Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

Quotation of the Day

'The Art of Full Indiscipline'

"Instead of saying, 'I'll get up every day at 5:30' or 'I'll write from 9 to 12,' I did the complete opposite. I said, 'I will write during the day for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. I'll write in stretches until the book is done.' "

--Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies (Scribner), describing his writing style, which he called "the art of full indiscipline," to the New York Times.


University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


Shelf Life of Frozen Yogurt and Books

Concerning the news that Books-A-Million has opened a Yogurt Mountain store within one of its stores, Paul Joannides of Goofy Foot Press, Waldport, Ore., wrote:

Dear Lord, forgive me for having criticized Borders's Build-A-Bear program. At least the Borders bears won't be the cause of unsaleable books with sticky yogurt stains and smudges. Now we publishers can look forward to BAM returning their damaged yogurt casualties to us for full credit, in addition to our having to eat the cost of printing, shipping and pulping.



GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud


Image of the Day: Funny Faces

Last week some 100 people showed up at Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., for a launch party for Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise by Sam Irvin (Simon & Schuster). In the biography, Erwin, a director, producer and screenwriter for movies and TV, details Thompson's amazing life: besides writing the highly successful Eloise series and playing a role that stole the movie Funny Face, she was a Hollywood arranger, a vocal coach who worked with a range of stars and a nightclub performer. Here Irvin (r.), shares a fun moment with Dick Williams of the Williams Brothers.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart

Notes: The Confession as E-Thriller; Rosenthal's New Imprint

During its first week on sale, ending November 2, The Confession by John Grisham sold 70,000 e-book copies while hardcover sales were approximately 210,000, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Overall first-week sales for The Confession--the first time a new Grisham adult title was available immediately as an e-book as well as hardcover--rose compared to The Associate, published in January 2009.

"The e-book sales are astonishing," Grisham told the paper. "Would anybody have thought that a year ago? The future has arrived, and we're looking at it."

Grisham had opposed selling his books digitally because "he worried it would cripple his book sales at the independent bookstores that were among his earliest supporters," as the paper put it. But many fans complained. "As an author, that hits pretty close to home," he said.


To emphasize the e-point made by The Confession, James McQuivey of Forrester Research wrote on PaidContent that in the company's five-year e-book forecast, "2010 will end with $966 million in e-books sold to consumers. By 2015, the industry will have nearly tripled to almost $3 billion," adding somewhat unnecessarily that "at that point the industry will be forever altered."

McQuivey argued that although now "just 7% of online adults who read books read e-books," they "read the most books and spend the most money on books." All of which means that "we have plenty of room to grow beyond the 7% that read e-books today and, once they get the hang of it, e-book readers quickly shift a majority of their book reading to a digital form.... even if we never get color e-Ink screens, if publishers never experiment with e-book subscriptions, and interactive e-book formats never succeed, we will still see digital get close to $3 billion in size by the middle of the decade."


Effective January 10, David Rosenthal is joining Penguin Group as president and publisher of a new, as yet unnamed general trade imprint. Rosenthal most recently was publisher and executive v-p of Simon & Schuster and earlier was publisher of Villard Books, executive editor of Random House, managing editor of Rolling Stone and executive editor of New York magazine. Penguin noted that Rosenthal "is also proud of being the only trade publisher to both play the viola and to have worked in the morgue at New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner."

The new imprint will begin publishing next fall, put out 24-36 original titles a year and emphasize suspense fiction, popular biography, literary novels, humor, music and contemporary politics.

Rosenthal told the New York Times: "They're going to let me go after the kind of--I wouldn't say quirky--but the peculiar stuff that I sometimes like. What they want very much is for me to be able to indulge my passions, indulge my taste."

Penguin Group president Susan Petersen Kennedy said that Rosenthal's imprint will "represent and reinforce what we at Penguin believe: that people will always want to read great books, and that the ability of a publisher to find and mold these great books matters more now than ever before."


Rivendell Books, Montpelier, Vt., has opened a temporary store in the Berlin Mall that will stay open through January and may become permanent, depending on sales volume and customer enthusiasm, according to the Montpelier Times-Argus. The store will be in the former Game Zone space.

