Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 3, 2015


Flatiron Books: Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block

Scholastic Press: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Riverhead Books: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Barron's Educational Series: Dear Dinosaur: With Real Letters to Read! by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

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

News

ABA, B&N, Others Support Apple at Supreme Court

The American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble, Authors United and the Authors Guild have filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court asking it to review the district court decision, upheld by the appeals court, against Apple, in the so-called agency model case. The court found that Apple violated antitrust law by coordinating with five major U.S. book publishers to influence the price of e-books. In the case, the publishers settled with the Justice Department; only Apple went to court.

The brief argues that "the government's focus on Apple's allegedly anti-competitive activities was misplaced, because Apple's conduct, in fact, enhanced competition by increasing e-book output, the number of e-book titles, and the number of e-book distributors, which led to technological improvements in the e-book market and enhanced freedom of expression and access to e-books." They noted that Apple's entry into the market "actually increased competition, as demonstrated by the fall of Amazon's market share from 90% in 2010 to around 60% two years later."

The brief highlights "the damaging effect on e-book publishing as well as the future of authorship that occurs when e-book distribution is in the hands of a single company." As the brief states, "Absent correction, the lower court's wooden approach threatens to undermine the very objective of antitrust law--to ensure robust competition."

The brief cites the dispute last year between Amazon and Hachette over e-book pricing that involved various punitive measures taken by Amazon against Hachette, including removing the ability to preorder titles, thus creating a "disastrous" effect for authors about to publish books.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher commented: "Booksellers firmly believe in the importance of competition, a robust and diverse environment for authors and readers, and a healthy marketplace of ideas. We believe Apple's participation in the e-books market strengthened all those goals."

Author Douglas Preston, founder of Authors United, said, "We authors feel strongly that diversity, competition, and the free flow of ideas are key to a healthy marketplace of books. The numbers unequivocally show that Apple's entry into the e-book market increased competition and gave authors and publishers greater choice in how content was delivered to the reading public."

Authors Guild executive director Mary Rasenberger called the case "critical to anyone interested in a competitive and diverse literary marketplace. We fundamentally question the wisdom of the Second Circuit's use of antitrust law to punish a business arrangement that demonstrably increased competition in the e-book marketplace."


Conari Press: Swimming with Elephants: My Unexpected Pilgrimage from Physician to Healer by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann


On the Dot Books Now Open in Dorchester, Mass.

When Yooree Losordo opened On the Dot Books in Dorchester Center, Mass., earlier this fall, she took the next step in a retail journey that began more than a year ago when she launched her business as a book stall at the local farmer's market. The Bay State Banner reported that Losordo is "using some innovative ways to be successful in a traditional industry with her independent bookstore business. At the same time, she also is hoping to be part of what she sees as a growing revival of the local-owned, independent bookstore."

"I think people are waking up to the fact that local merchants do a lot more for their communities than online and big-box retailers," she said. "Indie businesses have three times the economic benefit to communities.... I think people are coming back and realizing it is a better experience reading a book."

The genesis of the bookstore's new location occurred when "Losordo sold Dot2Dot Café owner Karen Henry-Garrett on the idea of opening up a permanent On the Dot Books location in the Dorchester Avenue café," the Bay State Banner wrote.

"It is becoming a trend where you see food and retail in one location," Losordo said. "At least in urban areas where the cost of business is going up, up and up, I think we are going to see more businesses that are sharing locations just because that will be the only way to make things work. It is also a way to create more of an experience for our customers. That is a way to differentiate ourselves and compete."


Avery Publishing Group: The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen


Publishing Partners: I.B. Tauris and the Nation

I.B. Tauris and the Nation magazine have begun a publishing partnership that will make its debut with publication January 30 of Who Is Hillary Clinton?: Two Decades of Answers from the Left, edited by Richard Kreitner with an introduction by longtime Nation columnist Katha Pollitt. The collection includes articles and commentary by feminists, fans and foes, ranging from Barbara Ehrenreich to Christopher Hitchens. The second book in the partnership will be Why Cold War Again?, to be published March 30, an alternative history of the escalation in tensions between Russia and the United States by Russian scholar and Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen.

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, said the initial titles "spotlight two trademark Nation traits: challenging the status quo and rooting the political moment in our long history. Joining forces with I.B. Tauris carries on our passion for independent publishing and will help expand our reach, and our voice, on the world stage."

