Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 7, 2011

Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley

Quotation of the Day

E-Books: A Threat to Marriage?

"The lightness of the e-book medium, literally and figuratively, holds a terrible allure and an insidious threat to the heavily booked-up among us. How many marriages, seemingly held firm by the impossibility of moving several hundredweight of vinyl or CDs out of a family-sized home, have already foundered post the digitization of music? How many more will break if apparently inseparable and immovable matrimonial libraries become something that anyone can walk out with in their pocket?"

--James Meek in the most recent issue of the London Review of Books

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon


RiverRun Calls Meeting for Solutions

RiverRun Bookstore, which last week announced it needs to move at the end of the year and find investors to stay in business (Shelf Awareness, November 1, 2011), is holding a meeting on Wednesday evening, November 9, for a discussion of "some very promising solutions," owner Tom Holbrook told

On the store's website, Holbrook wrote that RiverRun needs to raise more than $100,000 "to erase old debt and repair our relationship with publishers." The store is seeking "10 investors at $10,000 a piece who would become part owners of RiverRun" and is also accepting donations of any amount via PayPal on its homepage.

Holbrook added on the store's blog, "We believe that if we get a handle on the debt we've accrued over the past three grueling years, and move to a slightly smaller, much much cheaper location, we can once again be the outstanding member of our community, both physical and virtual, that you have come to expect, and for many years to come."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

DIESEL Revs Up Again in Malibu

Saying "it was a long eight months for Malibu when in February 2011 it became a town without a bookstore," the Malibu Beach News welcomed DIESEL, which reopened October 23, in a new site. "The current store is located off the courtyard in the Malibu Country Mart which gives it a perfect location for future book reading and signing parties, as well as sitting outside and reading a book. The new store is stylish and cozy."

DIESEL closed in February because of a change in landlords and construction (Shelf Awareness, February 10, 2011).


Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Chopra's Brotherhood with Amazon

Amazon Publishing's Larry Kirshbaum and David Moldawer have acquired Deepak Chopra's next book, Brotherhood: A Tale of Faith, Big Dreams, and the Power of Persistence by Chopra and his physician brother, Sanjiv. The Chopras' agency, Trident Media Group, described the book as "the inspiring true story of two brothers who arrived penniless in America in 1972 and their journey to realizing their dreams." Trident's Robert Gottlieb called the deal "a game-changer for the publishing industry."

Crain's New York Business noted that Chopra "has had a longstanding relationship with Crown Publishing. The Random House division even launched Deepak Chopra Books last spring, and will publish titles selected by him starting in 2013." A Crown spokesman told Crain's that Chopra has six books under contract and "has always had multiple publishing partners."

Deepak Chopra said, "I'm thrilled to do this project with my brother. I want to share with the world what is possible in America if you have passion, vision and parents who gave you true self-esteem. I'm also thrilled that Amazon who reaches the world directly is our partner."


Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Nook Finds Niche at More Retailers

Effective this month, Fry's Electronics is selling Barnes & Noble's Nook, and in December TigerDirect and CompUSA will begin selling the Nook.

With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., Fry's has 34 stores in nine states. TigerDirect and CompUSA, both owned by Systemax, have some 35 stores.

It's widely expected that today B&N will introduce an updated color Nook and lower some Nook prices.


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


Image of the Day: Horizon Books Turns 50

Horizon Books, Traverse City, Mich., is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall. At a recent party, authors, musicians and a caricature artist were on hand, and the store served locally famous Moomers ice cream, some of which was scooped by party volunteer David Beauchamp (r.). (One of the authors who appeared was Greg Pugh, who read from his book How Moomers Ice Cream Tamed Bigfoot.)

Horizon Books, which moved into its current location in 1993, is family owned and operated and has two other stores, in Cadillac and Petoskey. The stores have fireplaces, coffee bars, long hours, are in downtown locations and have extensive events programs.