Manager Rob Kasow told the paper, "When Waldenbooks closed down, we didn't see the business filter downtown, but there's a customer base [at the mall] that doesn't shop downtown and we hope that they will be willing to support a locally owned bookstore."


Algonquin's Booksellers Rock! series is now profiling five independent booksellers in North Carolina's Triangle area (where Algonquin was born), including people from Flyleaf, Quail Ridge, Regulator, McIntyre's and Bull's Head. The first q&a is with Land Arnold of Flyleaf.

In answer to a question about what the store has that no other store has, Arnold said, "We have three functioning shower stalls, courtesy of a ladies' fitness center that preceded the bookstore. All three have the original dispensers filled with this magic liquid that acts as body soap and shampoo. A lot of sweat goes into running a bookstore, but with the aid of the showers, we hope people can't tell."


At Pitchapalooza at Borders in Baileys Crossroads, Va.: Allan Fallow, books editor for AARP The Magazine and; Bethanne Patrick, aka the Book Maven, host of; Eckstut, agent with Levine Greenberg Literary Agency; (standing)  Sterry.

Cool idea of the day: to launch their book, The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published (Workman), David Henry Sterry and Arielle Eckstut, aka the Book Doctors, are holding a series of Pitchapalooza events, including one this Thursday, November 11, at 7 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in New York City at 150 E. 86th St. Each contestant has a minute to pitch her or her book to a panel of judges that will include Sterry and Eckstut; agent Larry Kirshbaum; Bob Miller, head of Workman; and Jen Bergstrom, editor-in-chief of Gallery Books.

To see the winning pitch at a Pitchapalooza in St. Louis, click here.


Don Weise has founded Magnus Books, which will publish 15 to 20 fiction and nonfiction LGBT titles. Weise will serve as publisher. The first titles will appear in fall 2011.

Weise has been associate publisher at Cleis Press, senior editor at Carroll & Graf and most recently publisher of Alyson Press. He commented: "As owner and publisher of Magnus, I have complete freedom for the first time in my career, working entirely on my own and independent of parent companies or affiliations. I'm tremendously excited by this long-awaited opportunity. With 18 years in the business, the majority of that devoted to LGBT books, the path has been pointed in this direction for quite some time."

He called this "an especially exciting time in LGBT publishing. The literature is more varied and mainstream than ever before with more outlets to reach gay consumers, more publishing formats at hand, and more public awareness and support around LGBT issues. Magnus Books is proud to help lead our literature--and our readers--into a new epoch."


Congratulations to Kim-from-LA, aka Kim Dower: the weekly poem on the Art Beat blog on PBS NewsHour is currently "She Is Awakened by a Hair," from her new collection, Air Kissing on Mars (Red Hen Press).


Author Philip Carlo died yesterday in New York City of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He was 61.

Carlo wrote Stolen Flower, The Night Stalker, Ice Man and the forthcoming memoir The Killer Within. He was considered an expert on serial killers, Mafia culture and sexual predators, and appeared on many TV shows and documentary films.

Viewing is at the Peter C. Labella Funeral Home, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2-5 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m. tomorrow, November 10, and Thursday, November 11. Burial will be at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Friday, November 12, at 11:15 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can me made to ALS Worldwide or Project A.L.S.


Jeff Waxman of the Seminary Co-op bookstores, Chicago Ill., is one of the judges for the Best Translated Book Award. In a thoughtful post on the Constant Conversation blog, he explored the recent "brouhaha" regarding Amazon's $25,000 grant to BTBA, which sparked a strong reaction from Dennis Johnson of Melville House Publishing (Shelf Awareness, October 29, 2010) and subsequent response by Chad Post (Shelf Awareness, November 1, 2010) of Open Letter Books.

"But maybe, if the indie stores and presses, all of us, had kept our commitment to the books and to the culture, Dennis and Chad wouldn't be having this very public, somewhat unnecessary disagreement," Waxman wrote. "They both want the same thing. Maybe if independent bookstores had done more over the years to support independent presses, made that extra effort to read and hand-sell independent press titles, there would be more stories like the one behind Tinkers."


