Also published on this date: Tuesday, October 30, 2012: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Hand in Hand
Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Bookseller Bill Petrocelli Now a Novelist, Too
Congratulations to Bill Petrocelli, longtime co-owner, with his wife, Elaine, of Book Passage, Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., who has written a first novel, The Circle of Thirteen, that is scheduled to be published next fall by Turner Publishing.
Todd Bottorff, Turner's president and publisher, said, "As an independent publisher, I'm particularly happy to publish a leading independent bookseller's debut work of fiction. It's an exciting collaboration from both sides of the indy desk."
And Turner executive editor Diane Gedymin commented: "I've known and admired Bill and Elaine for decades as innovative and dedicated booksellers, educators and advocates of good books. They have helped launch many an author onto the bestseller lists--now it's Bill's turn!"
Speaking of The Circle of Thirteen, Petrocelli said, "It's been five years in the making, and it's changed a lot in the course of the five years. I don't know if there's a single sentence from the original."
The book is described by Turner as "a suspenseful, character-driven work set in a plausible and compelling future. The narrative weaves back and forth in time, from an act of domestic violence that created a disturbed personality, to the two weeks leading up to a bombing at the UN, to events half a century before that directly influence it. The many strong, relatable women and the connections between them provide an emotionally grounded and fascinating window on the future's unforgettable history."
Petrocelli said, "I wanted to write about some of the social issues facing society and the country--including gender violence, food shortages and environmental problems--and make it a compelling story so you don't feel you're reading a lecture." The Circle of Thirteen works on "lots of levels," he continued. "On one level, it's a multi-generational tale of several women. And it can be read as a thriller, but it's a literary thriller." He noted that Carol Seajay, longtime head of Feminist Bookstore News, called the book "a novel of ideas."
"Writing fiction has been a lot of fun and a major challenge at the same time," Petrocelli said. The process has required him to turn off the part of his brain where he thinks like a lawyer--before becoming a bookseller, he was a poverty lawyer in Oakland and a deputy attorney general for the state of California--and turn on "a completely different part of my brain," he said.
Asked about a book tour, Petrocelli laughed and said, "We have one book signing for sure scheduled at Book Passage." In no surprise for someone who has been a longtime advocate of independent bookselling, Petrocelli hopes to work closely with other indies. "I can't wait until the ARC is available so I can hand it around and talk to people," he said. He will also likely hire a publicist and aims to have "an active website."
Petrocelli said his wife, Elaine, has been "the biggest fan of my work and so supportive," helping free up time for him to write. He also praised his agent, Lisa Gallagher of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, whom he got to know at one of Book Passage's mystery writers conference. "She's is a burst of energy. She's wonderful." In addition, he said that Carl Lennertz, while he was still at HarperCollins, read the manuscript and "did serious editing on it." Although Lennertz then went on to become executive director of World Book Night U.S., "most of Carl's editing remains in the book."
Petrocelli is now working on another novel that takes "a little different tack," one that, unlike The Circle of Thirteen, touches on the book business. We can't wait for that one either!
PNBA: Change of Venue
After four years of being held in Portland, Ore., the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall trade show moved this year to the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash.
Executive director Thom Chambliss called the gathering "the friendliest and most warmly received of all of our shows for the last five years. Everyone with whom I spoke during the show loved it, saying that the hotel was great, the authors were excellent, the space was very good, the educational sessions were lively and helpful, and the attendance seemed very good. The exhibitors actually told me that they thought that attendance seemed 'much better' than last year. In fact, total attendance was down 12%." On the other hand, most of the meal events--two breakfasts and the Feast of Authors--were up from last year.
|Amanda Coplin and Maria Sempel signing books before the Feast of Authors. (Photo: Angela Hanson, Klindt's Booksellers, The Dalles, Ore.)|
On Monday, traditionally the slow day, exhibitors were busy taking orders. One sideline exhibitor was still there at 3:30 p.m., even though the show floor officially closed at 2 p.m. That exhibitor said PNBA was her best show of the year (including gift shows). ABA's booth was crowded with people learning about the new Kobo program, and there was strong attendance at the author event and signings from noon until 2 p.m.
