Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Houghton Mifflin: The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too! by Bryant Johnson

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

HarperCollins: Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

Other Press: What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home by Mark Mazower

Chronicle Books: This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions by Kelli Anderson

Quotation of the Day

Dennis Lehane: 'So Proud to Be a Bostonian Tonight'

"Every thought and every prayer goes out to the victims and their families and loved ones. What a senseless act of waste and violence.... It's hard to imagine any people more inspiring than all those people who dashed across Boylston Street within seconds of the first explosion, and rushed to the aid of the injured. Didn't give their own safety a thought. Made me proud to be a member of the human race, which I think was the exact opposite of the effect the bomber was hoping for....

"When I watch the footage of the first explosion, I look at the Boston Public Library Main Branch across the street, and I think no matter who they turn out to be--Islamic jihadists, home grown militia, neo-Nazis, something else--what really scares them, what they truly hate, is the access to knowledge that building exemplifies.... So proud to be a Bostonian tonight. So brokenhearted to be one, too."

--Author Dennis Lehane on his Facebook page last night

She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


News

Kobo Introduces the 'Limited Edition' Aura HD

Kobo has introduced the limited-edition Kobo Aura HD, which the company calls "the eReader, re-imagined" for "our most passionate readers." The Aura HD features a high-resolution, 6.8" e-ink display with ComfortLight technology, a 1GHZ processor, wi-fi connectivity and 4GB storage, with expandable memory up to 32GB. It is offered in ivory, espresso and onyx.

The Kobo Aura HD is available for pre-order in North America today for $169.99 at www.kobo.com, and in stores in Canada and the U.K. April 25. International availability will begin in May.  

"From the beginning, Kobo has pushed the e-reading industry to new heights and today is no exception," said Kobo's CEO Michael Serbinis. "Kobo Aura HD is designed for the most passionate booklovers--those who devour hundreds of stories each year--who asked us to create the ultimate e-reading experience. Kobo Aura HD is our way of celebrating these customers."

"Kobo has just unveiled an e-reader that puts even Amazon to shame and could well restore the concept of a premium priced and premium quality e-reader," the Digital Reader observed.

In an article headlined "You're Going to Be Sorry You Bought That Kindle," Wired wrote that Kobo "has been the go-to e-reader for independent bookstores in United States hoping to escape the clutches of Amazon. Like Amazon, Kobo has an extensive e-book library but unlike Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, Kobo supports the open-source ePub format."

"We've always had an open platform," Serbinis told Wired. "The way Kobo is positioned around the world is really reflective of the way we got to market. In almost every country we lead with booksellers as our partners."


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Simon & Schuster Unveils Library E-Book Pilot Program

Simon & Schuster will launch a one-year pilot program through which its catalogue of e-books will be made available to the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public April 30, and the Queens Library by mid-May. S&S becomes the last of the Big Six publishers to sell its e-books to libraries for lending. The library can offer an unlimited number of checkouts during the one-year term for which it has purchased a copy. Each title is usable for a year from the date of purchase and may be checked out by one user at a time.

As part of this pilot, participating libraries are offering patrons the option to purchase a copy of S&S e-books from within their online portals. The publisher said that if the pilot program is successful, it could be implemented with other library systems across the U.S.

Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of S&S, noted that in "making our full list available we think we will get a better sense of lending patterns and patron behavior, and I am particularly eager to start seeing the actual data so that we can better understand this still-new phenomenon."

"This is a path breaking step that will ensure that as e-book readership grows our citizens can enjoy access to books akin to what the library has always provided," said NYPL president Tony Marx.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.18.17


'Books Are My Bag' Bookshop Promotion to Launch in U.K.

This September, the U.K.'s Booksellers Association and Publishers Association will launch a trade-wide promotion celebrating books and bookshops, featuring the slogan "Books Are My Bag," the Bookseller reported.

The idea for the promotion, created by advertising agency M&C Saatchi, came from former BA president Jane Streeter and Random House chair and CEO Gail Rebuck, "who 18 months ago published Maurice Saatchi's Brutal Simplicity of Thought. Rebuck co-opted Saatchi to work pro bono in return for connecting the campaign back to the next iteration of his book," the Bookseller noted.

At the entrance to the London Book Fair.

"There have been other campaigns, and they were all good in their way, but M&C Saatchi thought they weren't joined up, and never really heard in quite the way we'd wanted. They tended to disappear like vapor," said Rebuck. Celebrities will help publicize the campaign and authors attending this week's London Book Fair will be photographed with a bag. "The bag will create the buzz," she added, with an element of "stylish rarity."

"What Books Are My Bag captures and celebrates is the physical," said BA president Patrick Neale. "The media thing is that bookshops are really just for technologically incompetent, and if I look at my shop on any day that isn't the case. It's almost a campaign to the media that bookshops are really buzzy places."


