Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

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

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Amulet Books: Batcat: Volume 1 by Meggie Ramm

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady


HarperCollins Buyeth Thomas Nelson

HarperCollins is buying Thomas Nelson, the publishing house that specializes in Bibles and other religious titles, and the companies say the deal should be completed by the end of the year. HarperCollins also owns Zondervan, another major religious publisher.

HarperCollins president and CEO Brian Murray praised Nelson and said the company "adds further balance to our existing publishing programs. Its broad inspirational appeal is a good complement to Zondervan, which will continue to publish books consistent with its mission."

Nelson was founded in 1798 in Scotland. The U.S. branch, which now has headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., was founded in 1854 and was bought in 1969 by Sam Moore, who headed the company for 47 years. Nelson was bought by private equity companies in 2006, and its majority owner is now Kohlberg & Co.

This is the second acquisition in a week for HarperCollins. Last week, the company bought the list of Newmarket Press.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Point Reyes Pioneers CSB Accounts

Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes, Calif., has developed a program called community supported bookstore (CSB), based on the principles of community supported agriculture (CSA), the Point Reyes Point reported.

Under the CSB, customers can deposit from $150-$500 into a bookstore account, make purchases from that account and receive a 5% discount. The bookstore will use CSB fees for operational and community events during slower months. The store introduced the program two weeks ago at an event with Michael Ondaatje and already has 30 members.

Steve Costa, who with his wife, Kate Levinson, bought the store in 2003, told the paper: "It's an opportunity for locals to step up and really support the bookstore. To say, 'I really want this bookstore to survive over time.' Those dollars really will make a big difference."

The store hopes to have 200 members in the CSB by the end of the year and at least 500 members within a year. The model might work for other indies, Costa said.

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire

RiverRun Seeks New Location, Investors

Tom Holbrook, owner of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., has decided not to renew the store's lease and is looking both for a new location and investors. "Without those two things, it is very possible that RiverRun will close at the end of December," he wrote in a public message.

"When we moved into this space five years ago business was booming, the economy was good, and the Kindle didn't exist yet," Holbrook wrote. "Fast forward to 2011 and we simply cannot afford the most expensive real estate in the most expensive city in New Hampshire. The world of books is a beautiful one, but a shrinking one. We just can't stay here.

"The rise of digital books, the poor economy, and some very large debts have left the store in a terrible position," he continued. "We've hung on by our fingernails for the last two years hoping things would improve, but they haven't."

Holbrook noted that "much of our trouble" started in 2007 when he took out "a large loan" to buy out his business partners.

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Bodhi Tree Sale Falls Through, Back to Square One

Unfortunate news from the Bodhi Tree Bookstore, West Hollywood, Calif.: the sale by longtime owners Stan Madson and Phil Thompson to Karuana Gatimu and Lori Cutler (Shelf Awareness, September 21, 2011) has fallen through because the offer was "rescinded," the store said.

"We had invested a great deal of hope and optimism in the offer agreement that, after many months of planning and negotiation, has come to naught," the owners wrote. "As a consequence, we have re-contacted interested parties in the business to explore opening a new dialogue. We will make every effort to keep the Bodhi Tree going in the community. If you know of anyone who has an interest and seems qualified to assume and continue the business, please contact us. Time is critical but we remain hopeful."

Madson and Thompson have already sold the building in which the Bodhi Tree located. A new owner will need to move the store.


Hot Asian Singles, Coming Soon

Though a freak snowstorm kept many New Yorkers from venturing out last Saturday afternoon, quite a few authors and book lovers made their way to the third annual Page Turner Festival, benefiting the Asian American Writers Workshop. Alexander Chee was there to drum up some advance buzz for "Hot Asian Singles," an e-book imprint the AAWW hopes to launch early next year that will publish a mix of fiction and nonfiction in the 6,000-20,000 word range.

"Part of what's driving this is a sense that there was work that had been overlooked by the regular outlets both for its content and its size," Chee explained. "Digital publishing is a way for us to bring out this kind of work without the costs that used to weigh us down when doing earlier anthologies." Proceeds from Hot Asian Singles will be split between the writers and the AAWW, and Chee suggested that the workshop's earnings might eventually support print projects. The first titles in the program will be announced soon; check @HotAsianSingles at Twitter for details.



