Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 8, 2011

Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Becoming Baba Yaga: Trickster, Feminist, and Witch of the Woods by Kris Spisak, Foreword by Gennarose Nethercott

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Chronicle Books: Taste in Music: Eating on Tour with Indie Musicians by Luke Pyenson and Alex Beeker

Quotation of the Day

Putting Food & Books on the Table

"I was once having dinner with an international group, and an American was complaining about the price of books in France. 'Yes,' said a Frenchman. 'We have this silly theory in France that our authors should be able to eat.' We don't know what the future of publishing is, but we know that the future for every writer requires food. And we know that one way to help writers eat is to encourage people to buy good books."

--Tom Lutz, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books, in his essay "Future Tense."

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Image of the Day: Winning for Dummies

Last week, a group of volunteers, the Dummies Man and Dewey the Dinosaur, the mascot of the Gwinnett County Public Library in Georgia, unloaded one copy of every Dummies book in print--more than 1,800 titles--at the library's headquarters. The library won a contest, part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the Dummies series, that challenged libraries to create a Dummies fan page on Facebook and garner the most "likes" by May 1. Gwinnett County Public Library's page was liked by 5,002 people. Runners-up were the Salem-South Lyon District Library in South Lyon, Mich., and the Bloomfield Public Library in Bloomfield, N.J.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

Notes: Amazon's $3M Calif. Tax Plan; Pottermore Scammers

Amazon has contributed $3 million to the More Jobs Not Taxes Committee, according to a filing Friday with California's Secretary of State. The San Francisco Bay Citizen reported that the committee, which was established less than a month after a state law taxing online purchases took effect, bills itself as a "growing coalition of taxpayer groups, consumers, small businesses, and online companies." Thus far, however, its funding has come from Amazon.

Committee spokesman Ned Wigglesworth said Amazon's contribution "will go toward gathering signatures to put an initiative repealing the tax on the June 2012 ballot." At least 504,760 valid signatures must be submitted to the Secretary of State by September 27.

The Los Angeles Times reported that petition workers "are swarming popular commercial hubs including Larchmont Village in Los Angeles, Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena and the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego as well as Ralphs, Trader Joe's, Target and other major retailers--many of which have lost sales to Amazon."

Amazon hired California political campaign consultant Goddard Claussen West, "which brought on National Petition Management, a signature-harvesting firm. Its signature gatherers are independent contractors who typically earn $1 to $2 per name, though some are getting as much as $3, according to Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Association," the Los Angeles Times wrote.


Harry Potter & the Deathly Scammers. ZDNet reported that fans looking for a shortcut to J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website "are being exploited by scammers selling fake accounts for early access." Scammers ask for "personal details to register additional accounts, while some fake accounts are being sold on eBay for £60 ($100)."

Early access to the site, which officially opens in October, was awarded to a limited number of fans who completed a search for "the Magical Quill" (Shelf Awareness, August 1, 2011). The site has issued warnings about the online cons: "Access to Pottermore is, and always will be, completely free so please don't be tempted by people selling Pottermore accounts online."

Other reports indicate that scammers are manipulating search engines to lure fans to sites with "malware and malicious content," and people have been "duped into filling in surveys which result in, not only no goods being offered at the end, but are also a waste of time," ZDNet wrote.


Congratulations to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, whose retrospective of work by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen drew huge crowds--nearly 600,000 people saw the show since it opened May 4--as well as all kinds of attention for the exhibition catalogue. The museum sold more than 100,000 copies of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton with contributions from Susannah Frankel and Tim Blanks at the show alone. (Distributed by Yale University Press, the $45 tome has more than 150,000 copies in print.) Elsewhere, the book has shown similar sales swagger: it has spent many weeks in the top 100 at Amazon and has been #1 in the online retailer's Arts and Photography category for much of the time since pub date. The book even warranted a mention in yesterday's New York Times Book Review's Inside the List column, a rare achievement for a museum exhibition catalogue.

After being extended by a week and after galleries remained open until midnight this past weekend--an unprecedented if fashionably late gesture--the exhibition closed yesterday. Still, for those still wanting to view McQueen's fashion creations, the book shines on.


Cool idea of the day: in honor of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, Avon Books is teaming up with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to help teach women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and spread the "K.I.S.S. and Teal" message ("know the important signs and symptoms"). Avon has made a $25,000 donation to and will donate 25 cents from the sale of every Avon book and e-book with the "K.I.S.S. and Teal" logo sold between August 30 and next February 28, up to another $25,000. The money will go to programs that support ovarian cancer patients and their families.

The books included in the donation program are the following September titles: Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens, The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell, The Deed by Lynsay Sands, A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare, In the Arms of a Marquess by Katharine Ashe, One Night in London by Caroline Linden and Star Crossed Seduction by Jenny Brown.

Some Avon authors will also be available to talk about ovarian cancer awareness and the K.I.S.S. and Teal campaign.


Radio station WLBY in Ann Arbor, Mich., interviewed Nicola Rooney, owner of Nicola's Books, about the demise of Borders, a "townie" with "roots firmly planted in the town where it was conceived by two brothers in 1971."

