Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


BookExpo America 2013 Gets Earlier Starting Date

Next year's BookExpo America will take place one week earlier than previously announced. Conference Day is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, and the show floor will be open Thursday, May 30, through Saturday, June 1. The Book Blogger Conference, as well as the Remainders & Gift Pavilions, will also be held on May 29.  

BEA organizers had been seeking the earlier date and Javits Center officials just confirmed the change, which could reduce hotel prices by 10%-20%, depending on the hotel. BEA also said there would be no additional costs for exhibitors with the new dates. The lease option provides the same amount of time for set-up and tear down on straight time as they would have had under the previous date pattern, so there will be no need to contract labor for overtime.  

"This shift addresses the #1 issue that was out of BEA's control, which was the hotel prices in New York City," said BEA show director Steve Rosato. "This works to everyone's advantage... most notably, for our attendees, especially the ABA for whom hotel costs are a top priority. We are pleased to deliver this better alternative, which will unequivocally deliver significant savings to all our participants in 2013. Simply put, BEA can provide more lodging at a lower rate and we are able to secure larger blocks in the most popular hotels with these dates."

On BEA's the Bean blog, Rosato noted "there are three big wins here--the biggest and the driving reason is significantly reducing the hotel rates for BEA was critical, the second win is this makes BEA available to a group of booksellers, educators and librarians that need a weekend day to be able to attend and lastly this will accelerate BEA's plans to engage consumers by having Saturday as the day BEA is open to consumers."

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

B&N's CEO Reduces Stake in Company

On July 5 and 6, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch sold 30,000 shares of B&N for $524,274, an average of $17.48 per share, Barron's reported, adding that the transaction now leaves Lynch with 709,110 shares, representing a 1.1% stake. According to a spokeswoman for B&N, "The shares sold by William are a nominal portion of his overall holdings. The sale was part of normal asset diversification."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

E-Book Pricing Case: Legal System Slower than Digital Market

Filings last Friday by lawyers for Apple, publishers, the U.S. Department of Justice and state governments regarding an alleged e-book price fixing conspiracy "reflect the sprawling dimensions of the litigation and also underscore how the legal system moves at a much slower pace than the fast-evolving e-book market," paidContent reported.

According to the documents, a trial pitting the DoJ against Apple and two of the publishers--Penguin and Macmillan--is scheduled for June 3, 2013, and "final preliminary filings in the related state government and class action cases are due in October of 2013. In reality, this means any class action trial would not take place until 2014," paidContent noted. 

Project Gutenberg: 40,000 Titles; Self-Pub Option

Project Gutenberg, the digital platform that introduced many readers to the concept of online books, recently hit a milestone by making title #40,000 available, the Digital Reader reported, adding that while that number pales in comparison to the Internet Archive or Google Books, "the granddaddy of all digitization programs is still chugging along and uploading more free e-books."

In addition, Project Gutenberg has introduced a self-publishing portal, which currently has less than 700 titles and "doesn't quite operate under the same rules" as the main site, according to the Digital Reader, which noted that the self-pub option is "being run independent of the main site (search doesn't cover both), and while the 40,000+ titles on the PG main site are in the public domain (and thus can be freely shared), the e-books offered via the new site are still under copyright. What's more, not all of the titles are offered under a Creative Commons license."

Pulitzer's No-Fiction Prize: The Jury's Postmortem

In the first of a two-part series--headlined "Letter from the Pulitzer Fiction Jury: What Really Happened This Year"--on the New Yorker's Page Turner blog, Michael Cunningham chronicled the intensive process through which he and fellow jurors Maureen Corrigan and Susan Larson arrived at the three books they submitted to the 18 voting members of the Pulitzer Prize Board, which ultimately ruled there would be no award in the category.  

"We were, all three of us, shocked by the board's decision (non-decision), because we were, in fact, thrilled, not only by the books we'd nominated but also by several other books that came within millimeters of the final cut," Cunningham wrote. "We never felt as if we were scraping around for books that were passable enough to slap a prize onto. We agreed, by the end of all our reading and discussion, that contemporary American fiction is diverse, inventive, ambitious, and (maybe most important) still a lively, and therefore living, art form."

Judy Blume's Forever Is Now an E-book

Today Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing releases its first Judy Blume e-book, Forever. Those of us of a certain age may remember covertly passing this book around the halls of junior high school--the first book that many of us had read about teenagers embarking on their first sexual experience.

