Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Workman Publishing: Ejaculate Responsibly: A Whole New Way to Think about Abortion by Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Simon & Schuster: Defend Banned Books

Blackstone Publishing: River Woman, River Demon by Jennifer Givhan

Sourcebooks Explore: Black Boy, Black Boy by Ali Kamanda and Jorge Redmond, illustrated by Ken Daley

Quotation of the Day

Bookstore Renovation: 'I Want This Place to POP!'

"Even just that one thing... building a bookcase that is going to FILL my store and set the mood, in a sense, for those walking in... is a piece of the start-up excitement. After that come the counter area, the signage, the wall color(s), the mapping out of the different sections, the setting up of the seating area, etc. The whole process is wonderful! And expensive. The expense is part of the reason why I want to do things well this time around. We’ve always made our stores nice, but I want this place to POP! I have pried my wallet open just enough to agree to all the expense, so I want to get this ball rolling before it clamps shut again. I’m a very cheap man."

--Shane Gottwals, co-owner of Gottwals Books, in his Bookshop Blog post, "What Makes a Bookshop Visually Stand Out?" Gottwals now has four used bookstores in Georgia and is expanding its original Warner Robins location. He plans to "gut the entire place and start anew. We want to do it right… we want to make it whimsical and wonderful."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: All I Want for Christmas by Maggie Knox


Notes: Sourcebooks Looks to the Future; Stephen Fry's App

"We are pioneers in the most old-fashioned way. We are at the beginning again," Dominique Raccah--founder, publisher and chief executive of Sourcebooks--told the Chicago Tribune, which profiled the company, noting that as "the book publishing industry undergoes a transformation... Raccah is embracing the change with a confidence grounded in creativity. By fostering an entrepreneurial workplace even as her company has become one of the largest independent book publishers in the nation, Raccah sees a bright future."

"Book publishing is in transformation," she said. "You have to explore lots of different areas because you're not going to know what's going to work upfront."


What's in a name? Lorraine Read, owner of Uppercase Books, Snohomish, Wash., told the Everett Herald that when she bought the business in 2006, "I wanted to name the bookstore 'Read Books' if it hadn't already had a name."

Asked how she knows when a customer realizes her name is an aptonym, Read said, "Their face sort of lights up and they sort of smile and nod. It's a facial thing. And then they might say something when I have to explain how to spell it because people want to spell it in many other ways. Like Reed or Reid are very common. And I say, 'No, it's Read, like read a book.' Then they might say, 'I suppose you were destined to own a bookstore,' and I say, 'Yes, I was.' "


A box of old books that Pat Saine, owner of Blue Plate Books, Winchester, Va., agreed to sell turned out to be a very special collection. The Winchester Star reported that the books, including "a history of the Confederate government by Jefferson Davis from 1881 and a life of George Washington by John Marshall published in 1832," were stamped "property of the U.S. Department of Justice and, in some cases, labeled 'rare.' "

Further investigation led to the discovery that the volumes "should have been in the library. They had never been withdrawn." The books will now be given back to the Justice Department.

"It looks like these rare books will be going home where they belong," Saine said, "and our historical record will be preserved."


No stranger to the possibilities of social networking (with 1.78 million Twitter followers and counting), Stephen Fry is taking full advantage of his digital obsessions and significant online presence with the release this week of The Fry Chronicles in the U.K. as a hardcover book, an enhanced e-book and as the myFry app for Apple's iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, the Telegraph reported.

"We wanted to produce a unique digital publication for his book," said Jeremy Ettinghausen, digital publisher at Penguin. "We've created the perfect format for dipping in and out of and exploring books in a more playful way. Every word of The Fry Chronicles is in the myFry app, but the design and technology have allowed us to create an experience that would not be possible in print, and discover a new way to present an author's work."

Fast Company asked, "Is This iPad Memoir the Future of Reading?"


Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by President Barack Obama, illustrated by Loren Long, will be released November 16 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. The children's book is a tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans, including George Washington, Jackie Robinson and Georgia O'Keeffe, the Associated Press reported.

