Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thomas Dunne: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Disney: Zodiac by Stan Lee

Harper Perennial: The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

Macmillan Children's: Katfish by Obert Skye

Penguin: The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker

Hyperion: Strings Attached by Joanne Lipman and Melanie Kupchynsky

Macmillan Children's: Einstein the Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian

Little Brown Books for Young Readers: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

Scholastic: Graphix

 

News

Notes: B&N's Huge Upper East Side Store; 'Birdhouse Spectacular'

Tomorrow Barnes & Noble is opening a 55,000-sq.-ft. store--unusually large even at the height of superstore expansion a decade ago--at 150 E. 86th St. (and Lexington Ave.) in New York City. The store, which the company called "a flagship," will stock more than 400,000 book, music, DVD and magazine titles and have a cafe.

The store has two floors, and among features are a video wall in the lobby and video streams of live information and entertainment on video walls throughout the store.

B&N has had a much smaller store at 240 E. 86th St.

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Cool idea of the day: Chapters Bookstore, Pittsfield, Mass., is hosting the "Birdhouse Spectacular," a preview exhibit put on by Pittsfield Garden Tours. The Berkshire Eagle reported that Chapters "was selected for Garden Tours' ninth Birdhouse Spectacular after the bookstore allowed the group to hold its weekly meetings in the store's community room."

"The generosity of their store is pretty remarkable," said Anne Pasko, founder of Pittsfield Garden Tours.

"Basically they came and asked if they could put their birdhouses at our store, and we said of course," added bookseller Kelly Wright.

The 51 birdhouses on exhibition, with "themes ranging from castles to boats to lighthouses to abstract art," will be displayed through July 14. On July 18, they will be "auctioned at the American Red Cross, where proceeds will go to the garden tour via the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The tour has donated approximately $80,000 in the past 12 years to community causes," the Eagle reported.

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Mostly Books, Pittsburg, Kan., which was opened in 1988 by the late Roger O’Connor and his wife, Jan, will sell off the buildings and their contents in a pair of auctions over the next two weekends. The Morning Sun reported that after Roger died in 2006, Jan struggled to keep the bookshop viable.

"The heart and soul of this book store was Roger," she said. "I tried to keep it going, but there was just no way. Roger and I were together 24 hours a day all those years, and we had a great time. It was just no fun coming in the store alone."

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Poets at this year's Ledbury poetry festival were asked "to list the oddest spots where they've been moved by the muse," according to the Guardian. The wide-ranging responses included Phillis Levin, who said she "found inspiration sitting between two women in a subway car, one flipping the pages of a tiny Bible while the other spun a miniature globe--and there was a grim lyricism in her other setting, waiting with a friend and her mother at a bus stop in Tokyo, listening to the death throes of a cricket that had fallen from a tree to their feet."

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Molly Barton has become director of business development at Penguin Group and continues as associate publisher of eSpecials. In her new position, she will identify and pursue publishing opportunities in new and old media platforms.

Barton launched the Penguin eSpecials program last fall, created and implemented the "What to Give, What to Get" campaign during the holidays last year, has been involved in the company's e-book business for four years, worked on the From the Publisher's Office online network that was mentioned here yesterday and worked on the Amazon Breakthough Novel Award.


 

Harlequin: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Ingram Content Group Reorganizes to Focus on Markets

Ingram Content Group, which was formed three weeks ago (Shelf Awareness, May 26, 2009), is being reorganized so that rather than having "different organizations designed around products and services," as president and CEO David "Skip" Prichard put it, the group will be split essentially into two groups, content and commercial. Content will focus on publishers and content creators--Ingram's "suppliers"--while commercial will focus on Ingram's end customers, primarily libraries and retailers.

As chief content officer, Phil Olilla will head the publisher services parts of the company, including Lightning Source, Ingram Digital's CoreSource, Ingram Marketing Group, Ingram Publisher Services and Ingram Book's buying department. He has led Ingram's retail, distribution and library business.

