Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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

Quotation of the Day

Why Kelly Justice Does What She Does

"People think booksellers are booksellers because they love books, and some are. I love books, but I love people who love books more. I'm a bookseller because the written word is my favorite way to connect with others."

--Kelly Justice, owner of the Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., the current subject of Algonquin's Booksellers Rock series

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


Rumor of the Day: Amazon's Bricks-and-Mortar Venture

The online rumor mill has cranked up to full volume in response to a report from the Good E-Reader blog that Amazon is planning to open a retail store in Seattle sometime during the next few months. The rumor, which has been floated before, comes just days after major book retailers Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Indigo Books & Music announced they would not be carrying titles from Amazon Publishing in their stores.

Citing "Amazon sources close to the situation," Good E-Reader wrote that the project "is a test to gauge the market and see if a chain of stores would be profitable. They intend on going with the small boutique route with the main emphasis on books from their growing line of Amazon Exclusives and selling their e-readers and tablets."

Bloomberg's Hitha Prabhakar also said that "sources are now telling me" about Amazon's bricks-and-mortar project, though Forbes magazine cautioned "this is not the first time this rumor has cropped up."

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

Monkey Business: Curious George Store Returning

The Curious George Store is returning to Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., on April 28, according to several reports. The original store closed last June; this Curious George is owned by Adam and Jamie Hirsch, who the Boston Herald described as entrepreneurs.

The store will have fewer books than its predecessor. Adam Hirsch told the Herald, "Rather than have it be 85%-95% books, we'll have more balance. There'll be T-shirts, bibs, blankets, onesies, with Curious George or our new logo on them."

The Hirsches are opening the store in the same location as the old Curious George store and have gutted and are rebuilding the space. The old Curious George was owned by Hillel Stavis and Donna Friedman, who had also owned WordsWorth.

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

R.J. Julia for Sale

Roxanne Coady, who founded prize-winning R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., in 1990, is putting the store up for sale. In an e-mail to customers, she wrote in part, that it's time for the store "to grow in new ways, in the care of new hands that will guide the store to take its proper place in a new world; a changing of the guard in a time of change. Rest assured: This is not an end for R.J. Julia, but simply a new beginning. The store will not close. We are determined to see R.J. Julia survive and thrive into the future. And there is good reason to think it can."

Donna Paz Kaufman, founder of the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates, is handling the sale for Coady, who called her "a highly respected educator, consultant and friend of independent bookselling who has known the store for years and knows the industry inside out. Donna, along with her husband and partner Mark Kaufman, will insure that we do this right--for our staff, our readers, our community and our industry. They are the ones to contact with questions, suggestions or interest in additional information, and can be reached at 904-277-2664 or by sending an email to"

Coady noted that Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., and Harvard Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass., two other "venerable" and even older stores than R.J. Julia, were sold recently to new owners who are "innovating, investing and reinventing.... I have spent many hours talking with the new and old owners and feel confident that we can accomplish as seamless a transfer at R.J. Julia."

Coady said that after a sale, she intends to fight illiteracy, which she has done through the Read to Grow Foundation, which she founded and continues to chair. The Foundation helps provide books and literacy information to many thousands of children in Connecticut. Before founding R.J. Julia, she had a career in accounting and was national tax director and a partner at BDO Seidman New York.

In other R.J. Julia news, the store is installing an Espresso Book Machine on March 1, joining the ranks of several dozen other indies with the POD machines, including Politics & Prose and Harvard Bookstore.


MIBA Eliminates No. 2 Job

Sad news from the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. Citing "the struggling economy" and saying the move is necessary for the association's "long-term financial viability," MIBA's board has eliminated the full-time assistant director position, which means that Kati Gallagher will no longer work for the association. MIBA said it hasn't made any other staffing decisions and will first "take time to streamline our operations."

The board praised Gallagher for doing "excellent work on behalf of our members. She has cared deeply about the success of independent bookselling." She may be reached at


Makeover for Clarkson's University Bookstore

The University Bookstore at Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y., is about to undergo a "floor-to-ceiling" makeover, according to

The 4,800-sq.-ft. store, which is managed by Follett, will be redesigned to highlight "the selections of textbooks, general reading books, supplies, and Clarkson apparel and gift items"; minimize lines during rush; and add a café. On March 12, the store will move to temporary quarters.

Happy 30th, Book Stall at Chestnut Court

Congratulations to Roberta Rubin, who is celebrating her 30th anniversary as owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., this coming weekend with a champagne toast and a 20% discount off all items in the store. (An extra reason to celebrate: last year sales at the Book Stall rose 15% and were up 22% during the holiday season.)

