Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 22, 2010

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft


Image of the Day: Time with the Girls

During her tour for her new book, In the Time of the Girls (BOA Editions), Anne Germanacos read at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. After the SRO event, Germanacos (l.) relaxed with Alice B. Acheson, book publicist; Donna Miscolta, author of the forthcoming When the de la Cruz Family Danced (Signal 8 Press); and Kate Lebo, who baked and served her famous pies.

Photo: James S. Cameron


Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny

Notes: HP7 Magic; Adventure of Twain's Autobiography

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I earned $125.1 million in U.S. theaters over the weekend, setting a Harry Potter debut weekend record and coming in No. 6 all-time for weekend openings. The movie took in $205 million abroad, for a global total of $330.1 million.

The Wall Street Journal noted that weekend Harry Potter movie goers aged 18-34, many of whom grew up with the franchise, represented 25% of the audience. By contrast, moviegoers 18-34 were just 10% of the first Harry Potter film's audience.

With worldwide earnings of $5.4 billion, the Harry Potter movies have earned more than either the James Bonds or Star Wars movies. The next and last Harry Potter movie appears next summer.


Norris Church Mailer, author of two novels and a memoir and wife of the late Norman Mailer, died yesterday in New York City. She was 61.

Mailer spent managed her husband's career and family life for three decades. At the same time, she held art shows, was an actress and playwright, wrote the novels Windchill Summer and Cheap Diamonds as well the memoir, A Ticket to the Circus, which Random House published in April.

The New York Times has an extensive obit.


"It was fun." This was a refrain--a regular Carla Cohen comment--at the tribute for her held yesterday at Prose & Politics, Washington, D.C., the store she founded 26 years ago. See the hour-long tributes streaming on the store's website. As of this morning, the tribute is playing continuously so viewers may pick up in the middle--meaning that appropriately there is no set begininng or end to the story of Carla's life.


On the store's 40th birthday, the New York Times profiled BookPeople, Austin, Tex., which after the success of the Keep Austin Weird campaign, "solidified its cult following among Austin's energetic community of book buyers and readers and nurtured the 'buy local' culture that has become a defining feature of life in the state capital."

The store's busy event schedule is another major draw. Author Sarah Bird commented: "For my last book, How Perfect Is That, I concocted a version of the heroine's special Code Warrior cocktail, my friend danced in a pink vinyl naughty nurse costume and did botox freshening, and another friend did hand massages. Could any of this have happened at a big-box store? Yes, but then arrests would have been made."

The store also has a range of sidelines--which account for 20% of sales--including "odd, one-of-a-kind items like refrigerator magnets that featured the tutued likeness of Leslie Cochran, the local homeless, cross-dressing celebrity. BookPeople has also transfixed young readers with the power of the written word through its literary camps (including the wildly popular Camp Half-Blood, based on the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan, a San Antonio author)."

BookPeople owner Steve Bercu, an ABA board member, told the paper, "Business is great. We've been up 8 of 10 months this year."


The New York Times chronicled the "smash hit" Autobiography of Mark Twain, published by the University of California Press last week, a $35, four lb., 736-page tome already in its sixth printing--for a total of 275,000--that will be No. 7 on the Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list next Sunday.

The press has scrambled to meet demand for the book, the first of three volumes, which has sold out at many stores. Twain, who died in 1910, ordered that the book be published at least a century after his death.

As Kris Kleindienst of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., commented: "You would think only completists and scholars would want a book like this. But there's an enduring love affair with Mark Twain, especially around here. Anybody within a stone's throw of the Mississippi River has a Twain attachment."

Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., called the it "totally the Dad book of the year. It's that autobiography, biography, history category, a certain kind of guy gift book."

Twain dictated most of the book in the four years before he died. The Times called Autobiography of Mark Twain "more political than his previous works, by turns frank, funny, angry and full of recollections from his childhood, which deeply influenced books like Huckleberry Finn."

Autobiography of Mark Twain may be perfect for the short attention spans of the digital age. Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, called it not a book to read straight through from beginning to end, but "the kind of book you would read a little bit of every day of your life."


