Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 15, 2010

Algonquin Young Readers: The House on Sunrise Lagoon series by Nicole Melleby

Forge: Mrs. Plansky's Revenge by Spencer Quinn

Dial Press: On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good by Elise Loehnen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr): Team Chu and the Epic Hero Quest (Team Chu #2) by Julie C. Dao

Graphix: 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones: A Graphic Novel (39 Clues Graphic Novel #1) by Rick Riordan, adapted and illustrated by Ethan Young

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: I Am the Walrus (The N.O.A.H Files #1) by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

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

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh


Image of the Day: A Round of Applaws, Please

Last Thursday, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., hosted a party for What a Difference a Dog Makes: Big Lessons on Life, Love and Healing from a Small Pooch (Doubleday) by local author Dana Jennings. A feature writer for the New York Times and regular on the Times's Well blog about his bout with prostate cancer, Jennings recounts in the book how his family's miniature poodle Bijou provided him and his son--who had liver failure--the best medicine. Here is Jennings with Watchung owner Margot Sage-EL.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Beware the Woman by Megan Abbott

Douglas & McIntyre Doing The Sentimentalists in Trade Paper

Douglas & McIntyre is publishing a trade paperback version of Scotia Giller Prize-winner The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud, which has been in short supply since it won the award last Tuesday. Gaspereau Press, the novel's publisher, prints and binds its books in-house, a process that cannot keep up with demand for The Sentimentalists. The first printing was 800, which is sold out, and the second printing of 2,300 is spoken for. The Giller Prize, Canada's biggest award for fiction, usually boosts sales of the winner by 75,000 copies.

Douglas & McIntyre plans to ship 30,000 copies of the new edition of the book by this Friday, November 19, from printer Friesens in Manitoba. Another printing of 20,000 will follow immediately. The book will be priced at $19.95.

The e-book version of The Sentimentalists is already a bestseller on Kobo. Douglas & McIntyre is making it available via other e-book sellers, including Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Sony.

Andrew Steeves, co-owner of Gaspereau Press, said that it is "important to us that no copy of the book would say Gaspereau Press on the spine unless it came directly from our own hands; that's simply the way we work.  But when Johanna won the prize it was clear that our method of printing and publishing books wouldn't meet the demand.  It was critical to find a partner who shared our values. Douglas & McIntyre was the obvious choice."

Scott McIntyre of Douglas & McIntyre said that he has "huge respect" for Gaspereau's "dedication to their craft.  This includes putting their author first. With our sales, marketing and distribution system onside, an exceptional novel will quickly reach the wide audience it deserves."


Sourcebooks Landmark: The House of Lincoln by Nancy Horan

Notes: More on Joseph-Beth; Eureka's Find

Joseph-Beth's announcement last week of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and store closings (Shelf Awareness, November 12, 2010) continues to generate reaction in the affected cities.

Author Ann Patchett, who lives in Nashville, told the Tennessean that she recalled being at the Davis-Kidd store in Green Hills on the first day of her first book tour in 1992 for The Patron Saint of Liars. "I was sitting in the parking lot in tears, not wanting to go in. But it was the beginning of touring, and the beginning of the bookstore life I've had, and it's very much tied to my career."

The Tennessean also noted that Ingram is "listed in the bankruptcy as the largest creditor of Joseph-Beth Group, at $3.5 million. Next on the list was Random House Inc. at $224,809."

"It's obviously a challenging time for everyone in the book industry," said Keel Hunt, a spokesman for Ingram. "The decision to reorganize and right-size for lean times is a choice we all must make in one way or the other. Our hope is that this (bankruptcy) filing will afford Joseph-Beth the opportunity to navigate forward in a prudent way, enabling them to be viable as a business. They are colleagues in this important industry, and we certainly wish them well as they move through this reorganization."

The Memphis, Tenn., Davis-Kidd store will continue to operate, and the Commercial-Appeal reported that Joseph-Beth Group owner Neil Van Uum called it "such a part of the fabric of that which makes Memphis a truly unique city. We appreciate the support of Laurelwood's ownership and look forward to being able to upgrade our store."

In Charlotte, N.C., where a Joseph-Beth--as well as a Borders--location will soon close, the South Charlotte Weekly opted to focus on the positive, noting that local indie Park Road Books "has withstood changes on the literary scene with what is proving to be a winning model."

