Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 28, 2011

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Quotation of the Day

Russo's Best Wishes for 'Bookselling Brethren at Borders'

"The Russo's family and our staff send best wishes to our bookselling brethren at Borders for a long battle well-fought and encourage our community to hold on to what it still has... support your libraries, B&N, & of course, your local, independent bookstore (sorry folks, Amazon is not part of our community)."

--Home page of Russo's Books, Bakersfield, Calif.


 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


Image of the Day: Books & Books & Authors


Last week Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla., hosted the first Algonquin Book Club event (Shelf Awareness, March 7, 2011), which featured Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies. Alvarez was interviewed by Edwidge Danticat before a sold-out in-person audience of 250, and many more watched the live webcast from around the world. Afterward, Alvarez answered questions from the audiences. One teacher had her Spanish class tune in for their homework. One of those students wrote: "I can't believe Ms. Reyes made us watch this for our homework." Another replied: "I think I like this Ms. Reyes." Here before the event: (from l.) Alvarez, Books & Books owner Mitchell Kaplan and Danticat.


Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Notes: Borders' Exec Incentives; Pop-Up Store in Pittsburgh

It's not April Fool's day yet, but here's a story that sounds suitable: Borders Group wants the bankruptcy court's permission to enact plans that would pay executives and managers $8.3 million in bonuses to keep them aboard until either the company's reorganization plan is approved or the company is sold, according to the Wall Street Journal. The incentives will not be given if the company is liquidated; they will not apply to 2010 results (!).

Under one incentive plan, some 17 executives would receive up to $7.1 million--and the top five would receive 90% to 150% of their base salaries. CEO Mike Edwards could receive as much as $1.7 million. Another plan would provide up to $1.2 million for 25 "director-level" managers.

Borders said that 70% of the executives included in the larger incentive plan joined Borders in the last 18 months, and many of them within the last year.

In other Borders news, the company has decided not to close its distribution center in LaVergne, Tenn., whose closing it had announced in January (Shelf Awareness, January 12, 2011), according to the Nashville Business Journal. Instead the company will close its Carlisle, Pa., DC. It will also keep its DC in Mira Loma, Calif.

"This is the most efficient choice in light of our reorganization and the footprint of our overall store base," Borders spokesperson Mary Davis told the paper.


For the month of May and perhaps two weeks longer, Fleeting Pages, a "pop-up book emporium of reading, making, and window licking," will fill a closed Borders store in Pittsburgh, Pa., with "independent and self-published work of all kinds, book arts, workshops, events" and more.

According to the website, Fleeting Pages will have three sections--a retail bookstore, workshops and group works, as well as event space--and possibly a café, "if we able to outfit the gutted café to make it legal again." After the lease runs out, Fleeting Pages may move elsewhere in the Pittsburgh area or go on the road to another city.

On the FAQ page, Fleeting Pages wrote that the pop-up book emporium is not intended as a model for all future bookstores. "There are a lot of great bookstores out there who do what they do really well and have a local population that both appreciates and supports them. There are a lot of people in the publishing industry with ideas based on their experience. And there are a lot of consumers who know what they would like in a bookstore that would make shop there. Exploring all of those ideas about the future of the bookstore is something that we hope will happen during the month."

Thanks to Karen the Small Press Librarian for the tip!


The Turning Page, Old Lyme, Conn., is closing at the end of the month, the Day reported.

Owner Julie Griswold Kerop bought the store in 2005 when it was called the Happy Carrot Bookshop. She has been working in banking full-time, and her mother, Wendy Kerop, has managed the store. Wendy Kerop attributed the closing to the economy and said, "Our base clientele is very distressed."


In business nearly 40 years, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, Ore., continues to change and refine its business plan.

As outlined in the Corvallis Gazette Times, the store's staff of six aims to know a customer's reading preferences by the time the customer has visited the third time. Grass Roots wants to promote the physical features of books such as covers and typefaces. "We want people to be drawn to books," co-owner Jack Wolcott said. "To physically crave holding a book in their hands." Wolcott also wants to draw younger customers by making displays "more engaging."


On Friday, WNYC's and PRI's Studio 360 looked at "how some independent bookstores plan to survive," and talked with, among others, Chuck Robinson, co-owner of Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., and visited the Housing Works Bookstore Café in New York City.


Cool idea of the day: the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is creating a Bookseller Temp Agency: "There are many experienced booksellers in the region. Most would love more hours of bookselling and the opportunity to experience another store close by. Or possibly you know someone who isn't working in the store anymore, but could use some temporary work? Bookstores are always in need of temporary help during events, staff vacations, and to attend NAIBA and ABA professional events."