In the content organization, David Taylor, president of Lightning Source, will be responsible for all publisher content acquisition activities. Mark Ouimet will become general manager of Ingram Publisher Services, where he has led many of its business development activities since joining the company in 2007.

As chief commercial officer, Shawn Everson will be responsible for all of Ingram's retail and library customers.

In the commercial organization, Rich Rosy will head up all of Ingram's library businesses, including Ingram Library Services, MyiLibrary and Coutts. He was formerly general manager of NetLibrary. Dan Sheehan, v-p of sales for Ingram Book field sales, also will be general manager of Ingram Periodicals.

 

Plume: The Major's Daughter by J. P. Francis

Image of the Day: Daydreams at Work

Saturday last weekend at Sacred Circle Books, Alexandria, Va., Amy Fries, author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers (Capital Books), signed copies of her book, held an impromptu discussion about daydreaming and answered questions from customers. Fries wrote that husband-and-wife store owners Anysia Oswald and Tom Singer have "created a special place for anyone interested in personal growth, spirituality, and natural health and healing. The store is so inviting--it just makes you want to sit in one of the comfy chairs, look at the books, and check out the interesting selection of in-store workshops and events." From l. to r.: Singer, Fries and Oswald.


Andrews McMeel: Much Ado About Stuffing by Crap Taxidermy

Media and Movies

Bright Lights, Big City for Winn-Dixie

The furry hero of Kate DiCamillo's first novel, the Newbery Honor book Because of Winn-Dixie, will be heading to Broadway and strutting to music, Candlewick Press announced. The musical will be produced by Patriot Productions and Dorothy Berloni, and a dog, trained by Bill Berloni, will play Winn-Dixie. (Berloni also trained Sandy for the original cast of Annie, starring Andrea McArdle, and is currently working with Bruiser, the chihuahua in Legally Blonde. He and Dorothy Berloni are business and marital partners.)

The deal was developed by Ms. Charlie Schroder, former v-p at large, licensing and development, for Candlewick, and now head of the newly formed Charlie & Company, specializing in brand, market and business development.
 
Because of Winn-Dixie was released as a feature film starring Jeff Daniels in 2005, and DiCamillo's Newbery Medal-winning The Tale of Despereaux was released last holiday season as an animated feature. Film rights to her forthcoming novel, The Magician's Elephant, due from Candlewick in September, were sold to Fox 2000 (Shelf Awareness, August 13, 2008).

 

Shelf Awareness: Richelle Mead

Media Heat: Lewis Black, He of Little Faith

Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Quinn Bradlee, author of A Different Life: Growing Up Learning Disabled and Other Adventures (PublicAffairs, $24.95, 9781586481896/1586481894), with his parents, Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee.

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Tomorrow on the View: Lewis Black, author of Me of Little Faith (Riverhead, $15, 9781594483776/1594483779).

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Tomorrow on Fox News's Neil Cavuto: Suzy Welch, author of 10-10-10 (Scribner, $24, 9781416591825/1416591826).

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Tomorrow on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor: Glenn Beck, author of Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government (Threshold Editions, $11.99, 9781439168578/1439168571).

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Tomorrow night on NBC's Dateline: Kevin Weeks, author of Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob (Harper, $15.95, 9780061148064/0061148067).

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Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Michael Lewis, author of Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood (Norton, $23.95, 9780393069013/039306901X).

Also on Real Time: Larry King, author of My Remarkable Journey (Weinstein Books, $27.95, 9781602860865/1602860866).

 

This Weekend on Book TV: The King of Vodka

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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, June 20

9:15 a.m. P.J. O'Rourke, author of Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-Bending (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, 9780802118837/0802118836), examines America's dangerous infatuation with the automobile.

1:30 p.m. Simon Schama, author of The American Future: A History (Ecco, $29.99, 9780060539238/0060539232), explores longstanding debates about immigration, war, religion and race. (Re-airs Sunday at 2:15 a.m. and 10 p.m.)