One of our favorite booksellers, Rubin started as the owner of the Book Stall in South Winnetka 30 years ago, then bought the Chestnut Court Book Shop in late 1986 and moved the following February. The resulting Book Stall at Chestnut Court has expanded three times, most recently to 5,000 square feet. The store also is connected to a Caribou Coffee outlet.

The Book Stall at Chestnut Court features author events on- and offsite almost every day, a monthly newsletter, a loyalty program, several regular book clubs, a children's monthly book of the month club whereby more than 300 children receive a wrapped book as well as and strong connections to local schools and the community.


Community Bookstore's One-Day Pop-Up Store

Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn, N.Y., closed yesterday in order to install new wood floors. Instead of staying home, the store partnered with Kos Kaffe Roasting House, a local coffee shop, to create a pop-up store for the day. Community Bookstore booksellers brought a selection of staff picks and relished the chance to talk about their favorite books all day. One 10-year-old boy bought Spring and All by William Carlos Williams. Why? He clutched his chest and said, "Because it calms me." Above: booksellers A.C. Harkness and Walter Petryk at the pop-up store.

Departing Next Week: Magical Mystery Bus Tour

Atria Books' Great Mystery Bus Tour featuring four authors begins Thursday, April 12, at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City and will cover 2,375 miles by the time it ends a week later in St. Louis, Mo. The bus will make stops, among other bookstores, at Vermont Mystery Books in Brattleboro, Vt.; Books & Co., in Dayton, Ohio; Mystery One in Milwaukee, Wis.; Once Upon a Crime in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kan.

The featured authors and their current or next titles are:

John Connolly, The Infernals
William Kent Krueger, Northwest Angle
Liza Marklund, Last Will
M.J. Rose, The Book of Lost Fragrances

Atria's Paul Olsewski told USA Today that the Atria Mystery Bus Tour's bus will be "a luxury executive coach with wifi, so the authors will be able to interact via Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube on the road."

DIY for Authors: Becoming a 'Bookseller's Dream'

In a Wall Street Journal piece headlined "How to Be an Indie Bookseller's Dream," Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married and a bookseller at BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y., offered a list of "ways in which certain authors get gold stars, and others go down in (sorry, sorry) flames" during in-store events. "Follow these simple rules, and you’ll be an indie bookstore darling before you know it!"

We particularly like her suggestions for sustaining a post-event relationship: "So now that you've shaken hands, and read, and thanked everyone for having you, what do you do now? If you live across the country, you might think you are done. You have your own local bookstore, so why would you keep checking in? Because you like bookstores, and you want them to stay in business forever and ever. So you tweet at them, you Facebook them, you send friends in that city gift certificates for their birthdays. This is good not only for the bookstore but also for your karma. Karma points! You're shopping local, long-distance. We're all very impressed."

Book Trailer of the Day: Talking with My Mouth Full

Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater by Top Chef's Gail Simmons (Hyperion), a very funny trailer that includes appearances by editor Jill Schwartzman (now at Penguin); Hyperion senior marketing manager Bryan Christian; chef and author Andrew Carmellini, owner of Locanda Verde and the Dutch; and Bravo's Andy Cohen.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the View

This morning on Imus in the Morning: 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).


Today on the View: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author of What Color Is My World: The Lost History of African American Inventors (Candlewick Press, $17.99, 9780763645649). He will also appear on the Wendy Williams Show tomorrow.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Dr. Steven Craig, author of The 6 Husbands Every Wife Should Have: How Couples Who Change Together Stay Together (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781439167984).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Darrell Waltrip, author of Sundays Will Never Be the Same: Racing, Tragedy, and Redemption--My Life in America's Fastest Sport (Free Press, $24.99, 9781451644890). He will also appear on Imus in the Morning, Fox & Friends and Hannity.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Hal Weitzman, author of Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering (Wiley, $25.95, 9780470481912).


Tomorrow on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams: Mimi Alford, author of Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and its Aftermath (Random House, $25, 9781400069101).


Online TV Casting: House of Cards

Corey Stoll (Law & Order: L.A.) has joined the cast of Netflix's first original series, David Fincher's House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey, reported. The project is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs and the popular 1990 British miniseries.

