Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Amulet Books: Batcat: Volume 1 by Meggie Ramm

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady


Cool Idea of the Day: Indie Bookseller, Band & Filmmaker

The creative result of a perfect blending of independent bookstore, indie band and indie film company can be seen in a new music video from the band Katharine Whalen's Lucky, featuring former Squirrel Nut Zippers members Whalen and her husband, William Dawson.

The video was shot at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., so we asked Flyleaf co-owner Jamie Fiocco how this all came together. She said Whalen and Dawson live in Chapel Hill and had asked Nick Beery of Beery Media to film and direct a video for their new single, "The Virgin Song," which has a boy-meets-girl in a bookshop storyline.

Beery, a Flyleaf customer, "asked me if we’d be interested in allowing them to film one night," Fiocco explained. "So, when we closed the doors at 5 p.m. one Sunday in May they immediately set up and filmed all night. The events room (where you can see the Eat Sleep Read poster in the background) became the 'performance set' where the band set up and played the song, then the rest of the store figured into the boy meets girl storyline.  The dancers/extras you see every now and again are actually a band of their own, the Graveyard Fields, and as an inside joke they are dressed up like characters from The Breakfast Club--another bookish setting.
"There are some fun things you can see in the background--Katharine is doing 'storytime' in our children’s area; when she’s on the couch the table above her is a display we did for Alice In Wonderland (teacups and playing cards). The books dropped at the beginning of the video were used books that smelled so badly of mothballs that we couldn’t use them in the store--so it’s true when we say 'no books were harmed in the filming of this video.' "

On July 16, Lucky will play a set after the official public screening of the video in Flyleaf's events room. Whalen and Dawson, who also perform kids music, plan to return to the bookstore for a children's music event in the Fall.
Fiocco is particularly pleased that "the whole project came about as a collaboration of independent businesses--Beery Media, Flyleaf and an indie band."--Robert Gray


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Notes: Politics & Prose for Sale; Trouble for iRex

Politics and Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., will be put up for sale after 26 years in business. The Washington Post reported that owners Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade "say they are simply too tired to keep steering Washington's most prominent non-chain bookstore--a premier stop on top-shelf author tours and a frequent setting for book talks televised on C-SPAN--through the uncertainty of an industry threatened by e-books. Cohen is also seriously ill."

Meade said, "It's time for us to stop and let somebody else take over for the future. I just don't have the energy like I used to." Both owners stressed this is not the bookshop's final chapter, with Meade adding, "There are no financial problems here. We make a good profit." The owners said the bookshop sold 156,000 hardcovers for $3.3 million last year, compared to 141,000 hardcover books for $3 million in sales two years ago.

Michael Norris, an industry analyst for Simba Information, said, "I think they will survive because it's Politics and Prose. A lot of independent bookstores have a specific formula for success. They have a brand and that brand means something. It means something to a lot of people."

"We're not just looking for a buyer," Meade said. "It's about someone to continue our legacy."

Added Cohen: "Our legacy of playing an important role in this community."


iRex Technologies, the Dutch manufacturer of the Iliad e-book reader, has filed for bankrupty, the Bookseller reported, noting that in addition to dramatically increased competition in the e-reader sector, the company's chief executive Hans Brons said "the business ran into difficulties because of the late arrival of some of its new products. 'We know that if you promise a product for a holiday release and don’t deliver, bad things can happen. But, to think that missing the launch window by a few months meant the demise of a company, well that’s simply staggering.'"

Brons also said, "The expectations are still positive," SlashGear wrote, adding there is "some hope from Brons that the company will survive this, and will resume business soon enough, but nothing is for sure."


After a drop of about a quarter of its value in the past two months, Barnes & Noble has rated an upgrade from Standard & Poor's to "hold" from "sell," the AP reported. Analyst Michael Souers called the stock "fairly valued," taking into account the pressures on bricks-and-mortar bookstores, too.

B&N closed yesterday at $16.96 a share, near the low of its 52-week range of $16.11-$28.78.


