Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 2, 2009


Margaret K. McElderry Books: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Zonderkidz: The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, the Big Ways We're the Same by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Quotation of the Day

Changing Hands: 'Always a Treat'

"Changing Hands provides the perfect setting for what a bookstore is--a friendly, community gathering place where people can engage in informed discussion. It is always a treat to be there."--Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a story in the Arizona Republic about the Tempe, Ariz., bookstore and its busy author events schedule.

 


Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury


News

Notes: B&N.com's International Push; Bailey Coy Books Closing

Barnes&Noble.com is "hiring a whole team" for international sales, including a "head of their international business" who will be responsible for building an international team and "the infrastructure outside the U.S.," Seeking Alpha reported. The company would like the head live in New York, "but Europe is O.K., too. Global e-commerce experience is preferred."

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Sad news from Seattle: Bailey Coy Books, which is in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, will close at the end of November. In a statement on the store's website, Michael Wells, who bought Bailey Coy from founder Barbara Bailey in 2003, said, "This has not been an easy decision for us. We have struggled, along with independent bookstores across the country, for the last decade to keep our bookstore profitable and healthy. The economic downturn of the past year, combined with the rapidly changing world of bookselling, has led us to believe that this is the most responsible decision."

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The Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., has begun selling used books--for now just at its Lower Downtown store, although it plans to expand the program to its other two stores in the near future. The store buys books for credit vouchers that can be used in all three stores and coffee shops on everything but gift cards. The store seeks "recent books in excellent condition" and doesn't accept textbooks or computer books.

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Amazon's Best Books of 2009 feature, which includes the Editors' Top 100, Top 100 Customer Favorites and top 10 titles in a variety of categories, is now available. Amazon's 2009 book of the year is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, which the company described as a "gorgeous and moving novel of New York City in the '70s, set against the backdrop of Philippe Pettit's Twin Tower tightrope crossing."

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In the New York Times's Boss column in the business section, Ellen Zimiles, co-owner of Words bookstore, Maplewood, N.J., which she and her husband opened earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 7, 2009), discussed her life and career.

Zimiles has one of the most unusual day jobs for a bookseller that we've ever heard of: she is CEO of Daylight Forensic and Advisory in New York City, which works on "everything from investigations of possible public corruption in Eastern Europe, money laundering in Latin America and accounting fraud in Asia, to mortgage-backed securities investigations in the United States."

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The crowds at the Texas Book Festival were "robust" and "energetic," according to the Austin American-Statesman. "Thousands gathered at the Capitol and at other venues to hear authors discuss and read from their latest works. The scene around the Capitol was lively, with activity, music and food tents set up on Congress Avenue and 11th and Colorado streets. Numerous costumed children joined their parents for a little pre-trick-or-treat cultural outing."

"For a writer, it's pretty amazing to see so many people in one place who still care about books," said Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man, at the beginning of his event.

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A "tour of literary Manhattan" was featured in the Los Angeles Times, with recommended stops at Idlewild Books and the Strand Bookstore.

"Perhaps my favorite Manhattan bookstore is Idlewild Books," wrote Terri Colby, adding that a "book lover can't visit here without a stop at the Strand Bookstore . . . My head was spinning the first time I walked across the aged wooden floors. This is definitely a New York kind of bookstore: crowds of people, lines for the cashiers, signs pointing upstairs and down, noise, bustle and lots to see."

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Stephen King read from his upcoming novel, Under the Dome, for an Entertainment Weekly "EW Exclusive."

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Book trailer of the day: Andre Agassi talks about his new book, Open: An Autobiography (Knopf).

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The Detroit Tigers are not playing in the World Series this week, but center fielder Curtis Granderson still made news. MLB.com reported that copies of his new children's book, All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It!--which was illustrated by "Fourth-Graders Across the State of Michigan"--are being donated to public elementary school libraries in the state by Granderson and publisher Triumph Books.

Granderson noted that there "was one simple thing I wanted to achieve with All You Can Be--to make learning fun for school children. My mother, Mary, co-author Terry Foster and I truly feel we have accomplished what we set out to do, which was to make learning fun through using creative and different ways to get Michigan's elementary school students thinking about their future."

 


William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi


NEIBA 2: Motivating Booksellers

At the New England Independent Booksellers Association trade show in Hartford, Conn., last month, Daniel Pink spoke about what motivates people on the job in general and what might best motivate booksellers.

The author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future and Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (which Riverhead will publish at the end of December), Pink described "a severe gap between what science knows about motivation and what business does to motivate employees." Employers who understand this gap--like booksellers--have "an advantage," he said.

