Also published on this date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013: Maximum Shelf: Gulp

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Little Brown and Company: The Balcony by Jane Delury

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

Katherine Tegen Books: Another Quest for Celeste (Nest for Celeste #2) by Henry Cole

News

Scramble: Michael Vick Book Signings Cancelled

Several upcoming book signings for Michael Vick's new autobiography have been canceled after violent threats against the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, his family and employees of the participating bookstores, USA Today reported.

Vick was scheduled to appear at Barnes & Noble stores in Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as at Books & Greetings in Northvale, N.J., to promote his book, Finally Free. His publisher, Worthy Publishing, canceled the events yesterday. In 2007, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback was implicated in a dogfighting ring and later pled guilty to a number of felony charges and served 19 months in federal prison.

"While we stand by Michael Vick's right to free speech and the retailers' right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm's way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick's book-signing appearances," said Byron Williamson, Worthy Publishing's president, in a press release.

PhillyMag.com said that a recent increase in the threats against Vick and his family may in part be due to Vick again becoming a dog-owner.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


New Book Stall Owner: Store Is a 'Treasure'

Stephanie Hochschild, who becomes owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., June 1, told the Chicago Tribune, "I've always thought of the Book Stall as more than a bookstore. It's a treasure. I feel a huge responsibility to keep that going."

Liz Rogatz (r), with new Book Stall owner Stephanie Hochschild.
(photo: Gregory Trotter, Chicago Tribune)

She plans no big changes and for now is working--and learning--in the store daily. So far, she said, handselling is "my favorite part. I love helping someone discover a new book they hadn't thought of."

Hochschild graduated from Princeton University with a degree in politics and earned a law degree at Georgetown University. As a lawyer, she specialized in intellectual property and trademark law. In 1998, she became a stay-at-home mom. She has long dreamed of owning a bookstore, and when the Book Stall was put up for sale by Roberta Rubin, it was "serendipity," she told the Tribune.

Hochschild's love of books goes back many years: her mother was a librarian at the National Library of Medicine and her aunt was a librarian. Her favorite childhood activity, she said, was spending hours at the library.

"Anytime we go to any town, we have to stop at the bookstore," said her husband, Roger Hochschild, who is president and CEO of Discover Financial Services.


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


Mystery Lovers Bookshop's Makeover

Last week, Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pa., did some remodeling that included the dismantling of its café, moving its kids' section and cash register, and creating more event space.

"The store is 22 years old," said owner Laurie Stephens, who bought Mystery Lovers Bookshop last year from founders Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman. Originally a very long, narrow shop, the store eventually doubled in size, and the coffee shop was added. But the coffee shop has become less important. Stephens explained: "Oakmont has developed into quite a lovely place to get coffee and go to cafés, and in recent years our coffee activity has gone down."

The removal of the coffee shop, which was in the front of the store, allowed Stephens to relocate the kids' section and cash register to more prominent spots in the front, and created much more space for both events and displays. "Because we're mystery/genre, we don't get a ton of walk-ins," Stephens said. "We're a destination shop. People come through town or plan a special day around it. But kids' books do sell to customers in the neighborhood."

A huge portion of the store's sales, as much as 40%, is telephone and e-mail orders, and moving the kids' section up front enabled Stephens to create a separate receiving and packing area in the back.

The changes have improved the store's sightlines and traffic patterns, too. "The café was bar height and four feet within the store walls, so you couldn't see through the store," said Stephens. "Now you can really see everything. I worked at Barnes & Nobles as a bookseller, and I'm familiar with the power aisle. We will now have a power aisle."

The extra space for events makes managing the store's multiple book clubs much easier and allows for larger events. For example, Dan Rooney, chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, will appear at Mystery Lovers Bookshop on May 10, to promote the release of his upcoming book, Allegheny City: A History of Pittsburgh's North Side (University of Pittsburgh Press). According to Stephens, the store could not have accommodated an event of such a size before the remodeling.