4 p.m. For an event hosted by Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif., Linda Himelstein, author of The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire (HarperBusiness, $29.99, 9780060855895/0060855894), recounts the life of a Russian serf whose vodka became world-renowned. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

4:45 p.m. Jerry Goldman and Timothy R. Johnson, editors of A Good Quarrel: America's Top Legal Reporters Share Stories from Inside the Supreme Court (University of Michigan Press, $24.95, 9780472033263/0472033263), discuss insights gleaned from journalists like Tony Mauro, Dahlia Litwick, David Savage and Nina Totenberg. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

9 p.m. Mark Kurlansky, author of The Food of a Younger Land (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594488658/1594488657), examines the Works Progress Administration's "America Eats" writing project that was initiated to document local eating habits during the 1930s.

10 p.m. After Words. John Dinges interviews Eduardo Galeano, author of Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (Nation Books, $26.95, 9781568584232/1568584237), in which Galeano tells a history of the world through 600 brief stories. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, June 21

2 p.m. John Talbott, author of The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street (Seven Stories Press, $22.95, 9781583228876/158322887X), exposes what he calls the biggest myths about the current recession and Wall Street's role in it. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

 

Books & Authors

Awards: Winton Wins Fourth Miles Franklin

Breath by Tim Winton has won the Miles Franklin Award, one of Australia's most important literary prizes and worth $42,000 (about US$30,000). This was Winton's fourth Miles Franklin Award.

Breath was published here last year in hardcover by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and last month in paperback by Picador ($14, 9780312428396/0312428391).

The judges called the novel "a searing document about masculinity, about risk, and about young people's desire to push the limits," Bookseller & Publisher Online noted.

The judges continued: "Winton is at the height of his powers as a novelist, and this is his greatest love letter yet to the sea, to the coast of West Australia, and a compelling testimony to the role of surfing in Australian culture. Written in Winton's own distinctive voice, we can sense that it is also a homage to some of his favourite writers: Salinger, Faulkner, Melville and Hemingway."

 

Book Review

Children's Review: Always

Always by Alison McGhee (Simon & Schuster, $15.99 Hardcover, 9781416974819, June 2009)



This book is a love letter to dog lovers. It's a reminder of how much we humans are beloved by our furry best friends. A swashbuckling, knee-high mutt with a brown fur patch around one eye announces to a girl perched on the porch steps of a simple wooden frame house: "I am the keeper of the castle." At the turn of the page, the pup reiterates, "This castle," as he rides a bicycle-powered hot-air balloon above a planet that seems made only for the girl's modest oceanside home. A green sea ripples at a respectful distance alongside the text, "And I will keep the castle safe." The "monsters" (a spider) and "avalanche" (a cascade of giant toys from the closet) the furry fellow fends off are all child-size. A café-au-lait tinted backdrop makes the white pup stand out in high relief.  The girl remains mostly unseen, except for a full-spread illustration of the child dozing peacefully while the pup, nestled on her back atop a pink comforter, keeps a watchful eye ("I will protect the blanket"); a hovering green haze at the top of the spread feels as if it, too, offers a protective covering. In McGhee (Someday) and Lamaitre's (Who's Got Game?) lovingly insular world, a meteor can be diverted with a baseball bat, the wind halted with a shush. In an especially charming sequence of spreads, the pup holds up a paw against a green tidal wave that threatens to encroach on the castle's porch ("I will calm the sea"), and in the next double-page illustration, the four-legged hero, wearing a crown and the now-tamed green sea like a royal cape (with a fringe of frothy white that resembles ermine), announces, "I will keep the castle safe. Always." On the final page, the girl reappears for the pup's pronouncement for his reason why. Even if you suspect the answer, you will likely be no less moved.--Jennifer M. Brown

 

Ooops

Arthur Kenney's One Name; Library Thing's Independence

In yesterday's item about Arthur Keeney joining Borders Group as senior v-p, marketing, we spelled his name wrong in two places. Our apologies to Mr. Kenney.

