Also published on this date: Wednesday, July 11, 2012: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Survivors

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview

Quotation of the Day

Another Indie Challenge: Instant Book Gratification

"We are in a society that wants things immediately. When I first opened and I told people I could get a book for them tomorrow, they were shocked and pleased. Now they'll say, 'Is there any chance I can get it later today?' "

--Rita Maggio, owner of Booktowne, Manasquan, N.J. (which opened in 2007), in a Financial Times article about how Amazon's negotiations to collect sales tax in many more states is part of its strategy of opening many more warehouses in highly populated areas to provide faster delivery services.


Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus


Kindle Fire 2: One-Stop Rumor Shopping

The tech blogs have been working overtime with speculation about the upcoming release of Amazon's Kindle Fire 2. Yesterday, CNet attempted to consolidate the rumors, observing that the "release of Google's Nexus 7 tablet at the same price point of the first-generation Kindle Fire has increased the competitive climate; not to mention the seemingly never-ending reign of the Apple iPad as the king of tablets. Will Amazon make another relevant and successful tablet? Will there be three different versions of the Kindle Fire? What about 4G? In anticipation of the expected announcement, here's a collection of all of the Kindle Fire 2 rumors to date."

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Amazon's Denny Triangle Plan: Seeking a 'Family Resemblance'

At the most recent hearing before Seattle's Downtown Design Review Board for Amazon's proposed three-block Denny Triangle office complex, architects said Amazon doesn't want the project "to look like a corporate campus--but the towers will bear a 'family resemblance,' particularly as they rise farther from the street," the Seattle Times reported.

According to the firm's latest design proposal, the facades of the three 38-story buildings would look, from a distance, like "brothers and sisters," with similar materials used, said Dale Alberda of NBBJ, who added that as the towers come down to ground level, "they become more diverse. We want a balance between diversity and continuity." The Seattle Times noted that a new feature in the latest design package "is what the architects call a 'shared-use street' on Lenora between Seventh and Westlake avenues. It would remain open to cars, but designed to give pedestrians and bicyclists priority."

Additional meetings are tentatively scheduled for August 14 and September 11.

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Boston's Trident Booksellers & Café Expanding

Trident Booksellers & Cafe, Boston, Mass., "an eclectic fixture on Newbury Street since 1984, will be 50% larger when it spreads out into the second floor of its Back Bay building by September," the Herald reported. A "brisk weekend brunch business" was cited as the inspiration for the decision to add new seating upstairs with a Newbury Street view, as well as a bar with beer and wine taps.

"We just want to expand seating, expand retail--just make everything bigger here," said manager Courtney Flynn, daughter of founders Bernie and Gail Flynn. "We're going to be moving sections around, expanding some book sections and also adding a lot of gifts and games.... Brunch, especially when the students are here, is very busy. We have long waits, and the whole store is packed, so we're kind of aiming to relieve that."

The Herald noted that there is "a symbiotic relationship between the bookstore and cafe parts of Trident's business." According to Flynn, "We wouldn't have one without the other. Books really create the atmosphere here... and we do sell a fair amount."  

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

Irish Bookstore Chain Eason to Sell Its Own E-Reader

Although details are scarce at this point, Irish bookstore chain Eason will launch an e-reader this year, the Bookseller reported, noting that Eason's "new-look flagship Cork store has a digital zone where customers can download e-books to their e-readers."

"An important element of the refurbished Cork store is our new 'e-store', a key part of our multichannel offering where consumers can download e-books to their e-readers in store," said David Field, head of marketing and retail development. "Eason currently sells a range of e-readers and we have plans to launch our own e-reader later this year."

Kobo: Successful Launch in Japan; Italy Next

The Kobo Touch appears to be a success in Japan, where it is now the top-selling product on the website of its parent company, Rakuten, "after going on pre-order sale July 2 ahead of its July 19 service launch," paidContent reported. Kobo has also announced a partnership with Mondadori Group to bring its device to Italy.

Kobo "has a knack of brokering good local carriage partnerships," paidContent wrote, noting that Mondadori online media stores carry over nine million products. Kobo CEO Mike Serbinis estimated the Italian e-book market at €10 million (about US$12.3 million) for last year.


Bookseller as Book Artist: Justin Rowe

During the 2010 Christmas season, senior bookseller Justin Rowe of Cambridge University Press Bookshop was just "trying to think of an original window display" when he created three book sculptures, but he never imagined that less than two years later his work would be considered worthy of exhibition, Cambridge News reported.

