Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard


Penguin Suspends Library Digital Sales

Penguin Group USA is "halting the distribution of new digital titles to libraries for the time being, citing security concerns," the Wall Street Journal reported. The publisher hasn't ruled out resumption of those sales, and said "we remain committed to working closely with our business partners and the library community to forge a distribution model that is secure and viable."

Steve Potash, CEO of digital distributor OverDrive, expressed hope that Penguin "will review and re-engage with their newest titles in the library market, as they have historically."  

OverDrive's Digital Library blog reported that last week the company "was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable 'Get for Kindle' functionality for all Penguin eBooks."   

PaidContent noted that while Penguin "is unusual among the 'big six' publishers in that it allows e-books to be borrowed through libraries at all. Macmillan and Simon & Schuster do not distribute any e-books (new or old) to libraries. Hachette Book Group does not allow new titles to be lent as e-books, and HarperCollins allows new e-books to be borrowed only 26 times before the library has to buy a new copy. This leaves Random House as the only big six publisher currently allowing unfettered access to its e-books through libraries."

Scribe Us: Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic about Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman

More Kindle Fire Models in 2012

The newly released 7-inch Kindle Fire is just out of the box, but already Amazon is developing 8.9-inch and  10.1-inch next-generation models of the tablets, "and has selected an 8.9-inch model for launch by the end of the second quarter of 2012 due to LG Display's and Samsung Electronics' promotion of 8.9-inch panels and to avoid competition with 9.7-10.1-inch products offered by other vendors," DigiTimes reported.

Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), which will become a second original design manufacturer of the 7-inch Kindle Fire (along with Quanta Computer) early next year, will also begin ODM production of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire in the middle of the second quarter of 2012, DigiTimes wrote.

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

E-Reading: Women Narrow Tablet Gender Gap

The tablet gender gap is narrowing, "but men aren't making it up on the e-reader side," according to eMarketer, which forecast that by 2014, women will comprise 49% of all tablet users and 52% of e-reader users, paidContent reported, noting this estimate "is lower than one from Nielsen earlier this year, which found women making up 61% of e-reader owners."

E-reader use is predicted to increase 57% by 2014--up to 22% percent of the U.S. adult population, and eMarketer "estimates that 14% of U.S. adults now own e-readers--a higher percentage than it or Pew reported earlier this year," paidContent wrote.

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, Take Two

Last summer author Jenny Milchman and her family set out on a cross-country trek, with a twist. Spreading the word about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, they visited some 60 independent bookstores from northern New Jersey to Portland, Ore. "My kids now think a summer vacation that doesn't involve books isn't a real summer vacation at all," said Milchman.

The second annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is set for Saturday, December 3. Milchman is spending it at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, N.J., with her two children. Nearly 150 stores in 35 states are taking part, along with retailers in Canada, England and Australia. Participating booksellers can add their store to the interactive map at as well as download and print a promotional poster. (The book-reading kid featured on the poster is Milchman's daughter.)

When Milchman first came up with the idea for Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, inspired by bookstore visits with her children, she posted about it on the mystery-oriented DorothyL listserv and discussion forum. The response was overwhelmingly favorable and from there went viral after being picked up by book bloggers and the media. More than 80 stores participated in the inaugural Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day.

Greg Bruss, co-owner of Mysteries & More in Nashville, Tenn., saw the DorothyL notice and was the first bookseller to contact Milchman. For the second time, the store is celebrating Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day and this year has added to the festivities. The store is tying it in with a holiday open house and will have newlywed authors Jennifer Trafton (The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic) and A.S. Peterson (The Fiddler's Gun and Fiddler's Green) on hand, along with offering special discounts and holding drawings for gift baskets.

Besides Milchman's grassroots efforts on behalf of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, word of mouth has increased awareness as well. At Trolley Line Books in Rogers, Ark., owners Pat and Myra Moran learned about the Day from a local librarian and will have mystery scribe Radine Trees Nehring (Journey to Die For) read a story and conduct a workshop for kids on how to write a suspenseful tale.

Kirsten Hess of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., noticed a mention about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day on a blog listed on LinkedIn. The holiday happens to dovetail with a Winter Craft and Storytime session that was already on the schedule. "It's a wonderful idea to help engage children in wanting to read," Hess said. "As a parent of a seven-year-old girl, I have spent countless hours with her in bookstores."