Among other things, Rooney talked about why she would not be interested in opening another branch downtown: "I wouldn't want to do it myself. I would be quite happy to talk to somebody and give advice to somebody else who was thinking about doing it. I would have thought that a bookstore in the downtown area, if properly managed, ought to be viable at a 5,000- to 8,000-square-foot size. I would have thought that there was enough foot traffic downtown that a bookstore could survive, but I don't think that I would want to do it. One of the things I learned when I had both book stores was the reason why my store has been able to survive is that people do know me and my staff and so there are certain customers that when they come in, they want to talk to Bill [Cusumano]. There are certain customers that when they come in they want to talk to Jessie (Martin.) There are certain customers that want to talk to me and if I'm not there enough, then they feel kind of short changed. If I were to open another store, it wouldn't really be a Nicola's. It might be run and owned and managed by me, but there would have to be somebody else who was the key figure who had the personality of that particular store."


In a post headlined "The State of the Bookstore," Tom Holbrook of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., shared a recent e-mail exchange he had with a customer who expressed concern about the diminished number of new books on display.

Holbrook noted that he thought the exchange "encapsulates pretty well many of the frustrations plaguing the bookselling world right now, and the pain and turmoil that comes from an entire industry being turned upside down. Add to that a recession that won't seem to end and things might seem bleak. My customers aren't happy, the publishers aren't happy, and neither am I. But I do believe that things are getting better. RiverRun is slowly getting over this perfect storm of bad economy, bad weather, bad management, and changing industry. It's your support that keeps us going, and each day the store is recovering a little more thanks to you. Please keep coming back, we really appreciate your loyalty."

This month Melville House is introducing its HybridBook program, which offers ancillary digital materials to purchasers of print editions through a QR code printed inside each book. Called Melville House Illuminations, these additions include essays, maps, illustrations and other primary source material.

"We've been telling the prognosticators of doom and gloom that print and digital are going to co-exist," said publisher Dennis Johnson, "and with the HybridBook program we've put our money where our mouth is."

The HybridBook program launches August 16 with the release of five novellas, each titled The Duel, by five different writers—Anton Chekhov, Joseph Conrad, Giacomo Casanova, Heinrich von Kleist and Alexander Kuprin. The publisher has also received its first entry in the Ultimate Duel Book Trailer Contest. Since the trailer was made by The Glossary, a professional company, Melville House has amended its contest rules and will award two prizes, one for amateur and one for professional submissions.


"I never saw any of them again--except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them." Everybody loves a great opening line, but Stylist drew attention to the "best 100 closing lines from books."


Was Albert Camus killed by the KGB? An Italian newspaper alleges the car crash that took Camus's life in 1960 may not have been an accident, but an act of murder because of the Nobel laureate's anti-Soviet stance, the Guardian reported.


Book trailer of the day: One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost (Avon), which appears at the end of the month.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jane Fonda on Nightline

Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Ellen Feldman, author of Next to Love (Spiegel & Grau, $25, 9780812992717).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525952244).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594202957).


Tonight on ABC's Nightline: Jane Fonda, author of Prime Time: Love, Health, Sex, Fitness, Friendship, Spirit--Making the Most of All of Your Life (Random House, $27, 9781400066971). Fonda is also on Live with Regis and Kelly tomorrow morning.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Kate White, author of The Sixes (Harper, $24.99, 9780061576621).


Tomorrow on Glenn Beck: Richard Paul Evans, author of Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Mercury Ink, $17.99, 9781451656503).


Tomorrow on Fox & Friends: Ron Clark, author of The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers (Touchstone, $23, 9781451639728).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Jay Bahadur, author of The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World (Pantheon, $26.95, 9780307379061).


Tomorrow night on Lopez Tonight: Roseanne Barr, author of Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm (Gallery, $26, 9781439154823).

Movies: The Help; Seven Days in Utopia

The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett, opens this coming Wednesday, August 10. Emma Stone stars as a college graduate and aspiring writer who returns to her 1960s Mississippi hometown to record the experiences of black maids working for white families. The movie tie-in edition is from Berkley ($16, 9780425245132).

Seven Days in Utopia, based on the book by David L. Cook, also opens this Friday. A rancher (Robert Duvall) mentors an aspiring professional golfer (Lucas Black). Directed by Matt Russell. The movie tie-in is from Zondervan ($14.99, 9780310335498).

Movie Casting: Parker

Nick Nolte, Patti LuPone and Emma Booth have been added to the cast of Parker, adapted from Donald Westlake's novels "about a thief who, though at times is forced to be a killer, still lives by a code of honor that includes never stealing money from people who need it," Variety reported. The project, which began filming last week in New Orleans with Hackford directing, also stars Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce and Clinton Collins, Jr.