"The decisions to close those stores are more a repudiation of the box stores philosophy Charlotte followed in the '90s than anything else," said owner Sally Brewster. "It was a decade where retail square footage space more than quadrupled but demand didn’t. Charlotte wanted to be the shiny, bright new city and created corridors of retail with SouthPark being the mecca. But does that work?"

As for the future of books, Brewster added: "People are always looking for the next wonderful thing to read. I know when people come into the store and jot things down they may buy the book online but nothing can replace the experience of interacting with the visuals of the book and seeing how happy they are. That nodding and smiling is the shared experience of reading and it's one of the most wonderful things!"


As textbook sales drop, college stores "are preparing for a bookless future with new services they hope will keep students coming: performance spaces for in-store concerts, multimedia stations for printing digital photos, and even dry cleaning," the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote. Some stores managers would like to drop the word book from their names, the paper continued.

But many stores are "building their own technology services--seeking to become sales hubs for digital textbooks or buying print-on-demand machines in the hope that some students will always want printed textbooks. Book-rental programs are growing as well."

In an effort to fight back against the perception that college stores have the highest prices, the KU Bookstores at the University of Kansas have added a price-comparison tool on their website. Director Estella McCollum said that in more than 80% of the cases students used the tool, they wound up buying at KU.


The New York Times surveys the effect of e-readers on the holiday season, noting that Forrester Reseach predicts that 10.3 million e-readers may be in readers' hands by the end of the year, up from nine million now.

Peter Hildick-Smith of market research firm Codex Group commented: "This is the tipping-point season for e-readers, there's no question. A lot more books are going to be sold in e-book format. It also means that a lot fewer people are going to be shopping in bookstores."

Geoffrey Jennings of Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., told the Times that print books sales at the store are higher than last year and cautioned that the popularity of e-readers may be limited. "A lot of people are going to get these things and they're going to go, 'This isn't like reading a book.' Then again, you'll have people who get them and then say, this is a fun gadget. But people get sick of gadgets after a while."


The backlash continues regarding Amazon's handling last week of a controversial Kindle book offering advice to pedophiles (Shelf Awareness, November 11, 2010).

MSNBC reported that Amazon has been selling "books and videos depicting pre-pubescent Eastern European and Asian girls, some of whom are nude." 

PC World suggested "5 Things to Learn from Amazon's Latest PR Disaster":
  1. There's No Free Speech in Business
  2. It's Tarnished the Reputation of Legitimate E-books
  3. Amazon Has No Quality Control
  4. Action Is Better Than Reaction
  5. E-books Are the Future for Authors

And PETA wants Amazon "to stop selling books about dogfighting and cockfighting, saying the books encourage an illegal and harmful activity the way a recently removed title promoted pedophilia," CNN reported.

CBS News may have summed it up best: "Jeff Bezos may have had rougher weeks during his career as chief executive of It's just hard to recall when."


Amazon plans to hire more than 15,500 people to fill temporary jobs at shipping centers nationwide during holidays, the Los Angeles Times reported.


The Ashmead Award, honoring legendary editor Larry Ashmead, who died in September, has been founded "to nurture the career of a promising young editor in the field of book publishing." The award will be made to one editor each spring and "will continue Larry's tradition of apprenticeship by sending each year's winner to a recognized educational publishing venue, such as the annual weeklong Yale Publishing Course, and will provide the winner with access to a distinguished advisory committee consisting of preeminent editors in the publishing community."

The first Ashmead Award will be given next spring. Go to for more information. Application information will be available starting in January.


Grateful Steps Publishing House, which has just moved in Asheville, N.C., plans to open a bookstore in its new spot, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The shop will sell the company's titles as well as aim to be "a community center for readings, workshops and art shows."

Grateful Steps aims to publish "a full range of books, interfaith and secular literature as well as Christian literature, with a uniqueness characterized by a philosophy of giving back for our blessings."


In one of the more amusing New York Times op-ed page pieces we've seen, yesterday Amy Stewart, co-owner of Eureka Books, Eureka, Calif. (Shelf Awareness, April 11, 2009), recounted the store's experience 10 days ago, when it received a package containing eight ounces of "premium bud." The package went to the store because a local grower had used the bookstore for its return address--the package was returned because it was over the weight maximum for packages dropped in mailboxes.

