Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Nightfire: At Nightfire, Halloween is 24/7! A new imprint dedicated to horror!

Duke University Press: Point of Reckoning: The Fight for Racial Justice at Duke University by Theodore D Segal

Scribner Book Company: Red Island House by Andrea Lee

Shadow Mountain: The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M Eden

News

Notes: Google's China Apology; Rainy Day Books' Community

Google sent a letter of apology to the China Writers' Association and "agreed to hand over a list of books by Chinese authors that it has scanned in recent years... in an apparent effort to placate writers who say their works were digitized without their permission," the New York Times reported.

"We definitely agree that we haven't done a sufficient job in communicating with Chinese writers," admitted Erik Hartmann, head of the Asia-Pacific division of Google Books.

Novelist Mian Mian sued Google for copyright infringement last month. The Times noted that "a judge has urged both sides to settle the litigation. Google insists it is following Chinese and American copyright law and says digitized books are deleted upon the request of an author or publisher. It also rejects assertions that the company has made some Chinese books available on the Internet in their entirety."

Zhang Hongbo, the secretary general of China Written Works Copyright Society, called the letter and apology "a result that all Chinese copyright holders have been waiting for. We look forward to Google's deeper understanding of this issue."

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Vivien Jennings, co-owner of Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., told University News that after 35 years in the business, the lesson she "wants to share with readers is even cheap books can come at a high cost."

"The question of what do people perceive the future of the book is comes up fairly frequently at our author presentations," Jennings said. "People enjoy the convenience [of e-book technology] when they travel.... But what we are hearing from the readers is that they still prefer the reading experience with the book."

She predicted that the indie booksellers "who will still be in the book business in 2010 can't be just book people. They have to be really good business people. And they will have to be very, very connected to the community.... Business has been shifting for some time. Now, it is very much about relationships. There is a very high cost of cheap. And I think people are finally seeing it."

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Cool idea of the day: Reading cereal boxes is a time-honored tradition, but the Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy blog reported that Irish children "will be getting something more than plastic doodads with their breakfast cereal. Publisher the O'Brien Press has teamed up with Hughes and Hughes Bookstore and American cereal maker Kellogg's to give away books to kids who collect vouchers from Rice Krispies boxes. Instead of the old-style mail-in for the prize, eager readers can walk into Hughes and Hughes stores to order or pick up their books."

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Barnes & Noble College Booksellers plans to offer a multi-channel textbook rental program for college students that will enable them to rent textbooks from their B&N campus bookstore or its e-commerce site. Last fall, the company tested the rental program in three of its 636 campus bookstores and has since expanded it to 25 more.

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B&N's nook e-reading device chalked up a few recent tech awards, including "Best Gadget" honor in the third annual Crunchies Awards, a number-two ranking in Time.com's recent "Top 10 Gadgets of 2009" and a place among Time's "Best Travel Gadgets of 2009."

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Bestselling author and Rock Bottom Remainders guitarist Stephen King has agreed "to play a doom-mongering radio host on musician Shooter Jennings's new album," the Guardian reported, noting that the "concept album, Black Ribbons, will see King provide the voice of late-night talk show host Will O'The Wisp as he gives his final broadcast before being cut off by government censorship. While his character rants about the apocalyptic future that lies ahead for America, he plays songs from Jennings's band Hierophant."

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Artist Mike Stilkey's "book sculptures" consist of images painted on book spines. This Blog Rules featured a selection of his works.

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Book trailer of the day: The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Holt). The trailer is a slide show of illustrations of scenes in the book made by the author; the book itself is not illustrated.

 


Pamela Dorman Books: The Push by Ashley Audrain


Obituary Note: Laura Hruska

Laura Hruska, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Soho Press, died Saturday. She was 74. With her her husband, Alan, and Juris Jurjevics, former editor-in-chief of the Dial Press, she founded Soho Press in 1986. Hruska also launched Soho Crime in 1994, followed by a third imprint, Soho Constable, in 2008. She played a major role in the careers of writers such as Edwidge Danticat, Dan Fesperman, Robert Hellenga, Susan Richards, Garth Stein and Jacqueline Winspear.

Effective January 1, Bronwen Hruska, Laura Hruska's daughter, became publisher of Soho Press. The company said: "All of us here are looking forward to carrying on the legacy, and the editorial integrity, to which Laura devoted so much of her life."

 


GLOW: Hanover Square Press: The Jigsaw Man (Inspector Anjelica Henley Thriller) by Nadine Matheson


Holiday Hum, Part 2: Shoppers Keep It Local

We checked in with several stores we profiled during the holiday season to find out how they fared--and some of the things they have in store for the coming year. This is our second report:

Holiday sales were up slightly at Books & Company in Oconomowoc, Wis. "Customers were in good spirits," noted co-owner Lisa Baudoin. "They clearly expressed how much the store meant to them and that shopping local was important."