"It is an honor to publish this extraordinary book, which is an inspiring marriage of words and images, history and story," said Random House children's president and publisher Chip Gibson. "Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans--the potential to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths."

The president will donate any author proceeds to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation, the AP wrote.  


Late season beach e-reads. The most recent attack in the ongoing battle between Kindle and iPad comes from an Amazon TV commercial that "illustrates, in humorous fashion, the fact that the iPad isn’t nearly as easily visible in direct sunlight as the Kindle," TechCrunch reported.


Ah Pook Is Here, a graphic novel that William Burroughs abandoned almost 40 years ago, will be published for the first time in book form next year. The Guardian reported that the story, illustrated by with artist Malcolm McNeill, "appeared as a monthly comic strip in the English magazine Cyclops. After the magazine folded, they worked to develop the concept into a full-length book, which they dubbed a 'Word/Image novel' because the term graphic novel had yet to be coined. But no publisher was interested, and after working on the book for seven years the pair eventually abandoned it."

Fantagraphics Books, which acquired rights and will publish the book next summer, described it as "the kind of extrapolative, futuristic feat of imagination that a reader would expect from the author of Nova Express and The Ticket That Exploded--a mind-boggling tour de force, dramatizing outré theories with a science fiction patina."


The Vatican Library will reopen next Monday after a three-year, $12 million renovation, giving scholars access again to its "1.6 million volumes, including 75,000 manuscripts. The renovations were both structural--involving the reinforcement of foundations and floors--and technological," the New York Times reported.


"Power rankings are being rolled out, fantasy players are drafted, trash is talked, and stockpiles of microwavable snacks are being stuffed in the fridge of your friend with the big screen TV," Flavorwire wrote to introduce its reading list "of some of the best books about football."


In honor of Roald Dahl Day, author Philip Ardagh selected his top 10 children's books by Dahl for the Guardian, noting that "Dahl was the master. When he died, I was working in a library. A child asked me: 'Who will write Roald Dahl books now he's dead?' Fortunately, his books live on for whole new generations, while we oldies have the excuse of reading them to our children."


Publishing may survive, but will civilization? ReadWriteWeb reported that "boutique book publisher and geek James Bridle has printed the 12,000 edits made to the controversial Wikipedia entry for Iraq War between December 2004 to November 2009 as a 7,000 page, 12-volume set of books."

"This is historiography," Bridle observed. "This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification."


An updated version of Flavorpill's Official True Blood Drinking Game for last Sunday night's finale was released because "the entire show is about drinking. Vampires drink from humans. Humans drink from vampires. And don't even get us started on the werewolves.... So we wondered, if literally all of the characters are drinking something, why aren't we?"


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

Café-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream6T buttr/c brnsug; +egg/yolk/t vanil; c flour/¼t soda&salt/½c chocchip. Form9balls. 18m@325F.


Effective September 19, Ingram Publisher Services will distribute in North America a range of language and travel products from Insight Guides and Berlitz Publishing, both owned by APA Publications.

Founded in 1970, Insight has published books on more than 100 destinations in 10 languages. Berlitz specializes in phrase books, language-learning courses, dictionaries, children's language products, travel guides and maps.


Melville House Publishing has added several new staff members:

Christopher King is now the company's art director. He was previously a designer at St. Martin's Press and at Doubleday.

Jason Bennett is the new director of publicity. Prior to joining Melville House, he had worked as the assistant library marketing manager at Hachette and was an associate publicist under Peter Miller at Bloomsbury.

Nathan Ihara joins Melville House as a publicist after working as eBook editor for He is also a book critic who writes regularly for L.A. Weekly.

The publisher's new director of marketing is Siddhartha Lokanandi, who previously worked in marketing at Verso Books.


Disney-Hyperion: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad

Rainy Day Books Celebrates 35

The festivities are starting early for Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan., which marks its 35th anniversary on November 4. The store is hosting a four-night "Celebration of the Book" series beginning with Susan Casey, author of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean on September 19, followed by Terry McMillan (September 21), Jonathan Franzen (September 22) and Diana Gabaldon (September 23).