In addition, Hess noted that the materials available at make it easier for booksellers to promote the holiday. Bookmarks Milchman provided were handed out to several first-grade classes and at a library in town. Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is featured on the RJ Julia Facebook page not only to promote their event "but to highlight the day and encourage the act of going to a bookstore, any bookstore," said Hess.

A bookseller Milchman met during her summer excursion is Susie Wilmer, who owns Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colo. "I was knocked out by the great concept of Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day," Wilmer said. "It is so simple but really is a great idea. I wanted to get in on the action as soon as Jenny explained what she's doing. Of course, for some people it will only be a reminder, but I would like to shout the idea from the rooftop. People really should be taking their children to a bookstore regularly." Along with story time, plans for the day at Old Firehouse Books include a buy-two-get-one-free promotion on Dr. Seuss titles.

Milchman is far from done logging miles. She's planning another road trip next summer to continue promoting Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, followed several months later by an even longer expedition. When her debut novel, the literary thriller Cover of Snow (Ballantine) is published in early 2013, she plans to be on the road for six months. Topmost on her itinerary: visiting bookstores and other great American landmarks. --Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Third Quarter at Hastings: Book Sales Off 4.5%

In the third quarter ended October 31, sales at Hastings Entertainment, which sells books and a variety of other entertainment products, fell 3.3%, to $108.6 million, and the net loss was $5.5 million, compared to a net loss of $3.1 million in the same period in 2010.

Books revenue fell 4.5% compared to a 6.2% drop in the third quarter of 2010. The company stated that the drop this year resulted from "increased promotional pricing during the quarter along with decreased sales of new mass market books and hardbacks and magazines, partially offset by increased sales of used hardbacks, trade paperbacks and mass market books. Sales of new books were negatively impacted by a weaker slate of new releases for the current quarter and by the increasing popularity of electronic book readers."

Commenting overall on Hastings's performance, CEO and chairman John H. Marmaduke said: "Our third quarter results reflect a continuation of comparable weak slates for books, movies and video games. Furthermore, we continue to be impacted by the shift toward the digital delivery of books, along with the increasing growth of rental kiosks and subscription-based services in movie rentals.  Additionally, the current economic environment continues to impact consumer discretionary spending, thereby reducing average purchases, as customers are choosing lower priced products."

Hastings closed two stores during the quarter, for a total of four stores closed during the current fiscal year. It now has 143 stores, including two Sun Adventure Sports stores and a Tradesmart store.


Image of the Day: Otto's Turns 170

Otto's Bookstore
, Williamsport, Pa., celebrated its 170th anniversary with a parade float in the town's Festival of Lights parade and a party that featured several authors. Here (from l.): Seamus McGraw, author of The End of Country; Betsy Rider, owner of Otto's; Kathy Miller, author of Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden; and Guy Graybill, author of Prohibition's Prince.

Photo: Jeff Miller

BookCourt: 'Too Indie' & 'Too Nice'

Brooklyn indie BookCourt is "something of a visual aberration for anyone walking down the northern part of Court Street. Sandwiched between a deli, a UPS store and a Starbucks, the bookshop stands out against the background. It's too indie to be there, only blocks away from Barnes & Noble--and too nice," the Brooklyn Ink wrote.

Co-owners Henry Zook and Mary Gannett "had an eye toward selecting books that would grab the attention of an already literary Brooklyn" when they opened the shop in 1981, and it "grew with the area.... By the late 1990s, BookCourt had built a community of loyal customers, both for its general stock and for the children's section built by Mary," the Brooklyn Ink reported, adding the "truth is that BookCourt has already turned into a social hub. For the space it has grown to offer, for the authors it attracts, for the community it has built along the years."

Fathoming the Unfathomable: Amazon as Infographic

Blogger FrugalDad, who has "been thinking a lot about Amazon this year," created an infographic tracing the evolution and global influence of a company that "just keeps outgrowing its labels: bookseller, e-tailer and now tech company?"

Writers Love Indies: Cooking Up Support & an Ode

In Down East magazine, cookbook author Kathy Dunst made a case for supporting independent bookstores, beginning with a confession: "I am a cookbook author and I often send people to Amazon or Barnes & Noble because I don't know which stores actually stock my books. It's a damn shame. The independent bookstore crisis seems to mimic, in some small way, the whole Occupy Wall Street crisis--the 99% begging to have a voice, to be given a chance when it comes up against the power of big banks and big money.
"So I am making a vow. I will shop at independent books as much as possible, even if it means going out of my way and paying a bit more. It's worth it to me in the end to know that there are still book stores out there where I can browse for an hour, or an entire afternoon, reading through new and old books and learning about authors I never knew. I don't want a computer-generated list of book suggestions coming to me through my computer. I want to spend more time talking to the devoted shopkeeper of an independent bookstore who has read these books--often met the author--and can truly recommend something great. I want more human-to-human book connection and less time 'talking' to my computer. I want to look at book covers and feel the gorgeous quality of the paper. I want to go to readings at independent bookstores and hear authors talk about writing and the state of the world. This cannot be reproduced in a computer or chain store."