Blume said that she wrote Forever, first published in hardcover in 1975, at the urging of her daughter, Randy, who "asked for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die." Remember those after-school TV specials? We've come a long way since then, in literature and films for young people. And we can thank Judy Blume for her frank discussion of the physical changes and feelings that accompany adolescence, for treating teens as intelligent people who need to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and for paving the way for a new generation of writers to speak openly and honestly about teens' sexuality. As one of the most frequently banned authors, Judy Blume has assumed the mantle of the First Lady of Intellectual Freedom, speaking out against censorship and standing up for authors' First Amendment rights.

Readers may discuss and share memories about Forever (or any Judy Blume book) using the Twitter hashtag #JudyBlumeForever. If you include the phrase "@Judy Blume's Forever is finally available as an eBook" on your Facebook page, it will automatically post to Judy Blume's fan page as well. The Forever home page includes links to purchase the e-book edition, and a link to repin your favorite Blume book covers on Pinterest. --Jennifer M. Brown



Image of the Day: Bear Pond Nuptials

Last week, Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vt., hosted its first wedding: in a ceremony officiated by Lynne Vitzthum--who, besides being the store's stationery buyer, is a justice of the peace--Joel Kasow, uncle of Bear Pond co-owner Rob Kasow, married Hervé Canals. The store stayed open during the event, which was held in the cookbook section. Bear Pond co-owner Claire Benedict noted that one customer decided not to stay when told there would be no bride. "Perhaps if one of the grooms had worn a wedding gown!" she commented. Celebrating (from l.): Julian Kasow, Rob Kasow, Joel Kasow, Canals, Benedict and Georgia Kasow.


Young Bookseller Focus: Danielle Borsch

This is the fourth in an occasional series of interviews of young, smart booksellers who are both the present and the future of bookselling--and whose enthusiasm and presence are encouraging many older folks in the industry who feared they might be a dying breed. Our intrepid reporter is George Carroll, an independent publishers rep and principal of Redsides Publishing Services.

Danielle Borsch, 28, is the events coordinator at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo.

You were recommended to me by a fellow publishers' representative who said he marveled at how you get everything done. What's "everything?"

Planning, I think, is less of an activity and more of a personality. I organize more than 200 author events a year. I cast plays. Up until very recently, I helped run a small, nonprofit theater company that produced all new and original works. I hosted trivia nights in bars a couple of times a week. Currently, I'm helping to run a zombie-themed clothing company, so that includes a lot of website work and going to conventions on weekends to discuss the importance of having (but not sharing) your zombie survival plan.

You're the first person I've interviewed who was hired to do something specific in a bookstore.

I was hired on as the events coordinator, and I believe it's because of a story I told about working in theater. Two days before the show, I discovered that the venue we'd rented was missing some of its walls, missing all of its stage lighting and was covered in Styrofoam trash from a previous production of Seussical the Musical. Making a play happen under those conditions can be similar to certain author events.

What do you use to do your event planning: a computer program, an organizer, a paper calendar, a war room big board?

I have several kinds of calendars, because we're terrified that something will happen to one of them and everything will be lost. I start with a date planner, I post the event with a description in Outlook, then sync with a Google calendar that shows up on "Batman" and "Robin," our store cell phones that go to the events so employees can take credit card payments, post to Twitter, take photos and scan tickets.

Many of the events you plan go beyond the traditional talk-reading-Q&A-signing format.

I really love planning events that add some unusual element. For Laurell K. Hamilton, we rented a police-station-turned-art-gallery and had attendees pose for photos with Laurell inside one of the holding cells. When Bouchercon came to St. Louis, we hosted 20 of the authors in a Paragraph Party in the basement of a wine bar and tap house. Each of them read a paragraph of their choosing, be it a sentence or a page in length, from their latest books. For David Sedaris, we had a street party, and people brought their lawn chairs into the closed street in front of our store to hear him.

Can you talk about what it is like taking part in a resurgence of independent bookselling in your city?

I think it's easy to feel like the little kid being bullied on the playground when we're fighting against first the chains and then Amazon. But having other indie bookstores stand with us--especially the ones in our city--makes us feel much more powerful. It's like that great moment in books and movies when all the geeks stand together and the bully can't take on everyone at once. The St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance has been a remarkable thing for all of us. We can still be competitive, but we also have the chance to work together on big events like our Indie Bookstore Bus Cruise or the ReadMOB for World Book Night.

