A Sharp Mind and a Good Book
"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone,
if it is to keep its edge."
by George R.R. Martin
"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone,
if it is to keep its edge."
Last week, McLean and Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich., hosted Ellen Airgood, author of South of Superior (Riverhead), for the store's Yellow Chair Series, which has an interview format. Co-owner Jessilynn Norcross and Airgood (in the yellow chair) discussed, among other things, life owning a diner (Airgood and her husband have one), small town politics and how rural communities can be at once more accepting and more judgmental. The event drew more than 40 people.
Saying that Borders Group is "getting raped" with "out of sight" fees from its lenders, the bankruptcy court judge yesterday noted, however, that "it's the only game in town" and reluctantly approved an extension of deadlines that allow Borders to keep open some 40 stores the retailer would otherwise have to begin closing. The company's bankruptcy financing lenders, led by GE Capital, are charging $1 million for what the judge called a "very minimal extension" of the deadlines.
According to hearing transcripts, a lawyer for Borders said the stores, many of which are profitable and which the company did not want to close, "will stay open for the foreseeable future." He also said there were "vigorous negotiations" over the $1 million fee, but it was "the best we could do."
In the next week, Borders intends to file plans with the court for an auction that will feature an opening bid, Borders spokesperson Mary Davis told Bloomberg. Presumably the bid will be made by one of the private equity funds that have expressed interest.
Though the secret of J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website was embargoed until noon today in U.K., BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones leaked the details on Twitter from the press conference. "So Pottermore is a site with new JK Rowling content free for users--then there'll be paid eBooks in autumn," he wrote, adding: "Sorry--you can't launch a product for the digital generation in front of cameras and journalists--and tell them it's embargoed."
The Bookseller confirmed the news: J.K. Rowling "will release paid-for e-book versions of her incredibly successful Harry Potter books from her new website Pottermore "in partnership with... publishers worldwide.... The e-books will be released in October, and will be available only on the Pottermore website, but will be compatible across a range of devices, including Amazon's Kindle.... Rowling has written extensive new material--18,000 words--about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories, which will inform, inspire and entertain." Watch J.K. Rowling's announcement here.
Amazon is preparing to launch tablet PC models "as soon as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units for 2011.... Monthly shipments are expected to be 700,000-800,000 units," DigiTimes reported, citing Taiwan-based component makers.
Engadget was cautiously optimistic: "Possible? Sure, likely even. But we'll wait for Bezos to sing before updating our holiday shopping lists."
Cnet News wrote that Amazon "has been under pressure to release a tablet to compete with the iPad since Kindle sales haven't done well outside of North America and Europe. A new tablet would also tap into Amazon's recently opened AppStore and its new Amazon Cloud Drive."
Noting that the "big unknown" is the tablet's price point, ZDNet said Amazon "can effectively subsidize the tablets, price them aggressively and make money on the backend via music, book and movie sales. In other words, Amazon’s tablet can use the Kindle model quite effectively. It's not the device that matters here. It's the store."
Today at the ALA conference in New Orleans, Baker & Taylor is launching Axis 360, a digital media circulation and management platform for accessing digital content and Blio, the e-reading application. The addition of Axis 360 allows libraries to order physical and digital content in one place. In the fall, librarians and patrons at libraries using the platform will also have access to ePub and spoken word audio titles, patron reviews and star ratings.
Book trailer of the day: The Wizard of Dark Street by Shawn Thomas Odyssey (Egmont). Note: the author is a composer whose credits include the score for HBO's Deadwood.
Elin Hilderbrand, whose novels are set on Nantucket, offered a touching shoutout recently to Nantucket Bookworks, owner Wendy Hudson and bookseller Dick Burns. As quoted on She Is Too Fond of Books, Hilderbrand wrote in part:
"Wendy bought the store in the same year that I published my first novel, The Beach Club, and so my career, and the growing success of the store have run a parallel course, and my friendship with Wendy has grown with it. A bookstore is ultimately only as good as the people who work there, and all of the staff at Bookworks are extremely intelligent and amazingly kind souls, who have a voracious love of books and, of course, esoteric taste. I take my recommendations from one person above all others, and that is a man named Dick Burns. Dick has fly-away white hair (he looks like the mad professor in Back to the Future) and a radio announcer's voice. Dick and I share a love of fiction, and there isn't a single writer I can name whom he isn't familiar with--and many of them he ran around with during his hippy days in Vermont decades ago. He made his mark with me when he recommended, An Appointment in Samara, by John O'Hara, which I gobbled down and which quickly became one of my favorite books. I, in turn, like to recommend books to Dick, and we have spirited conversations about writers as disparate as Alice Munro and Richard Yates."
On Tuesday, the "bookstore that is like home" hosted a launch party for Silver Girl, the author's latest novel set on Nantucket.
Even while engulfed in recommendations for summer beach reading, apparently it's not too soon for incoming college students to begin preparations. Flavorwire compiled a "checklist of books every college-bound student should read before leaving home for the first time."
Icelandic novelist Sjón, author most recently of From the Mouth of the Whale, chose his top 10 island stories for the Guardian, noting: "Since humanity started enjoying its stories, the remote island has been a staple in every storyteller's bag of narrative tricks.... Being born and bred on a small island is being born and bred within most other people's literary metaphor."
Camille Paglia, Jamaica Kincaid and Salman Rushdie were among Flavorwire's "literary divas we can’t help but love."
Bookcase of the day. Boing Boing featured this ingenious bookcase tucked into a stairwell--accessible only by bosun's chair.
Check out this collection of Awesome People Reading.
Via Unbridled Books: Positing that the place where people read the most is the bathroom, the bookstore chain 100,000 Books, in Yekaterinburg, Russia, "came up" with this very clever product: Book Fresheners. The launch was part of an ad campaign.
