Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 27, 2012: Maximum Shelf: The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yearling Books: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

Pantheon Books: Chain Gang All Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

Tor Books: The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson


Perseus to 'Phase Out' Vanguard Press

Perseus Books Group is phasing out its Vanguard Press imprint, which was launched in 2007 as an experiment focused upon close collaboration with authors, individualized marketing and promotional campaigns and no author advances.

In a letter to staff, Perseus president and CEO David Steinberger said that while the company considered the model to be successful for a number of individual titles, "significant investments would still be required in order to build a backlist and fully develop and sustain the program over the long term." He also cited "the many alternative opportunities we have today to invest in new and emerging avenues for growth" as a reason for discontinuing the imprint, though Steinberger noted that "we will continue to use this model for individual titles when appropriate."

Vanguard publisher Roger Cooper will oversee the remaining books under contract at the imprint through their publishing process, after which he will transition to the role of senior consultant to the company.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Only Game in Town by Lacie Waldon

Aussie Government to Adopt Some BISG Recos

In its formal response to recommendations made by the Book Industry Strategy Group (not to be confused with the U.S. Book Industry Study Group) late last year, the Australian government has declined to add any of the suggested funding increases for various programs but is supporting the recommendation to establish the Book Industry Collaboration Council, Bookseller & Publisher reported. At the same time, the government apparently supports the BISG recommendation and the book industry initiative that would change Australia's parallel importation rules. Under that initiative, in order to secure copyright in Australia on a new book published abroad, an Australian publisher would need make the book available within 14 days, rather than the current 30- and 90-day periods.

The new Book Industry Collaboration Council will include publishers, booksellers, printers, authors, agents, libraries and more and be funded from "existing resources." The government said that "ongoing collaboration between the various parts of the book supply chain is vital to strengthening the position of the Australian book industry within a global market."

GLOW: Putnam: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

On Deck: Google's $199 Tablet

Joining the rapidly crowding field of challengers to Apple's iPad dominance, Google "plans to unveil a $199 tablet co-branded with Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. at its developers conference this week," Bloomberg reported, citing "two people familiar with the matter." The seven-inch tablet, with Android mobile software, will debut at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis

SubText: A Bookstore Opens in St. Paul

SubText: A Bookstore, St. Paul, Minn., is now open in the Blair Arcade building, a space previously occupied by Garrison Keillor's Common Good Books, which relocated to the Macalester College campus earlier this year. The shop is owned by Sue Zumberge, former manager of Common Good Books.

Currently in the midst of a soft opening, the redesign is still a work in progress, but The Line reported the space "has already taken on a different atmosphere from the former Keillor bookstore, with plenty of soft seating and a red-tufted bar that dates back to the 1940s.... The built-in bookshelves, which will be a design centerpiece, are getting a facelift, too."

Building owner June Berkowitz, who also owns Nina's Coffee Café--just above the basement-level bookshop--said she is a partner in the venture because "I decided it was important to do what I could do." She also called the new space "very cozy. It's supposed to be an extension of Nina's as a community gathering place."
Zumberge shares that vision of community, noting that the goal is to "fill it up with people. It's not just [for] browsing for books, but people are able to hang out."

Kindle Million Club Turns 50 Shades of U.K. Grey

E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, is the first writer to sell more than one million books in the Kindle Store. The Kindle edition of Fifty Shades of Grey is outselling the print book at a rate of more than 2 to 1, Amazon noted.

Obituary Notes: Nora Ephron; Anthony Schulte

Nora Ephron, essayist, novelist, humorist, journalist, playwright, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and movie director "in the Dorothy Parker mold (only smarter and funnier, some said)," died last night, the New York Times reported. She was 71.

A Facebook post from Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books observed that Ephron "brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed." Her books include Heartburn, Crazy Salad, I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing.

Ephron also wrote and directed You've Got Mail, the 1998 movie that centered on an online romance between Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan). Fox worked for his family's Fox Books, a major chain, and Kelly owned a children's bookstore in New York City that was suffering because of a new Fox Books that opened around the corner. For a time, neither knows the true identity of the other online persona. Much of the movie was filmed on location, including a faux Fox Books branch in the old Barney's store on Seventh Avenue and 17th Street.


Anthony M. Schulte, a publishing executive "who was an early proponent of audiobooks and among the first to tap the ready-made audience for books written by trusted television personalities like Alistair Cooke, Carl Sagan and Walter Cronkite," died June 17, the New York Times reported. He was 82.


Image of the Day: Get Together for Island Apart

Last week the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood in Los Angeles hosted a celebration for barbecue master Steven Raichlen and his debut novel, Island Apart (Forge). The chef prepared dishes based on recipes from the novel. Enjoying the results: standing (l.) food and wine expert Anthony Dias Blue and Raichlen; and sitting (from l.) Alison Reid, Diesel, a Bookstore; Liz Newstat, Chevalier's Books; Kris Williams, the Pilgrim School; Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy; Brian Rochlin; Lita Weissman, Barnes & Noble at the Grove; Cheryl Ryan, Diesel, a Bookstore; Dan Graham, Book Soup; Sandy Willardson, Flintridge Books; Aurick Canete, Barnes & Noble at the Grove; Connie Martinson of Connie Martinson Talks Books; and Jan Lindstrom, Barnes & Noble.


