Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 26, 2011

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith

Quotation of the Day

Instant Gratification

"Starting in November, when you come to Harvard Book Store and the guy in front of you buys the last copy of Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father off the shelf, you need not despair! We can print a fresh copy in mere minutes. Now Harvard Book Store will never be out of stock on so many amazing titles: The Golden Notebook, The Alchemist, Medium Raw, Mystic River... the list goes on and on."

--The Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., e-newsletter explaining HarperCollins's new program of making trade paperbacks available through the Espresso Book Machine.

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar


Bookstore Openings and Closings: Joseph-Beth's New Site

Joseph-Beth Booksellers is opening a 20,000-sq.-ft. store in a former Borders location in the Crestview Hills Town Center in Crestview Hills, Ky., which is near Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The store is under renovation until mid-November and will feature "the distinctive Joseph-Beth signature brand" and have a café.

According to, some of the 30-member staff in the new store are former Borders employees. The store will stock about 60,000 titles, which would represent two-thirds of sales. Other products include "200 gift items, ranging from Vera Bradley handbags to Thymes scented candles."

Joseph-Beth CEO Mark Wilson commented: "Northern Kentucky is a natural fit for us. We're looking forward to bringing Joseph-Beth's unique blend of books, gifts, toys, games and author events to the Crestview Hills Town Center."

Joseph-Beth emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year with three stores--the flagship in Lexington, Ky., the Cincinnati, Ohio, store and the health and wellness branch in the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. It had closed five stores; its former Davis-Kidd store in Memphis, Tenn., is run separately as Booksellers at Laurelwood.

The new store has some roundabout, unusual connections: former Joseph-Beth co-owner Mary Beth Van Uum is a sister of Tom and Louis Borders, former owners of the former Borders bookstores.


All on the Same Page Bookstore is opening this coming Saturday, October 1, in Creve Coeur, Mo., in suburban St. Louis, about a mile from a former Borders, and will sell new and used books as well as book and writing accessories. Guests for the opening include Tom Mee, Jr., former baseball player and author of Cutting the Game: Inside Television Baseball from the Director's Chair, as well as former St. Louis Cardinal, now broadcaster Al Hrabosky.

Robin Tidwell. who owns the store with her husband, Dennis, told the Riverfront Times, "Borders was too big. They had too much of everything. I was waiting for them to start stocking toothpaste. I'd go in there and think, 'Good Lord, are you a bookstore or a Wal-Mart?' I think people are ready to go back to basics and start buying local." That buy-local desire and a back-to-basics trend will help the store compete with Amazon, she added.

All on the Same Page Bookstore is located at 11052 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, Mo. 63141; 314-567-4144.


Earth Song Books & Gifts, Del Mar, Calif., is closing in November, the Del Mar Times reported. Owner Annette Palmer cited the Kindle and the poor economy, saying, "The numbers just don't add up."

With the help of her family, Palmer bought the store in 2007 at age 24. "I was just out of college and owned a bookstore by the beach," she said. "It was my dream." She added that she is writing a book about her experiences.


The Reading Tree, Plainfield Township, Mich., is closing in October. The children's bookstore was founded in 2001 by Janet Weston, a former librarian, who told the Grand Rapids Press that a "perfect storm" of the bad economy and the popularity of online retailers, big box stores, e-books and bargain hunting online resulted in the decision to close.

Weston said her greatest satisfaction as a bookseller came when she found a reluctant reader the right book and the child returned for another. "Though my story may have been cut short, I still just want people to read," she told the paper. "I'm going to spend the rest my life encouraging people to read."

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

California Sales Tax Compromise Becomes Law

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law the compromise bill that delays for a year collecting sales tax on sales in the state. In return, Amazon has dropped its $5-million campaign for a state referendum seeking to overturn the law passed this summer that required Amazon and similar online retailers to collect sales tax immediately. The law could be superseded by a national law on online sales tax collection, but that seems unlikely given the political battles in Washington.

According to the AP, Amazon's v-p of global public policy Paul Misener said at the signing ceremony in Gap offices in San Francisco that Amazon will "bring $500 million in investment to California over the next several years, mainly in the form of massive distribution centers." (Presumably they will have air conditioning.) Amazon is also re-establishing links with affiliates in the state and says it will create at least 10,000 jobs and hire 25,000 seasonal employees in California by the end of 2015.

