Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 5, 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

DIESEL Malibu Store for Sale

Five months after opening a store in Larkspur, Calif., DIESEL, A Bookstore has put its nine-year-old Malibu location up for sale, the Malibu Times reported. DIESEL also has stores in Brentwood in Los Angeles and in Oakland. (The stores are far apart: Malibu and Brentwood are in Southern California, and Larkspur and Oakland are in the North, in the Bay Area.)

Calling it a "problem of our own success" and saying they are spread too thin, co-owner John Evans told the paper that he and co-owner Alison Reid believe that a local buyer would help the store. "In general, bookstores are best when local people that own the place and live in the place work in the place," he said. "I don't work in Malibu very often, and I'm probably not going to. And that's what we realized, that neither of us is going to work there."

Evans and Reid, who opened the first DIESEL in Oakland in 1989, opened the Malibu store in 2004. The store closed for eight months in 2011, when it moved to its present location in the Malibu Country Mart.

The paper said that Evans "alluded to slowing foot traffic and stagnant sales, but said Diesel remained a community cornerstone for book enthusiasts and would continue thriving if a Malibu local bought the shop."


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Bank Street Bookstore in the Balance

Yesterday, devotees of New York City's Bank Street Bookstore worried in the Twitterverse about reports that the store may close when its lease runs out in early 2015.

They have reason to be concerned: Bank Street College president Elizabeth Dickey, in her November letter to the college, reported that the bookstore's sales remain flat and revenues overall had declined 7% over the last decade, while the rent for the store, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and West 112th Street, had grown by 56%, and operating losses had "increased significantly."

The Board of Trustees recommended that the college not renew its lease and continue to "explore other possible locations in the general area" and "e-commerce models should there be no suitable and affordable space available."


Soho Crime: My Name Is Nathan Lucius by Mark Winkler


Holiday Hum: Jolly Sales Jumps, Hot Titles

Carol Spurling, owner of Bookpeople of Moscow in Moscow, Idaho, had a great start to the holiday season as sales on Small Business Saturday rose 40% from last year. Authors Kim Barnes and Robert Wrigley, long-time Moscow residents, visited the store as part of Indies First. The result was a fun, festive day of robust sales. Spurling is optimistic that she'll be up some 20% over last year's holidays. "Last year was our first holiday with new ownership, and lots of people discovered the store for the first time," she said. "We're hoping they come back to buy gifts this year."

Bethany Beach Books in Bethany Beach, Del., has partnered with Random House Children's Books for the "Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes" campaign, which encourages children to complete a list of good deeds during the holidays. Children and families can purchase books from the store's "Giving Tree" to be donated to a local children's hospital, and the store has teamed up with an old-fashioned movie house in Bethany Beach to show a screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The store also donated a $1,000 gift certificate to Toys for Tots. Compared to holidays past, store owner Jacklyn Inman has seen increases in sales. "I think a lot of it has to do with how we're involved with the community," she said. "We're really trying to help out during the holiday season. It's a win-win for everyone; the more you give, the more you get."

Grant Hill, owner of That Bookstore in Blytheville in Blytheville, Ark., said that store can't keep Santa Is Coming to Arkansas by Steve Smallman in stock. "That's new this year, and we've been really pushing it" while other adult bestsellers "pretty much look like New York Times bestsellers." Hill called it "pretty cool to see more literary stuff like The Goldfinch [by Donna Tartt] become a big deal; I feel better selling that to customers than 50 Shades of Grey."

Sycamore Row by John Grisham has been "huge, but that's kind of a special case," Hill said. "The very first book signing for A Time to Kill was here; we're one of only a few stores to have signed copies. And we've sold hundreds of those, to people all around the world. He kind of got his start because of the store, and the store has kind of been able to stay afloat in some hard times because of him. It's pretty crazy to me how rabid people get about Grisham, but Grisham season is bigger than Christmas for us."

Bill Reilly, of the river's end bookstore in Oswego, N.Y., said he was "amazed at how consistent John Green's The Fault in Our Stars has continued to be; I sort of thought everyone had a copy." By contrast, he hasn't seen much of a lift in sales of Hunger Games books from the movie. "I've been getting great reports about the movie, but I guess everyone's probably bought the books," he noted. Titles that have done very well include Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton and Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr "because we're in hockey country."

Robert Sindelar, owner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, Wash., said that when One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson came out about a month and a half ago, "We ordered a lot, and it didn't really move. But now it's starting to sell like Bill Bryson books sell. The second people started thinking of gifts, it started moving."

