Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Simon & Schuster: Register for Fall Preview!

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

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

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao


Cool Idea of the Day: Books for Servicepeople

Dog-Eared Pages Used Books, Phoenix, Ariz., is aiming to send 100,000 books to members of the armed forces abroad.

"We ask our customers for names and addresses of any soldiers, airmen, or marines they know who are serving overseas and we send them a box of books to share with their fellow soldiers there," Melanie Tighe wrote. "It costs $13 to send 26 paperbacks to Iraq or Afghanistan, and it gives our troops something to do during their off duty hours."

Tighe noted that several returning soldiers have said "there is a shortage of reading material over there."

The store is promoting the effort online. "We have found the community to be very generous both in donating books and postage for this program," Tighe added. "Our local news station even came out and gave us some publicity for the program." For more information, click here.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Notes: U.K. Booksellers Protest Amazon 'Price Parity'

Following's announcement of a policy requiring "price parity from all sellers," meaning that "no website--including eBay--or catalogue, third party platform or mobile applications, could undercut the e-tailer," booksellers have complained to the Office of Fair Trading, the Bookseller reported.

Booksellers Association CEO Tim Godfray told the Bookseller: "Amazon appears to be saying that the price of a book on Marketplace should not be higher than what appears directly--or indirectly--on the 'non-physical' channels of the other business. Booksellers are already concerned about pricing issues in the current free price environment, and we encourage the OFT to look into this."


In a guest blog on, Rebecca Skloot, who is mid-tour for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, wrote happily, "I am here to report: Book tours are not dead."

After visiting 20 cities, she continued, "I've read to thousands of people in classrooms, churches, community centers, cafeterias, bars, chapels, and many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many independent bookstores (a list that will soon include Powell's, where I'll read on April 12th!). Those events have been standing room only thanks to Twitter and Facebook, where I and many people spread the word about my tour stops, and to the countless print, radio, and online interviews I've done each day by phone....

"Every time I walk into a store and see people filling all the chairs and lining the walls and aisles, I want to hop up and down for joy because I'm struck by two exhilarating facts: First, all those people came out to hear an author read when everyone said they wouldn't. And second, in the midst of a steady stream of stories about the death of bookstores (particularly independents), and the death of books in general, every store I've visited has a thriving community of readers devoted to keeping those stores, and the books in them, alive. As a writer who just spent almost eleven years of her life working on one book, going into those communities and hearing how much they care about books is a much needed contrast to the flood of bad news. I'm not delusional enough to believe that this means the future of publishing is all hunky dorey now, but it certainly does make me feel like reports of its demise are premature. As are reports of the book tour's demise: They won't work for every book (more on that another time), but they're certainly not dead."

The post includes a video of the first week of her tour, made by Skloot's boyfriend.


Penguin cheerfully noted that Apple's new guided tour of the iPad features its Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. See it here by clicking on iBooks.


Book video of the day (for the paperback edition, appearing in May): The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo (Unbridled).


In a blog post on the New York Review of Books that went beyond 140 characters, Margaret Atwood praised her experience on Twitter, saying, "Let's just say it's communication, and communication is something human beings like to do."

She said, "I'm well pleased with my followers--I have a number of techno-geeks and bio-geeks, as well as many book fans. They're a playful but also a helpful group. If you ask them for advice, it's immediately forthcoming.... They're sharp: make a typo and they’re on it like a shot, and they tease without mercy. However, if you set them a verbal challenge, a frisson sweeps through them...."

"They raise funds for charity via things like Twestival, they solicit donations for catastrophe victims, they send word of upcoming events, they exchange titles of books they like. Once in a while they're naughty: I did get word of a fellow who'd made a key safe by hollowing out one of my books. (Big yuks from his pals, one of whom ratted him out to me and even sent a pic.) But after I threatened to put the Purple Cross-eyed Zozzle Curse on him, he assured me that no disrespect was intended. (He was forgiven.)"

No word on whether Atwood's tweeting via LongPen.


Stephen King throws a change-up. Just in time for Opening Day next week, indie publisher Cemetery Dance will release Blockade Billy, a new baseball-themed novella by the bestselling author, Entertainment Weekly reported.

"People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story," King said. "Ask no more; this is it."