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Midnight Retail Madness for Murakami in Tokyo

photo: Japan Daily Press

Shades of Harry Pottermania. Last Friday, hundreds of Haruki Murakami fans lined up at midnight outside Tokyo bookshops for their copies of his latest novel, Shikisai wo Motanai Tazaki Tsukuru to, Kare no Junrei no Toshi (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage), a "tale of 'loss and isolation' in the shadow of the tsunami," the Guardian reported. 

Nothing had been revealed about the book before release except its mysterious title, but bookseller Michiko Mamuro, who read the novel in a couple of hours, said the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown formed the work's backdrop: "I got the impression that Murakami faced the disaster head on. The book is filled with strong messages and many encouraging words."
 
Publisher Bungeishunjū added another 100,000 copies within hours of the book's release to an initial print run of 500,000. A publication date for the English translation has not been announced, the Guardian noted.


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear



Notes

Short Film of the Day: The Last Bookshop

One day, a small boy's holographic entertainment fails, so he heads out to explore the streets of abandoned shops outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient shopkeeper has been waiting over 25 years for a customer....

The Last Bookshop, written by Richard Dadd (who co-directs with Dan Fryer), features Alfred Hoffman and Joe Holgate and "imagines a future where physical books have died out." According to the filmmakers, "We wanted to contribute to the cultural debate with our own celebration in support of these glorious independents and their shelves of treasures. So with the help of some remarkable independent bookshops, and a lot of talented friends, we have been able to make our idea for The Last Bookshop into a reality. We hope you enjoy this film and share it with your friends...."


Blue Manatee Bookstore: The Doctor Is In

Dr. John Hutton "wanted kids to read books and play outside. He wanted their parents to unplug the kids' televisions and computers.... So he focused on more books and less screen time. That would be his issue," the Cincinnati Enquirer reported in its profile of Blue Manatee's owner, who has gone from doctor to bookseller to doctor/bookseller since he and his wife purchased the bookshop several years ago.

The name, which was chosen through a public vote, is "symbolic of what independent bookstores go through. They are nurturing and intelligent and sweet, but endangered," he said.

Being a bookseller has also "affirmed for Hutton what he already knew: Reading with a child is rewarding for the parent and remarkably beneficial for the child," the Enquirer wrote.

"This is old-fashioned stuff, but it is not just nostalgic," he said. "For a small child, any interaction with a person reading a book is so good for a child's cognitive, language, fine motor skills and emotional well-being." Hutton now works a day or two a week as a doctor and the rest of the week at the bookstore.


Vaughn Andrews to Join Workman as Creative Director

Effective April 22, Vaughn Andrews is joining Workman Publishing as creative director. He was most recently head of Vaughn Andrews Design, a book cover and jacket graphic design firm in San Diego, Calif. Earlier he worked for 26 years at Harcourt (and then Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), holding several positions, including executive art director and creative director.

 "Since the Workman list is relatively small, our expectations for each title are huge, which places a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of our creative director," said Susan Bolotin, acting publisher for the Workman imprint. "Each cover has to be a bull's-eye; every interior page has to work overtime. Vaughn's experience--both running a large art department and creating iconic covers--makes him perfect for the task at hand."

Raquel Jaramillo, who has been acting creative director of Workman for the past two years while continuing as director of children's publishing, will now focus fully again on Workman children's list.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Paulo Coelho on Diane Rehm

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Kathryn Joyce, author of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781586489427).

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Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Abraham Morgentaler, author of Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex (Holt, $26, 9780805094244).

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Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club (Cinco Puntos Press, $16.95, 9781935955320).

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Tomorrow on the View: Tom Sizemore, author of By Some Miracle I Made It Out of There: A Memoir (Atria, $26, 9781451681673).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Now with Alex Wagner: Jayson Lusk, author of The Food Police: A Well-Fed Manifesto About the Politics of Your Plate (Crown Forum, $24, 9780307987037).

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Tomorrow on the Bob Edwards Show: Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings: A Novel (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594488399).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Paulo Coelho, author of Manuscript Found in Accra (Knopf, $22, 9780385349833).

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Tomorrow on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Mark Mazzetti, author of The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204807).


Movies: Catching Fire; Half of a Yellow Sun; Romeo & Juliet

A teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was released and Tor.com offered a shot-by-shot analysis, noting that, "in some ways, we saw so much more than the typical teaser trailer, but also less. Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of victors like Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) will be disappointed; the scenes are mostly taken from Katniss and Peeta's (Josh Hutcherson) Victory Tour and the District 11 riot. That said, the dichotomy between their reality-TV existence in the Capitol and the injustices back home in District 12 is chilling."
 
