Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 20, 2011

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: Nerd Do Very Well


Last Wednesday, actor, director, comedian Simon Pegg appeared at BookPeople, Austin, Texas, one of only three stops he's making in the U.S. for Nerd Do Well (Gotham Books). Nearly 800 fans came to the store to meet him. Here Pegg (in the light blue T-shirt) poses with BookPeople book people.


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

Notes: Borders Sale in July?; Book Burning Averted

Borders Group will name a potential buyer by July 1 and aims to complete a sale of the company as an ongoing business by the end of July, Reuters reported, citing a late Friday bankruptcy court filing. Borders said it was "encouraged" by negotiations with several entities, which have included private equity firms Gores Group and Najafi Cos. If the company cannot be sold in July, it said, "it will proceed with a sale to liquidators."


The rioting last Wednesday in Vancouver, B.C., following the loss of the Vancouver Canucks to the Boston Bruins nearly claimed a Chapters bookstore. According to CBC, rioters were chanting "burn the books" and tried to set the store on fire, but a group of about a dozen people held them back for 30 minutes until police arrived.

"It just seemed crazy to all of us, like it didn't make any sense, it just seemed insane," said artist Graham Peterson, one of the store's rescuers. "You're standing facing a crowd that's all shouting and yelling, especially the whole book-burning thing, that was crazy."

And Brennan Lloyd (pictured), another of the group who held the crowd back, told CBC: "It's really silly that people would get so passionate about such an arbitrary thing [like a hockey game] when there are so many other important things happening in society. It just seems like such a complete waste of human ingenuity and passion."


Owen Wilson, star of Woody Allen's new movie, Midnight in Paris, has apparently fallen not only for the City of Light but also for Shakespeare & Co., which appears in the movie.

Wilson told "I love Shakespeare & Company, which is the best bookstore in the world. I met the guy who owns it and he's, like, 97. People sleep there and I would love to have been a college student and gotten a job there and been able to sleep at the bookstore and look at these little sort of nooks all around.

"I was a good reader as a kid and an English major. Now it seems all I read is World War II-type books, so I made a New Year's resolution to try and read 10 classics. Now I'm reading Lolita, which I actually picked up in Paris at the Shakespeare & Company in paperback. It's pretty scandalous."

He added that he likes "the experience" of reading a physical book but is reading Lolita on his iPad.


Children's bookstore Butterfly Books, De Pere, Wis., is closing next month, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Amy VandenPlas, owner of the 20-year-old store, said on the store's website: "We have loved being a part of the community, meeting you and sharing your love of books. Because of economic times, we can no longer provide the quality service and product you deserve."


Play by Play Theatre Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., which opened in December 2009 (Shelf Awareness, July 30, 2009), is closing, Minnesota Public Radio reported. The store had to move earlier this year after the owner sold the building.

The store also had trouble drumming up sales despite the efforts of owner Kelly Schaub. One fan of the store, Leah Cooper, head of the Minnesota Theater Alliance, wrote that Schaub gave the store her all. She "was putting all kinds of stuff on the shelves hoping to widen her shopper base, she was pumping out the newsletters, and she was running every kind of discount offer any retailer has ever thought of. And she was inviting the community in for just about every kind of event they ever said they wanted: new play readings, lectures by exotic guest speakers, book signings, book clubs, workshops, parties, fundraisers, board meetings, forums, talk-backs, ... you name it."


Favorite headline of the day: "Go the F**k to Your Local Bookstore," from the Colorado Springs Independent.


Congratulations to Annie Philbrick and Patience Banister, who have been owners of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., for five years. They're celebrating with a reception tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the store.


Congratulations, too, to Christin Evans and Praveen Madan, who have owned the Booksmith in San Francisco, Calif., for four years! Another anniversary for the store is on the horizon: the Haight Ashbury landmark was founded 35 years ago this October.


And last but not least, congratulations to Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, who have officially become the owners of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C. In an e-mail, they wrote in part:

"We have spent many hours in the past few months meeting with staff, chatting with customers and getting to know publishers, suppliers, community partners and others integral to the store's operation. (You might even have seen one of us manning the cash register now and then.) These experiences have only deepened our appreciation of the store and reinforced our feelings of optimism about its future. Politics and Prose has an unparalleled and exceptional staff, a fiercely devoted and loyal clientele and an industry of booksellers, writers, editors and publishers across the country who are not only supportive but deeply invested in P&P's success and longevity."

They continued: "We are fortunate to be able to continue to rely on our terrific staff and the former owners to provide advice and contributions. Barbara Meade has agreed to stay on part-time, during which she will still be ordering books for the store and writing for its publications. David Cohen will go on introducing speakers and contributing to newsletters. Additionally, to honor Carla Cohen's memory, we have joined with David and the Cohen family to establish two prizes in Carla's name, one for fiction, the other for nonfiction, intended to recognize accomplished writers who have not received the recognition they deserve."


