Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Scribner Book Company: Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Flatiron Books: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: You Matter by Christian Robinson

St. Martin's Press: Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman's Journey Into the Heart of Africa by Brad Ricca

Quirk Books: This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: When I Draw a Panda by Amy June Bates

Random House: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld


Amazon: Lockers and Printed Textbooks Rentals

The Wall Street Journal offered more information about Amazon's lockers, which have been introduced in groceries, convenience stores and drugstores in New York City, northern Virginia and, most recently, the Bay Area of California after being tested in Seattle (Shelf Awareness, June 25, 2012). Lockers are also being introduced in the U.K.

The lockers help Amazon overcome "one of the last remaining barriers for some users, particularly urban apartment dwellers who fear they'll miss a delivery or have their items stolen from their doorstep," the Journal wrote.

Theft has been a problem "in Europe and Japan, and is growing in the U.S., especially as thieves have moved into the game," Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer for ShopRunner, told the paper. "It's easy to follow a UPS truck around and steal packages from doorsteps."

Amazon saves on shipping costs since, Dias said, UPS and FedEx charge as much as 20% more to deliver individual packages to residential addresses than multiple packages to a business address. Failed deliveries are also more expensive for online retailers because, the Journal said, "those consumers are more likely to call customer service, switch to a competitor, or get a replacement item."

Customers who opt to use the lockers are e-mailed a code when the package arrives that opens that locker. They have several days to pick up the package.


In other Amazon news, the company has expanded its textbook rental program, which had applied to e-books, to printed textbooks. The company is offering "thousands" of titles, with fulfillment by Amazon, and says students can save "up to 70%." The rental period is 130 days, and extensions are possible.

In the past several years, rentals have increased in popularity among students who want to pay less for textbooks.


Anansi International: This Lovely City by Louise Hare

Authors Guild Filing: Google Targeted Amazon

A recent Authors Guild filing, which asked Google to pay $750 per book, offered other revelations, including details about how the company scanned more than 20 million titles (eight million of which are English language works still under copyright), "has so far spent more than $180 million on book scanning and, at the outset of the project, one of its stated goals was to keep web searchers away from Amazon," paidContent reported.

The filing cited internal Google documents "in an attempt to show that the scanning was an overtly commercial project, and that the scanning was not a fair use as Google is claiming," paidContent wrote. The parties will appear before Judge Denny Chin October 9 to argue whether the case can be decided without a trial.

University of California Press: The Mating Game: How Gender Still Shapes How We Date by Ellen Lamont

Obituary Note: Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes, "the eloquent, combative art critic and historian who lived with an operatic flair and wrote with a sense of authority that owed more to Zola or Ruskin than to his own century," died yesterday, the New York Times reported. He was 74. His books included The Shock of the New, which was based on one of his several highly popular BBC series, and The Fatal Shore, a worldwide bestseller about the founding of his native Australia.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.06.20


Image of the Day: Hearing Heartbeats in Connecticut

On Sunday, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., held an event for The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Kevin Wiliarty (Other Press) that was attended by 60 people. Afterward, Bank Square co-owner Annie Philbrick hosted dinner for the author, who brought his translator along. From l.: Wiliarty, Sendker, Philbrick and Ann Kingman, Random House sales rep and PW rep of the year.


Berkley Books: Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels

Colgate Store Celebrates Customers, 10 Years Downtown

To thank customers and celebrate the 10th anniversary of its move to downtown from the Colgate University campus, the Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, N.Y., is holding a "Customer Appreciation Day & Hot Dog Roast" this coming Friday, August 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. At the event, the store will serve hot dogs, beverages, snacks and desserts in the bookstore parking lot. A balloon artist will provide entertainment and party favors for children. Door prizes will also be awarded, and most items in the store will be discounted 10%.

The store offers usual academic products and services but also aims to serve the general community and thus is "central New York's largest downtown independent bookstore, stocking more than 22,000 books and offering community meeting space," the Madison County Courier noted.

University of California Press: A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein

Video of the Day: Rock Bottom Remainders

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
featured the Rock Bottom Remainders last night, with the band's final performance, plus an interview with Stephen King. The show was taped on June 22, when the Remainders were in the Los Angeles area for ALA.


Berkley Books: Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller

Guilty Reading Pleasures: 'More Bookseller Confessions'

The answer: Erich Segal's Love Story, Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County and more.

The question: What titles did booksellers at Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., confess were their "favorite guilty pleasure books. Those books we simply feel we shouldn't love, but we do. They're like the reality TV shows of the written world. But, we've taken a page from Christian Grey, and signed a non-disclosure agreement to never discuss who among us likes these books (crap! Now we just revealed that we've read Fifty Shades of Grey!) Without further ado, here are our books we're embarrassed to admit we love, but can't deny that we love them."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gillian Flynn on the View

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Jon Friedman, author of Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution (Perigee, $15, 9780399537547).


Tomorrow morning on Mancow's Morning Madhouse: Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith (Free Press, $14, 9781451699685).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes: Neil Barofsky, author of Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street (Free Press, $26, 9781451684933).


Tomorrow on Sirius XM's Judith Regan Show: Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy, authors of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back (Free Press, $26, 9781451683806).


Tomorrow on the View: Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl (Crown, $25, 9780307588364).


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Liza Mundy, author of The Richer Sex: How the New Majority of Female Breadwinners Is Transforming Sex, Love and Family (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439197714).

TV Project: Jessica Z

Television rights to 2008 novel Jessica Z by Shawn Klomparens have been optioned for development into a series, with Jane Motz Hayes (Berkeley Films) and Brandi-Ann Milbradt (Philms Pictures) producing. Author Catherine McKenzie (Spin, Arranged, Forgotten) will be adapting the novel, in which a young woman becomes involved in a complex and erotic relationship with an enigmatic artist who may be hiding dark secrets.


