Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 11, 2010

Del Rey Books: The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

Jy: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Press: The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Quotation of the Day

Print 'Brought a New Beauty into the World'

"Printing was as revolutionary as the Internet is now when Dürer created his Melencolia I, and it too had victims. Those medieval scriptoria were doomed, and those who clung to the handwritten and painted word would be eclipsed. Critics of today's new communications see the aggression of bloggers as a vice of the digital age, but what about the aggression unleashed by the printing press? The resources of new technology that let Dürer create Melencolia I were soon being exploited to create vicious religious prints portraying the Pope as antichrist. The printing press democratized knowledge, and with democracy came spite, libel, destruction and violence. But it also brought a new beauty into the world, and every book that has ever been published, every sheet of a newspaper blown along the street, is part of that beauty."--Jonathan Jones in the Guardian's On Art blog.


Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël


Notes: Canada 'Leaning Toward' Amazon; Google's Italian Deal

The Canadian government "is leaning toward" permitting Amazon to set up a warehouse and shipping center in the country, a move the Canadian Booksellers Association strongly opposes (Shelf Awareness, March 9, 2010).

The Globe & Mail reported that a positive decision, should that occur, would be "based on the belief the U.S. firm's entrance would offer a 'net benefit' for Canadians." Citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent Speech from the Throne, a senior official said, "It's anti-protectionist. It's [about] free and open trade.... If you look at the issue specifically, it's Amazon setting up a warehouse to be able to distribute what they already distribute via the Internet. There's no change in terms of Canadian content."

Paul Misener, v-p of global public policy at Amazon, challenged the CBA's claims that the company's presence would threaten Canadian culture: "At some level it seems preposterous that that claim could be made, especially given our track record of eight years serving Canadian customers and authors and publishers. To claim that somehow an American company can't help Canadian culture is just proved wrong by the facts."

The Canadian publishing community appears divided on the issue, according to the Globe & Mail. Jacqueline Hushion, executive director of the Canadian Publishers' Council, said, "I think publishers have been satisfied with's relationship with them and Canada."

But Carolyn Wood, executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, said her group "endorses the policy of Canadian ownership of all elements of the book supply chain: publishing, distribution and retail. As with all cultural industries, the stronger and more stable the Canadian production and supply chain, the more likely Canadians are to encounter the culture of their own country."


Google has reached a publishing partnership deal with the Italian government that "involves digitizing up to one million books held in the National Libraries in Rome and Florence," the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Calling the deal "groundbreaking," Nikesh Arora, Google's president of global sales operations and business development, said "the project sets a precedent for similar ventures around Europe and emphasized his company was using its technological skills in disseminating texts to make them more readily accessible to more people in more places," the Journal wrote.

Seven independent bookstores in Paris have launched a collective portal,, to sell new books online, the reported. Syndicat de la Librairie Française, the French booksellers association, is working on a nationwide portal, but that won't be operative until next January.

"We didn't want to wait," said Renny Aupetit, president of the joint venture and owner of Le Comptoir de Mots. "I launched the idea of a portal at the SLF four years ago when I was a member of the board, but the project is taking a long time because it is difficult for 300 or 400 booksellers to reach agreement." Librest will join the national portal when the time comes, but will also preserve its own effort, wrote.

"Our idea is not to become online booksellers, but to provide an extra service for our customers," said Aupetit. "If we acquire new ones along the way, so much the better."


"Will books be the next to go in Apple's App Store purge?" asked TechCrunch, noting that "books represent 27,000 of the App Store's 150,000 applications, making them the most abundant type of application on the App Store. And they're becoming increasingly redundant."

It's just speculation at this stage, but TechCrunch observed that, "given the impending release of Apple's own iBooks app alongside the iPad, and the recent App Store cleanup spree, I won't be at all surprised if they do something to change the way books are treated on the platform."


Book trailer of the day: Free Feminist Association, which was made after an event at Moe's Bookstore, Berkeley, Calif., for Girldrive: Criss-Crossing American, Redefining Feminism by Nona Willis Aronowitz (Seal Press). The video consists of interviews on the streets of Berkeley with young women concerning their feelings about feminism. This is the first in the Seal Shorts series, videos made by Seal Press highlighting its authors and books "in new and interesting ways, rather than a straightforward book video."


