Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 7, 2013

St. Martin's: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

Workman: Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

Balzer + Bray: Cat the Cat Board Book by Mo Willems

Little Brown: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

Chuckanut Writers Conference

Henry Holt: D-Day by Rick Atkinson

Feiwel + Friends: Justin Case #3 by Rachel Vail

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Warburg in Rome by James Carroll

Little Brown Books for Young Readers: The Young World by Chris Weitz

 

Quotation of the Day

'Print Is Here to Stay'

"E-books, in other words, may turn out to be just another format--an even lighter-weight, more disposable paperback. That would fit with the discovery that once people start buying digital books, they don't necessarily stop buying printed ones. In fact, according to Pew, nearly 90% of e-book readers continue to read physical volumes. The two forms seem to serve different purposes.

"Having survived 500 years of technological upheaval, Gutenberg's invention may withstand the digital onslaught as well. There's something about a crisply printed, tightly bound book that we don't seem eager to let go of."

--Nicholas Carr, author most recently of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, in a Wall Street Journal essay headlined "Don't Burn Your Books--Print Is Here to Stay"

Trinity University Press: Unchopping a Tree by W. S. Merwin

News

Super Shelf Awareness Giveaway for Man of Steel

Many thanks to the more than 120 booksellers and bloggers who have embedded our book giveaway button their websites and blogs. We're kicking off the new year by giving away five Superman prize packs from DC Comics in anticipation of the film Man of Steel, which hits theaters later this year. Each pack includes Superman: Earth One Vol. 1 (hardcover), Superman: Earth One Vol. 2 (hardcover), Superman: Last Son of Krypton (paperback), All-Star Superman (paperback), Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1 (hardcover), a Man of Steel graphic novels tie-in poster and bookmarks from DC Comics.

Shelf Awareness hosts a new giveaway contest usually every other week, featuring new titles from major social-media savvy authors. Watch for the banner ads in both our Shelf Awareness Pro and Shelf Awareness for Readers newsletters. Contest entrants are assigned a unique referral link to the contest to share with friends via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, and they receive another entry for each friend who enters the contest via their referral link.

If you'd like to share Shelf Awareness contest on your website or blog with our automatically updating giveaway button, go here for instructions.

Publishers with authors who would like to participate in our giveaways should contact Amber Elbon with information about the authors' upcoming titles and links to the authors' Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Soho Press: Jack of Spies by David Downing

WI8: Pre-Conference Bookselling Workshop

A day-long workshop for prospective booksellers and new bookstore owners and managers called How to Succeed at Retail Bookselling: Introduction to the Bookstore Business will be held Friday, February 22, the day before the beginning of the ABA's Winter Institute 8 in Kansas City, Mo.

Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates will lead the workshop, whose agenda will similar to session one of Paz & Associates' multiday workshop retreat Opening a Bookstore: The Business Essentials. For the full agenda, visit PazBookBiz.com.

Workshop registration is open to ABA member and prospective members. Non-members of the ABA may become members and register for the workshop. The $100 fee includes lunch.

Pegasus: The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg

Written Words Seeking New Space

Written Words Bookstore, Shelton, Conn., must relocate by the end of the month, when its five-year lease ends, and owners Dorothy and David Sim-Broder have yet to find new space, according to the Monroe Patch.

"When the holiday craziness started here at the store, we had to temporarily suspend our search because we found we could not concentrate on both," said Dorothy Sim-Broder. The store has received a small extension from the landlord.

The couple hopes to stay in Shelton and remains optimistic despite "low holiday season sales" and an indiegogo.com campaign in September that did not reach goals.

"I think once we find a new place, a lot of people will show up and bring some muscle," Dorothy Sim-Broder said. "It could be like a community thing. Although it is a lot of work and it's stressful, I'm not down in the dumps."

Rare Bird Books: Shrink Thyself by Bill Scheft

Yawn's Focuses on Publishing

Photo: Todd Hull/Cherokee Tribune  

As planned last year, Yawn's Books & More has closed its bookstore in Canton, Ga., and has moved to smaller space nearby, at 198 North Street, where it is focusing on publishing, the Cherokee Tribune reported.

Yawn's Publishing has published more than 100 books in five years and emphasizes "works revolving around local history and biographies, but is also a source for publishing manuscripts for children's books, cookbooks, fiction books, non-fiction books and political books," the paper said.

"The bookstore was something I always wanted to do--a lifelong dream," Farris Yawn said. "The publishing company grew out of the bookstore. It has become a success."

Mumbai's 'Literary Entrepreneurs'

Noting that "the books most readily found in Mumbai these days aren't purchased in the city's established bookstores but outside, where children peddle shrink-wrapped paperbacks," the New York Times explored the world of the Indian city's "literary entrepreneurs," the book pirates who use street children to peddle their wares "at traffic crossings and on railway platforms" in full view of police, who are often bribed to look the other way.