Riverrun's New Imprint to Publish Katherine Towler's Novels

Riverrun Select is a new publishing imprint from Riverrun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., which launched its POD service for writers, the Piscataqua Press, earlier this year. According to co-owner Tom Holbrook, Riverrun Select "is a true publishing company in which we are responsible for all aspects of the book production and distribution."

Riverrun Select will publish two or three titles annually. Up first will be three novels by Katherine Towler that feature New England settings. They were originally published by MacAdam/Cage, but had gone out of print. Two of them--Evening Ferry and a "tenth anniversary edition" of Snow Island--are currently available for wholesale or retail order from Riverrun Select.

Interdependence Key for Russian Indie Booksellers & Publishers

As the Russian publishing industry consolidates (last month, Eksmo, the country's most powerful publisher, said it was acquiring AST, its main competitor), "independent publishers have a system of life support: small stores and cafes like Falanster. Although their ranks have diminished, a few have survived to maintain a market for independent books--and inspire new allies in Russia's regions," Russia Beyond the Headlines wrote.

"It's very difficult to fight against [monopolization]," said Boris Kupriyanov, one of Falanster's founders. "It's only possible to create horizontal connections between publishers and stores."

While indie publishers account for "a tiny percentage" of the country's book market, at Falanster approximately 85% percent of the stock is from small presses. "We choose books according to one principle: whether it leads to some kind of thought," Kupriyanov observed.
Earlier this year, Falanster and Ad Marginem, a successful indie publisher that has opened its own bookshops, created an alliance to help strengthen ties between independent publishers and stores across the country. "Small publishers make decisions very quickly, and in many centers. The task is to create structures between them," said Ad Marginem's head Alexander Ivanov.

Kupriyanov concluded: "In the end, small publishers and stores may need to unite to survive. It's not a competition. We all depend on each other."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: William McGee on NPR's Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: William McGee, author of Attention All Passengers: The Airlines' Dangerous Descent--and How to Reclaim Our Skies (Harper, $26.99, 9780062088376).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Richard Ford, author of Canada (Ecco, $27.99, 9780061692048), in the second of a two-part interview. As the show puts it: "When Dell Parsons, the 15-years-old narrator of Richard Ford's new novel, Canada, discovers that his parents are bank robbers and then witnesses two murders, his life flies apart. We examine the oppositions that define his experiences: America versus Canada, male versus female, family love versus abandonment."


Tomorrow on Fox News Radio's Tom Sullivan Show: Katherine Losse, author of The Boy Kings: A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network (Free Press, $26, 9781451668254).


Tomorrow on Connie Martinson Talks Books: Charlie Schroeder, author of Man of War: My Adventures in the World of Historical Reenactment (Hudson Street Press, $25.95, 9781594630910).

Movie Trailers: Alex Cross; Atlas Shrugged, Part 2

Summit Entertainment released a trailer for Alex Cross, the film based on the James Patterson's detective novel series. noted that it "certainly is a jolt to see Tyler Perry and even Lost's Matthew Fox in dramatic-action tough-guy modes in this trailer, so it will be interesting to see whether audiences get past it when the whole film is released October 19."


"What happens when your first movie dies at the box office, gets savaged by critics and makes barely a blip on the cultural radar? If you're producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, you spend even more money on the sequel, cross your fingers and hope for the best," Indiewire noted in featuring a teaser trailer for the second installment of the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. The movie will be released October 12.

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:

Capital: A Novel
by John Lanchester (Norton, $26.95, 9780393082074). "Capital begins with the households of London's Pepys Road each receiving a card that states, 'We want what you have.' Those menacing and mysterious notes are the jumping off point for Lanchester's brilliant exploration of modern London. From the financial trader in the midst of growing midlife and career crises, to the Pakistani family struggling with faith and family, to a dying woman and her street artist son, Lanchester effortlessly weaves myriad stories into brief chapters to create a written tapestry of remarkable color and depth." --Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Innocents: A Novel by Francesca Segal (Voice, $25.99, 9781401341817). "Although the plot of The Innocents follows the 'man in love with his wife's cousin' formula, it is anything but stale and predictable. Caught in the loving web of his huge Jewish family, Adam Newman struggles to do the right thing while being true to himself and honest with others. Through wonderful, sometimes tragic and often quirky characters, Segal offers finely honed truths about humanity. I highly recommend this book--a wonderful summer read with some guts to it!" --Susan Tyler, the Book Bin, Onley, Va.

The Adjustment: A Novel
by Scott Phillips (Counterpoint, $14.95, 9781582438238). "Wayne Ogden has returned home from World War II, working as a caretaker and procurer for his debauched boss, while itching for the same action he had as a shady supply sergeant. It doesn't take long before he gets involved in blackmail, pornography, and murder even as he receives a bunch of mysterious letters from someone aware of his criminal past. Playing fast and loose with the dark side of the 'Greatest Generation,' Scott Phillips once again creates a tight, funny noir that's rich in character, and makes the profane sacred." --Scott Montgomery, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.

