Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Penguin Press: Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

Graphix: Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey

Ecco Press: Varina by Charles Frazier

House of Anansi Press: The Break by Katherena Vermette

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal

Quotation of the Day

Bookstores 'Will Continue to Be Rediscovered & Reincarnated'

"Just like that old classic with a newly designed cover that might attract you for some unexplained reason, the bookstore is a place where not only the old and new converge, but connect.... I see these conversations and interactions happening daily, and each time it does, I am reminded not only of the importance of bookstores, but also the importance of vibrant downtown districts.

"The fact is this: We only survive because downtown Ann Arbor survives. We are simply the latest torch-bearer of an old idea--one that was carried by Borders, one that was carried by Shaman Drum, one that has certainly struggled over the past few years, but will never go away.

"Like all old classics, bookstores may get new names, new addresses, or new owners, but so long as people still enjoy discovering new surprises, they will continue to be rediscovered and reincarnated, over and over and over."

--Mike and Hilary Gustafson, who opened Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., this spring, in a guest post at Concentrate

Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Land Beyond by Leon McCarron


News

S&S Canada Makes Changes to Bolster Publishing

Hanson

Kevin Hanson, president of Simon & Schuster Canada since 2005, has added the title of publisher. Carolyn K. Reidy, president and CEO of S&S, called the move "a reflection of the recent expansion of our operations in Canada to include editorial and publishing activities. Kevin is perfectly suited to lead Simon & Schuster Canada in this exciting endeavor, which will increase our ability to publish authors from the entire English-speaking world on a global scale… Under his direction, we have significantly grown our business and increased our overall presence in the Canadian marketplace, cultivating key accounts and aggressively pursuing new sales channels."

In related moves, Alison Clarke, formerly director of sales operations, is becoming associate publisher. She has been with the company for 16 years in both senior sales and operations positions.

Phyllis Bruce, a two-time winner of the CBA Editor of the Year Award, has been named editor of Phyllis Bruce Editions, a new imprint.

Hanson commented: "I am confident that we have the cornerstones for a successful team to anchor the truly 'Made in Canada' publishing program, and to continue the excellent work we have always done on behalf of our authors from the U.S. and U.K."


Thomas Nelson: Perennials by Julie Cantrell


Kinokuniya to Sell Online in Much of Asia

Kinokuniya Company, which has sold online in Japan since 1996, plans to start an online business next year in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and other Asian countries "to stay one step ahead of Internet giant Amazon.com," according to the Asahi Shimbun. In this part of the world, Amazon so far has country operations in Japan, China and India.

Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Kinokuniya president Masashi Takai said, "Utilizing our many years of experiences in those countries (as a conventional bookstore), we will make a move." Excluding Japan, the company has 18 bookstores in seven countries in Asia and Oceania. This weekend Books Kinokuniya is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its opening in Singapore, where it sells some 500,000 titles on BookWeb Singapore.

Kinokuniya and the Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, an investment fund, will invest a total of up to 2 billion yen (about US$20.6 million) in the new venture, Asahi Shimbun said. Kinokuniya plans to sell printed books and e-books in English, Japanese, Chinese and local languages, stationery and other products online.


Quirk Books: My Lady's Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris


Wonderland Books & Games Opens in Martin, Tenn.

photo: Malorie Paine

Wonderland Books & Games opened August 1 in Martin, Tenn., inside the Looking Glass coffee shop, the Pacer reported. Owner Jeff Stumpo, who is an English professor at the University of Tennessee at Martin, said the store is "an independent coffee shop with a small and personal bookstore inside it." He added, "The books are important, but it's not just the books; you have to be able to provide an experience."

Among strong categories are YA, history, philosophy, religion, children's books, science fiction and the classics. Stumpo will also sell some local authors' works and hold poetry readings and game nights.

Wonderland Books & Games is offering all UTM faculty and students a 10% discount on books and games. The nearest general trade bookstores is an hour's drive away.


Trinity University Press: Arte Kids - Bilingual Board Books


Consumer Spending: Online Sales Keep Growing

Among findings from the 2013 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review, published by Bowker Market Research and Publishers Weekly:

  • In the year after Borders's closing, online retailers' share of the market rose to 44% in 2012 from 39% the previous year.
  • Women increased their lead over men in book buying, accounting for 58% of overall book spending in 2012, up from 55% in 2011. However, men bought more hardcovers, the only area where their buying outpaced women's.
  • The slowly improving economy is slowly improving the climate for purchasing books. By the end of 2012, 53% of consumers said the economy was having no effect on their book buying habits, up from 51% at the end of 2011.
  • E-books continued to rise in popularity, accounting for 11% of spending in 2012, compared to 7% in 2011.
  • E-books were most popular in fiction, particularly in the mystery/detective, romance and science fiction categories.
  • Traditional print book output grew 3% in 2012, to 301,642 titles.

