Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

Take a Storytime Adventure into the World of Jessie Sima

Editors' Note

Quotation of the Day

In Borders's Wake, 'A Meaningful Career'

"Having managed a large-scale indie bookstore, my sense is that most of the Borders stores were selling at least $5 million to $10 million a year. For independent bookstores, there's a profitable model at just $750,000 to $1 million in annual sales in much smaller spaces. With no shareholders to satisfy and large corporate staff to support, an owner of an independent bookstore in a former Borders market has the opportunity to win the hearts of citizens, achieve healthy sales, and enjoy a meaningful career in the bookstore business."

--Donna Paz Kaufman of Paz & Associates on the bookstore training group's blog.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima


Image of the Day: Butcher's Crowd

Last Tuesday at the Unity Temple, Kansas City, Mo., Rainy Day Books hosted an event for Jim Butcher and his new Dresden Files book, Ghost Story (Roc)--one of the 300 events that Rainy Day puts on every year. Butcher, who lives in neighboring Independence, is "a rock star among bestselling authors," Rainy Day chief operations officer Roger Doeren said. "He gave our audience an amazing, entertaining and memorable experience." Butcher personalized attendees' books as well as signed special orders and remaining stock. Here he appears with Doeren (l.) and Rainy Day founder and president Vivien Jennings.


Notes: BAM Nabs Another Borders Site

On August 18, Books-A-Million plans to open in yet another former Borders site, in Erie, Pa., in the Millcreek Mall, mall owner Cafaro Company said. The store will be BAM's sixth in Pennsylvania. 


Under the Volcano Books, named in honor of the classic novel by Malcolm Lowry, will open in Mexico City October 15, according to Karen the Small Press Librarian's blog.

The founder of the English-language store is Grant Cogswell, an American with bookstore experience who moved to Mexico's capital in 2009 and "saw there wasn't really anything for readers of English," as he put it. The store will be in the Roma Norte area, a home to many ex-pats and artists.

Under the Volcano Books will carry "used contemporary and classic fiction and poetry, translations from the Spanish, politics, history, philosophy, urban planning and architecture, lit crit, interesting nonfiction, art books, punk culture, comics, travel books, language aids, 'expat lit.' "

There will be no wi-fi because "there's a kind of psychic silence that to me is very much associated with reading," Cogswell said. "I'd like it to be a place that a large assemblage of travellers and residents and even people in the English-speaking world who'll never go to Mexico recognize as an outpost of, I don't know, the examined life?"


The Wall Street Journal surveyed's war against sales tax collection and included details about the lengths the company has gone to try to keep a sales tax advantage over bricks-and-mortar stores. (The paper noted, "Amazon said it follows a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Legal experts say the retailer's approach is aggressive but within the law.")

One illustration is a color-coded map of the states that indicates what Amazon employees are allowed and not allowed to do in that state. At least in the past, Amazonians have been told they need approval to visit "bad" states and cannot do anything there that can be construed as selling or promoting products. In California, some employees were required to use special business cards saying they were from Amazon Digital Services rather than


Amazon's third distribution center in Tennessee will be an existing warehouse rather than a newly constructed one. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Amazon has signed a short-term--two to three years--lease for an approximately 500,000-square-foot warehouse outside Nashville, "unlike in Southeast Tennessee where it's building two million-square-foot facilities."

"We'll work to expand their timeline," said G.C. Hixson, head of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board in Wilson County.

Dave Clark, Amazon's v-p of North American operations, said the company anticipates opening all three facilities by the fall.

But Republican State Senator Randy McNally observed that "one of the problems he has with the Amazon deals is that the public still doesn't know what type of financial arrangement the company has with the state" regarding sales taxes, the Times Free Press noted. "I assume they have a revenue letter or revenue variance from the previous commissioner of revenue," said McNally. "No one knows exactly what it is....  I'm hopeful Governor Haslam is negotiating with them, and it could be they end up negotiating a limited exemption from collecting the sales tax."


The Winchester Book Gallery, Winchester, Va., "has a new look and new owners," the Northern Virginia Daily reported. Last weekend, Brian and Christine Patrick took over the store from Andy and Jen Gyurisin, who had owned and operated it for the past five of its 25 years.

