Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 24, 2011

Workman Publishing: Linked: Conquer Linkedin. Land Your Dream Job. Own Your Future. by Omar Garriott and Jeremy Schifeling

Berkley Books: Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Henry Holt & Company: Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Harper: Aurora by David Koepp

Gibbs Smith: Life Is Golden: What I've Learned from the World's Most Adventurous Dogs by Andrew Muse

Quotation of the Day

Music to Our Ears: Conductor & Family 'Love Books'

"In the afternoon we try to take a walk. Last week we went to a very good book shop, on the East Side, a very beautiful book shop. We love books. We buy too many books because we don't have a place anymore in the apartment. Moving from Europe we had to make a selection, which was very maddening. I hate to make a separation from my books. Our son, Aldo, he is 13 years old; he likes books, too. He has also suggestions for us, books that we can buy because they are beautiful, the paper, the pictures, the subject but also how the book is made."

--Fabio Luisi, the Italian conductor who has been "pinch-hitting on a semi-permanent basis' for James Levine, the Metropolitan Opera's music director, in a New York Times "Sunday Routine" profile.  

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers: Mouse Seasons by Leo Lionni


Lombardi Quits as Barnes & Noble CFO

Barnes & Noble chief financial officer Joseph Lombardi resigned on Friday but is staying on to assist in the transition as the company seeks a new CFO. Allen Lindstrom, v-p, corporate controller, has been named interim CFO.

The Wall Street Journal said Lombardi had signed a three-year contract in March 2010 and was "a key contact point for the company with Wall Street. David Strasser, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, said Barnes & Noble may now look to the West Coast for a new chief financial officer, one who has a strong digital background. 'The story here is that Barnes & Noble is undergoing a real digital transformation, and I think they'll look for a new CFO who can tell that story.' "

Lombardi has been CFO since 2003. Before joining B&N in 2002 as v-p and controller, he had been CFO at the Museum Company, v-p and controller at Toys 'R' Us and partner at Ernst & Young.

Lindstrom, who is also principal accounting officer, joined B&N in 2007. He was formerly CFO at Liberty Travel.

Ingram Booklove: An Exclusive Rewards Program for Indie Booksellers

Retailers Increase Amazon Tax Pressure in Indiana

Retailers doing business in Indiana amped up the pressure on legislators last week "to require Amazon to start remitting sales tax on items sold to Indiana customers as a way to level the competitive playing field," the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported, noting that representatives of Best Buy, hhgregg and other companies discussed their competitive disadvantage because Amazon does not charge the state's 7% percent sales tax.

"We have a 2% profit margin, but are at a 7% disadvantage,” said Dennis May, president and CEO of hhgregg. "The consumer that shops asks for the same price as the online retailer. In the consumer's mind there is no tax for online transactions."

Amazon has four warehouses in Indiana, but is protected by a prior deal negotiated with Governor Mitch Daniels's administration under which the state would not seek the sales taxes in exchange for the online retailer building there.  

The Journal Gazette noted that legislators "now are considering changing it back since the online giant has recently agreed to start paying sales taxes in California and Tennessee in the coming years." Earlier this month, Senator Luke Kenley (R.-Noblesville) observed that the state was feeling neglected in the wake of tax deals with those other states where fulfillment centers are located (Shelf Awareness, October 11, 2011).

Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council, said, "We do support a federal solution. At the same time our members believe there is something Indiana can do now to address at least part of this problem when it comes to Amazon. Does it solve the broader issue for all online retailers? No, but it's a start."

Photo: Lebanon, Ind., Reporter

GLOW: Grand Central Publishing: With Prejudice by Robin Peguero

'Safer to Work at Amazon Than in a Department Store'

Using OSHA's "recordable incidence rate," which represents the number of recordable injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees per year, a standard for measuring safety in the workplace, argues that its warehouses "had an annual average recordable incidence rate ranging from 2.5 to 4.2," lower than for auto manufacturing, the warehousing industry, and even for department stores. "In other words," Amazon wrote, "it's safer to work in the Amazon fulfillment network than in a department store."

Roundly criticized for safety issues at its Breinigsville, Pa., warehouse last summer, where many workers suffered from heat exhaustion, Amazon acknowledged "multiple events related to temperature--both high and low. To handle the high temperature events, we installed industrial air-conditioning units. To handle the low temperature events, we developed a new set of procedures for re-entering the building more quickly following fire alarms. Even with these events, our recordable incidence rate in Breinigsville continues to be low."

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia

Obituary: John M. Blum

John M. Blum, longtime Yale professor and author or editor of 18 books, died a week ago today. He was 90.

As the New York Times wrote, most of Blum's books "explored in some way the personalities and circumstances that drove political leaders to become agents of progressive social change, even when... they were heirs to wealth rooted in the American status quo."