"The message I have for you is that what we see now is really a snapshot," wrote Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large of PublicAffairs Books, in the Atlantic magazine, where he predicted, "If there is as much change in the next ten years as there has been in the past decade, then iconic brands of the moment may be replaced by gadgets and networks being devised right now by some graduate student in a garage. This is, of course, exciting, but it is also extremely daunting, especially for those of whose main role is to develop the content in all the ways technology now permits and, increasingly, demands."


Seth Godin offered Amazon some advice as it contends with the ongoing Kindle-iPad battle. Among other things, he suggested a "paperback Kindle. Don't worry about touchscreens or color or even always available Internet to download new books. Make a $49 Kindle. Not so hard if you use available wifi and simplify the device. Make it the only e-book reader in town."

Godin also wrote that he "saw a two-year old kid (in diapers, in a stroller), using an iPod Touch today. Not just looking at it, but browsing menus and interacting. This is a revolution, guys."


In the Huffington Post, Alex Green, owner of Back Pages Books, Waltham, Mass., wrote, "Before I opened a bookstore, I had only been to a handful of author readings in my life. Now I host them regularly, but I am always conscious of what an inadequate word 'reading' is for what goes on when an author comes to discuss and read from their book at a bookstore. As someone once said to me, 'calling it a reading is about as exciting as calling sex, intercourse.' "

Green featured a video clip "of what I think of when I hear the word 'reading.' It is from an event with Damian Platt, the co-author of a phenomenal new book called Culture Is our Weapon: Making Music and Changing Lives in Rio de Janeiro. Platt flew from Rio to six cities in the U.S. to talk with local human rights workers about how groups from Brazil to the States use music and culture to fight back against violence. What the crowd of forty people assembled here in Boston participated in was a fascinating, roving discussion between Platt and three leading figures in our community about human rights across borders and cultures."


Tracy Beltran, co-owner of Barnhill's book and wine store, Winston-Salem, N.C., "was looking for a place to showcase the works of independent authors and publishers" when she and Thais Black decided to open their shop, the Journal reported.

"Considering the economy and that we're kind of off the main streets, we're doing really well," said Beltran said. "We want people to know they can come here and be comfortable."

Offering a new spin on traditional city reads, One City, One Story is a new initiative from the Boston Book Festival, which plans to publish a short story by a well-known local writer that will be distributed as a bound booklet to 30,000 Bostonians, free of charge. It will also be available for download at the festival's website. The writer's name will be announced later this summer, and he or she will appear at the festival, which takes place October 16.


Waiting for George. Fans of George R.R. Martin, who have been anticipating the next book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series for five years, got some sympathy from Rebekah Denn in the Christian Science Monitor. Denn recently began reading Martin as "a great bet for a weekend of relaxing and reading and reading some more. It wasn’t until I finished the last page a few days later--technically, as it was 2 a.m., a few mornings later--that I understood what the clerk at Powell’s Bookstore told my husband after seeing the book in his hand. It was something to the effect of, yes, that’s a great book, but once you finish it, you’ll be suffering along with the rest of us."


World Cup reading lists continue to take their positions on the pitch. In the Guardian, sports journalist Mihir Bose picked his top 10 football books.


As book events go, the one scheduled for July 1 at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City promises to be revealing. School of Burlesque headmistress Jo Weldon, author of The Burlesque Handbook, will "bring page to stage" as each member of the troupe takes on a chapter from her book and performs a signature act that highlights the skill presented in that chapter. Weldon will also be selling and signing books after the performance.  


NPR's Michael Schaub suggested a summer antidote to all the bad news by "escaping with the help of a good historical novel. Luckily, there's been a bumper crop this year. If you want to be taken back to a time when, say, the ocean was full of Viking long ships instead of leaking oil, wait no more." His recommendations are The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson (translated from the Swedish by Michael Meyer), Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey, The Last Rendezvous by Anne Plantagenet (translated from the French by Willard Wood), Stettin Station by David Downing and I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita.