"One of the reasons why the bookstore has survived as long and longer than your big box stuff is because we've always had sort of a constant flow of fresh and new ideas coming in," Andy said, adding: "We have loved everything from the customers to the types of books being released to the community involvement. One of the goals that we had for this bookstore was to transform it into a strong community center--the arts, the music, the video, the literature--all them being blended together. I feel like we've successfully done that, and we're excited to know and to see what Christine will bring to that table."

Christine plans some changes, including an upgrade of the shop's technology, but said, "For a while, I'll run it just as it is. I just want to grow the bookstore as a bookstore. I'm excited about that."


This month's Booksellers Rock! profile from Algonquin Books focuses on Diesel Bookstore's John Peck. Our favorite part:

Strangest question a customer has ever asked:

"What is that word hidden behind the moon?" (On the cover of Go the F**k to Sleep.)

To which we can only respond, WTF?


Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., is partnering with Books for Asia, part of the Asia Foundation, for an online children's book drive that will benefit students in developing Asian countries. The new initiative, called Choose Books, Change Lives, allows donors to purchase "book baskets" from Green Apple's online store. For more information, visit


Girl without another Dragon Tattoo.

Stieg Larsson's longtime partner, Eva Gabrielsson, now describes a possible fourth Millennium novel as something that "probably doesn't hang together." On BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, she added that the late author had probably written "about 200 pages," but he was "a spontaneous writer. He could write scenes and not knit them together until later on. He just liked the scene. You can't call it a novel."

In bitter negotiations with Larsson's estranged father and brother, Gabrielsson had hinted that there was a fourth novel in the laptop owned by Larsson that she possessed.


Legends honored.

In the Barnes & Noble Review, Philip Turner of Philip Turner Book Productions--and a former bookseller--honors "the generosity and moral passion" of the late William Styron and Robert Loomis, who recently retired from Random House after 55 years there. When Turner was an editor at Times Books, Loomis put Turner in touch with Styron, who made an extraordinary effort in support of Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America. Published in 1999, the book included an introduction from Styron.


Book trailer of the day: Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father's Search for the Wild by Tom Montgomery Fate (Beacon Press).


"Yuppie Lit: Books About the Filthy Rich" were recommended by Flavorwire, which offered "an alternate list for those Hamptons residents and fair-weather visitors who are sick and tired of their bookstores being invaded by scowling tight-jeaned youths and adults wearing plaid shirts. We came up with a list of novels with acceptable characters for the lily-white denizens of the land where people use 'summer' as a verb and argue about ancestors who were on the Mayflower or about who is from 'new' money."


From beach reads to back-to-school reads... for adults. recommended "10 books you really should have read in high school."

"I think that there are characters that it would be a shame not to meet like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird or Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye," said Misha Stone of the Seattle Public Library. "I borrow from what world-renowned librarian Nancy Pearl says, and I will paraphrase here--everyone has a different definition of what would be considered a classic, but there are also books that it would be a shame to go through life not reading. There are books that speak to the human condition and the world we live (and lived) in in astonishing, thought-provoking, and life-changing ways."


What do writers eat? In a New York Times Sketchbook feature, Wendy MacNaughton pictured the "Snacks of the Great Scribblers," including Walt Whitman's oysters and meat, Vendela Vida's pistachios and Lord Byron's vinegar, which he sipped "to keep his weight down."


Potted Potter is a two-man show condensing the seven Harry Potter books into a 70-minute performance that "is as funny and inventive as you could wish for. Adults might take their children out of grim duty, but by the time they leave the theatre they're likely to be as captivated by Clarkson and Turner (Dan and Jeff to their increasingly adoring public) as their young charges," the Guardian reported.


Floating bed with bookcase. HomeTone featured Lago's AIR Bed, which derives its name "from the fact that it has four slabs of transparent crystal, giving it the impression of floating in the middle of the air. The bed apparently gives the user a feel of all those fairy tales where the magician used to have a flying carpet."

In addition to the bookcase at the foot of the bed, Lago's bookish mischievousness also includes "20 figures from Kama Sutra--all stenciled into the platform of the bed, underneath the mattresses."