The book will be available "in a few weeks," according to EW, which wrote that the first copies will come with a baseball card featuring the protagonist. Cemetery Dance's website also cautions that the "novella is not scheduled to be reprinted in King's new collection due out this fall, and we're only printing a small number of first edition copies compared to what Stephen King's New York publishers print for a brand new book. We'll be filling direct orders first and then distributors, online stores, and the chains if there are copies left available after we've taken care of our regular customers."


John Edgar Wideman will self-publish his new book, Briefs: Stories for the Palm of the Mind. The Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy blog reported the author has "entered into an agreement with Lulu, the largest self-publisher in the business. In addition to Briefs, a collection of short shorts, or microfictions, his first three novels are also being reissued through Lulu."

While Wideman "wants readers to find focus in his micro-stories, his main concern ultimately is that of a writer trying to take control of his own work," Jacket Copy noted.

"Most people write because they want independence," said the author. "And that independence is threatened when you have to kowtow to the means of production.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Image of the Day: Office Party

At the new-office warming party for Cleis Press/Viva Editions: (top row, from l.) associate publisher Brenda Knight; publisher and co-founder Frederique Delacoste; Nina Lesowitz, co-author of Living Life as a Thank You; publisher and co-founder Felice Newman; (bottom row, from l.) Jon Ginoli, author of Deflowered; Billee Sharp, author of Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It; Allen Klein, author of the forthcoming Change Your Life!; and Rachel Pepper, with her books The Transgender Child and The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Roxana Saberi Between Two Worlds

Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Raquel Welch, author of Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage (Weinstein Books, $26.95, 9781602860971/1602860971).

Also on GMA: Lisa Lillien, author of Hungry Girl 1-2-3: The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet (St. Martin's Griffin, $19.99, 9780312556181/0312556187).


Tomorrow morning on Fox and Friends: Roxana Saberi, author of Between Two Worlds: My Life and Captivity in Iran (Harper, $25.99, 9780061965289/0061965286). She will also appear tomorrow on the Daily Show and CNN's American Morning.


Tomorrow on the View: Danielle Steel, author of Big Girl: A Novel (Delacorte Press, $28, 9780385343183/0385343183).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Craig Mullaney, author of The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education (Penguin Press, $28.95, 9781594202025/1594202028).

Television: Amish Grace a Lifetime Record Breaker

Amish Grace, which aired last Sunday, was the most-watched original film on Lifetime Movie Network ever, with approximately four million viewers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The movie was based on Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Redeemed a Tragedy by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher (Jossey-Bass).

Movies: Freakonomics; Mao's Last Dancer; Eat, Pray, Love

The world premiere of Freakonomics, a documentary film based on the bestselling book by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, will take place April 30. Variety reported that the movie, which "has been chosen as the closing night film for the Tribeca Film Festival," was directed by Alex Gibney, Morgan Spurlock, Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing, Eugene Jarecki and Seth Gordon.


Scheduled for release in August, the movie Eat, Pray, Love, based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, will feature several Insight Guides travel guides and Berlitz foreign-language dictionaries as Julia Roberts, playing Gilbert, travels to Italy, India and Bali. The trailer itself shows a Berlitz Dictionary--in the bathtub--and an Insight Guide Bali.


Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired U.S. rights to Mao's Last Dancer, adapted from the autobiography by Li Cunxin, who was one of the first students of the Beijing Dance Academy to go to America, Variety wrote. The cast includes Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen, Chi Cao and Amanda Schull. The movie is directed by Bruce Beresford and will open August 6. 


Books & Authors

Awards: SFWA's Author Emeritus

Neal Barrett, Jr., will be honored as Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America during its 2010 Nebula Awards Weekend in Coco Beach, Fla., May 13–16.

Barrett has published more than 50 novels and 70 shorter works since his first sales in 1959. His oeuvre includes The Hereafter Gang, Through Darkest America, Dawn's Uncertain Light and Prince of Christler-Coke as well as the short story collections Perpetuity Blues, Slightly Off Center and A Different Vintage.

"I have a great respect for many of the editors and publishers I've worked with," Barrett said. "And I'd like to say how much I admire the contributions of the small press, houses such as Subterranean Press and Golden Gryphon. I'm proud to say that a lot of what I feel is my best work is due to the editors of these presses."