Some tough bookstore love from Gawker's Hamilton Nolan: "You think the owner of that book store doesn't know what you're doing? Oh, they know exactly what you're doing. You say you 'love' books? You say you enjoy perusing the soothing aisles of a book store, so lovingly curated by a book store owner who spends his or her life ensuring that the very latest and most interesting book selections are there, presented for you in the most interesting possible way? You like that a lot? Yeah. So you can go home and order that shit online.... Book stores do not exist just to show off book covers so you know what you want to order from Amazon! You ungrateful bastards!"
Perseus Distribution will handle sales and distribution in the U.S. and Canada for the first printed book from Diversion Books, which focuses on publishing e-books. Diversion's first print diversion is Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life by former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach--2008 Coach of the Year--which appears in July. When Diversion decides to publish more titles in print form, Perseus potentially will handle distribution.
Sabrina McCarthy, v-p of Perseus Distribution, said, "We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with Diversion Books and [its co-founder and publisher] Scott Waxman, who will continue to publish stand-out titles that require a more adaptable approach and additional responsiveness. Together with Diversion's digital expertise and our track record in the print market, we hope to make this book and future projects a success."
Today on NPR's Fresh Air: David Linden, author of The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good (Viking, $26.95, 9780670022588).
Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Peter Hartshorn, author of I Have Seen the Future: A Life of Lincoln Steffens (Counterpoint, $30, 9781582436470).
Tomorrow on CNN's American Morning: La Toya Jackson, author of Starting Over (Gallery, $26, 9781451620580).
Tomorrow on Glenn Beck: Chris Stewart, co-author of The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World (Shadow Mountain, $28.99, 9781606419519).
Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Annie Jacobsen, author of Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316132947).
Tomorrow on CBS' the Talk: Tatum O'Neal, author of Found: A Daughter's Journey Home (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062066565).
Tomorrow on 20/20: Terry Jamison, co-author of Psychic Intelligence: Tune In and Discover the Power of Your Intuition (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446563420).
Also on 20/20: Bristol Palin, author of Not Afraid of Life: My Journey So Far (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062089373).
Tomorrow on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Matt Lewis, author of The Quotable Rogue: The Ideals of Sarah Palin in Her Own Words (Thomas Nelson, $12.99, 9781595553560).
The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito) is the first collaboration between director Pedro Almodovar and actor Antonio Banderas since Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. It was adapted from the novel Mygale by Thierry Jonquet, translated from the French by Donald Nicholson-Smith (City Lights Noir). Entertainment Weekly featured a trailer for the new film, noting that it "initially looks like a relatively straightforward thriller, with Banderas holding a gun on a woman. Then things start going off the rails: A fight in a museum! A bald masked lady wearing a skintight Catwoman outfit! Also, a scary-looking vacuum!" The Skin I Live In will be released August 26.
Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.
Saturday, June 25
8 a.m. Simon Schama, author of Scribble, Scribble, Scribble: Writing on Politics, Ice Cream, Churchill, and My Mother (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062009869), presents a collection of his essays. (Re-airs Saturday at 5 p.m.)
11:30 a.m. Bob Drury, author of Last Men Out: The True Story of America's Heroic Final Hours in Vietnam (Free Press, $26, 9781439161012), recounts the American withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m., Monday, July 4, at 4 p.m. and Tuesday, July 5, at 4 a.m.)
12:30 p.m. In Savannah, Ga., Book TV interviews Preston Russell, author of Savannah; A History of Her People Since 1733 (Frederic C. Beil, $19.95, 9780913720813). (Re-airs Sunday at 12:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.)
2 p.m. Jeffry Wert, author of A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph 1862-1863 (S&S, $30, 9781416593348), chronicles Lee's command of the Confederate Army from June 1, 1862 to the Battle of Gettysburg. (Re-airs Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.)
4 p.m. Ben Shapiro discusses his book Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV (Broadside Books, $26.99, 9780061934773). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.)
9 p.m. Michael Spence, author of The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World (FSG, $27, 9780374159757), talks about how the global economy will evolve over the next 50 years. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:45 p.m. and Monday at 7 a.m.)
10 p.m. After Words. Former Iowa Representative Fred Grandy interviews Erick Stakelbeck, author of The Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamic Threat (Regnery, $27.95, 9781596981522). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Sunday, July 3, at 11 a.m.)
11 p.m. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, author of The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class (Nation Books, $13, 9781568586847), discusses the eight-and-a-half hour speech he delivered on the Senate floor last December. (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m. and Monday at 5 a.m.)
Sunday, June 26
11 a.m. Matthew Algeo, author of The President Is a Sick Man (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781569763506), recounts the secret surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from President Grover Cleveland in June 1893. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)
The paper said that That Deadman Dance centers on "early, co-operative, black-white relations in colonial Western Australia. As such it is a story about what might have been, shadowed by the dark history of what did happen."
The two runners up, who win A$5,000 (US$5,290), are Roger McDonald, for When Colts Ran, and Chris Womersley for Bereft.
The following were the bestselling books at independent bookstores in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas during the week ended Sunday, June 19:
1. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
2. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
3. Bossypants by Tina Fey
3. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
5. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
6. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
7. Room by Emma Donoghue
8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
9. The Greater Journey by David McCullough
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites:
Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove
Book Cellar, Lincoln Square: Volt by Alan Heathcock
Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka: The Greater Journey by David McCullough
Book Table, Oak Park: The Curfew by Jesse Ball
Books & Co., Oconomowoc
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: The Curfew by Jesse Ball
57th St. Books, Chicago
Lake Forest Books: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
Next Chapter, Mequon
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock: Bullpen Diaries by Charley Rosen
Women and Children First, Chicago: Deathless by Catherynne Valente
[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]