Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 28, 2011

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

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

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith


Small Business Saturday: Indies Delighted

"When you actually have a line of people waiting, it's weird."

--Jeremy Kaplan, co-owner of READ Books, Los Angeles, Calif.

"As soon as I opened up the door at 10 o'clock this morning I had a large amount of people. It helps the local economy. It keeps the money in Morgantown, you know most of the profit made in a local business is spent locally and it's just a snowball effect."

--Jeanne Hagan, owner of Pinocchio's Books and Toys, Morgantown, W.Va.

"It's been unreal today.... I said we need to be part of this. We need to be part of anything that bonds and brings together small business."

--Gay Kolodzik, owner of Frugal Frigate children's bookstore, Redlands, Calif.

"We're up 40% from last year, which is huge for us."

--Liz Barden, owner of Big Hat Books & Arts, Indianapolis, Ind.

"It really makes a difference. More than half of the customers I've had today mentioned Small Business Saturday to me."

--Christine Myskowski, owner of Salt & Pepper Books, Occoquan, Va.

"I toyed with the idea of putting up signs, and I thought the [American Express] television campaign was very effective, and so I didn't do it, thinking, well, we'll let them show us. And actually, business today has been, so far, really very, very good."

--Pat Banning, owner of BookEnds, Kailua, Hawaii

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

First Family Joins Small Business Saturday

This past weekend, on Small Business Saturday, President Obama and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, showed their support by shopping at the Kramerbooks & Afterwards Café in Washington, D.C. Talking with other customers, Obama said, "You doing some Christmas shopping? Not yet? Well, we're starting early. This is Small Business Saturday, so we're out here supporting small business." The Washington Post has a video of the visit.

According to the Hill, the White House said that the presidential family bought the following books:

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Zen Shorts
by Jon Muth
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
Descent into Chaos
by Ahmed Rashid

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Black Friday Cheers General Retailers

Black Friday sales rose 6.6% to $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrak, and sales over the Thanksgiving weekend were up 9.1%, according to the National Retail Federation.

Heavy discounting and even longer opening hours than usual apparently helped sales. Online sales rose, too, accounting for slightly over a third of Black Friday sales, and consumers were somewhat more likely to use credit cards than last year.

Amazon reported Kindle sales on Black Friday up four times over the same day a year ago.

Typically there were dark linings in the silver cloud: Alison Jatlow Levy of Kurt Salmon told the New York Times, "Our perspective is that Black Friday peaked early this year and then lost some of its luster. The malls felt like an average busy Saturday, but not like a Black Friday extravaganza."

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

RiverRun Changes Course

"We are going to make it!"

That's how Tom Holbrook expressed the latest developments in his efforts to keep RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., open. Holbrook had said recently that high rent and long-term debt might force him to close the store (Shelf Awareness, November 7, 2011).

In an e-mail last week to customers and supporters, he said that the store has found a suitable site to move to two blocks from its current location, which will save $50,000 a year. In addition, "more than a dozen people" have offered to become part-owners of the store and "dozens more have donated books and money to the cause."

He added, "I believe we will have the financing deals wrapped up by the end of November! This means new and exciting books will be flooding into the store in the first week of December, maybe sooner!!"


B&N Store in L.A. Closing

Confirmed: the Barnes & Noble in the Westside Pavilion, at Pico and Westwood Boulevards, in Los Angles, Calif., is closing at the end of the year, the Los Angeles Times wrote. The store is next to the Landmark Theatres and was opened in 1995.

As it has with many of its store closings recently, B&N said that the proposed rent for its new lease was higher than it can afford. It also described the Westside Pavilion store as unprofitable.

Word Up Looks to Re-up into 2012

Word Up, the pop-up bookstore in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City, is negotiating with the landlord to stay open through December and into the New Year, DNAinfo reported.

The store opened in June and was able to extend its lease to the end of this month and hopes to stay open indefinitely (Shelf Awareness, September 30, 2011).

"We survive on donations from the public and from income generated from book sales," said Veronica Liu, who runs the store and is an editor at Seven Stories Press. "We need more volunteers who can make a difference. We need to make this happen. We need long-term funding so Word Up can make a difference in Washington Heights."

Obituary Notes: Ruth Stone; 'Steve' Stephenson

Poet Ruth Stone, who won a National Book Award for her collection In the Next Galaxy when she was 87, died November 19. She was 96. Stone "often took as a starting point the natural world she observed from the farmhouse in Goshen, Vt., where she lived and wrote for more than 50 years," the New York Times wrote, adding: "Though her verses were compact, her themes were broad, embracing love and loss, the struggle of women to find a voice and the emotional intricacies of family living. The oddities of everyday life, too, served as springboards into distant imaginative territory."


Francis W. "Steve" Stephenson, founder of Steve's Sundry, Books and Magazines in Tulsa, Okla., died last Tuesday, according to the Tulsa World. He was 93.