He added: "Like many professional writers, I've written westerns, mystery-suspense, horror, noir, air war stories, the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, novelizations such as Judge Dredd, Barb Wire and Dungeons & Dragons. One of my all-time favorite jobs is writing comic books--I think I've turned out over a thousand pages by now. That's what writers do, you know--they often do what needs to be done. And I've found that a real pro puts everything he or she has into whatever project comes along. You name it. I can't tell you how many names besides mine are out there over the work I've done for a series or special projects."

The Nebula Awards will be presented at a banquet on Saturday, May 15. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes will be honored with the SFWA Service Award, and Joe Haldeman will be honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master.


Attainment: New Titles Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 6:

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick (Knopf, $29.95, 9781400043606/1400043603) chronicles the president's early life and political career.

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea
by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty (Hyperion, $25.99, 9781401323806/1401323804) explores the hardships faced by Captain Phillips as a hostage held by Somali pirates.

The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594202391/1594202397) examines the causes and effects of the recent economic crash.

A River in the Sky: A Novel by Elizabeth Peters (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061246265/0061246263) is the 19th novel featuring British archeologist Amelia Peabody.

The Lake Shore Limited
by Sue Miller (Knopf, $25.95, 9780307264213/0307264211) follows four people connected by the death of a man on September 11, 2001.

The Black Cat: A Richard Jury Mystery by Martha Grimes (Viking, $25.95, 9780670021604/0670021601) is the 22nd book featuring Scotland Yard detective Richard Jury.

Imperfect Birds: A Novel by Anne Lamott (Riverhead Hardcover, $25.95, 9781594487514/1594487510) is about a rebellious teen whose actions land her in a wilderness rehab program.

Book Review

Book Review: Anthill

Anthill by Edward Osborne Wilson (W. W. Norton & Company, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780393071191, April 2010)

Though he's won two Pulitzer Prizes and owns a distinguished reputation for his science writing, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson has waited until age 80 to make his first attempt at fiction. The product of his maiden effort is a completely satisfying exploration of the conflict between man and nature, epitomized in the story of a young man's determination to preserve a lush habitat that has nurtured his soul.

Raff Cody is the product of a troubled marriage between a mother from the upper crust of Mobile, Ala., society and a decidedly lower-middle class father. From early childhood, Raff is captivated by natural life on a piece of wilderness known as Dead Owl Cove, one of the last remaining tracts of old-growth longleaf pine on the shore of Lake Nokobee. As he matures, he retreats to this setting to take refuge from the tension in his parents' relationship, spending days cataloging the wildlife there and discovering a passion that will propel him to his chosen career.

When he graduates from Harvard Law School, Raff takes a job as corporate counsel for a Mobile developer intent on turning the Nokobee tract into an upscale housing project development when its owners offer it for sale. A committed environmentalist, Raff finds himself poised on an ethical knife's edge as he strives to satisfy his employer's demands while attempting to preserve the unspoiled the wilderness. The novel's shocking climax exposes the difficulty of that task.

Raff's story frames a fascinating novella-length account of life and death in the world of ants, a subject Wilson has explored in his Pulitzer Prize–winning The Ants. Presented as Raff's college senior thesis, "The Anthill Chronicles" traces the eventful life cycles of several ant colonies on Dead Owl Cove. It's a tale spun knowledgeably and dramatically, with compassion for these highly social creatures, and it's packed with astonishing bits of information about ant life (by human scale, the intricate underground structure of an ant colony can reach 200 stories, to cite but one) The savage conflicts between the Trailhead and Waterside colonies are as dramatic as any epic of Herodotus or Thucydides, histories Wilson evokes in his characterization of the tiny warriors as myrmidons and hoplites.

Anthill offers a revealing peek into a small slice of the natural world, yoked to a briskly told exploration of the tension between that world and the human environment. "Every species walks a tightrope through ecological time," Wilson reminds us. "Launched upon it, there is only one way to keep going, and a thousand ways to fall off." That's one sobering lesson among many to take away from this stimulating book. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: In his first novel, noted scientist E.O. Wilson offers a well-paced and informative story of the conflict between man and nature.

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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