Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 31, 2010

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne

Quotation of the Day

Feasting on "Delicious Literature from Around the World'

"We need to have literature in translation because we need the widest possible diversity of work available for people to fall in love with.... We consume delicious foods from around the world. Why shouldn't we consume delicious literature from around the world?"--Alane Salierno Mason, senior editor at W.W. Norton and founder of Words Without Borders, in a new WWB video


Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


New Novella from Stephenie Meyer

At 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 5, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will release Stephenie Meyer's The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (9780316125581/031612558X, $13.99)--if you can call a 192-page book a novella--with a first printing of 1.5 million copies. One dollar from each book sold from that first printing (or two years from pub date, whichever comes sooner) will go to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, "which supports disaster relief efforts such as those in Haiti and Chile."
Meyer said in a statement that she’s "as surprised as anyone" about the novella. She said it began "as an exercise to help me examine the other side of Eclipse." Bree Tanner makes her first appearance as a newborn vampire in Eclipse (book three in the Twilight Saga), and this novella follows the formation of Bree’s army and its plot to target Bella and the Cullens. As a thank-you to fans, Meyer is making Bree available on a dedicated website, from June 7 to July 5. Bree will also be available as an e-book beginning 6 a.m., June 5. More information will be coming by year’s end regarding The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide.


Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Notes: Streisand Headlines BEA; Judging E-Books by Covers

Barbra Streisand will appear at BookExpo America's opening night keynote reception on May 25. She will be interviewed about My Passion for Design in her first appearance on behalf of the book, which will be published by Viking in November.
"We are honored to welcome Barbra Streisand to our stage," said Steven Rosato, BEA event director. "One of the truly exceptional things about having a distinguished guest like Ms. Streisand headline our event for us is that it calls attention to the strength, vitality and excitement that is so much part of the book industry. We are deeply grateful to Ms. Streisand for committing her time and energy to what is certain to be a stellar moment at BEA."  


The popular art of judging books--and their readers--by surreptitious glances at book covers may be in decline. The New York Times explored the challenge of  living in an age of e-book readers, when "it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes. You can’t tell a book by its cover if it doesn’t have one."

The cover still matters, however. Even in a digital era, books "all seem to need what we know of as a cover to identify them," said Chip Kidd, associate art director at Knopf.

Facebook may be currently filling the "peek over your shoulder to see what you're reading" gap. "Before, you might see three people reading Eat, Pray, Love on the subway," said Clare Ferraro, president of Viking and Plume. "Now you’re going to log onto Facebook and see that three of your friends are reading Eat, Pray, Love."


In a "state of the industry" e-mail sent to agents and authors, Hachette U.K. CEO Tim Hely Hutchinson observed that "we think a proportion (only) of the existing traditional booksellers can and will survive and even thrive if and as they adapt and refine the very different shopping experience they can offer the consumer in store and via their own focused websites," the reported.

"It is in all our interests--authors, publishers and buyers of books--that they do so and the Hachette U.K. group of publishers is wholly committed to supporting all 'bricks and mortar' booksellers and in particular the independent book trade," Hely Hutchinson wrote.


Today is the final day for Elliott Bay Book Company at its Pioneer Square location, and Seattlest noted "we can't help but feel as if a good friend is moving away.... We're positive that the new store will be just as much of a home for us in the future as the Pioneer Square location is now, but that doesn't mean we have to be happy about it. Change is hard; and though we will miss the Shakespearian Globe-esque feel of the space, the smell of cedar and the wall-to-wall books, the creaking floor boards, and not to mention some of our most favorite Seattle literary moments, we're supportive and optimistic for Elliott Bay's future on the hill." The bookstore plans to reopen at its new Capitol Hill location by mid-April.


Congratulations to R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., which will begin celebrating its 20th birthday on Monday, April 19, with a party in the afternoon--the first of a series of events this year. "We'll toast to you, our wonderful readers and customers, to all those fabulous books that have inspired us throughout the years, and to another twenty years of helping you find just the right book," owner Roxanne Coady wrote in an e-mail to customers.

Other celebratory events include "a really big party in July," an essay contest about "the book that changed your life," commemorative T-shirts, author videos and more.

Coady promised during the year to share "my thoughts on all the many challenges (and of course opportunities) bookstores are facing. When we opened, there were only a handful of chain bookstores, cell phones were the size of bricks, and the only Amazon was a river in South America. The value of shopping locally, the new world of e-commerce, and the advent of digital reading versus paper are just a few of the topics on my mind lately. It's safe to say that R.J. Julia will look very different in 2030 than it does today, but still, our love of reading and passion for finding the perfect book for everyone who walks through our doors will remain undimmed."