John Wood Continues to Change the World

Nicholas Kristof had a touching update in the New York Times yesterday on John Wood, author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, whose charity, Room to Read, has opened 12,000 libraries and 1,500 schools around the world since it began in 1998 and also supports some 13,500 impoverished girls. Recently, in Vietnam, Wood handed out his 10 millionth book.

Kristof wrote in part: "So many American efforts to influence foreign countries have misfired--not least here in Vietnam a generation ago. We launch missiles, dispatch troops, rent foreign puppets and spend billions without accomplishing much. In contrast, schooling is cheap and revolutionary. The more money we spend on schools today, the less we'll have to spend on missiles tomorrow."

Woods told Kristof: "In 20 years, I'd like to have 100,000 libraries, reaching 50 million kids. Our 50-year goal is to reverse the notion that any child can be told 'you were born in the wrong place at the wrong time and so you will not get educated.' That idea belongs on the scrapheap of human history."

Angry Birds Books Launches with Diamond

Rovio Entertainment's new line of books based on the game Angry Birds will be distributed exclusively by Diamond Book Distributors to comic book specialty shops, bookstores, mass-market merchandisers and other outlets worldwide.

The first titles, appearing this month, are Angry Birds Bad Piggies Egg Recipes, The Angry Birds: The Big Red Doodle Book and Angry Birds: The Big Green Doodle Book. More Angry Birds books will be published next year.

Originally released in December 2009, Angry Birds games have been downloaded more than 400 million times worldwide.

Oasis Audio to Distribute Thomas Nelson Audios

Oasis Audio will be the exclusive distributor of new Thomas Nelson titles in CD and MP3 formats to retailers and libraries.

"Like all aspects of publishing today, the audio book world is in a state of flux," said Thomas Nelson v-p of design and multimedia Gabe Wicks. "Partnering with a strong company like Oasis will ensure our readiness for the changes ahead."

Last week HarperCollins announced it is buying Thomas Nelson.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill Clinton Back to Work on the Daily Show

Today on the Rachael Ray Show: Buddy Valastro, author of Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets (Free Press, $30, 9781439183526).


Today on Hallmark's Martha Stewart Show: Mourad Lahlou, author of Mourad: New Moroccan (Artisan, $40, 9781579654290).


Today on Tavis Smiley: Lawrence Lessig, author of Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It (Twelve, $26.99, 9780446576437).

Also on Tavis Smiley: Florence Henderson, author of Life Is Not a Stage: From Broadway Baby to a Lovely Lady and Beyond (Center Street, $25.99, 9781599953885).


Today on the Wendy Williams Show: Kris Jenner, author of Kris Jenner...And All Things Kardashian (Gallery, $26, 9781451646962). She will also appear today on Access Hollywood and EXTRA and tomorrow on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Niall Ferguson, author of Civilization: The West and the Rest (Penguin, $35, 9781594203053).


Tonight on Conan: Christina Tosi, author of Momofuku Milk Bar (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307720498).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Brad Paisley, co-author of Diary of a Player: How My Musical Heroes Made a Guitar Man Out of Me (Howard, $25, 9781451625523).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Stephen King, author of 11/22/63 (Scribner, $35, 9781451627282).

Also on the Today Show: Lisa Vanderpump, author of Simply Divine: A Guide to Easy, Elegant, and Affordable Entertaining (Running Press, $27, 9780762444519).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Robert Guest, author of Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9780230113824).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Nada Prouty, author of Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA (Palgrave Macmillan, $26, 9780230113862).


Tomorrow on the View: Darrell Hammond, author of God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked: Tales of Stand-Up, Saturday Night Live, and Other Mind-Altering Mayhem (Harper, $25.99, 9780062064554).


Tomorrow on NPR's All Things Considered: Joe Garner, co-author of 100 Yards of Glory: The Greatest Moments in NFL History (Houghton Mifflin, $35, 9780547547985).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: John Lithgow, author of Drama: An Actor's Education (Harper, $26.99, 9780061734977).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Annie Leibovitz, author of Pilgrimage (Random House, $50, 9780375505089). She will also appear on NPR's Talk of the Nation.