Image of the Day: Brilliant Books

Brilliant Books, Suttons Bay, Mich., has opened its second store, in downtown Traverse City, and plans to hold a grand opening party in the middle of the month (Shelf Awareness, September 30, 2011). The new 3,600-sq.-ft. store has already had its first event: last Friday it hosted five authors who contributed to Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them (Wayne State University Press). Here, outside the new location are (from l.): Heather Mork, Tiffany March, owner Peter Makin and Jack Hannert.


Medieval Cookery with George R.R. Martin

Saying that she hasn't "read a series of books this obsessed with the food its characters eat since Little House on the Prairie," Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker showcased The Inn at the Crossroads blog, which "combines the geeky joy I get from medieval cooking with the geeky joy I get from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. The results: A brilliant collection of recipes for dishes mentioned in all five of Martin's novels, many developed using medieval cookbooks and techniques."

Reading Is Fundamental Is 45

Reading Is Fundamental celebrates its 45th anniversary with a live party podcast from the Library of Congress Young Readers Center this coming Thursday, November 3, at 1:30 p.m. Featured appearances by the Adventure Theatre and Lilly, the character created by author and illustrator Kevin Henkes. Tune in at


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Pollan on the Colbert Report

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Glenn Beck, co-author of The Snow Angel (Threshold, $21, 9781439187203).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: David M. Kennedy, author of Don't Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781608192649).


Tomorrow Chris Matthews, author of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, 9781451635089), appears on the Today Show, MSNBC's Morning Joe and Andrea Mitchell Reports.


Also tomorrow morning on MSBC's Morning Joe: Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization: The West and the Rest (Penguin, $35, 9781594203053).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Kris Jenner, author of Kris Jenner . . . And All Things Kardashian (Gallery, $26, 9781451646962). She will also appear on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, Entertainment Tonight and E! News Daily.

Also on the Today Show: Randy Fenoli, author of It's All About the Dress: Savvy Secrets, Priceless Advice, and Inspiring Stories to Help you Find 'The One' (Grand Central, $27.99, 9780446585071).


Tomorrow on Good Morning America: Buddy Valastro, author of Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets (Free Press, $30, 9781439183526).


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Joan Didion, author of Blue Nights (Knopf, $25, 9780307267672).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Condoleezza Rice, author of No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (Crown, $35, 9780307587862).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Martha Stewart, author of Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations (Potter Craft, $24.99, 9780307586902).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Tom Brokaw, author of The Time of Our Lives (Random House, $26, 9781400064588).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Michael Pollan, co-author of Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (Penguin, $23.95, 9781594203084).


Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Ellen DeGeneres, author of Seriously...I'm Kidding (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446585026).

Harry Potter: 'RIP Lily & James'; Deleted Scenes

One of Twitter's trending topics for most of the day yesterday was "RIP Lily and James Potter," commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of Harry Potter's parents. Entertainment Weekly reported that the "late couple, as we all know, died defending their infant child against He Who Must Not Be Named" and fans marked the day with messages as well as "a moment of Twitter silence at 3 p.m."


Deleted scenes from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 were featured by BuzzFeed, which noted: "These will all be on the final DVD, but you know you want to watch them now."

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Asian Literary Prize Longlist

Twelve novels from Japan, Iran, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Bangladesh made this year's longlist for the Man Asian Literary Prize. The shortlist will be announced January 10, with a winner named March 15 in Hong Kong.

"In scope, range and subject matter, our longlist presents us with the epic as well as the quotidian, the established writers as well as some on the cusp of greater success," said chair of judges Razia Iqbal. "But what connects them is a thing that happens when we read good fiction: the cumulative impact of sentence after good sentence is transforming for the reader. So, while it is hoped that the list reflects among the best of what is coming out of Asia, it also presents Asia to itself, an equally important mirror to hold up."