Tri-County Times surveys Fenton's Open Book, the Fenton, Mich., bookstore that opened in August in space that formerly housed a Little Professor. Fenton's Open Book owner Karen Piacentini, who had worked at the Little Professor store for seven years, told the paper, "I still see the need for a bookstore downtown. We re-opened with a new inventory and a re-arranged floor plan."

The children's section has been expanded, and there is a new emphasis on titles about Michigan and by Michigan authors. The store also has a "teacher's section" geared to educators and home schoolers.


Seeking another edge, Borders is extending its returns policy so that now any product purchased through December 24 may be returned as late as January 31, extending the usual 30-day returns limit.

Some stores won't be there to accept late returns: Borders is closing a total of 17 superstores after the holidays, the Detroit Free Press reported.


Amazon has joined some of its e-competitors and is now allowing e-books for its Kindle to be given as gifts. Recipients need only an e-mail address and can return unwanted e-book gifts for Amazon gift cards.


YOMO in BAM 2: Yogurt Mountain, the self-service frozen yogurt retailer, has opened its second store inside a Books-A-Million, this one in Lakeland, Fla. Earlier this year, BAM made an investment in Yogurt Mountain and extended the company a line of credit (Shelf Awareness, April 19, 2010).


Cool idea of the day: New Zealand booksellers are searching for the country's "most inspired bookshelf.... Whether it's color-coded, alphabetized or sorted by publication date, the hunt is on for New Zealand's most inspired, well-stocked and lovingly-crafted bookcase," Scoop reported.

"This competition is a bit of fun, but also an opportunity to really appreciate the beauty that a whole lot of books carefully placed, cunningly coerced or simply shoved into a bookshelf can be," said Lincoln Gould, CEO of Booksellers NZ. You can see the photos here and follow the campaign on Twitter.


The Guardian featured a video tour of Nick Hornby's Ministry of Stories, which opened last Friday (Shelf Awareness, November 19, 2010)


Jim and Sally Nurss plan to open Our Town Books at 64 E. Central Park Plaza in Jacksonville, Ill., next spring, the Journal-Courier reported.

"This is a community of readers and writers and we felt Jacksonville needed a bookstore," said Sally. Added Jim: "It was an opportunity to come downtown and help promote the revitalization of the square."


International bookstore worship.

Scotland for the Senses
discovered "bookshop heaven" at the Watermill in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, where "every element of this bookstore has been planned with the pleasure of the customer in mind, using many of the structure's original features. I like to think it was in honor of the miller who first lovingly restored the unique historical building."

And the Libreria El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was showcased in a Travel Between the Pages feature, "Reader’s Choice: Bookshop Porn III."


GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

Deb Leonard, GLiBA's New Executive Director

Just weeks into her new job as executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association (and in the midst of buying and moving into a new home, as well as working on the final project for a master's degree in women's studies), Deb Leonard took a few minutes to chat with Shelf Awareness about the association, bookselling issues, publishing--and what she's reading right now.

Recruited many years ago by Michael Zibart to work at the late Zibart's Book Store in Nashville, Tenn., Leonard has a couple of decades of jobs in the book business on her résumé since then. She even "went to the dark side" for a while, she joked--working for publishers. She added quickly that her years at Simon & Schuster and Scholastic were very happy ones and said her background will help GLiBA to "go forward" in these challenging times.

With her bookseller/publisher background, Leonard intends to bring the issues that face all the regional associations and their member stores into focus for publishers. "It's time for all the regionals as a group to go to New York and lay our cards on the table" so that both sides can see "what we need to survive and what we can do for [publishers]," she said. "We are all on the same side, and we are all championing the same things."

At GLiBA, one of Leonard's priorities is jumping on the social media "thing" big time. "It's not the wave of the future," she exclaimed. "It's now."

Leonard said she believes that independent bookstores can and will have a piece of the e-market. "I think we can play in that," she said. "But you have to get the stores to think that way and you have to get the consumer to think of going to the stores for an e-book." The average customer does not realize what goes into publishing a book, she noted. But now that not every e-book is priced at $9.99, booksellers have a chance to get into the game.

So far, the new GLiBA executive director does not have an e-reader, but said she can foresee one in her future. She reads many printed books, which she said are here to stay. Recently she read The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory and The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent and is currently reading Lee Child's The Killing Floor. Next on the list: Hell Gate by Linda Fairstein. Leonard prefers mysteries, but also finds time for historical fiction and nonfiction that leans toward women's interests such as No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship by Linda Kerber. This relates somewhat to her final women's studies project: compiling a database of organizations that help raise women out of poverty in America.

