Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 2, 2010

Crown Publishing Group (NY): Here One Moment Liane Moriarty

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

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

Quotation of the Day

Children's Bookseller: 'True Readers Have Not Changed'

"The true readers have not changed. They are just as excited and nerdy and wonderful. It gives me great hope, that kids can be so excited about books, and that they come in and tell each other about what they're reading. It's just wonderful to eavesdrop."

--Terri Schmitz, owner of the Children's Book Shop, Brookline, Mass., in the Boston Globe's Bibliophile feature.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Shame on You: How to Be a Woman in the Age of Mortification by Melissa Petro


Notes: Cohens Honored; Random House E-Book Sales

Congratulations to Carla Cohen, co-owner of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., and her husband, David, winners with two others of this year's Abraham Joshua Heschel Awards, which are sponsored by Jews United for Justice, a Washington-area organization that aims to pursue "justice and equality in our local community."

The awards will be celebrated Sunday, October 24, at Tifereth Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.

Carla Cohen was cited for her role at the bookstore, "a gathering place for people to discuss the world as it is and as it should be."

David Cohen was cited as "an advocate and strategist on major social justice, political reform and war and peace issues working with social movement groups for over 50 years as an organizer, lobbyist, coalition builder and founder of organizations. His many writings on advocacy have been translated into 15 languages."


More on Barnes & Noble's creation of larger sections in stores to sell the Nook e-reader:

• The company says "a majority" of Nook sales take place in its stores.
• B&N loyalty club members who have purchased Nooks have bought 20% more combined digital and physical items--and more than 70% more "on a unit basis."
• A quarter of Nook users are new to B&


Sales of e-books at Random House in the U.S. represent 8% of revenue and should hit 10% next year, CEO Markus Dohle told Der Spiegel (via Reuters).

He predicted that e-books sales in the U.S. will be between 25%-50% in the next five years but not overtake printed books in that time. Concerning Random's decision not to sell titles on Apple's iPad via the agency model, he commented: "The question is if publishers know how to find the right retail price... This hasn't been our job in the past."


Webster's Bookstore Cafe, State College, Pa., which has had to vacate its main location because of late rental payments (Shelf Awareness, July 6, 2010), has found other quarters, at least temporarily, according to the Centre Daily Times. The store began moving yesterday.


Olga Bof wants to open a children's bookstore in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla., later this year, and is looking for seed money in an unusual way, but one that makes sense in an era when small business loans have practically dried up: she is competing for a $50,000 grant in the August round of the Pepsi Refresh Project. Under the program, Pepsi gives away millions of dollars in a variety of categories--in Bof's, the category is neighborhoods for $50,000, about a third of what she needs. The grant is awarded based on the highest number of votes for the nominated projects, so anyone wanting to help Bof and her Cheeky Monkeys can vote here or via text: Text* 101443 to Pepsi (73774). Warning: Pepsi does ask basic information about voters.

For an introduction to Bof and the idea, go to

Bof is asking supporters to vote every day and add the voting information on their websites and blogs and on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.


Ben, "the iconic Colonial figure" that has been standing watch outside Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., for 37 years, was toppled by a car last month, the Cape Cod Times reported.

"We're just grateful no one was hurt," said Vicky Uminowicz, the bookstore's manager. Ben, however, wasn't so fortunate.

"Right now he's broken away at the soles of his shoes and has a busted knee," said Ralph Titcomb, whose son, Ted, crafted the metal statue as a school project in 1973. "I thought about calling an orthopedic man, but that won't work."

The Titcombs hope to have Ben back on his feet for the autumn season, but at present he is flat on his back by the roadside. "He's so heavy we can't move him," Uminowicz said.


"Are Vikings the new vampires?" asked the Boston Globe, suggesting that "the ferocious, globe-trotting rapists, pillagers, and marauders who traveled the known world of the Middle Ages as far as the Charles River--you have doubtless seen the Leif Erikson tower in Waltham--may be popular culture's latest object of fascination."

Kenny Brechner, owner of Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Maine, credits Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy with helping to reawaken interest in Scandinavian literature. The bookshop's website even features a Scandinavian Crime Writers Interactive Map. Viking momentum may be a natural outgrowth of this fascination.

