Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tordotcom: The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

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

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart


Bookstore Sales Jump 5.7% in May

May bookstore sales rose 5.7%, to $1.09 billion, compared to May 2011, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have been level at $5.937 billion.

In January, bookstore sales were even with the same period in the previous year while in February and March bookstore sales dropped 4% and 3.8%, respectively, then rebounded in April by 3.8%.

Total retail sales in May rose 7%, to $423.7 billion, compared to May 2011. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 7%, to $1,978.8 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.

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

The Count for Monte Cristo: Halfway to Fundraising Goal

Gina Holmes and Christopher Jones are halfway toward their goal of raising $10,000 via crowdsourcing site indiegogo by the end of the month to use as collateral on a larger loan so that they can open the Monte Cristo Bookshop in New London, Conn.

"Widely known as the cultural center of Southeastern Connecticut, with 14 art galleries, a dozen music venues, a performance art theater, and home to 'Connecticut's Best Coffee Shop 4 years in a row,' New London is missing one vital element: a bookstore," the pair wrote.

The two noted that they had prepared in detail and had originally obtained sufficient funding. "We asked around town. We looked at potential properties. We met local business leaders, politicians, 'townies,' and anyone who had influence or an opinion. We went on an 'independent bookstore tour' of New England. We e-mailed and phoned bookstore owners around the country. We crafted a marketing plan. We researched the industry. We met with school officials. We met with a marketing company, interior designers, insurance agents, and business experts. We had meetings and more meetings. Many people wanted to be involved. After several weeks and many modifications, we had crafted our plan."

But then, original family funding dried up because of illness, so Holmes and Jones turned to crowdsourcing to get the Monte Cristo Bookshop started. Their donation packages have literary titles and range from $5 to $50,000. For those who do the $250 Great Expectations plan, "You will receive a bumper sticker, your name on website, handwritten thank you note, t-shirt, VIP pre-opening party invitation and your name on the 'generous donors' plaque (optional)." For the $50,000 Great Gatsby, "You will be a member of our volunteer advisory with VIP access to the store at all times. All of the perks above including; VIP pre-opening party invitation, name on 'generous donors' plaque (optional), a bookcase named after you in the genre of your choice, book club membership, book of the month club for 3 years, entered into the ribbon cutting lottery dinner with Chis and Gina, Author's club."

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Chester County Book & Music on Monthly Lease

Unsettling news from Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, Pa.: in an e-mail to reps, owner Kathy Simoneaux said that the store did not renew its lease in January and is occupying its space on a month-to-month basis at "a greatly reduced rent" that has made cash flow "the best it's been for years." But under the month-to-month lease, the landlord can give the store 60 days notice to vacate, at which point the store will close. (Simoneaux called the store "too big for the current bookselling environment" and said she considered downsizing, "but just couldn't get the numbers to work.")

LA Fitness has expressed interest in the space, but no lease has been signed, and the landlord said that "a significant part of the deal is unaccomplished."

In the meantime, "we are conducting business as usual," Simoneaux said. "We are buying as if we'll be here through the fall… When the time comes, we will close ethically and all our vendors will be paid. Please make note of that if any credit departments get nervous."

Founded 30 years ago, Chester County Books & Music Company has 28,000 square feet of space and stocks some 125,000 book titles as well as magazines, newspapers, music and movies. The store's Magnolia Grill serves New Orleans cuisine. The store had some major losses two years ago: Kathy Simoneaux's husband, Bob Simoneaux, died January 11, 2010, and longtime legendary bookseller Joe Drabyak died August 27, 2010.

GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

More States to Upload E-Book Sales Taxes?

A flurry of news stories have noted that more Republican governors support online retailers collecting sales tax, particularly following some of the deals between and states whereby Amazon will eventually begin collecting sales tax on purchases in those states.

SmartMoney goes a step farther, speculating that e-book sales online, which are not taxed in a uniform way from state to state, may become attractive to state governments. Currently digital content is exempt from sales tax in some states, including California, New York, Florida, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. In other states, like Washington, Wisconsin, Idaho, Kentucky and Vermont, there are taxes on digital goods sales. Some states don't have specific taxes on digital goods but define them as "tangible personal property" and thus taxable. So far, several bills have been introduced, including in Connecticut and California, to tax digital content.

