated. --Ilana Teitelbaum, book reviewer at the Huffington Post
Shelf Talker: A stunningly written collection of essays on life, love, sex and death by the author of the bestselling memoir Wild.