Compared to this time last year, sales have improved for Rita Maggio, the owner of BookTowne in Manasquan, N.J.: "Things are much better. There's been that movement to shop local, and whether people are responding to that, or are conscious of it being a short season and there aren't many days left to shop, it's been very busy. But people are saying 'I'm really making an effort this year to shop local.' " --Alex Mutter


Ecco Press: Tangerine by Christine Mangan


Harlequin: Hayes Retiring, Swinwood New Publisher, CEO

Donna Hayes, publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises, is retiring, effective December 31, and Craig Swinwood is becoming publisher and CEO, starting January 1.

Swinwood is currently chief operating officer for Harlequin North American and has worked for the company for 26 years. David Holland, president and CEO of parent company Torstar, said that Swinwood "has played a key role in the growth of the single title business, the development of the Harlequin nonfiction and teen strategies and has been a driving force in the transition from print to digital publishing in North America."

Hayes has worked at Harlequin for 28 years. Holland said that she has "led Harlequin from being a series romance publisher to becoming a broad-based publisher of women's fiction and has demonstrated invaluable foresight in positioning Harlequin for a more digital future."


At Penguin, Heffernan Retiring, Lawton Promoted

Heffernan

Dick Heffernan, longtime president of adult hardcover and children's sales at Penguin Group, is retiring at the end of the year. Madeline McIntosh, president and COO of Penguin Random House, said in a memo to staff, "I of course tried very hard to persuade him to change his mind about retiring. But with the same clear-eyed determination he has brought to selling Penguin books, Dick has remained steadfast in this personal choice."

Heffernan joined Doubleday as a sales rep in 1974 and rose quickly to become sales director. In 1987, when Bantam Doubleday Dell was formed, he became v-p of sales for Doubleday. In 1989, he joined Putnam as senior v-p of sales, and in 1996 was promoted to his current position. (He also is responsible for Penguin Audio, Speakers' Bureau, satellite tours, international and special markets & gift sales.)

In a related change, John Lawton, v-p, director of national accounts for Penguin's adult hardcover division, is being promoted to senior v-p, director of adult hardcover sales, Penguin Group, effective January 2. Before joining Putnam in 1996, he was director, publisher marketing, at Barnes & Noble.


Gary Shapiro New CEO of Collegiate Retail Alliance

Gary F. Shapiro has been named CEO of the Collegiate Retail Alliance and RATEX Business Solutions.

He was formerly senior v-p, intellectual property, at Follett Higher Education Group and earlier worked at the National Association of College Stores for 17 years, including as deputy executive director and as executive v-p and general manager of NACSCORP. Before that, he worked on the management teams of five bookstores, including stores at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Tampa and the University of Connecticut.

"The founders of the CRA have built one of the most successful organizations in our industry," Shapiro said. "Through collaboration and innovation, they've developed some of the best business practices in college retailing, created lasting partnerships across the supply chain, and built the industry's best store management system, VisualRATEX."

Rich McDaniel, chairman of the CRA board of directors, called Shapiro "an expert on course materials and intellectual property. He's been a major innovator in new processes and technology. He has excellent relationships across the industry at the highest levels. He knows the issues college stores face. We have many new initiatives planned for 2014 and beyond. Gary's knowledge, expertise, and business acumen will be vital to achieving our vision of fully integrated supply chain management for college retailers."


Obituary Notes: Judy Rodgers, Richard Brower

Judy Rodgers, a San Francisco chef whose Zuni Café and The Zuni Café Cookbook "helped transform the way Americans think of food through its devotion to local, seasonal ingredients meticulously prepared" died Monday, the New York Times reported. She was 57.

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Richard Brower of Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers, Kinderhook, N.Y., died on Tuesday. He was 83.

In a tribute sent by the New England Independent Booksellers Association, Brower's daughter, Rondi Brower, wrote that her father "always said it was his wife and daughter's bookstore. But Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers Ltd was only possible because Dad chose to spend his retirement working with us. (His day job had been commercial banker in New York City.) For most of the store's 23 years, he was the first person in. He made a pot of coffee and read the New York Times at his desk. At 10 o'clock, he'd turn on the lights, open the door, put out the flag and handle everything until we got there. He was in charge of our inventory, a system of 5"x8" cards from day one until the end, as he did not like computers.

"He was the first of us to be acknowledged in a book. In Let's Fly from A to Z by Doug Magee and Robert Newman (Dutton, 1992) the photograph of X (crossed runways) was taken from Dad's plane.

"He was the first of us to be quoted on a book as his blurb of Robert Andrews' A Murder of Justice (Putnam, 2004) was used on the dust jacket. His book reviews tended to be terse and blunt, which was generally more appreciated by sales reps than publicists or authors; praise from Dad was always well earned.