A reviewer in 1939 described James Joyce's Finnegans Wake as a work that "is not written in English, or in any other language, as language is commonly known."

Now, after three decades of editorial work by scholars Danis Rose and John O'Hanlon and 9,000 amendments to the original text, a new edition of the novel will be published that "is promising to provide readers with a smoother, more comprehensible version of the author's final work," the Guardian reported.


How does Pip describe the spring in Great Expectations? Catch literary spring fever with the Guardian's Spring in Literature quiz "on the pleasures of the sweetest season."


Penguin Group is launching Current, an imprint for science books for general readers that will share the existing editorial, marketing and publicity staff of imprints Portfolio and Sentinel. Current's debut titles will be The Youth Pill: Scientists at the Brink of an Anti-Aging Revolution by David Stipp (July 2010) and The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships by Clifford Nass, with Corina Yen (September 2010).


Mark Levine has joined BookMasters Distribution Services as publisher relations manager. He was formerly acquisitions editor for Barnes & Noble Publishing and has several decades of experience in publishing. He will be based in the company's New York City office.


GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Bookstore Makes Waves in Manhattan Beach

Patty Gibson and Linda McLoughlin Figel talked for two years about opening a bookstore in their hometown of Manhattan Beach, Calif., but they never got past the planning stage--until another friend, Margot Farris, heard about the idea and asked to join the venture. "Margot was really the fire," Gibson said. "She came along, and two weeks later we were signing a lease."

The trio is celebrating the grand opening of pages: a bookstore this Friday, March 12. A block from the beach, the store is in a vibrant shopping area that's trafficked by locals as well as a steady stream of tourists visiting the surf town. Manhattan Beach's only other independent book shop, Hungry Mind, closed down years ago. "The community is really excited about having a store like this. People have been walking in and we haven't even opened yet," said Farris of the 2,000-sq.-ft. general-interest book shop.

Crime novelist Denise Hamilton, who lives in nearby Los Angeles, is headlining the festivities at Friday's "Booklovers launch party." Several other upcoming events include one with Kelly Corrigan, author of the memoirs The Middle Place and Lift, who will appear at pages on March 21. The event with Corrigan came about when Erin Condren, the owner of a local stationery company and a friend of the writer, asked about hosting the event at pages. The two businesses are jointly promoting Corrigan's appearance, and they're expecting a crowd of at least 100.

Another area resident, Denise Crandall, inspired pages' inaugural window display. She organized a craft session last week at the store, and volunteer participants created colorful wreaths made out of book pages that now hang in the front window. Another unusual touch is a showcase featuring first edition works, including Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream and a typewriter that was owned by Figel's great-grandfather. (The vintage tomes belong to her and her father and, alas, are not for sale.)

Gibson, Figel and Farris previously worked in entertainment development, finance and meeting planning, respectively. Although they might eventually take on designated roles in running the bookstore, for now they're each learning all aspects of the business. And for them, having a three-person team is a clear asset. "Every day there is a new challenge that needs to be handled right away, and it has worked incredibly well that whoever is the most equipped at that moment to handle it just does it," said Figel. "We're all 'roll up your sleeves and get it done' kind of people, and having the three of us has been a real blessing."

They plan to operate the store with the help of an employee who will run the show during later evening hours and on weekends so they can focus on their other important roles: moms. "We've bonded over kids and books," said Gibson of her business partners. She has been friends with Farris for several years and with Figel for two decades. Gibson and Figel are both members of a book club that has been going strong for 15 years, and their group convened at the store last month. They're going to be reaching out to other book clubs to follow suit and make pages their home base for meetings.

About a year ago, Gibson and Figel attended a bookstore training session with Paz & Associates. "It was an incredibly worthwhile experience because they prepare you so well for all the different steps you need to take to make the bookstore happen," Gibson said. At the workshop they met Shannon Piserchio, who opened the Bookery Nook in Denver, Colo., last spring (Shelf Awareness, April 27, 2009). "She has been a real muse and an incredibly generous source of information," said Figel. "Our sense that independent booksellers are a kind and generous breed has really been confirmed."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Endless War

Today on Talk of the Nation: Father Greg Boyle, co-author of Sheep Can't Fly (826 Books, $15, 9781934750124/1934750123).


