Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Workman Publishing: The Reverse Coloring Book(tm) Mindful Journeys: Be Calm and Creative: The Book Has the Colors, You Draw the Lines by Kendra Norton

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull

Norton Young Readers: Children of Stardust by Edudzi Adodo

Union Square & Co.: Wait for Me by Sara Shepard

Grove Press: Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee

Peachtree Teen: Aces Wild: A Heist by Amanda DeWitt


Apple iTextbook on Way?

Apple's announcement this coming Thursday about education is likely to involve the introduction of interactive textbooks optimized for the iPad and related partnerships with publishers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was quoted by biographer Walter Isaacson as saying, the Journal wrote, "that he wanted to transform the textbook industry by hiring writers to create digital versions and making them a feature of the iPad." He believed "all books should be digital and interactive, tailored to each student and providing feedback in real time."

According to the paper, Dr. Rob Reynolds, director of MBS Direct Digital, estimates that about 6% of education-textbook sales will be digital this year, up from 3% in 2011, but by 2020, digital textbooks and learning content will represent more than 50% of the overall textbook market.

Berkley Books: City Under One Roof by Iris Yamashita

Post-Holiday E-Book 'Surge' Continues

USA Today's bestseller list of sales January 2-8 reflected an ongoing "post-holiday e-book surge," with e-book editions outselling the print versions of 35 of the top 50 books. Although the number was down from 42 the previous week, it was "still higher than any other week last year. The surge, which includes all top 10 books, was expected after millions of e-readers were unwrapped as holiday gifts," USA Today reported.

PaidContent broke down the list to show which titles sold more e-book than print copies.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

David vs. Goliath Online: Small E-tailers' Tactics

In a big story about how smaller online retailers are fighting back against giant e-commerce sites like Amazon, the New York Times quoted two booksellers who have embraced some of the tactics of the little guys. These include offering freebies that the larger sites can't, preventing price comparisons (a tactic that doesn't apply to the book world) and appealing to customers "as the digital version of a mom-and-pop shop facing off against Walmart."

Lacy Simons, who last year founded hello hello books, Rockland, Maine, which has roots in Second Read and Rock City, said many customers online want to do the virtual equivalent of shopping local, which means shopping at smaller online retailers.

Simons said, "We know there's only so much that we can do to compete against them, so you end up relying on what hopefully becomes an emotional or personal connection with the retailer online."

Emily Powell, CEO of Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., agreed but added a word of caution, saying, "People come because they want to support an independent and feel good about it," but "you can only guilt people into coming to you for so long." Thus the store offers "personalized touches" like its monthly new book subscription service that includes such accompaniments as other books, CDs and candy.

Obituary Note: Reginald Hill

Crime fiction author Reginald Hill, whose Yorkshire detective duo Andrew Dalziel and Peter Pascoe gained international readership, has died, the Guardian reported. He was 75. Ian Rankin called Hill a "traditional crime writer, but with a modern sensibility."


Image of the Day: Shift to a New Galaxy

With the help of 65 people, the Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., moved yesterday into its new space. The day began at 10 a.m.--when the temperature had risen to minus 10 degrees--with a gathering in the empty new bookstore, where actor Edgar Davis and poet David Budbill read from the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, the first event in the new location. Then the crowd formed a book parade and moved all the store's books.


A Double Dose of Love

At Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., (l. to r.) bookseller Karyn McNicoll posed with Arielle Ford--who launched the tour for her new book, Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships (HarperOne), at one of her favorite independent bookstores--and her friend Marci Shimoff, whose paperback of Love for No Reason: 7 Steps to Creating a Life of Unconditional Love was released that day by Free Press. Ford, the former publicist who helped make Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson and her sister Debbie Ford into household names, helped people around the world find love in her first book, The Soulmate Secret, based on her own experience manifesting a mate.

During the event, Ford shared how her second book grew out of the honest answer to a question Ford asked herself: "If I married my soulmate, then why do I want to kill him sometimes?" Because, she realized, she possessed no "partnership skills." So, she started to apply the Japanese concept of wabi sabi--finding the perfect in the imperfect--to make her marriage happier and more fulfilling. As Chopra said in his blurb on the hardcover, Ford weds "ancient wisdom and modern concerns to create the formula for a sustainable, loving relationship for years to come."

