Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 25, 2010

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Quotation of the Day

'Everyone Has Read a Book'

"I think everyone has read a book. They can bring a book from childhood if they're not a reader now. People can bring whatever kind of book they want. It can be Calvin and Hobbes. It's just to start the conversation."--Suzanne Droppert, owner of Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, Wash., speaking to the North Kitsap Herald about the store's book dating event to be held this Thursday. (For readers who love stories about bookstores and romance, see News below.)


Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich


Notes: Borders Rebuts Late-Payment Story

In a corporate statement, Borders Group has said that a Debtwire article (Shelf Awareness, January 21, 2010) alleging slow payment to some small publishers "includes inaccurate information."

For one, Borders said that it "has continued to pay its vendors in a timely manner, has not lengthened its days to pay, and has not been contacted by a group of publishers as alleged. Product is flowing to our stores for sale to customers. In fact, we have significantly increased book inventory in the fourth quarter compared to last year, a sign that we have continued to receive support from the vendor community."

Concerning the assertion that several publishers had contacted Lowenstein Sandler to represent them against Borders, Borders said that the law firm had issued this note: "The statement in the article that a group of smaller publishers had hired the bankruptcy group of Lowenstein Sandler as legal counsel is incorrect."


In a story called "James Patterson Inc.," yesterday's New York Times Magazine outlined the writing empire created by the man who publishes nine or 10 books a year (with a stable of co-writers), whose sales in recent years are greater than those of Dan Brown, Stephen King and John Grisham combined, who accounts for "one out of every 17 novels bought in the U.S." since 2006, who has at least three full-time staff members at Little, Brown devoted to him.

During his writing career, he has bucked many industry rules of thumb, including putting out "too many" books, using co-authors and writing in many different genres with both series and standalone titles. Also, as befits a former Madison Avenue man, Patterson is keenly focused on marketing and advertising for his books, and he became a bestselling author when he ran TV ads for Along Came a Spider, the first Alex Cross book.


The New York Times explored the phenomenon of the free e-book, which are among the top "bestsellers" for the Kindle and are being promoted by authors and publishers alike to introduce unfamiliar works to readers. Some of the free titles are older works by authors with new books. Several people noted that even free titles on a bestseller list garner publicity that echt bestsellers receive.

"Giving people a sample is a great way to hook people and encourage them to buy more," Suzanne Murphy, group publisher of Scholastic Trade Publishing, told the paper.

On the other hand, David Young, CEO of Hachette Book Group, commented: "At a time when we are resisting the $9.99 price of e-books, it is illogical to give books away for free."


Oops. Barnes & Noble messed up with the wrong customer.

On his tech blog, Jesse Vincent recounted his long, frustrating experience trying to buy a nook. B&N customer service people were unfailingly "friendly and apologetic" on the phone, he wrote. But shipment of his e-reader was delayed repeatedly, his order was mistakenly cancelled, he received several e-mails requesting basic information that was included in the very same e-mail and he never received the $100 gift card B&N had promised to people whose orders last year had been delayed.

Vincent concluded, "Barnes & Noble have, without a doubt, the worst customer service of any company I have dealt with in the past decade."

[Editors' note: Our intrepid columnist Jenn Northington, general manager of breathe books, Baltimore, Md., who is recounting here her experiences finding, buying and using an e-reader, has fared much better than Vincent: her nook arrived nearly two weeks earlier than promised.]


A 20' x 20' section of the roof of the Christian Bookstore, Rochester, Minn., collapsed, according to KAAL-TV. Four employees were in the store, none of whom were injured. Estimates are that thousands of dollars of merchandise was lost.


The owner of Atticus Bookstore and Cafe, New Haven, Conn., is reconsidering the store's recent policy requiring employees to speak only English on the floor and at the cafe counter, the New Haven Register reported. Some customers and local residents have objected to the policy, which has also received national press.

The original memo said that "Spanish is allowed in the prep area, the dishwashing area and in the lower level. Let's make our customers feel welcome and comfortable."


Kate Mattes reminisced about the late Robert B. Parker in the Boston Globe. "I called him when I opened Kate's Mystery Books, and he stopped by with champagne and flowers," she recalled. "He stopped by many times after that--to sign books, host an event, visit with out-of-town authors, or help put up book shelves....

"Bob did more than open creative doors, though. He wrote blurbs for young writers, helped them find editors and agents, and helped them navigate the tricky worlds of TV and film. As he became more prosperous, he and his wife, Joan, supported local arts and community groups with their many donations. Neither of them looked for attention for their generosity. They did what they could to help."