"I believe that real books, those pulp-and-paste objects that threaten our backs when moved from home to home in old wine boxes, must survive--as should the most dedicated merchants who sell them," wrote author Julia Glass in her "Ode to Indies" for Ladies' Home Journal. "So if you are lucky enough to live near an independent bookstore, think hard before you exploit its browsability and then go home to order your books from an online retail behemoth. (Some bookstores, by the way, can 'fill' your e-reader onsite.) Even if you don't live near a good shop, many now maintain websites that enable you to order online just as easily as you might from Amazon....

"But there's another reason it's so essential to preserve independent bookstores: The people who run them and what they know. I read reviews and consider myself pretty 'plugged in' to the literary cosmos, yet one of the things I love best about book-touring is the opportunity to compare notes with favorite booksellers around the country. I always come home with books by authors I'd never heard of--or books I've read about but didn't realize I might love."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mark Kelly on the Daily Show

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Glenn Beck, author of Being George Washington: The Indispensable Man, as You've Never Seen Him (Threshold, $26, 9781451659269).


Tomorrow 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).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: readers review A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (Harper Perennial, $16.99, 9780061120077).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Chelsea Handler, author of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang (Grand Central, $15.99, 9780446552431).


Tomorrow night on a repeat of the Daily Show: Mark Kelly, co-author of Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (Scribner, $26.99, 9781451661064).


Thursday on Fox & Friends: Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, co-authors of An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny (Howard, $25, 9781451642513).


Thursday on KCRW's Bookworm: W.S. Merwin, author of The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon, $16, 9781556593109). As the show put it: "W.S. Merwin, our great octogenarian laureate, speaks about preservation; transience; translation; the soul (a 'little drifter'); and, best of all, imagination, our greatest gift."


Thursday on a repeat of NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David McCullough, author of The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781416571766).

Also on Thursday on Diane Rehm: Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow (Algonquin, $19.95, 9781565129900).


Thursday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Martha Stewart, author of Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations (Clarkson Potter, $75, 9780307396464).

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: New Clip & Photo Cache

The film adaptation of John le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy makes its highly anticipated U.S. debut December 9. To whet the screen appetite of American fans, the Playlist featured a new clip from the movie, along with "a plethora of pics."

Movie Projects: Ender's Game; The Snowman

Odd Lot Entertainment has offered Asa Butterfield (Hugo) the title role in Ender's Game, adapted from Orson Scott Card's novel, reported. Butterfield "was among several young actors who met for that Ender role, and signs look good that he'll be the film’s star." Gavin Hood (Tsotsi; Wolverine) is directing. Summit Entertainment plans to release the film March 15, 2013.


Martin Scorsese will direct a film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s bestselling novel The Snowman. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese "had been circling the project for some time now but Nesbo had to give final approval for the director." Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) will write the script.

A Norwegian adaptation of Nesbo's Headhunters "has become one of the most successful films of all time for the territory. Mortem Tyldum’s $5 million thriller, starring Aksel Hennie, has already earned close to $12 million from the Scandinavian box office alone," THR wrote.

Books & Authors

Awards: MWA Honors; Royal Society Science Book

The Mystery Writers of America has chosen Martha Grimes as this year's Grand Master, an award that represents "the pinnacle of achievement in mystery writing" and was established "to acknowledge important contributions to this genre, as well as a body of work that is both significant and of consistent high quality."

The winners of the 2012 Raven Award, which recognizes "outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing," are, in the bookstore category, M Is for Mystery in San Mateo, Calif., and in the individual category, Molly Weston of the blog Meritorious Mysteries, who is also a media escort and editor of the Sisters in Crime newsletter.

The 2012 Ellery Queen Award, which goes to "editors or publishers who have distinguished themselves by their generous and wide-ranging support of the genre," has been won by Joe Meyers, a reviewer, blogger and writer for the Connecticut Post/Hearst Media News Group. 

