Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 22, 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

New Owner at House of Books, Kent, Conn.

House of Books, Kent, Conn., has a new owner: Robin Dill-Herde bought the store on May 31 from Jim and Ginny Blackketter, who had owned it since 1991, the Litchfield County Times wrote.

Dill-Herde has an English writing degree from Western Connecticut University, and has worked at House of Books for eight years. Earlier she worked at Hickory Stick Bookshop in nearby Washington.

"I love being around books and talking to people about books," Dill-Herde told the paper. "I've always been a huge reader."

Dill-Herde has made some changes, including instituting a staff favorites section and an author reading program. She also plans to start a children's story hour and have book groups, book discussions and poetry readings.


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


A Very Little Bookstore Closed Because of Flooding

A Very Little Bookstore, Summerville, S.C., a children's bookstore, was closed over the weekend after flooding from a brief, powerful downpour on Thursday.

On Thursday, the store's Facebook page had this message: "We are so very sorry for the inconvenience, but a full wall of bookcases were removed this evening due to today's flooding. Water will be extracted in the morning, so we must cancel story time and remain closed until we can get the bookcases back in their places (they're currently lying on their sides and taking up almost all dry floor space so that the soaked bottoms can dry out) and the books back on shelves. We will know more in the morning once we speak with the landlord about what needs to be done. Please stay tuned, as we will keep you updated. Thank you, THANK YOU for your patience."

An update on Saturday reads: "Well, we've got a dehumidifier, a fan, and an antibacterial treatment working for us, but our hero at Servpro said that the wall, carpet, and the padding will need until Monday to fully dry out. As soon as he takes his equipment away, we will put the shelving back in its place, reshelve the books, and reopen the doors. We are so sorry to remain closed this weekend."


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith Update

The Telegraph has the series of tweets that began the Sunday Times of London's investigation into the possibility that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.

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Cuckoo? In April, David Headley, owner of Goldsboro Books, London, "who specializes in signed first editions often by relatively obscure authors," received 250 copies of The Cuckoo's Calling signed by "Robert Galbraith." As of last week, such books were selling for £1,000 (about $1,500) each on eBay. According to the Sunday Times, Headley decided not to cash in and has sold most of the copies for list price to some very lucky customers.

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Munich's Blanvalet Verlag, a Random House imprint, bought German rights to The Cuckoo's Calling for "a four-figure sum" and is now doing an initial print run of 200,000 "as soon as possible," according to Focus (via FoxNews).

"I never suspected it could come from Rowling," editor Anja Franzen said, adding that when she first read the book, she was "fascinated" by its characters.


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


California Bookstore Day: No Longer Dreamin'

After big publishers gave an overwhelmingly positive initial response to the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association's idea for California Bookstore Day, the association enlisted the help of its compatriots at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association to take the event statewide and hired Samantha Schoech to coordinate and publicize the Day, which will be held on May 3, 2014. In addition, last Friday, NCIBA released a promotional video and logo as part of its launch of an Indiegogo campaign to raise $30,000 to help pay for the events

Schoech, a freelance writer and publicist (married to Pete Mulvihill, co-owner of Green Apple Books in San Francisco and a main force for California Bookstore Day), sent a letter to publishers last week asking officially for their participation in the event, which organizers hope will celebrate the connection of readers, authors, booksellers and publishers in bricks-and-mortar environments and lead to a National Bookstore Day in 2015 and .

"For one day, and one day only, a number of very limited edition, unique word-based items and books," will be available exclusively at perhaps as many as 300 independent bookstores across California and be the kinds of items that will draw people to the stores, Schoech wrote.

She suggested that perhaps Daniel Handler or another musically inclined author might release a vinyl 45-rpm record; Paul Theroux might do a chapbook; or Dave Eggers could provide a word-enhanced shower curtain. The print runs would be limited to 300-1,500, and most will be priced at $15-$50 (although a few could go as high as $200).

Handler has not committed to doing a record but with his wife, Lisa Brown, has signed on for the effort. "You never know what Daniel Handler is going to do," said Schoech, "but you know it is going to be fun."

NCIBA executive director Hut Landon said that one reason he expects California Bookstore Day to be successful is that the state is rich in both authors and booksellers.

"Hats off to the great California Indie booksellers to spearhead such a great idea," said Katya Shannon of Penguin. "Leave it to them to come up with a terrific celebration of the power and cool factor of books and bookstores. Let's hope this spreads across the country!"

"We love the creativity and energy of the California bookstore community, and this has the potential to be a terrifically effective way to showcase great stores, and celebrate the fantastic West Coast reading culture," said Ruth Liebmann of Random House. "It's too early in the process to discuss specifics, since we just got the formal proposal very recently, but it's a terrific proposal. We plan to participate, which should be a lot of fun for everyone involved."

Schoech is organizing a panel of booksellers and others to pick 20 items from publisher submissions, which are due September 30.