Last Tuesday, Beagle Books, Park Rapids, Minn., held its "first-ever Skype author event," which allowed Maggie Stiefvater, author of Shiver (Scholastic Press), to appear in the store via Skype webcam and Internet connection and meet with the Park Rapids high school teen book group. The event was open to the public, but the group members' questions took priority.

Manager Jennifer Wills Geraedts said, "The kids loved Maggie--they thought she was so funny and engaging."

The event was sponsored by Scholastic and the Midwest Booksellers Association, which is working with member stores and publishers to set up more Skype events.


Cool (or brilliant) idea of the day: in its store e-mail, Brilliant Books, Suttons Bay, Mich., is promoting online ordering for summer residents. ("We don't charge for shipping. So every book you buy online costs exactly the same as it would if you walked in here.") It also has a Surprise Book of the Month club, based on each recipient's interests.

The pitch: "If you enjoy our little bookstore, we'd like you to be our customer for all your books, even when you're away.... You'll be helping make sure that Suttons Bay still has an independent bookstore when you get back.... Put Your Money Where Your House Is" or--if you're away--where your summer house is."


Check out Time Out New York's account of matchmaking efforts at WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y., which has a bulletin board where people post personal ads and last week held a mixer at a nearby bar. Sample personals include one by book world p.r. guy Russ Marshalek, formerly director of marketing at Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga.


Book trailer of the day: The Monkey Bible by Mark Laxer (Outer Rim, distributed by Chelsea Green). This October 2010 book is part of the multimedia Monkey Bible Project.


Stieg Larsson was Europe's bestselling fiction writer last year, according to an analysis of international fiction bestseller lists published by book trade magazines, the reported. A top 50 list will be released January 29, but the 10 bestselling fiction writers in Europe in 2009 were:

  1. Stieg Larsson
  2. Stephenie Meyer
  3. Dan Brown
  4. Paolo Giordano
  5. Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  6. Camilla Läckberg
  7. Herman Koch
  8. Tatiana de Rosnay
  9. Henning Mankell
  10. John Grisham


Author Steve Almond, whose Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life will be released this spring from Random House, shared his recent experience with self-publishing in a Los Angeles Times piece that explored the happy birth of another project.

"I stood mesmerized before the Harvard Bookstore's Espresso Book Machine, watching the pages of my book being scanned with a red laser, sprayed with ink and cut," he wrote. "It only took minutes for the inaugural copy of This Won't Take but a Minute, Honey to slide down a small chute. Not only was my copy warm, the cover was still sticky. I nearly wept."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Image of the Day: Don't Quit Your Day Job

During the Moveable Feast at the Pulpwood Queen Book Club's Girlfriend Weekend earlier this month, authors waited on table. Here Mary Kay Andrews does nicely for someone who had never bussed before--never bused a table, that is. For more on the weekend, check out Jamie Ford's take on the Texas Pages.



Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ozzy Osbourne, David Baldacci

This morning on the Early Show: John Crowley, author of Chasing Miracles: The Crowley Family Journey of Strength, Hope, and Joy (Newmarket Press, $22.95, 9781557049100/1557049106). Crowley is the real-life father from the film Extraordinary Measures (played by Brendan Fraser). He will also appear today on Extra and The Doctors and tomorrow on Fox & Friends.


This morning on the Today Show: Annabel Karmel, author of Top 100 Finger Foods: 100 Recipes for a Healthy, Happy Child (Atria, $18, 9780743493710/0743493710).

Also on Today: Ozzy Osbourne, author of I Am Ozzy (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446569897/0446569895).


Today on Talk of the Nation: Charles Pellegrino, author of The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back (Holt, $27.50, 9780805087963/0805087966).


Today on WETA's Book Studio: David Baldacci, author of True Blue (Grand Central Publishing, $28, 9780446195515/0446195510).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Kati Marton, author of Enemies of the People: My Family's Journey to America (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416586128/1416586121).


Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: David Colbert, author of The High School Reunion Diet: Lose 20 Years in 30 Days (Simon & Schuster, $23, 9781439182550/1439182558).


Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Joseph Menn, author of Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet (PublicAffairs, $25.95, 9781586487485/1586487485).


Tomorrow on CNN's Amanpour: Aaron Cohen, author of Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking (Simon Spotlight, $24.99, 9781416961178/1416961178).


Tomorrow on WETA's Book Studio: James Brown, author of Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Significant Living (FaithWords, $25, 9780446541176/0446541176).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche (Free Press, $26, 9781416587088/141658708X).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Mika Brzezinski, author of All Things at Once (Weinstein Books, $24.95, 9781602861114/1602861110).