 


'Five-Figure Infusion' for SIBA's Trade Show Scholarship Fund

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance "quietly launched" a new scholarship program for booksellers in conjunction with this year's trade show in New Orleans, inviting exhibitors to donate to the program when they register for the September show.

Now the SIBA Scholarship Fund has received what it describes as a "surprising, much-needed and even more-appreciated five-figure infusion" from the Reba and Dave Williams Foundation for Literature and the Arts to accompany donations from the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and Quercus. The fund also includes the Kelly Justice Frontline Bookseller Scholarship, through which a store owner can nominate a frontline bookseller to attend the show at SIBA's expense.

Executive director Wanda Jewel observed that SIBA hopes to use the fund to assist as many bookstores as possible in offsetting some of the expenses that can make the difference in a store's ability to attend the fall show. "It may be that a frontline bookseller who has never been to the show can come or an additional bookseller can attend or you can stay an extra night," she said.


Notes

Image of the Day: Breakfast with Jabba

 

Abrams hosted a breakfast yesterday for the release of The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, the fourth book in the Origami Yoda series. With Jabba are publisher and senior v-p Susan Van Metre, who is also the book's editor, and Chad Beckerman, art director for the book.


Libraries: Checking into Hotels; Checking Out Pics

It's not just Bibles and phone books in the rooms anymore. A number of hotels nationwide "are giving the humble book another look, as they search for ways to persuade guests, particularly younger ones, to spend more time in their lobbies and bars," the New York Times reported, noting that hotels "are increasingly stocking books in a central location, designating book suites or playing host to author readings."

"My general impression is that this ties into changing demographics," said Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman for the travel, hospitality and leisure groups at Deloitte. "Younger travelers want to be part of the community."

Marc Hoffman, COO of Sunstone Hotel Investors, said he has brought the library concept to many of the company's hotels: "We're creating spaces people can relax in."

Jenny McKibben, who coordinates the Strand Bookstore's corporate accounts, estimated that 60% of corporate business comes from hotels or design firms working for hotels. Noting that the number of hotels ordering has increased to about 40 annually, she described books as " a new luxury item."

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Describing it as "a book lovers dream," Buzzfeed featured "15 gorgeous photos of the old Cincinnati Library, noting that it "used to be... one of the prettiest libraries in the country."


Cool Idea of the Day: 'Words on Wheels'

Jonathan Dasani has become a bookstore on wheels. Twice a week he "crisscrosses North Philadelphia, hauling a satchel packed with fiction and nonfiction that he distributes to children who tend to come from bookless homes," the Inquirer reported, noting that Dasani works for a program called Words on Wheels, started this year by Tree House Books.

The program does more than just give away books, according to executive director Vashti DuBois, who said she hopes the special deliveries trigger something deeper in young readers: "We want to get in the heart of young folks. There's TV, there's video games, but the summer is a magical time to be with a book."

"I know how important it is for students and kids to have books available to them to read over the summer.... [Reading] allows them to stay at their grade level in reading and literacy, or even get ahead of the game when the academic year starts in September," said Dasani, who has a tattoo of seven bells on his left arm--a tribute to one of his favorite series of books, the Old Kingdom by Garth Nix.

Words on Wheels expects to have delivered nearly 2,500 books by the end of summer, either to children's homes or in bulk, through the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the Inquirer noted.


Midpoint Trade Books Distributing Atomic Fez Publishing

Atomic Fez Publishing, Vancouver, B.C., is now being distributed in print and e-book form by Midpoint Trade Books.

Founded in 2009, Atomic Fez specializes in genre-crossing fiction, including horror, humor, fantasy, noir and erotica. The house's lead fall title is Sleepless Knights by Mark H. Williams, a modern retelling of the Arthurian legend.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Colum McCann on the Colbert Report

Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Linda Spalding, author of The Purchase (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780307908414). As the show put it: "What happens to a man in Antebellum America who disobeys every impulse of his own conscience? Implosion threatens the homestead of Daniel Dickenson, the protagonist of Linda Spalding's historical novel, The Purchase, when the abolitionist is forced to buy a slave upon moving to the rural edge of Virginia. Spalding examines the root of the American conflict--the inherent war between spirit and commerce--with clarity and nerve."

