Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mulholland Books: Big Time by Ben H. Winters

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers

Doubleday Books: The Husbands by Holly Gramazio

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Quotation of the Day

Time for Reading 'Should Not Be an Unattainable Thing'

"Books are surviving in this intense, fragmented, hyper-accelerated present, and my sense and hope is that things will slow down again and people will want more time for a contemplative life. There is no way people can keep up this pace. No one is happy. Two or three hours to read should not be an unattainable thing, although I hope we get to that stage without needing a corporate sponsored app to hold our hand. The utopian in me has my fingers crossed that we haven't quite figured out the digital future just yet. After all, the one thing we know about people: they always surprise."

--Author Junot Diaz in an interview with the Guardian


NYU: NYU Advanced Publishing Institute


Apple, Four Publishers Offer Antitrust Concessions to EU

In a bid to end a European Union antitrust investigation and avoid potential fines, Apple and four publishers--Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette and Holtzbrinck, parent company of Macmillan--"will allow retailers such as Amazon to sell e-books at a discount for two years," Reuters reported.

The European Commission began formal antitrust proceedings last December to determine whether the companies had engaged in anti-competitive practices, just a day before the U.S. Justice Department confirmed that it was also investigating e-book agency pricing in this country.

Amistad Press: The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade by Hannah Durkin

Tablet Rumor Mill: New B&N Nook Coming?

Add Barnes & Noble to the increasingly crowded list of companies, including Amazon and Apple, rumored to have new tablets on the way. Digital Trends reported that B&N "will be announcing a new Nook tablet in a press conference that will take place in late September."

Citing a source at B&N "who had discussed the to-be-announced Nook with a Microsoft employee close to the matter," Digital Trends wrote that the "existing Nook tablet's selling point has been the ease of its use as an e-reader, but the new Nook may have a renewed focus on tablet features. If that's the case, Barnes & Noble clearly has its sights set on competing more aggressively with the Amazon Fire, Google's Galaxy Nexus 7 and the to-be-released iPad mini."

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Detroit's Leopold's Books to Close

Leopold's Books, Detroit, Mich., will close September 22 after three years in business. The Huffington Post reported that co-owner Greg Lenhoff, who cited personal more than financial reasons for the decision, "has no regrets, a lot of advice and inklings of taking another shot at starting a business in the future."

Still, he conceded that bookselling "is a hard business, and it's hard for everyone whether they're here or whether they're in New York. People are reading more than they ever have before but they're reading online... [they] have far less incentive than they ever did to remember to buy books."

His advice to prospective booksellers: "Get as much money as you possibly can to start. You can never have too much startup capital, because it lets you make adjustments." With Sarah, his wife and co-owner, Lenhoff had opted for a small store approach. "What is in a lot of ways a deficiency, not having that much money, we tried to turn into a strength for the business," he said. "We wanted to really believe in what we were doing, so the curation was a way to ensure that it was always something we cared about. I don't know if I would have been super excited to open up a box of People magazines every week."

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

Obituary Note: Nancy K. Ivison

Nancy K. Ivison, former owner of Pymander Bookshop, Westport, Conn., "through which her outreach to the community was felt for 30 years until she finally sold the shop at the age of 84," died last week, WestportNow reported. She was 92.


Image of the Day: City of Books Block Party

Last week at Powell's Books' 41st Anniversary Block Party, several local authors came by to help celebrate. The emcee was editor/publisher/author/Powell's employee Kevin Sampsell, pictured here with authors Vanessa Veselka and Lidia Yuknavitch.


'Serious Bibliophile' Inspires Downtown Revival

Dorinda Shelley is a book lover with a mission in Grand Rapids, Ohio. During the past two years, the retired dermatologist has purchased or rented six buildings on Front Street, including the 115-year-old Thurston Building, which reopened in the spring as Antiques on Front. The Toledo Blade reported that Shelley "also has a general interest bookstore, a children's bookstore and a second antiques store paired with an art gallery up and running. A history-themed bookstore, called the Happy Historian, is expected to open this month and a record shop may come later. She also hopes to start a literacy center."

"This is what this kind of town needed," said art and antiques dealer Stephen Tolson, who recently opened a shop in Grand Rapids. "I don't know if she considers herself a developer or not, but in my mind she developed this town."