"We wanted to engage as many people as possible from different age groups and different parts of the community not only to celebrate our anniversary but to celebrate books and the importance of reading," said Vivien Jennings, the founder and president of Rainy Day Books. Both new and repeat guests will be stopping by this fall, among them children's scribe Rick Riordan and memoirists Ingrid Betancourt and Condoleezza Rice. Ina Garten is making her fifth appearance at the store to promote her new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?
Customers who can't attend the events are invited to participate by purchasing an autographed book and donating it to an area library or charity auction. "We're spreading the celebration out that way, too," Jennings said.

Rainy Day Books opened in a 450-sq.-ft. former police station in the Fairway Shops plaza in 1975, selling recycled paperbacks. Jennings later added new paperbacks to the store's inventory and eventually expanded to a full line of new books. Over the years the store has occupied three different locations in the shopping center and is now the anchoring retailer, with 2,500 square feet of selling space and a drive-in lower level, which contains offices, a receiving and shipping area and storage.

"The different steps we've taken to modify the store have been due to keeping a close ear to the ground of what makes our customers happy and what keeps them reading and excited about books," said Jennings. Several years ago used books were phased out after customers indicated they were no longer interested in trading in their paperbacks. The used books section was replaced, at shoppers' urging, with a substantial display devoted to reading group selections.

Another step in Rainy Day's evolution was making the store a premier destination for touring authors. When Jennings first asked publishers to consider the Midwestern locale, "their eyes would glaze over," she recalled. "They didn't think people read in the big wheat field." That changed in the mid-1990s after she and her partner, Roger Doeren, submitted a proposal to host a fête for Anne Rice and Servant of the Bones at an antebellum mansion. "Random House decided to give us a chance, and that was the beginning of our role in the event business," Jennings said. "We owe heartfelt thanks to the publishers for their continued support and to all the authors who have spread the word over the years." Jennings and Doeren attend every event the store hosts. "Events have been very much key in the fact that we're still here. That and our strong connection to the community, but it's all integrated."

Earlier this year Jennings was the keynote speaker at a breakfast sponsored by Reach Out and Read Kansas City, an organization that provides books to kids at well-child visits. While preparing for the talk, said Jennings, "I realized I never had a book of my own until I was probably in junior high school." She read books at school or ones that her mother borrowed from the library. "I told the audience that when we're giving books to these kids, we don't know what that child is going to do or become if we introduce them to the power of reading."

Encouraging literacy "is a lifelong passion of mine because I know that I would not be what I am today without books," said Jennings. She serves on the advisory councils of Reach Out and Read Kansas City and St. Luke's Breast Cancer Center, for which she helped build a lending library for patients seeking support and information about the disease. Rainy Day is also a partner in the Hooked on Books Project, which provides books to at-risk children.

Some of Jennings's favorite handsells have been Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, Reynolds Price's Roxanna Slade and, more recently, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. "Different books are needed at different times," remarked Jennings. "I tell people this is absolutely the best time to be a reader. When I started in the business, there was genre fiction and classics and almost nothing in between. A few literary writers, but that was it. And look at what there is now. There's history, biography, fiction, and it's all great."

Rainy Day is working on a video narrated by Jennings with highlights from the store's history. The retrospective, which will be shown at events this fall, showcases such things as memorable author moments, the development of the store space and even how Jennings' hair has turned gray. It also features store staffers, some of whom have been with Rainy Day for two decades. "It's fun to remember the things we've done over the years," said Jennings. One memento she came across from the early days, illustrating just how far the store has come, was an adding machine tape with a note written on it by a business associate: "$14. Yuck. A pretty slow day."

"It has been a long journey and so interesting to see how our business has changed over the past 35 years and how we've been able to adapt," said Jennings. Adapt to changes and challenges like increased operating expenses (the store's original rent was $200 a month), integrating and maintaining technological necessities, competition from chain bookstores and, transitioning to Internet launched in 1994--and vying for people's time and money in a digital age. Said Jennings, "Yes, it's challenging, but it's a wonderful business. I really can't imagine doing anything else."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt




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G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!