Design Crave showcased the remodeled café at McNally Jackson Books in New York City, noting that for Front Studio's renovations, the bookshop's owner, Sarah McNally, "wished to re-conceptualize the café as a place evocative of literature. A collaboration between the owner and architects, all avid readers, the newly realized space creates visceral connections to the act of reading in each programmatic function."

Books are suspended from the ceiling "like a pile of books falling from the sky" and the "curved wall surrounding the seating area is covered in wallpaper made entirely of open spine books, the texture of the print adds a rippling effect of restless pages," Design Crave wrote.


Apple has released iTunes version 9.1, which features "a handful of improvements and iPad compatibility," CNET reported, adding that in anticipation of Saturday's iPad debut, the "Audiobook library category has been renamed 'Books' and broadened to include all book-related content, including audiobooks and back-ups of e-books purchased using the iPad's iBooks app. Although the feature isn't advertised, we found that free EPUB books from Project Guttenberg or Google Books can be imported via drag and drop. Unfortunately, without the option to view e-book files within iTunes, the new feature is useless without a compatible device with which to sync."


University of iPad? Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa., plans to give a new Apple iPad to every full-time student in fall semester, 2010, to kick off the school's Griffin Technology Advantage Program.


Book trailer of the day: 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan (Harper).


NPR's What We're Reading list for this week includes Solar by Ian McEwan, For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World's Favorite Drink and Changed History by Sarah Rose, Dreams in a Time of War: A Childhood Memoir by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and The Line by Olga Grushin.


Thriller author Timothy Hallinan is looking for a little help naming the fourth novel in his Poke Rafferty series. The book, set in Bangkok and scheduled for an August release, is currently listed in the Morrow catalogue as Title TK, which he thinks "lacks that certain snap that makes a reader pick up a book. So the people at Morrow and I are asking your help in naming it."

In the Huffington Post, Hallinan offered readers a chance to vote on three possible titles: The Queen of Patpong, The Patpong Girl and The Rocks.


GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Not My Boy!

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Rodney Peete, author of Not My Boy!: A Father, A Son, and One Family's Journey with Autism (Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401323615/1401323618).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Scott Cohen, author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby's First Year (Scribner, $16, 9781439117064/1439117063).

Also on GMA: Cindy Ratzlaff and Kathy Kinney, authors of Queen of Your Own Life (Harlequin, $18.95, 9780373892150/0373892152).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Joshua Ferris, author of The Unnamed (Reagan Arthur Books, $24.99, 9780316034012/0316034010). As the show puts it: "Josh Ferris, who won a huge audience with his hilarious office novel, Then We Came to the End, has done an about-face--he's left the office. The hero of his new novel, The Unnamed, has left the office, too. He's the victim of an 'unnamed' disease that compels him to walk until he reaches exhaustion."


Tomorrow night on Larry King Live: Chelsea Handler, author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446552448/0446552445).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, authors of Mike and Mike's Rules for Sports and Life (ESPN, $26, 9780345516220/0345516222).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Judith Shulevitz, author of The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time (Random House, $26, 9781400062003/1400062004).


Friday morning on the Early Show: Daisy Martinez, author of Daisy: Morning, Noon and Night: Bringing Your Family Together with Everyday Latin Dishes (Atria, $30, 9781439157534/1439157537).

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Television: The Walking Dead

The AMC network has greenlighted six episodes of a project based on Robert Kirkman's graphic novel series The Walking Dead. Frank Darabont co-wrote and is directing the pilot, which will begin shooting in June and is "targeted for an October bow, dovetailing with Halloween and AMC's annual 'Fearfest' two-week marathon of horror and thriller pics," Variety reported.

"He's taken the baseline road map of the underlying material and just blew it out to the next level," said Joel Stillerman, AMC's senior v-p of programming, production and digital content. "There's stuff in there that will make the people who love the comics very happy and some surprises in there as well."


Movies: The Extra Man

Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to The Extra Man, adapted from the novel by Jonathan Ames, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The film, which stars Kevin Kline and Paul Dano, was written by Ames with directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. A late July release is planned.

Books & Authors

Awards: Ted Hughes

Alice Oswald's Weeds and Wild Flowers won the inaugural £5,000 (US$7,578) Ted Hughes award for new work in poetry. The prize was founded by British poet Carol Ann Duffy laureate and is funded by her yearly stipend from the Queen. Oswald topped a shortlist that included The Cinder Path by Andrew Motion and The Maw Broon Monologues by Jackie Kay.

Prize judge Jo Shapcott said Oswald's collection, in which she imagines the characters behind the evocative names of common plants and flowers, crossed "artistic boundaries and age boundaries and is unsettling and unsettled in every good way," the Guardian reported.

