Also published on this date: Monday May 13, 2024: Maximum Shelf: A Song to Drown Rivers

Also published on this date: February 26, 2024 Dedicated Issue: Simon & Schuster Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Shelf Awareness for [date:convertDateFormat('EEEE, MMMM d, yyyy', $issuedate)]

Feiwel & Friends: Kisses, Codes, and Conspiracies by Abigail Hing Wen

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Editors' Note

Liftoff for How Rocket Learned to Read

How Rocket Learned to Read from bestselling author and illustrator Tad Hills goes on sale today. If you missed our dedicated issue about the book and author, click here.


W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke


Wylie and Amazon: Authors Guild Apportions Blame

Yesterday Square Books, Oxford, Miss., unveiled its "Wylie World" window display, featuring a range of titles whose authors are represented by the Wylie Agency.


In a statement on issues raised by the Wylie Agency agreement to sell e-versions of 20 major titles exclusively on Amazon for two years, the Authors Guild found favor with some parties and fault with all.

The Guild asserted that "authors retain e-rights in standard publishing contracts unless they expressly grant those rights to the publisher," and thus "we applaud the Wylie Agency for finding a way to make it happen."

At the same time, the Guild stated that "when an agency acts as publisher, serious potential conflicts of interest immediately come to mind. The most obvious of these is the possibility of self-dealing to the detriment of the agency's client, the author."

The exclusive aspect of the Wylie/Amazon deal "raises many questions and concerns," the Guild continued. "Authors should have access to all responsible vendors of e-books. Moreover, Amazon's power in the book publishing industry grows daily. Few publishers have the clout to stand up to the online giant, which dominates every significant growth sector of the book industry:  e-books, online new books, online used books, downloadable audio, and on-demand books. (That Random House, by far the largest trade book publisher, has retaliated against the powerful Wylie Agency but not against Amazon, which must be equally culpable in Random House's view, tells you all you need to know about where power truly lies in today's publishing industry.)"

The Guild asserted, too, that "to a large extent, publishers have brought this on themselves" by offering bad e-deals to authors and agents: "e-book royalty rates of 25% of net proceeds are exceedingly low and contrary to the long-standing practice of authors and publishers to, effectively, split evenly the net proceeds of book sales."

Publishers will agree to "reasonable royalties," the Guild said, but "are postponing the unavoidable because it seems to make sense in the short run. We believe this is short-sighted."


And over on Twitter, @EvilWylie is facing off against @GoodRandomHouse.


Notes: From Bricks-and-Mortar to Bookmobile; Food Truckin'

More on the closing this week of the bricks-and-mortar location of Lafayette Book Store, Lafayette, Calif., and its move to "Big Blue," the store's bus that is officially known as the Bay Area Bookmobile.

The store is having a Saying Goodbye to the Brick-and-Mortar Party Thursday evening that will include "a ritual marking our move from the old to the new--we're doing a bucket brigade to move all the books from the new section of the bookstore into the bookmobile."

The store will have Lafayette Book Store and Bay Area Bookmobile Facebook pages and continue sending out the newsletter. As owner Dave Simpson wrote: "We'll be active there with our schedule of appearances, announcements of author signings and events, and as always, our book recommendations (and you can offer your own!). Come join the conversation!"

He added that the bookmobile draws "a lot of attention! No matter where we're parked, people come up and ask what it is. Some are nostalgic for the bookmobile that brought them books when they were kids; others are thrilled because they've never seen anything like it. No matter the reason, we love bringing people aboard! The most common observation we hear is how big it is inside, and the most common comment we hear is, 'cool!' "

The bookseller is making arrangements to have Big Blue appear regularly at the Lafayette Farmers Market, the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival, the Rock the Plaza events, at neighborhood block parties, at Diablo Foods and Saturdays "at the new Fastframe of Lafayette location on Brown Avenue."