How Am I Doing?
40 Conversations to Have with Yourself

by Dr. Corey Yeager

GLOW: Harper Celebrate: How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself by Dr. Corey YeagerWho is the most important person in your life? What determines your joy? What mistakes have you learned from the most? Corey Yeager--a psychotherapist who works with the Detroit Pistons basketball franchise--poses 40 self-reflective questions to facilitate positive personal change. His inviting, empathetic approach came to prominence via the Apple TV series The Me You Can't See, produced by Oprah and Prince Harry. Dr. Yeager draws from his own life story to dispel mental health stigmas and help others gain greater personal clarity. Danielle Peterson, senior acquisition editor at Harper Celebrate, says, "The format of How Am I Doing? makes it a stand-out in the mental health genre--an excellent choice for someone looking for high-density wisdom in small, bite-sized doses." Yeager's winning insights deliver a slam-dunk of empowered inspiration bound to elicit tremendous personal reward. --Kathleen Gerard

(Harper Celebrate, $22.99 hardcover, 9781400236763, 
October 18, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Harvell on the Diane Rehm Show

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Richard Harvell, author of The Bells (Crown, $24, 9780307590527/0307590526).


Tomorrow NPR's Here and Now will discuss Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg and Eric Drooker (Harper Perennial, $19.99, 9780062015174/0062015176).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Michael Eisner, author of Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed (HarperBusiness, $25.99, 9780061732362/0061732362).


Tomorrow on Access Hollywood: Amy Yasbeck, author of With Love and Laughter, John Ritter (Gallery, $26, 9781416598411/1416598413).


Tomorrow on the View: Patti LuPone, author of Patti LuPone: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $25.99, 9780307460738/0307460738).


PBS Masterpiece's Fall Season Has Bookish Spin

PBS Masterpiece features a literary and mystery theme this autumn, beginning October 3 with a new season of Wallander, adapted from the fiction by Henning Mankell. reported that "British critics have found series two relentlessly gloomy, although they couldn’t find much to criticize in the acting, stories or production design. The Sunday Times called it 'close to perfect' while the Telegraph called this new miniseries 'top-notch.' "

On October 23, BBC’s modern-day retelling of Sherlock Holmes begins and will be aired for three consecutive weeks.

Framed, which was adapted by Frank Cottrell-Boyce from his novel, premieres November 14 as a "feature-length drama starring Trevor Eve. Flooding at the National Gallery forces the curator (Eve) to return the entire collection to the disused quarry in North Wales where the paintings had been stored during the Second World War."


Movies: The Lady Who Went Too Far

Bedlam Productions is developing The Lady Who Went Too Far, adapted from Kirsten Ellis’s biography of Lady Hester Stanhope, "as a female Lawrence of Arabia set during the Napoleonic Wars," reported. David Seidler, who is writing the script, said that Stanhope "came to exactly the same conclusion that Lawrence did, that we had no place in the Middle East and should keep away politically."


Books & Authors

Awards: MPIBA Regional Book Awards; Washington State Prizes

Winners of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's 2010 Regional Book Awards are:

Adult Fiction: Below Zero: A Joe Pickett Novel by C.J. Box (Putnam)
Adult Nonfiction: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Arts: Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn by Anne Hillerman, photographs by Don Strel (Harper)
Poetry: Gingko Light by Arthur Sze (Copper Canyon Press)
Children’s chapter book: Artsy-Fartsy by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press)

The awards will be presented at the RBA Breakfast at the MPIBA Trade Show in Denver on Friday, September 24.


The Seattle Times reported that this year's winners of the Washington State Book Awards, which are given to seven outstanding books by Washington authors, are:

Fiction: Border Songs by Jim Lynch (Knopf)
Poetry: Inseminating the Elephant by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press)
History/Biography: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
General nonfiction: Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science by Carol Kaesuk Yoon (Norton).

The Scandiuzzi Children's Book Awards:
Picture book: Before You Were Here, Mi Amor by Samantha Vamos, illustrated by Santiago Cohen (Viking Children's Books)
Early readers: The Magical Ms. Plum by Bonny Becker (Knopf).
Middle grades and young adults: Brutal by Michael Harmon (Knopf)


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, September 20 and 21:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race
(Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446579223/044657922X) satirizes the history and achievements of humanity.

