Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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

Bookstores Play 'Critical Role' for New Books & Authors

"And what [Peter Hildick-Smith of the Codex Group] sees and documents is the critical role bookstores play in consumer discovery of new books and authors. He demonstrates with data and logic that SEO and social media are totally inadequate substitutes. Hildick-Smith thinks a future without bookstores will be very different than the present. He makes the case that author brands established in the bookstore era will be largely unchallenged when the bookstore ladder gets pulled up and future authors can't climb it. And he believes that publishers don't appreciate that all measures, even desperate measures, are called for to preserve the brick store base as long as possible."

--Mike Shatzkin, head of the Idea Logical Company, in a blog post headlined "Extending the life of bookstores is critical, but devilishly difficult"


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


BEA 2012: Consumers Welcome... with Limits

A limited number of consumers will have access to the Javits Center exhibition floor during BookExpo America this year as part of BEA's Direct to Consumer (D2C) engagement, which aims "to bring even more value to our exhibitors and pave the way for new book lovers to become genuine book influencers," event director Steve Rosato announced yesterday on BEA's blog, the Bean.

Show organizers are going to partner with publishers, local booksellers and libraries, as well as "other industry players to make a very limited and exclusive amount of tickets available" to consumers for Thursday, June 7, the final day of the show, according to Rosato, who called the initiative "a unique opportunity for tastemakers and passionate readers to get a glimpse behind the curtain."

While BEA "will continue to prioritize the value of the B2B element of BEA," Rosato noted that "we will strategically bring in consumers to help position the brand for growth and help to positively impact the contribution to our vibrant industry."

More information will be available "as we work through the details and logistics," he added, calling the D2C initiative "a bold leap forward for the publishing industry."

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Amazon: Who's Got the Buttons?; Warehouse Changes

"Maybe Lord Voldemort put a spell on Amazon.Com Inc on Tuesday," Reuters suggested in reporting on the mysterious case of disappearing buy buttons in the company's Kindle e-book store yesterday, which also happened to be opening day for selling Harry Potter e-books.

The buttons vanished for several hours, replaced by larger green buttons that said: "This title is not available for customers from: United States." Reuters noted that a forum post from Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing unit said it was a "website issue" affecting the buy box for Kindle books and noted that it should be resolved "shortly." All was well again by 6 p.m.


Amazon plans to open a new distribution center in southern Indiana as part of a $150-million expansion, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. The new location in Jeffersonville will be the company's fifth warehouse in the state. An agreement was reached in January between state officials and Amazon under which the online retailer will begin collecting Indiana's 7% sales tax from customers in the state in 2014.

"We're grateful to state officials for their business-friendly approach, which supports our continued expansion in Indiana," said Dave Clark, Amazon's v-p of global customer fulfillment.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is providing Amazon up to $2 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $300,000 in training grants based on the company's job-creation plans, according to the Business Journal. River Ridge Development Authority has also approved additional property-tax abatements and will support infrastructure improvements.


Amazon's distribution center in Charleston, Tenn., has begun work "to add about 150,000 cubic feet of storage as it tries to meet growing demand at its massive facility," the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, noting that the expansion of the 1.2 million-square-foot facility will result in the addition of 100 full-time positions, converted from seasonal jobs. The warehouse currently employs about 450 people full-time.

"It's all based on customer demand," said Michael Thomas, the center's general manager.

Work is also under way at Amazon's Chattanooga facility, which is adding to an existing mezzanine and boosting floor space. The Times Free Press noted that the online retailer will have five distribution centers in Tennessee by the time it finishes building two more this year.

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

B&N College Buyout Lawsuit Trimmed, Continues

A judge yesterday dismissed allegations that four Barnes & Noble directors unfairly sided with company founder and chairman Leonard Riggio in B&N's $596-million buyout of Riggio's college store firm in 2009, but "two other people named in a lawsuit, former directors Lawrence S. Zilavy and Michael J. Del Giudice, must stand trial along with the chairman and founder," Bloomberg reported. A trial is tentatively set to begin June 18.

Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine ruled that there was no evidence independent directors Irene Miller, Margaret Monaco and William Dillard II (as well as vice-chairman Stephen Riggio, Len's brother, who recused himself from the vote) had acted in bad faith.

The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees Retirement System, a holder of company common stock, had sued the board in 2009, contending officials violated their duties and wasted corporate assets in the sale. The suit seeking damages was filed on behalf of the company, Bloomberg wrote.

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Atwood Backs Toronto’s Striking Library Workers

"I don't think people understand what exactly is in play. People support libraries, but sometimes don't understand that it takes people to make them run. Just as it takes writers to write new books," author Margaret Atwood told the Toronto Globe and Mail in an e-mail defending the city's striking library workers.

