Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 19, 2010

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Quotation of the Day

'A Small, Excellent Primer on Bookselling and Its Discontents'

"The Letters of Sylvia Beach is a small, excellent primer on bookselling and its discontents. When world events get interesting, she complains, people buy newspapers, not books. She scrambles, during the early war years, to find fuel to keep the store habitable. And she dispels some of the profession's romance. 'A bookshop is mostly tiresome details all day long and you have to have a passion for it,' she writes, 'to grub and grub in it. I have always loved books and their authors, and for the sake of them swallowed the rest of it, but you can't expect everyone to do the same.' " --From a review in today's New York Times of The Letters of Sylvia Beach, edited by Keri Walsh (Columbia University Press).


Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton


London Book Fair: Making Lemonade Out of Volcanic Ash

Like many North Americans who had planned to attend the London Book Fair, we're all firmly ensconced on home soil. We know of only a few U.S. book people at the fair, including Kirsty Melville of Andrews McMeel and Jon Malinowski of Combined Book Exhibit, all of whom arrived in England earlier last week.

Intrepid reporter Mark Suchomel, whose day job is president of Independent Publishers Group, wrote last night from London:

"The show floor mostly looks like it should on Sunday, but it did seem a bit quieter. There were no lines for exhibitor badges and no lines for exhibitor services. A couple of people who work on the floor said that as many as 150 exhibitors have already told the show they couldn't make it. It was hard to tell today who that is because people were still arriving for setup. Brooke O'Donnell and I have been here for a week meeting with Trafalgar clients, but Susan Sewall and Paul Murphy couldn't make it. I am also lucky to be traveling with industry veteran Liz Ziehl who is stepping in to man the booth and help field questions about rights and distribution services while we're in meetings. Most of our meetings are with U.K. companies so I don't have too many cancellations yet."


South Africa is the focus country of this year's fair, but many South African publishers and authors were not able to travel to London. Undeterred, in cooperation with the London Book Fair, BOOK SA, the Internet newspaper for books from southern Africa, is organizing a Not the London Book Fair event this evening at 6 p.m. at the Book Lounge bookstore in Cape Town.

"Readings, panels, debate and interviews will be live-reported through to the LBF, so those at the LBF will still get a sense of the richness and freshness of our talent," BOOK SA said on its website. "Reportage will take the form of podcasts, live-tweeting, live-blogging, and hopefully a video link-up directly to the London Book Fair. Possibilities for Skype-ing are also being investigated."


The Guardian asks: "Stuck at home, cursing the Icelandic volcano as your holiday plans circle the drain? While away the empty hours with our quiz on volcanoes in literature."


In a similar vein, on his Classics Rock! site, Larry Hughes offers "Odes to Literary Volcanoes": a discussion of songs that were inspired by works of literature featuring volcanoes. Among them are two songs inspired by Under the Volcano, a Sousa suite based on The Last Days of Pompeii, compositions inspired by Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings and more.

Notes: B&N's New nooks; BAM's Yogurt Purchase

This year Barnes & Noble plans to introduce two new versions of the nook e-reader, according to Gizmodo. One is "nook lite," a wi-fi only version that will sell for $199; the other is nook 2, also known as Project Encore. In addition, a software update for the current nook reportedly includes a full browser.


Books-A-Million's investment in Yogurt Mountain, which it announced earlier this month (Shelf Awareness, April 2, 2010), included a $3 million payment as well as commitment to a $1.5 million line of credit for the self-serve franchise that has two stores in Alabama, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.

The line of credit runs through 2015. Proceeds from BAM's deal with Yogurt Mountain will be used for "new store growth capital requirements."


Fashion designer Marc Jacobs is apparently opening a bookstore in the West Village in New York City, in the longtime former site of the Biography Book Shop, racked reported. The store is rumored to be called Book Marc and would be his sixth store in the area but first as a bookstore.

Biography Book Shop moved about eight blocks south on Bleecker Street last year and is now called Bookbook.


Newtonville Books, Newton, Mass., which is moving the Lizard's Tale, its children's bookstore, back into the main bookstore (Shelf Awareness, April 15, 2010), is converting the 1,300-sq.-ft. Lizard's Tale space in its building to a Used Book Annex, founded "by popular demand."

The bookstore said it is "primarily interested in fiction and mystery," wants "history, religion, travel writing (not travel guides), biography, memoir, language, philosophy, and psychology" and will carry paperbacks only.