Books & Authors

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:


The World We Found: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar (Harper, $25.99, 9780061938344). "Umrigar's latest recalls the halcyon days at university in 1970s Bombay, which were characterized by intense friendships, fierce ambitions, and a determination to change the world, as remembered by four women whose lives have ended up radically different from their collegiate dreams: one, dying in America, whose last wish is to see her three friends, two living in upper middle class Mumbai, and the fourth who has been long-estranged from their circle. Painful secrets, both past and present, threaten to prevent the reunion. Blood may be thicker than water, but Umrigar proves that friendship is thicker than blood in this marvelous novel that is both fascinating and disturbing by turns." --Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

Running the Rift: A Novel by Naomi Benaron (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616200428). "Named for the Rwandan god of thunder, Jean Patrick Nkuba is destined for Olympic glory. Pushing his body up the misty hills of his village, he dreams not only of fame, but also of bringing peace to his country and equality to his Tutsi compatriots. When the floodwaters of hatred and war with the Hutu burst out over his homeland, Jean Patrick must run a different kind of race in order to survive. Both beautiful and heart-rending, horrific and hopeful, this novel carries a message that deserves to be widely read." --Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.


Country of the Bad Wolfes: A Novel by James Carlos Blake (Cinco Puntos Press, $17.95, 9781935955030). "In the early 1800s, Irishman Roger Blake Wolfe arrived in New Hampshire, married, and fathered twin boys. Within a year, he was arrested and executed for maritime piracy in Veracruz, Mexico. Thus begins the Wolfe family connection with Mexico. One twin, Samuel Thomas Wolfe, fought in the Mexican American War, deserted and joined the San Patricos on the Mexican side, married, and lived in Mexico City. His twin, John Roger Wolfe, became very wealthy and lived on a hacienda near Veracruz with coffee plantations and entire villages within his ownership. John Roger and his wife had twin boys, who are the very meat of the book--a sprawling, magnificent story of three generations of men, their fortunes, loves and losses, during a fascinating time in the history of the United States and Mexico." --Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, N.M.

For Teen Readers

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Dutton, $16.99, 9780525423287). "Familiar characters Anna and St. Clair appear in this companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss. Lola, who wears outrageous, fun outfits, thinks she has the perfect life with her family and hot rocker boyfriend. But then her old next door neighbors, the Bell twins, move back into their house. Cricket Bell, 'the boy next door,' was one of her good friends growing up, and Lola finally has to deal with her feelings for him. As in her previous novel, Perkins accurately describes what it is like to be a teenager and the angst of figuring out a relationship." --Jenny Cohen, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, Ore.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Land and Blood

Land and Blood by Mouloud Feraoun, trans. by Patricia Geesey (University of Virginia Press, $22.50 paperback, 9780813932217, February 21, 2012)

Mouloud Feraoun, a friend of Albert Camus, was brutally murdered by right-wing paramilitary terrorists in 1962 during the last days of French colonial rule in Algeria. His 1953 novel, Land and Blood, now translated by Patricia Geesey, takes place in the 1930s in the small Algerian village of Ighil-Nezman, in a corner of Kabylia.

Amer is a prodigal son returning after 15 years to the village where he was born. With him is his beautiful wife, Marie, a poor Parisian starting a new life and causing quite a commotion. The Kabyles are a poverty-stricken people full of noble intentions but condemned to bitter compromises in order to survive. Their houses of mud, stone and wood must be rebuilt every two generations. Many Kabyle men go to France to work in the coal mines, where Amer caused the death of his uncle in a tragic mining accident. Marie is that uncle's suspected love-child. The man's brother is waiting for Amer in his home village, planning vengeance.

This ancient village is thick with secrets, and Feraoun reveals them one by one: the wives who have covered for impotent husbands with secret lovers, the husbands who have sidestepped infertile wives with convenient cousins, the land-swapping, the power alliances, the ruthless stepping of neighbor on neighbor. A childless couple causes wild village speculation: Amer and his French wife are childless; so are the dead man's brother and his young wife, Chabha. Four childless people, with an unresolved murder between them.

The reader watches with anxiety as matters slowly, subtly, grow out of control. Good-natured, innocent Chabha finds herself falling in love with Amer. Two interfering old women, determined to help Chabha get pregnant, set the stage for disaster. With one clan insulting another, the slanders of the women at the fountain and the insults of a drunken young man, the final third of the novel escalates the suspense as the lives of the main characters, their families and neighbors, collide.

Feraoun lyrically reveals the intricacies of Kabylian life as you learn the histories of the families that share tiny Ighil-Nezman--how they've intermarried, fought with each other, planted their fields and cared for their oxen. Part anthropological re-creation of a lost way of life, part tragic love story of a village nearly ripped apart by ancient codes of honor and conflicting allegiances, Land and Blood is a drama played out with huge stakes in a dense, richly rewarding novel memorializing a little-known world in transition. --Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A novel from pre-independence Algeria about a blood feud and tragic adultery ripping apart a small village.

Powered by: Xtenit