Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 19, 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

Sylvia Beach's Legacy: Communicating 'Vitality of the Book'

"For anyone who loves books, and who mourns the loss of so many independent bookshops, and must now mourn the loss of the book itself and wonder at its ghostly reincarnation as an electronically disembodied text, the Sylvia Beach legacy has hope in it.... To be in Shakespeare and Company at any time is to remember how wonderful books are, especially piled in their thousands. But not in the chilly corporate way of chainstore retail: rather as a noisy conversation, books, readers and writers talking to each other, which is what happens tenfold at festival time, a chaotic, exuberant celebration of the written word and its power.... The best news is that a bookstore that helped to shape the 20th-century world of ideas and exchange has moved vigorously into the 21st century, communicating to a new generation the vitality of the book."

--Jeanette Winterson in her Times of London review of a new edition
of The Letters of Sylvia Beach (Columbia University Press).
Beach founded the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris.


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


Notes: Amazon in Translation; Gulf Coast Relief Effort

Amazon has introduced a second publishing imprint, AmazonCrossing, which will focus on English-language translations of foreign books, using "customer feedback and other data from Amazon sites around the world to identify exceptional books deserving of a wider, global audience," the company said. AmazonCrossing plans to acquire the rights, translate books and introduce them to the English-speaking market through multiple channels and formats, including its own online book and Kindle stores, as well as "national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers."

The first title to be published is Tierno Monénembo's The King of Kahel, translated by Nicholas Elliott and scheduled to be released November 2.

"The goal of our publishing programs is to introduce readers to terrific authors they might not otherwise have the chance to know," said Jeff Belle, Amazon's v-p of books. "Our international customers have made us aware of exciting established and emerging voices from other cultures and countries that have not been translated for English-language readers. These great voices and great books deserve a wider audience, and that's why we created AmazonCrossing."


Cool idea of the day: Chelsea Green Publishing has partnered with Scribd and Global Green USA to raise awareness of and money for the Gulf Coast relief efforts. In exchange for a donation, Chelsea Green is offering a free digital copy of Riki Ott's book Not One Drop: Courage and Betrayal in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on Scribd.

"In response to the Gulf oil spill, Global Green is co-chairing the local Green Collaborative--a network of 65 organizations working to build a strong green economy in Louisiana--to assess the greatest needs to help in the clean up, and to support those families devastated by the spill," Ott observed. "Funds will go toward delivering healthy food and support for the fishermen and families whose lives depend on a thriving coastal economy."


A benefit book sale has been scheduled June 4-6 for Phil Wikelund, whose Great Northwest Bookstore was destroyed by fire earlier this month (Shelf Awareness, May 3, 2010). The Oregonian reported that Wikelund "did not have insurance and needs thousands of dollars to cover the cost of clearing the site. Poet and painter Walt Curtis was living at the store and also needs help."

Jill Hinckley, a former owner of Murder By the Book, is organizing the fundraiser. She has set up a website and is soliciting books, volunteers and tables for the sale, which will be held at 3025 S.W. 1st Avenue in Portland.


At the Book Industry Conference in London yesterday, Booksellers Association chief executive Tim Godfray announced that the organization "has signed an agreement for its members to sell Google's e-book system later this year, as well as share its membership data with the search engine," the reported

"This will have a significant impact on e-book sales for members," he said, adding that Google, as well as Apple and Amazon, will be "hugely influential" in determining how the digital landscape changes in the future. "They should be part of the trade associations and inside the tent. It puts us at a disadvantage not to have companies sitting at a table and working with us to map out what the best way forward."


A mystery developed north of the border this week as independent booksellers in Canada expressed anger "after Indigo Books and Music apparently ignored the official on-sale date for one of the summer's most highly anticipated blockbusters," Quill & Quire reported, adding that none of the indies it contacted had received copies of Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, "but there have been anecdotal reports that the book has been on sale at Indigo and Chapters stores since as early as last Friday, well ahead of the official on-sale date of May 25."

The National Post wrote that Indigo Books & Music not only denied it broke an embargo, but that one even existed for the novel. Janet Eger, Indigo's director of public relations, argued that the book "was not embargoed" and Yvonne Hunter, Penguin Canada's director of publicity and marketing, backed her up, confirming that "the book was not a strict on-sale."


