Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 10, 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


Notes: Google Settlement Extension; A Walden Remembered

Google and the other parties to the Google book settlement have asked for another extension for modifying the agreement, until this coming Friday, the New York Times reported.


On the occasion of the bookstore's 30th anniversary, the Chicago Tribune profiled Women & Children First and has a long Q&A with founders and owners Linda Bubon and Ann Christophersen. The pair reminisce about the early days (Christophersen: "The store was much more focused then, less general literary fiction. But absolutely stores like this one helped expand the number of female authors out there.") and about major author appearances (Bubon: "We had Gloria Steinem too--the first time she came here, we had 800 people, lined up all the way to the shoe store down the block. We squeezed in 300, and she had to stand on a chair to talk. When that was over, we realized the people who couldn't come in were outside, so the next 300 people outside came in and she did the whole thing all over again for them."


Amazon has unveiled Kindle for PC, an app that allows PC owners to use the Kindle. The Kindle already has iPhone and iPod Touch apps.


On her Bookavore blog, Stephanie Anderson, manager of WORD bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., offers a heartfelt "obituary for a chain bookstore," the Waldenbooks in Montgomery Mall, East Wales, Pa., where she had her first bookstore job and learned many of the fundamentals of bookselling.

She benefited, she writes, from having had "a rogue manager. She ordered books from Koen when they weren't available at the Walden's warehouse. She ordered books directly from Arcadia, stacked them on a table at the entrance because there was no section in the store in which to shelve them, and got an award from the Home Office for increasing 'Local' sales by ridiculous amounts. She ignored mandated endcaps in order to keep a permanent endcap of her staff picks, which sold out the door in stacks. And she squished fiction to the side so that our receiver could have his own section. I think it was called 'Weird Reads'--it was my introduction to The Sandman and Palahniuk and House of Leaves before those all became cool."


Cool idea of the day: for The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman, a novel about a baker's dozen of women who meet the first Monday in December, bring cookies and talk about their lives, Atria is designating the first weekend in December as Christmas Cookie Weekend. People are encouraged to host their own Christmas Cookie Clubs and donate cookies to local charities. For more information, see the Facebook page created by Pearlman.


P.S. Bookshop, Brooklyn, N.Y., is moving to a larger space nearby. The Brooklyn Eagle reported that the used and rare bookstore, located at 145A Front Street in the borough's DUMBO neighborhood, "has signed a 10-year, two-month lease with Two Trees Management for the 2,138-square-foot corner retail space in the building at 70 Washington Street." The Eagle noted that owner Yuval Gans "expects that the shop will be moved into the new space by the end of December."


"Book tours are debilitating," wrote Bill Simmons,'s Sports Guy and author of The Book of Basketball. Simmons shared some highlights and lowlights from his "11 signings in 11 days" tour, including an injury report: "My right thumb has swelled to 140 percent the size of my left thumb. My back is crumbling like blue cheese. My immune system might turn me into Patient X of Swine Flu 2.0 before everything's said and done. Even my BlackBerry mouse no longer can move to the right."

Some highlights:

  • "This happened at every signing: I'd be banging out signatures and talking to people when suddenly I'd hear the sound of a little kid either yelling or crying somewhere in line. A weird nature-type thing happened each time: The sound made me happy. What is it about being a parent that, if you're away from your kids for a few days, even the unhappy sounds of other people's kids make you happy? Bizarre."
  • "In New York, I successfully signed a piece of raw veal with a Sharpie. The only thing that would have been tougher? Signing an oyster or a kidney."
  • "More than a few readers were aspiring writers asking for advice. I always told them the same thing: 'Don't get discouraged; keep plugging away.' The truth is, I don't know the answer. Because there isn't one."

Citizen Matters profiled Select Book Shop, "Bangalore's iconic book store," and owner K.K.S. Murthy, who "recalled an interesting episode in Paris while he was working as a liaison officer at Turbomeca (a helicopter turbine designer and producer). His father had asked him to procure secondhand books from shops on the river Seine's banks and also a sample of his favourite author Katherine Mansfield's perfume."


On the Huffington Post, Richard Nash, former head of Soft Skull Press, argued against the decision by BookExpo America--apparently at the behest of publisher-exhibitors--not to open the trade show floor a few hours late in the afternoon on setup day for an industry party. For that matter, he also argued for opening BEA to the public for at least one day and scolded large houses for reducing their participation in the show.