How did the St. Louis Independent Bookselling Alliance start?

One of the independent bookstore owners announced she would have to close by the end of that summer if business didn't improve. Another store's owner called for drinks and invited two other bookstore owners. The four of them got to talking and then joined forces for an alliance. A press release went out and media questions soon followed. When the articles ran, they included an open invitation to other indie bookstore owners in the area to attend the next meeting, and a lot of people showed up.

Can you share one of your triumphant moments in bookselling?

Convincing a local university to buy the books for its common reads program through our bookstore instead of Amazon. Since then, I've been able to get two authors of their selected books to do events at the school, something Amazon obviously never offered.

I understand you have an abiding love for the works of Patrick Rothfuss. What books are your handselling choices when you get out of the office and out among the customers?

Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind is my go-to handselling pick always. A lot of people think they don't like genre fiction, and chances are it's because they've never found an entrance that includes the kind of stories they already read. I try to find gateway fantasy and science fiction books. Jo Walton's Among Others, Ernest Cline's Ready Player One and George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones. (I recommended George R.R. Martin before the HBO show happened, which makes me feel like a hipster I-read-Martin-before-the-television-series bookseller.)

The final question is from Jenn Witte, the previous interviewee in the series: When a person answers the question "What do you do for a living?" with "bookselling," it's often assumed that they are not planning on doing it forever. Are you planning on selling books forever, or does it just suit your lifestyle now?

When I say that I arrange author events, people tend to think that's really cool, so I don't usually run into that assumption. I would be thrilled to spend my life working in the book industry, and whether it's for now or forever, one of the best places to be is on the front lines: in the bookstore, and especially in Left Bank Books.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: R.A. Dickey on the Late Show with David Letterman

This morning on the Mancow Show: Robert L. Blakeslee, author of Your Time to Bake: A Novice's Guide to the World of Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More (Square One Publishers, $29.95, 9780757003554).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: James Carville, co-author of It's the Middle Class, Stupid! (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399160394). He will also appear on CNN's Starting Point and NPR's On Point.


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


Tomorrow on Primetime: Robert W. Merry, author of Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451625400).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Terrie Williams, author of The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species (Penguin, $27.95, 9781594203398).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: R.A. Dickey, co-author of Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399158155).

Breakwater Books 'Oughta Be in Pictures'... & Is!

Last September, director David Frankel did some shooting on location at Breakwater Books, Guilford, Conn., for his film Hope Springs, which will hit theaters August 10. The official trailer for the movie, starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, features two scenes in the store.

Books & Authors

Ernie Cline and His Car

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is now in paperback (Broadway, $14). In celebration of the June release, and in order to sell more books, of course, Cline embarked on a cross-country tour of bookstores in his DeLorean, doing readings and signings. When he came to Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, I set out to interview him. At first glance, Ready Player One is not my kind of book, considering that it's saturated with game playing, homages to Atari 2600 and references to the 1980s. (Our review said that Cline has a thing for '80s pop culture the way James Joyce had a thing for the Dublin of June 16, 1904.) I dutifully started to skim the book and soon was immersed in the world of Wade Watts and a brutal 2044 America. Cline has written an adventure, a quest, a romance that barrels along with all the abandon and precision of his beloved DeLorean.

In the story, Wade is on a mission to find a virtual "Easter egg" to win a multibillion-dollar fortune. In the actual book, Cline has hidden an "egg," and the first finder will win the DeLorean, perhaps the most iconic '80s car, in large part because of the movie Back to the Future. He's fitted it with gear from the film car, and half the fun (besides enjoying Cline's enthusiasm) is watching people recognize the car and shout, "Look! It has the flux capacitor!" In fact, I quickly realized the best thing to do was to toss the notepad and bask in the reflected glory of Ernie and his DeLorean.

You can visit Ernie, the car and the book on his website (make sure to read his bio). --Marilyn Dahl


Awards: Frank O'Connor Short Story; CWA Daggers

Nathan Englander won the €25,000 (US$31,430) Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for his collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank.