Duffy cited the inclusion of etchings by Jessica Greenman as notable: "I think it was a fabulous shortlist anyway, but Alice Oswald of all poets working today is probably the most like Hughes, so it seems fitting that she gets the first award. And I think Ted would have been bowled over by her collection."


Children's Reviews: Two Books that Tackle ABC & 1 2 3

L M N O Peas by Keith Baker (Beach Lane/S&S, $16.99, 9781416991410/1416991417, 40 pp., ages 3-7, April 2010)

Frankie Works the Night Shift by Lisa Westberg Peters, illus. by Jennifer Taylor (Greenwillow/HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780060090951/0060090952, 32 pp., ages 2-5, March 2010)

Just when you think you've had your fill of alphabet and counting books, two more completely original approaches come along. Keith Baker, no stranger to counting off spuds ("One potato, two potato...") in Potato Joe, employs an industrious cast of peas to illuminate the alphabet. For starters, his peas don a beret and wield a palette like a shield (for "artists"), and blast off in a purple rocket to float in space. Some peas bathe within the lower opening of a capital "B" while hard-hatted peas build out the top of the letter, and bikers wheel past. The author-artist plants punch lines just for parents ("some of us are kings" depicts a crowned gent atop a castle tower while a pea in an Elvis 'do swoons with the mic stand), and finds clever ways for scenes to do double duty. A pool of water requiring "plumbers" to fix a leak, for instance, serves as a safe landing for "parachutists." Some of the vignettes connect, such as the biker in the lead for the "B" spread being flagged first at the finish line for "F." (And watch for the ladybug on every spread.) This book makes it a pleasure to contemplate the question, 'What will you be when you grow up?'

Author Peters (Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck) and artist Taylor, in an impressive debut, exploit the nocturnal nature of felines to hilarious effect as they count off the tabby hero's tasks. Frank, the feline manning the hardware store, "empties one wastebasket," fish in mouth, and sends trash flying. Sporting a spiffy apron, he slides on two dishcloths down parallel workstations ("he cleans two counters") before "call[ing] three meetings" from the cat door (with two nearby cats and a bulldog who's burrowed under the fence). Taylor knows cats. The digital photographs capture postures that every cat lover will recognize, especially when Frank "spots an intruder behind six hammers!" (a mouse) then gives chase (kids will love the "ignores nine bosses" illustration as the cat speeds past the family portrait gallery) and finally stretches out with "ten... big... yawns." The last spread suggests other adventures to follow, and youngsters can only hope Frankie will be back on the schedule for another shift.--Jennifer M. Brown

Book Brahmin: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

A writer for more than 40 years, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has sold 85 books and more than 90 works of short fiction, essays and reviews. She also composes music. She lives in Berkeley, Calif., with three autocratic cats. In 2003, the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award; the International Horror Guild honored her as a Living Legend in 2006; and the Horror Writers of America presented her with a lifetime achievement award in 2009. Her latest in the Count Saint-Germain series is A Dangerous Climate (Tor, March 16, 2010).

On your nightstand now:

The French Revolution, Vol. 2, by Georges Lefebvre; Language on Vacation by Dmitri Borgmann; The Chinese Bell: A Judge Dee Mystery by Robert van Gulik; and The Model by Robert Aickman.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Horton Hatches the Egg
--the one that I learned to read on.

Your top five authors:

Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare and Roger Zelazny.

Book you've faked reading:

Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I don't evangelize for books, or anything else, for that matter. I do like to proselytize for words, like esurience (fixated hunger, very handy in vampire books), chiliastic (theology based on the arrival of the millennium, as compared to apocalyptic theology, based on the end of the world) and glabrous (smooth-skinned).

Books you've bought for the cover:

I can't remember the last time I did that. I do buy books for interesting titles.

Book that changed your life:

Horton Hatches the Egg, for the reason cited above.

Favorite line from a book:

There are too many good ones to have a single favorite.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Alice in Wonderland, if I could be seven again to do it.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling titles at independent bookstores in and around Chicago during the week ended Sunday, March 28:

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
3. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
4. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
5. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
3. The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose
4. Change Your Brain, Change Your Health by Daniel Amen
5. Willie Mays by James Hirsch

Paperback Fiction

1. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
5. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Food Rules by Michael Pollan
2. Flannery by Brad Gooch
3. Publish This Book by Stephen Markley
4. The Great Lakes Reader by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
5. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson


1. Wimpy Kid the Movie by Jeff Kinney
2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
3. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary by Jeff Kinney
4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
5. Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce

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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