At the Independent Booksellers Forum in London, more than 100 delegates discussed "forging partnerships in pursuit of business growth." The reported that Emma Milne-White of the Hungerford Bookshop, Berkshire, said "becoming the 'hub' of the community could help indies to prosper. She suggested booksellers should look for events that they could 'piggyback off' including the likes of festivals and fetes."

"What's good for the town will nearly always be good for you," Milne-White observed.

Author events were also emphasized, with Najma Finlay, publicity director at Icon Books, noting: "You have to get used to handselling events in the same way that you handsell books."


Barnes & Noble is now selling used CDs and DVDs online through its Marketplace program at The company said thousands of titles are available from a wide range of sellers in a mix of new and old titles, as well as titles that labels and studios no longer make available. 


In her graduation speech at CaseWestern University last weekend, CBS news anchor Katie Couric played handseller, recommending the book Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview by Ellen Gordon Reeves (Workman).

Couric said, "I know you may be anxious if you don't have a job and even if you do, I'm sure you're wondering, 'Will I do well? Is it the right fit?' Well, for those of you who are still looking, I had a conversation this week with Ellen Gordon Reeves, author of Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? Yes, that's true... I didn't really peg you guys, by the way, as the nose ring types... belly button rings maybe... but I do think she offers some terrific tips." Couric followed this by sharing several bits of advice gleaned from the book.


Obituary note: paid tribute to Ripley, the Borderlands Books cat "and semi-official mascot of the SF community. Anyone wandering into Borderlands Books over the last seven and half years will have met the beloved hairless Sphinx who lived happily amid the shelves and stacks until her passing on May 12th.... Our sincerest condolences to owners Jude Feldman and Alan Beatts, who have set up a Memorial Blog on which people can share reminiscences and photos of Ripley. Anyone who has ever lost a pet can understand how difficult the experience can be--we encourage everyone with a fond memory or a kind word to reach out and share the love. Rest in peace, Ripley--you will be greatly missed."


Organizers of Wimbledon (properly called "The Championships") and Poetry Trust have teamed up to name Matt Harvey the All England Club's first writer in residence. The Guardian reported that he "will serenade the Wimbledon queue with poems inspired by the tournament." Harvey will write a poem a day throughout the two-week tennis major.

"Expect themes to include strawberries, queues, the rain and, undoubtedly, the traditional Centre Court tantrum," the Guardian wrote.


Who ya gonna call? A re-creation of the opening scene from Ghostbusters was Improv Everywhere's answer when the New York Public Library "approached us about a month ago and asked if we would want to stage an Improv Everywhere mission on their property. The library is facing serious budget cuts, and they thought having us do something awesome there might serve to remind people of how great the NYPL is. We couldn't say no to the opportunity to do something in their gorgeous, 100-year-old Rose Main Reading Room."


Vice President Joe Biden's annual financial disclosure report revealed that he had been given a first-edition copy of James Joyce's Anna Livia Plurabelle, signed by the author and valued at $3,500, the Associated Press reported. Margaret Spanel, the 97-year-old woman who sent him the book, did so "after hearing him say Joyce was his favorite poet."


Not for Tourists, the New York City publisher of city guides for both travelers and residents, will be distributed by National Book Network. The guides are "mobile-oriented, cartographically inclined and to the point."

NBN president Rich Freese said that addition of the company strengthens "our position as a leading distributor of travel and lifestyle content."


BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

BEA Preview: Panel on Free Speech and Corporations

Former Congressman Tom Allen, president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, will moderate a debate at BookExpo America on the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down limits on the money that corporations can spend in political campaigns. 

Allen, who represented Maine in the House of Representatives for 12 years, will join Ira Glasser, former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who opposes campaign finance laws as a restriction on free speech, and Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, who argues that campaign finance laws prevent corporations from drowning the voices of their critics and ordinary citizens.  

Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, AAP and the Freedom to Read Foundation, "Free Speech for Corporations?" will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. in Room 1E12 at the Javits Center.


Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

BEA Music: 4TROOPS Will Sing at Children's Author Breakfast

BookExpo America's Children’s Author Breakfast will get musical next Wednesday with a special performance by 4TROOPS, a new group comprised of U.S. combat veterans--former Captain Meredith Melcher, former Sergeant Daniel Jens, Staff Sergeant (RET.) Ron Henry and former Sergeant David Clemo--who served on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The quartet has a recently released debut CD, and an illustrated book about them, 4TROOPS: The Mission Is Music (Newmarket), is scheduled for September release, to coincide with their 60-city fall concert tour. In addition to a number of national appearances during the past four months, 4Troops will have their first television concert special, 4TROOPS: Live from the Intrepid, airing on participating PBS stations during the upcoming June and August pledge drives.
"We are delighted to welcome 4TROOPS for a special performance at the Children’s Author Breakfast event," said Steven Rosato, BEA's event director. "Their popular and family appeal is a wonderful complement to our program featuring authors Cory Doctorow, Mitali Perkins and Richard Peck, and being emceed by Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York."
Following the breakfast, 4TROOPS will autograph posters, 9:30-10:30 a.m., in the Exhibits Hall at the Perseus Books Group booth, #4225 (Perseus is the distributor of Newmarket Press titles). Newmarket will hold drawings for BEA attendees to win the 4Troops CD at its booth (#4114) every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days of the BEA exhibits.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jennifer Baggett on the Early Show

This morning on the Today Show: Harlan Cohen, author of The Happiest Kid on Campus: A Parent's Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child) (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 9781402239427/1402239424) and The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 9781402219016/1402219016).


Today on Talk of the Nation: Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, authors of The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us (Crown, $27, 9780307459657/0307459659).


Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Jennifer Baggett, author of The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World (Harper, $24.99, 9780061689062/0061689068).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Daisy Fuentes, author of Unforgettable You: Master the Elements of Style, Spirituality, and True Beauty (Atria, $24, 9781416563013/1416563016).

Also on Today: Stacy Kaiser, author of How to Be a Grown Up: The Ten Secret Skills Everyone Needs to Know (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780061941184/0061941182).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: Jonathan Alter, author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439101193/1439101191).


Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: Travis Stork, author of The Doctor Is In: A 7-Step Prescription for Optimal Wellness (Gallery, $24.99, 9781439167403/1439167400).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Anne Carson, author of Nox (New Directions, $29.95, 9780811218702/0811218708). As the show put it: "Anne Carson's brother ran away, and she never saw him again. After learning of his death some 20 years later, she assembled Nox as a form of grieving. She gathered bits of his letters, photographs, a poem by the Roman poet Catullus about his own brother's death, and made a memory-book that brings together collage, poetry, translation and recollection."


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chelsea Handler, author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446552448/0446552445).

Television: Lost Reading List

A TV show that has featured more literary allusions in one episode than most do in their entire runs, ABC's Lost enters its final chapter this week having referenced more than 70 books over six seasons. The Los Angeles Times noted that "an abundance of carefully placed works of literature have been featured on the show  (in gym bags, on book shelves, in episode titles), spawning Lost book clubs and blogs filled with eager readers combing for clues to the fate of the stranded Oceanic Flight 815 survivors."

Executive producers and writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are both readers who acknowledge literature's influence on their vision for the series.

"It's a nod to that process," said Lindelof. "We pick the books with a great deal of meticulous thought and specificity and talk about what the thematic implications of picking a certain book are, why we're using it in the scene and what we want the audience to deduce from that choice."


Movies: Blood Oath; The Tin Drum

Producer Lucas Foster's Warp Films has acquired the movie rights to the newly released vampire action novel Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth, "with the aim of fast-tracking a feature franchise about a vampire secret agent" named Nathaniel Cade, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"It always starts with the character for me," said Foster (Law Abiding Citizen and Mr. and Mrs. Smith). "Cade has an amazing history, a great attitude and a great set of powers. He is a complete movie figure.... It's a big idea and it's an idea that in the wrong hands could have been cheesy. He did a very good job of making the reader, and me, buy it. It's the right tone between thriller and improbable fantasy."

Foster also picked up the rights to the novel's follow-up, Black Site.


At the Cannes Film Festival, German director Volker Schloendorff made news with a director's cut of his 1979 Palme d'Or–winning classic, The Tin Drum, adapted from the Guenter Grass novel. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the new version includes 22 minutes of previously unseen material.

"I always thought the original was the director's cut, since I did it," Schloendorff said. "But last year the lab was asking: 'well we still have 60 boxes of material, some 100,000 feet of negative footage and every year the producers are paying for storage. How long do you want to keep it?'... I did not re-edit the whole movie, just added these new scenes, and a few surprises."


Books & Authors

Awards: YWCA's W Award; IBPA Benjamin Franklin Finalists

Donna Hayes, publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Limited, received the 2010 W Award, the YWCA of the City of New York announced yesterday. Lisa Price, founder and president of Carol’s Daughter, was also honored with a W Award.