Meanwhile, Leonard is wired and working remotely from Ann Arbor (although soon in a new home office) while GLiBA's associate director Joan Jandernoa remains in the Grand Haven GLiBA office. Leonard said that although it sounds like such a cliché, but she admires the GLiBA board for its ability to think outside the box. "When I had the interview [for the job], I thought, 'Can I just stay friends with you guys?' "--Bridget Kinsella


Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Media and Movies

Movie: Love and Other Drugs

Love and Other Drugs, based on Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman by Jamie Reidy (Andrews McMeel, $12.99, 9780740799136/0740799134), opens this Wednesday, November 24. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a charismatic pharmaceutical salesman. The movie is directed by Edward Zwick and features Anne Hathaway, George Segal and the late Jill Clayburgh.


Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Media Heat: The Kennedy Detail on Discovery

This morning on Live with Regis and Kelly: Steve Martin, author of An Object of Beauty (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446573641/0446573647).


This morning on the Today Show: Daisy Martinez, author of Daisy's Holiday Cooking: Delicious Latin Recipes for Effortless Entertaining (Atria, $16.99, 9781439199237/143919923X).


This morning on Good Morning America: Dan Buettner, author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way (National Geographic, $26, 9781426205156/1426205155).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life (McSweeney's, $22, 9781934781708/1934781703).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Carlos Eire, author of Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy (Free Press, $26, 9781439181904/143918190X).


Today on the View: Mike Huckabee, co-author of Can't Wait Till Christmas (Putnam, $17.99, 9780399255397/0399255397).


Today on a repeat of Tavis Smiley: Condoleezza Rice, author of Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780307587879/0307587878).


Today on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer: Gerald Blaine, co-author of The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence (Gallery, $28, 9781439192962/1439192960). He will also appear today on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. This evening the Discovery Channel will air a two-hour special based on the book.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Susan Boyle, author of The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story (Atria, $26, 9781451609257/1451609256).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Nir Rosen, author of Aftermath: Following the Bloodshed of America's Wars in the Muslim World (Nation Books, $35, 9781568584010/1568584016).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Thomas Powers, author of The Killing of Crazy Horse (Knopf, $30, 9780375414466/0375414460).


Tomorrow on a repeat of Tavis Smiley: Jimmy Carter, author of White House Diary (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374280994/0374280991).


Tomorrow on Glenn Beck: Scotty Smiley, author of Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer (Howard Books, $24.99, 9781439183793/1439183791).


Tomorrow on CBS' The Talk: Amy Yasbeck, author of With Love and Laughter, John Ritter (Gallery, $26, 9781416598411/1416598413).


Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Allen St. John, author of Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Instrument (Free Press, $15, 9780743266369/0743266366).


Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: 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 night on a repeat of the Daily Show: Jay-Z, author of Decoded (Spiegel & Grau, $35, 9781400068920/1400068924).


Television: Oprah & Franzen Talk!

Last Friday, Oprah Winfrey and Jonathan Franzen, described by the New York Times as "two titans of literature, each with the power to move books by the thousands," met on Oprah's set to tape the author's highly anticipated appearance for a December 6 airing.

"They've gotten way past it," said Jeff Seroy--senior v-p, marketing and publicity at Farrar, Straus & Giroux--of their very public feud in 2001. "They hugged before they went on. They hugged at the beginning of the show, and they hugged at the end."

Seroy noted that Franzen's appearance "was divided into three portions: one in which Mr. Franzen talks about how he approaches his writing and discusses his work habits; one in which he takes questions from audience members about his novels; and one, Mr. Seroy said, in which Mr. Franzen and Ms. Winfrey 'talked at length about their shared history,' " the Times wrote.