"His staff picks had perfect pitch. If you liked one book that Dad liked, you almost always liked other books that Dad liked.  Customers would come in and request a Dick's Pick, often not even knowing or caring what the book was about before they bought it. He was our expert in police procedurals, aviation, World War II, sports, Alaska and an eclectic assortment of non-fiction. Favorite authors included John McPhee and Archer Mayor. His last Dick's Pick, a book he finished just a few weeks before he died, was Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron (Minotaur). Like all good independent booksellers, he was discovering new authors until the end."


Notes

Image of the Day: Romance Authors' Favorite Romances

On Tuesday, the Posman Books store in Grand Central Terminal in New York City introduced its "curated shelf program" in the romance section. Laura Kaye, author of Hard As It Gets (HarperCollins), unveiled the five titles that will be on display for a month, her all-time favorites: Lover Awakened and Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward, Seduction of a Highland Lass and Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks and The Sinner by Margaret Mallory. Here at the event, which featured a signing, are Kaye (l.) with Posman bookseller Stacey Agdern, who, with Greg Logan, is managing the program. Future author participants include Sara Humphreys and Eloisa James.


'Snug Hotel Bars' for Reading & Imbibing

Library Bistro, Seattle

"Nine snug hotel bars to warm you up in winter" were showcased by USA Today, including two with bookish atmospheres:

In the evening at New York City's Library Hotel, the "Writer's Den (a cozy area with working fireplace and heated terrace) and Poetry Garden (a greenhouse with wraparound terrace) become Bookmarks Lounge, a cozy, upscale spot serving cocktails inspired by literature," USA Today wrote.

The Library Bistro and Bookstore Bar at the Alexis Hotel, Seattle, Wash., "is exactly what it sounds like--a combination of a bookstore and a bar. Whether you love to read, love to drink, or love to do both at once, this local hot spot has you covered. Nothing says winter coziness like curling up with a good book and a strong beverage."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tim Conway Talks About What's So Funny?

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Rick Warren, co-author of The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life (Zondervan, $24.99, 9780310344292). He will also be on the View tomorrow.

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Tomorrow on Katie: Reid Wilson and Lynn Lyons, authors of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children (HCI, $14.95, 9780757317620).

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Tomorrow on CBS's the Talk: Tim Conway, co-author of What's So Funny?: My Hilarious Life (Howard, $25.99, 9781476726502).

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Tomorrow on ABC's Rachael Ray Show: Clinton Kelly, author of Freakin' Fabulous on a Budget (Gallery, $26, 9781476715520).

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Tomorrow night on Piers Morgan: Glenn Beck, author of Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America (Threshold, $27, 9781476764740).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Mitch Albom, author of The First Phone Call from Heaven (Harper, $24.99, 9780062294371).


Movies: Official Trailer, New Name for Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin, based on Émile Zola's 1867 novel, has a new name, In Secret, and an official trailer, Deadline.com reported. The fiilm, starring Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton and Oscar Isaac, is scheduled to be released February 21.


This Weekend on Book TV: M. Night Shyamalan

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, December 7
12 p.m. Book TV visits Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

4 p.m. Jack Cashill, author of 'If I had a Son': Race, Guns and the Railroading of George Zimmerman (WND Books , $25.95, 9781938067211).

7:45 p.m. M. Night Shyamalan, author of I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America's Education Gap (S&S, $25, 9781476716459), at Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

8:45 p.m. The 2013 ISI Henry and Anne Paolucci Book Award presentation and lecture, delivered by this year's recipient Brad Gregory, author of The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society (Belknap Press, $39.95, 9780674045637). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Hanna Rosin interviews Michael Kimmel, author of Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era (Nation Books, $26.99, 9781568586960). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m., and December 15 at 12 p.m.)  

11 p.m. Simon Winchester, author of The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics, and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible (Harper, $29.99, 9780062079602), at the Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

Sunday, December 8
12:15 a.m. Joe Scarborough, author of The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again (Random House, $26, 9780812996142), at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

8:45 a.m. Newt Gingrich, author of Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America's Fate (Regnery, $27.95, 9781621570219). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Mehran Kamrava, author of Qatar: Small State, Big Politics (Cornell University Press, $35, 9780801452093)

11:15 p.m. Peter Schweizer, author of Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes and Line Their Own Pockets (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544103344).



Books & Authors

Awards: Bad Sex in Fiction Winner, MWA Grand Masters

Manil Suri had the dubious honor of winning this year's Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Prize for his novel The City of Devi, "thanks to threesome set in nuclear-threatened Mumbai," the Guardian reported.

In accepting the prize, Suri's publishers challenged "everyone to make up their own mind about Manil Suri's The City of Devi. As Tolstoy said in Anna Karenina, 'There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.'