As of yesterday, the Indiegogo campaign--which, unlike Kickstarter, is a non-Amazon-backed crowdfunding platform--had raised more $1,000. --Bridget Kinsella


Legendary Bookseller 'Closed Out' of British Open

American golfer Phil Mickelson may have won this weekend's British Open, but among the losers was legendary U.K. bookseller Rhod McEwan. Writing on Golf.com, Sports Illustrated's John Garrity reported that for years McEwan "has operated a corner bookstall in the Open's giant merchandise tent, dispensing golf tomes to an international clientele. To read McEwan's catalog or visit his antiquarian bookshop in Aberdeenshire is to recognize him as the game's foremost bookman.... All the prominent golf authors, from both sides of the Atlantic, signed books and held court at McEwan's bookstall."

But this year he was not exhibiting. "Gone, all gone," wrote Garrity. "McEwan's rent for the week was raised to the point that he could no longer operate at a modest profit.... And so it goes. When I left McEwan yesterday, he was keeping to the shade of one of those big white tents. It was the wrong side of the canvas for a bookman."


Amazon's Domain Name Quest: Win Some, Lose Some

Amazon's attempt to control the .amazon domain name, one of many the company has applied for, has run into strong opposition from a group of South American countries--including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay--and a committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has recommended that .amazon "not be approved for use as a so-called global top-level domain," the New York Times reported. The countries had sent a letter of objection to ICANN in anticipation of a meeting in Durban, South Africa, at which the organization reviewed applications for new domain suffixes.

"In particular '.amazon' is a geographic name that represents important territories of some of our countries, which have relevant communities, with their own culture and identity directly connected with the name," the letter pointed out "Beyond the specifics, this should also be understood as a matter of principle."

The Times noted the decision by ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee "is not necessarily final. The ICANN board could overrule the committee, though in practice it rarely does so."

In a statement, Amazon said it was "reviewing the G.A.C. advice and we look forward to working with ICANN and other stakeholders to resolve these issues as the process moves forward."

Amazon received a more positive outcome in its attempt to control the domain name .pin when the World Intellectual Property Organization ruled against an objection filed in March by Pinterest "arguing in part that domain names on .pin--clothes.pin, say, or whatever Amazon has in mind--would cause confusion around the term 'pin,' " CNet News reported, noting that the domain extension "doesn't automatically go to Amazon."


Obituary Note: Curtis Harnack

Author Curtis Harnack, whose memoir We Have All Gone Away "was published in 1973 and has rarely been out of print" and who served as president of the legendary Yaddo retreat in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., from 1971 to 1987, died July 5, the New York Times reported. He was 86.


Notes

Image of the Day: Vader's Little Princess

At the San Diego Comic-Con, artist Jeffrey Brown posed with a fan at the signing for his book Vader's Little Princess (Chronicle Books). Later that evening, he won an Eisner Award for the other book in his Star Wars series, Darth Vader and Son.


Yale Student Michael Jacobs: 'Another Dimension to My Life'

Yale Alumni magazine has a q&a with Yale history major Michael Jacobs, a junior who's working his way through college moonlighting as CEO of Abrams. Among our favorite parts:

  • "When I dropped out of college [in the 1970s], I thought, well, I'll take just a semester off to get my head together, as we used to say--and, you know, life intruded and I sort of fell into the book business. Six or seven years ago I wrote down the things that I wanted to try to focus on in my life. Getting a college degree kept creeping up the list. I felt like, if not now, when? I still have some energy and I have a bit of cognition left and wanted to do it while I still have those things."
  • "When you're in your 50s, you think, everything I could possibly learn I know already. But this makes me stretch in a way that I really appreciate. It's given me another dimension to my life."
  • "I'm hoping to finish in 2015, if not in 2014. My daughter is a sophomore at Vassar, and it would be nice if we both graduated at the same time."

Brazos Bookstore Celebrates HemingDay

Awesomely tattooed customer Connor Hyde drove 45 minutes to attend.

Yesterday Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex., hosted HemingDay, a party for Ernest Hemingway's 114th birthday. The event was the brainchild of floor manager Keaton Patterson, who has "a(n) (un?)healthy adoration of Papa." (Here's a Vine video of Patterson reciting the first line of The Sun Also Rises.)

The celebration included a trivia competition, a "Safari shootout" (see photo), a spelling bee and a lookalike contest.

Cocktails were provided by Down House--and were sugar free, since Hemingway was diabetic. You can see more photos on the store's Facebook page.

Brazos bookseller Keaton Patterson prepares for safari.

Summer Reading Spots: 'Bibliothèque de Plage'

photo by Philippe Piron

Since a "trip to the shore side is not complete without a good book," Matali Crasset designed a bibliothèque de plage, "a humble structure where the library is housed at its center, covered by a large canopy to protect the visitors and the volumes from the sun. Three alcoves are found along the outer perimeter of the space, inviting people to grab something to read, and rest in the shade of their shelter," designboom reported. The mobile beach library is located in Istres, France, on the shores of La Romaniquette.