"At first we couldn't believe our luck," Stewart wrote. "Rare book dealers are in the business of buying low and selling high, but never had we had the opportunity to take that phrase quite so literally. Anyone else might have been inclined to keep the package for personal use, but we're shopkeepers facing a busy holiday season. We can't afford to let the next few weeks drift away in a cloud of smoke."

Weirdly, among other titles, Stewart wrote The Last Bookstore in America, which posits that digital books have become so popular that all bookstores have closed--except for "a creaky old antiquarian bookstore in northern California" whose sales have stayed high because of a popular illegal sideline.

"I like to think that pot growers read the newspaper, and read novels, and enjoy contemplating the fine line between fiction and fact," Stewart continued. "I envisioned one packing the week's shipments and facing the persistent conundrum of what imaginary return address to print on the envelope. In a moment of inspiration, he or she must have realized that it would take only a few strokes of the pen to bring my novel to life."


'Tis the season. Writers and "public figures" chose their best books of 2010 for the Observer. Among the choices:

Sebastian Faulks--The Big Short by Michael Lewis
Michael Palin--A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton
Nick Hornby--How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell
A.N. Wilson--Emperor of the West: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire by Hywel Williams
Curtis Sittenfeld--Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
Geoff Dyer--The Good Soldiers by David Finkel

Also featured were the Observer Food Monthly's "25 best cookbooks of 2010."


Fightin' words for Muggles? E! Online offered "Five Reasons the Harry Potter Movies Are (Gasp!) Better Than the Books!"


Gizmodo featured a brief video showing how Jonathan Safran Foer used the die cutting method on Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles "to create a whole new book," Tree of Codes.  


Where Dante meets Philip Pullman: Ten of the best angels in literature were featured by the Guardian.



AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Korda on Lawrence of Arabia

This morning on Good Morning America: Joel Osteen, author of The Christmas Spirit: Memories of Family, Friends, and Faith (Free Press, $15.99, 9781439198339/1439198330). He will also appear today on Fox Radio's Alan Colmes Show and tomorrow on the View.


This morning on the Today Show: Bobby Jindal, author of Leadership and Crisis (Regnery, $27.95, 9781596981584/159698158X).


This morning on Live with Regis and Kelly: Russell Brand, author of My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up (It Books, $14.99, 9780061857805/0061857807).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner, $30, 9781439107959/1439107955).


Today on Hardball with Chris Matthews: Gary Hart, author of The Thunder and the Sunshine: Four Seasons in a Burnished Life (Fulcrum, $25, 9781555917395/1555917399).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life (Little, Brown, $29.99, 9780316001922/0316001929).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Marion Jones, author of On the Right Track: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed (Howard Books, $25, 9781451610826/1451610823).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Salman Rushdie, author of Luka and the Fire of Life (Random House, $25, 9780679463368/0679463364).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (Random House, $27, 9781400064168/1400064163).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Barbra Streisand, author of My Passion for Design (Viking, $60, 9780670022137/0670022136).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Jay-Z, author of Decoded (Spiegel & Grau, $35, 9781400068920/1400068924). He will also appear tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman.


Tomorrow on the Talk of the Nation: Michael Korda, author of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia (Harper, $36, 9780061712616/0061712612).


Tomorrow on BBC's World News America: C.J. Chivers, author of The Gun (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9780743270762/0743270762).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, authors of All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis (Portfolio Hardcover, $32.95, 9781591843634/1591843634).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Jamie Oliver, author of Jamie's America: Easy Twists on Great American Classics, and More (Hyperion, $37.50, 9781401323608/140132360X). Oliver is also on Good Morning America tomorrow.


Carolrhoda Lab (R): The Weight of Everything by Marcia Argueta Mickelson

Movies: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, based on the first half of the book by J.K. Rowling (Arthur A. Levine Books, $14.99, 9780545139700/0545139708), opens this Friday, November 19. Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint star as the wizard student trio who must defeat Lord Voldemort in this final entry in the Harry Potter series.


William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Television: The Color Purple Cast Reunite on Oprah

Today's Oprah Winfrey Show will feature a 25th anniversary reunion of the cast from The Color Purple, the film vesion of Alice Walker's novel that earned 11 Oscar nominations. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that during the show, Whoopi Goldberg and Winfrey "will address rumors of an on-set feud, while producer Quincy Jones gives the behind-the-scenes story of how he got Steven Spielberg to direct. Winfrey will also reveal which role Tina Turner turned down."