On the Huffington Post, David Morell, author of First Blood, made the first post from the group of five International Thriller Writers who, under the auspices of the USO, are visiting military personnel--the first time authors have been sent by the USO to a combat zone. (The other authors are Steve Berry, Andy Harp, Douglas Preston and James Rollins.)

The tour started on Saturday with a visit to National Navy Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where they spent six hours visiting more than 30 of the wounded. "If there are any doubters about the quality of America's youth, they need only to walk the halls of Bethesda and Walter Reed to be inspired by the courage and commitment of our combat veterans," Morrell wrote. "Moving from room to room, hearing their stories, hugging their loved one, we writers of invented action were humbled by meeting warriors who had lived the real thing, examples of heroism far beyond anything we could imagine."


In conjunction with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Tom Clancy is launching a program that encourages the public to show support for veterans and current soldiers recovering at Walter Reed. G.P. Putnam's Sons, Clancy's longtime publisher, is paying for the program.

Under the program, called Send a Message to an American Hero, participants can write to a recovering soldier at The message will be printed and enclosed inside an autographed copy of Tom Clancy's latest book, Dead or Alive (to be published December 7), which will be given as a gift to a soldier. The messages will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; 500 books will be given on December 4 as part of the Walter Reed Holiday Party. Messages received after the 500-book cutoff can be posted publicly on the website and can be included in a digital guestbook. Additional copies of Dead or Alive will be distributed at other Walter Reed medical centers around the country. Putnam is also making a $10,000 donation to the Walter Reed Red Cross.

Clancy commented: "The U.S. military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it. The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they're protecting us."


Noting actor Kevin Bacon's philosophy of reading--"You can sit around and complain that Hollywood doesn't make any good movies. But you can generate your own material. So I read books."--Word & Film recommended a checklist of Bacon's movies "to find great reading material."


Leavesden, the London studio where Warner Brothers filmed all of the Harry Potter movies, will be refurbished and expanded. reported that a "Harry Potter studio tour--offering fans the chance to see the actual sets--will be part of the new Leavesden, which will reopen mid-2012."



G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Countdown to Lockdown

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: George W. Bush, author of Decision Points (Crown, $35, 9780307590619/0307590615).

Also on Today: Julie Andrews Edwards, author of Little Bo in Italy: The Continued Adventures of Bonnie Boadicea (HarperCollins, $19.99, 9780060089085/0060089083).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Mick Foley, author of Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446564618/0446564613).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374278724/0374278725).



Tattoo Director on the Key to Stieg Larsson's Success

In an interview with Word & Film, Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish film version of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, said the "key to the whole Larsson success is Lisbeth Salander. You have a rich family on an isolated island and in comes this classic investigating journalist with a flair for women. If you read crime novels, there's nothing new about that. But then Lisbeth comes in. That's his stroke of genius. She's this punkish squatter who looks like she walked out of Berlin/Copenhagen in the '80s. At the same time she's the best hacker in Sweden, which is also certainly a cliché, but she gets away with it because she's a woman with the worst past you could ever imagine. And instead of making her a victim, he makes her a fighter. She's the violent dark angel of revenge who draws the line in the sand that says, 'Whatever man dares to cross this line, I will fuck you up bad.' Women respond to the fact that she's not a victim."

Movies: Bulldog Drummond; Eliza Graves

Producer David Barron's Runaway Fridge Films (Harry Potter movies) and Fork Films will team up to develop and co-produce a big-budget version of Bulldog Drummond, "based on the British action hero created by Sapper, the pseudonym of author Herman Cyril McNeile, in 1920," Variety reported, noting that "Bulldog Drummond, a WWI veteran bored with civilian life, was one of the most popular literary characters of the 1920s and influenced the creation of James Bond due to his 'Brit gent' demeanor and his adventures as a private detective. More than 20 films centering around Drummond were made between 1922 and 1969."


Oren Peli will direct Eliza Graves, "loosely based" on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Variety reported that "Poe-themed projects are enjoying something of a revival. Among other pics inspired by the master of macabre is FilmNation's James McTeigue-helmed The Raven."