"Child labor and book piracy have something else in common," the Times observed. "In India, at least, they're socially acceptable.... If the excuse for buying pirated books was once an economy of scarcity, the justification now is that of abundance. It is far easier to buy a pirated book than it is to find a bookstore or library."

Notes

Cameron Books Plans for the Future

Cameron Books, Hemet, Calif., "is a place with a soul and that soul is the business owner Ron Chalmers," the Valley Chronicle noted in its profile of the man who "has many future plans for his 25-year-old business and giving up his passion of selling books without a fight is not one of them."

Chalmers currently runs the shop with one part-timer, considerably less than the five employees he had until 2008, when Chalmers "trimmed operations" and moved to a new location after a considerable rent increase.  

"It was basically economics that we moved," he said. "We were thinking of just closing up shop, but word started getting around and we found this offer. Now it's a question of holding on instead of growing."

Changes at Running Press: Devlin Joining, Herman Leaving

Effective January 16, Allison Devlin is joining Running Press as v-p, marketing director, and will be in charge of marketing and publicity. She has been marketing director at Crown, overseeing Potter Craft, Watson-Guptill and Martha Stewart-brand cooking and craft publications and earlier worked at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, HarperCollins Children's Books and DK Publishing. She will divide her time between the Running Press office in Philadelphia and the Perseus office in New York City.

Craig Herman, longtime Running Press v-p and associate publisher, marketing and publicity, is leaving the company. Before joining the company in 2005, he worked in marketing at Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

Yankee Magazine's 'Best 5' New England Used Bookstores

Shire Book Shop, Franklin, Mass.  

"Saving the rural New England bookstore is more than a pastime for Richard F. Wright; it's a passion that drives him to visit, patronize, and write about local independent bookshops," Yankee magazine noted in featuring the Best 5 "venues selling used and rare volumes, plus ten honorable mentions," as selected by the author of A Vacationer's Guide to Rural New England Bookstores.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: McChrystal Publicity Invasion Commences

This morning on the Today Show: Stanley McChrystal, author of My Share of the Task: A Memoir (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591844754). The former general appears tomorrow on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mike Huckabee, Charlie Rose and the Daily Show.

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (Hudson Street, $25.95, 9781594631009). He will also be on NPR's Morning Edition tomorrow.

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jeff Bridges, co-author of The Dude and the Zen Master (Blue Rider, $26.95, 9780399161643). He will also appear on NPR's On Point and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Antonio Mendez, author of Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History (Viking, $26.95, 9780670026227). He is also on Good Morning America tomorrow.

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Tomorrow on NPR's the Takeaway: Amy Wilentz, author of Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451643978).

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Tomorrow on CBS's Jeff Probst Show: Eben Alexander III, author of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Near-Death Experience and Journey into the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, $21.99, 9781451695182).

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Tomorrow on Katie: Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity (Scribner, $37.50, 9780743236713).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Jared Diamond, author of The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? (Viking, $36, 9780670024810).

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Tomorrow on Fox Radio's Kilmeade and Friends: Fred Kaplan, author of The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451642636).

TV: Killing Kennedy

The National Geographic Channel has greenlighted Killing Kennedy, a TV movie based on Bill O'Reilly's book Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot. This follows the network's film version of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, which will premiere next month. The two movies "are part of National Geographic Channel's new emphasis on narrative historical programming," Deadline.com wrote.

Books & Authors

Walter Dean Myers: 'Reading Saved My Life'

"I write about history," Walter Dean Myers said, kicking off the Children's Reading Series at the 92nd Street Y in New York City last month. When he was named the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature a year ago, Myers made his credo "Reading is not an option," and his life experience bears it out.

Growing up in Harlem in the 1940s and '50s, Myers remembers the church on Morningside Avenue and 122nd Street, where Langston Hughes sold his books on the steps. James Baldwin lived 12 blocks away. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Truman integrated the armed services in 1948, and, in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education proclaimed segregated public schools unconstitutional. Also in 1954, Myers joined the army, after dropping out of New York's highly competitive Stuyvesant High School at age 15, two years before.

"Why did you drop out?" asked a woman in the audience when Myers opened the floor to questions. "My uncle was murdered, and my family fell apart," he answered. His father spiraled into depression, and his mother became alcoholic. Myers speaks nationwide to young people about reading and writing, and volunteers in juvenile detention centers. He believes the inmates he's met are not lacking intelligence; they're lacking information--"information that's passed down through the family." He cites as an example his first son, who experienced his father as a Vietnam-era soldier, and who's now a chaplain in the army. His second son, Christopher, whom Myers was raising after his career as a writer for young people was already established, is a children's book illustrator. Myers's wife (Christopher's mother) is an artist who studied with Jacob Lawrence. "You learn to think sitting around the dinner table, overhearing your parents. The passing of wisdom from generation to generation around the table--that's changing," Myers said. "Ten- and 11-year-olds are raising the younger children."