The most basic motivator, which worked marvelously in ancient times, is "trying to survive," as Pink put it. As society evolved, that motivator lost its effectiveness and led to "motivation 2.0," which consists mainly of carrots and sticks. This approach was effective for the routine tasks that were a basic part of the Industrial Revolution. But today, "throughout the economy and certainly in bookselling," Pink continued, there is much more nonroutine than routine work. And a lot of the routine, left-brain work that remains is being either sent off shore or automated.

Nonroutine work is "poorly defined," Pink said. "It may have multiple solutions, none of which are perfect. It involves multiple disciplines and fresh thinking." For such work, traditional motivators don't work well. In fact, standard motivation tests have shown that traditional motivational rewards such as different levels of monetary remuneration based on how fast a person completes a task lead test takers to take longer than others when doing a task that requires creativity when dealing with a challenge. "When there's a high payoff with a single goal, people take the low road and focus on the payoff," Pink said.

As a result, Pink advocated a new motivational approach that "doesn't ignore biological survival or the carrot and stick approach" but is much more effective with nonroutine work. Among important elements of "motivation 3.0":

Autonomy and self-direction. Some companies, including 3M and Google, allow many employees to take time away from their regular tasks to devote to whatever they want that still relates to work. In Google's case, this amounts to 20% of employees' time, and the approach has been remarkably fruitful for the company: during these "time outs" such ideas as gmail and Google News were born.

Pink energetically recommended this approach, saying, "I'm convinced you'll get game-changing ideas out of this." If not, the company won't have lost much. He suggested experimenting with offering employees 10% of their time for such purposes. "For a five-day work week, that's one afternoon," he pointed out.

Mastery of a task is another element that helps motivate people doing nonroutine work. "People want to get better at what they do and like," Pink said. "That's why how-to videos are so popular on YouTube."

To illustrate the importance of mastery, Pink mentioned Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., his local bookstore, where his daughter, who is 13, goes to ask for recommendations. The children's bookseller with whom she and Pink often talk "has seemingly read every work on the shelf. She pulls things off and demonstrates mastery of the material. It's performance art and is exhilarating to watch. It makes her job so enjoyable--and she could make a lot more money doing something besides selling children's books.

"Important stuff doesn't happen overnight," he continued. "It comes step by step by step." For many employees, he said, the best motivator is summed up in the question, "Was I better today than yesterday?"

Meaning is an important motivator, too. Creative people want to work on things that are "interesting and matter," Pink said. They want their jobs and companies to have a purpose beyond just making money. He noted that there are pressures on publicly held companies that don't exist for independent businesses that make it hard for the larger stores to enact such approaches, offering another advantage to the smaller companies.

In terms of remuneration, Pink said that employers should "pay enough to take money off the table and get money out of the conversation." He recommended offering a base salary with some profit sharing. "Mostly or all profit-sharing leads to worried employees."

Pink is a keynote speaker at next February's Winter Institute in San Jose, Calif. At the second Winter Institute in Portland, Ore., in 2007, he wowed the crowd when he talked about right-brain abilities and their importance in today's world.--John Mutter


Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


Media and Movies

Media Heat: R. Crumb on The Book of Genesis

This morning on Good Morning America: Lisa Niemi, co-author with the late Patrick Swayze of The Time of My Life (Atria, $26, 9781439158586/1439158584). She will appear today on the View, too.

Also on GMA: Jamie Oliver, author of Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals (Hyperion, $35, 9781401323592/1401323596). He is also appearing tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman.

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This morning on the Today Show:

  • Guy Fieri, author of More Diners, Drive-ins and Dives: A Drop-Top Culinary Cruise Through America's Finest and Funkiest Joints (Morrow, $19.99, 9780061894565/0061894567). He's also on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight.
  • Charles Gasparino, author of The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System (HarperBusiness, $27.99, 9780061697166/0061697168).
  • Jodie Sweetin, author of Unsweetined (Simon Spotlight, $25.99, 9781439152683/1439152683). She will also be on the Today Show, Access Hollywood and the Joy Behar Show today and Extra and Inside Edition tomorrow.

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Today on E!'s Chelsea Lately: Susie Essman, author of What Would Susie Say?: Bullsh*t Wisdom About Love, Life and Comedy (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439150177/1439150176). She will also appear today on Martha.

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Audrey Niffenegger, author of Her Fearful Symmetry (Scribner, $26.99, 9781439165393/1439165394).

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Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Rory Tahari, author of Lists for Life: The Essential Guide to Getting Organized and Tackling Tough To-Dos (Simon Spotlight, $19.99, 9781439124680/143912468X).

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Today on Fresh Air: Ken Auletta, author of Googled: The End of the World as We Know It (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594202353/1594202354).