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Bill Clinton, author of Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy (Knopf, $23.95, 9780307959751).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Michael Moore, author of Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446532242).

On the Set: Peter Jackson's Latest Hobbit Production Video

More behind-the-scenes fun for Middle Earth fans. Director Peter Jackson has posted his fourth production video from the set of The Hobbit on his Facebook page, "to shed some light on the 3D process that he's using for the film--in the process delivering a glimpse of Elijah Wood in character as Frodo Baggins," the Wrap reported.

"Shooting The Hobbit in 3D is a dream come true," Jackson said. "If I had the ability to shoot Lord of the Rings in 3D, I certainly would have done it.... Now, the reality is that it's not that difficult to shoot in 3D. I love it when a film draws you in and you become part of the experience, and 3D helps immerse you in the film."

Photo Shoot: Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham featured stunning photos of Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Mike Newell's adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. Currently in production, the BBC-backed film also features a cast that includes Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as Pip, Robbie Coltrane, Sally Hawkins and David Walliams (Little Britain).

Bonham Carter "is playing Miss Havisham at the same age she is in Dickens novel--previous incarnations by Charlotte Rampling, Anne Bancroft and, most memorably, Martita Hunt in David Lean's version played her much older," wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: FT/Goldman Sachs Biz Book Winner

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo (PublicAffairs) won the £30,000 (US$48,084) Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, which honors a book providing the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.

Financial Times editor and chair of the judges Lionel Barber said he had been "blown away by the thoroughness of [Banerjee and Duflo's] empirical research. This is going to be a real basis for innovation in policy, innovation in government, and a guide to intellectual debate. This is a business book in the broadest sense."

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:


Aloha From Hell: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey (Voyager, $23.99, 9780061714320). "I've laughed at the opening page of every one of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim novels, and this one was no different. Kadrey's willfully angry, sarcastic, and borderline evil protagonist Stark is back, and he's here in style. With another war between heaven and hell brewing, Stark has some nasty business to take care of and he's going to have to go back downstairs to hell to deal with it. Kadrey wraps up a trilogy with this novel, and he does it the way he always has, with amusing, witty writing and a film noir patter that ranks up there with some of the best." --Lincoln Eddy, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth by Chris Dixon (Chronicle, $24.95, 9780811876285). "The quest for huge waves has taken surfers to many places, but the source of the biggest by far is Cortes Bank. An entirely submerged island, Cortes Bank sits 100 miles off the coast of Southern California. Here, a freak set of ocean conditions creates a wave that seemingly springs out of nowhere. Dixon unlocks the secrets of Cortes Bank and entertains readers with well-researched history and abundant tales of big wave surfing." --Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.


A Curable Romantic: A Novel by Joseph Skibell (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781616200831). "Joseph Skibell is one of America's great unsung writers. His new novel, A Curable Romantic, is funny, dark, and profound. If there is justice in the world, it will win a major prize. Skibell writes amazing prose that carries you like a dream through a complicated plot without ever leaving you impatient. Fine literary tears will be cried." --Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa

For Teen Readers

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781442413337). "This novel has an unusually elegant and complex structure, with parallel stories that intertwine at the very end. The themes of disappearance, return, rebirth, and second chances are written cleverly through zombie fantasies, disappearing children, and reappearing woodpeckers.  It is a unique and engaging story about faith and community, told by a delightful narrator." --Hannah Manshel, 57th Street Books, Chicago, Ill.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick

The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick by Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40 hardcover, 9780547549255, November 2011)

In early 1974, science fiction author Philip K. Dick went through a series of hallucinatory experiences that he spent the next eight years of his life trying to understand and resolve. Some of his tentative answers appeared in subsequent novels, beginning with Valis (1981), but the real analysis was contained in the "Exegesis," thousands of pages of handwritten and typed notes in which he held up his visions to one theory after another, trying to find the one that explained everything. A small portion of this material was published in 1991; this new Exegesis is significantly larger, but still comprises only about one-tenth of the available content.