Tomorrow on the O'Reilly Factor: Ralph Peters author of Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization (Stackpole Books, $27.95, 9780811705509/0811705501).


Tomorrow on Univision's Despierta America: Dr. Jane L. Delgado, author of La Guia de Salud: Consejos y Respuestas para la Mujer Latina (Newmarket Press, $15.95, 9781557048554/155704855X), also published in English under the title The Latina Guide to Health: Consejos and Caring Answers (Newmarket Press, $15.95, 9781557048547/1557048541).


Tomorrow night on Larry King Live: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of It's Not Me, It's You: Subjective Recollections from a Terminally Optimistic, Chronically Sarcastic and Occasionally Inebriated Woman (Simon Spotlight, $23.99, 9781416954149/1416954147).

This Weekend on Book TV: Race & Reconciliation in America

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week 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, March 13

1 p.m. At an event hosted by Hue-Man Bookstore in New York City, Rawn James discusses his book Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and the Struggle to End Segregation (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781596916067/1596916060). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

3 p.m. Book TV offers live coverage of  the 2010 Tucson Festival of the Book from the campus of the University of Arizona. Featured writers include Dan Balz, author of The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election (Viking, $29.95, 9780670021116/0670021113), and Timothy Egan, author of The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780618968411/0618968415).

8 p.m. Lee Smith, author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations (Doubleday, $26, 9780385516112/0385516118), contends that in the Middle East the general public tends to follow whoever is the strongest leader. 
10 p.m. After Words. Congressman John Lewis interviews Bill Cohen and Janet Langhart Cohen, co-authors of Race & Reconciliation in America (Lexington Books, $24.95, 9780739135518/0739135511). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, March 14

8 a.m. Robert McChensey and John Nichols, co-authors of The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again (Nation Books, $26.95, 9781568586052/1568586051), argue that a new era of partisan journalism subsidized by the government must emerge. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

10 a.m. Karl Rove, author of Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight (Threshold Editions, $30, 9781439191057/1439191050), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program, sending questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

1 p.m. More live coverage of  the 2010 Tucson Festival of the Book. Featured writers include Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain In Its Darkest, Finest Hour (Random House, $28, 9781400067589/1400067588).


Television: Patricia Cornwell Adaptations on Lifetime

A pair of TV movies based on Patricia Cornwell's mysteries will premiere in April. The Wrap reported that Patricia Cornwell's At Risk--starring Daniel Sunjata as Win Garano and Andie MacDowell as D.A. Monique Lamont--will debut on Saturday, April 10, at 9 p.m.; and Patricia Cornwell's The Front will premiere April 17 at the same time.

The Pacific: Fourth Wave of Book Tie-ins

Another tie-in to HBO's The Pacific, the miniseries that starts this Sunday:

Strong Men Armed: The United States Against Japan by Robert Leckie (Da Capo Press, $17.95, 9780306818875/0306818876), one of the three veterans the series follows.

As scout and machine-gunner for the First Marine Division, the author fought in all its engagements until his wounding at Peleliu. For Strong Men Armed, he used his experience and researched battles of the Pacific campaign.


Books & Authors

Awards: Best Translated Book Awards

Winners of the 2010 Best Translated Book Awards were honored last night during an event hosted by Idlewild Books in New York City. The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven, translated from the Hebrew by Dalya Bilu (Melville House Publishing) won the fiction prize. The Russian Version by Elena Fanailova’s, translated from the Russian by Genya Turovskaya and Stephanie Sandler (Ugly Duckling Presse), was the poetry winner.

"It was very difficult choosing a winner from the ten fiction finalists," said Chad W. Post, panelist and director of Open Letter Books and Three Percent, which organized the BTBAs to honor the best original works of international literature and poetry published in the U.S. over the past year. "There were four or five titles that we all would’ve been happy to see win. This just goes to show how many high-quality works are coming out in English translation. Over the past three years of the award, we’ve honored five different presses and works from five different languages. Despite the common laments about the paltry percentage of books published in America that originate elsewhere, it’s clear that there are a number of really excellent books from all corners of the globe making their way over here. That said, it’s a big night for both women writers and Brooklyn-based indie presses."