"The Vikings knew what gave life meaning, behaving well under duress," said Brechner, "Their emphasis on integrity of character, stark and unflinching, still calls out to us with the allure of an enchanted mirror."

Evidence cited by the Globe of a Viking invasion included Brian Wood's Northlanders graphic novel series; the reissue by NYRB Books of Frans Bengtsson’s The Long Ships; and news that Bernard Cornwell "plans to start writing the fifth volume of his best-selling Saxon Tales shortly."


Peter Hodge considered the reader's dilemma of our times--Is there a reading life after e-books?--in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Actually, I can manufacture plenty of reasons to shun e-books," he wrote. "Most of them will be resolved, or simply matter less over time.... Even fumble-fingered old farts like me will adjust to e-books when a tipping point is passed, and we realize they are the key to our intellectual stimulation. When that day comes, my world will have changed, perhaps not for the worse, but changed nevertheless.... Grudgingly, I must adjust my habits, continuing to suck the marrow from my p-books, while opening my mind to the possibilities e-books present."


What do Harry Potter and Ben-Hur have in common? They both made the Huffington Post's slideshow of the "15 Biggest Bestsellers EVER After the Bible."


Book trailer of the day: Displaced Persons: A Novel by Ghita Schwarz (Morrow).


In his War on Error tech blog, John E. Dunn offered a critique of e-books, which have made books "no longer interesting as objects (how could they be?)" and made books "controlled by their creators, sellers and distributors. Right now the readers look like shadows at the party."

Concluding with a reference to Gutenberg, he wrote: "It's hard to imagine the inventor of movable type having to worry about which format his books were printed in or whether the readers would be able to 'unlock' the text. What makes paper books so powerful is that they exist as independent objects with a life of their own, answerable to nobody."

By the way, Dunn's brother is Robin Dunn, director of the SJC Bookstore at St. John's College, Annapolis, Md.


Obituary note: The Rev. Lawrence Boadt, a Roman Catholic priest, publisher and Bible scholar long associated with Paulist Press, died last Saturday, the New York Times reported. He was 67.


Literary Death Match, Bookslam, To Hell With the Lighthouse, the Firestation Book Swap--According to the Guardian, "Up and down the country, particularly in the previously unfashionable areas of densely populated cities, in the spare spaces of pubs, clubs and restaurants, in arts centres and at micro-festivals, a new breed of literary event is flourishing."


A half-century after the obscenity trial for Lady Chatterley's Lover, fear of ridicule has apparently trumped fear of censorship for authors writing about sex. Man Booker Prize chair of judges Andrew Motion told the Guardian that fewer authors seem to be writing about sex these days and even offered a theory: "It's as if they were paranoid about being nominated for the Bad Sex Award." He added that this curious literary sexual abstinence has resulted in "a lot of people writing about taking drugs, as if that was a substitute for sex."


Edward Knappman and Elizabeth Frost-Knappman of New England Publishing Associates and Roger S. Williams of the Publish or Perish Agency have merged into a single entity, with Williams as owner and managing director. NEPA currently represents approximately 150 authors and more than 500 titles. The Knappmans will both be agents emeriti at the new agency, which will operate from the POPA offices near Princeton, N.J.

In a joint statement, Frost-Knappman and Knappman said, "We are pleased that we have been able to develop a transition plan that will be beneficial to both parties, our current publishing partners, and most especially, our clients. We are confident they will be very effectively represented by Roger and his team."

Williams added that he is "very honored to carry the NEPA traditions into a new era of publishing. For at least a few years, we will continue to operate NEPA, as NEPA. We have sent information to our clients and we will begin work with publishers on the transition process."

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

'Social eReading Experience' in a $99 E-Reader

Copia, a subsidiary of DMC Worldwide, plans to debut a $99, 5-inch color e-reader when it introduces a new line of devices later this year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the "other devices in Copia's hardware line--which include six WiFi or 3G-enabled e-readers ranging from 6 inches to 9 inches and $199 to $299 in price--have already been pushed back from their original spring 2010 release date."