The 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist:

The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad
The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam
Rebirth by Jahnavi Barua
The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya
The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi
River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
The Folded Earth by Anuradha Roy
Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
The Valley of Masks by Tarun J. Tejpal
Dream of Ding Village by Yan Lianke
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

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:


If Jack's in Love: A Novel by Stephen Wetta (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $24.95, 9780399157523). "Jack Witcher's voice is one of the most heartbreaking I've heard in a long time. He's 12 going on 13 and in love with Myra Joyner. When Myra's brother goes missing and Jack's older brother, Stan, becomes the leading suspect in the disappearance, Jack's world starts to unravel. Not that he ever had it very good: his father is unemployed and hangs around the house watching soap operas; his brother is a pot-smoking 'hippie freak' with a terrible temper; and his mother is trying to understand why her family is the laughingstock of the town. Wetta has written a coming-of-age novel set in 1967 that is at once dark, witty, and charming." --Ken Favell, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres (Free Press, $26, 9781416596394). "How could a racially progressive preacher in San Francisco lead more than 900 people to group suicide? How could dozens of parents ever come to poison their children? Even this riveting piece of journalism can't fully answer such grueling questions, but Scheeres does an excellent job humanizing this tragedy while poignantly showing the evolution from hope and belief to desperation." --Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.


Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City Novel by Armistead Maupin (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780061470899). "What a delight to discover a new Tales of the City novel continuing Armistead Maupin's saga of larger-than-life characters: lesbians DeDe and D'oro, transgendereds Jake and Anna, newlyweds Michael and Ben, and sex blogger Shawna. Mary Ann had left San Francisco for a television career in New York City, but she returns looking for solace from the friends she left behind. What a beautiful world it would be if we all had the compassion and acceptance of others that Maupin's characters display!" --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Ages 9-12

With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, (9780374384654). "Hilmo's strong voice and memorable characters make this novel one to read. You won't forget Olivene Love or her father, the Reverend Everlasting Love, but more importantly, you won't forget what they stand for--family--even in the face of danger." --Dave Richardson, the Blue Marble, Fort Thomas, Ky.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Also at NCIBA: Book Buzz

Michael Moore might have stolen the spotlight at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association trade show last weekend when he responded with interest to a challenge by booksellers to help them compete with Amazon, but there was other news. Attendance was on target and slightly up, according to executive director Hut Landon, and there were plenty of opportunities for publishers and authors to get their books into the hands of indie booksellers.

NCIBA added an author buzz lunch to its education day to showcase seven winter/spring titles. After a brief introduction by sales reps, the authors each had 10 minutes to talk about their new work. Carol Anshaw said that her relationship with her siblings influenced the plot of Carry the One (March, Simon & Shuster), which is about how a group of grown siblings cope after a car accident while they were returning from a family wedding takes the life of a young girl. As one sister says in the novel, referring to the dead girl, "When you add us up, you always have to carry the one," said Anshaw.

Tiffany Baker--whose debut novel, The Giant of Aberdeen County, was a huge Northern California bookseller favorite handsell--returned to NCIBA to talk about The Gilly Salt Sisters, her new novel coming from Grand Central in March, about sisters bound both by the family tradition of salt farming and by an entanglement with the same man. Who knew salt marshing was a craft handed down in families? Next up, Kevin Fox, a screenwriter from film and TV's Lie to Me, presented a debut novel described as the "literary love child of Dennis Lehane and Alice Hoffman." In Fox's novel, Until the Next Time (Feb., Algonquin), an Irish American goes to Ireland in the 1970s to help clear the name of an uncle he never knew who was sent back to the mother country to escape legal trouble in the U.S.

Closer to NCIBA territory, Sere Prince Halverson, spent time near the Russian River writing her novel The Underside of Joy (Jan., Dutton), set in a fictitious Russian River town. At its heart is a widowed woman taking care of stepchildren whose negligent biological mother wants them back. Another book about parenthood is the thriller Defending Jacob by William Landay, a former district attorney in Boston, which was described as Presumed Innocent combined with anything by Anna Quinlan. Landay said before he had his two boys, he thought good parenting yielded good children, but he found out it's a lot more complicated than that. Defending Jacob is about a D.A. who has to defend his own son who is accused of murdering his friend--and the father is not always sure of the son's innocence.

Meredith Maran quipped about how she arranged to kick off publicity for her first novel, A Theory of Small Earthquakes (Feb., Soft Skull), by arranging for a few small earthquakes--including one that morning. Maran's book is about a lesbian who leaves a lover whom she planned to have a child with to try living a "normal life" by marrying a man. Maran said her central questions were: How do people change the world and how does the world change people? "Oops, I forgot to write an easy first novel," she added.