Ford said her wabi sabi moment came when she realized she needed to come to terms with her husband's desire to watch sports on television. "After all, I had married a former professional basketball player," she said. (Her husband, Brian Hilliard, played pro basketball in Europe and was captain of the Oregon State Beavers.) Ford decided she would watch the last quarter of any basketball game that was important to him. To make it more interesting for herself, Ford started rooting for the littlest guy on either team. "Now I have this love for short basketball players," she said. And something she loathed became something now shared with her soulmate--Wabi Sabi Love in action.

Aside from her writing, Arielle Ford teaches and is chief of platform expansion for, a personal growth company providing online transformational education. --Bridget Kinsella


'Living and Learning in Bookstores'

"The independent bookstores I love in New York are literary havens, the soul-nourishing equivalent of your grandmother's Sunday-afternoon kitchen," author Sonya Chung (Long for This World) wrote in a Tin House piece about the role bookstores in Seattle and New York City have played in her literary education. "What I mean is that a beloved bookstore is more than just a smart place, it's a warm place. Over the years, I find that I've come to frequent independent bookstores primarily to boost my spirit; and when I walk out with a book or two that happens to blow my mind (which is more often than not the case), I count myself an extra-lucky girl."

Half Price Books in Seattle proved to be the "most influential on my literary education," she recalled, noting that when she was an MFA student, the shop became "the perfect candy man for this remedial book fiend. They had an abundant clearance section with books in sh**ty condition and editions with the ugliest covers. It was a students' dumping ground that became my gold mine."

Bookmasters to Distribute Nowtilus

Bookmasters will distribute books by Spanish-language publisher Nowtilus Publishing in the U.S. and Canada.

Nowtilus, Madrid, Spain, specializes in historical novels, popular history, personal development and general-interest titles and is seeking a stronger presence in North America.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sally Bedell Smith on Elizabeth the Queen

This morning on the Today Show: Adele Enersen, author of When My Baby Dreams (Balzer + Bray, $14.99, 9780062071750).


This morning on Good Morning America: Dr. David B. Agus, author of The End of Illness (Free Press, $26, 9781451610178). He will also appear tonight on Nightline.


This morning on Fox & Friends: Mark R. Levin, author of Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America (Threshold Editions, $26.99, 9781439173244). He will also appear on Hannity.


This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: William Bratton, co-author of Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World (Crown Business, $26, 9780307592392).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Random House, $30, 9781400067893).


Today on the Bob Edwards Show: Lori Andrews, author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy (Free Press, $26, 9781451650518).


Today on Dr. Phil: Gaby Rodriguez, author of The Pregnancy Project (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442446229).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show, readers review The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth.


Tomorrow on the Judith Regan Show: Patricia Cohen, author of In Our Prime: The Invention of Middle Age (Scribner, $25, 9781416572893).


Tomorrow on the Tavis Smiley Show: Connie Rice, author of Power Concedes Nothing: One Woman's Quest for Social Justice in America, from the Courtroom to the Kill Zones (Scribner, $26, 9781416575009).

Books & Authors

Golden Globe Book Winners

Books had a solid showing at the Golden Globes on Sunday. The Descendants, based on the book by Kaui Hart Hemmings, won best drama motion picture and best actor (George Clooney). Other winners involving films and series that began with books were:

Best director: Martin Scorsese for Hugo, based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Best animated feature film: The Adventures of Tintin, based on the graphic novels by Hergé
Best actress in a comedy or musical: Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, based on the book by Colin Clark
Best actor in a series made for TV: Peter Dinklage (r.) in Game of Thrones, based on the book by George R.R. Martin
Best actress in a motion picture made for TV: Kate Winslet in Mildred Pierce, based on the novel by James M. Cain
Best supporting actress: Octavia Spencer for The Help, based on the book by Kathryn Stockett

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:


