Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley


Barbara Meade: 'Bookmark a Page, Raise a Spoon to Carla'

In the current issue of Politics & Prose's newsletter, Barbara Meade remembers Carla Cohen:

"Along with Carla's family and all of Politics & Prose, I extend an extremely grateful thank-you to all of you who have e-mailed, called or posted tributes to Carla on our website. The outpouring of shared sorrow has been overwhelming. As I write this it is hard to imagine that only three weeks ago Carla and I were in Atlantic City accepting NAIBA's Legacy Award. You can click here to view our beloved sales rep, Ted Wedel, introducing us as well as Carla’s short acceptance speech. You can also click to revisit our conversation with E.J. Dionne which occurred only a year ago when we celebrated our 25th anniversary. It is a celebratory moment of Carla at her best.

"Carla and I had a uniquely successful partnership that allowed us to work on many ventures that we enjoyed together as well as to pursue our own interests with the full support of the other. Our partnership lasted for more than a third of our lives, and when Carla was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I told her that Politics & Prose without her was going to be a very lonely experience for me, which it is. What I miss most about Carla is her passion for living, along with all the many pleasures which she found and shared in books, friends, family, and, yes, food. To me, the cruelest parts of Carla's illness were that, before it killed her, it sapped her energy for reading and killed her taste for food. The next time you read a book that you love--or indulge in your favorite dessert, please bookmark a page--or raise a spoon--to Carla."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

Notes: Mining Chilean Book Deals; 'Jet Cars'

As the last of the trapped Chilean miners were being rescued, book and TV proposals about the two-month ordeal were already circulating. Crain's reported that yesterday, "New York editors were mulling a proposed book by Jonathan Franklin, who has been covering the rescue saga for the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. In addition, literary agent Esther Newberg of ICM has been in contact with publishers about a possible book by Alexei Barrionuevo, who has been on the scene for the New York Times."

Franklin's book, 33 Men, Buried Alive: The Inside Story of the Trapped Chilean Miners, sold earlier this week to British publisher Transworld.

Crain's noted that there is some concern among publishers "that the public will get enough of the heart-stirring story from all of the news accounts and won't have any need of a book."

"We're wondering how much the immediate coverage will chew up the story," said an editor who was considering 33 Men.


In a post on Facebook, Harvetta Asamoah, owner of Presse Bookstore in Washington, D.C., said that the store "has permanently closed its doors at 1614 Wisconsin Avenue. I'll really miss the friendly chats and French and Spanish dicussions with all of my favorite customers and colleagues at Presse. Please keep in touch at our Facebook page while Presse is transformed in... the coming weeks into a new, better, web-based bookstore. See you soon on the Web!"


NPR showcased this week's outstanding paperback releases, including Man Booker Prize winner The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon, Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles That Are Saving Lives Against All Odds by Sanjay Gupta with Caleb Hellerman, Waiting for Superman: How We Can Save America's Failing Public Schools edited by Karl Weber and Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein.


The Huffington Post has a slide show from a new book, Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation by Steve Lehto (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781569765494/1569765499), about a promising but ultimately bypassed engine technology for cars: turbines. In 1963 and 1964, Chrysler built 50 of the stylish "jet cars," which operate much smoother than cars with conventional engines and run on a range of fuel, including peanut oil.


Congratulations to, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary by sharing six top 10 discussion books for book clubs and reading groups, which were voted on by more than 12,000 book club members.

The lists are the overall top 10, top 10 classics, top 10 YA/kids books, top 10 memoirs/biographies, top 10 books featuring animals, and top 10 selections you might not expect. will share more lists in the next few months.

"While the overall top 10 discussion books did not present any surprises, these lists reinforce the popularity of these bestselling titles, solidifying them as perennial favorites for book club members," Book Report Network president Carol Fitzgerald said. "We had so much material to work with from the responses that we wanted to take a look not just at the top picks but rather explore other categories such as the popularity of young adult fiction with adults."


Book trailer of the day: The Anthology of Rap edited by Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois (Yale University Press).


The winner of the annual Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show's BuzzBooks competition is River House: A Memoir by Sarahlee Lawrence (Tin House Books). The book was chosen among seven nominees by some 140 booksellers and librarians who picked the title they were "most inclined to buzz about, themselves, back in the store or library."