Maureen O'Reilly, president of the Toronto Public Library Workers' Union, expressed appreciation for Atwood's support: "Obviously, to have somebody of her profile and the respect that she has in our community speaking out on our behalf, it's certainly very supporting to the bargaining team and to the library workers. She has such a large following that she can get our message out to even more people."

On Sunday, the Writers' Union of Canada held a "rally and read-in" to support the strikers. The primary issue is "job security for TPL's 2,300 library workers. With a significant proportion of staff made up of part-timers, O'Reilly said any deal that doesn't protect workers from library closures, layoffs and privatization would leave 70% of TPL employees vulnerable," Quillblog wrote.

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

NCIBA Gets a Sneak Peek at Chabon's Newest

It's not every day that a Pulitzer Prize-winning author drops by a regional independent booksellers association meeting to present his latest work, but that's what happened this weekend when Michael Chabon addressed the 120 attendees of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association spring program.

At NCIBA: (l-r.) Ann Seaton, Hicklebee's; Michael Chabon; Jeff Battis, City Lights; Sheryl Colteur, Book Passage; Sandy Mullin, Chestnut Street Books; Jim Hanky, HarperCollins.

"It seems almost superfluous to do this," said NCIBA president Michael Barnard, as he introduced Chabon, who has been a long-time supporter of Bay Area indies, having graced the thresholds of many member stores over the years. Chabon's fall book, Telegraph Avenue (HarperCollins), is named for one of the main thoroughfares where Oakland and Berkeley unite and collide.

Barnard said that reading Telegraph Avenue is not only about finding a book that "hits you where you live" and "holds up a mirror to your own life." But in Chabon's hands, said Barnard, that mirror is held up with "compassion and generosity."

Clearly recognizing many faces in the room, Chabon said: "It means a lot to me to be standing here before you all."

Between books being published, he explained, writers forget that when a book comes out they will be called upon to account for its existence. "Every time I feel it is incumbent upon me to craft a legend," he said. "The honest and true answer is brief and tedious," he added. "I just thought of it and then I wrote it."

Telegraph Avenue first began as a pilot episode Chabon wrote for TNT in 1999. "This was back before it was sleek and cool for writers to do TV series," he added.

The motivation for the story dates back to the O.J. Simpson murder trial, when Chabon was living in Los Angeles and was unprepared for how the African American community celebrated the innocent verdict. "I felt a sense of loss of connection." Especially, he said, having grown up in Columbia, Md., a community conceived and engineered to be racially, religiously and economically integrated. "My world was filled with black people growing up. Black History Month was my history month, with my heroes and my ancestors," he said. But living in L.A. during O.J., Chabon realized he did not know any black people. "My 12-year-old self would have been disgusted with my 32-year-old self."

Later Chabon moved with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, to Berkeley, just across the Oakland border, where he found a jazz record store in which races and ages mixed over music and a counter up front. "This place was like a bar that didn't sell drinks," he said.

Also, in 1999-2000 he and Waldman (who would both become bestselling authors) were "deep in the midst of a child-producing enterprise" that eventually "topped out at four." That experience made Chabon an odd expert of all things birthing and midwifery, so rather than place his new story solely in the largely male world of jazz, he decided to have one of the owner's partners be part of midwife practice. While he is not quite sure what happened, Chabon said, TNT dropped the idea even before he got them his 90-page, 90-minute pilot script. But the characters stayed with Chabon and he thought it would take 20 minutes to "novelitize" the story. "Four years and nine months later...."

Telegraph Avenue is not a novelized version of the never-made TV pilot; in fact, the author said, the only plot line that remained the same is a birth that goes very badly.

"I find myself at the end of it with the same frame of mind that I had begun with: longing for a place to go that would not make me feel like a failure in the face of that 12-year-old boy." That place, he told the booksellers, "exists only between the covers of a book in mind, and ultimately for readers in the time they are reading it."

HarperCollins printed a special galley for the NCIBA event, because Telegraph Avenue comes out in September. Chabon hung around to sign galleys and catch up with old bookseller pals and meet new ones, before the education sessions continued.

Later this week please look for a report on the other parts of NCIBA's Spring Gathering and Author Reception. --Bridget Kinsella



Image of the Day: Long Before There Was E.L. James

Last week at the 33rd Annual Paperback Collectors Show and Sale in Los Angeles, Ann Weldy, who in the late '50s and early '60s wrote the ground-breaking lesbian pulp series the Beebo Brinker Chronicles under the pen name Ann Bannon, appeared with Earl Kemp, publisher of more than 5,000 gay male pulp novels in the '60s and '70s. The Beebo Brinker Chronicles have been adapted for the stage and remain popular titles.