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A clip has been released from the movie version of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun, featuring "Thandie Newton and a bearded and dreamy-as-ever Chiwetel Ejiofor," Indiewire reported. Directed by Biyi Bandele, the film's cast also features Anika Noni Rose (The Princess and the Frog), Genevieve Nnaji, John Boyega (Attack the Block) and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones).

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The first trailer has been released for Romeo & Juliet, which was adapted by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey). Indiewire reported that the project, starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Juliet, Douglas Booth as Romeo and Paul Giamatti as Friar Lawrence, hits U.K. theaters in July, though no U.S. distributor has been named yet.


Books & Authors

Awards: Pulitzer Winners (Fiction Included); Oklahoma Books

Winners of this year's Pulitzer Prizes in the letters and drama categories, which unlike last year included a fiction category honoree, were announced yesterday. They are:

Fiction: The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Random House)
General nonfiction: Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King (Harper)
History: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall (Random House)
Biography: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (Crown)
Poetry: Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds (Knopf)
Drama: Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

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Winners were announced last Saturday for the 2013 Oklahoma Book Awards at a banquet sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book, part of the state Libraries Department and a state affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Check out the complete list of Oklahoma Book Award winners here.


Granta Names 'Best of Young British Novelists'

Helen Oyeyemi, 28, is the youngest woman on Granta's list. Photo: Nadav Kander/NYT

As it has every decade since 1983, Granta magazine unveiled its 2013 Best of Young British Novelists list of 20 writers under 40, though this time the "character differs substantially from that of its predecessors and is likely to generate an animated discussion about what it means to be British in the 21st century," the New York Times reported, adding: "A majority of the writers were either born outside Britain or are the children of immigrants, from countries as far-flung as Pakistan, Nigeria, Hungary, China, Australia and Jamaica. And, for the first time, a majority are women--12, to be exact, compared with only 6 in 1983, 6 in 1993 and 8 in 2003."

Granta's 2013 picks for "Best of Young British Novelists" are Naomi Alderman, Tahmima Anam, Ned Beauman, Jenni Fagan, Adam Foulds, Xiaolu Guo, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Joanna Kavenna, Benjamin Markovits, Nadifa Mohamed, Helen Oyeyemi, Ross Raisin, Sunjeev Sahota, Taiye Selasi, Kamila Shamsie, Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Adam Thirlwell and Evie Wyld.


Book Review

Review: Surfaces and Essences: Analogy As the Fuel and Fire of Thinking

Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking by Douglas Hofstadter, Emmanuel Sander (Basic Books, $35 hardcover, 9780465018475, April 23, 2013)

Douglas Hofstadter was just 34 years old when he published the 1979 Pulitzer Prize‑winning Gödel, Escher, Bach, a profoundly original and bravura achievement that vaulted across disciplines to explore how consciousness and a sense of "self" might arise from inanimate matter. It became a cult classic, a shared "nerd bible" (as Time called it) for a generation of educated readers. Nearly 30 years later, I Am a Strange Loop (2007) offered a more contained and personal explanation of consciousness and the physical nature of thought.

In Surfaces and Essences, Hofstadter and French cognitive psychologist Emmanuel Sander address the central role of analogy in thought, an important research focus in cognitive science. The result is a definitive and emphatic affirmation of the argument that analogies are essential for concepts and thinking, permeating every moment and every aspect of thought. We understand the new and unfamiliar because we associate it with something familiar. Analogy is thus the core of thinking.

Hofstadter and Sander spin out this idea on multiple levels, from the personal to the cultural, from specific words, phrases and situations to abstract ideas and ultimately, to creativity. They explain that the mechanism that allows us to use the simplest words is the same mechanism that has enabled humanity's most groundbreaking discoveries and its greatest accomplishments.

They also take unbridled and often infectious pleasure in backing up each key step in their argument with a dizzying array of examples, often laced with playful humor.  Surfaces and Essences shares with Hofstadter's earlier books his joy in exploration and ideas. Its frequent examples from children to show the preconscious nature and development of analogies are effective and warm.

Surfaces and Essences is not a review of the research leading to its conclusions. Its purpose is to show how analogy works at successive levels. It relies on examples that illustrate rather than prove, but which often lack inherent interest beyond the point they support and, in their sheer number, can seem excessive, distracting from the main argument. The result is unnecessarily difficult reading, especially in the earlier chapters. Later chapters on creativity and scientific achievement are more persuasive, full of insights and ideas. The extended focus on Einstein's dependence on snowballing analogies for his "grand train" of discoveries provides the strongest narrative thread, making this section the most engaging--a compelling capstone to this deep dive into human thought. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Like the iconic Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hofstadter's latest is serious idea-driven nonfiction for general readers--especially fans of Stephen Pinker, George Lakoff and Daniel Dennett.


Feiwel & Friends: The Principal's Underwear Is Missing by Holly Kowitt
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