Top hardcover seasonal sellers were Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin and The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown, while the leading paperbacks were The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.

The store is starting the year with a robust roster of author events. Books & Company is hosting an extravaganza this Saturday with 10 local scribes, followed by appearances with Amelia Klem Osterud (The Tattooed Lady: A History) on January 24, Robert Goolrick (A Reliable Wife) on January 27 and Robin Burcell (The Bone Chamber) on January 30.

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Storms shut down the highway in out and out of Hood River, Ore., three times during the holiday season. On those days Book Stop saw an increase in store traffic, including out-of-towners who were unable to leave. The weather contributed to a 36% jump in December sales and, as with Books & Company, community support increased, too. "There is a huge shop local feeling here in Hood River," said Book Stop owner Cynthia Christensen. This is the second year in a row that holiday sales have grown.

Customers' gift selections included Timothy Egan's The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman and Jeannette Walls's Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. One of Christensen's favorites was Stephen King's Under the Dome, which she read in a day. "It's like skiing downhill," she said about the 1,088-page book. "You build up speed and can't stop." She created a poster featuring the book jacket and the line, "His best book since The Stand." Customers took notice. It was a popular gift pick even though Amazon and Wal-Mart were selling it with steep discounts. Book Stop offered 10% off the $35 tome.

Sherry Jones will be back at the store in March to promote her new novel, The Sword of Medina. Christensen was the first bookseller to schedule an appearance with Jones after controversy erupted in 2008 over the publication of her first novel, The Jewel of Medina, and the event packed the house. "We really want people to be aware of books that are banned or ones that are being held back in some way," said Christensen.

Book Stop's recent "One Warm Coat" drive surpassed expectations, with 521 coats collected and donated to local clinics and schools. The goal had been 500. (Author Jess Walter, in the photo with Christensen, helped kick off the coat drive in November.) And the store's philanthropic deeds extend beyond the holidays. Proceeds from an event in April featuring Steve Roberts, the author of Wine Trails of Washington and Wine Trails of Oregon, along with libations from some of the featured wineries, will benefit Start Making a Reader Today, an organization that gets books into the hands of underprivileged kids.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


University of California Press: Beethoven, a Life (1st ed.) by Jan Caeyers, translated by Brent Annable


Image of the Day: Neither Rain Nor Snow Nor Blackout...

During a blackout in Portland, Ore., last Thursday, intrepid Powell's staffer Chris Hagen continued to do a scheduled large used book buy. The store was closed until 3 p.m. because of the power loss, caused by a fire at a Pacific Power substation.

 


Berkley Books: Dangerous Women by Hope Adams


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Weight Loss & Politics

This morning on the Today Show: Joy Bauer, author of Your Inner Skinny: Four Steps to Thin Forever (Morrow, $16.99, 9780061665752/0061665754).

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Today on the Ellen Show: Tal Ronnen, author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat (Morrow, $29.99, 9780061874338/0061874337).

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Tonight on Charlie Rose: John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, authors of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (Harper, $27.99, 9780061733635/0061733636).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Patricia Moreno, author of The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace (Simon Spotlight, $21.99, 9781439152973/1439152977).

Also on Today: 18-year-old Taylor Lebaron, author of Cutting Myself in Half: 150 Pounds Lost, One Byte at a Time (HCI, $12.95, 9780757313592/0757313590).

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Tomorrow morning on Imus in the Morning: Stephen Hunter, author of I, Sniper (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416565154/1416565159).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage (Viking, $26.95, 9780670021659/0670021652).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Rudolph Wurlitzer, author of Flats/Quake (Two Dollar Radio, $17, 9780982015148/0982015143) and Nog (Two Dollar Radio, $15.50, 9780982015124/0982015127). As the show put it: "In this first of two interviews, Wurlitzer takes us time-traveling back to the late 1960s when Nog was published and his first screen plays (Two Lane Blacktop, Glen and Randa) found their way onto the screen. These strange and surreal works prompt a conversation about the '60s and the attitudes toward art and literature prevalent in those times."

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: John Farmer, author of The Ground Truth: The Untold Story of America Under Attack on 9/11 (Riverhead, $26.95, 9781594488948/1594488940).

 


Movies: The Intricate Art of Adaptation

Why are some books easier to adapt to film than others? Anticipating Friday's release of The Lovely Bones, based on Alice Sebold's bestselling novel, the Houston Chronicle observed that successful book-to-movie transitions are helped by a "plot-driven story with a strong beginning, middle and end translates most readily. And if there's crime, mystery and sex--even better." The Chronicle also featured a list of "10 Great Films from Great Books."