"We're really excited about [the change]," she said. "It's so energizing to see your own books in a different way." --Alex Mutter


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Pair of Former Booksellers Publish Their Novel

Lindsey Pogue and Lindsey Fairleigh, former employees at the Copperfield's Books store in Napa, Calif., have written a novel, After the Ending, "a post-apocalyptic romance adventure," according to the Napa Valley Register. The book is the first in a planned series of four sci-fi books.

"While there are books in the sci-fi genre that women enjoy reading or follow, the genre seems very male-oriented," Fairleigh told the paper. "Our book is geared toward a female audience."

Dan Graham, assistant manager for Copperfield's Books, commented: "I think it is awesome that two former bookstore employees went on to write a book. It is inspiring. Working here, I meet many people who talk about writing a book, but very few do."

The two Lindseys are publishing After the Ending through L2 Publishing, which they founded. For now they are offering the book in a POD edition at a range of retailers but, oddly for former indie booksellers, as an e-book only for the Kindle.


WI8: PR with Limited Resources

Why does PR matter? "Because traditional marketing just does not work anymore," said Sue Boucher from Lake Forest Book Store in Lake Forest, Ill., as she opened the Winter Institute panel on public relations with limited resources. But, she added, booksellers now have many new and sometimes free ways of promoting their stores.

"People want do business with people they know," said Boucher. At her store, partnerships with shop local groups, libraries and schools are all viewed as good marketing opportunities. One example: at Easter, she said, the town holds a "Hop the Shops" event to keep business local.

Panelist Linda McLoughlin Figel, who opened {pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., with two other local moms, said, "We view partnerships as a way to get your name out there beyond your customer base." Manhattan Beach has a very active "Think Local First" campaign that sponsors an annual local business scavenger hunt. {pages} also partners with Mysterious Galaxy in nearby Redondo Beach to split the cost of holiday book insert in the newspaper that serves both localities.

David Shallenberger said that the Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., is very tied into local festivals, including those that bookend the summer around Memorial Day and Labor Day. The children's bookstore has even found an angle for the annual Beer Festival: it hosts the Decatur Root Beer Festival on the same day. "Sometimes the parents disappear, and we have the kids for a while," he commented.

When it comes to marketing, Little Shop of Stories does not overlook the pennies. The store recently started a penny-collection campaign, with the idea that it will remake the store's ugly concrete floor with the half-million pennies it expects customers to donate for the design upgrade. "Whenever anyone looks in their pocket and finds a penny, they are going to think of Little Shop of Stories--and maybe forever," he said.

A recent promotional success at {pages}, Figel said, was its first fall rep picks night. Consumers love to get inside information on forthcoming books, Figel said, and the event was all the more popular because the sales reps showed up with lots of publisher swag that went into {pages} goody bags. This spring the store will host a rep pick night for book club titles. Other "alternative" events at {pages} include Dungeons and Dragons nights and open mic nights. "Kids want a place to perform," said Figel, noting that they bring along their friends and family, who are not necessarily part of {pages}'s existing customer base.

Lake Forest hosts periodic group events for eight self-published authors--two sessions of four each--and charges each author $150 to participate. The store provides authors with promotional postcards, sends out an e-mail blast to its mailing list and promotes it on Facebook.

Among the innovative marketing ideas that other booksellers talked about during the q&a was one store's success with children's writing contests and another store that paired with a local pizza shop to promote reading for children. They printed up special pizza boxes with the bookstore's name on them and offered a free meal for every third book a child read. --Bridget Kinsella


Notes

Image of the Day: Strawberry Yellow Sendoff

Last Thursday, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif., drew more than 50 people for an event marking the launch of Strawberry Yellow by Naomi Hirahara (Prospect Park Books), the fifth in her Mas Arai mystery series. Here Hirahara, who flew to Arizona the next day to speak at the Tucson Festival of Books, appears with some of the Vroman's staff.


Politics & Prose Takes Customers Out to the Ballgame

Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., is hosting an event at a major league baseball game: it's inviting customers to attend a Washington Nationals game on Thursday, April 4, along with Christine Brennan, sports journalist and author of Best Seat in the House: A Father, a Daughter, a Journey Through Sports (Scribner).