Cool idea of the day: for the launch party for her Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam (Things Asian Press) two weeks ago at Traveler's Bookcase, Los Angeles, Calif., author Kim Fay invited the Mandoline Grill food truck to park outside. After a short reading and q&a, customers lingered for hours in the store and on the sidewalk, sipping wine and eating food from the truck, which specializes in vegan-friendly Vietnamese cuisine. Fay called the truck "a wonderful addition to the night, giving people a reason to hang around longer. As well, it drew people in off the street." And it related to the subject of the book. Hanging around (from l.): Fay; Communion photographer Julie Fay Ashborn; Traveler's Bookcase owner Natalie Compagno; and Mandoline Grill food truck owner Mong Skillman.


Tree House Books, Holland, Mich., is closing at the end of August, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported. Owner Michele Lonergan cited, the paper said, "the increasingly competitive book industry and the growing popularity of digital media."

Lonergan founded the 4,200-sq.-ft. store seven and a half years ago.


The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg encountered U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in the aisles at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., and gave her "extra points on this blog for self-deprecating humor, and, especially, for buying books on a Sunday afternoon at an independent bookstore. How many cabinet secretaries do you think actually read anything besides briefing books?"


BrashTV unveiled the Kindle 9XXXD, which "skips ahead 9 models to bring the biggest, highest powered e-reader ever."


The New England Independent Booksellers Association, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance are jointly sponsoring two workshops held in conjunction with the Great American Bargain Book Show at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Mass., August 19-20.

A session called "Remainder Buying--Plain, Simple and Profitable," will take place at noon on Thursday, August 19. At the session, remainder veterans will talk about how booksellers "can sell more books and earn more money by adding remainders to their inventory."

On Friday from 9-10 a.m., Karin Wilson, owner of the Page & Palette, Fairhope, Ala., will moderate a session called "EESY CHIT: Easy, Effective Strategies You Can Happily Implement Today."

For more information about the show, click here.


NPR's Scott Simon calls London cab driver Will Grozier "the best-read man that I have ever encountered in my life." With that kind of recommendation, it's probably no surprise that NPR checked in with Grozier for his favorite reads this summer, which include Solar by Ian McEwan, The Extinction Event by David Black, A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks, Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin and Pearl Buck in China: Journey to The Good Earth by Hilary Spurling.


"Sizzling in the sun?" asked the Daily Mail in introducing its summer reads list. "You need a chiller... or the coolest chick lit and a red-hot Ian McEwan."


At one time in Islamabad, Pakistan "people used to visit 'old book shops' set up at different parts of the city to get books of their choice at minimal price, but now these second hand treasures are no more in the reach of common people," the International News reported, noting that increased pricing was less a factor than the "considerable decline in the trend of charity of books over the past few years."

"Gone are the times when people think it a noble job to donate their books so that they could be of any help to poor and needy people," said Mumtaz Agha of Jinnah Super. "Now people like to decorate their shelves with the precious books to show it off to their guests as how literate they are."


Although this year's prize money was doubled for New Zealand's National Book Awards Maori language category, no award will be given because no entries were submitted, the Herald reported.

"My vision for the future is to see Te Reo fiction in every bookshop in the country," said contest judge Paul Diamond, who expressed disappointment while acknowledging that few books are being written in Maori for adults. "Let's see Te Reo 'chick-lit,' Te Reo mystery series and thrillers. It would be great to also see Te Reo cookbooks, histories, biographies and more."


Ayesha Mirza has joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as marketing manager in the adult marketing department, in the New York office. She was most recently a marketing manager at Macmillan for its trade, academic and professional books, with a focus on online marketing and social networking. Earlier she was an associate marketing manager at Knopf.  

Meagan Stacey has been promoted to associate editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Mariner Books. She was formerly assistant editor.


Kathryn Tumen has joined Independent Publishers Group as a publicist. She was formerly a publicist at Penguin Group.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Ghosts of Cannae

Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, authors of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781439189306/1439189307).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Richard C. Morais, author of The Hundred-Foot Journey (Scribner, $23, 9781439165645/1439165645).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Robert O'Connell, author of The Ghosts of Cannae: Hannibal and the Darkest Hour of the Roman Republic (Random House, $27, 9781400067022/1400067022).