Even if you're headed headed to Scotland later rather than sooner (the Edinburgh Fringe festival begins this Friday), the Guardian's guide to the "10 of the best literary haunts in Edinburgh" could help you locate "some of the literary hot spots that have inspired writers such as Ian Rankin and J.K. Rowling."


Jackie Harvey has joined Lerner Publishing Group as national educational sales director.  She formerly was a product and marketing manager in the K-12 school division of Pearson. Earlier she worked at Harcourt School Publishers and ETA/Cuisenaire and taught for 12 years.


Bookseller to Booksellers: Another Borders Eulogy

Wendy Welch, co-owner of Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books, Big Stone Gap, Va., wrote:

My husband and I visited a Borders store at a particularly poignant time. The Borders near our small town closed two years ago, but we spotted one while on holiday in Chicago. Ironically, we had rewarded ourselves with a week in Chicago to celebrate five years of successfully running a used bookstore in a small town in the Appalachian Coalfields.

When we started Tales of the Lonesome Pine Used Books, Crafts and Cafe, people told us it wouldn't work: e-books were taking over, box stores were the future, Appalachia's economy was dead. All that feel-good stuff. So we figured five years in Big Stone Gap, Va., as the little bookstore that could should be celebrated in style. Our last day in Chicago, we saw the newspaper article that Borders' final 399 stores were closing. We'd visited several lovely used bookshops in Chicago, but went straight to Borders--where employees were already dismantling the computer system. The woman who rang up my two books said their last day of operation would be September. I started, in typical small town fashion, to tell her we ran a bookstore too, I felt bad for her, hoped things would improve. She looked at me with the tired eyes of one who's lost something irreplaceable, yet who has to listen politely to stupid strangers offering platitudes. I shut up.

Bookstores are such lovely places, where people breathe easier, talk slower, think faster. They're art museums for the mind's eye; you just pop in to kill 15 minutes, whether you want to take anything home or not. Sure, Borders was a box store, but it was a box store full of books and people who loved them. Goodbye, Borders staff, and thanks for everything you gave us. A lot of us are rooting for you; good luck.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sapphire Shines on Bookworm

Tonight on Nightline: Jeffrey Long and Paul Perry, authors of Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences (HarperOne, $14.99, 9780061452574).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: part two of a two-part interview with Sapphire, author of The Kid (Penguin, $25.95, 9781594203046). As the show put it: "The author of Push (on which the film Precious was based), has a new novel, The Kid, told from the point of view of Precious' son, Abdul. Precious has died of AIDS, and her son, aged nine, tells us what his life is about to become. While Sapphire is often known as a taboo breaker and a provocateur, we want to consider her as an artist--not only an African American groundbreaking original, but also a major contributor to the future of the American novel."


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Sandra Beasley, author of Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown, $23, 9780307588111).


Tomorrow on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Denise Richards, author of The Real Girl Next Door (Gallery, $26, 9781451633214).

TV Casting: Game of Thrones, Season 2

Gemma Whelan (Gulliver's Travels, The Wolfman) has been added to the cast of Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on George R.R. Martin's novels. She will play "Theon Greyjoy's bold sister Asha (except we're not going to call her that)," Entertainment Weekly reported, noting that the producers "changed the character's name from Asha to Yara presumably because the former sounds too much like another character in the show, Osha."


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 9:

House of Holes: A Book of Raunch by Nicholson Baker (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439189511) is surreal humor about an erotic resort that defies logic and the laws of physics.

Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit--Making the Most of All of Your Life by Jane Fonda (Random House, $27, 9781400066971) gives advice for middle and old age living.

Acceptable Loss by Anne Perry (Ballantine, $26, 9780345510600) is the latest Victorian-era London murder mystery with policeman William Monk.

Bad Intentions by Karin Fossum, translated by Charlotte Barslund (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780547483344) is the seventh Scandinavian crime novel featuring Inspector Konrad Sejer.

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans (Mercury Ink, $17.99, 9781451656503) follows a group of high school students with strange electrical powers.

Thirteen Million Dollar Pop by David Levien (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385532532) finds private investigator Frank Behr working as an executive bodyguard during an assassination attempt.

The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439155172) explores the 1970s oil crisis and its lasting geopolitical consequences.

Now in paperback"

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, $18, 9781439170915).

