Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 25, 2011


St. Martin's Press: A Hero Born (Legends of the Condor Heroes #1) by Jin Yong

Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders (Second Edition, Revised) by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, Dylan Thuras

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Snitchy Witch by Frank J. Sileo, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Sleeping Bear Press: Santa's Secret by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Deborah Melmon

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Harry Houdini (First Names) by Kjartan Poskitt, illustrated by Geraint Ford and Amelia Earhart (First Names) by Mike Smith, illustrated by Andrew Prentice

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

News

Midnight Party for Murakami

One of many stores that had a midnight release party for 1Q84, the new novel by Haruki Murakami (Knopf), Three Lives & Company in New York City closed the shop as usual last night at 8 p.m., then reopened at 10 p.m.

 

The party included Japanese beer and snacks and a raffle, conducted by Yuko Uchikawa (above), for the chance to buy signed copies of 1Q84.

By midnight, it was "a pretty full house in the little shop," said owner Toby Cox (right), who emerged from the basement with a stack of copies of the book to Janacek's Sinfonietta blasting through the store. Then booksellers Ryan Murphy and others distributed copies to customers (below) as Michinobu Yanagisawa, correspondent for the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan's major newspapers, who was reporting on the "phenomenon" of the evening, looked on.

Photos: Christopher L. Smith


 

 


Blue Rider Press:  One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America by Gene Weingarten


HarperCollins Buys Newmarket Press

Effective immediately, HarperCollins has bought most titles published by Newmarket Press. As part of the agreement, Newmarket Press founder, president and publisher Esther Margolis is joining HarperCollins's It Books imprint as an executive editor, where she will acquire entertainment books that will be published under the Newmarket Press imprint. HarperCollins called the move part of its "continuing expansion in the areas of pop-culture and entertainment publishing."

Margolis founded Newmarket Press in 1981 and has published more than 200 books in film, theater and performing arts, including many official movie tie-in books. The house has also published more than 100 titles in parenting, psychology, health, biography, history, business and fiction.

All non-film-and-entertainment-related Newmarket Press titles acquired by HarperCollins will be published as trade paperbacks under the William Morrow Trade Paperbacks imprint.

Before founding Newmarket Press, Margolis worked at Bantam Books, where she created the publisher's publicity operations and later became Bantams first division head for marketing, publicity and communications worldwide.

Staff at Newmarket Press are not moving to HarperCollins, although executive editor Keith Hollaman will work on a freelance basis during the coming months on current Newmarket Press projects. He may be reached at keithhollaman@gmail.com.

Publicity director Harry Burton may be reached at harry.burton@earthlink.net.


 Peachtree Publishing Company: Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today (Revised) by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinso


'Will Amazon Kill Off Publishers?': Discuss

The "Room for Debate" Op-Ed discussion forum in today's New York Times considers some increasingly volatile Amazon-as-publisher questions: "Will Amazon's plan shake up the book publishing industry as more writers have the option of a one-stop shop: agent, publisher and bookseller? Are publishers still needed?"

Weighing in on the issue are Dennis Johnson, publisher of Melville House and founder of the book blog, MobyLives.com; Michael Wolf, publisher of West Coast Crime Wave and v-p of research at GigaOM Pro; Thomas Glave, author of The Torturer's Wife (City Lights); and Laurel Saville, author of Unraveling Anne (upcoming from AmazonEncore).
 


imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


The Eyes of Texas Were on Books

Last weekend's Texas Book Festival in Austin drew about 35,000 book lovers, who attended numerous author events and panels during the two-day celebration of reading.

"Honestly, it's not as difficult to draw a crowd to an event with Paula Deen or Molly Shannon as the star," said festival literary director Clay Smith. "I measure success by seeing full panels by those lesser-known writers, and I think we had a good number of those this year."

A new festival feature, Saturday night's lit crawl in East Austin bars "featuring festival authors reading and signing books at nontraditional literary venues," was a notable success, the American-Statesman reported, adding that "the Scoot Inn boasted a huge crowd for an appearance by Chuck Palahniuk, and one commenter on Twitter said he thought 'every living person in Austin did the (nighttime Texas State) cemetery tour (with author Stephen Harrigan)--it was like being in a cattle stampede.' "

"We thought it was a cool idea," Smith said, "but we didn't expect that many people."
 