Movies: Craig Is Blomkvist; Deadtime Stories

The name is Blomkvist. Mikael Blomkvist. Rumors that Daniel Craig--best known as the latest James Bond--was in talks to star in the English-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Shelf Awareness, July 22, 2010) have proven to be true. reported that Craig has closed a deal to appear in the adaptation of Stieg Larsson's first novel that also "factors in options for two sequels based on The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest." 

Casting for the Lisbeth Sander role is still underway, with candidates including Ellen Page, Mia Wasikowska, Emily Browning, Sara Snook, Rooney Mara and Sophie Lowe. Sony has set a release date of December 21, 2011.


David and Scott Hillenbrand (Transylmania, National Lampoon's Dorm Daze franchise) have signed a deal to create a film series adapted from the bestselling Deadtime Stories by A.G. Cascone (aka the "twisted sisters" Annette and Gina Cascone), who will also write the screenplays.  

"We are delighted to be working with Annette and Gina on this wonderfully fun and spooky series," noted the Hillenbrands in a statement. "They have really captured the voice of the 'tween set, and the cinematic style of their bestselling books will make for some great films for the entire family."

Principal photography is slated to begin this September on the first film in the series. Plans call for branding the book series across multiple platforms and media in coordination with the relaunch of the books in both physical and digital formats.


'Gender-Bending' Shakespeare Adaptation

Helen Mirren plays "Prospera" in Julie Taymor's The Tempest, a "hotly anticipated gender-bending Shakespeare adaptation" that will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival September 11, Variety reported. The cast also includes Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw, Reeve Carney and Felicity Jones. The film is scheduled to be released in December.


Books & Authors

Awards: Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist

The longlist for this year's University of Wales Dylan Thomas Prize for young (under 30) writers, includes:

Ex Nihilo by Adebe D.E.
Watering Can by Caroline Bird
Clamor by Elyse Fenton
One Eye'd Leigh by Katharine Kilalea
Shore Ordered Ocean by Dora Malech
Cailleach by Leanne O'Sullivan
American Volunteers by Johnny Mayer
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
In This Way I Was Saved by Brian DeLeeuw
The Road to the Sea by Ciara Hegarty
And This Is True by Emilie Mackie
Family Planning by Karan Mahajan
Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed
The Still Point by Amy Sackville
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

The shortlist will be announced in September.



Attainment: New Titles Appearing Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, August 2 and 3:

Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion, $17.99, 9781423128199/1423128192) is the seventh entry in this fantasy series about humans and fairies.

My Hollywood by Mona Simpson (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307273529/0307273520) examines a marriage that becomes strained after the husband starts working late hours as a television writer.

I Curse the River of Time: A Novel by Per Petterson, translated by Charlotte Barslund (Graywolf Press, $23, 9781555975562/1555975569), from the author of Out Stealing Horses, takes place in 1989, where a Danish communist faces divorce and a dying mother.

Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography by Andrew Morton (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9780312555610/031255561X) chronicles the life and career of actress Angelina Jolie.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach (Norton, $25.95, 9780393068474/0393068471) explores some of the bizarre and uncomfortable realities facing future astronauts.

Hangman by Faye Kellerman (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061702563/0061702560) is the newest mystery novel with spouses Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus.

Burn by Nevada Barr (Minotaur Books, $25.99, 9780312614560/031261456X) is the 16th book with National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon.

The Red Queen: A Novel by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781416563723/1416563725) chronicles the War of the Roses through the perspective of Henry VII's mother.

Scarlet Nights: An Edilean Novel by Jude Deveraux (Atria, $25.99, 9781439107973/1439107971) follows a woman whose fiancé turns out to be a scheming criminal.

In Harm's Way by Ridley Pearson (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399156540/0399156542) is the fourth thriller with Idaho sheriff Walt Fleming.

Hot X: Algebra Exposed by Danica McKellar (Hudson Street Press, $26.95, 9781594630705/1594630704) encourages high school girls to succeed in math with simple lessons and anecdotes.