Books & Authors

GBO Picks We're Flying

The German Book Office has chosen We're Flying by Peter Stamm, translated by Michael Hofmann (Other Press, $15.95, 9781590513248), as its August Book of the Month.

We're Flying consists of 24 stories, each of which, the GBO said, "possesses the traits that have built Stamm's reputation: the directness of the prose, the deceptive surface simplicity of the narratives and its deep psychological insight into the existential dilemmas of contemporary life. Stamm does not waste a word, nor does he spare the reader's feelings."

Among the characters are "the talented artist who abandons her dream in deference to others' passions; the visitor who remains at his hotel despite a lack of water and electricity in order to remain near his intransigent hostess; the lonely woman who develops an attraction to her upstairs neighbor despite, or because of, the physical barriers between them."

Peter Stamm was born in 1963, in Weinfelden, Switzerland, and now lives near Zurich. He has written many novels, short stories and radio plays. His novels Unformed Landscape, On a Day Like This and Seven Years and the collection In Strange Gardens and Other Stories are available from Other Press.

Michael Hofmann was born in 1957 in Freiberg, West Germany. He has translated works by Ernst Junger, Franz Kafka, Wolfgang Koeppen, Joseph Roth and Wim Wenders, among others, and teaches at the University of Florida.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, August 14, and Thursday, August 16:

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781451626070) is historical fiction about two sisters caught in the royal intrigues of the War of the Roses.

The Caller: An Inspector Sejer Mystery by Karin Fossum, translated by K.E. Semmel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780547577524) begins with a bloody prank in a quiet Norwegian town.

The Inn at Rose Harbor: A Novel by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine, $26, 9780345528926) begins a new series centered on a bed and breakfast in the Pacific Northwest.

Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans (Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink, $17.99, 9781442454149) continues the tale of a boy with electric powers.

Motherland: A Novel by Amy Sohn (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439158494) follows five mothers coping with stressful relationships.

A Case for Solomon: Bobby Dunbar and the Kidnapping That Haunted a Nation by Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright (Free Press, $26.99, 9781439158593) explores a mysterious 1912 Louisiana kidnapping.

The World Almanac for Kids 2012 by Sarah Janssen (World Almanac, $13.99, 9781600571534) includes new photos, activities and Internet links.

Now in paperback:

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz (Picador, $18, 9780312429263).

Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes (Vintage, $15, 9780307742957).

Book Review

Review: The Orchardist

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 9780062188502, August 21, 2012)

It may be true that no good deed goes unpunished, but it is also true that the punishing consequences of good deeds make for great stories. Amanda Coplin more than exploits the dramatic possibilities of this maxim in her debut novel, The Orchardist. Her do-gooder is William Talmadge, the orchardist of the title, who has lived alone on a vast Wenatchee Valley homestead ever since his teenage sister disappeared during a herb-foraging walk in 1865. Unable to determine whether Elsbeth ran away or was abducted, Talmadge has preserved the wild forested area where her bonnet was found as a sort of tribute and devoted his prime years to the meticulous husbandry of 25 acres of apricot, plum and apple trees. His social interactions are modest: the transitory company of horse wranglers who barter orchard work for camping rights, one of whom became a friend after helping to search for Elsbeth; and a chaste friendship with the midwife/herbalist who lives on the edge of town. As Coplin writes, in one of her singularly lyrical-concrete phrases, Talmadge's mind is ordered by "the rigid scaffolding of chores."

Talmadge's inciting good deed is to refuse to let a righteous townie pursue two nearly feral girls who dash off with skirtsful of the orchardist's apples on market day. That the raggedy thievelets are pregnant, scorned and imperiled--and close to the age of Elsbeth when she disappeared--is not subtly cued, but never mind, because the events that follow Talmadge's clemency are more mesmerizing than his susceptibility to their plight. A few days later, the runaways, who are in fact sisters, track their benefactor back to his orchard, where Talmadge, impelled to continue helping them, sows the seeds for his ensuing punishment. (Fear not, gentle-minded readers--a tender reward is grafted onto the bargain.)

The Orchardist is a literary read that puts story above high-falutinness, with plenty of plainspoken poetics nestled into its sentences (for example, the names of the apple varieties: Rhode Island Greenings, Arkansas Blacks, Northern Spies). After a novella-like opening that encapsulates Talmadge's stark family history, the narrative uses stereoscopic short chapters to capture vignettes of Talmadge's and the sisters' fates; in the final third, the lens opens wide and clicks fast through the eventful consequences of his well-intentioned deeds.

With its frontier setting, fierce female characters and abiding themes of loss and revenge, The Orchardist recalls Charles Portis's True Grit and John Steinbeck's East of Eden, but Coplin, the granddaughter of an orchardist, spreads an agrarian balm over the novel's human blights with her gorgeous evocations of the Wenatchee Valley's seasons and rituals. This is an extraordinarily ambitious and authoritative debut. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

Shelf Talker: An absorbing and gratifying debut novel about a turn-of-the-century Wenatchee Valley orchardist whose kindness toward a pair of runaway sisters transforms his final decades.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Books in July

The following were the most popular book club books during July 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 Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
3. The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
4. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
5. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
6. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
7. State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett
8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
9. Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
10. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Rising Stars:

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

[Many thanks to!]

AuthorBuzz: Health Communications: The Pleasure Plan: One Woman's Search for Sexual Healing by Laura Zam
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