The afternoon will begin at 2:30 p.m. with lunch at the family picnic area at Nationals Park. Brennan will be available to "chat, sign books, and be quizzed on sports trivia." The game will start at 4:05, with the Nationals hosting divisional rivals the Miami Marlins. The P&P group will have seats along the right field line.

The cost of the event is $95, including ticket and picnic lunch. More information on the outing is available here.


Washington Independent Review of Books Turns Two

The Washington Independent Review of Books, the nonprofit, online book review magazine, is celebrating its second anniversary this month with a grant and a redesign.

The Independent has received a grant from the Prince Charitable Trusts for $15,000 per year for three years to help offset production costs. On March 4, the Independent unveiled new versions of both its website and weekly e-newsletter. The redesign has made the website more reader-friendly while allowing for the implementation of expanded interactive content in the future.

Since its launch in 2011, the Independent has published more than 700 reviews and 300 features.


Personnel Changes: Craig Herman, Emi Battaglia

Craig Herman is joining Iconix Brand Group as executive director, publishing, Peanuts worldwide, where he will work with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. He was formerly v-p and associate publisher, marketing and publicity, at Running Press.

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At Grand Central, Emi Battaglia has been named v-p, marketing director. She continues as associate publisher, a position she has held for eight years.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Goldhill on Colbert

Today on CBS's the Talk: Valerie Harper, author of I, Rhoda (Gallery, $26, 9781451699463).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Rachel Allen, author of Rachel's Irish Family Food: 120 Classic Recipes from my Home to Yours (Collins, $29.99, 9780007462582). She will be on NPR's All Things Considered, too.

Also on the Today Show: Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive and Vitality Naturally with the Gottfried Protocol (Scribner, $28, 9781451666946).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Knopf, $24.95, 9780385349949).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Eloise Klein Healy, author of A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings (Red Hen Press, $19.95, 9781597097598). As the show put it: "Eloise Klein Healy was recently named the first Poet Laureate of the City of Los Angeles. She reads selections from her new collection, A Wild Surmise, and reflects on what it means to be a poet of place today."

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Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Colbert Report: David Goldhill, author of Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307961549).



Books & Authors

Awards: Women's Prize Longlist; USGA's Best Golf Book

The longlist for the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction includes Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and NW by Zadie Smith. The shortlist will be announced April 16; the winner will be announced June 5.

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American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf by James Dodson (Knopf) has won the 2012 United States Golf Association's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for its "high standard of achievement in golf literature."

American Triumvirate focuses on a trio of golfers, "the founding fathers of the modern game," who were all born in 1912 and dominated the sport for decades.

The USGA will present the award in April at the Golf Writers Association of America awards dinner in Augusta, Ga., during the Masters Tournament. Dodson is one of only two writers to win the Herbert Warren Wind Book Award twice.

Dodson, writer-in-residence for the North Carolina newspaper the Pilot, won the award in 2004 for Ben Hogan: An American Life (Three Rivers Press) and has written four other books about golf. Additionally he spent 20 years as an editor and writer for Golf magazine.


B&N Recommends Life After Life

Kate Atkinson's Life After Life (Reagan Arthur Books), which goes on sale April 2, is the new selection for the B&N Recommends program. B&N called Life After Life a "stylistically ingenious exploration of historical outcomes and alternate realities." Atkinson's previous work includes Behind the Scenes at the Museum and the Jackson Brodie mystery series.

Books are chosen for the B&N Recommends program based on their "sheer reading pleasure and their appeal as book club picks."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
I Want to Show You More: Stories by Jamie Quatro (Grove Press, $24, 9780802120755). "With her wild and dark imagination, Quatro has crafted highly original, thought-provoking, and deeply moving stories about faith, marriage, infidelity, sex, and death. This is bold, daring fiction that will not leave readers indifferent. Quatro is a very talented author who is willing to take risks, and I am looking forward to reading more by her." --Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine: A Novel by Teddy Wayne (Free Press, $24.99, 9781476705859). "A bittersweet, frank, and funny take on modern celebrity, The Love Song of Jonny Valentine introduces a young pop phenomenon whose career and every move is managed by his mother who has her own set of problems with drugs and men. Jonny who is haunted by the memory of his missing father, is both wise and appallingly naïve as he deals with his newfound fame, the business of pop music, and the users and hangers-on of the celebrity world. A touching, funny, and moving view of stardom and how talented young people deal with sudden fame and success." --Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