Last year at this time, PNBA projected a major financial loss for 2012, unless it "continued to bite the bullet" and saw a renewed publisher interest in supporting the holiday catalogue, which had declined regularly in the last 10 years. Because of the cuts agreed to by the board earlier this year and the tremendous success marketing director Brian Juenemann had rejuvenating the catalogue, the association may end the year in the black. The board is also looking into employee costs, specifically those "at the top."
|Author Trent Reedy, Angela Hanson of Klindt's Booksellers and author Jonathan Evison.|
The Sunday Author's Breakfast was a sell-out; it featured Sherman Alexie (Blasphemy), Karen Cushman (Will Sparrow's Road, Clarion Books, November 6), Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child) and Jon Klassen (This Is Not My Hat). Klassen opened with a slide show of his latest book, saying it was a good way of getting out of a speech. After writing and illustrating I Want My Hat Back, he made a pitch for a book about 10 bad fish who terrorize a town, but that didn't work so well. Then he came up with another "hat book" that would stand on its own.
Eowyn Ivey, whose novel is coming out in paperback November 6 from Back Bay, said she was thrilled to come back to PNBA so she could thank so many people who have loved and sold her book. And she was thrilled, she said, to see The Snow Child on the cover of the PNBA catalogue. Karen Cushman talked about writers collecting things--words, sounds, people, bits and pieces--in order to build a story. She has always made up stories, she said: as a child, she wrote an epic poem based on the wife of Elvis Presley. After 20 years of telling stories to her husband, he refused to listen to her latest idea; he said he had to read it. She took the challenge and now, with her eighth historical novel, she has the life she dreamed about when she was seven.
|Kurtis Lowe of Book Travelers West with author C.J. Box (photo: Angela Hanson)|
Sherman Alexie said Blasphemy, a new collection of short stories, was supposed to have 15 stories, but ended up with an extra one, which makes up for Ten Little Indians, a collection that has only nine stories. He told Jon Klassen, "I used to be young and thin, too. This is where you're headed. A lot of time at the desk. And why aren't your books banned? Genocidal animals? You're nuts." He told Karen Cushman that his kids like her books better than his: "I need to talk to your husband." And he told Eowyn Ivey that he hopes "the kid doesn't die, or I'll put myself on YouTube crying."
After recounting a long, hilarious story about a book tour in Cleveland, Alexie ended by saying that none of it happened. But authors do so many book tours that they end up with tons of stories, and that's one of the reasons why, as Karen Cushman said, it's a most awesome job. --Marilyn Dahl, book review editor, Shelf Awareness, with Tom Lavoie and Kristin McConnell
Legal Thriller: William Faulkner vs. Woody Allen
Faulkner Literary Rights, which holds the rights to the author's work, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Mississippi against Sony Pictures Classics for "copyright infringement, commercial appropriation and violation of the Lanham Act," Deadline.com reported. The complaint alleges the studio "had no right to use a quote from the author's Requiem for a Nun in Woody Allen's 2011 film Midnight in Paris." Allen was not named as a defendant.
In the movie, Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) paraphrases the author, saying: "The past is not dead. Actually, it's not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party."
Faulkner Literary Rights wants a jury trial and an injunction against Sony Classics, as well as compensatory and punitive damages, legal fees and some of the movie's profits (Midnight in Paris grossed $148.4 million worldwide).
In response to the allegations, Ann Boyd, senior v-p, global communications for Sony Pictures Entertainment, commented: "This is a frivolous lawsuit and we are confident we will prevail in defending it. There is no question this brief reference (10 words) to a quote from a public speech Faulkner gave constitutes fair use and any claim to the contrary is without merit."