E-book trailer of the day: On the Road by Jack Kerouac (Penguin Books), the "amplified edition," which includes family photographs, some never before published; clips of Kerouac reading parts of early drafts of the book; documentary footage of Beats talking Kerouac; parts of Kerouac's journals with notes about the novel; reproductions of the famous "scroll" manuscript as well as later manuscripts with Kerouac's and editors' changes; contemporaneous reviews; maps of the trips; biographies of Kerouac and his friends; tributes from Bob Dylan and John Updike; further reading; and, oh yes, the complete and annotated text of the original 1957 novel.



Speculation about J.K. Rowling's mysterious new has been widespread and intense online since the website's debut last week (Shelf Awareness, June 16, 2011). Entertainment Weekly's Shelf Life blog noted that the "idea gaining the most traction is that Pottermore stands for 'Potter Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Experience,' a MMORPG set in the world of wizarding and magic we’ve grown to love."

Book Bench reported the language of a trademark registered by Warner Bros. two years ago "doesn’t necessarily dispel the possibility of such a game." The application "outlines Pottermore as a service 'providing multiple-user access to a global computer information network, [...] on-line chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among users in the field of general interest [and] on-line facilities for real-time interaction with other computer users concerning topics of general interest.' "

The Week featured seven prevailing theories about


"I read Donna Tartt's The Secret History in the summer of 1991, while staying with my boyfriend in a small house on Martha's Vineyard," Jennifer Egan recalled in a Guardian feature asking writers about their most memorable holiday reads. "The book hadn't yet been published, but there was already such advance furor over it that just getting my hands on a battered, grease-stained galley felt like an unbelievable score. I sat down expecting to be riveted but prepared for disillusionment--how many books can stand up to an expectation like that?"

Andrew Motion's recollection was "The Odyssey on Ithaca. Whenever I looked up from the page, I saw the ruins of Odysseus's palace (so called), the beach where he eventually made landfall, the empty cave where his cult once thrived, the bare rocky hills described in the poem--and also saw myth and reality tumbling through one another."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jim Shepard on Fresh Air

This morning on the Today Show: Carol Fishman Cohen, author of Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work (Business Plus, $14.99, 9780446695800).


Today on Oprah: Bob Greene, author of 20 Years Younger: Look Younger, Feel Younger, Be Younger! (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316133784).


Today on Ellen: Gwyneth Paltrow, author of My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness (Grand Central, $30, 9780446557313).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David Willman, author of The Mirage Man: Bruce Ivins, the Anthrax Attacks, and America's Rush to War (Bantam, $27, 9780553807752).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Jim Shepard, author of You Think That's Bad: Stories (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307594822).


Today on Access Hollywood: Sarah Ferguson, author of Finding Sarah: A Duchess's Journey to Find Herself (Atria, $25.99, 9781439189542).


Today on the Joy Behar Show: Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of I'm Kind of a Big Deal: And Other Delusions of Adequacy (Gallery, $15, 9781439176573).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Henry Kissinger, author of On China (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594202711).


Today on Chelsea Lately: Tatum O'Neal, author of Found: A Daughter's Journey Home (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062066565).


Tonight on the Daily Show: C. Ray Nagin, former mayor of New Orleans and author of Katrina's Secrets: Storms After the Storm (CreateSpace, $17.99, 9781460959718).


Tomorrow on Good Morning America: Terry Jamison, co-author of Psychic Intelligence: Tune In and Discover the Power of Your Intuition (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446563420).


Tomorrow on the Today Show: La Toya Jackson, author of Starting Over (Gallery, $26, 9781451620580). She will also appear on Piers Morgan Tonight.


Tomorrow on Extra: Katie Lee, author of Groundswell (Gallery, $25, 9781439183595).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Sugar Ray Leonard, author of The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring (Viking, $26.95, 9780670022724).

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Movie: A Most Wanted Man

Anton Corbijn (The American) will direct the film adaptation of John le Carré's A Most Wanted Man. According to the Hollywood Reporter, "principal photography is expected to begin this winter" and Corbijn will shoot most of the movie in Hamburg. Andrew Bovell (Edge of Darkness) is adapting the novel for the screen.


Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

TV Series: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple on PBS's Masterpiece

The latest Masterpiece series of new adaptations of works by Agatha Christie made its debut last night on PBS and will continue to air Sunday nights through July 10. Three of the shows star David Suchet as Hercule Poirot and the last stars Julia McKenzie as Miss Marple. Fans can go to PBS's Agatha Christie Book & Film Club, which offers discussions, questions, activities, a "delicious death" recipe, the episodes themselves and a perspective on Christie from her grandson, Mathew Prichard.


Books & Authors

Awards: Trillium Book Awards

Rabindranath Maharaj won the $20,000 Trillium Book Award, which honors the best writing by Ontario authors, for his novel The Amazing Absorbing Boy, the National Post reported. "Both familiar and strange, this story of a large Canadian city seen through the wide eyes of a naive and inexperienced young immigrant--wise in the culture of comic books--is both hilarious and heartbreaking," the judges said. The winner of the French-language Trillium Book Award was Estelle Beauchamp for Un souffle venu de loin.