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Today on Talk of the Nation: R. Crumb, author of The Book of Genesis: Illustrated (Norton, $24.95, 9780393061024/0393061027).

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Senator Bob Menendez, author of Growing American Roots: Why Our Nation Will Thrive as Our Largest Minority Flourishes (Celebra, $24.95, 9780451228055/0451228057).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Nicholas Thompson, author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War (Holt, $27.50, 9780805081428/0805081429).

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Tomorrow morning on CBS's Morning Show: Scott Conroy, author of Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar (PublicAffairs, $26.95, 9781586487881/1586487884).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Joel Osteen, author of It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor (Free Press, $25, 9781439100110/143910011X). He will also appear tomorrow on Hannity.

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Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Emeril Lagasse, author of 20-40-60: Fresh Fast Food (HarperStudio, $24.99, 9780061742941/0061742945).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Lee Eisenberg, author of Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What (Free Press, $26, 9780743296250/0743296257). He will also appear tomorrow night on Nightline.

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Tomorrow on the Martha Stewart Show: Jim Cramer, author of Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439158012/1439158010).

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Tomorrow on the View: Ivanka Trump, author of The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439140017/1439140014).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: David Plouffe, author of The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory (Viking, $27.95, 9780670021338/0670021334).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Al Gore, author of Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (Rodale, $26.99, 9781594867347/1594867348).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Finding It: And Satisfying My Hunger for Life without Opening the Fridge (Free Press, $26, 9781439141632/1439141630).

 


Television: The Follower

Bret Easton Ellis will write a series adaptation of Jason Starr's novel The Follower (St. Martin's) for HBO and Lionsgate TV. Variety called the book "a dark social satire chronicling the dating lives of a group of twentysomething New Yorkers as seen through the eyes of a stalker."



Movies: Chi-Chian; The Secret History of Tom Trueheart

Framelight Productions has optioned rights to Aurelio Voltaire's cult comic Chi-Chian and has hired Mark Rosenthal to adapt Ian Beck's young adult novel The Secret History of Tom Trueheart. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Voltaire "is an artist and musician who has developed a following for avant-garde storytelling and artistry. Jeffrey Erb and Robert Robinson Jr. will produce Chi-Chian under their Framelight banner. . . . [Trueheart] centers on an adventurer in a mythical land who must rescue his more seasoned older brothers when they go missing."

 



Books & Authors

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

In the Valley of the Kings: Stories by Terrence Holt (Norton, $23.95, 9780393071214/0393071219). "This collection of haunting, disorienting, but, ultimately, moving stories genuinely blew me away. Each story almost teaches you how to read the next, making this diverse and outstanding collection satisfying on a story-by-story basis, but even more so as a whole. I believe these pieces will be talked about for years."--Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

The Upside of Fear by Weldon Long (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $19.95, 9781608320004/1608320006). "In a gritty and compelling memoir, Weldon Long relates his journey from a life of violent crime, alcoholism, and substance abuse to a successful career as CEO of his own multimillion-dollar company. With the redemptive power of a positive attitude, an honest heart, a loving spirit, and the courage to change one's life for the better, Long sets a powerful example."--Jean Petrovs, Books Galore, Watkinsville, Ga.

Paperback

As God Commands by Niccolo Ammaniti, translated by Jonathan Hunt (Black Cat, $14.95, 9780802170675/0802170676). "As God Commands is not an Italian romance: No one is rebuilding Tuscan villas or falling in love at the Trevi Fountain. In this story of desperation and madness in a bitterly depressed industrial town, the forces of religion and family play violently in the lives of young Rino, his father, and the rough characters whose obsessions and addictions are harbingers of their ultimate destruction. This book will rock you."--Lisa Stefanacci, The Book Works, Del Mar, Calif.

For ages 9 to 12

The Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman, illustrated by Peter Sis (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780061755637/006175563X). "Susana's good dreams are being stolen, and she wants them back! She must face all sorts of trials and treachery, but by her good example she teaches others to do the right thing. A wonderful story of determination and friendship."--Betsy Cebulski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Shelf Starters: The Art of a Beautiful Game

The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan's Tour of the NBA by Chris Ballard (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439110218/1439110212, November 3, 2009)

Opening lines of books we want to read:

Chapter 11, "Shot Blockers: A Rare Affection for Rejection"

The dunk is electrifying, it is emphatic, it is a coronation. But it is also something else: it is common.

During the typical NBA season, there are more than 8,000 dunks. That works out to an average of more than three per game. In other words, a fan can attend any given NBA matchup and reasonably expect to see at least a few jams, knowing that almost any player on the floor is capable of the feat. Blocking a dunk, however, is a different matter.