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

Sales Tax Fairness: Michigan Bill Unveiled

Michigan lawmakers have entered the online sales tax fray with the Michigan Main Street Fairness Act, which was unveiled this week by state representatives Eileen Kowall (R.-White Lake Township) and Jim Ananich (D.-Flint), who are co-sponsoring the bill.

At a press event in Lansing last Tuesday, they were joined by bricks-and-mortar retailers, including Matt Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, to discuss the legislation, which "would require remote retailers with nexus in the state via online affiliates that act as sales agents to collect and remit sales tax to the state," Bookselling This Week reported.

"Closing this loophole will eliminate the competitive disadvantage that is holding back local businesses," said Kowall. "Every business in Michigan should have the same opportunity to grow and create jobs."

"Michigan has the best workers and businesses in the world, but they won't be able to succeed unless they can compete on a level playing field," Ananich noted. "Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree that closing this loophole will protect Michigan jobs and help get people back to work."

Norcross called the bill's introduction "a good first step."

Amazon Tablet Unveiling this Week?

Will we get a glimpse the new and highly anticipated Amazon tablet Wednesday? A cryptic invitation--"Please join us for an Amazon press conference"--was sent to the media Friday.

"At the very least, it will be about a Kindle," Nick Bilton suggested in the New York Times. "First, Amazon press conferences in recent years have been the venue to announce a new Kindle. In addition, Amazon sent its press release to several gadget bloggers, including Engadget and Boy Genius Report. I have to figure they are not corralling the troops to announce a new online store for air conditioners."


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: To Morrows!


Earlier this month, three generations of booksellers toasted friends and patrons during the 35th-anniversary celebration party at the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt. Pictured from l. to r.: Chris Morrow, general manager; his daughters Eva and Hilary; and the bookshop's founders, Ed and Barbara.



Locked and Loaded for Book Launch

At BookExpo America, Chicago Review Press promoted John Austin's Mini-Weapons of Mass Destruction 2: Build A Secret Agent Arsenal by demonstrating some of its do-it-yourself weapons, like the double-barreled rubberband gun shown on the cover, made from pencils, clothespins, binder clips and a tape dispenser. As the book's October 1 publication date approaches, the press has prepared 75 "Secret Agent Kits"  for sales reps and selected accounts with already assembled versions of the rubberband shooter and instructions for building your own.

The rubberband guns took between eight and 12 hours for the Chicago Review Press to assemble, said marketing manager Mary Kravenas, who also revealed the existence of a handful of "souped-up kits" with additional weapons made by Austin himself. (The kit shown includes darts made from pushpins and sticky notes, and a catapult built out of a mint tin and a plastic spoon.) Kravenas compared the money spent on the office supplies needed to make all those guns to the cost of a small online ad, "which would definitely be seen by a larger audience," she admitted. Still, she believes the handmade weapons will impress those who receive them. "There is something to be said for having something that you can hold in your hands and fire at a target or at a friend and display in your store or at your desk. It's much more of a conversation piece." --Ron Hogan


Cool Idea of the Day: The Night Circus Keepsakes

Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., hosted a reading last week by Erin Morgenstern, bestselling author of The Night Circus. To celebrate the event, members of the bookstore's first editions club were presented with a pair of keepsakes--each a signed and numbered limited edition--featuring text and artwork by the author, drawn from a Tarot deck she created. An unnumbered edition of the keepsake was also distributed to those in attendance who purchased a copy of the author's book.

During the q&a session following her reading, Morgenstern said she hopes to publish the deck eventually. The keepsakes were the idea of Book Passage staffer Thomas Gladysz. His wife, former bookseller Christy Pascoe, designed them.  

Wilder Moves Downtown to the Strand

Next Monday, October 3, Alexandra Wilder joins the Strand Book Store in New York City as events director. She has been managing director of the 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center and has worked for six years on literary events and the writing program there.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bob Edwards and His Voice in the Box

This morning on the Today Show: Molly Shannon, author of Tilly the Trickster (Abrams, $16.95, 9781419700309).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Mitch Daniels, author of Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans (Sentinel, $26.95, 9781595230805).

Also on Diane Rehm: Bob Edwards, author of A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio (University Press of Kentucky, $21.95, 9780813134505).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Peter Van Buren, author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (Metropolitan Books, $25, 9780805094367).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Brooke Hauser, author of The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens (Free Press, $26, 9781439163283).


Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Florence Henderson, author of Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond (Center Street, $25.99, 9781599953885).