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To clarify a point made in yesterday's story about the BEA panel Social Media and the Independent Bookseller, Library Thing is not owned by Amazon. Amazon does have a minority interest in Library Thing that it acquired last year when it bought AbeBooks.com. However, as Library Thing's Tim Spalding wrote in a blog entry when Amazon's purchase of AbeBooks was announced: "The majority of LibraryThing is in my hands. Abebooks holds a minority of the shares, with certain notable but limited rights. This situation does not change when Amazon acquires Abebooks. . . . LibraryThing remains LibraryThing. We will continue to uphold and advance LibraryThing values, including open data, strict privacy rules and support for libraries and independent bookstores."

[Thanks to SIBA's Nicki Leone for pointing this out.]

 

Deeper Understanding

Rat Press: Hollywood Director Moonlights as Publisher

By day Brett Ratner is a Hollywood producer, director and photographer. At night, he moonlights as the publisher of Rat Press. "It's a one-man operation," he said. "I do everything, basically," including editing books in his bedroom.

Rat Press had its beginnings nearly a decade ago when Ratner published Naked Pictures of My Ex-Girlfriends by Mark Helfrich. Several years later he wrote a book of his own, Hillhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures, with powerHouse Books. Ratner has now re-launched Rat Press, creating a new logo and signing on with Perseus Distribution. The company aims to publish works "from the most prolific individuals in film" that consumers "never have the opportunity to see in a theater" and in a variety of formats. Titles will include biographies, interviews, novels, scripts, photos and artwork.

"Brett is a passionate book lover, and he's done a wonderful job of bringing the film and book industries together," said Tyson Cornell, director of marketing and publicity at Book Soup in Los Angeles. Ratner, whose big-screen work includes directing X-Men: The Last Stand and the film adaptation of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon, acknowledges that "there is definitely a synergy" between the book and movie markets and envisions a wide readership for the books. "They call movies that reach many audiences four quadrant movies," he said. "These are four quadrant books" that will appeal to film students, movie buffs, pop culture enthusiasts and those who like reading historical books and biographies.

Appropriately Rat Press re-launched earlier this year with four books, two of which were inspired by his own book collection: Conversations with Marlon Brando by Lawrence Grobel (which has some new material) and Jim: The Author's Self-Centered Memoir on the Great Jim Brown by James Toback. Both were originally published in the 1970s and had since gone out of print. "They're books that are in my library, which was part of my film education," said Ratner. "The content is fantastic. If I didn't have a publishing company, I would have made photocopies and mailed them to all my friends."

Those titles, along with a second work by Grobel, Conversations with Robert Evans, are part of a series with a similar design and layout. They're paperback originals with French flaps and embossed titles and retail for $20-$25. The print run is limited to 3,000 copies each. "I'm a commercial guy, meaning I like stuff that is accessible to the mainstream," said Ratner. "But this is something I wanted to do as a high end, collectible piece of business."

The most recent--and priciest--Rat Press publication is Scott Caan Photographs Vol. 1. An actor and director, Caan took up photography six years ago around the time his father, James Caan, gave him a camera that he had received from Francis Ford Coppola in the '70s. Caan said he trusted Ratner with his photos: "We share similar taste in art. When he expressed interest in the book, I knew that our ideas would be similar and that the book would remain honest to the original concept." The striking and varied images in the $60 oversize book range from black-and-white shots of a kitchen worker at a Pittsburgh diner and famous faces like Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle (Caan's Ocean's Eleven co-stars) to more provocative photos in a section titled "Ladies in Colour."

The books are proving to be a draw on the West Coast, where fans turned out for a launch party at Book Soup on April 28. Tonight Ratner will be at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., along with Caan, Lawrence Grobel and James Toback. Other upcoming Rat Press events are taking place at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinema gift shop on July 18 and at two Borders stores: New York City's Time Warner Center on July 30 and the Hollywood location on September 17. 

Next year's Rat Press list will include a reprint of Jerry Lewis's The Total Film-Maker and a first novel for which he also owns the film rights. It seems there are more late nights ahead for Ratner, and that's fine with him. Publishing books "is fun and rewarding," he said. "It's like making a film or taking a picture. It feels like I've accomplished something when I finish it. There's nothing more exciting than opening that first box of books when they're done."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

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