Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne

Quotation of the Day

Sendak: 'I Managed to Scare Parents'

"You mustn't scare parents. And I think with my books, I managed to scare parents. Randolph Caldecott was a sneaky guy. Because under the guise of stories about little animals, he had the same passion for childhood. If you just look at the surface of them, they look like nice English books for kiddies. But his books are troubling if you spend time with them. He inspired me. I adored Caldecott. Probably his idea, or my interpretation of him, was that children's books should be fair to children. Not to soften or to weaken.

"Before that, the attitude towards children was: Keep them calm, keep them happy, keep them snug and safe. It's not a putdown of those earlier books. But basically, they went by the rules that children should be safe and that we adults should be their guardians. I got out of that, and I was considered outlandish. So be it."

--Maurice Sendak in an interview with the New York Times ArtsBeat blog. Bumble-Ardy, the first book he has written and illustrated in three decades, will be released today.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


B&N Acquiring Bulk of Intellectual Assets from Borders

Barnes and Noble was the dominant bidder at the Borders intellectual property assets auction last week (Shelf Awareness, September 16, 2011). The Detroit News reported that of the $15.8 million total raised, B&N spent $13.9 million for "most of the trademarks, websites and other intellectual property," including Internet addresses and customer lists.

At a hearing today, bankruptcy judge Martin Glenn will decide whether to approve the sales.

"The name could be extremely valuable," said lawyer Paul Magy. "Once you control the name, you can do whatever you want with it." He also noted that the list of Borders Rewards customers "could be a new customer base for another bookseller--as it turns out, Barnes & Noble," the News wrote.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

SIBA Wedding Bells

Getting hitched was the theme of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's trade show over the weekend in Charleston, S.C.--and SIBA wasn't just whistling Dixie. A highlight of the Writers Block Auction was the wedding of Sara Malcolm and Brandon Perry. (Malcolm has worked at SIBA registration for years.)

SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell officiated at the ceremony, weaving in the names of many titles into her remarks, and authors on hand offered toasts. Karen Zacharias said, "May God grant you a double heapin' of grace and laughter, and may you always have enough strength to keep your Doublewide rocking." Ronald Rash offered a couplet that works best with a Southern drawl: "May this union be happy, with never much sorrow/ but if that's not the case, I know a good lawyer."

The bride was given away by co-workers Elton Porter and Matt Bibb. Special guests included Sally Brewster and Frazer Dobson of Park Road Books, Charlotte, N.C., who met at a SIBA show. (He's also a rep with Como Sales.) Among the wonderful touches: the groom wore a jacket made up of book jackets, making it perhaps the world's first book jacket jacket. Jewell called the wedding "awesome." And the event made $1,000.

Although there will also be an official wedding for Malcolm and Perry in October, all readers know which ceremony counts most!

photo by Pat Malcolm




GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Rocking the Brooklyn Book Fair

The folks at WORD in Brooklyn shared their Brooklyn Book Fair experience with us.

"This past weekend WORD rocked the Brooklyn Book Festival hard. Our weekend opened with an exclusive, 50-tickets-only event for Craig Thompson (Blankets) on Saturday, September 17. He presented his new graphic novel Habibi, was in conversation with fellow cartoonist Sarah Glidden, and took questions from the audience. Each and every attendee got a few moments with Craig, as well as a hand-drawn image and signature in their book (r.).

"At the festival proper on Sunday, September 18, we focused on 20-some of our favorite recommendations, and invited four of the festival authors (Peter Brown, Haley Tanner Simon VanBooy and Emma Straub, pictured below, recommending Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier to a festival-goer) to pick a book and join us for an hour each. The weather was perfect, the foot traffic was steady, and we were thrilled to meet and talk to so many book-lovers."

Photos: Vincent Onorati

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Quincy Books: New Indie in Illinois

Quincy Books, Quincy, Ill., will open in a former Waldenbooks site at east end of Quincy Mall, the Herald-Whig reported. Chastity Myers, who worked at the Waldenbooks store for 14 years, will manage the new bookstore.

Jerry Cowley of Cowley Distributing has bought three former Borders properties. "We own six other bookstores in mid-size markets in Central Missouri," he said, adding: "Four or five years ago, I had been up in the Hannibal and Quincy area, looking at places. When Borders liquidated, that gave us an opportunity. I got a hold of the company in charge of disposing of fixtures and inventory and got the things that were already in the store. Then is was just a matter of sealing the deal and finding out if the mall was interested in keeping the bookstore."