Jim DiMiero Joins Barron's Educational Series

Jim DiMiero has joined Barron's Educational Series as sales representative for the Mid-Atlantic territory. He has extensive experience in the business, having worked for St. Martin's Press, Koen Book Distributors, Readerlink and Bookazine.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Philippa Gregory on Morning Joe

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Philippa Gregory, author of The White Princess (Touchstone, $27.99, 9781451626094).

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Today on NPR's Tell Me More: the Gronkowski Family, co-authors of Growing Up Gronk: A Family's Story of Raising Champions (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544126688).

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Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Susan Choi, author of My Education (Viking, $26.95, 9780670024902).

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Today on Tavis Smiley: Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed (Riverhead, $28.95, 9781594631764).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Kjerstin Gruys, author of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery, $26, 9780399160172).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Larry Kane, author of When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles' Rise to the Top (Running Press, $24.95, 9780762440146).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Shirley Jones, author of Shirley Jones: A Memoir (Gallery, $27, 9781476725956).

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Tomorrow on the O'Reilly Factor: Brad Thor, author of Hidden Order: A Thriller (Emily Bestler/Atria, $27.99, 9781476717098).

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Tomorrow on Katie: Mimi Spencer and Sarah Schenker, authors of The FastDiet Cookbook: 150 Delicious, Calorie-Controlled Meals to Make Your Fasting Days Easy (Atria, $25.99, 9781476749198).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Richard Haass, author of Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House in Order (Basic, $25.99, 9780465057986).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Kenneth Goldsmith, author of Seven American Deaths and Disasters (powerHouse Books, $19.95, 9781576876367).



Books & Authors

Awards: RITA, Old Peculier Winners

The winners of the 2013 RITA Awards, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America, are:

Best First Book: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Contemporary Single Title Romance: The Way Back Home by Barbara Freethy
Historical Romance: A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Inspirational Romance: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Long Contemporary Series Romance: A Gift for All Seasons by Karen Templeton
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
Paranormal Romance: Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole
Romance Novella: Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James
Romantic Suspense: Scorched by Laura Griffin
Short Contemporary Series Romance: A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan
Young Adult Romance: The Farm by Emily McKay

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For the second year in a row, Denise Mina won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award for Gods and Beasts, become the first author to do so, the Bookseller reported. She receives £3,000 (about US$4,566) and a handmade, engraved beer barrel provided by Theakstons Old Peculier.

"I'm so delighted and so glad to have another gigantic, ostentatious award in the shape of a Theakstons beer barrel that I don't have room for on my mantelpiece," Mina said.


Book Review

Review: The Maid's Version

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell (Little, Brown, $25 hardcover, 9780316205856, September 3, 2013)

Daniel Woodrell's The Maid's Version is as rich in mountain vernacular as it is in the history and character of a region steeped in rural Americana. Drawing on a locally famous 1929 West Plains, Mo., explosion and fire that killed 39 mostly young ballroom dancers, Woodrell tells a story of inexplicable tragedy and economic inequality through the secrets, sacrifices and social injustice of a small Ozark town. The fictional Arbor Dance Hall disaster "spared no class or faith, cut into every neighborhood and congregation, spread sadness with indifferent aim," but its cause or perpetrators were never identified--except in the settled mind of Alma DeGeer Dunahew.

Alma is the roughhewn grandmother of Woodrell's narrator, Alek, who first learns of the tragic explosion and its suspicious origins when he's sent from St. Louis by his father to spend a summer with her in little West Table, Mo. His grandfather was an alcoholic ne'er-do-well who left Alma and their three sons to live off stolen table scraps from the wealthy Glencross banking family for whom she served for half a century as a maid. She takes all the hot summer to entertain him with her version of the "colossal accident, an ongoing mystery she thought she'd solved."

While Alma and Alek hold the center of The Maid's Version, a wonderfully diverse cast plays key roles. Alma's promiscuous sister, Ruby, captures Arthur Glencross's heart but dies in the fire; Sheriff Shot Adderly runs the emotional investigation; "jackleg" Preacher Isaiah Willard rails against the eternally damned dancers ("God's wrath will find you even as you jerk about to pagan sounds and bound reveling in said wickedness"). Even a St. Louis organized crime thug sent to West Table to avenge a mob killing provides a colorful overview of the Ozarks: "This is sure 'nough the boondocks, brother, nothin' but brush apes eatin' dingleberries and draggin' their squaws by the hair."

Woodrell doesn't miss a lick in capturing the language of the Ozark hills and the details of its historically hand-to-mouth life. Encouraging him to study his classroom Shakespeare, Alek's father says: "That flowery fart has things to say, but he doesn't make it easy to get what he means... though when you do get it, it was worth the trouble." Preacher Willard might say: "Amen to that." --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: Rich in character and Ozark history, Woodrell's new novel continues the masterful mountain storytelling that made Winter's Bone such a hit.  


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