Paperback
All This Talk of Love: A Novel by Christopher Castellani (Algonquin, $13.95, 9781616201708). "The final installment in Castellani's Maddalena trilogy is his best yet. This is an instantly engaging and authentic story about a multigenerational Italian-American family planning a trip to their ancestral village. Love, resentment, deception, and tenderness--all the complexities of a family in love and in conflict are handled with beauty and precision. There is not a single false note in this moving novel by a very gifted and assured writer." --Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Candy Shop War, Book 2: Arcade Catastrophe by Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain, $18.99, 9781609071790). "This is a wonderful sequel to The Candy Shop War. Once again, Nate and his friends must investigate strange goings-on in their town. With nonstop action at Arcadeland, a local amusement center, this new installment is sure to appeal to readers of all ages." --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: George O'Connor

George O'Connor is one the most balanced reader-writers we've ever encountered. The things on his nightstand, his favorite books and, in particular, the title he evangelizes (The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony) lead naturally to his fabulous Olympians series--the sixth title of which, Poseidon: Earth Shaker, will be published by Neal Porter/First Second on March 19. O'Connor got his start working at New York City's Books of Wonder bookstore. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Book Review

Children's Review: Zebra Forest

Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz (Candlewick, $15.99 hardcover, 208p., ages 9-up, 9780763660413, April 4, 2013)

This spellbinding and psychologically penetrating debut novel from Adina Rishe Gerwitz delves into the dangers underlying the stories we tell ourselves to make life bearable.

Eleven-year-old narrator Annie lives in a small house with her Gran and her nine-year-old brother, Rew, at the edge of a forest. They call it the Zebra Forest because of its mix of white birch and chocolate oak, "and if you stood a little ways from it... you saw stripes, black and white, that went up into green." In the Zebra, they tell their stories. Gran has good days and bad days, but Annie and Rew can always escape to the Zebra to tell their stories, and to read and reread Treasure Island.

Every year, Mrs. Roberts assigns an end-of-year essay: "Three Wishes I'd Like to Fulfill over Summer Vacation." Annie keeps her real wishes secret: "1. Get tall. 2. Have an adventure. 3. Meet my father." Annie knows these are impossible wishes, because: 1. Gran is short, like Annie. 2. Annie's big outing is to head to her best friend Beth's house to watch Mr. Koppel keep count of the hostage crisis in Iran. 3. Gran says Annie's father is dead--killed by an angry man who picked a fight. "My father died and the other man was sent away, and that was all," says Annie. "The story of my father was a short one." Annie remembers her mother's parting words as she dropped off the children with their Gran eight years before: "They were always his idea, anyway."

Gerwitz counterbalances the personalities of the two siblings to brilliant effect. Annie needs everyone to get along; Rew needs the truth. Annie sees things in black and white, like the Zebra Forest, and Rew reads between the lines. Gran can't handle the truth and escapes into her room. So when a stranger emerges from the Zebra Forest one day and enters through their kitchen door, they think Gran is crazy when she calls him by their father's name: Andrew Snow. His appearance rocks their world. Annie is torn between her wish fulfilled--a father she's never known and thought was dead--and betraying her brother, who fears for their lives.

The overlay of the Iran hostage crisis feels unnecessary. This is a timeless story of how lies can imprison families; only by facing the truth can they begin to take hold of their lives and begin to heal. Gerwitz wisely leaves aspects of the novel unresolved, so readers may interpret the ending as they see fit. Even her minor characters spring to life, through tactile details like Molly the bubble gum–popping cashier at the Sunshine Grocery. Readers will hope for many more books to come from newcomer Gerwitz. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: When the father that 11-year-old Annie thought was dead bursts through her Gran's kitchen door, her world turns upside-down.


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