Quincy Mall manager Dave Boster said, "We just really wanted to maintain a bookstore for the mall and the community. We were very pleased to have this store open, and we're glad to see Chas back managing this one."

Kindle Million Club: George R.R. Martin's Groucho Moment

George R.R. Martin is the latest author to sell more than one million e-books in Amazon's Kindle Store, joining an ever-lengthening list of Kindle Million Club members that now includes Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins, Michael Connelly, John Locke, Janet Evanovich and Kathryn Stockett.

"Groucho Marx once said, 'I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,' but even Groucho might have made an exception for the Kindle Million Club," said Martin. "It's a real thrill to be inducted into this one. There are no dues, no meetings, and I'll be in some wonderful and exclusive company. But really, all the credit here goes to the people who made it possible--to Amazon, my publishers, my editors, and most of all, my readers. I owe this to everyone who ever read one of my books and recommended it to a friend. Thanks... and keep reading. The best is yet to come."

Sourcebooks: New Education Division

Sourcebooks has created an education division that will focus on managing the company's college-bound publishing program, a Naked Roommate first year experience program and, an online SAT/ACT test prep solution. The division will also serve as a platform to launch several initiatives that have been in development. Joining the new Sourcebooks education division team are:

Deb Kimminau, technical architect, responsible for leading the development and implementation of new digital initiatives, which includes MyMaxScore.
Phil Hartman, education sales manager.
Kavita Khanna, programmer analyst, responsible for updating and implementing new technical requirements for the MyMaxScore adaptive learning software.


Lucy the Wonder-Pup's Booker Prediction

Could Lucy the Wonder-Pup be as accurate about book prizes as Germany's Paul the Octopus was for World Cup matches?

That's what the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., is predicting. The store held a "competition" that was documented in a video directed by marketing assistant Alex W. Meriwether and starring Lucy, owned by head buyer Megan Sullivan.

Lucy's Booker bet is The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt.


Found: Unpublished Novel by James M. Cain

The Cocktail Waitress, James M. Cain's final and previously unpublished novel, will be released by Hard Case Crime in the fall of 2012. Charles Ardai, Hard Case's founder and editor, spent more than nine years tracking down the original manuscript and acquiring publishing rights. He had initially learned of the book’s existence from author Max Allan Collins.

"Together with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain is universally considered one of the three greatest writers of noir crime fiction who ever lived," said Ardai, "and for fans of the genre, The Cocktail Waitress is the Holy Grail. It’s like finding a lost manuscript by Hemingway or a lost score by Gershwin--that’s how big a deal this is."  

In The Cocktail Waitress, a beautiful young widow whose husband died under suspicious circumstances takes a job as a waitress in a cocktail lounge, where she meets two new men: a handsome young schemer she falls in love with and a wealthy older man she marries.

For Sale: Salinger's Note, Rowling's Boots

WWHD (What Would Holden Do)? A snippy note J.D. Salinger left for his maid is currently offered for sale on eBay with an asking price of $50,000. Dated March 12, 1989, the note reads: "Dear Mary--Please make sure all the errands are done before you go on vacation, as I do not want to be bothered with insignificant things. Thank you. J.D. Salinger."


If domestic housekeeping notes by literary legends aren't your thing, how about a pair of boots that J.K. Rowling wore while writing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Book Bench reported that Blue Earth Benefit Auctions is putting the footwear up for online bidding. The boots "were given to a fifth-grade class at Harrison Elementary School in Omaha in 1999. At that time, the class was conducting a project called 'Operation Shoe Tree,' in which celebrities or other people the pupils admired were asked to write about their lives from the perspective of their footwear."

Interior Design: Oxford University Meets Harry Potter

Traditionalists may be aghast, but Oxford University "has put its name to a range of sofas, dining tables and interior accessories to capitalize on its links with the Harry Potter films," the Telegraph reported, noting that the "400-year-old Bodleian Library gives its name to a £3,800 bookcase while John Radcliffe, physician to William III, is commemorated with a £1,700 red leather writing desk. A £2,650 refectory table in the range, called the Oxford Collection, is described as a 'Harry Potter-style dining table.' Many of the scenes set in the Great Hall of Hogwarts in the blockbuster wizarding franchise were filmed in Christ Church's dining hall."