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Dan Balz, author of Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America (Viking, $32.95, 9780670025947).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Colum McCann, author of TransAtlantic: A Novel (Random House, $27, 9781400069590).


Tomes-on-TV Display Idea: 'Books of Orange Is the New Black'

Operating on the theory that "prison and books go together like Alex and Piper," Books of Orange Is the New Black is a new Tumblr that "was born out of my crazy obsession to re re re watch OITNB and my love of books and I'm glad so many of you feel the same way." Launched last week with a preliminary book list from Season 1 of the Netflix original series based on Piper Kerman's memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, the Tumblr's readers have been adding more titles ever since. 


Movies: Kill Your Darlings

A teaser clip has been released for Kill Your Darlings, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac, Ben Foster as William Burroughs, Elizabeth Olsen as Edie Parker and Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr. Indiewire noted that the promo "introduces the true story that found Kerouac, Burroughs and Carr arrested for murder when an outsider to their burgeoning group, David Kammerer, is found dead." Kill Your Darlings opens in limited release October 18.


Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Sophie Hannah

photo: Roderick Field

Sophie Hannah is the author of five collections of poetry and eight psychological thrillers. Her latest to be released in the U.S. is Kind of Cruel (Putnam, August 6, 2013). She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and children.

On your nightstand now:

A huge tottering pile that makes me nervous every time I look at it! When am I going to find time to read all those books? Last night I started to read Agatha Christie's first Hercule Poirot novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I'm five pages in, and it's already brilliant. Christie's style is elegant and irresistible. She's just the best storyteller. Once I've finished that, I'm going to read Follow Me Down, a psychological thriller by Tanya Byrne, a hugely talented young English writer.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Enid Blyton's Secret Seven mysteries--very famous in England--about a group of seven children who form a detective agency and solve mysteries before the police ever do. I have loved mystery stories from a very young age. In fact, it was my love of Enid Blyton books that led me on to Agatha Christie... and then on to Ruth Rendell, Tana French and many more.

Your top five authors:

Tana French, Nicci French, Agatha Christie, Iris Murdoch, Edna St. Vincent Millay. 

Book you've faked reading:

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I was supposed to read it for my degree course but it was a) enormous and b) about a whale. I seriously doubted I would prefer it to Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener, my favorite novella ever, which is a) short and b) about a weird guy. I'm sure Moby Dick is brilliant--and indeed, I have made it the favorite novel of my detective protagonist, Simon Waterhouse, who features in all my books--but every time I picked it up and thought, "I must read this," a little voice in my head whispered, "But it's massive. And about a whale." I realize this is my fault and not Moby Dick's.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I used to be a vengeful, bitchy person before I read it--full of repressed anger. Now I am hardly ever vengeful, still quite bitchy, and only ever really angry when the latest season of Dexter isn't yet available to order. Which is great news!! No, seriously: the important thing is that although living in the enlightened way that Tolle prescribes is almost impossible if you're an ordinary, flawed human being, the book is a great work of philosophy. It clearly demonstrates that, frequently, it's our own psyches and egos that create our unhappiness rather than other people's behavior. Tolle believes we can be much happier by telling ourselves different stories about events in our lives. I think he's right.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Hanging Hill by Mo Hayder. I saw the U.K. cover and it was so beautiful, I thought, "I must own that book." I love Mo's work anyway, though. She's a genuinely original crime writer and her first novel, Birdman, is one of the finest crime novels ever written.

Book that changed your life:

I'm going to pick two: Controlling People by Patricia Evans (how to avoid and deal with them, not how to control other people!) and Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody. Both are American self-help/personal growth books--a genre I adore. When I stop reading personal growth books, I start to personally shrink IMMEDIATELY! My only hope of staying even vaguely sane is to have a self-help book on the go at all times. Evans and Mellody, in their fantastic books, demonstrate that the damaging people one encounters in one's day to day life can be survived and dealt with in a positive and healthy way, as well as the damaging parts of one's own inherited pain. (Sorry, I know this doesn't sound very jolly! But we're all survivors of psychological damage to some extent, even if it was only one slightly less than ardent ex-boyfriend who dumped us for being not as pretty as Madonna, so we might as well read about it and become experts!)