The final luncheon author was Amie Phan, author of the story collection We Should Never Meet, who talked about her first novel, The Education of Cherry Truong (March, St. Martin's). Growing up with Vietnamese immigrant parents in the 1980s, she told NCIBA attendees, the biggest threat that anyone could make was that someone be sent back to Vietnam. In the novel, Cherry, a rebellious girl, is sent back to Vietnam to track down an older brother who was sent back earlier because of his rebelliousness.

"I don't know about you, but I think I have my reading set for the next few months, observed Jenn Ramage, one of the Random reps.

After a lovely tea with Philippa Gregory, who discussed her new novel, The Lady of the Rivers, and her first work of nonfiction, The Women of the Cousin's War (both S&S), NCIBA gave out its annual awards in the evening. Joe Christiano from Pegasus won the adult events award for the not-yet-a-year-old First Person, Singular series, which combines readings with performance (e.g., a female cast reading Glengarry Glen Ross). Two outstanding handselling awards were given: to Patti Norman from Copperfield's for specializing in children's books and to Judith Milton of Book Shop Santa Cruz for adult books. Finally, a stunned Luan Staus, owner of Laurel Books in Oakland, accepted the Debi Echlin Award for Community Bookselling by saying that Echlin was a mentor and tipping her hat to Shirley Masengill and Nicky Salan, two children bookselling giants that the Bay Area book community lost this year.

Tomorrow, check back for not your average rep picks and other non-Michael Moore happenings from NCIBA. --Bridget Kinsella


Book Review

Review: The Angel Esmeralda

The Angel Esmeralda: Nine Stories by Don DeLillo (Scribner, $24 hardcover, 9781451655841, November 15, 2011)

There's probably no writer whose work is more emblematic of these unsettled and unsettling times than Don DeLillo, and in this collection of nine edgy stories, his first, he turns a wary eye on aspects of our contemporary predicament.

DeLillo's stories are long on atmosphere and short on tidy plot resolutions, often featuring characters alienated from themselves or their environment. In "Baader-Meinhof," a woman and man meet at an exhibit of paintings of the notorious 1970s German terrorist gang. They linger together for an afternoon, their encounter culminating in a scene of real menace in the woman's apartment. The protagonist of "The Starveling" passes his days in New York City movie theaters, and when he spots an anorectic woman engaged in similar activity, he stalks her across the city. And in "Midnight in Dostoevsky," two college students invent a dense narrative for an elderly man they observe shuffling along the streets of their town. "At times abandon meaning to impulse," one of them reminds himself. "Let the words be the facts. This was the nature of our walks--to register what was out there, all the scattered rhythms of circumstance and occurrence, and to reconstruct it as human noise."

Readers of DeLillo's masterpiece Underworld may recognize "The Angel Esmeralda," portions of which appeared in different form in the novel. In it, Sister Edgar, an elderly nun, helps minister to a desolate section of the Bronx. There she encounters graffiti writers who "spray-painted a memorial angel every time a child died in the neighborhood." When 12-year-old Esmeralda Lopez is raped and murdered, her image becomes visible beneath a billboard advertisement--a tragic palimpsest--attracting hundreds of reverent observers each day to the site.

But the story that best reveals DeLillo's ability to capture the zeitgeist is "Hammer and Sickle," set among a group of white-collar criminals ("men in Maoist self-correction, perfecting our social being through repetition") who inhabit a minimum security prison camp. Each day they gather before the common room's television to watch the adolescent daughters of the story's narrator host a financial news show, their delivery as unnerving as it is chipper ("Even the numbers are panicking."). It's a story that evokes the atmosphere of our economic malaise with more chilling immediacy than a week of the Wall Street Journal.

The aftershocks of an earthquake in Greece, a Central Park kidnapping, the rumor of a Caribbean plane crash, high-tech warfare--they're the random, life-altering events that disturb our waking hours and haunt our dreams. And they're the stuff of Don DeLillo's short fiction, offered in all its stark, enigmatic singularity in this collection. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Published over a span of more than 30 years, Don DeLillo's first collection of short stories explores his characteristic themes of alienation and terror in contemporary life.


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