UNC Press Editor-in-Chief to Retire
David Perry, who joined the University of North Carolina Press in 1979 as an editorial assistant and became editor-in-chief in 1995, plans to retire in March, 2013. Perry acquires books in history and southern studies, with a special focus on Civil War and military history, as well as books for the Press's regional general-interest list.
"For as long as most of us can remember, David Perry has been the public face of UNC Press," said John Sherer, UNC Press creative director. "But his enormous impact on the UNC community and the state of North Carolina pale in comparison to the impact he's had within the press. I know I share the sentiments of everyone at the press when I say I am lucky to have worked with him, and the press is immeasurably a better institution because of his contributions here."
Image of the Day: Storm Warnings
As the East Coast hunkered down to await Hurricane Sandy, the boarded-up storefront at Books & Books Westhampton Beach offered some appropriate verse.
Books Are Dangerous Dept: Gun Hidden in Donated Book
A hollowed-out copy of Robert Stone's novel Outerbridge Reach, which had been donated to the Porter County Public Library, contained what police described as a "gold, wooden handled, 31-caliber, single shot, black powder gun," the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
A staff member at the Valparaiso branch discovered the weapon, but Phyllis Nelson, assistant library director, said they have no way of knowing who donated the book, since thousands are received each month and no records are kept. The Times noted that "police have determined the gun was not stolen."
Sailor Twain Inspires an Exhibit at NYPL
On Thursday night at the New York Public Library's main branch, author-artist Mark Siegel helped open an exhibit based on his glorious graphic novel Sailor Twain: Or, the Mermaid in the Hudson (First Second/Macmillan). "Sailor Twain's New York: Secrets and Mysteries of the River Hudson" was designed by Matthew Knutzen, NYPL's geospatial librarian, as an exhibit to "extend the fiction" of Sailor Twain. Here Mark Siegel is pictured amid a group of fans fittingly decked out in steampunk attire in front of the exhibit in the NYPL map room (aka Room 117).
Sailor Twain began as a webcomic, which Siegel likened to a "modern serial." Six years into the nine-year project, he discovered a 2009 exhibit at the NYPL about mapping the Hudson. "Sailor Twain's New York" places several of those key maps alongside the events of Siegel's tale, featuring a sea captain who finds an injured mermaid in the Hudson River. Siegel insisted, "I'm not a mermaid geek," but in his daily travels from his home in Tarrytown, N.Y., to his job as founder and editor of First Second in New York City, he doodled his way through the train trips alongside the Hudson River. One day, an image emerged of a captain on the bow of a ship and a mermaid. Next, the French character Lafayette appeared. The son of a French mother and American father, Siegel said the two characters represented his two selves. He described the project as a scholarly undertaking, involving "inner research and outer research."
Siegel began seeing mermaids everywhere, and he spoke of the dangers of their siren song. His captain asks the mermaid not to sing. Siegel mentioned the influence of John Waterhouse's Ulysses and the Sirens (1891) as a powerful image--Ulysses strapped to the mast so he cannot react to the Sirens' song. "For Ahab, revenge is his mermaid," Siegel said, "for others, it's fame or addiction." He showed images of a mermaid in an ad for Yellow Tail wine, and the Starbucks logo. He also cited as powerful points of reference for his 19th-century story the abolitionist and suffragette movements. He rendered the images for Sailor Twain in charcoal (with a spray fix to minimize smudging)--an ideal medium to depict "the age of steam and coal," Siegel said. The exhibit runs through April 2013. --Jennifer M. Brown
Book Trailer of the Day: Siri & Me
Siri & Me: A Modern Love Story by David Milgrim (Blue Rider Press).
Media and Movies
Movie Visuals: New Lincoln Pics
Most of the pre-release attention for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln has been focused on lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis, so "it's easy to forget that the picture is rounded out by a supporting cast of top-shelf actors," Indiewire reported in showcasing new photos of other cast members, including Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, James Spader (W. N. Bilbo), Lee Pace (Fernando Woods) and Hal Holbrook (Preston Blair). The film, which is based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, "gets sworn in nationwide on November 16."