Shelley and her late husband, both "serious bibliophiles" with "a book collection that nearly overtook their home," retired in 1997. When he died in 2009, Shelley "sought the advice of Dave LaRoe, a longtime restaurateur in Grand Rapids, who told her he thought the town could support a bookstore," the Blade wrote, and that was the genesis of Library House Books and Art, which opened last September.  

"What I'm finding is I like to get things started," she said. "If I can help people live their dreams that's great, plus we're employing a lot of people."

And Now a Word from 'Mr. Fifty Shades'

Screenwriter, director and debut novelist (Crusher) Niall Leonard chronicled his experiences as husband of mega-bestselling Fifty Shades trilogy author E.L. James for the Guardian, confessing that he is "the least romantic fecker that ever lived--ask my wife.... Our first Christmas together I bought her a tin opener, and my earliest experience of kinky sex was her trying to shove it up my arse."

"Nobody could have imagined how Fifty Shades would take off," he wrote, adding that once the momentum had begun, "E-mails demanded to know the name of the genius in charge of Erika's marketing campaign. There was no marketing campaign. Apart from a few book blogs, it was all word-of-mouth. In fact, Erika was turning down invitations to appear on U.S. TV that any publicist would have killed for. But after 20-odd years in the business, television held absolutely no glamour for her, and the book was selling just fine without it.... Every week we'd get reports of another sales record Erika had broken, and we'd sit in our tatty Brentford kitchen trying to take it all in."

Noting that while locals have "said very little about it, apart from the occasional polite request" for a signed copy, Leonard wrote that the media is more persistent and asks "if fans turn up on our doorstep asking silly questions. No, but journalists do. Do we have a dungeon? Or a Red Room of Pain? Maybe, and maybe there's a helicopter pad on the roof in case Christian Grey drops in for a spanking. Fifty Shades of Grey is a fantasy--have they forgotten what that means? Do they chase J.K. Rowling down the street daring her to use her Avra Kedavra spell? Do they ask Hilary Mantel how many courtiers she's beheaded?"

He acknowledged that his first novel is getting media coverage because of his wife's fame, but countered that, "like most novelists, I'm hardly going to refuse publicity. I'm not a masochist. And that's all I'm going to say about our sex life."

Bookmasters to Distribute Knox Robinson

Knox Robinson Publishing, London, England, will be distributed in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America by Bookmasters. Founded in 2010 by Dana Celeste Robinson, Knox Robinson specializes in historical fiction, historical romance and fantasy.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Zadie Smith on NPR's Morning Edition

This morning on the Today Show: Judi and Shari Zucker, authors of The Ultimate Allergy-Free Snack Cookbook: Over 100 Kid-Friendly Recipes for the Allergic Child (Square One, $15.95, 9780757003462).


This morning on Good Morning America: Sara Connell, author of Bringing in Finn: An Extraordinary Surrogacy Story (Seal Press, $24, 9781580054102).


This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Zadie Smith, author of NW: A Novel (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594203978).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: Mike Lupica, author of True Legend (Philomel, $17.99, 9780399252273).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: William Souder, author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson (Crown, $30, 9780307462206).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Tom Brokaw, author of The Time of Our Lives (Random House, $17, 9780812975123).


Tomorrow on the View: Sara Connell, author of Bringing in Finn: An Extraordinary Surrogacy Story (Seal Press, $24, 9781580054102).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Robert Reich, author of Beyond Outrage: Expanded Edition (Vintage, $9.99, 9780345804372).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Michael Grunwald, author of The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451642322).

Movies: 'Jazzy' On the Road Trailer; Great Expectations Clip

A "jazzy" teaser trailer has been released for On the Road, Walter Salles's adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel that "will go for round two on the festival circuit" at the Toronto International Film Festival "in a new recut and shorter version" after premiering at Cannes in May, Indiewire reported. IFC Films will release On the Road in December.

A new clip was released from Mike Newell's film version of Great Expectations, featuring "Jeremy Irvine as Pip and Ralph Fiennes as the mysterious Magwitch, in what appears to be their first meeting since encountering each other many years before and it is, more or less, exactly what you'd expect," Indiewire wrote. A U.S. distributor and release date have yet to be set.