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:


Exley: A Novel by Brock Clarke (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781565126084/1565126084). "If you like a book featuring an unreliable narrator, you have found it. Miller is nine years old and struggling with the disappearance of his father, who may or may not have joined the army and gone to Iraq. Miller's 'mental health professional' strains the definition of the title 'professional.' Miller's mother is bitter and quite sure that joining the military is the last thing her husband would have done. And then there's Frederick Exley, who inhabits the novel through the relationship each of these characters has with his book, A Fan's Notes. Even if, like me, you have never read A Fan's Notes, you will feel rewarded by this smart and moving novel."--Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202704/1594202702). "A suitcase of letters leads Ted Gup on a journey to his hometown of Canton, Ohio, during the heart of the Great Depression. A Secret Gift is a wonderful look at one man's generosity in a time of despair and how the human spirit survives even the most difficult times. Gup weaves the tale of the lives of those touched by the secret letters and their descendants with great care and charm."--Sam Droke-Dickinson, Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa.


by Cory Doctorow (Tor, $14.99, 9780765312815/0765312816). "Based on Cory Doctorow's predictive abilities, Makers seems like an all-too-true forecast of the near future. The result is both frightening and exhilarating and filled with characters you wish you knew. (Who knows, maybe you do!)"--Randy Smith, Destinations Booksellers, New Albany, Ind.

For Ages 9 to 12

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner (Delacorte, $17.99, 9780385739054/0385739052). "How wonderful to discover that the kind of book I loved when I was younger--full of adventures, derring-do, doubts and misgivings, unexpected friends, and most importantly huge, surprising but believable imaginary worlds--is still alive and well, and fresh as ever. Big themes of freedom and safety, rebellion and obedience, and the sometimes paradoxical nature of good are all here, and the story's daring but fallible heroine and her enemies and friends are drawn with sure strokes and plenty of depth. The Museum itself, bigger on the inside than on the outside, is an unforgettable place that I can't wait to return to in the sequels. Bravo!"--Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: Heliopolis

Heliopolis by James Scudamore (Europa Editions, $15.00 Paperback, 9781933372730, October 2010)

Booker-nominated Heliopolis is a ravishing, sprawling Dickensian love story between a boy from the poverty-stricken favelas and a girl whose father transports his family to their weekend estate in a private helicopter. Super-rich collides with super-poor in James Scudamore's banquet of a book, and his meticulously elaborate plot unfolds in São Paulo, a city with more than 200 heliports, where the rich swarm the skies to avoid being kidnapped off the streets.

The handsome young hero, Ludo, has had his life changed at the age of one, when wealthy dona Rebecca dares to enter the favela, finds an excellent cook struggling to survive with her baby, and takes them away to a new life. At least that's what we're told.

While dona Rebecca entertains charity donors and church officials, she reserves her maternal warmth for the unfortunate children of the favelas while treating her own daughter, Melissa, coldly. Not Ludo. He falls in love with his adoptive sister, and remains so even when she marries his best friend.

James Scudamore brings São Paulo to life as only someone who has lived there can do, weaving his story from the advertising offices of the MaxiMarket grocery chain to the favela of the notorious gang known as the Shadow Command, with a cast of characters from every level of society, from the fabulously wealthy owner of the chain to the woman who cleans the office toilets. Now and then a nervous security guard with an itchy trigger finger is thrown in.

The plot threads all collide at the end in an extravagant, Fellini-like celebration attended by all the main characters, a party that erupts into a violent night of destruction and revelation, with gunfire and people dancing on car roofs.

With every chapter named after a tasty Brazilian dish, Heliopolis is like the Brazilian national favorite, feijoada, a succulent bean stew into which are thrown bits of all the meats in the house, so that every exotic bite is different.

The mythic story itself is a Brazilian take on Great Expectations--Ludo is plucked out of poverty by a benefactor, but he hasn't been told the whole story, and his father remains a mystery. All the characters around him hold bits of his puzzle, and he'll risk his life to find out the truth. Half a dozen whopping coincidences explode like well-orchestrated fireworks throughout the narrative, and they're so satisfying as pure storytelling that you throw your doubts out the helicopter window, buy into the author's literary zest, and enjoy the tale.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: Booker-nominated Heliopolis is a ravishing, sprawling Dickensian love story where super-rich collide with super-poor in a banquet of a book.


AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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