  1. Gone with the Wind
  2. The Wizard of Oz
  3. The Maltese Falcon
  4. Apocalypse Now (from Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness)
  5. The Godfather
  6. Clueless (from Jane Austen's Emma)
  7. Howards End
  8. The English Patient
  9. The Lord of the Rings
  10. No Country for Old Men

 


Books & Authors

Awards: PNBA 2010 Book Awards; TLS Translation Prizes

Winners of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's 2010 Book Awards, which were selected from more than 200 nominated titles by Northwest authors and published in 2009, are:

  • The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest Jack Nisbet (Sasquatch Books)
  • Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha (Broadway)
  • All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure (Abrams Books for Young Readers)

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Noting that "the art--or craft--of translation is in good shape," if underappreciated, the Times Literary Supplement honored seven translators with awards for their work in 2009. The winners are:

  • Anthea Bell: Schlegel-Tieck Prize for Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig
  • Thomas Teal: Bernard Shaw Prize for Fair Play by Tove Jansson
  • Polly McLean: Scott Moncrieff Prize for Gross Margin by Laurent Quintreau
  • Samah Selim: Saif Ghobash-Banipal Prize for The Collar and the Bracelet by Yahya Taher Abdullah
  • Margaret Jull Costa, Premio Valle Inclán Prize for The Accordionist's Son by Bernardo Atxaga
  • Peter Bush: Calouste-Gulbenkian Foundation Prize for Equator by Miguel Sousa Tavares
  • Sam Garrett: Vondel Prize for Ararat by Frank Westerman

 



Book Review

Book Review: Something Is Out There

Something Is Out There by Richard Bausch (Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95 Hardcover, 9780307266279, February 2010)


 
If Richard Bausch had never written another short story after the publication of his collected stories in 2003, his status as one of our most accomplished contemporary authors of domestic fiction would have been secured. But in his latest group of 11 new stories, this anthropologist of the human heart ably demonstrates he has more of this often dark and troubling territory to explore.
 
If there's an identifiable theme to these stories, most set in Memphis (where Bausch teaches creative writing) or Virginia, it's the fraught relations between men and women, a subject he's adept at exploring from both sides of what he consistently portrays as a gaping divide. Stories like "The Harp Department in Love," where a husband falsely suspects his much younger wife of an affair, threatening their marriage in the process, or "Immigration," which documents a young couple's contentious interaction on their way to a meeting with an immigration official to secure the husband's permanent residence status, spotlight the failure to communicate that poisons many relationships. In "One Hour in the History of Love," an especially striking story, Bausch demonstrates both his keen grasp of sexual dynamics and his literary craftsmanship as he adroitly shifts points of view among several characters in a Toronto street scene.
 
But not all of Bausch's stories focus on the Mars/Venus battlefield. "Trophy" is the poignant account of a bizarre incident on a golf course that reveals the depth of a friendship. And in "Sixty-five Million Years" he offers the equally moving portrait of a burned-out priest whose encounters with a teenage penitent both trouble and inspire him.
 
Several of the tales are suffused with a genuine air of menace. In the title story, a woman returns from the hospital where the husband she's about to abandon lies recovering from a gunshot wound, to await the arrival of her son in a raging snowstorm. "Son and Heir" reveals a college president's son who is stunned by a violent incident into confronting his own debauched behavior. In the aptly titled "Blood," a young man is powerfully attracted to his older brother's wife and then acts out in a shocking fashion when he faces evidence she's betrayed both of them.
 
"Oh, how did people do it?" asks the troubled protagonist of one of these stories. "How did they go from one place to another, and find some way to be happy?" With the cool detachment of a scientist and the compassion of a poet, Richard Bausch wrestles with that question and others of equal consequence in this consistently absorbing collection.--Harvey Freedenberg
 
Shelf Talker: Focusing on the relations between men and women, short story master Richard Bausch offers a collection of 11 quietly impressive tales.



The Bestsellers

City Lights Bookstore's Top Sellers for December

What were patrons of City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., buying for the holiday season? 

Hardcover

  1. Naked Lunch 50th Anniversary Edition by William S. Burroughs
  2. The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
  3. You're A Genius All the Time by Jack Kerouac
  4. The Humbling by Philip Roth
  5. The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov
  6. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
  7. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
  8. Unpacking My Library by Jo Steffens
  9. Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand
  10. Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem

Paperback

  1. Prison/Culture, edited by Sharon Bliss, Kevin Chen and Steve Dickison
  2. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  3. Beauty Salon by Mario Bellatin
  4. Indignation by Philip Roth
  5. Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
  6. Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha by Jack Kerouac
  7. To Die for the People by Huey Newton
  8. Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
  9. Impossible Princess by Kevin Killian
  10. Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum 

 


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