Among his subjects were Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. He was credited with reversing the early generally negative opinion of Theodore Roosevelt's presidency. Blum's students included former President George W. Bush, Senator John Kerry and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Another former student, historian David Greenberg, noted on Slate that in one seminar, Blum required students to write a paper without using adjectives, adverbs or the verb "to be."

That's very difficult.

ECW Press: Play It Right: The Remarkable Story of a Gambler Who Beat the Odds on Wall Street by Kamal Gupta

John Green Reveals Cover

Nerdfighter and YA novelist John Green has unveiled the cover for his The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, $17.99), which goes on sale on January 10. Rodrigo Corral designed the jacket.

When Green first announced the title for The Fault in Our Stars on June 29, it shot to #1 on Amazon and We believe the Nerdfighters may have something to do with that. We cite as evidence the fact that, in true Nerdfighter fashion, people began creating their own covers for the unfinished book and posting them online.

This inspired Penguin Young Readers Group to launch the "An Abundance of Covers" contest to create a new cover for the paperback edition of the Printz Honor book An Abundance of Katherines. Entrants may submit their design to by November 21. The winner will be selected in January. John Green created a vlog to share the news.

Green is now in the process of signing the entire 150,000-copy first printing of The Fault in Our Stars. Our question is (and we ask it on behalf of the Nerdfighters, too), if the book is embargoed until January 10, why did Jodi Picoult get to read it already? --Jennifer M. Brown



Image of the Day: Papa's Son Helps Launch Letters

Last Wednesday, the Explorers Club in New York City was the appropriate clean, well-lighted place for the launch of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, Volume 1, 1907-1922 (Cambridge University Press), the first of a projected 13 volumes. At the gathering were many Papa notables, including Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son (above); Sean Hemingway, Ernest's grandson and Greek and Roman curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Charles Scribner, III, whose father was Ernest's publisher in the U.S.


Steampunk Bookstore in Profitable Niche

Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Café, Farmington, Mich., can thank "zombies, vampires, steampunkers and the former customers of the defunct Borders store in Farmington Hills" for helping the niche indie "project a profit of $60,000 for this year," the Detroit News reported.

"We're one of the only steampunk stores in the country," said owner Salathiel Palland, who offers new and used fantasy, science fiction, mystery and horror books" in a 2,400-square-foot store she calls "the airship."

The shop is planning a ghoulish celebration for its first anniversary celebration October 30 that "will include people in zombie costumes walking from her store to Riley Park in downtown Farmington and people in angel costumes walking from the historic Governor Warner mansion on Grand River. At least 60 people have pledged on in-store signup sheets and Facebook to converge on the park for a flash mob choreographed to Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance,' " the Free Press wrote.

"We're out to create a community space where people come and talk with others about genres that interest them," said Palland.

Aaron's Books Moving to Main Street

In January, Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa., is moving literally to Main Street. The store wrote: "After our Kid-Lit Festival in November, we'll begin our moving sale and a call out to volunteers to help us box, unbox, and reshelve books. (Don't worry ... we'll hire a moving company to do the heavy lifting.) Our last day at the Broad Street location will be December 24, and we'll re-open on Main Street in early January. Our official Grand Re-Opening Celebration will be Friday, January 13 (a LUCKY day for us!)."

Aaron's Books was founded in 2005 as a used bookstore and now sells new and used titles. Its new address will be 35 East Main St., Lititz, Pa. 17543.


Variations on 'Reading with Kids'

This weekend's editions of the Guardian and Observer in the U.K. included a special, two-part "Reading with Kids" supplement, which featured age-appropriate book recommendations as well as a number of other articles, including "Why a picture book is worth a thousand words," "Don't fear the Reader: how technology can benefit children's books," "Reading with kids? How hard can it be?" and "What makes a classic?"


Do You Know Whether You Own a Kindle?

A sharp-eyed reader of the Puget Sound Business Journal found the results of a local readers' poll a bit puzzling. The question was: "Do you own an Amazon Kindle?" While 41% said yes and 57% no, 2% did not know whether they had the e-reader in their possession.

The Village Voice tried to help the mystified 2% clarify their situation with some additional questions, including:

When you drop what you are reading, you:

a) Pick it up
b) Ask somebody to pick it up for you
c) Scream, "I broke my Kindle!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Walter Isaacson Blitz

Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781451648539), appears today on Good Morning America, ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline. Tomorrow he will be on NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Charlie Rose and the Daily Show.


This morning on the Early Show: Neville Isdell, co-author of Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO's Life Story of Building the World's Most Popular Brand (St. Martin, $25.99, 9780312617950).


This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Jill Abramson, author of The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout (Times, $22, 9780805093421). She is also on Tavis Smiley today.


This morning on Good Morning America: Stephanie Madoff Mack, author of The End of Normal (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399158162). She will also appear today on the View.

Also on GMA: Joseph Galliano, author of Dear Me: A Letter to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self (Atria, $20, 9781451649642).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Steve Stoute, author of The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy (Gotham, $26, 9781592404810).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Harriet Washington, author of Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself--And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385528924).