Newtonville Books will pay 15% of the cover price in store credit only, which can be used for new as well as used books. The first buying date will be Saturday, May 1.


All day tomorrow McLean and Eakin, Petoskey, Mich., celebrates having given more than $100,000 to local schools and organizations. The party includes games, prizes, snacks and raffles. Click here to see the store's video about its 10% program.


In a story titled "Mr. Cinderella: From Rejection Notes to the Pulitzer," the New York Times traces the lovely tale of the climb of Tinkers by Paul Harding from multiple rejections and several years collecting dust in a drawer to Pulitzer fiction winner last week.

The story resembles sister publication Boston Globe's piece last week, but with a little different emphasis. Noting the key roles played by Bellevue Literary Press's Erika Goldman and Consortium rep Lise Solomon, among others, the Times also credited an independent bookseller: Michele Filgate, events manager at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. At a workshop given by Rebecca Sinkler, a former New York Times Book Review editor and chair of this year's Pulitzer fiction jury, Filgate "first told" Sinkler about Tinkers, which she loved.


The New York Times also has a piece about how the New York City school system's recent change in purchasing trade books for classrooms has sidelined many longtime local vendors.

Once a decentralized process with as many as 100 suppliers, now the city's Department of Education buys trade books only from Ingram and the Booksource. (Textbooks are bought mainly direct from publishers. Library books are purchased from Baker & Taylor under a program modeled on the new trade book buying program.) The two companies promise savings of at least 30%.

Smaller suppliers were cut out of the bidding process by a requirement that vendors have annual sales of at least $5 million. Two of the smaller companies, Sussman Sales Company and Lois Sharzer Associates, have been working in partnership with Ingram and the Booksource, "serving as their local sales force."

The top two trade titles ordered by the school system are the Barron's test prep books for New York State's Regents exams on integrated algebra and U.S. history.


Penguin Group Australia is pulping and reprinting 7,000 copies of a new cookbook, Pasta Bible, because of a typo that rendered the phrase "freshly ground black pepper" to read "freshly ground black people," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Books are not being recalled, however. Noting that the proper phrase was in many of the book's recipes and that the offending phrase was likely a spell checker error, Penguin head of publishing Bob Sessions told the paper: "We're mortified that this has become an issue of any kind and why anyone would be offended, we don't know."


Book trailers of the day: Silent Scream by Karen Rose and I Can See You by Karen Rose (both from Grand Central).


"We don't sell books to the highest bidder," Laura Hansen, owner of Bookin' It bookstore, Little Falls, Minn., wrote in an "Open Letter to Book Lovers from Your Local Bookstore" on her shop's Facebook page last week. "We don't tempt you with rock bottom prices. We do what booksellers have done for (hundreds of) years. We stock books we love and books you can use. We listen to your needs, share your delights, celebrate our community. We read just like you. These days there are a lot of ways to distribute what is written and even more ways to advertise than ever before. But the essential ingredients of bookselling remain the same: an author, a publisher, a bookseller, a reader."


It's never too early to start talking about beach reads. Entertainment Weekly featured "18 Books We Can't Wait to Read This Summer."

Cool Idea of the Day: Whirlwind Bookstore Tour

This morning Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association executive director Thom Chambliss and Book Travelers West rep Kurtis Lowe begin a whirlwind tour of 30 bookstores in four days. The pair will blog about it--and maybe brag about it--as well as share comments from booksellers, post photos and include a video or two, all on the Book Travelers West site. The stores are in and near Seattle and Puget Sound.

Happy touring!

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Clarke and Cyber War

Today on ABC News Now: Stacy Johnson, author of Life or Debt 2010: A New Path to Financial Freedom (Pocket, $15, 9781439168608/1439168601).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Raquel Welch, author of Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage (Weinstein Books, $26.95, 9781602860971/1602860971).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Richard Clarke, author of Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It (Ecco, $25.99, 9780061962233/0061962236). Clarke also appears on Good Morning America tomorrow.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: George Will, author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball (Harper, $14, 9780060973728/0060973722).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Nancy Makin, author of 703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525951377/0525951377).


Tomorrow on Extra: Paula Deen and Brandon Branch, authors of Paula Deen's Savannah Style (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781416552246/1416552243).


Tomorrow night on Larry King Live: Craig Robinson, author of A Game of Character: A Family Journey from Chicago's Southside to the Ivy League and Beyond (Gotham, $26, 9781592405480/1592405487).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: John O'Hara, author of A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes (Wiley, $24.95, 9780470567982/0470567988).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: David Chang, author of Momofuku (Clarkson Potter, $40, 9780307451958/030745195X).