PNBA described the winner this way: "An exquisite blend of memoir and nature writing, River House is a story about coming home. While living her dream, riding some of the most dangerous rivers of the world, Sarahlee Lawrence's journey led to a place she least expected--back to her family's ranch in remote central Oregon."

Three of the 140 voters won $200 participant prizes: Art Shotwell,, Anacortes, Wash., Laura White, the Duck Store, University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore., and Anna Okrasinski, Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.


"Some people visit bookstores so their children can chew objects outside the home. Others, to peruse the latest magazines for free. Still others walk into a bookstore and are filled with a vague but palpable longing. Those for whom books exert a magical pull might consider a career that somehow involves literature," the Boston Phoenix observed, adding, "How do you begin to determine if you should change careers? We found three low-cost, low-commitment ways for you to get your feet wet before you drop a hefty chunk of change or waste precious hours you could spend reading."


Effective October 18, Heidi Metcalfe is joining It Books as an associate director of publicity. She has more than nine years of publicity experience, most recently as a senior publicity manager at Free Press, which she joined in 2006. Earlier she was a publicist at the Ford Group and a publicity assistant at the Penguin Group.


Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

The Novel! Live! Midweek

As we reported on Tuesday, 36 Northwest authors have been writing a novel that will be completed by Saturday evening. Fans have been watching at the Hugo House in Seattle as the novel gets written--observing as the writers type, backspace and stare into space--and have been adding their comments in a live chat. In the evenings there are auctions--Tuesday night's featured signed books, a bottle of bitters and homemade dill pickles, auctioned off by a very impassioned Kurt B. Reighley (United States of Americana). At one point, attempting to raise Garth Stein's bid, he asked, "Don't you care about children learning to write?" It worked.

Tuesday night featured two graphic artists, David Lasky and Greg Stump, drawing their segment. Sitting at a long table with sketch pads, pencils, pens, rulers, erasers and vegetarian burritos, Lasky started with numbered dialogue while Stump sketched out corresponding panels. After the dialogue was finished, Lasky re-drew finished panels from Stump's sketches, and then passed them back for Stump to erase pencil marks and do a final ink embellishment. It became a bit manic as Lasky wrote faster than Stump drew, but they were incredibly patient and gracious with people peering over the drawings and asking questions.

 Front: Greg Stump and David Lasky; rear: Kevin O'Brian

"We're pushing the boundaries here," they said, just before they discovered that the pet in the novel was not a dog but a crow. Time to erase. And, as usual, precipitation made an appearance: "Is it starting to rain?"

After Lasky and Stump finished, Kevin O'Brien (Vicious) took over; his task was to kill off a character, and as he sat down with his iPod and a glass of wine, he announced, "Somebody's gonna die tonight!"--and somebody did.

Wednesday started with Nancy Rawles (My Jim) and, in keeping with the rest of the group, she started her chapter with rain: "Mercifully, it started to rain. She felt the water on her face, and it seemed as if the sky had seen her grief." Suzanne Selfors (Smells Like a Dog), in the next round, wrote "On the quiet birch-lined street, something sparkles, gliding between raindrops." Then Carol Casella's (Healer) rain was pelting and mist was oozing--until free pizza showed up, and writer's block suddenly appeared. But don't get the wrong idea--the book is not a weather report, and the heroine, Alexis Austin, is a brave 14-year-old coping with death and a few other things that a young girl shouldn't have to deal with.

Check out The Novel! Live! and read the first half of the book, watch the novel being written and, in the evening via live chat, you, too, can bid on signed books, signed posters and perhaps more homemade pickles.

Net proceeds (including the auctions and very nice T-shirts) from The Novel! Live! go to Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools program, which places professional local writers in public classrooms to spark interest and develop skills in reading and writing, and to 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center dedicated to helping kids ages six to 18 to improve their writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.--Marilyn Dahl


Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Image of the Day: After We Die

Last week lively legal scholar Norman L. Cantor spoke at the launch party for his new book, After We Die: The Life and Times of the Human Cadaver (Georgetown University Press). The book traces a cadaver's physical state during various forms of disposal--including use in education, research, tissue transplantation and procreation--and delves into a cadaver's legal and moral status. Cantor argues that a corpse has a "quasi-human status," giving it certain protected legal and moral rights.



Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Timmer's Into the Storm

Today on Good Morning America: Reed Timmer, author of Into the Storm: Violent Tornadoes, Killer Hurricanes, and Death-defying Adventures in Extreme Weather (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525951933/0525951938). The fourth season of Timmer's Discovery Channel show, Storm Chasers, made its premiere last night. He will also be on Dennis Miller Radio today and Fox & Friends on Saturday.


This morning on Morning Edition: Chris Kimball, author of Fannie's Last Supper: Re-creating One Amazing Meal from Fannie Farmer's 1896 Cookbook (Hyperion, $25.99, 9781401323226/1401323227).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Nicholas Evans, author of The Brave: A Novel (Little, Brown, $26.99, 9780316033787/0316033782).


Tomorrow morning Good Morning America will discuss Love Your Life: O's Handbook for Your Best Today--and Tomorrow by the Editors of O, the Oprah Magazine (Oxmoor House, $29.95, 9780848733650/0848733657).

Also tomorrow on GMA: Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century (Norton, $40, 9780393061031/0393061035).


Tomorrow on America Live: Laurie Puhn, author of Fight Less, Love More: 5 Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In (Rodale Books, $24.99, 9781605295985/1605295981).


Tomorrow night on ABC's 20/20: Michael Capuzzo, author of The Murder Room: The Heirs of Sherlock Holmes Gather to Solve the World's Most Perplexing Cold Cases (Gotham, $26, 9781592401420/1592401422).


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

Movies: The Raven; Out of Range

Luke Evans and Alice Eve "are in negotiations" to join the cast of The Raven, the project directed by James McTeigue in which Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) and Evans, as a detective, "search for a serial killer who has kidnapped the author's fiancee (Eve) and has gone on a murder spree that mimics the author's work," the Hollywood Reporter wrote. The movie begins shooting October 25, "with Budapest and Serbia standing in for 1849 Baltimore."

Evans is on a literary classics streak. He also stars in an adaptation of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which is being directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.


Paramount Pictures acquired screen rights to Out of Range, "a book proposal for a two-book mystery that will be written by Hank Steinberg, the creator of the CBS series Without a Trace. The movie sale came after the novel was set up in a high six-figure deal at HarperCollins on the basis of the proposal and a few sample chapters," reported. The book will be published in 2011.



This Weekend on Book TV: Condoleezza Rice

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 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, October 16

9 a.m. Gideon Levy, author of The Punishment of Gaza (Verso, $15.95, 9781844676019/1844676013), talks about his coverage of the Israeli occupation of Gaza over the past two decades. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

11 a.m. Book TV offers live coverage of the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Tex., including panels featuring authors Molly Caldwell Crosby, Rebecca Skloot, Eugene Robinson, H.W. Brands, T.J. Stiles, James McGrath Morris, David Montejano, Cynthia Orozco, Emilio Zamora, Michele Norris, Isabel Wilkerson, Thomas Cahill, David R. Dow and Robert K. Elder. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7 p.m. Condoleezza Rice discusses her new book, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780307587879/0307587878). (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m. and Sunday at 7 a.m.)

8 p.m. Jonah Goldberg, author of Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation (Harper, $15.99, 9780061965739/0061965731), argues that the future conservative movement will be diverse and interested in using different mediums to promote its political thinking. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.)

9 p.m. Danielle McGuire, author of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307269065/030726906X), recounts the politically active life of Parks, something that the author contends has been underreported. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Yves Smith interviews CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo, author of The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account (Portfolio, $26.95, 9781591843511/1591843510), about the collapse of Lehman Brothers. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and Sunday, October 24, at 12 p.m.)
Sunday, October 17

12 p.m. Live coverage of the Texas Book Festival continues with panels featuring Malcolm Beith, Jonathan Eig, Hampton Sides, James Swanson, Jonathan Alter, Ari Berman, William Jelani Cobb, Charles Bowden, Ed Vulliamy, Malcolm Beith, Ingrid Betancourt and Sam Harris. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: NBA and Governor General's Finalists; Not-the-Booker

National Book Awards finalists include titles published by several independent presses, including Coffee House Press, Copper Canyon Press (which has two poetry nominees), Four Way Books and McPherson & Co. HarperCollins's Amistad has two children's nominations. Patti Smith is up for a nonfiction award. And, as many have pointed out, Jonathan Franzen's Freedom was passed over.