Stephenson founded the store in 1947 and co-owned it recently with his daughter-in-law Joanie Stephenson. Steve's carries some 60,000 books, including many of local and regional interest, magazines and has an old-fashioned soda fountain.

In 2007, the store's 60th anniversary, Teresa Miller, founder of the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers, told the paper that Stephenson had "done more to promote Oklahoma authors than anyone else."

At the same time, Stephenson said that the store had always tried to fill a niche and happily searches for any book a customer wants. "If it's hard to find, we can find it," he said. "If we can't find it, nobody can."


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: And So It Goes

Last week at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper West Side in New York City, Gregory D. Sumner, author of the new Kurt Vonnegut biography, Unstuck in Time: A Journey Through Kurt Vonnegut's Life and Novels (Seven Stories Press), spoke with Sidney Offit, author, editor and a close friend of Vonnegut.


New Plans for New England Mobile Book Fair

Among the things on the to-do list for Tom Lyons, new owner of New England Mobile Book Fair, Newton, Mass. (Shelf Awareness, November 23, 2011):

Besides stocking up on bestsellers and children's books and adding some specialty items, he's "beefing up the store's renowned remainder section," the Boston Globe wrote. Next year he will begin making other changes, sponsoring author events at the store, creating "a more family-friendly children's section," computerizing inventory and inviting "professors and professionals to give advice on what specialty books to sell." Another big change: Lyons will organize titles by category, not publisher.

Random House Holiday Gift: Two-Day Shipping for Indies

Saying that it is "strongly committed to a healthy future for the physical book, and physical bookstores" and recognizing that many booksellers are "increasingly careful with their inventory dollars," Random House is offering a "two-day transit" program into January, under which orders placed by 3 p.m. Eastern time will be shipped door-to-door in two days or less to independent bookstores around the country. The shipments will be sent from Random House's warehouses in Westminster, Md., and Crawfordsville, Ind.

The fast-replenishment policy aims to increase sales of fast-moving titles that otherwise might not be in stock and increase their visibility in bookstores displays. Ruth Liebmann, v-p and director, account marketing, commented: "We also hope our two-day shipping will result in bookstore staff spending less time on a backroom computer figuring out where and when to order stock, and instead more hours on the selling floor, assisting customers, recommending and handselling Random House books, and better enabling a profitable holiday season."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Annie Leibovitz on Letterman

This morning on the Today Show: Michael Bublé, author of Onstage, Offstage (Gallery, $27, 9781451674712).

Also on the Today Show: Hal Rubenstein, author of 100 Unforgettable Dresses (Harper, $35, 9780061151668).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Robert Greenfield, author of The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781416558385).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Michael Gazzaniga, author of Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain (Ecco, $27.99, 9780061906107).


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Annie Leibovitz, author of Pilgrimage (Random House, $50, 9780375505089).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Merrill Markoe, author of Cool, Calm & Contentious (Villard, $24, 9780345518910).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner, $18, 9781439170915).


Tonight on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Betty White, author of Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399157547). Tomorrow she will be on the Daily Show and on Live with Kelly.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment (Amistad, $13.99, 9780061728983).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Kennedy Warne, author of Let Them Eat Shrimp: The Tragic Disappearance of the Rainforests of the Sea (Island Press, $25.95, 9781597266833).


Tomorrow on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Alison Sweeney, author of The Mommy Diet (Gallery, $24, 9781439180945).


Tomorrow on the Gayle King Show: Mikki Taylor, author of Commander in Chic: Every Woman's Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady (Atria, $26.99, 9781439196724).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Mark Whitaker, author of My Long Trip Home: A Family Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $25.99, 9781451627541).


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


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Michael Connelly, author of The Drop (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316069410).


Tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live: Shaquille O'Neal, author of Shaq Uncut: My Story (Grand Central, $27.99, 9781455504411).

Books & Authors

Awards: New Mexico Book Winners

The winners of the 2011 New Mexico Book Awards, sponsored by the New Mexico Book Co-op, were celebrated last week. The two top awards were both ties. The Best New Mexico Book was won by Out of This World by Loretta Hall and Turquoise by Joe and Dan Lowry. The Best Book was a tie between A Good, Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don't Plan to Die by Gail Rubin and The World Comes to Albuquerque: The Dream Takes Flight edited by Tom McConnell, Dick Brown, Kim Vesely, and Paul Rhetts. For a list of all the winners of the New Mexico Book Awards, click here.

Book Brahmin: Lawrence Dorfman

Lawrence Dorfman has more than 30 years of experience in the book world, including stints in sales at Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Abrams. His Snark Handbook series includes Snark Handbook: Sex Edition, Snark Handbook: Insult Edition, his latest, Snark! The Herald Angels Sing (Skyhorse Publishing, November 1, 2011), and in 2012, Snark Handbook: Politics and Government Edition. He lives in Hamden, Conn.