Water Street's 'First Annual Membership Meeting'

Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H., will host its first annual membership meeting tonight, less than a year after launching a 20-20-20 program and that "has added more than 250 members and crowd-sourced nearly $6,000 for improvements to the store," Seacoastonline reported. A discussion will be held about what the store should do with the money. 

"We are really proud of this number because to us it means that we have 250 customers who are affiliating with us, who are loyal to us, and who are committed to sticking with us so that we can stick around in Exeter for a long time," said events coordinator Stefanie Kiper. "We are also proud to be able to reward these core customers with discounts on books."

Bookseller's Travel Tip: Deep-Stacks Exploration

The trusty guides at Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., offered customers an entertaining in-store travel tip: "I don't know how far into the store you go. Maybe you're on a budget, and you just shop the remainders tables, or dart directly downstairs to dig through the used books. And one can get lost exploring the Card & Gift room; emerging from our shopper's paradise draped in scarves and jewels and toys and trinkets, you are just searching for the light of the outside world once more. And if you aren't privy to the joy and sorrow of children, you probably don't make the trip all the way to the back of the store.

"Which means that you might have missed the incredible things that have been going on in the Travel section. We've partnered with the Globe Corner to bring you the finest maps, whether it's for your wall or pocket. And we've incorporated our travel literature into the travel guides for every destination. We are now, without a doubt, the one stop you absolutely must make before you head to the airport."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adriana Trigiani on the Today Show

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife (Harper, $26.99, 9780061257094). She will also be on Dateline.


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: former Senator Byron Dorgan, co-author of Blowout (Forge Books, $25.99, 9780765327376).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Moshe Kasher, author of Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 (Grand Central Publishing, $24.99, 9780446584265). As the show put it: "After becoming a drug addict, criminal, mental patient and turning 16, Moshe Kasher became a stand-up comic and now an author. He discusses the difference between writing a joke and writing a memoir at a mile-a-minute pace."


Tomorrow on CNN's Anderson: Kristen Johnston, author of Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster (Gallery, $25, 9781451635058).


Tomorrow on C-SPAN's After Words: Liza Mundy, author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439197714). She will also appear on the G. Gordon Liddy Show.


Tomorrow on Chelsea Lately: Bethenny Frankel, author of A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life (Touchstone, $16, 9781439186916).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Rachel Maddow, author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power (Crown, $25, 9780307460981).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Peter Beinart, author of The Crisis of Zionism (Times Books, $26, 9780805094121).

Movies: Goon and Mirror, Mirror

Goon, based on the book by Adam Frattasio and Doug Smith, opens in select theaters this Friday, March 30. Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Eugene Levy and Jay Baruchel star in this true story of a bouncer-turned-hockey player.


Mirror Mirror, loosely based on the Brothers Grimm Snow White tale, also opens this Friday, March 30. Tarsem Singh directs a cast including Julia Roberts, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane and Lily Collins.


TV: The Madonnas of Echo Park

HBO is developing a series based on The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse, reported. Kapital Entertainment's Aaron Kaplan and British writer Kelly Marcel--who collaborated on Terra Nova--are the executive producers of the project. Playwright Julia Cho, who worked on HBO's Big Love, will write the adaptation and is co-executive producing.

Books & Authors

Awards: Miles Franklin Longlist; Carnegie Medal Shortlist

The longlist for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award, for the novel of the year that is "of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases," has been released. The winner of the $50,000 (US$52,300) prize, Australia's most prestigious, will be announced in June.


Eight titles have made the shortlist for the U.K.'s 2012 Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Carnegie Medal for children's writing:

My Name Is Mina by David Almond
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett
Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis
Trash by Andy Mulligan
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Septys

"Readers of the final eight books will meet some outstanding characters who will make them laugh like Stuart; cry like Conor and think outside the box like Mina," said Rachel Levy, chair of the judges. "Their Carnegie reading journey will take them to some dark and difficult places, but all the books are ultimately about the beauty and hopefulness of life and all are beautifully written."

You can find the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for children's book illustration shortlist here and view the Guardian's illustration slide show here. Winners in both categories will be announced June 14.

Book Brahmin: Steven John

Steven John spent five years working in Hollywood at a top talent agency before he decided to become a full-time novelist. Born in Alexandria, Va, he now lives outside of Los Angeles with his wife. His first novel, Three A.M., was just published by Tor (March 27, 2012).

On your nightstand now:

The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and Journey to the End of the Night by Céline. How I wish I could sit down for that proverbial beer with Campbell and pick his brain for hours. And how I would fake a cold to get out of the beer with Céline. Great writer--don't get me wrong--but cheer up a bit, man.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Anything and everything by Brian Jacques. My father reading those books to us as children (replete with funny voices et al.) had a profound impact on my own reading and later writing.