Calling himself "just a bloke who makes things," Rowe said that before adding the role of book artist to his résumé, he had "done a few of the Christmas windows, but I'd never done any paper cutting--or anything like it--before. It was my wife's suggestion: she had a food magazine from ages ago, which she'd kept for a recipe, and it had some papercraft as the background. She said: 'Why don't you do something like that?' I said: 'Well I can't do that, it's really hard. Look at it!' "

Despite his reservations, he "tried a tree to start with. And it just kind of worked." The response to his display was "pretty amazing. Suddenly I'd look out of the window and there'd be eight people crowded round it. That was quite odd. Then I did it again last year, and the response was even bigger."

This coming weekend he will have his second exhibition. He has also been selling prints and cards featuring images of his sculptures, but admits that a career as an artist seems even less financially viable than his current position: "Sadly I don't think this is going to match my wages at the bookshop. There's been a lot of interest, and I've sold a few, but you can't make a living wage out of being that kind of artist, I don't think."

Book Trailer of the Day: Another Life

Another Life (Sept., Frances Lincoln Children's Books), the third novel in Keren David's series about Ty, a teenage boy from London who witnesses a murder and must enter the Witness Protection program with his mother.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Fallows on the Colbert Report

Tomorrow morning on Imus in the Morning: James Carville, co-author of It's the Middle Class, Stupid! (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399160394). He will also appear on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Victoria Nelson, author of Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural (Harvard University Press, $27.95, 9780674050143). As the show put it: "Victoria Nelson writes about the rise of the supernatural into mainstream popular culture. Vampires and werewolves, no longer monsters, have become heroes. We discuss the allure of the horror genre for a generation that feels technology has failed them. Are zombies infected with a post-technological autism that occurs when the grid crashes? Does the popularity of these creatures express a longing for spirituality?"


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Andrew Delbanco, author of College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton University Press, $24.95, 9780691130736).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: James Fallows, author of China Airborne (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780375422119).

TV: Will Harry Bosch Finally Hit the Screen?

Michael Connelly is partnering with Fuse Entertainment (The Killing, The Good Guys) and writer-producer Eric Overmyer (Treme) "in hopes of finally bringing his Hieronymus 'Harry' Bosch character to series TV," reported. Overmyer will develop a prospective series. He will also be the showrunner and lead writer. No network or pilot deal is in place yet. This is Connelly's first Bosch deal since he regained the rights to his character from Paramount in 2010.

The plan is to initially shop the series to cable. Connelly has the option of writing one episode per season, "but plans to stay out of the writing process for the most part, as he has done when his books are made into movies (recently, The Lincoln Lawyer)," wrote.

"I couldn't find a better writer than Eric Overmyer on TV," Connelly said. "I've been down the Hollywood path a lot, and the conclusion that I've come to is that I should write the best novels I can, take them to Hollywood, and let them take it from there."

He also observed that since there is so much Bosch material available, he has "felt for a long time that the best way to maintain the integrity of the character would be to take him to television where some of the best character stuff is being done right now. I love The Killing and I think teaming with Fuse and a writer of the quality and accomplishment of Eric is a fantastic combination."

Visuals: Lawless Trailer; Karenina Poster; Hobbit 'Scroll'

A new trailer has been released for Lawless, the film version of Matt Bondurant's novel The Wettest County in the World, directed by John Hillcoat from a script by Nick Cave. The project, which stars Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska, is scheduled for an August 29 release.


Indiewire noted "the slowly building marketing campaign for promisingly dazzling Anna Karenina continues, now with a new poster for the movie that puts Keira Knightley in the path of an oncoming train. Anyone who's read the book will know what that means."

On the eve Comic-Con 2012, Entertainment Weekly unveiled "The Scroll," an interactive poster for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that incorporates 10 scenes from the film.

Books & Authors

Awards: Dolman Travel Book Longlist

The longlisted titles for this year's Dolman Travel Book of the Year are:

Harlem Is Nowhere by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts
On Extinction by Melanie Challenger
Street Fight in Naples by Peter Robb
The Fetish Room: The Education of a Naturalist by Redmond O'Hanlon
Thin Paths: Journeys in and around an Italian Village by Julia Blackburn
To a Mountain in Tibet by Colin Thubron
To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface by Olivia Laing
White Fever by Jacek Hugo-Bader
Wild Coast by John Gimlette

The shortlist will be announced in early August and a winner named September 5.

Book Brahmin: Nichole Bernier

Nichole Bernier has written for magazines including Elle, Self, Health, Men's Journal and Conde Nast Traveler, where she was a features writer, golf and ski editor, television spokesperson and contributing editor. She is one of the founders of the literary blog Beyond the Margins, and lives outside of Boston with her husband and five children. Bernier's debut novel, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D (Crown, June 5, 2012), tells the story of two women--their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears.