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


Indie Changes: St. Clair Book Nook Expands

The St. Clair Book Nook, St. Clair, Pa., is not only preparing to celebrate its first anniversary, but last week added a second location at the Hometown Farmers Market that will be open on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Republican Herald reported that the bookshop's owners "recently bought out I Said 'Read Me!,' 14 W. Broad St., Tamaqua. In doing so, they acquired that store's books and location in the main building at the market."

"We are very grateful to them for helping our store with their inventory and their store space at Hometown auction," said co-owner Jessica Dandridge. "That was our only competition, and we really are the only bookstore in Schuylkill County now."



Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


Is E-Reading Good for You?

"Ever wonder which method of reading is better for you--electronic screen or printed text?" asked Mashable in reporting on a recent study by Research Unit Media Convergence of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), in cooperation with MVB Marketing--und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, operator of the e-book platform Libreka!
 
The answer: "There are no disadvantages to reading from electronic reading devices compared with reading printed texts," according to the study, which asked participants to read a variety of texts on an Amazon Kindle 3, Apple iPad and in print. Reading behavior and brain activity were examined by an EEG machine and eye tracking tools.

"There is no (reading) culture clash--whether it is analog or digital, reading remains the most important cultural technology," said Professor Dr. Stephan Füssel, chair of the Gutenberg-Institute of Book Studies and spokesperson for the Media Convergence Research Unit at JGU.

Mashable noted that "even in today's digital age, most of the participants in the study stated that reading printed text is still more comfortable than reading from a screen."

The study also found that elderly people "read even faster using the iPad as it made reading easier than both the Kindle and traditional book," the Daily Mail reported.
 


World Book Night U.S. Selection Nearly Done

The selection process for the 25 books for the first World Book Night in the U.S., scheduled for April 23, is nearly done, according to executive director Carl Lennertz. A panel of booksellers and librarians is going through several rounds of voting, drawing from a list of hundreds of books culled from 10 years of Book Sense/Indie Next reading group picks, Barnes & Noble Discover picks, ALA Best Books picks, Pulitzer and National Book Award winners, ReadingGroupGuides.com's most requested guides, the Mystery Writers of America all-time top 100, the Goodreads top 100 adult and top 100 YA and Above the Treeline's paperback bestsellers.

"The selection committee is being careful not to create another 'best-books-of-all-time' list, but, instead, to choose books that they know readers will be passionate about personally sharing with others," Lennertz said, noting that "the amount of book data crunched for this selection process was significant--2,500 Excel lines in all--with thanks to five Denver Publishing Institute grads who did hours of online research."

The 25 selections will consist of a mix of adult fiction and nonfiction, and books for teens and young readers. On World Book Night, 50,000 book lovers will give out 20 copies of one of the 25 selections.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., the 25 World Book Night titles were announced, and members of the public can apply to be givers on April 23.

 


Notes

Image of the Day: Pumpkin Skillz

At a recent event at Redbury Books, Cable, Wis., David LaRochelle, whose new book is The Haunted Hamburger and Other Ghostly Stories (Dutton), carved an early Halloween pumpkin. (We fumble carvers wonder how he does it.)



More Microlibraries Hitting the Streets

The microlibrary trend continues. Joining "free-for-all libraries" in Germany and "little free libraries" in the American Midwest is the KIDS Corner Library project in Brooklyn, N.Y., which was created by artist Colin McMullan, founder of the Kindness and Imagination Development Society (KIDS).

Poets & Writers reported that the original KIDS Corner Library, "first installed in 2007 in downtown New Haven, Conn.... found a new home last April on the corner of Leonard and Withers streets in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. A message on its door reads, 'Welcome! This library is meant to encourage us all to publish and share information about local resources, issues, events, the many personal matters we care about deeply.' Potential patrons are encouraged to contact the two librarians, McMullan and Gabriela Alva, for a library card and the code to the door’s lock."

"One day I walked to the library and found a box full of donations, very carefully chosen," said Alva, who is working on a Tumblr blog featuring images of all the library's holdings. "It had books, photocopied articles, CDs, and an amazing horror book. The reaction has been great so far."
 
McMullan has other microlibraries in development, including partnerships "with volunteer librarians such as Christine Licata in Manhattan. Located outside Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center, Licata's East Harlem branch specializes in recipes and seeds. He also envisions building a microlibrary in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, in cooperation with the Center for Book Arts, where he is a resident artist. And he has plans for a branch located between Brooklyn's Prospect Heights and Crown Heights neighborhoods," P&W wrote.
 