On your nightstand now:

I've got a galley of The Great Leader by Jim Harrison. I love that man. He has consistently made me laugh with every new book. Even the food one. I also have Carol Sklenicka's bio of Raymond Carver when I want to be sad and depressed. Below the nightstand (PBB--pile by the bed) is the two-volume Library of America collection of H.L. Mencken. Too heavy for the nightstand but unbelievably great stuff.

Your top five authors:

Hard to stay with just five but if we're talkin' dinner party: Jim Harrison, Tom McGuane, Richard Price, T.C. Boyle and early Stephen King.

Book you've faked reading:

Crime and Punishment, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I also sold both The Satanic Verses and The Bell Curve and, oh yeah, of course I read 'em!

Book you're an evangelist for:

A weird little book called BOOK by Robert Grudin. I sold this book in paperback at Penguin and loved it more than I should have. It's a skewering of academia in which the footnotes are so put off by the pompousness of the narrator and characters that they take over the book. It's where my love for snarky footnotes was born.

Books you've bought for the cover:

Chip Kidd's Book One and A History of Playboy Magazine (but just for the articles--oh yeah, and the cover... and the pictures).

Book that changed your life:

Crime and Punishment.

Actually, it's hard to think back but the book my best friend (who was two years older) gave me when I was 13 or so was God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. Immediately I went out and got everything else from the library--had to get a note from my mother that it was okay for me to read them.... Something clicked, or snapped, not sure which.

Favorite line from a book:

"When I find the right crooked doctor, I'm going to laugh in your face." A McGuane line from Panama (I think) used later with great effect on a live Warren Zevon record. I also love the opening to Jim Harrison's novella The Man Who Gave Up His Name: "Nordstrom had taken to dancing alone." Not sure why but it grabs me every time.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Stand by Stephen King. Read it when it came out, finished it and immediately started to read it again. All 900 and something pages. Skipped work, too. Really bad cough.

Books you'll read again and again for no apparent reason:

Money by Martin Amis; Fear and Loathing (anywhere) by Hunter Thompson; High Fidelity by Nick Hornby; Warlock by Jim Harrison; Moon Palace by Paul Auster.


Book Review

Review: All Yours

All Yours by Claudia Pineiro, trans. by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press, $14.95 trade paper, 9781904738800, December 18, 2011)

According to the faithful, devoted housewife who narrates Argentinean crime writer Claudia Piñeiro's (Thursday Night Widows) darkly comic All Yours, "However painful it is to admit it, at some time or other, all women are deceived by their husbands."

Ines has been married to Ernesto for 19 years, since they were both 17. He hasn't made love to her in two months. When she finds a heart drawn in lipstick with the words "All yours" across it, signed "your true love," in her husband's briefcase, Ines decides not to overreact, convinced that the woman will be history in a week. When the affair persists, she eavesdrops on a particularly late phone call and decides to follow him. She watches him meet his secretary in Palermo Woods, and when the young Alicia tries to cling to him, Ernesto pushes her away so violently that she falls, strikes her head against a log and dies.

Instantly Ines becomes Ermesto's no-nonsense accomplice, practical-minded, far from jealous and determined to protect her husband at all costs. Ernesto is such a blubbering bungler that she quickly takes charge of washing the mud off the car and getting rid of every clue. Even when Ernesto is lying to her face, claiming he was the victim of sexual harassment (which doesn't explain those smiling photos of him in the nude!), Ines still defends him, forgives him and loves him. She's like an elemental force, a tsunami of love. But Ines has made one big mistake. The girl she saw Ernesto accidentally kill is not the one he's having an affair with--"True love" is still very much alive.

Like the best crime novels, nothing happens quite as planned and schemes go frighteningly awry. When their secretly pregnant 17-year-old daughter tries to steal money for an abortion from her mother's hiding place, she instead finds her father's love letters. When Ernesto tries to escape to Rio with his girlfriend, he forgets the important blue folder for his business conference; Ines, loyal, devoted wife that she is, races to the airport to give it to him before his plane takes off--to find him kissing his girlfriend on the escalator.

The plot deftly lunges through its twists and turns. The translation by Miranda France is swift, clear and vernacular, though there are a few cases of British slang ("Blimey!") that seem out of place in Buenos Aires. The narrative is spare and energetic, the conclusion satisfying. But the creation of Ines is the book's triumph.

Her unshakeable faith in her marriage--despite Ernesto's repeated infidelities and dismissive behavior--her determination to save him at all costs, her candor and gutsy law-breaking out of love for her man, are the heart of this unusual take on the betrayed wife, and Piñeiro brings this unforgettable character to life with delightful gusto. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: In this darkly funny Argentinean crime novel, passionately devoted Ines will break any law to protect her unfaithful husband, who has accidentally killed his secretary.


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