Jeff Latosik won the $10,000 Trillium poetry prize for Tiny, Frantic, Stronger and the winner of the French-language Trillium for children’s literature was Daniel Marchildon for La première guerre de Toronto.


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:


The Summer of the Bear: A Novel by Bella Pollen (Atlantic Monthly, $24, 9780802119742). "Why do some people's lives work out while others do not? Leticia Fleming asks this question on the eve of her husband's fatal fall from the roof of his embassy office in Bonn, Germany. Accident or suicide? Political or personal? Now, she and her three children are on their way to a small island in Scotland's Outer Hebrides to try to recover. It takes more than quiet island life, however, for Letty to let go of the past and return her attention to her children. It takes a little magic and a young boy's unflagging belief in his father's word. A heartfelt story of love and redemption." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch (Harper, $23.99, 9780061999840). "This graceful memoir describes a true love affair with books. After losing her 46-year-old sister to cancer, Sankovitch embarks on a year of reading: one book every day for a full year. Her project, complete with daily book reviews, becomes an ongoing conversation with her sister and provides insight into her own past and contact with bibliophiles across the world. This is the best description of the power of books that I have ever encountered!" --Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, Mass.


Oil on Water: A Novel by Helon Habila (Norton, $14.95, 9780393339642). "In this beautiful, truth-seeking novel, journalists Rufus and Zaq make their way through the fetid, oil-choked waters of the Nigerian Delta in search of the kidnapped wife of an oil executive. Rufus, young and eager to prove himself, is thrilled at the prospect of a big story and to be working with his hero, Zaq. But their journey into the dense wilderness takes on a much different form than either expected, and they are thrust into events beyond their control. Oil on Water is a suspenseful story about globalization, ambition, and the unwieldy nature of truth." --Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

For Teen Readers

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763639839). "Blink & Caution begins with two separate storylines, both involving teenagers living on their own in the runaway world of Toronto. Having each left their homes due to traumatic circumstances, they live in dangerous places without the normal structure and limits imposed by a caretaking adult. This unregulated world is the antithesis of true liberty. They are stifled by their freedom and live in a suspended state. Blink & Caution is the story of how their lives become intertwined, and how they provide each other with the fulcrum to climb back into life." --Kenny Brechner, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington, Maine

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Turn of Mind

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante (Grove/Atlantic, $24 hardcover, 9780802119773, July 5, 2011)

It's hard to believe that this is a first novel--it's so carefully written and satisfying in every way. The basic premise is pure genius: Dr. Jennifer White, a retired orthopedic surgeon, is suffering from dementia. Her neighbor and best friend, Amanda, has been found murdered, with four fingers surgically removed. Dr. White can't say if she is guilty or not because she can't remember. She is, of course, questioned repeatedly by police detectives, is always cooperative, but really doesn't have any information. Or maybe she does?

Through fragments of narrative, writings in her notebook, moments of absolute lucidity and long periods when she can't even recall where she is, Dr. White leads the reader through the fractured landscape of her mind. There are frequent incursions from her children, Mark and Fiona, both with problems of their own. Mark is in constant need of money and can usually get it from his mother, but she has reached the limit of her tolerance. A recent widow, she has given Fiona financial control of her estate, and Mark medical control. Not such a great choice, as it turns out. Dr. White is quite content living in her home with Magdalena, a caregiver, but Mark decides that the home should be sold and his mother moved to assisted living. That is seldom a happy outcome, and it certainly isn't here. But it's the least of Jennifer White's worries.

Her dementia worsens, but she still has periods of perfect clarity, when she can recall her friendship with Amanda, which often seems more like armed conflict, or her husband's philandering or incidents from family life, some good, some not so. She is questioned frequently by one of the detectives, a woman with more than a professional interest in the case. At times, it seems that there will be a breakthrough, perhaps some salient clue will be recalled, and then, it evanesces into thin air, gone forever.

The labyrinthine arrangements and secrets that Jennifer had with her husband, the friendship-cum-battlefield she had with Amanda, her terrible sadness at having to give up her profession, her difficult relations with both children--all form the poignant story of a woman who is losing everything. Jennifer White refers to her notebook as "my Bible of consciousness." As that consciousness erodes, barriers fall and revelations are possible, but not the ones the reader expects. A masterful family drama and a thrilling murder mystery. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A masterfully written and satisfying novel about a retired orthopedic surgeon suffering from dementia, who may have murdered her best friend.



The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in St. Louis

The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in and around St. Louis, Mo. During the week ended Sunday, June 12:


1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
4. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
4. The Immortal Life of Henriettta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
6. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
7. Bossypants by Tina Fey
8. Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burbo
9. Pat the Zombie by Aaron Xim
10. American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Design by Robert Sharoff

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer by Megan McDonald
4. Scrapper by Alex Marie Bess
5. My Animals by Xavier Deneux
6. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
7. Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks
8. First 100 Animals by Priddy Books
9. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
10. Unsinkable by Gordon Korman

Reporting bookstores, all of which are members of the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance: Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, Pudd'nhead Books, Subterranean Books, Sue's News.

[Many thanks to the booksellers!]


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