Shelf Starter: The Irresistible Henry House

The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald (Random House, $25, 9781400063000/1400063000, March 16, 2010)

Opening lines of books we want to read:

By the time Henry House was four months old, a copy of his picture was being carried in the pocketbook of seven different women, each of whom called him her son.

The photograph showed Henry on the day he arrived at Wilton College in 1946. He was lying naked in his crib, his backside bare and sassy, his hair already shiny and dark, and his grin already firmly in place as he pulled up on his chubby hands and turned back toward the sound of his name.

Henry House was a practice baby, an orphan supplied by the local home for the purpose of teaching college women how to be proper mothers....

Raised, as a consequence, not with a pack of orphans by a single matron but as a single orphan by pack of mothers, Henry House started life in a fragrant, dust-free, fractured world, where love and disappointment were both excessive and intertwined. --Selected by Marilyn Dahl

Book Review

Book Review: Roots of Steel

Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town by Deborah Rudacille (Pantheon Books, $27.00 Hardcover, 9780375423680, March 2010)

At its peak in 1959, Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point mill, near Baltimore, employed more than 36,000 people and was the world's largest steel plant. Today, a mere 3,000 work there for the Russian steel company Severstal. Deborah Rudacille's history-cum-memoir tells a colorful but ultimately discouraging story that stands as proxy for the inexorable decline of the U.S.'s industrial dominance.

Born in the blue-collar town of Dundalk, Md., a planned community created by Bethlehem for its workers after it took over Sparrows Point in 1916, Rudacille had many family members, including her father, who worked at the mill. She draws on those relationships and extensive interviews with other longtime employees to provide an intensely personal and candid cast to her narrative.

In uninflected prose as straightforward as the manufacturing processes she describes in capable detail, Rudacille, a science writer, offers a workmanlike account of Sparrows Point's storied life. The touchstones of her tale are the plant's long and often violent history of labor strife (the United Steelworkers first organized the plant in 1941), the racial tensions that plagued the workforce and the myopic decisions of Bethlehem management (its mishandling of the legacy costs of retired employees and a reluctance to invest in new technology are two of the most glaring) that contributed to a generation-long death spiral.

Rudacille brings a decidedly pro-union perspective to her story, praising the USW for its efforts to address some of Sparrows Point's worst environmental and safety depredations. Despite that, her decision not to whitewash the union's role in preserving a seniority system that served to perpetuate racial inequality lends credibility to her account.

Yet the tale of Sparrows Point is much more than a depressing saga of dangerous, backbreaking labor and racial strife. The shipyards adjacent to the mill played a critical role in arming the U.S. in World War II, grinding out warships at the astonishing rate of one every two weeks at the height of their productivity. And beginning with the postwar generation, the wages brought home by the millworkers were responsible for moving thousands of families decisively into the middle class, enabling their children and grandchildren to attend college and obtain jobs in the service industries that have supplanted manufacturing as the country's employment base.

On the heels of Bethlehem's bankruptcy in 2001, Sparrows Point changed hands four times between 2003 and 2008, as corporate vultures picked over the company's carcass. Roots of Steel delivers an unsentimental epitaph for a vanished era in the country's economic history. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker:
An insightful account of the flourishing and slow decline of an iconic institution in the history of American industry.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling titles in independent bookstores in and near Chicago during the week ended Sunday, March 7:

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
4. The Man with Two Arms by Billy Lombardo
5. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
2. Lift by Kelly Corrigan
3. Just Kids by Patti Smith
4. Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
5. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Paperback Fiction

1. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
3. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
5. The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
2. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
3. Are You There Vodka It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
4. The Lost City of Z by David Grann
5. The Secret History of the World by Mark Booth


1. Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
2. Percy Jackson #4: Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
3. Percy Jackson #1: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
4. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
5. Percy Jackson #3: Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

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 reporting booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]



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