Created in 2005, the YWCA-NYC’s W Award honors women and companies that embody the YW’s mission to empower women and eliminate racism. The awards will be presented at the YWCA of the City of New York’s sixth annual Summer Soirée on June 24 at the Trump SoHo New York at 246 Spring Street beginning at 6 p.m
In a statement, Anne Winters-Bishop, the YWCA-NYC’s CEO noted that Hayes is the first woman to run the company since Harlequin was founded in Winnipeg in 1949, and added: "Above all, [Hayes] stresses Harlequin’s mission to entertain, enrich and inspire women."

Previous winners include Marian McEvoy, founding editor of Elle Décor and former editor-in-chief of House Beautiful; TV personality Star Jones; CNN correspondent Soledad O’Brien; New York Times travel writer Patricia Schultz; Carla Hendra, co-CEO of Ogilvy North America; and Hyperion publishing executive Barbara Jones.


The Independent Book Publishers Association has named finalists for the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Awards. Three books in each of the 50 categories were selected from more than 1,300 entries. Winners will be announced May 24 at a ceremony in New York City. You can view a complete listing of the finalists here.
The entries were judged by book industry professionals, including librarians, booksellers and design experts. The IBPA noted that, in keeping with its educational mission, "all entrants received a written critique with advice on how to improve their publications as well as kudos for the good work produced." 


Book Review

Children's Review: Bamboo People

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (Charlesbridge Publishing, $16.95 Hardcover, 9781580893282, July 2010)

Most young people probably don't even know where to find Myanmar (formerly known as the Union of Burma), and if they do, it's because it made headlines when Cyclone Nargis hit its coast in 2008. But Perkins's (Secret Keeper) involving novel about two teens on either side of the conflict at the Burma-Thai border exposes readers to this little-known part of the world and the issues at the heart of the country's great divide. The book begins with 15-year-old Chico reading A Tale of Two Cities in the walled garden outside the home he shares with his mother. She tells him to come inside; a Burmese boy reading English is enough to rouse suspicion with the soldiers who accused Chico's physician father of treason and hauled him away to prison. Determined to help support his mother, Chico answers an ad in the government newspaper about an exam for new teachers--then discovers it's a trap. The army conscripts all the young men who come to apply for jobs. Instead of becoming a teacher, Chico learns some life-saving lessons from a street boy named Tai, and he in turn teaches Tai to read and write. The two new friends, however, become subject to intra-platoon politics, and Chico winds up as a mine-clearer. Enter Tu Reh, a Karenni 16-year-old living in a refugee camp, who finds a seriously wounded teen in enemy uniform: Chico.

Through the perspectives of her two narrators, the author allows young people to see that they--and we--have more values that unite us than separate us. Perkins demonstrates during the course of the book how bamboo functions in a variety of ways for the people in the Union of Burma: as a source of food, fuel, medicine--and as a weapon. When Tu Reh's father, who is leading a mission to take supplies to a Karenni healer, tells his son that he alone must decide the fate of this injured Burmese soldier, the man says, "I'm going to stay like the bamboo, Tu Reh. I want to be used for many purposes." He asks Tu Reh to make a choice: "Leave him for the animals. End his life now. Or carry him to the healer." Tu Reh's choice leads to another and another, none of them easy. The author paints war in all of its gradations of gray, including the people who influence those decisions, both powerful and seemingly powerless. Readers will leave this moving story--half from Chico's first-person narrative, and half narrated by Tu Reh--with the understanding that everyone has a choice, no matter how dire the circumstances.--Jennifer M. Brown

Mitali Perkins will be a featured speaker at BEA's Children's Book and Author Breakfast, Javits Center, Special Events Hall, Wednesday, May 26, 8-9:30 a.m.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland Last Week

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around Chicago during the week ended Sunday, May 16:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Innocent by Scott Turow
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
4. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
5. Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth
2. Get Capone by Jonathan Eig
3. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
4. Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson
5. Parisians by Graham Robb

Paperback Fiction

1. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
2. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
4. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
5. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Paperback Nonfiction

1. P.S. I Hate It Here by Diane Falanga
2. The Girls from Ames by Jeff Zaslow
3. Coop by Michael Perry
4. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
5. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder


1. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
2. The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
4. Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
5. Lies by Michael Grant

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 booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

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