Serge Gander, managing director of Halo Licensing, which bought the rights to manufacture the furniture, said, "It is inspired by 800 years of history and archives.... The bookcase was inspired by a doorway. The sofa was a reproduction of one I found in a senior common room. We have an amazing coffee table inspired by the ceilings of the colleges and a rug inspired by the floor of Christ Church. We want to introduce the brand as a home and lifestyle brand. The possibilities are endless."

But Peter Oppenheimer, an emeritus professor at Christ Church, was more than a little perturbed by the idea: "Words fail me. It is vulgar, inappropriate and unauthorized by the university at large. This does absolutely nothing for the university other than cheapen its image."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Caryl Phillips on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Mike Lupica, author of The Underdogs (Philomel, $17.99, 9780399250019).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Ron Suskind, author of Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President (Harper, $29.99, 9780061429255).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Dyan Cannon, author of Dear Cary: My Life with Cary Grant (It Books, $25.99, 9780061961403).


Tomorrow morning on Live with Regis and Kelly: Jane Lynch, author of Happy Accidents (Voice, $25.99, 9781401341763).


Tomorrow morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show: Randall Robinson, author of Makeda (Akashic Books, $15.95, 9781617750229).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Dave Ramsey, author of EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches (Howard, $26, 9781451617856). He will also appear on CNN's John King USA.


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Levi Johnston, author of Deer in the Headlights: My Life in Sarah Palin's Crosshairs (Touchstone, $25, 9781451651652).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Caryl Phillips, author of Color Me English: Thoughts About Migrations and Belonging Before and After 9/11 (New Press, $25.95, 9781595586506).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Thomas Friedman, co-author of That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28, 9780374288907).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Mitch Daniels, Indiana Governor and author of Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230805).


Tomorrow morning on the Colbert Report: Daniel Yergin, author of The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (Penguin Press, $37.95, 9781594202834).

Movies: Killer Elite and Moneyball

Killer Elite, based on The Feather Men by Ranulph Fiennes, opens this Friday, September 23. Robert De Niro, Jason Statham and Clive Owen star in this action-thriller about SAS agents hunting a trio of assassins. A movie tie-in edition is available from Ballantine ($7.99, 9780345528087).


Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis, also opens this Friday. Brad Pitt stars as general manager of the Oakland A's, who uses statistics to draft a winning team on a tight budget. Also stars Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The movie tie-in is available from Norton ($15.95, 9780393338393).

Books & Authors

Awards: MacArthur Fellows; Frank O'Connor; John Esten Cooke

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has named 22 new MacArthur Fellows, who will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years. Included among this year's "genius grant" winners are former U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan, "whose immediately distinctive and tightly woven verse is grounded in incisive explorations of seemingly familiar language, ideas, and experiences"; Peter Hessler, who "writes with a novelist's attention to detail and structures his stories around the compelling characters he encounters"; Jacob Soll, "a historian whose meticulously researched studies of early modern Europe are shedding new light on the origins of the modern state"; and A. E. Stallings, "a poet and translator mining the classical world and traditional poetic techniques to craft works that evoke startling insights about contemporary life."


Irish author Edna O'Brien won the €35,000 (US$48,282) Frank O'Connor prize for her short-story collection Saints and Sinners, the Guardian reported. O'Brien topped a shortlist that included Colm Tóibín, Yiyun Li, Alexander MacLeod, Suzanne Rivecca and Valerie Trueblood to win the prize, in what judging panel member Thomas McCarthy said was a "fraught" judging session: "The vote was split but everyone was happy with the decision. It seemed an apt choice."

McCarthy called O'Brien "the Solzhenitsyn of Irish life--the one who kept speaking when everyone else stopped talking about being an Irish woman. It was the magisterial honesty of her work that came across more than anything else--her ability to be both contemporary and, yes, to carry all of the wagons and trailers of Irish life over 50 years behind her."


Jessica James's Noble Cause won the $1,000 MOSB John Esten Cooke Award for Fiction, which honors writers who portray characters and events dealing with Southern history and the Civil War in a historically accurate fashion.