Today on Charlie Rose: John Grisham, author of The Litigators (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385535137). Tomorrow morning he is on MSNBC's Morning Joe.


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, authors of Van Gogh: The Life (Random House, $40, 9780375507489).


Today on Access Hollywood Live: Kevin Sorbo, author of True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal--and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life (Da Capo, $26, 9780306820366). He will also appear today on the Talk.


Tonight NBC's Nightly News has a segment on Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women's Health Collective (Touchstone, $26, 9781439190661).


Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Paula Deen, author of Paula Deen's Southern Cooking Bible: The New Classic Guide to Delicious Dishes with More Than 300 Recipes (Simon & Schuster, $29.99, 9781416564072). Tomorrow she is also on Extra! and the Talk.


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (Random House, $27, 9781400064168).


Tomorrow on the Today Show: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Confessions of a Guidette (Gallery, $25, 9781451657111). She will also appear tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Patrick Buchanan, author of Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9780312579975).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Ariel Dorfman, author of Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile (Houghton Mifflin, $27, 9780547549460).

Television: A Fan's Notes

Producer Gary Pearl is working on a TV series based on Frederick Exley Jr.'s 1968 novel A Fan's Notes. reported it "took Pearl several years to track down and secure the rights to the book, and he spent time trying to make it into a feature film before deciding that a series adaptation would work better, something to which Exley's twin sister, Francis Brown, agreed. (A Fan's Notes was previously made into a feature in 1972 with Jerry Orbach playing Exley.)"

"It's a brilliantly written parable, a diary for our time about self-destruction in pursuit of personal celebrity and ultimate fame, the kind that lasts beyond one's lifetime," said Pearl, who will produce with Jeffrey Shane and David Burton Morris.

Movie Photos: First Peek at The Lorax

Entertainment Weekly showcased a few stills from The Lorax, the animated version of the Dr. Seuss classic that will answer at least one question: "For 40 years, fans of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax have wondered about The Once-ler. Exactly who--or what--is attached to those spindly green arms, seen in the 1971 storybook heedlessly chopping down the lush, candy-colored truffula forest? Until now, only the grouchy Lorax (who confronts him declaring, 'I speak for the trees!') could know for sure.... Dr. Seuss fans, prepare to lay your eyes on The Once-ler." The Lorax will be released next March.

Books & Authors

Book Trailer of the Day: The Last Testament

"It Getteth Better," an animated video starring God, including Adam and Steve tending the Garden of Eden and a disco-dancing Noah on the Ark--all for The Last Testament: A Memoir by God, co-written by David Javerbaum (Simon & Schuster), which descends from on high on November 1. For us, both authors are gods: Javerbaum is former head writer and executive producer of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.


Book Review

Review: Lucky Break

Lucky Break by Esther Freud (Bloomsbury, $16 trade paperback, 9781608196906, October 25, 2011)

Esther Freud (Hideous Kinky) has an arts and sciences pedigree: she is the daughter of Lucian Freud and great-granddaughter of Sigmund. In this novel, she draws on her early experience of studying to be an actress.

It is the first day at Drama Arts, and the first-year class is filled with trepidation, hope, misgivings and holy zeal for the acting profession. The teacher, Patrick Bowery, tells the students, "We want to do everything we can here to rid you of the desire to perform. We want you to learn to BE. To exist in your own world on the stage." Those words resonate with each of the class members during their time at Drama Arts and for the next 14 years covered by the book.

Nell, a doughy girl who believes she is best suited to be cast as a maid, is the most likable and normal and, as it turns out, she has real talent, even though she is asked to leave after the second year. Charlie is the most beautiful girl, tall, glamorous, "with toffee-coloured skin and peroxide hair cropped short against her head." She fights a constant battle to keep that skin perfect--so much so that she exaggerates the slightest blemish, rendering her unwilling to leave the house.

Dan is ambition personified. He falls for Jemma on the first day; she is asked to leave, but they stay connected, eventually marry and have four kids--about three more than Dan ever wanted. His goal is to play Hamlet, and, at book's end, it looks like it just might happen.

Each of the actors suffers the agony of the failed audition, waiting for the agent to call, not getting a gig, living from hand to mouth, working pizza jobs, temping--anything to allow them to keep chasing the golden chimera of success in the theater or on film.

Nell wonders if there is any such thing as the "lucky break," and then, finally, she gets one. At the benefit opening for her film, she is in a receiving line awaiting Prince Charles and Camilla, having been told how to act and how to speak to them. Esther Freud knows all about this business; her writing is filled with insight, humor and an insider's view. On the night of the opening, Nell's producers present her with a "luxuriantly thick, white towelling dressing gown every hotel begs you not to steal." Nell reflects: "How odd, she thought, when I could finally afford to buy it, and she started to see how much easier it was to stay rich once you'd begun." --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Drama Arts, a London acting school, is the setting for the beginning of the stories of a cohort of actors.


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