Favorite line from a book:

"I find this frenzy insufficient reason/ For conversation when we meet again." Edna St. Vincent Millay, from the sonnet that begins, "I being born a woman and distressed...." Basically the poem is Edna saying to a chap, "I want to have sex with you, but it's a purely physical urge and as soon as you've scratched my itch (as it were!), I will have no further interest in you." I'm not sure if this is impressively feminist or a bit mean, but I recognized the sentiment as being one that has passed through my mind from time to time. I feel that way about most of Edna's sentiments, which is why I love her!

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson--the most amazing psychological thriller, soon to be a film starring Nicole Kidman. I'd love to read that again, not knowing the (quite brilliant) twist.

Book you bought for the title alone:

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. Other favorite titles include Time Will Darken It (William Maxwell), Like This for Ever (S.J. Bolton), A Quiet Belief in Angels (R.J. Ellory) and To Serve Them All My Days (R.F. Delderfield). I love long, unusual rhythmic titles.


Book Review

Children's Review: Frog Trouble

Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton (Workman, $16.95 hardcover & CD, 70p., ages 1-up, 9780761171768, September 3, 2013)

An all-star cast that boasts the likes of Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams and Alison Krauss sings of children's favorite subjects: dogs, frogs, pigs and trucks (among others). In an author's note, Sandra Boynton (Philadelphia Chickens) tells of a childhood chock full of "a hundred different Cowboy programs"; with this album, co-created with longtime songwriting and producing partner Michael Ford, she tips her 10-gallon hat to some of their theme songs.

Boynton wrote all the lyrics for these 12 songs and soloed on the music for many of them; Ford co-wrote the music for five of the dozen and does backup vocals and instrumentals for some. In Part One, youngest children may follow along with the music (there's a CD tucked in a durable pouch affixed to the inside front cover). This first section highlights--in large type--a verse or two and the refrain of each song, plus Boynton's full-page illustration of its subject (featuring her signature animal characters). The full lyrics, melody and chord progressions appear in Part Two (a small frog in the lower right-hand corner of each song in Part One points to the page number), and Part Three simulates a scrapbook with photos and biographies of the vocalists and musicians.

The album opens with Dwight Yoakam's ballad of a dog named Hank ("I've Got a Dog"), who howls to his crooner-owner's "lonesome song" and won't win a prize for "being dog-pretty," but the pooch comes through: he sticks by his human's side. A plucked string imitates a canine whining sound, and the spoons performed by Peter and Gordon Scott evoke the do-si-do of the best friends' dance. The Fountains of Wayne extol the virtues of "big trucks and little trucks and long trucks and tall," for "delivery or long-haul." A "downshift" in "Trucks" lowers the key for the singers, while a command to "throw it into fifth" leads to a modulation up. Boynton pictures a pig in shades at the wheel of a red pick-up filled to capacity with apples. Later in the songbook/album, more than a dozen of Boynton's porkers star in Ryan Adams's wistful interpretation of "When Pigs Fly."

Boynton and Ford vary tempos and tones beautifully. They follow up the soulful "Heartache Song," performed by Kacey Musgraves, and "When Pigs Fly" with a honky-tonk tune called "Broken Piano" (sung by Ben Folds) and the hilarious "Copycat," for which kids will attempt to keep pace with lead singer Brad Paisley trying to shake off the relentless feline chorus sporting identical hats and green guitars. Boynton also shakes it up with choreography for "The Alligator Stroll" (a chicken crashes the reptiles' line dance) and tips on "How to Talk Like a Cowboy."

In Boynton's equivalent of liner notes, which teachers and musicians will regard as a treasured process log, she reveals that Alison Krauss was the first artist they signed to the project, for the elegant "End of a Summer Storm." The musicians' stellar work on this selection led Boynton and Ford to request that they play the entire album. With the variety of voices, moods and rhythms, these musicians provide the through line, along with Boynton's playful illustrations and design. Yee-ha! --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This fabulous music book–and-CD set features an array of country-western ballads and honky-tonk tunes, boasts Boynton's beloved animal characters and stars a who's who of the country music scene.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in July

The following were the most popular book club books during July based on votes from more than 80,000 book club readers from more than 35,000 book clubs registered at Bookmovement.com:

1. Beautiful Ruins: A Novel (P.S.) by Jess Walter
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
5. Inferno by Dan Brown
6. The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
7. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
8. Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
9. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
10. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Rising Stars:

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

[Many thanks to Bookmovement.com!]


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