Books & Authors

Gift Books 2010: Cookbooks, the First Round


NPR Weekend Edition commentator T. Susan Chang noted this past Sunday morning that it was a monster year for cookbooks. And not just for the number and variety--poundage is a factor in three big books this year. Take One Big Table by Molly O'Neill (Simon & Schuster, $50), The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser (Norton, $40) and Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home by Chuck Williams and Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, $34.95) and you have, for a mere $125, 14 lbs and 480 cubic inches of almost 2,500 recipes. Lest you think that these three cookbooks would be repetitive, our highly scientific comparison came up with many differences, like cornbread. Molly O'Neill and Chuck Williams each have a cornbread recipe (Jamie Pangana's Rich & Herby and Buttermilk), Amanda Hesser has none, but does have a recipe for cornbread stuffing that calls for day-old cornbread. Hesser assumes you have the basics covered and proceeds from there, and the cookbook shows not just past recipes, but what we want today (seven dishes with pesto and Molly O'Neill's Preserved Lemons with Cardamom and Bay Leaves). Williams provides many basic recipes (creamy polenta or grilled rib roast) and basic information (soup types or home baking equipment) that are good for the beginning or nervous cook. O'Neill, after a decade of travel around the U.S., compiled 600 recipes that highlight home cooking, regional specialties and treasured family foods. From Kachumbari (Kenyan coleslaw) to Kansas City Ribs to Rhubarb Pie, the recipes, the stories and the history are a delicious portrait of our country then and now. And while Bubba Frey's Famous Rooster Stew made with hog lard may not be for everyone, reading about Mr. Frey is.

What's a year without a bacon cookbook? A very bad year. Andrews McMeel has come through with I Love Bacon! by Jayne Rockmill ($19.99). Some 49 chefs contributed more than 50 recipes, and proceeds from the book sales go to Food Bank for NYC and Share Our Strength (as if you needed extra inducement for a bacon cookbook). Poached Eggs Wrapped in Maple-Smoked Bacon over Lentils, Mediterranean BLTs, Grilled Bacon and Cucumber Salad with Chili Caramel Dressing. Yum. After a few of these, it might be a good idea to move right on to A White House Garden Cookbook, since the subtitle says "Healthy Ideas from the First Family to Your Family" (Red Rock Press, $24.95). Written by Clara Silverstein, it's a chronicle of Michelle Obama's creating a White House garden and getting kids involved. The book not only has good recipes (White House Whipped Sweet Potatoes with cinnamon, cumin and chili powder would be good for the holidays), but is written with family participation in mind and offers recipes that are kid-friendly. The kids at Boise Urban Garden School (BUGS) came up with a ratatouille recipe after seeing the eponymous movie, and so impressed their mayor when he stopped by that he stayed for lunch. This is a good cookbook for encouraging kids (and adults) to not only eat more veggies, but to learn how to participate in growing or shopping for food.

A few years ago, was started by Sheri L. Wetherell, Barnaby Dorfman and Colin M. Saunders. Their idea was to create an online cooking encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and they have certainly succeeded. Last year they had a contest, inviting food bloggers to submit recipes, and they received more than 1,500 entries in three months from all over the world. After narrowing the recipes down to 100--no easy thing--they have come out with Foodista: 100 Great Recipes, Photographs, and Voices (Andrews McMeel, $19.99). Wicked Good Clam Chowdah from New York, Cedar-Smoked Asparagus Soup from Toronto, Martini Puffs from Scottsdale, Spicy Pumpkin Soup from Istanbul, Riley's Salmon Head Soup from Seattle, Prosciutto-Wrapped Broccolini with Basil Crisps from Vancouver, ending with the Ultimate Dessert from Minnesota--all the recipes have information about the dish and the blogger, and all look delish.--Marilyn Dahl



Awards: Bad Sex in Fiction Award Shortlist

Finalists for the 2010 Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction Award are:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon
Maya by Alastair Campbell
A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee
Heartbreak by Craig Raine
The Shape of Her by Rowan Somerville
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

The winner will be named November 29 in London. The Guardian featured some amusing coverage of literature's least-desired prize.