Spike Jonze's Stop-Motion Bookstore Love Story

Mourir Auprès de Toi (To Die by Your Side) is a short film from Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are) and handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan, who creates "limited-edition, felt book-clutches based on the famous covers of literary classics."

Slate reported that Le-Tan, Jonze and French filmmaker Simon Cahn (who directed the short) "wrote a script that has shades of the Book of Jonah and the story of Orpheus and Eurydice." The film opens at night in Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris before launching its beautiful, literature-inspired adventure and love story.  


Japan's Drunken Bookseller’s Award

Two winners were named for the 11th annual Drunken Bookseller's Award, which is chosen by booksellers who work in the Chiba area of Japan. Jun Bungaku reported that the award is "a legitimate, alternative possibly slightly ironic rival to the populist Bookseller's Prize, one that seems to deliberately look for hidden gems in largely forgotten titles. The booksellers who volunteer to run the prize and select the winners apparently only have to work at a bookstore, love books and love drinking to be able to nominate and then vote for the eventual winner." This year's winners are by Watanabe Kyo (title translated as Our Treasure Island) and Aoyama Jun ("this title is particularly punny so let's call it An African Eel-venture, which is close enough in spirit").


Holiday Hum: One More Page

"The first thought for me is panic. But seriously, we're really looking forward to it. It will be our first holiday season here at the store," said Eileen McGervey, owner of One More Page Books in Arlington, Va.  

Since McGervey opened the store last January, business has been mostly brisk. "The summer was a little slow until the end of August, and then things really picked up," she said. Coverage of events in the local press and word of mouth has kept up a steady stream of new customers. "Every day we get at least one person who comes into the store and says, 'I didn't even know you were here.' "

Among the store current top titles are The Taker by One More Page regular Alma Katsu, whose launch party was held at the store, The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, Pirate King by Laurie R. King and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett "continues to fly off the shelf," said McGervey. Children's book bestsellers include Bumble-Ardy by Maurice Sendak and Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger.

Displays of featured discussion titles for the store's book clubs are a strong driver of sales. "It's surprising how many people see the book club displays and get the book, whether or not they come to the book club," McGervey said. "That tells me that we're picking good books to discuss. The added bonus is then we can talk with them about it next time they're in."

Beautifully packaged tomes by local authors, among them Bethanne Patrick (An Uncommon History of Common Courtesy: How Manners Shaped the World and An Uncommon History of Common Things) and Catherine Herbert Howell (Flora Mirabilis: How Plants Have Shaped World Knowledge, Health, Wealth, and Beauty), "are our 'go to' gift books throughout the year," McGervey said. "I expect they'll move quite well during the holidays."

Other titles McGervey and her employees are talking up to customers are Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot, Jussi Adler-Olsen's The Keeper of Lost Causes, What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes and Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President by Eli Saslow, who is appearing at the store. Said McGervey, "We are really fortunate to live in an area where folks support local business, love to read and love to talk books." --Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chuck Klosterman on MSNBC's Morning Joe

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Christina Tosi, author of Momofuku Milk Bar (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307720498).

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Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Chuck Klosterman, author of The Visible Man (Scribner, $25, 9781439184462).

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781451648539). He will also appear tomorrow on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight and MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: readers review Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

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Tomorrow on OWN's Rosie Show: Frank DeCaro, author of The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes by More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen (HCI, $19.95, 9780757315961).

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Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Anita Hill, author of Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807014370).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Lisa Randall, author of Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World (Ecco, $29.99, 9780061723728).


Television: Home Game; The Wizard of Lies in Madoff Project

ABC is "finalizing a deal" to buy a comedy based on Home Game: An Accidental Guide To Fatherhood by Michael Lewis, Deadline.com reported, adding that the project "hails from The Closer executive producers Greer Shephard & Michael Robin and writer Rob Sheridan."

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Author John Burnham Schwartz (Reservation Road, Northwest Corner) has been hired to write the script for HBO’s movie project about disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, starring Robert De Niro. Deadline.com reported that the cable network "started the process in May" when it optioned The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust by Diane Henriques, "and began negotiations with De Niro to play the lead. Now the high-profile project is moving to the next stage with ICM-repped Schwartz set to write a script based on Henriques' book and additional source material I heard HBO is in the process of acquiring."
 


Movie: Anonymous

Anonymous, based on Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James S. Shapiro (Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781416541639), opens this coming Friday, October 28. The film, directed by Roland Emmerich, explores the possibility that the Earl of Oxford (played by Rhys Ifans) was the real writer of Shakespeare's plays. Newmarket Press has the official companion book, Anonymous: William Shakespeare Revealed (trade paper, $22.95, 9781557049926; hardcover $32.95, 9781557049759).

