Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 13, 2010

Grove Press: Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo


Cool Idea of the Day: Powell's Photo Op

For the first time, this summer customers at the main Powell's Books, in Portland, Ore., could see their names on the store marquee that has announced visiting authors for nearly 40 years. The trick was accomplished by what the store called "a bit of hi-tech magic": Powell's created a virtual marquee kiosk inside the store using green-screen technology, allowing customers to have their photos taken as though outside in front of the marquee.

"For many of our customers, a visit to Powell's Books is the highlight of their trip to Portland," said Mark Pennington, eCommerce marketing manager. "We wanted to give them a chance to commemorate their visit and do it in a fun way."

Powell's also has used the photos as an opportunity to build business. After the pictures are taken, the store e-mails the photos to customers and includes a 20% off coupon for use on the store's website, hoping to building "an ongoing relationship," Pennington said. The store also posts the pictures on Facebook and encourages customers to tag their images. The most popular photo is of a couple who became engaged at Powell's via a message on the virtual marquee saying, "Will you marry me?"

The store will likely have taken more than 10,000 pictures by September 26, when the promotion ends.


Harper: We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Notes: Room Buzz

NPR's Morning Edition explored the bookselling power of "word of mouth," citing Emma Donoghue's novel Room--which has been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and will be released in the U.S. today--as a good example of "a book with serious buzz."

Heather Fain, marketing director for Little, Brown (Donoghue's U.S. publisher) said, "In a lot ways, the greatest marketing tool we have in publishing--and probably will never change--is word of mouth."

At BookExpo this year, "We really, really have tried to make sure that every bookseller, librarian, blogger, reviewer--anyone who might possibly be interested in this book and interested in talking about it, has a copy already," Fain added.

Elaine Petrocelli of Book Passage, Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., who received her copy at a show event, said a lot of BEA attendees were talking about the novel: "People are curious about it... I think it's going to sell very well."


Webster's Bookstore Cafe, which this summer had to leave its longtime location in downtown State College, Pa., is planning to serve food and coffee at its new, temporary location and is seeking a permanent spot, according to the Centre Daily Times.

"I have looked at many places and it's really listening to what my customers want," owner Elaine Meder-Wilgus told the paper. "They want it downtown, they want a gathering place, they want books, they want organic food, they want it all." She would also "love to have a real community-based performance space."


Based on information about a new unnamed product with six versions that will be in the digital audio section--like Kindles--Endgadget "suggests" that Target will begin selling Apple's iPad next month.


Author James Patterson is launching Book Dollars for Scholars, a contest for college-bound high school seniors who can win gift certificates for $250 to $5,000 each to use at any IndieBound bookstore.

To enter, students answer with an essay the question "how has your favorite book inspired you toward what you'd like to do in life?" There will be 56 winners, selected by Patterson and members of his board.

Patterson said, "My hope with this award is to help students going to college--where they'll be immersed in textbooks and great classics, and be under pressure to succeed--to maintain their interest in enjoying a good book for fun. I'm looking forward to reading the entries!" In 2005, Patterson founded the PageTurner awards, which honored people and organizations that "spread the joy of reading."

The Book Dollars for Scholars contest ends December 31. Winners will be announced February 1. For more information and to enter, go to


Book trailer of the day: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (Dutton), which goes on sale September 28.


Here's 2day's recipe from Workman's Eat Tweet by Maureen Evans (1020 rcps @ 140 chars each) culled from Twitter's @cookbook:

Unfried Chicken

Dip8pce chicken in milk, mixd c grndcornflake/T onion+garlcpdr/t oreg&pep&chili. Chill. Cvr40m@350°F; +30m uncvrd.


Tap here to see the first trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, which opens November 19.


Jancee Dunn interviews Rosanne Cash @ BKBF.
photo by Michelle Hush
Yesterday morning was rainy and windy, "but that didn't stop bookworms from flocking to Boro Hall for the fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival," NY1 reported. "With some 250 authors participating--from Salman Rushdie to Paul Krugman to Venus Williams--it's clear reading is still very much in vogue."

"Fashion week? Ah, come on! Fashions come and go, but the written word will be here forever," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore, said the "concentration of creative talent in this borough, not only the writers themselves, but the publishers and the editors and all of the people who create book culture are all.... I mean, they're all here in Brooklyn, so the amount of talent that we're able to pull together in one place is what's makes it incredible."


Boston Globe correspondent David Lyon signed up for this year's Greenwich Village Bookstore Tour bus trip--organized annually by Alan and Helene Korolenko of Westport, Mass.--because, "With all deference to the online bookselling behemoths, I would rather hunt for books in shops that smell like fine old paper and leather bindings, places where 'useless and pointless knowledge' (as Bob Dylan called it) seems to hang in the air and the clerks thumb old paperbacks between sales. In short, I'm a fan of independent bookstores, especially those that sell used books."

Lyon's Village pilgrimage filled the bill nicely, taking him to Partners & Crime, Bonnie Slotnick: Cookbooks, Three Lives & Company, Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books, St. Mark's Bookshop, Alabaster Bookshop, Housing Works Bookstore Café and the Strand Bookstore.