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

Obituaries: Stephen R. Covey; Donald Sobol; Else Holmelund Minarik

Stephen R. Covey, the business management writer whose books included perennial bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died Monday, Reuters reported. He was 79.


Donald Sobol, author of the Encyclopedia Brown children's book series that included almost 30 books and "has never gone out of print," died last week, Jacket Copy reported. He was 87.


Else Holmelund Minarik, author of the Little Bear Books series about "an anthropomorphized cub's forays into the wider world," died last Thursday, the New York Times reported. She was 91.

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire


Image of the Day: Grassroots Premiere

Grant Cogswell (l.) and Phil Campbell reunited at the Village East multiplex Friday night for the New York premiere of Grassroots, an adaptation of Campbell's memoir (formerly titled Zioncheck for President, but recently reissued by Nation Books under the movie's name) about managing Cogswell's 2001 campaign for a seat on the Seattle City Council. After the film, which New York Times critic Stephen Holden describes as possessing "an endearingly scruffy charm," Cogswell and Campbell joined director Stephen Gyllenhaal for a q&a session with the audience. Cogswell--who eventually left Seattle and now runs an English-language used bookstore in Mexico City--had mixed feelings about seeing himself and his campaign from an outside perspective; though largely sympathetic, Joel David Moore's portrayal is at turns impassioned and manic. "I've seen it twice and, to be honest, that's plenty for me," he said. "You don't want to take the same mushrooms again and again." --Ron Hogan


Happy Birthday, Duck's Cottage!

This coming Sunday, July 22, is the 10th anniversary of the founding of Duck's Cottage Coffee & Books, Duck, N.C., which is celebrating with a new logo and special edition Tenth Anniversary gift items, including a hat, T-shirts and mugs. (It also celebrated by opening Duck's Cottage Downtown in Manteo in March.)

As owner Jamie Layton wrote: "Seems like just yesterday we were so happy to be selling Craig Lee of California our first book (a Garfield treasury, go figure)! There were a lot of things we hadn't figured out yet and we've made a lot of improvements over the years but ONE thing has stayed the same for all TEN years... we still bring you the freshest coffee, the finest espresso drinks and the best selection of books."

Cool Video of the Day: Tattered Cover's 'Theater of Ideas'

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver Colo., offered a virtual tour of its "theater of ideas" in the former Bonfils Theatre, which TC purchased in 2006 and renovated, "complete with stage, orchestra pit, original theater seats, downstairs cabaret where authors now perform readings and sign their books, and a graceful main lobby featuring the original etched windows and retro light fixtures that remind us that this building was designed and built in the early 1950s."

Personnel Changes at Barnes & Noble, Simon & Schuster

Barnes & Noble has made the following appointments:

Thomas Donohue has joined the company as v-p, treasurer. He was formerly v-p, assistant treasure, international, at the Interpublic Group of Companies, the advertising and marketing firm.
Kanuj Malhotra has joined the company as v-p, corporate development. He was formerly v-p and finance head for the graduate programs business unit at Kaplan Test Prep and earlier held finance positions at Cendant Corporation and Lehman Brothers' mergers and acquisition group.  
Andy Milevoj has been promoted to v-p, investor relations. He joined the company in 1998 and was most recently director of investor relations.


Anne Tate has been promoted to publicity manager in the Simon & Schuster publicity department. She joined the department last year as a senior publicist.

Book Trailer of the Day: Four New Messages

Four New Messages by Joshua Cohen (Graywolf Press). Directed by Brian Spinks, the trailer stars Alex Karpovsky (HBO's Girls) as drug dealer Richard Monomian from the story "Emission," which chronicles the pusher's brush with unwanted Internet fame following a drug-fueled incident at a party.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Carol Alt, Easy Sexy Raw

Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Victor Cruz, co-author of Out of the Blue (Celebra, $26.95, 9780451416155). He will also appear on Live with Kelly.