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time
by Jeff Deck, and Benjamin D. Herson (Harmony, $23.99, 9780307591074/0307591077) follows a cross country quest to correct signs with bad grammar or spelling.

Now in paperback:

What Would Susie Say?: Bullsh*t Wisdom About Love, Life, and Comedy by Susie Essman (Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781439150184/1439150184).

The Promised World by Lisa Tucker (Washington Square Press, $15, 9781416575399/1416575391).

Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich (Picador, $15, 9780312658854/0312658850).

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown, $14.99, 9780316067935/0316067938).


Shelf Starter: The Good Psychologist

The Good Psychologist by Noam Shpancer (Holt, $24, 9780805092592/0805092595, August 3, 2010)

Opening lines of a book we want to read:

The psychologist sits in his small office, rests his elbows on his desk, buries his face in his hands and wishes that his four o'clock won't show up. He doesn't usually take appointments after three in the afternoon. But he has decided to deviate from his usual routine for her. A small concession because she works late and sleeps late and can only make it in the late afternoon, that's what she said over the phone. Her voice, cheerless and scattered like a motel room abandoned in haste, raised a vague curiosity in him. Small concessions, he likes to tell his clients, are like pocket change: it's what most of us have to work with, in the final analysis. Our small change is our daily habits and routines, our everyday, and the measure of one's life emerges, in the final analysis, from the sum of these everydays.

His daily routine, for example, is simple and straightforward. He wakes up early each morning in his small apartment, showers and gets dressed. The apartment is deliberately dark. Tall wooden shelves, heavy with books, line the living room walls. In the past, during his days of searching and wandering, he used to immerse himself in these books. He has long since tired, or, to his mind, settled down. But still he finds solace in these paper bricks that line the walls, as if they were holding up the roof.

--Selected by Marilyn Dahl

Book Review

Book Review: Black Swan Rising

Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll (Tor Books, $14.99 Paperback, 9780765325976, August 2010)

Garet James is a 26-year-old jewelry designer who lives with her father in a town house in Manhattan's West Village that also houses his art gallery--although, as Black Swan Rising opens, the economic crisis of late 2008 brings the looming threat of foreclosure. One day, Garet stumbles upon a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, where the proprietor (who's familiar with her work) hires her to open a silver box. Once she completes her task, thieves break into her home, stealing the box--along with some valuable paintings, leading the police to suspect her father is attempting an insurance fraud. So Garet sets out to clear her father's name, discovering in the process that she is descended from a long line of women who guard the barriers between this world and the supernatural realms and--wouldn't you know it--she's got to get that box back and close it tight before disaster is let loose upon the city.

Lee Carroll (not the New Age author who channels angelic spirits, but the husband-and-wife team of Lee Slominsky and mystery writer Carol Goodman) keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, as Garet finds herself receiving assistance from Oberon and other members of the fairy kingdom. Her mystical drill instructors are sketched out in ways that playfully indicate archetypal patterns with the modern metropolis: the magical powers of earth, for example, are represented by a gnome who works in the Diamond Exchange. Sometimes, the playfulness verges on becoming too clever for its own good: The gnome's name is, in fact, "Noam," and Garet's own name is revealed to be synonymous with "watchtower," reflecting her until-now unfulfilled destiny. For every groan-inducing detail, though, there's another that inspires just as much delight, such as Oberon's spellcasting technique of drawing sigils on a handy stack of Post-It notes.

The one truly jarring note comes from Carroll's efforts to ground the fantasy in real-life history and current events, such as suggesting the villain, Elizabethan alchemist John Dee, "was with Cromwell in 1649... [and] sat beside Hitler whispering in his ear," or linking the events of United Airways Flight 1549 to residual positive magic. It's unnecessary, because the story is capable of holding interest on its own merits, with layers of symbolic meaning draped about an action-packed magical battle, and a budding romance between Garet and a vampire hedge fund manager that the authors use to skillfully set up the second in what will be at least a three-book series.--Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: An engaging (if misstep-prone) heroine, a brooding antihero and the sly reworking of mythological tropes make for a largely enjoyable urban fantasy debut.


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