NAIBA plans to compile a list of booksellers who are available to work temporarily at stores across the region, as well as staff members at publishers who "have bookselling experience, and would like to keep your bookselling skills fresh."


Obituary note: fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones, best known for Howl's Moving Castle, died on Saturday in Bristol, England. She was 76. On Twitter, Neil Gaiman wrote: "Rest in Peace, Diana Wynne Jones. You shone like a star. The funniest, wisest writer & the finest friend. I miss you."

Jones won two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honors, the British Fantasy Society's Karl Edward Wagner Award for having a significant impact on fantasy and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention. Hayao Miyazaki adapted Howl's Moving Castle into a movie. Greenwillow Books will publish her Earwig and the Witch with illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky next February.


"A funny thing happened on my way to becoming a dedicated e-reader," Paul LaRosa wrote in the Huffington Post. "I wound up falling back in love with a couple of small, independent bookstores in my home borough of Brooklyn."

The true objects of his reader affections are Greenlight Books, which "could not be a nicer, homier bookstore, carrying a lot of independent publishers and writers who are not household names," and BookCourt, "the very ideal of a small independent bookstore with staff picks and a knowledgeable staff."

"I started thinking, man," LaRosa observed. "I like these people and what they stand for, and I'd really hate for these two bookstores to go out of business.... And I am afraid that will happen if we all flock to e-readers. Yes, we're gaining some convenience, maybe, but what are we losing? And are we prepared for that? I'm not."


Imagine "if records were books."


In the Telegraph, Iain Hollingshead offered "Not the 50 books you must read before you die." No. 1 is Ulysses by James Joyce, which he summed up this way: "Only a 'modern classic' could condense one man's day into an experimental epic that takes years to plough through. If the early description of the protagonist going to the lavatory doesn't make your eyes swim, the final 40 pages, untroubled by punctuation, will."


Book trailer of the day: The Nature Principle by Richard Louv (Algonquin), in which the author posits that the more high tech we become, the more nature we need.


Nancy Fish has joined Cleis Press/Viva Editions as marketing and publicity manager. She has worked at Addison Wesley, HarperCollins and Perseus Books as well as the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., where she was marketing manager, and the New England Independent Booksellers Association, where she was assistant executive director.


Media and Movies

Movies: The Three Musketeers in 3D Trailer

Sony has released the trailer for its action-packed adaptation of The Three Musketers by Alexandre Dumas. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the movie stars Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz and James Corden. It will be released October 14.


Media Heat: Bindi Irwin's Wildlife Adventures

This morning on Good Morning America: Bindi Irwin, author of Rescue! (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $4.99, 9781402255175), the second Bindi Wildlife Adventures book after Trouble at the Zoo (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $4.99, 9781402255144). She will also appear today on Live with Regis and Kelly and Piers Morgan Tonight and tomorrow on CNN's American Morning.


This morning on the Today Show: Sheryl Crow, author of If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9780312658953).


Today on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Bethenny Frankel, author of A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439186909). She will also appear tonight on Lopez Tonight.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Susan Lucci, author of All My Life: A Memoir (It Books, $25.99, 9780062061843).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: William J. Bennett, author of The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth, and Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam (Thomas Nelson, $19.99, 9781595550293).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show:

Christina Haag, author of Come to the Edge: A Memoir (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780385523172),
Erin Brockovich, author of Rock Bottom (Vanguard Press, $25.99, 9781593156251).
Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy (HarperBusiness, $24.99, 9780061914188).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Tina Rosenberg, author of Join the Club: How Peer Pressure Can Transform the World (Norton, $25.95, 9780393068580).


Tomorrow night on the Charlie Rose Show: Tom Watson, author of The Timeless Swing (Atria, $29.99, 9781439194836). He will also appear on CNBC's Squawk Box.


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Miguel Nicholelis, author of Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines--and How It Will Change Our Lives (Times Books, $28, 9780805090529).


Books & Authors

Awards: Dilys and Bancroft Winners

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny has won the Dilys Award for 2011, sponsored by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association and honoring the mystery title of the year that member booksellers have most enjoyed selling. The award was named for Dilys Winn, founder of Murder Ink, New York City.

Penny thanked the association for the award and "what it represents. Handselling. Not downloading. But actually pressing a paper and ink book into a customer's hand. Now there's an art worth celebrating. Bookselling."