"Take The City of Devi home to bed with you tonight and discover sex scenes that the TLS praised as 'unfettered, quirky, beautiful, tragic and wildly experimental,' written by an author who, according to the Wall Street Journal, 'captures the insecurity, the curiosity and even the comedy of those vulnerable moments.' As Jane Austen observed: 'One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.' "

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Robert Crais and Carolyn Hart have been chosen as the 2014 Grand Masters by Mystery Writers of America and will receive their awards at the Edgar Awards Banquet at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

In 1976, after years of amateur film-making and short story writing, Crais moved to Hollywood and worked as a screenwriter for such TV crime shows as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey and Miami Vice. In the mid-'80s, he began writing novels full-time. His breakout novel, The Monkey's Raincoat, was nominated for The Best First Novel Edgar Award. His Elvis Cole series includes Free Fall, L.A. Requiem and The Watchman.

Hart has published more 50 novels, many of which are in her Death on Demand, Henrie O and Bailey Ruth Raeburn series. She has also written many stand-alone suspense novels, including Letter From Home, which was awarded the Agatha for the Best Mystery Novel of 2003.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 10:

Innocence: A Novel by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $28, 9780553808032) features two isolated people who are brought together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.

The Remains of Love: A Novel by Zeruya Shalev (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781608199549) follows a dying Israeli woman and her two children.

Hunted by Karen Robards (Gallery, $26, 9781451678710$26) takes place during a New Orleans hostage situation.

The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250016300) follows an unhappy wife in 1919 South Africa.

Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer by Thom Hatch (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250028501) chronicles Custer's Union Army years.

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Transform Your Body Forever Using the Secrets of the Leanest People in the World by Tom Venuto (Harmony, $27, 9780804137843) offers diet exercise for weight loss.

The Exercise Cure: A Doctor's All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health and Longer Life by Jordan Metzl and Andrew Heffernan (Rodale, $26.99, 9781623360108) advocates exercise.

Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe by Ray Jayawardhana (Scientific American/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27, 9780374220631) explores an elusive branch of particle physics.


Book Review

Review: Andrew's Brain

Andrew's Brain by E.L. Doctorow (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9781400068814, January 14, 2014)

Whether the subject is race relations (Ragtime), the Civil War (The March) or the Rosenberg case (The Book of Daniel), over his more than half-century-long career E.L. Doctorow has shown an abiding interest in U.S. history. While Andrew's Brain doesn't have the epic feel of those earlier novels, in a less direct fashion it finds its way back to the same preoccupation, this time looking at our country in the post-9/11 era.

Most of the novel unfolds in intelligent, if elliptical, conversations between Andrew, who's a cognitive scientist, and an unnamed analyst. Their exchanges rove over considerable stretches of Andrew's past, dwelling on his personal and professional obsession with "how that three-pound knitting ball" that is the brain "gives us consciousness." They also discuss, as Andrew's ex-wife describes it, "that gift you have of leaving disaster in your wake." Some of those disasters are tragic, like the death of a child or of a motorist killed while trying to avoid a young Andrew's sled. Others, like a mishap at an academic cocktail party, are comic. There's something ineffably sad about the man, a self-described "freakishly depressive cognitive scientist klutz," whose despair lifts only when he meets the one person who seems capable of rescuing him.

Andrew's love affair with Briony, a beautiful and guileless college student enrolled in one of his classes, provides the story's emotional center. "For a person congenitally unable to be happy," Andrew recalls, "I was, with Briony, happy." But it's the abrupt end of their relationship that propels Andrew into the novel's concluding section, which ultimately connects it thematically with Doctorow's body of work.

Through an improbable meeting, Andrew enters the White House of Bush 43, a man he says is "feckless, irresponsible, in over his head." What's even more disturbing to him than the "fatal lassitude" of the president is his encounter with the men he calls Chaingang and Rumbum, who had "more or less taken over where the important decisions were to be made." What he sees inside the Oval Office transforms Andrew into some who "mourns for his country."

Much like Doctorow's cerebral City of God (2001), Andrew's Brain is a novel that seems aimed more at the mind than the heart. Like the process of analysis on which its narrative is built, it's focused on questions, not answers. Readers who want to tease out those answers for themselves are likely to find it a satisfying work. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: E.L. Doctorow's 12th novel explores some of the mystery of human consciousness in the post-9/11 world.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
2. Meant for Love by Marie Force
3. Holidays with the Walker Brothers by Nicole Edwards
4. It Must Be Your Love by Bella Andre
5. Broken by Kelly Elliott
6. Billionaire Bad Boys of Romance by Various
7. Infinite Possibilities by Lisa Renee Jones
8. Unraveled Box Set: Billionaires, Bikers and Bad Boys by Various
9. Trouble by Samantha Towle
10. Beautiful Oblivion by Addison Moore

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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