"I'm delighted this deserving book has emerged from a very strong shortlist," said award director Patrick Cotter. "Nathan Englander now augments a list of legendary names who have been previous winners of this crucial literary award." Prior honorees include Yiyun Li, Haruki Murakami, Miranda July, Jhumpa Lahiri, Simon Van Booy, Ron Rash and Edna O'Brien.

The Crime Writers’ Association announced six Dagger awards and three Dagger longlists during a ceremony last week in London at which Frederick Forsyth was presented with the CWA Diamond Dagger award. You can find the complete longlists here for the Gold Dagger, Ian Fleming Steel Dagger and John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. Dagger winners named thus far include:

Ellis Peters Historical: Icelight by Aly Monroe
International: The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri
Nonfiction: The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.
Dagger in the Library: Steve Mosby
Short Story: Shared between Cath Staincliffe and Margaret Murphy for stories published in the Murder Squad anthology Best Eaten Cold.
Debut: Sandy Gingras for her story "Beached."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 17:

Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz and Peter Schrager (Celebra, $26.95, 9780451416155) reveals the lifetime of hard work behind Cruz's seemingly miraculous year as a wide receiver for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Love Is the Cure: On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS by Elton John (Little Brown, $27.99, 9780316219907) focuses on the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the singer's loss of friends and loved ones in the 1980s.

The Fallen Angel: A Novel by Daniel Silva (Harper, $27.99, 9780062073129) follows spy Gabriel Allon as he investigates a death in the Vatican.

The Painted Bridge: A Novel by Wendy Wallace (Scribner, $25, 9781451660821) takes place in a Victorian asylum, where a sane woman has been committed by her new husband.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer (Little Brown, $17.99, 9780316201575) is a children's book about twins trapped in a fairytale world.

The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean (Little Brown, $25.99, 9780316182317) explores the macroscopic manifestations of DNA.

Book Review

Review: Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz

Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr (Bloomsbury, $35 hardcover, 9781596915336, July 17, 2012)

Cynthia Carr's Fire in the Belly, a prodigious chronicle of the artist David Wojnarowicz's life (with a title inspired by one of his most well-known films), is shadowed by the certainty of its ending. Wojnarowicz was an incendiary painter, photographer, filmmaker and activist at the gritty heart of Manhattan's East Village art scene in the 1980s. He died in 1992, at the age of 37, due to complications of AIDS.

In an unflinching and incredibly humane portrait of his life and death, Carr draws from extensive interviews, Wojnarowicz's writings and her own memories of him to recount the experiences, relationships and passions that informed his work. That art is strewn with the "relics and rubble" that fascinated him and marked by themes of destruction and corrupted spirituality--and, near the end of his life, it culminated in a visceral condemnation of a government that ignored the AIDS crisis.

Wojnarowicz spent much of his adult life fighting against legislators who tried to silence him, whether by refusing to fund his art or by denying him his basic rights. Decades after his death, the fight continues: in 2010, the Smithsonian, fearing the loss of federal funding, removed Wojnarowicz's work from a landmark exhibit of LGBT art after protests by the Catholic League. The ensuing outrage, as well as the controversy over the artwork, was a testament to the provocative power of his work.

Wojnarowicz emerges from these pages as a forceful, enigmatic character, "a truth-teller who kept secrets, a loner who loved to collaborate, an artist who craved recognition but did not want to be seen." Carr's probing, masterful storytelling suggests his traumatic early life--an abusive childhood and an adolescence hustling in Times Square--was the foundation for his legendary temper, complex relationships and his artistic and existential sensibilities.

Carr, who covered art for the Village Voice for nearly 20 years, is a subtle presence throughout. She was a friend of Wojnarowicz as well as a witness to the "discovery, exploitation, and demise" of the East Village scene in which he played a pivotal role. Her clear-eyed but impassioned analysis of the double-pronged assault of gentrification and AIDS that destroyed "New York's last bohemia" elevates Fire in the Belly from biography to requiem. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: A sprawling, elegiac biography that mourns the loss of David Wojnarowicz and the art scene in which he flourished.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Books in June

The following were the most popular book club books during June based on votes from readers and leaders of more than 35,000 book clubs registered at

1. Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James
2. The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
3. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
4. Before I Go to Sleep: A Novel by S.J. Watson
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
7. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
10. The Next Thing on My List: A Novel by Jill Smolinski

Rising Stars:

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (probably because of the upcoming movie)

[Many thanks to!]

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