During a recent trip to Washington, D.C., Myers struck up a conversation with a cab driver. "You look tired," Myers told the driver. "He said, 'I've just come from being a pall bearer at another teen's funeral.' " The exchange reminded the author of a poem he'd written for his 2004 poetry collection, Here in Harlem (Holiday House), called "J. Milton Brooks, 41: Undertaker." He read: "[T]here comes a time when I have to weep/ It's when we lay some teenage boy so deep/ I close my eyes and pray the Lord to save/ Me from watching old men shuffling children to/ the grave."

When Myers was in his 20s, he had a conversation with Langston Hughes. Hughes had been criticized for writing for "the lowest element of black life," as Myers put it. Hughes told Myers, "That's who I want to write for." In his book Just Write: Here's How! (HarperCollins, 2012) Myers says, "Reading probably saved my life." Literally. For him, reading was not an option, it was essential. He also says, in Just Write, "I write books for the troubled boy I once was, and for the boy who lives within me still." He worries about those kids who begin school behind, and how only 15% of them ever catch up.

A teenage boy in the audience asked Myers if his book Monster (the inaugural Printz Award winner) was based on one of the prisoners with whom he's worked. Yes, Myers answered. "There are young people committing crimes for no apparent reason. They're not thinking it through. One kid spent two-and-a-half years in jail for being a lookout man [for a robbery gone wrong that ended in murder]." Steve Harmon in Monster was inspired by that kid.

"Prisoners want to know, if I dropped out of high school, how did I get where I am?" said Myers. "I tell them, 'I dropped out of high school but I didn't drop out of reading books.' "--Jennifer M. Brown

Book Review

Review: Me and Mr. Booker

Me and Mr. Booker by Cory Taylor (Tin House Books, $14.95 paperback, 9781935639367, December 2012)

A very young girl, yearning to escape her provincial beginnings, is swept up into an ill-advised romance with a much older, more sophisticated, totally inappropriate man who educates her in sex and heartbreak.

You know how this story ends, right?

Happily, Australian author Cory Taylor rescues this worn-out tale from itself with Martha, the "me" of Me and Mr. Booker. Sixteen years old and trapped in a fatally dull town, Martha is a teenaged old soul who recounts her doomed affair with Mr. Booker in a sardonic, clear voice. "Everything I'm about to tell you happened because I was waiting for it," she begins. "This was a while ago, when I decided that a girl is just a woman with no experience."

Martha is drawn into a dangerous triangle with Mr. Booker and his wife after meeting them at one of her lonely mother's many parties. The childless couple, recently arrived from England, "adopt" Martha, buying her gifts and taking her out for boozy lunches. Martha is captivated by the glamorous Bookers, and responds immediately when Mr. Booker initiates an affair. He is stylish and seductive, a man whose slippery charm and drinking habit would send red flags waving for an older woman. But Martha, desperately bored and eager for the rest of her life to start, finds him exciting and worldly.

As expected, there are seedy motel rooms and broken promises and spiraling consequences. Martha falls in love with Mr. Booker, but never learns much about him; he speaks in cynical, hackneyed phrases--"as if everything was a game because he had decided to make it one"-- and drinks constantly, both habits designed to veil his superficiality and narcissism.

Of course, those qualities of Mr. Booker are quite clear to the reader and (one hopes) eventually to Martha. Though she is smart and sharply perceptive about the many floundering adults around her--the dysfunctional Bookers, her estranged father, her disappointed mother and her ragtag broken friends--her naivety about the affair is a recurring surprise, a reminder of how young she truly is.

Me and Mr. Booker is a slightly misleading title; this book isn't really about the story whose plot you will recognize instantly. It's about Martha, who, in her determination not to become like the stagnantly disappointed adults in her life, embarks on another rite you may find familiar: the probably painful, perhaps misguided, and definitely enlightening rush to grow up. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: Australian author Cory Taylor's debut novel is a fresh take on an old story: a young girl, an older man and a sticky, doomed love triangle.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in December

The bestselling books at AbeBooks.com in December:

1. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Shack by William P. Young
3. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
6. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
9. Beloved by Toni Morrison
10. Proof of Heaven by M.D. Alexander Eben

The bestselling signed books at AbeBooks.com in December:

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
3. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
6. Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend
7. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
8. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
9. Cold Days by Jim Butcher
10. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

[Many thanks to Abebooks.com!]

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