Books & Authors

Awards: Hugo

Winners of the 2012 Hugo Awards, honoring the best in science fiction and fantasy, were presented on Sunday at Chicon 7, the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, Ill. You can view the complete Hugo winners list here. Highlights included:

Novel: Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
Novella: "The Man Who Bridged the Mist" by Kij Johnson (Asimov's, September/October 2011)
Novelette: "Six Months, Three Days" by Charlie Jane Anders (
Short story: "The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)
Related work: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Third Edition, edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls and Graham Sleight (Gollancz)
Graphic story: Digger by Ursula Vernon (Sofawolf Press)
Dramatic presentation, long form: Game of Thrones, Season 1 (HBO)
Dramatic presentation, short form: "The Doctor's Wife," Doctor Who (BBC Wales)

Also presented at the ceremony was the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (sponsored by Dell Magazines) to E. Lily Yu; and Chicon 7 gave a Special Committee Award to Chicago resident and science fiction author, editor and collector Robert Weinberg.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 11:

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon (Harper, $27.99, 9780061493348) follows two Northern California record store owners and their midwife wives.

I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High by Tony Danza (Crown Archetype, $24, 9780307887863) explores the star's year working in Philadelphia’s largest high school.

Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet by Tim Gunn and Ada Calhoun (Gallery, $28, 9781451643855) traces the history of fashion from ancient to modern times.

A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte, $28, 9780385344333) is the 17th Jack Reacher novel.

Robert B. Parker's Fool Me Twice by Michael Brandman (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399159497) continues the Jesse Stone series.

How to Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom by Jacques Berlinerblau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547473345) defends the right of individuals to choose their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

Guinness World Records 2013 (Guinness World Records, $28.95, 9781904994879) includes updated records and new photographs.

Now in paperback:

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador, $16, 9781250014764).

Book Review

Review: The Malice of Fortune

The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis (Doubleday, $26.95 hardcover, 9780385536318, September 11, 2012)

Stieg Larsson and CSI meet Renaissance Italy in Michael Ennis's ambitious The Malice of Fortune, in which Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli team up to investigate a series of grisly murders. All the victims are women; all are horribly mutilated. Anyone might be the next victim, including the beautiful golden-haired courtesan Damiata, with whom Machiavelli has fallen in love--and who guards a secret or two of her own.

The fictitious story in The Malice of Fortune occurs within a framework of documented historical events involving Duke Valentin--better known as the notorious Cesare Borgia, eldest son of Pope Alexander VI--and the treacherous brigand leaders who propose to help him conquer Italy. A treaty between Valentino and these leaders would mean certain doom for Florence, and that is how Machiavelli enters the story--as a low-level emissary sent by the council of Florence to stall its end of the negotiations as much as he can. Heightening the tension of his predicament is the reputation of these men for butchering innocents in the places they capture, often in unspeakable ways.

Damiata acts out of desperation to save her son from the clutches of Pope Alexander VI. Her child's father, the Pope's younger son, Juan Borgia, was brutally murdered by an unknown assailant--and Damiata is a suspect. Until she can prove her innocence, her son is held hostage in the Vatican. But Damiata's story is shrouded in uncertainty, and Machiavelli is tormented by the knowledge that he cannot fully trust her, even as their investigation into the murders plunges her increasingly into mortal danger. As the corpses pile up, a complex pattern begins to take shape--a message from the murderer so deviously encoded that Da Vinci, recently retained as Cesare's chief architect, must turn the full weight of his intellect to solving it.

Set in 1502, prior to the appearance of Machiavelli's most famous work, The Prince, The Malice of Fortune offers a possible scenario for its inspiration. As he studies the vicious handiwork and ingenuity of the killer--in a plot that veers from political intrigues to witchcraft in the Italian countryside--Machiavelli learns lessons about power that will someday be distilled into the pages of The Prince. This Machiavelli is not "Machiavellian" as the term is used today, but is instead a conflicted, heroic figure with a fascination for the complexities of human nature.

The plot of The Malice of Fortune contains innumerable twists that culminate in a memorable, suspenseful conclusion. --Ilana Teitelbaum

Shelf Talker: A complex serial killer thriller set in Renaissance Italy, starring such colorful figures as the Borgias, Leonardo Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. For His Forever by Kelly Favor
2. High Heel Mysteries Boxed Set by Gemma Halliday
3. Easy by Tammara Webber
4. While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
5. The Wild Ones by M. Leighton
6. Plain Jane by Carolyn McCray
7. Taken by Kelli Maine
8. Finding Emma by Steena Holmes
9. Softly at Sunrise by Maya Banks
10. Her Best Friend's Brother by T.J. Dell

[Many thanks to!]

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