To the uninitiated, Dick's experiences in and of themselves may seem bizarre, and his after-the-fact theoretical frameworks for those experiences increasingly baroque. In the theory most science fiction fans have heard of, Dick became convinced that the world of 1974 was a holographic illusion, that it was really 70 A.D., and that he had been contacted by either the Holy Spirit or Sophia, the Gnostic embodiment of divine wisdom, and alerted to the presence of an underground Christian movement dedicated to overthrowing the false world. The Exegesis has even weirder hypotheses; Dick frequently became enamored of whatever idea he'd most recently uncovered in his research and reconceptualized his entire experience around it, until he could write (with a straight face), "Well, frankly it would seem that I had a somewhat Platonized version of Taoist ecstatic experience with the Absolute."

He anticipated that other people would find this stuff weird; when he believed he'd been contacted by God or the Cosmic Christ, he struggled for years about whether he should speak publicly about it. "I was taken over by a superior life form. Which was interfering with history," he wrote at one point. "What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to go on day by day?" So he kept poking at the visions, trying to make sense of them, until he saw in them the true core of his literary career, including many of the novels he wrote before 1974--novels that he came to believe prepared him for the revelations he received. Yet the transformation these revelations brought to his life didn't eradicate his doubts; depending on his mood, he was as likely to write "I can't live without my vision, but my vision is self-delusion" as "I am on a stupendous spiritual quest." Ultimately, there would be only one constant: "I don't know anything except that it happened to me, and what I saw during that short time was real."

Jackson and Lethem primarily serve as invisible guides through the Exegesis; they do show up in occasional footnotes, but their most valuable contribution may be the willingness to make the hard choices about what to include from the vast material available to them. (Perhaps not all the choices were hard, though; Jackson mentions that much of Dick's most paranoid passages were left out.) The most interesting commentary comes from the other experts who've been invited to read through the material, including the philosopher Simon Critchley, religious historians Erik Davis and Jeffrey J. Kripal and the novelist Steve Erickson. These annotations contextualize Dick's religious and philosophical ideas, but they also help us to see the Exegesis as an assertion of creative identity. Why would some form of higher intelligence reach out to a struggling science fiction writer in Southern California in 1974? Because, as Erickson explains, even though only a handful of readers recognized it at the time, Philip K. Dick, like any creative artist, needed to believe he mattered. You don't need to believe any of the things Dick believed about what he experienced to appreciate that. --Ron Hogan

Shelf Talker: The Exegesis lifts the hood on one of the 20th century's most visionary writers. At nearly 1,000 pages, it's not for dabblers, but it is intensely rewarding.

(Disclosure: Ron Hogan temporarily served as the marketing coordinator for The Exegesis during his brief employment by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which was pretty much a dream assignment he'd been preparing for since 1983.)


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, October 30:


1. Wound Up: The Yarn Harlot Writes for a Spin by Stephanie Pearl McPhee
2. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
3. Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry by Hutton Wilkinson, Stephanie Hanchett and Glenda Bailey
4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
6. Little Black Dress by Susan McBride
7. The Adjustment by Scott Phillips
8. The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits by Kent Greenfield
9. Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
10. Gently Down the Stream by Bill McClellan


1. Medusa Plot: 39 Clues: Cahills vs Vespers #1 by Gordon Korman
2. Zoobreak by Gordon Korman
3. Titanic #1: Unsinkable by Gordon Korman
4. Liar, Liar Pants on Fire by Gordon Korman
5. How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
6. Swindle by Gordon Korman
7. Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
8. The 39 Clues Book 11: Vespers Rising by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, Jude Watson
9. The 39 Clues Book 8: The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman
10. I Believe in You by Marianne Richmond

[Note: Four stores had events with Gordon Korman during the week.]

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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