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:


Dogfight, A Love Story: A Novel by Matt Burgess (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385532983/0385532989). "This is the story of a young struggling Puerto Rican couple in Queens as they come of age. Drugs, crime, and strife surround and inform their everyday lives, yet somehow Burgess is still able to convey them as wholesome and decent folks, even when they are doing illegal things. I found myself rooting for them as I followed the story of their fight for their lives, both literally and figuratively. Life is hard, but this couple makes a great go of it. This is a strong debut!"--Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dealings: A Political and Financial Life by Felix Rohatyn (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439181966/1439181969). "Rohatyn knows what readers are most interested in, and in Dealings he sticks to the deal-making, keeping the story both entertaining and sprinkled with life lessons. There are more than a few moments in his life when he was the subject of bad press, but there's very little in the way of revenge. Concerning the most recent financial collapse, Rohatyn posits that the government needs to return to the regulation safeguards that have been dismantled since the Reagan years. A fun and informative read."--Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.


Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions, $14.95, 9780811218351/081121835X). "A spare, exquisite gem of a novel, Jenny Erpenbeck's Visitation stopped me cold. The story follows the life of one house on the banks of a Bradenburg lake, outside of Berlin, and the inhabitants who reside there over the course of one hundred years. A fierce and wildly intelligent look at how we live our lives, both in respite and in duress, which things have meaning, and what we need to call a place a home. Visitation is a biography of a place, a story of displacement and irreparable loss, and an intimate and deeply personal exploration of the private places we cultivate to house our souls. This book will change you."--Rachel Meier, the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8

In the Wild by David Elliott, illustrated by Holly Meade (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763644970/0763644978). "Reading In the Wild, children will learn so much about wild animals across the globe. The possibilities are endless on every page, and there is a well-balanced mix of serious and humorous poems to be read aloud again and again. Holly Meade's woodcut and watercolor illustrations are gorgeous!"--Emily McLean, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]



Book Review

Book Review: Essays from the Nick of Time

Essays from the Nick of Time: Reflections and Refutations by Mark Slouka (Graywolf Press, $16.00 Paperback, 9781555975715, October 2010)

In his valedictory "Notebook" column for Harper's magazine, where many of the essays in Mark Slouka's new collection first appeared, Lewis Lapham characterized the essay as "a thinking out loud." That's an overly modest description of the invigorating pieces appearing in this volume. Slouka, who teaches at the University of Chicago, offers a dozen challenging meditations (several of which have been selected previously for inclusion in the Best American Essays series) located at what he calls "the intersection of memory and history and fiction."

The range of Slouka's interests is prodigious and the breadth of the territory covered here is impressive. There are intensely personal accounts, like "Blood on the Tracks," his investigation of an accident that killed a Connecticut mother and her four children after they abandoned a YMCA shelter and walked along the train tracks one night. "Tragedy carries farther in the charged air of the early twenty-first century; death speaks with a louder voice," he observes. In "Listening for Silence," he laments our aural overload, as in the midst of it "we sense a deeper isolation beneath the babble of voices, the poverty of our communications."

And yet Slouka's concerns transcend the purely personal, as reflected in the several essays that appear under the heading "Refutations." "One Year Later" is a biting indictment of the American exceptionalism and tribalism that blossomed in the aftermath of 9/11, most troubling to him "the eagerness with which some individuals appropriated the tragedy for themselves." In "Coda, a Quibble," he excoriates "not just our ignorance but our complacency in the face of it, our growing fondness for it." "Democracy and Deference" critiques what he sees as Americans' unwarranted subservience to authority figures. Paradoxically, a group for which Slouka isn't likely to have much sympathy--members of the Tea Party--probably display better than anyone in public life the sheer contrariness he celebrates.

Slouka quotes Thoreau in his epigraph, and the New England iconoclast makes frequent guest appearances. From "Speak, Video!," in which Slouka laments the way "our free fall into the video age" has distorted the process of memory, to his paean to leisure, "Quitting the Paint Factory," the flinty spirit of Thoreau, "who itched a full century before everyone else began to scratch," looms large over these pages. No more so is that the case than in Slouka's impassioned plea for teaching the humanities for their own sake, not merely as instrumentalities to serve the demands of commerce, acknowledging Walden's "full frontal assault on the tenets of capitalism."

Every one of the essays in this collection is distinctive for its originality, its rigorous thinking and the clarity of its expression. "The market for reason is slipping fast. The currency of unreason and demagoguery is daily gathering strength," Slouka laments. Not if Mark Slouka, as he demonstrates persuasively here, has anything to say about it.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: In 12 penetrating pieces, novelist and essayist Mark Slouka offers his eloquent and perceptive take on aspects of contemporary American life.


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