Yesterday, Diane Wilson, author of An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas (Chelsea Green), poured simulated oil on herself "in a graphic expression of support for legislation lifting oil companies' current liability cap" during a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, CNN reported, adding that Wilson interrupted "opening remarks by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of several Republicans who have expressed opposition to lifting the $75 million cap." She was arrested and later released.


Obituary note: Jeffrey Wayne Williams died on May 25 of brain cancer. He was 56.

Williams had worked at Pocket Books for many years and become a sales manager. In 1995, he moved to Helena, Mont., and worked for Falcon Press, Greycliff Publishing and Riverbend Publishing. The Helena Independent Record has an extensive obituary.


Book trailer of the day: An Dantomine Eerly by Jarret Middleton (Dark Coast Press).


Sometimes what's on the outside counts, too. AbeBooks featured 25 iconic book covers.


On Tuesday, a fire destroyed the house where Sterling Books editor Alyssa Smith (@booksandcorsets) lived. She and her roommate lost everything, and an online campaign was quickly launched by friends and colleagues to provide assistance. The details are now available at Alyssa's blog


Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

Image of the Day: Chronicle Volunteers


Last Friday was Chronicle Books' second annual Volunteer Day, when the company closed its doors and employees engaged in a day of service in the community. Among the places staff where staff helped out was Hayes Valley Farm in the center of San Francisco, an education and research project with a focus on urban agriculture. Volunteers learned about water conservation and stream management and tried their hands at soil building and growing food in an urban setting.

Chronicle's Volunteer Day began last year in conjunction with the house's title Change the World for Ten Bucks.


Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Farm to Fork

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: James T. Patterson, author of Freedom Is Not Enough: The Moynihan Report and America's Struggle over Black Family Life--from LBJ to Obama (Basic Books, $26.95, 9780465013579/0465013570).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Emeril Lagasse, author of Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh (HarperStudio, $24.99, 9780061742958/0061742953).

Also on GMA: Bonnie McEneaney, author of Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11 (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061974076/0061974072). She appears tomorrow night on 20/20, too.


This Weekend on Book TV: Broke USA

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, June 12

8 a.m. Garret Keizer talks about his book The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book About Noise (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485528/1586485520).

10 a.m. Live coverage of the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest, including events and interviews featuring Scott Turow, Jonathan Eig, Rebecca Janowitz, T.H. Breen, Jack Rakove, Louise Knight, Barbara Ehrenreich, Robert Remini, Adrian Johns, Nick Reding, Jim Frederick, Bill Barnhart, Robert Elder and Senator Rickey Hendon. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Jay Wexler, author of Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars (Beacon, $20, 9780807000441/0807000442), recounts visiting communities once involved in Supreme Court cases relating to First Amendment law.

8 p.m. Andrew McCarthy, author of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America (Encounter Books, $27.95, 9781594033773/1594033773), argues that the U.S. Government and the Left actively suppress jihadist ideology.

9 p.m. Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385523929/0385523920), talks about King's assassination and profiles James Earl Ray. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Heather Mac Donald interviews Gary Rivlin, author of Broke USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.--How the Working Poor Became Big Business (HarperBusiness, $26.99, 9780061733215/0061733210). Rivlin contends that the "poverty industry" is accumulating wealth by taking advantage of the poor. (Re-airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Sunday, June 20, at 12 p.m.)

Sunday, June 13

10 a.m. Live coverage of the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest continues, with events and interviews featuring Wes Moore, Roger Thurow, Scott Kilman, James Nowlan, T.J. Stiles, Alan Maass, Tom Bissell, Nicholas Carr, Jack Fuller, Christine Stansell, Martin Preib, Michael Pearlman, D.M. Giangreco and Lee Walker. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 p.m.)


Television: From Script to Book to Screen

The A&E Network and Barnes & Noble have announced a marketing partnership to help promote A&E's new original drama series The Glades, which premieres Sunday, July 11, at 10 p.m. A&E has transformed its pilot script of The Glades into a physical and digital book that, as of yesterday, is being featured on in-store displays in nearly half of B&N's bookstores nationwide.