Joanna Godfrey, senior editor at I.B. Tauris, noted that the two books "cover some of the most pressing current affairs issues of next year--the U.S. presidential election and the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West. The Nation provides a unique, progressive stance on contemporary issues which is a strong fit with I.B. Tauris's international publishing view."

I.B. Tauris was founded in London in 1983 and publishes more than 300 new books internationally every year. It's distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Bookmasters.


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Obituary Note: Rev. Joseph Girzone

Rev. Joseph Girzone, a "Catholic parish priest turned author who sold millions of his 'Joshua' books in an international publishing phenomenon that spawned a feature film," died November 29, the Albany Times Union reported. He was 85. The series eventually included 10 books, which "were translated into a dozen languages, sold more than three million copies and became known among publishing executives as 'the Joshua phenomenon,' " the Times Union wrote.


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


Notes

Turn of the Corkscrew: Grand Opening Celebration Saturday

Congratulations to Turn of the Corkscrew, Books & Wine, Rockville Centre, N.Y., which holds its grand opening celebration on Saturday, December 5, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. The festivities will include a live webcast shortly after noon featuring folksinger Gary Steven Schoenberger (one-half of the band Acoustic Apple), free coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company, a 10% discount on bookstore purchases and "surprises throughout the day."

Carol Hoenig and Peggy Zieran opened the store in early October. 


Children's Book World: Connecting with Customers

Phillyvoice profiled Children's Book World, Haverford, Pa., a 26-year-old store that has survived some serious competition because "kids and their parents... aren't about to surrender the experience of glossy pages, pop-up books and reading in the aisles of bookstores in favor of a high-def tablet screen."

Manager Heather Hebert, the founder's daughter, joined the business 11 years ago. At one time, two Borders, a Barnes & Noble and a Zany Brainy opened within a three-mile radius. With two of those three chains now defunct, the threat of Amazon looms large. "Our biggest challenge right now is Amazon, and I'm not going to sugarcoat it: they don't play fair," Hebert said. "They're hurting authors, which, in turn, hurts publishers, and, in turn, hurts the bookstore."

Devoted customers like Kris Aldridge help keep Children's Book World afloat. The staff doesn't "just know about a plot summary, they know how they make the reader feel and the nuances of life they will uncover," Aldridge said. "They know that one of my children might be ready for these feelings, but another might not, regardless of age. Children's Book World is truly intimate, and if anyone thinks they can get this kind of relationship from an e-book seller, then good luck."

Though her store attracts big-name authors like Julianne Moore, J.K. Rowling and Chelsea Clinton, Hebert attempts to bring attention to lesser-known writers. "We get more worried year after year that new authors will not have the chance to have the exposure because of Amazon," Hebert said. "Amazon is not opening a kids warehouse and inviting people in for a signing with Rick Riordan," Hebert said, referring to an event the store organized with Riordan earlier this year. "[T]hat's a worry because, you know, some of the books we love today are from authors nobody heard of five years ago."


Baby Boomers: 'Spine of Independent Bookselling'

Gayle Shanks, Mitchell Kaplan and Kris Kleindienst "are among many baby boomers who founded stores with little sense of how to run a business, but a profound sense of purpose. They are now pillars of a smaller but still vital independent-bookstore community, and models for the wave of younger owners who have opened stores in recent years," the Associated Press (via ABC News) reported in an article headlined "Baby Boomers Still the Spine of Independent Book Selling."

Gayle Shanks

"Books had changed my life and I assumed they could change other people's lives as well," said Shanks, who opened Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., in 1974. "I really imagined this as a place where people would come and talk about ideas and books, and I still see it that way."

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher said the generation "basically invented the contemporary independent bookstore, and persevered through some very hard times. The key to it was they always understood the store wasn't only about buying and selling books, but a way to engage with the community."

Mitchell Kaplan

Kaplan, who launched Miami's Books & Books in 1982, recalled: "I just said, 'I'll open a bookshop,' the way Mickey Rooney was going to put on a show. I didn't know what I was doing. Almost every bookseller of my age probably has the same exact story. Nobody started out saying to themselves, 'Books, that's the secret to making money,' the way the guy in The Graduate says 'Plastics.' "

Kris Kleindienst

Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis since 1977, added: "I couldn't separate what I do for a living from who I am. I am a writer, and an avid reader and I got a bachelor's degree in women's studies. But I kept my day job at the store; it was very integral to my identity."