Television: Pleading Guilty

Fox greenlighted the pilot episode of a new series based on Scott Turow's novel Pleading Guilty. Jon Avnet, who will be director and co-executive producer, "had been looking to bring Turow's novel to the screen for some time. In 2005, he developed it as a potential movie for TNT," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Burn Notice co-executive producer Jason Tracey wrote the script and is co-executive producing the pilot.


Books & Authors

Awards: NBCC Finalists

Finalists for the National Book Critics Circle 2009 awards may be found here. The winner will be announced at the NBCC's awards ceremony Friday, March 12, in New York City.

The winner of the NBCC's Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is Joyce Carol Oates. Joan Accocela has won the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Ghosts and Lightning by Trevor Byrne (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385531276/0385531273). "Denny Cullen is a loser in so many ways, yet he has a dignity that will have you rooting for him from the get-go. Denny knows that he wants more out of life than his dead-end existence in Dublin, but, somehow, the path to something better eludes him. Ghosts and Lightning is so accomplished that it's difficult to believe that it's a debut novel."--Betsey Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, Mass.
Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer by Andrea Lyon (Kaplan, $24.95, 9781607144342/1607144344). "Glass ceiling or metal jail bars, seemingly nothing will stop Andrea Lyon from success. Her record of 19 death row victories has earned her the title of this book. This one reads like a thriller with real life-and-death consequences."--Jamie Robinson, Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co., Mason, Mich.
The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell (Delphinium, $13.99, 9781883285340/1883285348). "The Pig Did It is part cozy, part Irish lament, all quirky, and great fun!"--Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.
For Ages 4 to 8
Fu Finds the Way by John Rocco (Hyperion, $16.99, 9781423109655/1423109651). "Young Fu is out in the rice fields quite distracted by his fantastic daydream when he accidentally flings a clod of mud onto the face of a fearsome warrior named Chang. But when a duel takes a surprising turn, Fu forgets his sword and finds beauty in focus and ceremony. This is an awe-inspiringly beautiful book that will beckon you to hold it tenderly in your hands and give it your full attention."--Vivian Leal, Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, Calif.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Book Review: We've Got Issues

We've Got Issues: Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by Judith Warner (Riverhead Books, $25.95 Hardcover, 9781594487545, February 2010)

Still flush with the success of her book Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety, New York Times columnist Judith Warner began this follow-up with a healthy measure of righteous indignation at what she perceived as a wholesale movement by parents and physicians alike to pathologize childhood by over-diagnosing mental illness in children and over-treating them with dangerous psychotropic drugs. Before she committed a single word to paper, however, Warner attended a meeting of parents who were worried about their children's behavior and listened to their heartrending stories. "This is not the book I am writing," she scrawled in her notepad. It was the beginning of a paradigm shift in her own consciousness and it led her, after extensive, exhaustive research, to some very different (if no less impassioned) conclusions.

To explain both the genesis of her original position and the reason for its reversal, Warner examines the history of psychiatry, the development of new classes of psychiatric drugs and the claims of "epidemic" increases in childhood depression, bipolar disorder and autism. While allowing for a rise in environmental and psychosocial stressors, Warner makes a convincing argument that these serious disorders have always been prevalent but were stigmatized and/or misidentified to the point of invisibility. Advances in neurobiology took the onus of childhood mental illness from parents and placed fallibility with the brain itself, leading to the introduction of a broad new range of antidepressant, antipsychotic and antianxiety medications.

Despite dire news reports claiming vast chunks of the under-18 population was taking such medications unnecessarily and without regard to the consequences, Warner found that the opposite was true. She discovered that in most cases, parents resisted medicating their children until every other option had been exhausted. For many children, this meant going without proper treatment until suffering became acute. Predictably, Warner also found that access to proper care is severely limited for the parents and children who need it the most--those with limited education, funds or support. Nonmedical therapies, so critical to the management and improvement of childhood mental illness, are rarely covered by insurance, leaving diagnoses--and treatment--up to pediatricians.

Though parents of children who have already grappled with the "issues" defined here will not find Warner's findings surprising (their frustration with an inadequate mental health system and desperation over their children's future cannot be overstated), they will find themselves well represented in this deeply felt, eye-opening call for change.--Debra Ginsberg

Shelf Talker: An insightful and enlightening investigation into the question of whether we are overdiagnosing and overmedicating our children from bestselling author and New York Times columnist Judith Warner.


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