Tony Antolino, senior v-p of DMC Worldwide, said, "The iPad disrupted pricing strategy for everyone in the e-reader market, and after the price wars with Barnes & Noble and Amazon, everyone's trying to differentiate themselves from a price-point perspective. We decided to do a revision of our hardware positioning."

Copia "has been marketed as the first 'social reading' platform, with social-media integration as well as its own e-commerce store for the purchase of books and periodicals. Users can access feeds from Web services like Facebook and Twitter as they're reading, and share notes and book recommendations or join discussion groups without having to open a Web browser," the Journal wrote.

James McQuivey, a v-p at Forrester Research, expressed reservations, noting he is "a big believer that social reading will be a large aspect of these devices in the future, though consumers haven't been taught to expect that yet. But even if that experience is intriguing, and you offer the hardware for very cheap, you're still touting something--a social network--that people know they can access right now for free." observed: "It's refreshing to finally see e-book readers being marked with reasonable prices. But again, is it worth paying a hundred bucks or more for a device without multiple functions with the evolution of tablet computers? Yet, if all a particular consumer wants an e-reader for is actual reading, then a smaller and cheaper model like this one might have its place."


Image of the Day: Sweet 16

Congratulations to Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt., which celebrated its sweet 16 yesterday. Here owners Penny McConnel and Liza Bernard with "the king" at the birthday bash.












Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gary Shteyngart on Fresh Air

This morning on the Today Show: Roshini Raj, author of What the Yuck?: The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body (Oxmoor House, $19.95, 9780848734176/0848734173).


Today on Fox & Friends: Andrew Morton, author of Angelina: An Unauthorized Biography (St. Martin's, $26.99, 9780312555610/031255561X).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, $26, 9781400066407/1400066409).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Mary Roach, author of Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void (Norton, $25.95, 9780393068474/0393068471). She will also appear tonight on the Daily Show.

Also on Talk of the Nation: Andrew Hacker, co-author of Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids---and What We Can Do About It (Times Books, $26, 9780805087345/0805087346).


Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Kendra Wilkinson, author of Sliding Into Home (Gallery, $25, 9781439180914/1439180911).


Today on the View: Teresa Giudice, author of Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It Live La Bella Vita and Look Great, Too! (Hyperion, $19.99, 9781401310356/1401310354).


Tomorrow on a repeat of Oprah: Patti Stanger, author of Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate (Atria, $15, 9781416597711/1416597719).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Laura Ingraham, author of The Obama Diaries (Threshold Editions, $25, 9781439197516/1439197512).


Television: Call Me Mrs. Miracle

Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond) will reprise her starring role in the Hallmark Channel's Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle, a sequel to last year's Mrs. Miracle. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Christmas-themed film, adapted from Macomber's upcoming novel, "is in production in Vancouver for a November 27 premiere." Michael M. Scott is directing a screenplay by Nancey Silvers.


Casting Call Thriller: The Search for Lisbeth Intensifies

With just a whiff of hyperbole, asked whether it was "an exaggeration to say not since Gone with the Wind has the actress casting search for a studio film captured such attention?"

David Fincher, director of English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, tested actresses last week and again yesterday. reported that the stakes had been raised: "Daniel Craig will read alongside the aspirants, and each of them will get the full hair, makeup, wardrobe and piercings treatment, which wasn't done in the earlier tests."


Movies: Writers on the Big Screen

Inspired by the upcoming release of Eat Pray Love, the Huffington Post featured 15 great movies in which a writer is the main character, and noted that "it's always fun to see your own world reflected in the movies, we get especially excited when we watch a movie that features an author or other bookish kind of person in a leading role."