The snuffed jam is one of the most exotic of NBA sights, the hoops equivalent of a birder seeing an endangered spoon-billed sandpiper. Most seasons, there are fewer than 300 blocked dunks, a scarcity that is attributable in part to the difficulty of the act: The odds are always stacked against the defender. He is stationary; the man with the ball has a running start. He must go straight up and down and worry about a foul call; the dunker can roar in at any angle--and when have you ever seen a player get called for an offensive foul on a dunk? Then of course there's the pride factor; only certain players are willing to risk the potential embarrassment of trying to block a dunk and failing.

--Selected by Marilyn Dahl


Book Review

Book Review: No More Takeout!

No More Takeout!: A Visual Do-It-Yourself Guide to Cooking by Stephen Hartigan (John Wiley & Sons, $25.00 Hardcover, 9780470169988, April 2009)



My cooking needs a heavy dose of Vince Lombardi. 

Fundamentals. 

Though I've been somehow feeding myself for more than 25 years, it's been a frustrating journey. Many fine cookbooks have wound up in my kitchen over the years, but too often it's my eyes that need deglazing after timidly tackling mysterious techniques and ingredients with mushy and leathery results. Sometimes the slop on the plate is so off-putting (where is my tin dinnerware?) that I make emergency runs on well-worn paths to local fast food joints. Now armed with the discipline of age and widening waistline, I wish I had invested a fraction of the time I spent learning the fundamentals of portfolio theory and poison pills earlier in my life to building cooking basics. 

No More Takeout! is what I've been looking for. A well organized "Getting Set Up" section helpfully details "gotta have it" and "helpful add-ons" equipment and ingredient essentials for a useful kitchen. Next "Ready, Set, Prep" outlines basic technique methodology, all wonderfully illustrated with step-by-step photos. This will make a good quick reference guide, and I turned to it often when cooking from No More Takeout!, aided by helpful page citations within the recipes. Over the years, fantasies about making good meals led me to acquire many little-used kitchen gadgets, but I appreciated having a more complete list of things to stock, stratified by need and annotated with utility notes. With resolve to up my stainless device budget and expand the spice rack, it was time to cook.

Recipes are organized by level, and I needed to start in level 1, "The Basic Basics," though glances at "Raising the Bar" and "Now You're Cookin'" offered enticing reasons to pay attention in school. Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts with basic mushroom white sauce seemed a good place to start and was looking like something edible until I noticed the half-stick of butter unused when the dish was nearing completion (fumble!). The result was good, not great. I felt I had missed the tight end wide open over the middle, but I was fed and lived for another day.

Next I chose Sesame Noodles with Teriyaki Chicken, attracted to the "easy to do" in the opening sentence and especially to the phrase "hard to mess up." (I suspect that there were few individuals better positioned than I to be a cook-test-dummy of "hard to mess up.") Shortly after garnishing with scallions and fresh cilantro and taking that fateful first bite, the satisfactory experience of enjoying my own cooking made me feel hopeful about future culinary adventures. The authors promised this would make good leftovers, indispensable to the one-person household, and the dish was indeed yummy two and four days later. 

No More Takeout! would make a good gift to someone undertaking regular cooking for the first time or anyone feeling less than competent in the culinary arena who wants to hit the reset button. The book has given me a chance to begin this journey anew, armed with colander, knife and apron, plus a small dose of confidence. Entering the rainy season in the Northwest, it's a perfect time to engage the battle and heed the coach's song: practice, practice, practice!--Richard Jobes, Shelf Awareness's CFO, which in this case may stand for Chef Financial Officer.


The Bestsellers

City Lights Bookstore's Top-selling Titles in October

The following were the bestselling titles at City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., during October:

Hardcover

  1. Poetry as Insurgent Art by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (New Directions)
  2. War Dances: Stories by Sherman Alexie (Grove)
  3. The Beats: A Graphic History by Harvey Pekar (FSG)
  4. Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne (Viking)
  5. You're A Genius All the Time by Jack Kerouac (Chronicle)
  6. Manhood for Amateurs by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins)
  7. 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick (MIT Press)
  8. Thelonious Monk by Robin Kelley (Free Press)
  9. Street Art San Francisco by Annice Jacoby (Abrams)
  10. Zeitoun by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's)

Paperback

  1. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)
  2. Bang Ditto by Amber Tamblyn (Manic D)
  3. Shoplifting from American Apparel by Tao Lin (Melville House)
  4. Best American Non-required Reading edited by Dave Eggers (Houghton Mifflin)
  5. Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin (City Lights)
  6. 2666 by Roberto Bolano (St. Martin's)
  7. A Mercy by Toni Morrison (Knopf)
  8. The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (Riverhead)
  9. Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst (Riverhead)
  10. The Awakener by Helen Weaver (City Lights)

 


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