A dozen "top" literary agents from New York were flown out and spent a day at headquarters in Seattle, Wash., where the e-tailer aimed to "explain itself" to agents, Crain's New York Business reported.

Amazon is "not entirely used to their role as the evil empire," one agent who attended told the paper. The company's message, he added: "They are not trying to destroy publishing as we know it."

wrote: "News of the meetings spread across the book publishing world last week, raising suspicions that Amazon might be trying to get agents on its side in the battle over e-book publication dates. Some in the publishing community, which is already nervous about what lies ahead as e-books take off, wondered whether Amazon might try to do an end-run around publishers and make direct e-book deals with major authors."

But agents have said Amazon has indicated it will not make deals directly. On the issue of pricing, Amazon and the agents "agreed to disagree," Crain's added.


The last of the four storefronts occupied by Harry W. Schwartz bookstores when the company went out of business earlier this year and not yet hosting a bookstore will be occupied by a Half Price Books outlet. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Half Price will move into the former Schwartz store in Brookfield, Wis., next summer.

The current Half Price store in Brookfield has 6,000 square feet of space. The former Schwartz store has 9,400 square feet of space.


The Columbia Spectator takes a look at tension between Book Culture, which just opened a new location on W. 114th St. in upper Manhattan, and some of its unionized members, mainly over pay and health care benefits.


We're very sad to report that author Donald Harington died last Saturday at the age of 73 after a long illness in Fayetteville, Ark.

All but one of his novels took place in the fictional Ozark town of Stay More. Born and raised in Little Rock, Ark., Harington taught for many years at the University of Arkansas. His titles are available from the Toby Press.

A longer obituary will follow.


When Words bookstore, Maplewood, N.J., put up a Veterans Day display in its front window last week, local resident Maxine Giannini contacted the store and offered copies of sketches that her late husband, Ugo Giannini, made when his unit landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944, Maplewood Patch wrote.

Words co-owner Jonah Zimiles called the drawings "stunning" and said he has had tremendous response.


David Leach has joined Greenleaf Book Group as director of book sales, a new position. He formerly worked at Thomas Nelson for 12 years, most recently as national key account manager, special sales. Greenleaf said that in addition to increasing sales of the company's list to existing and new accounts, Leach will oversee the improved integration of the distribution and marketing departments.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Andre Agassi to Volley with Letterman

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Patrick Carlin, who is the older brother of George Carlin, will discuss his brother's memoir, Last Words (Free Press, $26.99, 9781439172957/1439172951).


Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Carrie Prejean, author of Still Standing: The Untold Story of My Fight Against Gossip, Hate, and Political Attacks (Regnery, $27.95, 9781596986022/1596986026).


Tomorrow morning on Imus in the Morning: Paul Mooney, author of Black Is the New White (Simon Spotlight, $24.99, 9781416587958/1416587950). He will also appear tomorrow on CNN's Campbell Brown.


Tomorrow on the Dr. Oz Show: Michael Yapko, author of Depression Is Contagious: How the Most Common Mood Disorder Is Spreading Around the World and How to Stop It (Free Press, $26, 9781416590743/1416590749).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Andre Agassi, author of Open: An Autobiography (Knopf, $28.95, 9780307261898/030726189).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Clarence Clemons, co-author of Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446546263/0446546267).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Christopher Caldwell, author of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West (Doubleday, $30, 9780385518260/0385518269).


Tomorrow night on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly: Chuck Klosterman, author of Eating the Dinosaur (Scribner, $25, 9781416544203/1416544208).

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

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 17:

Too Much Happiness: Stories by Alice Munro (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307269768/0307269760) is a collection of 10 stories from the Canadian master.

Torch of Freedom by David Weber and Eric Flint (Baen, $26, 9781439133057/1439133050) is the newest addition to the sci-fi Honor Harrington series.

Shadowland by Alyson Noel (St. Martin's, $17.99, 9780312590444/031259044X) continues the supernatural Immortals series.

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

Gift Books 2009, Part 1

The following is the first installment of our annual roundup of gift books for the holidays.

Secrets of mysterious lives:

Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler's Imagined City photographed by Catherine Corman (Charta Art Books, $39.95 trade paper, 9788881587247/8881587246, October 2009). Black-and-white photographs are the perfect medium for Chandler's Los Angeles. The Lido Pier, Musso and Frank's, Union Station--all the places are sun-bright, yet darkly ominous. Each photograph is faced by an excerpt from Chandler's work. A treat for noir lovers.