From The Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant: A Novel by Alex Gilvarry (Viking, $26.95, 9780670023196). "This is a bold book. It is bold in its style, its thesis, and its story. While Gilvarry's narrative and characters are big and playful, the underlying dilemmas are deadly serious: What happens to those falsely accused or mistakenly detained when the remedies of the American criminal justice system are unavailable to them? How does one prove one's innocence when the system is set up to prove one's guilt? Gilvarry skillfully navigates the space between black comedy and farce without delivering a polemic and instead gives us a novel that is delightful without being light." --Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband by David Finch (Scribner, $25, 9781439189719). "After five years of a struggling marriage, Finch's wife, Kris, made a breakthrough guess--her husband had Asperger syndrome. The Journal of Best Practices is David Finch's well-documented attempt to go beyond his previous efforts at fitting in and to actually learn to do things like listen, empathize, and 'go with the flow.' Finch still doesn't like flying in a plane or unsolicited wetness, but the results of his determination are not just meaningful to his family, but also an enlightening, endearing, and amusing chronicle for the rest of us." --Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.


Blueprints of the Afterlife: A Novel by Ryan Boudinot (Black Cat, $14, 9780802170910). "It's not just that there's Seattle lurking, both familiar and eerily altered, in Boudinot's joltingly intense new novel set in a not-so-distant future; it's also that the people who inhabit Blueprints of the Afterlife take as given this strange new world. They give it battle, still going at life in full-tilted measure as much as anyone ever could--even if it means sometimes facing the clone of someone who is known or loved. This is a brave, daring, entrancing book, one that elicits empathy for the characters in it, even as it makes you look at the real world around you with different, startled eyes." --Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (Feiwel & Friends, $16.99, 9780312593698). "Confined to her nursing home bed, 82-year-old Lizzie tells an outrageous but true story to Karl and his mother. While awaiting the return of Papi from World War II, 16-year-old Lizzie, her young brother, Karli, and her mother make their garden home to a four-year-old orphaned elephant from the zoo. Dresden, Germany, is sure to be bombed, and the zoo will be forced to kill the larger animals that may pose a threat to the city. Marlene, the adored elephant, breaks loose, beginning a chase that leads them away from Dresden and saves them from warfare. Lizzie's story is laced with details that bring history to life." --Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Gypsy Boy

Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies by Mikey Walsh (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $24.99 hardcover, 9780312622084, February 14, 2012)

Mikey Walsh, the pseudonymous author of Gypsy Boy, was born fat, ugly and silent; even when he falls down the church steps as an infant and lands face-down, he doesn't make a sound. Though he spends his childhood playing dress-up as Aunt Sadly with his older sister, Frankie, he can't escape his fate: all Gypsy men, he tells us, "have to fight as part of their day-to-day life."

It's Mikey's bad luck to be born into a family that holds the title for the bare-knuckle fighting crown. At the age of six, he's forced into the ring to fight an experienced adolescent more than twice his age. He's a sitting duck for every Gypsy boy who comes to his family's camp to challenge him. That they beat him is bad enough, but every loss is followed by a far more brutal beating from Mikey's father--one of the scariest men to walk through a memoir in years, unleashing pitiless blows on his gentle son at every opportunity, then beating the narrator's beautiful mother (especially when she tries to protect Mikey).

From family violence to the horrors of cockfighting, from stealing bikes from the local sports center to squeezing juice out of slugs as a remedy for warts, Mikey makes the gaudy world of Romany Gypsies in the U.K. erupt into life, interspersing these scenes with moments of tenderness and goofy comedy. The richest aspect of Gypsy Boy, though, is the vibrant and multidimensional characters who populate Mikey's family, arriving noisily in their battered orange-and-brown vans: Auntie Maudie, who displays her artificial breasts in pink velour tracksuits; Auntie Minnie, chain-smoking kleptomaniac queen of the shoplifting circuit; and Uncle Joseph, the only uncle to show the boy kindness, who then ends up raping him repeatedly throughout his childhood.

This harrowing memoir batters the reader with a no-apologies account of a life of cheating and swindling, a brutal education in petty crime interspersed with constant child abuse. That it manages to climax on a note of triumph--as Mikey, having realized that he's gay, breaks free from his family with the help of a friendly, blue-eyed barman--says plenty about the spunky, resilient narrator, a human punching bag who is finally forced to sacrifice the Gypsy world he loves and the mother he adores to escape into a new life where he can be himself. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: The brutal life of a gay Gypsy boy forced to defend his family's bare-knuckle fighting title is a gritty, no-apologies account of a colorful, violent subculture.


KidsBuzz: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova
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