Sarah McNally, the 40-year-old owner of McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan, said, "I feel like Mitch is my mentor in a real way, and Gayle and these other people I can call on any time for advice and guidance. What's amazing to me isn't just how they started their stores, but that they survived."


Book Trailer of the Day: Salvaged Pages

Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust, edited by Alexandra Zapruder (Yale University Press), a trailer in which Zapruder talks about the genesis of the book, first published 13 years ago, and the development of an e-edition, published this year, that includes hundreds of photographs of the writers and their families, images of the original diaries, drawings, maps, video of survivor testimonies (some available for the first time), glossary terms and maps, and video of the author reading key passages.



Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: The Vegas Valley Book Festival

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 5
2 p.m. Coverage from the 14th annual Vegas Valley Book Festival, which took place October 15-17 in Las Vegas, Nev. (Re-airs Sunday at 12:30 a.m.)

7 p.m. David Jaher, author of The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World (Crown, $28, 9780307451064), at the Corner Bookstore in New York, N.Y.

8 p.m. Greg Gutfeld, author of How to Be Right: The Art of Being Persuasively Correct (Crown Forum, $25, 9781101903629). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

9:15 p.m. Yeonmi Park, author of In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594206795), at Powell's Books in Portland, Ore. (Re-airs Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. Gilbert M. Gaul, author of Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football (Viking, $27.95, 9780670016730). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Gloria Steinem, author of My Life on the Road (Random House, $28, 9780679456209). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:40 p.m.)

Sunday, December 6
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with Cokie Roberts, author of Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868 (Harper, $27.99, 9780062002761). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

7 p.m. Bruce Riedel, author of JFK's Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA, and Sino-Indian War (Brookings Institution Press, $29, 9780815726999).

7:30 p.m. Mehrsa Baradaran, author of How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy (Harvard University Press, $29.95, 9780674286061), at Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga.

8:15 p.m. Travis Mills, co-author of Tough As They Come (Convergent Books, $25, 9781101904787). (Re-airs Monday at 6:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Atossa Abrahamian, author of The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen (Columbia Global Reports, $12.99, 9780990976363).

10:45 p.m. Flora Fraser, author of The Washingtons: George and Martha, "Join'd by Friendship, Crown'd by Love" (Knopf, $30, 9780307272782).


Books & Authors

Awards: Bad Sex in Fiction

Morrissey won the 23rd annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award for his new book List of the Lost. The judges "were swayed by an ecstatic scene involving Ezra, one of the athletes, and his plucky girlfriend, Eliza," prize organizers noted. Morrissey was unable to attend due to touring commitments, but music journalist and broadcaster Charles Shaar Murray accepted on his behalf, saying, "In an ideal world this award would be received by Morrissey. Or someone who publishes Morrissey. Or someone who likes Morrissey."


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:

Hardcover
Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker (Scribner, $25, 9781501107832). "Parker's debut memoir is a poetic revelation about being human. The casual wordplay is barefoot and silly at times, but equally substantial and pervasive. Her one-way correspondences about loved ones, ancestors, and strangers are kind, doting, and frank, and the chapters roll out like sentinels from Parker's life of artistry and her examination of womanhood. She woos the reader with concise language that both charms and offends, but will not back down. I am smitten!" --Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy (Counterpoint, $25, 9781619025738). "Savoy's Trace may be the most relevant book published this fall. This lyrical and sweeping essay on race, memory, and the American landscape covers ground sadly neglected in nature writing. Its ethical argument 'that the way we treat the environment is inextricable from how we treat our fellow human beings' is one we should all pay close attention to, now more than ever." --Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.

Paperback
Wolf Winter: A Novel by Cecilia Ekbäck (Weinstein Books, $16, 9781602862944). "Maija, her husband Paavo, and their daughters, Frederika and Dorotea, leave Finland to settle in Lapland in the beautiful area near Blackasen Mountain. One day, Frederika discovers the body of one of the villagers. Was he killed by wolves or was he murdered? What powers does the mountain have? The harsh 'wolf winter' brings the settlers together to survive, but what tragedies, secrets, customs, and vengeance are they hiding? When Maija and her family arrived at the mountain, readers were told, 'This was the kind of land that didn't know how to let go.' Ekback's intriguing tale of Swedish Lapland in 1717 gives insight into the land and people of the far north and is also hard to let go." --Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Mont.