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:


Birds of Paradise: A Novel by Diana Abu-Jabar (Norton, $25.95, 9780393064612). "Avis Muir is an architect in the kitchen, who builds acclaimed pastries from flours and fondants and candied decorations. Her husband, Brian, is a lawyer for one of the most respected developers in Miami, who helps create a new international hub of wealth and opulence. So why have they had so much trouble constructing a nuclear family? Abu-Jabar's novel of family dysfunction, cultural adaptation, and human resilience in the face of tragedy ponders the joys and limitations of family, friendship, and career with powerful results." --Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

Spycatcher: A Novel by Matthew Dunn (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062037671). "At last! Here is an espionage thriller that is as suspenseful as Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, as cunning as le Carre's Little Drummer Girl, and as relevant as the front page of today's newspaper. Let's hope this is just the first of many more novels by this obviously multitalented former MI6 agent!" --Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.


I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales About Man's Best Friend from America's Favorite Humorists by Wade Rouse (NAL, $14, 9780451234582). "In this wonderful collection of short stories we celebrate life with our favorite shoe-eating, bed-stealing, impossible-to-train friends: dogs. Dog lovers who read this will find solace in knowing that there are others out there having experiences just like their own, both frustrating and funny. This is the perfect book to curl up with--that is if your dog hasn't already taken your spot in the bed!" -- Morgan Kiedrowski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis.

For Ages 9 to 12

Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (David Fickling Books, $16.99, 9780385752466). "Noah, age eight, runs away from a difficult reality at home to a fantasyland where trees scold him and animals talk. He finds a toyshop in which all the toys are made of wood, including row upon row of puppets. The old and engaging shop owner tells his own story, and through gentle, savvy, and wise dialogue leads Noah to return home. This allegory confronts the issues of fantasy and reality, immortality and mortality, and what it means to be human, all in a very fine read." --Joyce Miller, Baker Books, North Dartmouth, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Book Review: Lost Memory of Skin

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks (Ecco Press, $25.99 hardcover, 9780061857638, September 27, 2011)

In a morally intricate, labyrinthine plot, Russell Banks (Cloudsplitter; Continental Drift) has taken on an unpopular subject, pedophilia, and tried, not entirely successfully, to humanize it. The Kid is a registered sex offender, wearing an ankle tracer and living with other offenders beneath a causeway in southern Florida--one of the few places that is more than the legally mandated 2,500 feet from an area where children might gather. Theirs is the squalid existence of throwaways, filled with garbage and rats. When the police raid the location for political reasons, the Kid manages to escape.

The Kid is 22, an ignorant but not stupid loner, who got caught in a sting after showing up at the home of a girl who admitted online to being 14. He came bearing beer, condoms and pornographic DVDs. He didn't see her, let alone touch her, but was taken down in the front yard by police after a man who might be the girl's father confronted him. Earlier the Kid had been given a general discharge from the army for distributing porn to his fellow soldiers, which he had done in the hope of making a few friends. Good choices have been at a premium.

After the causeway raid, the Professor arrives; hugely fat, tall and imposing, he sees the Kid and the other inhabitants of the causeway as research subjects. A sociologist, he theorizes that organization and responsibility will change their lives, so helps them form committees to get tasks done, like tidying up and digging a latrine. It works for a while, until a hurricane blows through and wipes out their shelters and possessions. The Professor finds the Kid and takes him home, where he discovers that his wife and the children have left him.

He has interviewed the Kid about his life, a sad tale about a neglectful mother and absent father, and now he asks the Kid to interview him in turn for purposes of producing a DVD to give to his wife after his imminent death. There follows a story about the Professor's past, just bizarre enough to be true; as he says, "The world is full of people who aren't who or what they say they are." Another recurring theme is spoken by the Writer: "We just have to choose what to believe and act accordingly, Kid." These characters, plus an iguana, a decrepit dog and a wounded parrot, are all damaged goods.

There is nothing uplifting about this tale; indeed, it is an indictment of knee-jerk reactions to offenses that are vastly different and receive the same harsh punishment. Although it is slightly polemical and occasionally preachy, you will keep reading because Banks knows how to tell his story. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A young sex offender, the Kid, gets hooked up with the Professor, who is bent on rehabilitating homeless sex offenders.

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