Book Brahmin: Wayne Koestenbaum

Cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum is the author of Humiliation (Picador, August 2, 2011) and 12 other books of poetry, fiction and criticism.

On your nightstand now:

Lewis Hyde's The Gift; Dodie Bellamy's The Buddhist; Adrienne Rich's Tonight No Poetry Will Serve; Alan Gilbert's Late in the Antenna Fields; Hervé Guibert's Mon valet et moi; Bruce Boone's My Walk with Bob.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

Your top five authors:

Frank O'Hara, Marcel Proust, Roland Barthes, Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein.

Writers who are your role models (or your "ego ideals"):

Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Bowles, Jean Rhys, Susan Sontag, John Ashbery, Thomas Bernhard.

Book you've faked reading:

The King James Bible.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet. Writers and artists who live under the threatening sway of perfectionism need to pay attention to Pessoa's message: failure, too, has its own music.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Amanda Filipacchi's Nude Men. On its cover: a photo of green jello in a glass goblet.

Book that changed your life:

Sigmund Freud and Joseph Breuer, Studies on Hysteria. I felt galvanized by the case history of Anna O., the charismatic and aphasic hysteric who invented the "talking cure."

Favorite line from a book:

From Elizabeth Bishop's "The Bight" in her Complete Poems: "All the untidy activity continues,/ awful but cheerful." Never have the ordinary words "awful" and "cheerful" received finer treatment. 

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Francis Ponge's Soap. This fragrant (and fragmented) prose poem is a foaming, crazy dossier of attempts to put soap's bubbly properties into words. When I first read it, I badly needed to hear its message: "these compositions in the fugue form which you readily admit in music, which you admit and enjoy--why should they, in literature, be forbidden?" Permit your wildest impulses. Never censor.


Book Review

Children's Review: Hound Dog True

Hound Dog True by Linda Urban (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $15.99 hardcover, 176p., ages 9-12, 9780547558691, September 19, 2011)

As with her first novel, A Crooked Kind of Perfect, Linda Urban again creates a snapshot of a young person's life that drills deeply into her emotional evolution. Mattie Breen is about to start fifth grade. This will be her fourth school. Each year, her teacher writes Mattie's name on a blackboard (or, once, a whiteboard) "like she was a lesson." Mattie is over the moon about her latest move, however, because she and her mother are back in her mother's childhood home, and Uncle Potluck is there. Uncle Potluck will be at her new school, too. He is the "director of custodial arts" at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary. Mattie follows him around, meticulously taking notes in her notebook, which she calls "Custodial Wisdom." Her dream is to be Mattie Breen, "Custodial Apprentice," and to come to his office for recess and lunchtime.

The entire book takes place in the week before school begins. Urban possesses a gift for the telling detail. Mattie's notes range from practical pointers, such as, "When going to investigate a leak, bring a bucket," to advice that may also apply to larger situations: "Fix things before they get too big for fixing." When Mattie and her uncle arrive at the cafeteria, and Uncle Potluck tells her about the lunch menu, Mattie focuses on its 450 seats: "Seems like that would be enough so everybody has a place, but Mattie knows different. Knows there can be a thousand seats and still you might not find the place you belong."

Uncle Potluck tells stories. He says that when he talks to the moon, the moon talks back. "Hound dog true," he explains. He can predict a person's future from their ear of corn, and he tells a sad but (hound dog) true tale of how a dog named Stella led to what he calls his "traitorous knee." Mattie used to tell stories, until last year, when a girl named Star read a story in her notebook and bullied her ever after. Now Quincy Sweet, a neighbor's niece who loves to draw as much as Mattie loved to write, seems to be making overtures of friendship. But Mattie doesn't know if she dares open up again. Uncle Potluck, being a storyteller himself, recognizes Mattie's gifts. He helps some things along behind the scenes--like pointing out a few important details about Mattie to her mother. But Mattie also learns to help herself. The girl who starts out wondering what she could say that could possibly interest the moon discovers she may have something important to say after all. This brief novel will inspire children who've been hiding their light under a bushel, and may well prompt their classmates to be a bit more sensitive to that mousy girl or boy in the corner with pen or paintbrush constantly in hand. A masterpiece of understatement.--Jennifer M. Brown



Powered by: Xtenit