Winners of this year's Bancroft Prize, given by Columbia University to honor "the authors of distinguished works" in American history and diplomacy, are:

  • Eric Foner for The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (Norton)
  • Christopher Tomlin for Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865 (Cambridge University Press)
  • Sara Dubow for Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America (Oxford University Press)

Each winner receives $10,000.


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:

Hardcover Fiction

Instruments of Darkness: A Novel by Imogen Robertson (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, $26.95, 9780670022427). "Shades of Jane Eyre meets Sherlock Holmes, circa 1776: two murders near a country manor in West Sussex; a Lord accused; and insanity, fire, orphans. Attempting to solve the mystery are an early forensic doctor, Gabriel Crowther, and his neighbor, Mrs. Westerman, the unconventional mistress of Caveley Park. This is the first in what I hope will be a long series featuring two fabulously appealing detectives."--Karen Corvello, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.

Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592406012). "Grant Achatz, chef owner of Chicago's Alinea, would have a wonderful tale to tell, even if he didn't have his life-changing bout with squamous carcinoma, which led to major headlines about a chef losing his sense of taste. Yes, this is an inspiring story to turn on any foodie, a must-read for all entrepreneurs, and yes, a survival narrative too."--Daniel Goldin, Bowell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.


A Thousand Cuts by Simon Lelic (Penguin, $15, 9780143118619). "This is a very timely novel on the insidiousness of bullying and how it can affect all ages, not just kids on the playground. A Thousand Cuts opens with a school shooting committed by a teacher. An open-and-shut case becomes much more when Detective Inspector Lucia May pieces together the testimony from various witnesses and realizes that assigning the blame is not as easy as expected."--Laura Lucy, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.

For Ages 4 to 8

The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $15.99, 9780547238685). "Here's another book full of whimsy and wonder from Caldecott-honoree Lehman. In this wordless tale, a hidden candy box of 'treasures' passes the decades undetected until found by three boys, who decide to follow the map hidden inside, with magical results. A great treat for kids of all ages, who will delight in using their own words to tell the story to go along with the illustrations."--Kelley Drahushuk, the Spotty Dog Books & Ale, Hudson, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: Moondogs

Moondogs by Alexander Yates (Doubleday Books, $25.95 Hardcover, 9780385533782, March 2011)

Benicio Bridgewater wants to repair his relationship with his absentee father; after reuniting at his mother's funeral, Benicio has agreed to come to Manila so they can spend some quality time together. But Howard never shows up to meet him at the airport, so Benicio makes his own way to his father's hotel, stewing over his resentments. What he doesn't know is that Howard hasn't just bunked off--he's been kidnapped by a desperate (and none too bright) cab driver, assisted by his even-less-clever brother and a retired cockfighting rooster, with no better plan than to try to sell him to Muslims, because Muslims hate Americans, right?

If that were all there was to Moondogs, it would make for a serviceable comic novel, in the vein of Elmore Leonard perhaps, mixing family drama and botched criminal mishaps. Another of the central narrative threads, about an American diplomatic officer who's having an affair with a high-ranking Filipino police officer, would fit perfectly into this mold. But Alexander Yates doesn't stop there. Benicio's memories of his mother's claim to be able to tell the future in her dreams are just a hint of the profound weirdness found in Yates's version of the Philippines, most of which is seen through the eyes of Efrem Khalid Bakkar, a solider with supernaturally accurate aim who's been recruited into an elite squad of equally magical commandos by that high-ranking policeman, whose career is also the basis of a series of hit action movies--and the actor who plays him in those films is running for office, his campaign managed by a friend of Howard's who tries to keep Benicio entertained in his father's absence....

It's a lot of story for one novel, but Yates nimbly keeps all the narrative balls aloft while creating a consistent tone between the realistic emotional crises, the screwed-up kidnapping, and the fantasy elements that allow for non-disruptive shifts from humor to tragedy. Most importantly, Yates doesn't allow Benicio to be a hapless observer; in many scenes, even given his deep-rooted frustrations with Howard, his obnoxious treatment of the locals borders on Ugly Americanism, and when he tries to overcompensate, his father's friend reminds him: "Whatever you see peeking out right now, what it is you don't like.... That's Benicio." The quirks in Moondogs won't be to everyone's tastes, but readers who are willing to accept Yates's world on its own terms will find much to appreciate.--Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: Like Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude or Victor LaValle's Big Machine, Yates's debut grounds its weirder elements in the solid emotional realism of its characters.


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