Tonight on CNN's Piers Morgan: Joel Osteen, author of Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week (FaithWords, $24.99, 9780892969913).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy (Pocket, $9.99, 9781439184219).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Nicolle Wallace, author of It's Classified (Atria, $25, 9781451610963). She will also appear tomorrow on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show.

Also on the Today Show: Rocco DiSpirito, author of Now Eat This!: 100 Quick Calorie Cuts at Home On-the-Go (Grand Central, $12.99, 9780446584524).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jeremy Rifkin, author of The The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9780230115217).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Mark Bowden, author of Worm: The First Digital World War (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25, 9780802119834).

Movie: What's Your Number?

What's Your Number?, based on Karyn Bosnak's novel 20 Times a Lady, opens this Friday, September 30. Anna Faris stars as a dissatisfied woman who revisits her last 20 partners to see if she missed a chance for true love. A movie tie-in edition is available from Harper ($14.99, 9780062062628).


Book Review

Review: The Forgotten Waltz

Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton, $25.95 hardcover, 9780393072556, October 3, 2011)

Readers who fell in love with Anne Enright's 2007 Man Booker Prize-winner The Gathering might need a little pre-gaming to appreciate the protagonist and subject matter of The Forgotten Waltz. On the surface--and this is a novel that examines surfaces without pity--Gina Moynihan is a less "sympathetic" narrator than Veronica Hegarty. In The Gathering, Veronica's preoccupations are choral and familial--she mourns her damaged brother, rails against her parents for having more children than they could protect and questions her ability to mother her two daughters. In The Forgotten Waltz, Gina performs a more singular aria of adulterous desire, and in place of family complexity there is economic excitement: Gina's affair is set on the cusp of the collapse of the Irish real estate boom, in an illustration of how one cupidity can fuel another.

For all its hotel assignations, The Forgotten Waltz is not explicit--perhaps for the sake of romance, Enright instead deploys swoony tableaux and suggestive sensory detail. Gina recounts her besottedness in swirly retrospect, from within a 2009 snowstorm that brings Dublin to a halt. Lest things get too sentimental, chapters are adorned with ironic love song titles and illicit caresses are reckoned against property values. As Gina progresses through her tale of grand amour, she gradually notices the innocent and injured parties, including an afflicted child, and she suffers a sudden loss. At the end Gina receives a comeuppance of sorts, but unlike those given her female predecessors in literary adultery, Gina's comeuppance expands her experience of life rather than extinguishes it.

For readers who can countenance unapologetic female infidelity (at least in fiction), The Forgotten Waltz is a must-read--it delivers Enright's incantatory and highly mineralized prose, her virtuoso capturing of mood and confirms her ability to create nuanced characters of all ages and backgrounds. This mature novel practically flaunts a wry, take-no-prisoners narrator who can make you laugh and wince, though readers new to Enright should perhaps start with her deeper family work--The Gathering--before indulging in this boom-time dalliance. --Holloway McCandless

Shelf Talker: A swirling reappraisal of adulterous love set against the decline of Ireland's property boom.


Deeper Understanding

SIBA: One Wedding, No Funerals, Lots of Books

Our intrepid correspondent Frazer Dobson, a sales rep and co-owner of Park Road Books, Charlotte, N.C., reported from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show a week ago:

SIBA is a rite of fall as important as cooler weather and college football. What's not to like? Free books! Favorite authors! The African-American cowboy! (He's always there, and it's hard to imagine a SIBA without him.) Drinking with other booksellers in the hotel bar! Both as a bookseller and a rep, I have always preferred the intimacy of the SIBA show to the impersonal sprawl that is BEA. For one thing, nearly all of the booths feature actual books, and the publisher reps and authors are much more accessible. It's always a fun weekend, and the 2011 show was no exception.

This year Our Bookselling Heroes gathered in lovely Charleston, S.C., where the food scene is exquisite, and the ambience is oddly comforting despite Charleston's reputation for snootiness. It should be a great book town, but Charleston has very few bookstores, although the Heirloom Book Company (specializing in cookbooks) opened this year, and there are several excellent used and antiquarian shops.