The Kindle as an "off the grid" alternative? TechCrunch's Steve O'Hear presented the case for dedicated e-readers in opposition to the prevailing theory that the "losers will be dedicated e-readers, such as the Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader, and the winners, multifunctional portable devices like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab."

O'Hear confesses that he is "now a total Kindle convert. Yes, I know. It’s a laughable notion to anybody that knows me well and judging by the number of unread books--mostly Christmas presents from friends who should know better--that occupy shelf space and the spare cupboard in my house. But I can’t get enough of the Kindle.... It’s the only gadget that encourages me--no, forces me--to go off the grid and get away from, as Mike Butcher puts it, the 'background hum' of being always-connected."

Then again, there's always the "off the grid" option of a printed book.


Mike Ferrari has joined Borders as merchandising director, trade books. He formerly worked at Barnes & Noble, most recently as director, digital content, for B&, where, among other things, he was responsible for acquiring content for the e-book division. He earlier was director of merchandising, divisional merchandising director, senior buyer and buyer. Before joining B&N, he worked at Waldenbooks, starting as an assistant store manager and eventually becoming a senior buyer.


Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tony Blair on the Daily Show

This morning on the Today Show: Neil Sedaka, author of Waking Up Is Hard to Do (Imagine! Publishing/Charlesbridge, $17.95, 9781936140138/1936140136).


This morning on Good Morning America: 

Nancy Brinker, author of Promise Me: How a Sister's Love Launched the Global Movement to End Breast Cancer (Crown Archetype, $25.99, 9780307718129/0307718123).
Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780767928847/0767928849).


This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Donald Sturrock, author of Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781416550822/1416550828).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Per Petterson, author of I Curse the River of Time (Graywolf Press, $23, 9781555975562/1555975569).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (Norton, $25.95, 9780393071627/0393071626).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (Random House, $30, 9780679444329/0679444327).


Tonight on Charlie Rose: Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves (Penguin, $18, 9780143118244/0143118242).


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Bill McKibben, author of Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (Times Books, $24, 9780805090567/0805090568).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Lisa Birnbach, author of True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World (Knopf, $19.95, 9780307593986/0307593983).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jodi Lipper, author of How To Love Like a Hot Chick: The Girlfriend to Girlfriend Guide to Getting the Love You Deserve (Harper, $14.99, 9780061706448/0061706442).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Bill O'Reilly, author of Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061950711/0061950718).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Patti LuPone, author of Patti LuPone: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $25.99, 9780307460738/0307460738).


Tomorrow day on NPR's Fresh Air: Stephen G. Breyer, author of Making Our Democracy Work: A Judge's View (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307269911/0307269914). He will also appear tomorrow morning on Good Morning America.


Tomorrow on the View: Amy Yasbeck, author of With Love and Laughter, John Ritter (Gallery, $26, 9781416598411/1416598413). She will also appear tomorrow on the Today Show, the Joy Behar Show and Access Hollywood.


Tomorrow night on Charlie Rose: Michael Eisner, author of Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed (HarperBusiness, $25.99, 9780061732362/0061732362).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Jamie Lee Curtis, co-author of My Mommy Hung the Moon (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780060290160/0060290161).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Tony Blair, author of A Journey: My Political Life (Knopf, $35, 9780307269836/0307269833). He will also appear today on the View.


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Sean Wilentz, author of Bob Dylan in America (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385529884/0385529880).


KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

Movies: The Ice Man; Sarah's Key

Mickey Rourke will star in Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, adapted from the nonfiction book by Philip Carlo about "Richard 'The Ice Man' Kuklinski, who for more than 40 years led a double life as both a professional assassin and a doting husband and father in suburban New Jersey," according to the Hollywood Reporter. David McKenna is writing the screenplay.


The Weinstein Company bought all U.S. rights to Sarah's Key, a film starring Kristin Scott Thomas that was adapted from the book by French journalist and literary critic Tatiana De Rosnay. Gilles Paquet-Brenner directed the film. reported that the novel "has been translated into 15 languages and published in 22 countries."


GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

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:


How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel by Charles Yu (Pantheon, $24, 9780307379207/0307379205). "Winner of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 Award, Charles Yu offers a story of a man traveling through time to find his father. It's an unlikely and surprisingly successful combination of intelligence, wit, and raw emotion. Yu writes with great skill, immediately charming his readers."--Bridget Allison, Phoenix Books, Essex, Vt.

Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine: A Biography by John T. Spike (Vendome Press, $27.95, 9780865652668/086565266X). "He was possibly the world's greatest artist, certainly its greatest sculptor, but John Spike gives us a nuanced human view of Michelangelo on his path to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The reader meets a man dealing with financial problems, family pressures, artistic feuds, all set within the turbulent world of the Medici, the Borgias, and Savonarola. This is Michelangelo of reality, not myth."--Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.