A complimentary copy of The Glades is being offered to in-store customers, while supplies last, and a free copy will also be shipped with orders through July, the company said. A free e-book version of The Glades is  featured on and in the company's eBookstore. The promotion will be showcased at and cross-promoted on A&E's on-air and online properties. 


Movies: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Gary Oldman will play George Smiley in a film version of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. It will be a daunting task for the actor, who must contend with the considerable shadow cast by Alec Guinness, who starred in the classic BBC version of the novel in 1979.

Directing the new adaptation is Danish director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), and Peter Morgan (The Queen and Frost/Nixon) wrote the screenplay. The Guardian reported that "other potential cast members include Colin Firth, Michael Fassbender and David Thewlis, all of whom are said to be in negotiations, though their possible roles have not been made clear." 


Books & Authors

Awards: Orange Prize; German Peace Prize; Prince of Asturias

Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna won the £30,000 (US$43,732) Orange Prize for fiction by women, beating a strong shortlist that included Hilary Mantel and Lorrie Moore. The Guardian reported that chair of judges Daisy Goodwin praised the book's "breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy," adding that for the judging panel the contest was primarily between these three authors among of the six finalists.

"It was a bit like trying to choose between your three beloved children," she said. "In the end I suppose that while a couple of us felt very passionately about The Lacuna everyone was happy for it to be named winner. They were three of the finest books I've read in a long time. It wasn't like we were scraping in any sense."

Irene Sabatini's The Boy Next Door won the Orange award for new writers, and Anna Lewis won the short story competition for unpublished writers.


Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin was voted the U.K.'s favorite Orange prize winner ever. In a readers' poll hosted by, the novel garnered 26% of the public vote to narrowly edge Andrea Levy's Small Island, the Guardian reported.

"OK, it's official," said Shriver. "Kevin no longer belongs to me, but to you lot. While I am abashed at this honor, Kevin himself is smugly self-satisfied. Think of all the attention that one school mass murder has earned that guy."

Shriver was something of a reluctant winner, however, telling the Independent there may be too many awards now. "I'm critical of the Orange people on this front," she said. "The more prizes you give, the more meaningless they become. It's a stupid thing to have more than one winner; it's diluting and it means nobody wins."


One thing Orange Prize winners do seem to have going for them is sales performance. The Bookseller reported that in the U.K., bestselling Orange Prize winners have outsold bestselling winners of the Booker prize. According to Nielsen BookScan sales figures, the top-selling Orange winner of all time is Andrea Levy's Small Island (834,958), followed by Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin (646,373) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun (525,438). Among Booker Prize winners, Yann Martel's Life of Pi leads everyone with more than a million copies sold, but the sales drop-off is substantial to Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger in second place (512,093) and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (439,601) in third compared with Orange winners.


The German Publishers and Booksellers Association named Israeli author David Grossman winner of the 2010 Peace Prize in honor of his support for reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, the Associated Press reported. Grossman will receive the $30,200 prize October 10 during the Frankfurt Book Fair. The association praised Grossman for always attempting, in works like his novel To the End of the Land, to "understand and describe the position of the other."


Spain's 2010 Prince of Asturias Award for literature was given to Lebanese-born French writer Amin Maalouf "for his exploration of Mediterranean culture 'as a symbolic space of coexistence and tolerance,'" the Associated Press reported. Maalouf's books--which include Samarkand, Leo the African and The Gardens of Light--have been translated into more than 20 languages. He will receive €50,000 ($70,000) and a sculpture by artist Joan Miro. 


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, June 6:

Hardcover Fiction

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
2. Innocent by Scott Turow
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
5. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
2. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
3. Sports from Hell by Rick Reilly
4. Women, Food, God by Geneen Roth
5. The Promise by Jonathan Alter

Paperback Fiction

1. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. Tinkers by Paul Harding
5. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Paperback Nonfiction

1. Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof
2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. Bad Mother by Ayelet Waldman
4. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Huraki Murakami
5. Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town by Nick Reding

Children's Books

1. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
2. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4. Oh the Place You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

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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