Movie: Adapting Fiction into a 'Merchant Ivory Film'

Producer James Ivory crafted numerous film versions of literary classics with the late Ismail Merchant, including Howards End, A Room with a View, The Golden Bowl and The Remains of the Day. Ivory spoke with New York magazine about adapting Peter Cameron's novel The City of Your Final Destination, and "what constitutes a 'Merchant Ivory film.' "

"We are pigeonholed in exactly that way--'like a Merchant Ivory film,' " he said. "I mean, I think of a Merchant Ivory film as very well written and very well acted and visually beautiful. [Laughs] I don't think of it as a Merchant Ivory film just because it has old cars or carriages and long dresses in it."


Books & Authors

Awards: Minnesota Book Awards

Winners of the 2010 Minnesota Book Awards, a joint venture of Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the St. Paul Public Library and the city of St. Paul., were honored Saturday. The Pioneer Press reported that recipients included:


Children's literature: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
General nonfiction: I Go to America: Swedish American Women and the Life of Mina Anderson by Joy K. Lintelman (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
Genre fiction: Jelly's Gold by David Housewright (Minotaur)
Memoir/Creative nonfiction: The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder's Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows by Kent Nerburn (New World Library)
Minnesota: Opening Goliath: Danger and Discovery in Caving by Cary J. Griffith (Borealis Books/Minnesota Historical Society Press)
Novel/Short story: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James (Riverhead).
Poetry: I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman by Jude Nutter (University of Notre Dame Press)
Young people's literature: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)
Readers' choice award: Honor Bright: A Century of Scouting in Northern Star Council by Dave Kenney (Northern Star Council, Boy Scouts of America)
Kay Sexton Award for outstanding contributions to Minnesota's literary community: Carolyn Holbrook, founder of SASE: The Write Place.
Book Artist Award: Wilber H. "Chip" Schilling.


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:


The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott: A Novel
by Kelly O'Connor McNees (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $24.95, 9780399156526/0399156526). "McNees deftly tells the fictional story of the summer the Alcott family spent in rural New Hampshire that changed young Louisa forever. A tale of love and loss that is a 'must read' for the generations of women who cherish their dog-eared copies of Little Women."--Sam Droke-Dickinson, Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa.

Every Dog Has a Gift: True Stories of Dogs Who Bring Hope & Healing into Our Lives
by Rachel McPherson (Tarcher/Penguin, $23.95, 9781585427956/1585427950). "Deeply moving and very inspiring, this book is a wonderful collection of stories about the amazing nurturing power that dogs have in our lives. The author's background is in documentary filmmaking, and she chooses not to sensationalize, but rather let the spare stories speak for themselves. These stories stay with you long after you finish the book!"--Jennifer Sorensen, Literary Life Bookstore & More, Grand Rapids, Mich.


Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond (Harper Paperbacks, $13.99, 9780061863158/0061863157). "Venture into the world of child stars, where the next booking could be their big break. Ruth leaves her husband in Seattle while trying to help their daughter find the part that will make her a star. Allison, old beyond her tender years, is searching for the role that will make her a household name. Quinn has the talent and drive, but is he too volatile to shine in Hollywood? You will come to care about these characters, and want to know their stories and share their hopes."--Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8

Born Yesterday: The Diary of a Young Journalist
by James Solheim, illustrated by Simon James (Philomel, $15.99, 9780399251559/0399251553). "An aspiring journalist, who happens to be a newborn, writes an exposé on what it means to navigate life, how to get the attention of your big sister, and all things baby. Even if your child asks to hear this story every night, Born Yesterday is so laugh-out-loud funny that you won't mind."--Katherine Fergason, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Book Review: One More Theory About Happiness

One More Theory about Happiness: A Memoir by Paul Guest (Ecco Press, $21.99 Hardcover, 9780061685170, May 2010)