For Ages 9 to 12
A Boy and a Bear in a Boat
by Dave Shelton (David Fickling Books, $16.99, 9780385752480). "With a bear confidently at the oars of his dinghy, a boy sets off on what he supposes will be a short ride. But as days pass at sea with no land in sight, the boy begins to wonder if they could be... lost! With adventures on the horizon, this boy and bear will have to keep their wits about them and learn to work together. This is a story that simply brims with warmth and hilarity in a perfect combination, as are this boy and bear!" --Joyce Tiber, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Brahmin: R. Kayeen Thomas

R. Kayeen Thomas, 28, is a poet, playwright, hip-hop artist and social justice advocate. He received his bachelor's degree in African-American Studies from Carleton College and is studying for his Master's in Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary. His latest novel, Antebellum (Strebor Books, June 26), is about a rap star who is transported back to slavery times. Thomas lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and daughter.

On your nightstand now:

I don't have a nightstand. Black people are still in a recession. I do have a copy of Kindred by Octavia Butler on the floor beside the bed, though. Almost everyone who has heard what my book is about has compared it with Kindred, so I decided to check it out. I must say, it's pretty good.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Any of the books from the Goosebumps series. R.L Stine is a sick man. Some of those story ideas were crazy. Still, I was highly addicted.

Your top five authors:

Percival Everett. Erasure is my favorite book of all time. Some of his other stuff was a little shaky, but Erasure was genius.
Walter Mosley. Easy Rawlins is one of my favorite characters of all time. You can't go wrong with Mosley.
Jean Toomer. A lot of people haven't heard of him, but he was a writer during the Harlem Renaissance. His book Cane inspired my first published work.
Maya Angelou. Have you read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings? Angelou's novels should be divided into verses and made into the first black epic poem--to hell with The Iliad.
Richard Wright. Bigger Thomas is my other favorite character of all time. I think every black man in America has a little bit of Bigger Thomas in him. That should scare the hell out of white folks, but not many people are reading Native Son these days, post-racial society and all....

Book you've faked reading:

Democracy Matters by Cornel West. I'm sorry, I love Cornel, but that book isn't written in English.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Antebellum by R. Kayeen Thomas. Evangelism starts at home.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Erasure by Percival Everett. They have since changed it, but on the cover of the first edition, there was a little black boy in a cotton shirt and suspenders, with what looked to be some type of crop field behind him. He had a huge grin on his face, a toy gun pointed at his temple, and his finger on the trigger.

Book that changed your life:

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I'm a pastor's son, and I got hold of that book in college after I'd completely turned my back on the church. I felt like Baldwin's and my experiences with church were very similar, and that he was saying things I couldn't quite put into words yet.

Favorite line from a book:

"If growing up is painful for the southern black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult." --from Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

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

The Death and Life of Superman by Roger Stern. The novel, not the comic book. I read it in high school and almost failed Algebra II.


Book Review

Children's Review: The Great Unexpected

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech (Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins, $16.99 hardcover, 240p., ages 8-12, 9780061892325, September 4, 2012)

Sometimes people appear in our lives just when we need them and, just as mysteriously, disappear. That is what happens to 12-year-old Naomi Deane in Newbery medalist Sharon Creech's (Walk Two Moons) gentle coming-of-age novel tinged with humor and magic.

A boy drops out of a tree and startles Naomi in the book's first chapter. He is not a native of her hometown of Blackbird Tree, so where did he come from? What could he mean by his semiconscious remark, "Don't take the gold," and his cryptic reference to Rooks Orchard? And how did he manage to "[infiltrate] my brain like a virus?" Naomi wonders. She is used to disappearances. Naomi's mother died in childbirth, and her father died saving her from a rabid dog at age three. But neighbors Nula and Joe took in Naomi and care for her as if she were their own. Naomi's best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, was also taken in by neighbors in Blackbird Tree. They have much to be grateful for, and yet... Naomi keeps thinking about how that Finn boy who fell out of a tree "seemed to fit so easily in his body, unlike the other, clumsy boys around."

Naomi's first-person account alternates with chapters set "across the ocean" in Ireland that shine a light on the doings of a certain Mrs. Kavanagh. Bit by bit, Creech begins to connect the two threads, through a pair of crows in the curio cabinet of one-armed Farley, where Naomi and Lizzie come to call, and also through the mysterious Finn boy and his charms. Creech explores the pangs of first love, the loneliness of a friend's betrayal, and the wish to truly belong somewhere--anywhere. The author weaves together the stories on both sides of the Atlantic through Naomi's and Mrs. Kavanagh's shared experiences. Mrs. Kavanagh learns the painful lesson that "a sister's trust was worth more than the gold in a rich man's vault," just as Naomi realizes the true value of her friendship with Lizzie.

Creech once again crafts quirky characters that reinforce the sense of a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, and her spot-on dialogue makes each seem credible. As with so many of her books, love--of family, friends and home, wherever we may find it--pulls her characters together and outweighs any amount of gold. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Sharon Creech's humorous and touching tale stretches from Ireland to America and proves that love outweighs any pot of gold.


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