Your top five authors:

Faulkner: I can't stand when people speak ill of him; what stellar prose. Henry Miller: he opened my eyes to pretty much everything. Hemingway: maybe an obvious choice but with good cause. Vonnegut: I admit I have not read him in several years, but I have read and re-read more of his books than any other author (it helps that this can be done in a single day without breaking a sweat). Flaubert: I have only read Madame Bovary so far, but I can hardly believe he created that book with, essentially, not a single modern novel from which to take cues. He is the giant upon which other giants stand.

Book you've faked reading:

I talk about The Brothers Karamazov like I finished it, but frankly after 400 pages I had given it enough time. I'll try again some year.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Anna Karenina. So very worth your time and effort. Tolstoy puts into perfect prose thoughts we have all tried in vain to put into even muddled understanding. And he does it dozens and dozens of times.

Book you've bought for the cover:

War and Peace. It wasn't that the cover attracted me, exactly (it was red leather with gold print), but more that I wanted others to see the cover. On my shelf. Hey, I was 17. And no, I still haven't read it.

Book that changed your life:

Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. I'm sure thousands and thousands of people would say the same. They'd all be right.

Favorite line from a book:

Near the start of Tropic of Cancer Miller writes this line that I have never been able to shake from my head: "I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive." Now, granted, I think he may have been just a bit, say, ironic there... but what a take on it all.

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

For Whom the Bell Tolls. Knowing the end makes each re-read all the more bittersweet. The closer you come into communion with Robert and Anselmo and the rest... well, I'll leave it alone in case others still have the pleasure of a first-time read ahead of them.


Book Review

Children's Review: Captain Awesome to the Rescue!

Captain Awesome to the Rescue! by Stan Kirby, illus. by George O'Connor (Little Simon/S&S, $14.99 hardcover; $4.99 paperback, 128p., ages 5-7, 9781442435629/9781442435612, April 3, 2012)

This action-packed launch title in a superhero series will make fluent readers of those just embarking on the world of books. With a hybrid combination of comic book–style illustrations and a chapter book format, Captain Awesome is sure to attract a following of fans.

Eight-year-old Eugene McGillicudy has just moved to Sunnyview for his father's new job at Cherry Computers. He will have to start at a new school and make new friends. But is he afraid? No he's not! Because he is also the superhero known as Captain Awesome! Author Stan Kirby (a pseudonym that pays homage to Marvel creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby) takes seemingly insurmountable problems any child will recognize and shows how Captain Awesome tackles them one at a time. He protects his army of action figures and collection of Super Dude comic books from Queen Stinkypants from Planet Baby (aka his baby sister, Molly: "After she stunk up his room, she was going to drool on everything he held most dear"). And on his first day of school, he narrowly escapes the principal and vice principal, "a duo of doom that would like to lock up a late student in their Dungeon of Detention." Just when Eugene suspects his teacher Ms. Beasley (aka Ms. Beastly) is a "brain-sucker" (how else could she know his name was Eugene McGillicudy?), she lets him take charge of Turbo, the class hamster. But that only invites the wrath of Meredith Mooney (whose mother, Eugene suspects, ties her pink ribbons too tight: "that would explain a lot about how she was acting").

George O'Connor opens each chapter with an illustration in Eugene's hand, featuring portraits of Queen Stinkypants and Meredith (for the chapter "Evil Wears Pink Ribbons in Its Hair!") among others, then peppers the pages with images of scenes from home and school. Eugene's superhero fantasies appear in comics-style graphics, often outlined in jagged frames with dots that emulate the work of Roy Lichtenstein and the Ben-Day dots of classic comics. One of the funniest images depicts Ms. Beastly and Meredith as evildoers in an angled image and a line that separates the boy into half Eugene and half Captain Awesome. Type treatments play up Captain Awesome's signature cry, "MI-TEE!," as well as standbys such as "Bam!" "Pow!" and "Whap!"

Luckily, Eugene discovers Charlie Thomas Jones, a fellow Super Dude comics collector in his class, and the two form the Fans of Super Dude Society. Together they solve the mystery of Turbo's whereabouts when he goes missing at school. Charlie, too, has a secret superpower identity, which is explored further in Captain Awesome vs. Nacho Cheese Man, a simultaneous release ($14.99 hardcover/$4.99 pb; 9781442440913/9781442435636). Just the ticket for fans of Captain Underpants. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This action-packed hybrid of comics and early chapter books is sure to win fans of Captain Underpants over to eight-year-old Eugene and his secret superhero identity, Captain Awesome.


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