Books & Authors

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:


Crashers: A Thriller by Dana Haynes (Minotaur, $24.99, 9780312599881/0312599889). "Cascade Air 818 left Portland on a routine flight to Los Angeles, but it never arrived. Now pieces of the plane litter the Oregon countryside, and it would appear that this was just a dress rehearsal. Back in Portland the National Transportation Safety Board team swings into action, unaware that there's only 72 hours left until a ruthless opportunist crashes another plane. Fast, topical and downright scary, this is also a fascinating glimpse into how the NTSB operates."--Paula Longhurst, the King's English, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir
by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Harper, $24.99, 9780061336980/006133698X). "When Josh and his partner Brent stumble upon the Beekman Mansion during their yearly jaunt from New York City to upstate apple country, they fall in love with the dilapidated farm long before they even set foot inside. As they slowly turn from city socialites to country boys, the Beekman offers up a series of challenges: Brent's determination to live up to Martha Stewart's perfection (who just so happens to be his boss), Josh's desire to live his Oprah-inspired Best Life, 84 goats, a quiet farmhand known simply as Farmer John, a few ghosts, zombie flies, and the collapsing economy. The Bucolic Plague is indeed an unconventional--and unforgettable--memoir."--Megan Fecko, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lyndhurst, Ohio


The Debba: A Novel by Avner Mandelman (Other Press, $14.95, 9781590513705/1590513703). "Avner Mandelman uses the format of a thriller to produce a compelling, nuanced portrayal of Israel at its creation and beyond. As his characters progress through a murder investigation, Mandelman presents the reader with an Israel far from the stereotype. This superb fiction brings an understanding of a diverse and conflicted society better than any strict historical portrait could."--Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.

For Ages 9 to 12

Kid vs. Squid by Greg Van Eekhout (Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, $16.99, 9781599904894/1599904896). "This is the perfect book for middle school boys and reluctant readers. The hysterical dialogue, bizarre sea creatures, and action packed fight scenes will latch on to the reader with tentacle-like suction! I dare you to read this book and not enjoy it!"--Summer Moser, Summer's Stories, Kendallville, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: The Girls of Murder City

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry (Viking Books, $25.95 Hardcover, 9780670021970, August 2010)


"Every Chicago reporter knew that a gun-toting girl was a guaranteed public obsession, an instant celebrity, at least for a few days," Douglas Perry writes of the time when Prohibition-era rotgut, girls with itchy trigger fingers, married men who regularly did them wrong and a public hungry for sensational tales came together to the delight, and profit, of newspapers, high and low.

During spring 1924 there was no shortage of juicy stories for the front pages of Chicagoland dailies: the stylish married woman Belva Gaertner shot her boyfriend (a car salesman, also married--but not to Belva) in the front seat of his car under cover of darkness; beautiful married Beulah Annan plugged her afternoon gentleman caller in the back and then continued to play the record "Hula Lou" on the phonograph as her unfortunate visitor bled to death on the hardwood floor. Reporters raced to outdo each other in nicknaming the latest gal with a gun: Wolf Woman, Tiger Girl, Spurned Portia.

Many of these women, while locked up awaiting trial for murder, played their parts with self-assured cool. They dressed carefully for photo ops, courted sympathetic reporters and offered irresistible quotes: "Sure, I whipped my millionaire husband, but it was he himself who gave me the whip and begged me, yes, even forced me, to do it." Perry presents readers with a picture of the delirious three-ring circus that took over the press and the courts when "Gangsterism, celebrity, sex, art, music--anything dodgy or gauche or modern boomed in the city."

Into this overheated arena wandered Maurine Watkins, a cub reporter covering the police beat for the Chicago Tribune. Watkins knew that if she wanted her stories to be on the front page she had to make them both hard-hitting and entertaining, preferably starring someone who had pulled a gun on someone else. Covering the beat with a sly twist (intimate and candid detail laced with a skeptically subversive edge), she saw that for women, Chicago was "the ideal locale to get away with murder." Defense attorneys were expert at manipulating juries by downplaying the adultery angle and highlighting how murder was an everyday occurrence. And if the accused happened to be attractive and socially prominent, well, one headline said it all: "PRETTY GIRLS GET FREE, UGLY ONES SENT TO PEN."

Watkins took all that she had learned as a police reporter and wrote the play Chicago: Beulah Annan morphed into Roxie Hart, and the vixens who lived to cheat and shoot their lovers dead entered American theatrical history, tough as nails and glamorized to the nines.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A jazzy reprise of a time when the criminal justice system in Chicago let good-looking killers off the hook and newspapers exploited every lurid detail of dalliances turned fatal for their front pages.


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