Tomorrow on the View: Carol Alt, author of Easy Sexy Raw: 130 Raw Food Recipes, Tools, and Tips to Make You Feel Gorgeous and Satisfied (Clarkson Potter, $18.99, 9780307888693).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307273390).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, author of Gorilla Beach (Gallery, $25, 9781451657081).

SiriusXM Signs Susie Bright to Talk About Erotica

Satellite radio company SiriusXM has launched Book Radio After Dark, a one-hour show that "opens up a world of beautifully written, spicy hot erotica presented by writer, editor, teacher and sex-positive feminist Susie Bright. Susie will curate and share her thoughts on the best contemporary erotica--elegant, playful, dark, dirty and simply sexy--drawn from her years of editing The Best American Erotica Anthologies."

SiriusXM attributed the show's existence to "erotica's meteoric thrust into the mainstream, in part due to the unbridled success of E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey."

The show is on SiriusXM Book Radio, channel 80, on Sundays at 3 a.m.

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 24:

The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780547731605) follows a redeemed Indian cultist in Victorian London.

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9780312554194) returns a young TV producer to a past she'd hoped to leave behind.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel by Rachel Joyce (Random House, $25, 9780812993295) takes an English retiree on a six hundred mile walk across the countryside to visit a dying friend.

Friends Forever: A Novel by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $28, 9780385343213) takes place over several decades, following five friends from kindergarten through adulthood.

Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street by Neil Barofsky (Free Press, $26, 9781451684933) reveals the mismanagement of TARP bailout funds.

Now in paperback:

Ed King by David Guterson (Vintage, $15.95, 9780307455901).

Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost by Paul Hendrickson (Vintage, $16.95, 9781400075355).

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann (Vintage, $16.95, 9780307278241).

The Dark Knight Rises: The Official Novelization by Greg Cox (Titan Books, $7.99, 9781781161067).

An Unsuitable Bride by Jane Feather (Pocket Books, $7.99, 9781439145265).

Book Review

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Random House, $25 hardcover, 9780812993295, July 24, 2012)

Rachel Joyce, the author of more than 20 plays for BBC Radio, adds "novelist" to her résumé with this sensitive and uplifting story of an unusual hero's incredible journey.

Harold Fry makes for an unlikely pilgrim. A British pensioner, Harold spends most days sitting in his chair or half-listening to his wife, Maureen, harangue him over trivialities that stand in for the larger disappointments of their marriage. Nothing seems able to shake up Harold's tedious existence, until he receives a farewell letter from a nearly forgotten former coworker, Queenie Hennessy, who is dying of cancer in hospice. Troubled and energized, Harold pens Queenie a letter in response, but after walking to the nearest mailbox, he finds himself compelled to walk to the next nearest instead, and so on until he decides to walk yet farther and mail the letter in town. Once there, a chance conversation gives Harold the notion that he can save Queenie's life by an act of faith: he will walk 600 miles from his village to Berwick-upon-Tweed and deliver the letter to Queenie in person. In a message to Queenie, Harold says, "I will keep walking and you must keep living." Queenie once did Harold a good turn in a dark time, and he believes he can return the favor.

Harold sets out in a light jacket and yachting shoes, completely unprepared for the journey or for the stories he will hear from strangers he meets on his way or for the memories of his own lonely childhood, his promising early years with Maureen and their son, David, and the tragedy that wrecked their family.

Maureen has no idea what to make of her husband's quixotic designs. Left behind in an empty house, she frets that Harold's mind has started to go, that he won't come back and, worst of all, that she drove him away. She never suspects Harold's walk is about to capture the hearts and minds of Britain or that after years of blaming him for all their problems, Harold's absence will leave her desperately missing him.

A redemptive journey of determination and love rekindled, this modern-day Pilgrim's Progress features an unusual Everyman whose grit and growth suggest that it's never too late for second chances. Through emotional hardship and physical injury, Harold's unfailing commitment to Queenie and ability to finally open his heart to others after so many years will inspire readers as they share his triumphs and pitfalls. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry reminds us of both our human frailty and our capacity for strength. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger, Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: British pensioner Harold Fry undertakes an inspirational journey of 600 miles on foot to say goodbye to a dying woman who once saved him.


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