In a sense, all childhood experiences define who we will become as adults. Very few, however, have the kind of impact as the one around which award-winning poet Paul Guest builds this graceful and ultimately optimistic memoir. At the age of 12, Guest flipped over the handlebars of a bicycle and landed in a ditch, breaking his arms and two vertebrae in his neck. His description of the accident from his child's-eye perspective is simple but evocative and resonant with emotion. In the ambulance he hears the paramedic discuss a "probable cervical injury" and begins "to feel permanence roll over me like a wave." Once in the hospital, he fears more for his distraught parents than himself. "I was twelve years old," he writes. "A quadriplegic. I barely knew the word's meaning.... I'd been forced to consider a changed life before I even knew what a life could become."
Guest's prognosis was grim from the start and he sensed this before his parents came to an acceptance of it. Ten days after the accident he was transferred from his Chattanooga home to a rehab center in Atlanta, where doctors fastened him into a fiberglass vest and screwed a metal "halo" into his head for more than two months in the hope that his vertebrae might heal without surgery. They didn't. Guest spent several more months at the facility, recovering from the surgery, battling infections and learning to operate a wheelchair with his mouth. He regained sensation in his limbs but not the use of them. When he was finally released, he returned home to a world so different it might as well have been another planet.
Guest sketches the rest of his adolescence and early adulthood with a series of beautifully realized set pieces that are by turns heartbreaking, funny and both. There are the descriptions of riding the "short bus" to school, of a house too small to accommodate a wheelchair, a parade of bizarre aides, the small and large indignities of total physical need and the well-meaning but utterly tone-deaf comments of adults, such as the high school principal who made Guest promise he would walk across the stage at graduation. Guest does a similarly economical and elegant job describing his college days and the discovery of love--both physical and for poetry.
In the hands of lesser writer, this memoir might easily have become maudlin or bathetic. It is to Guest's great credit and the quality of his prose that his story is not only devoid of any trace of self-pity, but a moving and inspiring read.--Debra Ginsberg
Shelf Talker: A memoir of childhood and adolescence after the accident that left the author, poet Paul Guest, a quadriplegic. Heartbreaking, honest and funny without ever being self-pitying or depressing.

Deeper Understanding

Dark Coast Press Lights Up Seattle

When Aaron Talwar left a job in academic publishing and decided to launch Dark Coast Press, he changed more than his career path. The New Jersey native headed for the West Coast, setting up shop in Seattle, Wash.

After a visit and a lot of research, the 26-year-old entrepreneur was convinced Seattle was the right locale in which to base the independent press. "I really fell in love with the city," Talwar said. One persuasive piece of information was that four out of the last five years Seattle has ranked #1 in a study of "America's Most Literate Cities," conducted by Central Connecticut State University. (The study is based on six key indicators of literacy, including newspaper circulation, number of bookstores and library resources, in cities with a population of at least 250,000).

Talwar took the leap last year. While he was editing a book written by a friend, Jarret Middleton, the two decided to team up, and they launched Dark Coast Press in October. Middleton, the press's editor-in-chief, made the commitment to move from New Hampshire to Seattle sight unseen. "He took my word for it," said Talwar.

The book on which the duo collaborated, An Dantomine Eerly, is the company's first release (March 30). It's a reconception of the aisling (Gaelic for "dream vision"), an 18th-century poetic form, and follows Irish-American poet Dallin as he makes his passage into death. "It's inventive and creative," Talwar said. "We want it to be our calling card. Our whole approach is to make literary fiction, poetry, essays and avant-garde works accessible and approachable to the public."

Talwar and Middleton plan to put out 10 to 20 books a year, including a compilation of the best material from the site. They're looking to acquire two additional works to publish in 2010. Although they have no geographic stipulations, "it would be amazing if we could get a Pacific Northwest author," Talwar said.

Along with his role as publisher, Talwar is spearheading the company's marketing and sales efforts and has signed on with Ingram Publisher Services. For now he and Middleton are running the company out of the dining room in their shared two-bedroom apartment in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. "As soon as we end our business day, we turn the lights off and move over to the living room. It's funny because when the lights go off we're not in the office anymore," joked Talwar.

The name Dark Coast Press is inspired by a line in Ezra Pound's Cantos: "Elpenor, how art thou come to this dark coast?" The literary inquiry could very well apply to Talwar, whose father is still questioning his son's choice of residence. "My family has had nothing but support for the press. But when I talk to my dad, he always asks when I'm moving home to New Jersey, and says that I probably don't like the rain in Seattle anymore," said Talwar.

Grey skies or not, Seattle has more than lived up to Talwar's expectations from both a professional and a personal standpoint. "There has been a positive response from the literary community here," he said. "People are extremely supportive, and the book culture is great. Outside of that, we have great lives and enjoy all the city has to offer." And as for the weather? "You don't have to shovel the rain."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt



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