Agatha Christie at Home by Hilary Macaskill (Frances Lincoln, $40, 9780711230293/0711230293, October 2009). This is a nice book for both Christie fans and Anglophiles. Filled with old photographs and new, it chronicles Christie's life and writings, with bits of delightful information, like the fact that afternoon tea was quite important to her, but what she liked best was the cream.

Great British Fictional Detectives by Russell James (Remember When/Casemate Publishing, $50, 9781844680269/1844680266, April 2009). Pricey? Maybe, but where else can you find such a complete listing of British detectives, from the well-known Adam Dalgliesh and Inspector Lynley to the less familiar but fabulous Miss Silver and Bill Slider. The text is supplemented with photos of authors, actors and book covers, and a few lists at the end, like "Day Jobs of the Amateur Detective."

The Lineup edited by Otto Penzler (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316031936/0316031933, November 2009). Penzler has collected biographies of great detectives, written by their creators. Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith), Spenser (Robert B. Parker), Harry Bosch (Michael Connolly), Jack Taylor (Ken Bruen), Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter) and more--21 stories in all, and all fascinating and entertaining, explaining not only a character's history and motivation, but much about the author, too.

Travel books for the adventurous:

Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service by James McCommons (Chelsea Green, $17.95 trade paper, 9781603580649/1603580646, November 2009). McCommons spent a year riding across America, talking to passengers and railway workers. He writes about the history of U.S. railroads and discusses what should be done today and in the future. But this is also a fine armchair travel book that starts in Chicago and crisscrosses America, with engaging characters along the way.

Quest for the Kasbah by Richard Bangs (Open Road Publishing, $16.95 trade paper, 9781593601294/1593601298, February 2009). This is a companion to a PBS episode called Morocco: Quest for the Kasbah but can easily stand on its own. Bangs travels through beautiful Morocco, of course meets interesting people, has grand (and scary) adventures--and shares it all compellingly.

Off the Tourist Trail: 1,000 Unexpected Travel Alternatives (Eyewitness Travel/DK, $40, 9780756653996/0756653991, August 2009). Eyewitness says this book will take you to the world's most captivating places, and it delivers. The format is to offer an unexpected place vs. the expected, like Bryce Canyon vs. the Grand Canyon, or the Mindo-Nambillo cloud forest in Ecuador vs. Costa Rica, or the Netherlands' Kroller-Muller Museum for Van Gogh's works, with its extensive collection set in a idyllic, rural national park. A very nice dream book. 


Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints by Hal Elliott Wert (Zenith Press, $35, 9780760337875/076033787X, October 2009). Hal Wert has collected more than 170 Obama posters, most of which have had only limited distribution within the states for which they were created. These striking images range from the mainstream to guerrilla street art, and are worth seeing for any graphic artist, no matter what your political views.

Art for Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change, edited by Shepard Fairey and Jennifer Gross (Abrams Image, $22.50 trade paper, 9780810984981/0810984989, October 2009). The Manifest Hope gallery exhibitions were held during the Democratic National Convention and President Obama's inauguration--it's a collection of paintings, photographs, clothing designs, murals and more. A great book for artists and Obama-maniacs.

The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama, edited by Marvin A. McMickle (Judson Press, $17 trade paper, 9780817015541/081701554X, May 2009). Happily a bit out of the mainstream, away from the endless rehashing of last year's election, is this thoughtful compilation of sermons and essays. The 32 writers are theologically and racially diverse, from preachers Tony Campolo and Carolyn Ann Knight to pastors Gina Stewart and Ken Fong, and writers Philip Yancey and William Willimon, and they reflect on dreams of freedom, the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and spiritual transformation.--Marilyn Dahl


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling titles at independent bookstores in and near Chicago during the week ended Sunday, November 8:

Hardcover Fiction
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
3. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
4. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
5. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown 

Hardcover Nonfiction
1. What Would Susie Say by Susie Essman
2. Superfreakonomics by Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner
3. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
4. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
5. The Case for God by Karen Armstrong 

Paperback Fiction
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
4. Push by Sapphire
5. Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout

Paperback Nonfiction
1. My Life in France by Julia Child
2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
3. Supercapitalism by Robert Reich
4. My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor
5. More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman 

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
3. January's Sparrow by Patricia Polacco
4. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1 by Jeff Kinney

Reporting bookstores: Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove; Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock; the Book Table, Oak Park; the Book Cellar, Lincoln Square; Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest; the Bookstall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka; and 57th St. Books; Seminary Co-op; Women and Children First, Chicago.

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

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