Media Heat: Argo's Antonio Mendez on ABC's World News
Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Thomas E. Ricks, author of The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today (Penguin Press, $32.95, 9781594204043).
Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, readers review Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $16, 9780142001431).
Tomorrow on ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer: Antonio Mendez, co-author of Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History (Viking, $26.95, 9780670026227).
Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Jon Ronson, author of Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries (Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594631375).
Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire: Claudia's Story (Yen Press, $19.99, 9780316176361).
Tomorrow night on Last Call with Carson Daly: Nate Silver, author of The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204111).
Books & Authors
Awards: Guardian Children's Fiction Prize
Frank Cottrell Boyce won the £1,500 (US$2,416) Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Unforgotten Coat. Julia Eccleshare, chair of the judging panel and Guardian children's books editor, said the judges "decided unanimously that The Unforgotten Coat's great immediacy and humor really set it apart. With his brilliant depiction of two brothers from Mongolia trying to adapt to school in Liverpool while haunted by a fear from home, Frank Cottrell Boyce never preaches to the reader, and judges felt that he writes with such credibility and warmth that his readers will be left wiser when they have finished the story."
Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week
Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 6:
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307957245) explores the science behind audio and visual hallucinations.
The Prodigal Son: A Carmine Delmonico Novel by Colleen McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451668759) investigates a series of poisonings linked to stolen blowfish toxin.
Jack Reacher's Rules by Lee Child (Delacorte, $16, 9780345544292) gives advice from the protagonist of the Jack Reacher novels.
The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren (Zondervan, $22.99, 9780310329060) is a multimedia update of the Christian self-help bestseller.
Infinity Ring Book 2: Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan (Scholastic, $12.99, 9780545386975) continues a time travel fantasy series for young readers.
Review: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico
Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S Greenberg (Knopf, $30 hardcover, 9780307592699, November 6, 2012)
Amy S. Greenberg's A Wicked War offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the United States' invasion of Mexico, revealing the conflict between James K. Polk's expansionist doctrine of "Manifest Destiny" and the more domestically focused beliefs of Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln and the Whigs. Bubbling beneath the politics of the Mexican War, the U.S. was also strongly divided on the question of slavery, as well as attitudes toward anyone with darker skin: Amerindian, mixed-race mestizo or black slave alike. As president, Polk was hardly circumspect about his intentions: "It was God's will," Greenberg quotes, "that Mexico's richest lands, especially the fertile stretch by the Pacific, pass from its current shiftless residents to hardworking white people better able to husband their resources."
From the end of its own war of independence in 1821 until 1845, Mexico installed and overthrew almost 50 presidents. By 1846, it was a vulnerable collection of fragmented states and territories stretching from Guatemala to the 42nd parallel north of San Francisco and from the Pacific to the gulf and the northern Rocky Mountains. With substantial popular support among all but diehard Whigs and Abolitionists concerned that newly acquired territories would become slave states, Polk's war brought a weakened Mexico to its knees, swiftly creating a transcontinental American super-power.
Greenberg's smooth narration is filled with original observations and sources that dig into the personalities and politics behind the events. We learn how important Sarah Polk was to her husband's political success and see Abe Lincoln scrambling to keep his seat in Congress with the help of Mary Todd. "Both recognized that he had married up," Greenberg writes of the Lincolns, "and while she had absolute faith in her husband's political future, she was less convinced that he knew what he was doing in some other aspects of life... [and] set to work upgrading his wardrobe... begging him not to come to dinner in his shirtsleeves." Although successful, Polk's war became a political albatross. It had the highest desertion rate and casualty rate of any American war and spawned the country's first antiwar movement. Ultimately, it forced the divided United States to resolve its deep conflict over slavery, bringing Lincoln to the White House and sparking the much more devastating Civil War. --Bruce Jacobs
Shelf Talker: A fascinating history of the American invasion of Mexico in 1846.