Books & Authors

Awards: Goncourt Prize

Michel Houellebecq won France's Goncourt Prize for his book The Map and the Territory, which "satirizes the Paris art world, telling the story of a misanthropic artist who achieves critical and commercial success by photographing old Michelin maps," BBC News reported.

"Among all the people who are going to discover my books thanks to this prize, I hope I won't disappoint them and they'll be happy," Houellebecq said.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, November 15 and 16:

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 by Mark Twain (University of California Press, $34.95, 9780520267190/0520267192) reveals Twain's life in meandering, non-chronological order, including opinions he did not want published until long after death.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (Knopf, $17.99, 9780375835278/037583527X) explores the characteristics of 13 important figures in American history through a letter to the President's daughters.

Luka and the Fire of Life by Salmon Rushdie (Random House, $25, 9780679463368/0679463364) is a surreal adventure through the "World of Magic," a land with strangle creatures and video game logic.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, $30, 9781439107959/1439107955) chronicles the history of cancer, cancer treatments and new research into the disease.

Sterling's Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Man by Roger Sterling (Grove Press, $16.95, 9780802119896/0802119891) is the fictional memoir of a character from the TV series Mad Men.

Decoded by Jay-Z (Spiegel & Grau, $35, 9781400068920/1400068924) is part memoir, part tribute to the genre of hip-hop.

Cross Fire by James Patterson (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316036177/031603617X) pits Detective Alex Cross against a sniper assassinating corrupt politicians.

Night Star by Alyson Noel (St. Martin's, $17.99, 9780312590987/0312590989) is the newest entry in the paranormal romance Immortals series.

Now in paperback:

The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson (Norton, $19.95, 9780393338683/0393338681).


Book Review

Book Review: Atlantic

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester (Harper, $27.99 Hardcover, 9780061702587, November 2010)

As he's demonstrated in books as diverse as The Professor and the Madman and Krakatoa, Simon Winchester is a writer of broad interests who excels at narrating an informative, engaging story. Those talents are richly displayed in his multifaceted "biography" of the Atlantic Ocean.

Borrowing his structure from the "seven ages of man" speech in Shakespeare's As You Like It, Winchester traces the story of the "Great West Sea" along the path "from infancy to senescence."

In one energetic chapter after another, he demonstrates his mastery of a panoply of subjects, from natural history to economics to naval warfare to commercial fishing, even dabbling in the way writers (like Shakespeare, who probably never saw the Atlantic, or any other sea for that matter), artists and musicians have dramatized the Atlantic Ocean's life.

The breadth of the subject matter Winchester treats would be impressive in itself, but what makes Atlantic such an engrossing story is the author's ability to find singular characters and enlist them in aid of a vigorous narrative. Whether he is rescuing from obscurity Matthew Fontaine Maury, "nineteenth-century America's most celebrated oceanographer," or demythologizing the lives of pirates like Captain Kidd and Black Bart, Winchester has a sharp understanding of the human dimensions of his story. With equal facility he discourses on broader historical topics, decrying the brutality of the slave trade that transported 11 million Africans across the sea or recounting the grim evolution of Atlantic naval warfare through the centuries. He enlivens his narrative with personal reminiscences, like the dramatic incident that punctuated his first Atlantic crossing in 1963 or his moving encounter with an Argentine jailer years after the Falklands Islands war, when he was briefly imprisoned on desolate Tierra del Fuego.

Winchester is unafraid to stir controversy, siding decisively with the Norwegians who cite Leif Eriksson as the first to make the transatlantic crossing and joining in the revisionist condemnation of Christopher Columbus. While he appears to be something of an agnostic on humans' role in climate change, he's quick to concede that the Atlantic, like other oceans, is warming and its level rising, with potentially catastrophic consequences for seaside residents. His bold, if not terribly practical solution: "Suggest to the inhabitants that they move inland and away from the hurricane corridors."

Born some 190 million years ago, this 33-million-square-mile body of water is in its middle age, expected to expire in another 180 million years or so. Simon Winchester's captivating account only hints at some of the compelling stories that will mark the Atlantic Ocean's future. It's both broad and deep enough to be worthy of its ample subject.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Simon Winchester's biography of the Atlantic Ocean is an engrossing trip through the natural and human history of this amazing sea.


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