Winners will be announced November 17 in New York City.


Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (Knopf)
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (McPherson & Co.)
Great House by Nicole Krauss (Norton)
So Much for That by Lionel Shriver (Harper)
I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita (Coffee House Press)


Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
by Barbara Demick (Spiegel & Grau)
Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq by John W. Dower (Norton/The New Press)
Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco)
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward by Justin Spring (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War by Megan K. Stack (Doubleday)


The Eternal City by Kathleen Graber (Princeton University Press)
Lighthead by Terrance Hayes (Viking Penguin)
By the Numbers by James Richardson (Copper Canyon Press)
One with Others by C.D. Wright (Copper Canyon Press)
Ignatz by Monica Youn (Four Way Books)

Young People's Literature

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine (Philomel Books)
Dark Water by Laura McNeal (Knopf)
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad)


The finalists for the 2010 Governor General's Literary Awards include Kathleen Winter, author of Annabel, which was also shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the only Canadian author to be so honored. "I've been floating around in a state of unreality for awhile," she told the National Post.

See the nominees in 14 categories here. The winners will be announced November 16 in Montreal.


For the first time, two books have won the Not-the-Booker Prize, sponsored by the Guardian as an alternative to the Booker.

Lee Rourke won for his debut novel, The Canal (Melville House), and Matthew Hooton won for Deloume Road, published in the U.K. by Jonathan Cape.

On the Guardian's Books Blog, Sam Jordison called Deloume Road "a novel with real, haunting power. I'm still puzzling over its strange, unsettling conclusion, still delighted by its evocation of the Vancouver Island wilderness. Alone on our shortlist, it has been greeted with warmth by almost everyone who has read it."

He described The Canal as "a sincere attempt to do something new and interesting. It might have a few flaws, but it does have a charm of its own. Opinion was more divided on Rourke's work, but many people also loved it."




Naseem Rakha: The Power of Forgiveness

Naseem Rakha's The Crying Tree (Broadway, $14 trade paper reprint, 9780767931748/0767931742, July 2010) has garnered many awards and accolades--it was a 2010 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award winner, is a 2010 Target Stores Breakout Pick and a favorite handsell at bookstores. Now it has been chosen as the only book by an American author for the relaunch of the U.K.'s Richard and Judy Book Club. Rakha is a broadcast journalist whose stories have been heard on NPR. She lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley with her husband, son and a bunch of animals.

The Crying Tree is a mesmerizing novel about tragedy and the redemptive power of forgiveness. The Stanleys had moved from Illinois to Oregon and were settling in, despite some initial resistance from mother Irene and 15-year-old Shep. But on May 6, 1985, Daniel Robbin apparently beat and then shot Shep while burgarizing the boy's home, just as his father walked in. Shep died in his father's arms. On October 1, 2004, Robbin stopped his appeals after 19 years on death row. His execution is scheduled for the end of the month. Tab Mason, superintendent at the Oregon State Penitentiary, is distressed because he doesn't want to preside over an execution. And Irene Stanley wants to stop the execution. How Irene got to a place of forgiveness and how the tragedy affecting her family--daughter Bliss and husband Nate--is interwoven with Mason's own journey and a search for the truth of what happened 19 years ago.

Rakha has written a book that is almost impossible to put down. It is hauntingly beautiful, with wonderfully complex characters; there are a few surprises in the story, but the point is not the mysteries of fact, but the mysteries of the heart.

She discussed her book with us shortly after the Richard and Judy pick was announced.


Your main theme is forgiveness--its value and its difficulty. Why do you think forgiveness is so hard?

It is hard because it is not natural, nor is it necessarily supported by society. When we hear of people forgiving the unforgivable, we consider it an anomaly and think only a few are able to be so generous. If we were to consider that forgiveness is often not at all generous but instead an act of self-preservation, people may understand it a bit differently and consider it as not so improbable.

Many of the crime victims I have met that have later come to forgive their offenders speak of forgiveness being a gift they gave themselves, not the person that harmed them.