The awards will be presented at the Edgar Awards Banquet, to be held in New York City on April 26, 2012.


Gavin Pretor-Pinney won the £10,000 (US$15,805) Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books for The Wavewatcher's Companion, which the judges called "a book of old-fashioned charm and wit.... A brilliant almost poetic book that really opened our eyes. We were amazed to find that we now see waves everywhere we look, making the world around us a more absorbing and enchanting place, thanks to modern science."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, November 28 and 29:

The Drop by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316069410) is the latest mystery with LAPD officer Harry Bosch.

The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte, $28, 9780385337519) continues the historical fiction exploits of English aristocrat and adventurer Lord John Grey.

The Alpine Winter by Mary Daheim (Ballantine, $25, 9780345502599) unwraps a bundle of Christmas mysteries involving newspaper publisher Emma Lord and the Cascadian mountain town of Alpine.

Onstage, Offstage by Michael Bublé (Gallery, $27, 9781451674712) is the memoir of a Grammy-winning musician.

Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385534383) explores the lesser known technical achievements of the Hollywood star.

Now in paperback:

The True Memoirs of Little K by Adrienne Sharp (Picador, $15, 9780312610715). The story of Mathilde Kschessinska, prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar's Russian Imperial Ballet and mistress of Nicholas II, this was an Oprah Book Club Ten Fantastic Books for Fall 2010 pick.

The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer (Picador, $16, 9780312610722) is a novel about a present-day art critic investigating his wife's death and an artistic child prodigy in Nazi-era Vienna.


Book Review

Review: Perlmann's Silence

Perlmann's Silence by Pascal Mercier, trans. by Shaun Whiteside (Grove Press, $26 hardcover, 9780802119575, December 2011)

Prominent linguist Philipp Perlmann, a widower for a year, doesn't know how to live in the present. Long ago he gave up a career as a pianist for academia, and now he's "fallen victim to an incurable indifference toward all desire for knowledge." He's run out of things to say, and lives in fear of being exposed. When an Olivetti executive persuades him to set up a research group on a linguistic theme, Perlmann reluctantly invites the greatest minds in the field to join him at the Grand Hotel Miramare in a little town near Genoa for four weeks, where he will be the keynote speaker on the interrelationship of language and memory.

Perlmann tries to lose himself translating a Russian linguistic text sent by Vassily Leskov, the one specialist who can't attend the symposium, a formerly jailed Russian dissident who is not allowed an exit permit. To Perlmann's amazement and delight, his determination pays off, and the Russian language opens up to him. Meanwhile, the seminar members deliver their talks and grill each other with questions; alliances are forged, enmities sparked and quiet vendettas unleashed. It's the academic jungle, where pointing out a colleague's mistake is a blood sport and can be devastating.

Perlmann miserably calculates how many days remain before he must deliver the paper he has yet to write. As the competitive antagonism of his academic colleagues corners him into a panic, Perlmann finally admits to himself a hideous temptation--the Russian text he's been merrily testing his translation skills on would make a perfect paper. He succumbs, and passes off Leskov's work as his own. The next day he receives word that the Russian linguist has managed to get a visa, after all, and will be joining them. Horrified, trapped, his plagiarism about to be exposed, his reputation ruined, Perlmann frantically begins to plan an "accident" for Leskov.

What could drive a good man to murder? Philosopher novelist Pascal Mercier has clearly given it some serious thought, and at that point his 600-page epic begins to seem less like The Magic Mountain and more like Crime and Punishment. Once Perlmann sets out on his disastrous, suicidal attempt to arrange the perfect murder, this stately glacier of a novel unexpectedly heats up and morphs into an out-and-out thriller, as the central character we've been sympathizing with for hundreds of pages tries to kill a man who genuinely likes him. It's harrowing, heartbreaking stuff, and author Mercier expertly ratchets up the suspense with lingering details in which every ticking second could spell exposure.

Mercier has a flair for vivid characterization, and has created a personality-rich tapestry of human interaction. As in his earlier novel, Night Train to Lisbon, Mercier's fondness and compassion for his characters grows steadily through the narrative, until by the book's end they have become multidimensional and almost mythic in impact. Mercier's tolerance for human foibles and his often humorous compassion make this doorstop of a book a hearty feast for the thinking reader, and the final stretches of the story into an utterly satisfying emotional rollercoaster. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: The frustrated keynote speaker at a linguistics conference in Italy plagiarizes a Russian colleague's paper--but when that colleague shows up, he's driven to attempt murder.


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