On your nightstand now:

My nightstand pile is a towering and precarious place and if it falls it will hurt my children and pets. These days (eyeing the stack like a dangerous animal) it includes: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved Watership Down by Richard Adams. Even today, I'm unable to see the rabbits in our yard as anything less than a fully evolved society carrying out their dramas underground.

Your top five authors:

I have to restrict this to writers who are not my contemporaries, because there are far too many beautiful and brilliant authors I learn from constantly. Wallace Stegner, Marilynne Robinson, Geraldine Brooks, Ian McEwan and Ann Patchett.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't think I've ever faked reading a book. I'm too chicken I'll get caught not knowing what I'm talking about. But I've nodded and smiled knowingly about many books and let the person I'm talking to draw their own conclusions about whether I've read it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. It's the story of two couples, their lifelong marriages and friendship, which takes a clear-eyed look at how our strengths and foibles become more forgiving and more brittle over the decades. It's brilliant.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Not really for the cover, but for the cover plus review, which I rarely ever do these days when book isn't also recommended by friends--it was The Silent Land by Graham Joyce. The premise was irresistible, a couple trapped in a sort of limbo at a European ski resort after an avalanche, and the eerie cover with a silhouette of birds and a frozen chairlift was like a whisper that something ghostly lived inside. In this case, you could judge a book by its cover.

Book that changed your life:

It's not a whole book, but a marvelous piece of one--John McPhee's fantastic, transporting essay "Travels in Georgia," which manages to make a portrait of a rural roadkill collector hilarious and poignant. I read it in journalism school, and realized that journalism could be many things, didn't have to be straight news and magazine articles. After graduation I went to work at Conde Nast Traveler magazine writing columns and sports-travel narratives.

Favorite line from a book:

Ann Lamott, on the perfectionism of fellow PTA moms: "I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish."

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

Day for Night by Frederick Reiken. Just so I can go back and piece it together since it's already blown my mind.


Book Review

Children's Review: Splendors and Glooms

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick, $17.99 hardcover, 400p., ages 9-13, 9780763653804, August 28, 2012)

Laura Amy Schlitz turns from the airy medieval town of her Newbery Medal–winning Good Masters, Sweet Ladies and the garden setting of her The Night Fairy to a hauntingly claustrophobic tale set in an 1860 London enveloped in thick fog and a dilapidated estate in England's lake district.

The author entwines the fates of a 70-year-old witch named Cassandra, a girl named Clara Wintermute who's the only child of a rich physician and his wife, and the wizard Grisini, who doubles as a gifted puppeteer that keeps his two orphaned assistants on as tight a string as his extraordinary marionettes. Clara, with her 20 perfect ringlets, 10 on either side of a center part, catches sight of a puppet show in Hyde Park: "The Phenomenal Professor Grisini and His Venetian Fantoccini." She decides that this should be the entertainment at her 12th birthday party. "They work with strings--only you don't see the strings. They're like fairies," she explains. She cries to get her way, then coerces her housemaid to help her invite the two child puppet workers, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, to tea--alone--before her party begins.

Schlitz weaves together the individual chapters, which move smoothly among the third-person viewpoints of each character, into an edge-of-your-seat tale. Young Lizzie Rose, who once had a loving home where her parents taught her to read, is the first to suspect Grisini after Clara Wintermute disappears the night of her birthday party, and the police come to search Grisini's flat. But Parsefall, who's spent more years under Grisini's influence, knows the evils of which the man is capable and tells Lizzie Rose to keep mum, though he, too, thinks Grisini may have engineered Clara's disappearance.

As the author unravels the mystery, she explores the many levels on which the characters themselves serve as puppets. Clara Wintermute, whose four siblings all died of cholera, feels compelled by her parents to be solemn and grieving in a home decorated with the children's death masks. She longs to be as free as Lizzie Rose and Parsefall seem to be. But Grisini's orphans are beholden to him for their food and lodging--the puppeteer is master of their fates. As for Cassandra, high in the tower of her decrepit house, she once controlled the power of the phoenix-stone, a fire opal "the size of a crow's egg, blood red, veined with ribbons of changing color," but now it's beginning to consume her. Though she once desired him, Cassandra now detests Grisini, but she needs him to tell her how she can be freed of the fire opal's spell. Schlitz proves herself a master storyteller as she skillfully maneuvers the strings of this gothic tale right up to the astonishing climax. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Like a master puppeteer, Schlitz manipulates her characters with agility and skill to a thrilling climax.


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