 



Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover

The Forgotten Waltz: A Novel by Anne Enright (Norton, $25.95, 9780393072556). "Enright's new book is a beautifully written drama of passionate love and desire. In a suburb of Dublin, Gina Moynihan remembers first meeting the love of her life, a married man with a young daughter, and the ensuing story illustrates the complications of marriage, family, and friendships. The characters are richly described, and the story is both touching and real." --Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061997105). "Reader, beware! This is not just another dog book! When Tom Ryan welcomed Atticus M. Finch, a miniature schnauzer, into his life, little did he know what courage, pluck, and unwavering love he would get in the bargain. This is a beautifully written book about the very special bond between a man and his dog, an amazing quest, and the mountains that healed them." --Barbara Drake, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.

Paperback

A Lily of the Field: A Novel by John Lawton (Grove Press, $14.95, 9780802145468). "Lawton's latest (and perhaps best) thriller begins in 1934 Vienna when Meret Voytek, a child prodigy, becomes the pupil of the world-class concert cellist Viktor Rosen. Even as Rosen flees to London in advance of the Nazis, Karel Szabo, a Hungarian physicist, is interned in a camp on the Isle of Man, where his path crosses not just Rosen's but also that of the brother to then-Sargent Troy, the man at the center of all Lawton's books. The mystery that lies at the heart of this convoluted tale centers on the two musicians, Meret and Victor, both uprooted, and adrift in a world changed utterly by war and by science." --Betsy Burton, the King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah

For Teen Readers

Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062026422). "The High Council of Albiom wants 15-year-old Kate Winters, but it's only after she's been captured that she discovers why: She has the ability to bring the dead back to life. Imagine what would happen if a ruthless megalomaniac forced Kate to create an army of soldiers who couldn't die. This dystopian fantasy is a page-turner of sensational originality." --Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: 11/22/63: A Novel

11/22/63 by Stephen King (Scribner, $35 hardcover, 9781451627282, November 8, 2011)

Jake Epping is a high school English teacher in Maine who accepts a summons over the phone from Al Templeton, the owner of the local diner. He isn't sure what to expect, but it definitely wasn't a wormhole in the back room that leads to the 1958 version of their town. Al's dying request is that Jake use the time tunnel and stay in the past long enough to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Granted, that's not the most original of plots, and it probably couldn't support 900-plus pages on its own. Fortunately, King gives us plenty of other reasons to care about Jake--so many that the Kennedy mission sometimes becomes extraneous to the real story.

Shortly before he learns about the gateway to the past, for example, Jake reads an essay by one of his GED students about the night in 1958 when his father came home drunk and killed the rest of his family, so preventing that murder from happening becomes his immediate concern. As he bides his time in the 1960s, taking a job as a high school teacher (using a false identity) in a small town outside of Dallas, he could be just another stranger who shows up, makes a difference in people's lives and falls in love with a beautiful but emotionally damaged young librarian--except, of course, for the very thing that makes him an outsider in the first place.

King spends a lot of time presenting the late 1950s and early 1960s through the eyes of a 21st-century man, taking careful note of what songs are playing on the radio, what movies are playing at the drive-in and how much cheaper everything is. But he also shows us how much more blatant, and uglier, the racism and sexism were in that era. (His fans in Dallas will have no small cause for discomfort at his portrayal of that city.) At first, even with the warning that the past fights very hard not to be changed, it seems as if King isn't particularly concerned about the complications of time travel; when Jake brings up one of the classic paradoxes--"but what if you went back and killed your own grandfather?"--Al's response is bluntly dismissive: "Why the f*** would you do that?" Late on, though, when Jake is telling his girlfriend about his mission, he starts to describe the butterfly effect, and she mentions she's already heard about it, thanks to Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder." If you've ever read that story, there's a big clue as to how things are going to turn out.

Kennedy surviving Dallas is a staple of alternate history hypotheses, so much so that it's basically become an abstraction. 11/22/63 revitalizes the concept and gives it a renewed emotional power, first by asking what kind of man would commit himself to changing history on such a massive scale, and then by placing more immediate--and more intimate--crises in his path to see how he handles them. --Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: King isn't out to deliver any major revelations about the Kennedy assassination; instead, he reveals the capacity of ordinary people for extraordinary moments of love and courage.


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