In the Belly of Jonah: A Liv Bergen Mystery by Sandra Brannan (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $14.95, 9781608320509/1608320502). "Set among the imposing Colorado Rockies, this first novel in a frightening new series is a fast-paced, gripping mystery to be read with the lights on and the doors locked. You will cheer on this intelligent, gritty heroine as she endeavors to out-think a killer determined to make her his next masterpiece."--Maria Upichard, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Ages 9 to 12

The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer (Philomel, $14.99, 9780399252365/0399252363). "Enola's most dangerous case yet! Enola is looking for a missing noblewoman and, at the same time, her brothers are looking for her. Sherlock has received a letter from their mother that only Enola can open. The siblings must work together to bring the mysteries of both missing ladies to a close. This is Enola Holmes at her best!"--Sara Glassman, Little Professor Book Center, Homewood, Ala.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

Book Brahmin: Daniel Woodrell

Daniel Woodrell's five most recent novels were New York Times Notable Books of the Year, and Tomato Red won the PEN West Award for the Novel. Two of his novels have been adapted as major motion pictures: Woe to Live On (released in 1999 as Ride with the Devil, directed by Ang Lee and starring Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich) and Winter's Bone (2010). His short story "Uncle" (in Busted Flush Press's A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir) was nominated for an Edgar Award. Tomato Red has just been reprinted by Busted Flush Press (September 2010). Woodrell lives in the Missouri Ozarks near the Arkansas line.


On your nightstand now:

Miracle Boy by Pinckney Benedict, Love Begins In Winter by Simon Van Booy, a short stack of Shirley Ann Grau, a taller stack of Ken Bruen and Soul by Andrey Platonov.


Favorite book when you were a child:

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.


Your top five authors:

Might be easier to say my top five are the Russians, the French, Americans from the South, from elsewhere, and the Irish.


Book you've faked reading:

Owner's manual to my Ford.


Book you're an evangelist for:

Currently evangelical about the stories of Ivan Bunin and Royo County by Robert Roper.


Book you've bought for the cover:

Certain Things Last by Sherwood Anderson, with the great Charles Burchfield cover art.


Book that changed your life:

Irving Stone's biography of Jack London (Sailor on Horseback) and Leon Uris's Battle Cry, read at the same time at 16, and I promptly quit high school to join the Marines and get in on all the instructive adventure apparently going on out in the world.


Favorite line from a book:

"My mother is a fish."--As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner.


Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.



Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley

Book Review

Book Review: Half a Life

Half a Life by Darin Strauss (McSweeney's Books, $22.00 Hardcover, 9781934781708, September 2010)

Imagine yourself a few weeks from your high school graduation, cruising down the road with a carload of your friends. Now imagine the almost inconceivable: a fellow student riding her bicycle swerves into the path of your car and is killed instantly. Novelist Darin Strauss was the driver of that car in May 1988 and Half a Life is the intense, searching account of the path he traveled from that grim day to the present.

What made Strauss's experience so fraught was that the death of 16-year-old Celine Zilke was as close as such a collision can be to a true accident. There was no alcohol, no speeding and no distracted driving. Indeed, years after the event, a friend shared with him one of Celine's diary entries he chose to interpret as an announcement of her intention to commit suicide that day. Even her parents at first appear to grant him absolution. In a sense, Strauss seems to be saying, the absence of any reason to experience true guilt only served to intensify that emotion.

Adopting a brave narrative technique, beginning with the accident itself ("Half a life ago, I killed a girl.") and then carrying the story forward, Strauss challenges us to join him in a series of painful encounters in the wake of Celine's death: his return to school, her funeral, an assembly where the principal announces a scholarship in her memory and, finally, a brief, awkward visit to the Zilke home. And the farther he travels into adulthood, shadowed by the memory of the accident, the more difficult it becomes to leave it behind.

Lured by the prospect of a financial windfall, Celine's parents soon abandon their apparent willingness to forgive and file a multimillion-dollar damage claim. Strauss's sketchy account of that litigation will appear cryptic to non-lawyers and inexplicable to members of the legal profession (he appears for a deposition without meeting his attorney in advance, for example), and its indecisive conclusion does nothing to speed his healing process.

But Strauss's memoir is worth reading for more than its narrative. In one aphoristic observation after another, his prose burns with a quiet intensity. Describing the immediate aftermath of the accident, he writes, "Trauma makes a spark that in a white glow washes out details, guilt, shame--a flare that throws the recent past into shadow and deep obscurity." And in a bizarre return to the scene in his therapist's Porsche, he observes, almost with a sense of wonderment, "Only days later, and it was already just a spot. A spot with geese and a spear of light."

"So few of our days contain actions that are irrevocable," Strauss notes. "Our lives are designed not to allow for anything irrevocable." His story is a stark reminder of what happens at those blessedly rare moments. Its unbridled honesty in confronting tragedy offers both insight and inspiration.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Novelist Darin Strauss (Chang and Eng) delivers a profound account of his role in an accident that claimed a young woman's life and the aftermath of that tragedy.


KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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