I also think forgiveness is hard because the person we often have the most difficulty forgiving is ourselves. The characters in The Crying Tree all battle with this, as do the majority of the inmates I have met with since my book's publication. Forgiveness is a process that requires a great deal of introspection, meditation and honesty--endeavors that can cause pain, but also bring healing.

Does justice include forgiveness, or are they separate?

The root meaning of justice is to restore balance. The justice system in the United States tries to do this by enacting a system of penalties for crimes. In reality though, these penalties do little, if anything, to bring a sense of balance back into a victim's life. Crime subordinates its victims, makes them powerless.

True restorative justice would include opportunities for victims to get the counseling, information and assistance they need to restore their sense of balance and power. Forgiveness is often key to regaining that power, and it often comes from victims having an opportunity to communicate with their offenders. Unfortunately, this is often not allowed in cases of serious and violent crime.

You say in the book that restorative justice is not considered in high-profile cases. Why is that?

Actually that is changing. Texas, oddly, was the first state to allow victims to meet with their offenders. Now 24 states have restorative justice programs. If you think about it, the perpetrator of a crime is the only one who can answer certain questions about the crime. Sitting down across from an offender, hearing their answers, their story, seeing their remorse and regret--if it can happen, it is usually a life-changing experience for both victims and offenders.

You live in Oregon now; have you lived in the Midwest? Your description of the landscape there is so perfect.

I was born in Chicago and spent eight years in southern Illinois. I really love the area. My background is in geology and natural resource management, and I've worked with ranchers, farmers, tribes, government and non-government institutions all over the country. I have a deep appreciation for the land and the people and communities that depend on what comes out of it.

In Oregon, Mason wishes for a storm; back in Illinois, Irene, the boy's mother, gets a storm. Storms seem to be a cleansing and transformative event.

I love that observation. I had no idea Irene was going to be in a storm. The scene before, she and her sister had conflict, and she hears a rumble of thunder. In the next scene, the storm just got bigger and bigger. When I was done writing, I understood the purpose of the device, but I had not planned it in any way. Writing is like that for me. Events come as a surprise. I don't plot. I know my beginning and ending, and the middle crisis point, but don't plan much more than that.

I love Jeff and Mason. Do you have favorite characters?

I fell in love with all my characters. Jeff is an unsung hero, someone who is always there for the Stanley family. Mason is a scarred warrior, lame and unable to figure out how to heal himself until he encounters Bliss and Irene Stanley. Irene is the soldier, fighting for life even when she thinks she can't stand the idea of taking another breath. Bliss is also a kind of wounded hero, finding a way to help her family at its most tragic moments. Nate, of course, is the tragic figure--alone in his world of fear and lies-- the one character that does not change much until the end, when he is finally free of his deception. And Shep--he is the innocence that lies in us. The protected self that strives to be more than people believe is possible.

This is Mason's story, too. Why did you give him vitiligo? And when, in the writing process?

Tab Mason didn't exist until about six weeks into the writing process. One day the prison PR person walked into her boss's office, and I could just picture this black man, pristine, good suit, sharpened pencils, with one white hand. I decided to stick with him. He's a black man in Salem, which makes him unique, in charge of a mostly white prison. The white hand isolates him even more. Mason is also a man running from his past, and does his best to ignore the toxic emotions that live inside of him. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that destroys from the inside out; in many ways it was an apt metaphor for a man whose internal life was working its way to the surface.

Thinking about Mason and his brother, Tulane, and his mother's pleas to forgive his brother over and over--can forgiveness be misdirected, misused?

Yes. What his mother was saying is that we're not going to confront or solve the problems. She was equating forgiving with forgetting. So when Mason meets Irene and Bliss his belief about forgiveness is shattered.

What do you think being chosen by Richard and Judy will do, besides increase the sales of The Crying Tree?

The Richard and Judy Book club is the hottest book group in Great Britain--think Oprah, but with British accents. It's exciting to me that a very American book about a very American theme--crime and the death penalty in America--is on the bestseller list in Europe. The book has people talking and asking why we continue to execute people in this country. I did not write The Crying Tree to be a treatise. I wrote it only to give people an experience of what it is like to face murder and its subsequent punishment. I wanted people to see and feel what it is like to wait for "justice to be served," and then watch as the definition of justice changes in each character's minds.

The Crying Tree is making people think and ask questions, and I love that.--Marilyn Dahl



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