White House Diary by Jimmy Carter (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374280994/0374280991) contains sections of the actual diary Carter kept while in office.

Bad Blood by John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399156908/0399156909) is the fourth novel featuring Virgil Flowers, agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Mini Shopaholic: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, $25, 9780385342049/0385342047) is the newest entry in the Shopaholic series, in which the hedonistic protagonist suffers from the financial crisis.

Presenting...Tallulah by Tori Spelling and Vanessa Brantley Newton (Aladdin, $16.99, 9781416994046/1416994041) is a picture book for very young readers.

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen (Del Rey, $25, 9780345505385/0345505387) is the popular author's first graphic novel.

Heaven's Fury: A Novel
by Stephen W. Frey (Atria, $25.99, 9781416549673/1416549676) follows a sheriff trying to solve a murder before a blizzard isolates his town.


Shelf Starter: Maggot

Maggot: Poems by Paul Muldoon (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24, 9780374200329/0374200327, September 2010)

A poem from a collection we want to read:

A Porcupine

Simply because she'd turn her back on me,

a porcupine on the Homer Noble farm

would unwittingly

give me a shot in the arm,


bustling off in her ball gown

while clutching a quillwork purse.

I'm thinking how our need to do ourselves down

will often be in inverse


proportion to how much we want

to be esteemed. I'm thinking of those who,

in the same breath, will kiss up to us and kiss


us off. I'm thinking of a woman who'd flaunt

from her shoulder blade a tattoo:


 --Selected by Marilyn Dahl



Book Review

Book Review: A Secret Kept

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay (St. Martin's Press, $24.99 Hardcover, 9780312593315, September 2010)

Tatiana De Rosnay has an impressive pedigree: Russian, French and English forebears prominent in theater, science, diplomacy and science. She has published 10 novels in French; the bestseller Sarah's Key was her first in English, which is her native language. She lives in Paris, as she has for much of her life.

The setting of A Secret Kept is Paris and Noirmoutier, a seaside resort a few hours away. Antoine, 43, and Mélanie Rey are brother and sister. For her upcoming 40th birthday, Antoine has decided to surprise Mélanie and take her back to Noirmoutier, an island they have not visited for more than 30 years, ever since their mother died. She has recently broken up with Olivier, her lover of six years, and is unhappy over that, wondering if she will be alone for life. Antoine, affectionately called Tonio, is absolutely wretched because his much-loved wife blindsided him and walked out just about a year ago, with a younger man. Two of his three children are teenagers, sullen when they aren't surly, constantly plugged into an electronic device. Lucas, his youngest, is moving dangerously close to that zone and Tonio is in despair, wondering if he will ever have anything like a conversation with them again. A successful architect, he loved his work, but even that has lost its savor.

These two dolorous people embark on a long weekend holiday, unfit company for each other or anyone else. Can this excursion be saved?

They check in to the very hotel where they stayed as children with their parents, grandparents and Aunt Solange. The last time they were there was the summer before their mother died. Inevitably, they are inundated with memories; happily, most of them are good ones, until the last night. Suddenly, Mélanie becomes restive and silent. She cannot--or will not--tell Tonio what is bothering her. Next morning, they leave and, while she is driving, she tries to tell him something that she remembers from that last summer, something about their mother. She's so upset that she loses control of the car and ends up in hospital, badly injured and initially unable to remember what she was about to divulge. During her recovery, Mélanie recalls the secret long kept and recounting it has a profound effect on both their lives.

De Rosnay portrays a complex family, rife with people unable to connect or communicate in any meaningful way. Finally, when all that follows from that fateful weekend causes past and present to meld, Tonio and Mélanie are able to move forward with clarity, made stronger by knowledge and acceptance of information crucial to both of them. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A 40th birthday weekend finds a brother and sister on the idyllic island where they spent the last summer before their mother died. Familiarity, nostalgia and sudden recollection combine to clear clouded memories and change both of them forever.



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