Now that I'm a rep, I help set up the Workman booth, a job I am uniquely unqualified to do--I have the feng shui skills of a dung beetle. Fortunately, Katie Ford and Kelly Bowen from Algonquin and my wife, Sally Brewster, made the booth look like a winner while I grunted with the effort of assembling a fixture for Como Sales' newest addition to the lineup, Sprout Greetings, which sells adorable Sandra Boynton greeting cards.  "Hippo Birdie Two Ewe," anyone? Aside from the delightful Sprout cards, Workman featured a full slate of heavy hitters: a new revised and updated edition of the bestselling 1000 Places to See Before You Die, Black Dog and Leventhal's formidable The Louvre: All the Paintings and Hillary Jordan's (Mudbound) powerful new novel for Algonquin, When She Woke, among many others. We had great neighbors too; the booth was backed up to the Perseus/PGW booth (where rep and true gentleman Jon Mayes made Sally's weekend with a copy of a new Jane Whitefield novel from Thomas Perry) and next door to McClung and Associates, which had a stellar collection of small press books and great retro games from Perisphere and Trylon.

The SIBA schedule changed this year--the show floor was open Sunday and Monday rather than Saturday and Sunday. After booth setup, and a lovely small gathering of reps on Saturday evening, plus a SIBA supper that featured such luminaries as Sandra Brown, Karen White, Ted Dekker and Thomas Mullen, the floor opened first thing Sunday to a flood of booksellers. Sally said her favorite part of the show was, simply, "The books." I agree. After a long spring and summer of seeing the books only in publisher catalogues, we were chomping at the bit to see the finished products, and they did not disappoint. Sally also loved the "South Carolina: The Palmetto State" panel she sat in on that featured S.C. historian Walter Edgar and artists Mary Whyte (whose amazingly detailed watercolors have been favorites in our store and many others for years) and Jonathan Green. "They were great ambassadors for South Carolina," Sally said. And she especially appreciated the New York publishers who sent people from the office down to Charleston; Workman COO Walter Weintz was in our booth, and Penguin Putnam also sent down many people from New York, with whom we had a fantastic dinner at the legendary McCrady's on Sunday night. We always enjoy the opportunity to show our Yankee friends a little Southern hospitality.

At lunchtime on Sunday, my booth mates and I headed off for the Southern Life Lunch, which featured Hillary Jordan, Stuart Dill, Michael Lee West and one of our favorite authors, novelist and poet Ron Rash. Ron read two exquisite poems along with a brief bit of his new novel, The Cove, which will be landing next spring. Hillary Jordan meanwhile gave the event a stellar finish; her new novel When She Woke does not shy away from controversy, and she brought down the house by musing that she should send autographed copies to Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann.  

The annual Writer's Block Auction featured the wedding of my friend and SIBA staffer Sara Malcolm and her beau, Brandon Perry. Wanda Jewell, SIBA's indefatigable executive director, had asked Sally and me to stand on stage during the wedding (we met at SEBA, as it used to be called, in 2002), and so after a couple of glasses of champagne, we found ourselves part of the wedding procession. The women wore corsages, the men plastic fedoras. Making for an impressive sight, if I do say so myself, we wound our way through the convention center to the stage. Sara was luminous in her dress, and Brandon wore, as has been reported, a blazer covered with the book jackets from the authors who were being auctioned off. This impressive garment was not very flexible, so we had to help Brandon into it. (I felt like a squire helping his knight prepare for a joust.) Wanda, an ordained Universal Life Church minister, performed the ceremony with a hilarious Power Point slideshow, somehow managing to work the titles of all the authors' books into her blessing. Afterward, as Sally and I poured champagne for the bride and groom and assembled authors (and we went through a lot of bubbly that day, my friends), the authors all gave toasts to the new couple.  

By Monday morning, we were all tired but happy. I collected a stack of Workman orders, and Sally placed a stack for our store. It's a truly great thing to spend a weekend in the company of so many wonderful like-minded people. I'm already looking forward to 2012 in Naples, Fla.

photo by Pat Malcolm

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, September 18:


1. The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris
2. Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton
3. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
4. Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
5. Fatal Fixer Upper by Jennie Bentley
6. Shards by Ismet Prcic
7. The Adjustment by Scott Phillips
8. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
9. Live Wire by Harlan Coben
10. Face Time by Hank Philippi Ryan


1. Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham
2. Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
3. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
4. Artemis Fowl #1 by Eoin Colfer
5. Shelter by Harlan Coben
6. You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
7. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
8. The Wizard of Oz Scanimation by Rufus Butler Seder
9. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
10. Who's There on Halloween by Pamela Conn Beall

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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