For Ages 4 to 8
Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane, $15.99, 9781481402927). "Text and illustrations come together perfectly in this romp of a picture book! A toddler loves his or her mommy above all others and this darling exploration of that love will make everyone smile. Plan on reading this out loud over and over again!" --Margaret Brennan Neville, the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

For Ages 9 to 12
President of the Whole Sixth Grade by Sherri Winston (Little, Brown, $17, 9780316377232). "In this sequel to President of the Whole Fifth Grade, Brianna deals with middle school and evolving friendships and learns the difference between being bossy and being a leader as she heads up fundraising for the sixth-grade class trip to Washington. Gradually, Brianna discovers that there are some things she cares about more than raising money." --Sarah Rettger, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $9.99, 9780152053109). "Set in the 1900s against the backdrop of a real-life murder mystery, A Northern Light is the coming-of-age story of Mattie Gokey. This feisty and passionate 16-year-old narrator has excruciatingly difficult choices to make, choices that will forever change her life and the lives of those around her. Exquisite writing, memorable characters, a riveting mystery, and a fascinating historical backdrop all make Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light a masterpiece." --Heather Hebert, Children's Book World, Haverford, Pa.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 8:

Ashley Bell: A Novel by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $28, 9780345545961) follows a young woman who cheats death to save another girl's life.

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz (Berkley, $26.95, 9780399174483) is a romantic suspense tale about childhood friends reunited by a murder mystery.

The Night Charter by Sam Hawken (Mulholland, $26, 9780316299213) continues the Camaro Espinoza thriller series.

Too Much of a Good Thing: How Four Key Survival Traits Are Now Killing Us by Dr. Lee Goldman (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316236812) uses evolutionary biology to explain common modern ailments.

Movie:
In the Heart of the Sea, directed by Ron Howard and based on the book by Nathaniel Philbrick, opens December 11. Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson star as whalers stranded at sea after their ship is sunk by a whale.


Book Review

Review: Maggie Smith: A Biography

Maggie Smith: A Biography by Michael Coveney (St. Martin's Press, $27.99 hardcover, 9781250081483, December 29, 2015)

Actress Maggie Smith seems to be at the height of her power, enjoying worldwide acclaim and success for her roles in the Harry Potter and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films, as well as the TV series Downton Abbey. In Maggie Smith: A Biography, Michael Coveney, one of Britain's most respected theater critics, presents the storied influences of Dame Maggie's life and the six decades of her public presence and global reach on stage and screen.

Coveney explores Smith's exceptional talent by first examining her "spartan, though... not deprived, childhood." Because she was "not particularly welcomed" by her two elder brothers, Smith, in her loneliness, developed a voracious reading habit and a sharp instinct for privacy, and cultivated her tart spirit and independence. When her father, a medical lab technician, relocated the family to Oxford during World War II, Maggie became friends with the daughter of novelist Graham Greene, took piano and ballet lessons, and attended one of the best schools in Britain, Oxford High School. An acting teacher who harbored reservations about Maggie's acting ability fueled the teenager's drive for the stage. Maggie set off for the Oxford Playhouse School, forcing her parents grudgingly to reconcile themselves to their daughter's ambition.

Coveney spends the bulk of the biography chronicling, in great depth, Smith's acting roles, her analytical approach to craft and the often nomadic existence required by her transatlantic career. From her early days as a West End revue player, Smith was cast at the age of 21 in her first Broadway show, New Faces 1956, for her comic personality, "the essence that was to make her a star," and her career took off. Coveney relates intimate details about Smith's astounding performing range, from Shakespeare to Noël Coward, Edward Albee to Neil Simon--and Julian Fellows. There are a host of insider quotes and anecdotes involving actors such as Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Derek Jacobi, Michael Caine and Vanessa Redgrave. Directors, classmates, family and friends share their insights, as well. Along the way, Coveney touches upon Smith's great loves, marriages and children. Smith's trademark self-preserving wit--along with her class and energy--enliven the narrative throughout.

Though the actress granted Coveney permission to write this biography, he asserts that Maggie Smith, even to those who know her well, is an enigma, and he accentuates Smith's difficulties in trying to balance her "private life with the public demands of her talent... career always came first." Therefore, it is fitting that this thorough and well-researched biography is anchored on on Dame Maggie's exemplary body of work and the demanding drive of her dedication and genius, all of which have earned her critical acclaim and lasting appeal. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: Dame Maggie Smith, a very private person who has lived an extraordinary theatrical life on stage and screen, authorized this thoroughly researched biography.


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