Books & Authors

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:


Graveminder by Melissa Marr (Morrow, $22.99, 9780061826870). "Rebekka is no stranger to funerals and the dead. After all, her grandmother went to every funeral in her hometown, stood at every grave, and told the dead to stay where she put them. Rebekka has spent much of her life running--from commitment, from her hometown, from the memories of her sister's suicide, and especially from her attraction to the Undertaker, Byron. But when she returns to bury her grandmother she finds out more about the town's secrets than she ever wanted to know. Filled with ancient contracts, the walking dead, and fated love, this eerie tale draws you in and leaves you yearning for more." --Angela Mann, Kepler's Books & Magazine, Menlo Park, Calif.

The Map of Time: A Novel by Felix J. Palma (Atria, $26, 9781439167397). "When H.G. Wells releases his new novel, The Time Machine, he has no idea about the series of events he will set in motion. Join Wells on this romp through time as he tries to set Victorian London, literature, and his life back in order. Characters and events both real and imagined weave together in the three story lines that form this engaging and creative tale with all the twists, turns, and paradoxes that every good time travel book should have. Light the oil lamp, find a comfy chair, and enjoy!" --Shawn Bridges, Literary Lion, Stephenville, Tex.


Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America by Eric Jay Dolin (Norton, $18.95, 9780393340020). "Dolin guides readers through over 200 years of man's quest for incredibly valuable animal pelts. Much of the tale is surprisingly nautical, as Old World powers vie for control of the abundant resources of the New World. Dolin's book seamlessly connects the economic, cultural, and geographical threads of the fur trade. His overview of this key era is beautifully written. Shipboard scoundrels, mountain men, Indian captives, ruthless capitalists, even victims of grizzly bears--this superb history has it all!"--Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12

Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor (Putnam, $16.99, 9780399254581). "Twelve-year-old Raine's mom takes a summer job as cook at a small artist's colony, and they leave the safety and security of Grandpa's loving home. The first part of the book has an aura of foreboding as they try to settle in to this new and seemingly creepy place, but as they get to know the residents, that creepiness disappears. Raine begins to put hopes and dreams on paper, and learns that with art it's not just about being 'good.' As Diego tells her, 'Do not think about being good. Good will goof you up from the beginning. Art just has to be. Dream your dreams. Trust the words that come.' " --Sue Carita, the Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Guest Review: The End of Everything

End of Everything by Megan Abbott (Reagan Arthur, $23.99 hardcover, 9780316097796, July 2011)

By the time I was 13, I'd devoured every Nancy Drew mystery in the library and moved on to books from my mother's shelf. The darker and more sensual the better. Unhappy and anxious, yearning and confused, I read not just to escape, but to understand. At 13, you know a lot but haven't lived enough. You know that you're on the verge of something big, but you can't really comprehend what it is--just that it's shadowy, strange and titillating.

The magic of Megan Abbott's The End of Everything is how perfectly the author has captured a 13-year-old girl old on the threshold of... just about everything. Abbott has striking control of mood, of tone, of language, of nuance. But even more than all these things, it's the characters she's created that turn this book into such a genre-bending page-turner.

It's the mid 1980s, the summer before high school, Middle America suburbia. Abbott lets us hear the music on the radio, peer over the neighbor's fence, feel the sun and see the shadows. It's wide open and hidden at the same time. Lizzie Hood--whose parents' divorce has left her family broken--has always envied her best friend Evie's picture-perfect family. She thinks of Evie's beautiful older sister, Dusty, as a princess. She's enamored of Evie's charismatic father, Mr. Verver, and the way he idolizes his daughters. Evie and Lizzie. Lizzie and Evie. They share everything. Best friends without any secrets. Or so Lizzie believes until the awful day when Evie disappears.

In the midst of the ensuing nightmare and shocking discoveries, Lizzie becomes a girl detective--a more experienced, darker, true-to-life Nancy Drew who takes on the burden of finding her best friend and, in the process, has to examine very complex questions about them both.

Adolescent desires are both marvelous and frightening and Abbott examines them all with a deft hand and compassionate heart. She explores emerging girl-sexuality, girls who have a sense of what it means to be woman but who really are still very much girl. Was Evie a willing victim? Did she want the attention of an older man? Was she competing with her sister for her father's affections? Where do Lizzie's own fantasies fit into this?

The End of Everything is both a powerful family drama and a gut-wrenching psychological thriller examining complex human relationships. It's a fevered, haunting and even wonderful mediation on friendship, on the loss of innocence, on fathers and daughters, on discovering your sexuality and your own power and your powerlessness. --M.J. Rose

Shelf Talker: A genre-bending page-turner that is a powerful family drama and a psychological thriller, about a 13-year-old girl on the threshold of life.

Guest reviewer M.J. Rose is the author of The Hypnotist, and the founder of


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, July 31:


1. Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
2. Cloris: My Autobiography by Cloris Leachman
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
4. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
5. Tinkers by Paul Harding
6. Serial by John Lutz
7. Amazing Journey by Felicia Graber
8. The Inverted Forest by Jon Dalton
9. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
10. Room by Emma Donoghue


1. The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
2. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
4. Mockingjay by Susanne Collins
5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
7. St. Louis Cardinal's ABC by Brad M. Epstein
8. Remarkable Animals: 1000 Amazing Amalgamations by Tony Meeuwissen
9. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
10. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

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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