Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Atria Books: The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti

Harper Muse: Unsinkable by Jenni L. Walsh

Mariner Books: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

S&s/ Marysue Rucci Books: The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

W by Wattpad Books: Night Shift by Annie Crown

Shadow Mountain: Under the Java Moon: A Novel of World War II by Heather B. Moore


Chapman University Partners with Librería Martínez

Under a new partnership, Librería Martínez, Santa Ana, Calif., the bookstore founded and owned by Ruebén Martínez, has become a nonprofit community educational initiative under the oversight of Chapman University, Orange, Calif. The Librería Martínez de Chapman University is closed for remodeling and will hold its grand reopening October 27.

With Martínez's collaboration, the university is assuming responsibility for the bookstore's operations and will provide "an enhanced business plan" and opportunities for donor support. All proceeds from sales will be reinvested in the nonprofit educational initiative.

The revamped bookstore will offer expanded literacy tutoring staffed by Chapman education students and faculty members, counseling programs to help Santa Ana students navigate the education system, reading clubs, monthly book discussions, author signings and more.

Martínez told the Orange County Register, "Who would ever think that a partnership like this would happen. But it's not about us. It's about the young population we have in schools, grade schools, high schools. The doors will be open for them, so that they can continue to seek higher education."

Don Cardinal, dean of Chapman's College of Educational Studies, commented: "The establishment of Librería Martínez de Chapman University will provide a base from which Chapman faculty and students will enhance literary and learning opportunities for Santa Ana residents and also learn from the residents."

The bookstore evolved from a barber shop that Martínez, who is a Presidential Fellow at Chapman, operated that turned into an informal community center. He added books in the early 1990s, then opened Librería Martínez Books and Art Gallery and Libros Para Niños, a children's bookstore. In 2004, he won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant." He opened several new locations, but then in 2009 consolidated down to one store as sales slumped.

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

New Kobo Partnership: U.K.'s Booksellers Association

Less than a month after announcing its partnership with the American Booksellers Association, Kobo said yesterday it now has a deal with the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland that will allow the BA's 3,000 member stores (1,000 of which are independents) to offer consumers Kobo e-readers--the Mini, Touch, Glo and Arc--as well as accessories. Member stores will be able to sell e-books directly to customers online and share in the revenue on each sale.

BA CEO Tim Godfray said the group "wants e-book platforms to provide our members with easy, competitive, proven e-book retailing solutions; also, for the customers of our bookshops to have access to a broad and diverse inventory of e-books. Kobo ticks these boxes and gives our members increased choice of supplier. Today's readers want a first-class shopping experience, both in-store and online, and Kobo has the infrastructure to help independent booksellers to meet the ever-changing needs of shoppers in a dynamic marketplace."

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

EU Seeks Comment on Apple, Publishers Antitrust Offer

The European Union released details about the offer made by Apple and four of the five publishers involved in the agency model e-book pricing suit, as reported by Reuters. Under the proposal, which aims to settle the EU regulators' investigation that mirrors the Justice Department suit here, Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster--but not Penguin--would for two years "not restrict, limit or impede e-book retailers' ability to set, alter or reduce retail prices for e-books and/or to offer discounts or promotions," the European Commission's Official Journal said. Apple and the four publishers would also suspend "most-favored nation" contracts for five years.

Third parties have a month to comment on the offer. If the EU accepts the offer, Apple and the publishers would avoid fines or a ruling that they violated EU competition rules.

In a statement, Hachette Livre said that the company "remains confident that it did not violate the antitrust laws, and has made no admission of liability. Hachette Livre considers that its unilateral decision to enter into agency agreements with Apple and other e-retailers was in the best longer-term interests of the whole book universe, including authors, readers and booksellers of all kinds. However, Hachette Livre has decided that the costs, length, and distractions of the proceedings before the European Commission would be too disruptive to its business and to the development of e-book markets in general."


GLOW: Carolrhoda Books: Pangu's Shadow by Karen Bao

Obituary Notes: Louis Simpson; Eva Figes

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louis Simpson, "who told characteristically American tales of common people and often cast a skeptical eye on the American dream," died last Friday, the New York Times reported. He was 89.


Author and feminist Eva Figes, "a refugee from Nazi Germany who became an acclaimed novelist, memoirist and critic," died last month, the New York Times reported. She was 80.

Soho Crime: My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory Craig-Kuhn


Image of the Day: SCIBA Celebrates Debut Author

Earlier this month, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association held its first Bookseller Round Table & Debut Author Lunch at the Diesel store in Brentwood and a restaurant across the street. Here debut author Aria Beth Sloss, whose book is Autobiography of Us, appears with bookseller-fans: front row, from l.: Maureen Palacious from Once Upon a Time; Jen Ramos of Vroman's; author Sloss (not holding a book); Sharon Hoshida of Granada Books, which is opening next year in Santa Barbara; Anna Kaufman of Diesel; Andrea Vuleta of Mrs. Nelson's; and Diane Leslie of Diesel (and also an author). Back row: Alison Reid of Diesel; Mary Williams of Skylight; Jack Gingold of Newsboy Books; Margot Farris of Pages; Mike Slack; and John Evans of Diesel.


Bibliophile's World Tour: 'Beautiful & Bizarre Bookstores'

Noting he has "found that bibliophiles are pretty much the same whether they're American, Ethiopian, Arab, Tibetan or whatever," Gadling's Sean McLachlan offered a brief guided tour of "beautiful and bizarre bookstores of the world."

S&S to Distribute Tuttle, Inner Traditions

Simon & Schuster is adding two new clients for distribution and fulfillment in the U.S., effective January 1:

Tuttle Publishing, North Clarendon, Vt., and Singapore, which specializes in publishing books on Asia. Tuttle has published more than 6,000 books and has an active backlist of 1,500 titles. Tuttle president Eric Oey said that the company is seeing "a dramatic increase in the interest in all things Asian today, and Simon & Schuster will enable us to reach a much broader audience than we have in the past."

Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vt., which publishes mind, body and spirit books and has more than 1,500 titles in print. Inner Traditions publisher and CEO Ehud C. Sperling said that the partnership with S&S "will allow us to stay focused on our mission to 'seed the imagination of humanity' with the finest books for mind, body, and spirit."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Chabon on Telegraph Avenue

This morning on CBS This Morning: Harlan Coben, author of Seconds Away: A Mickey Bolitar Novel (Putnam, $18.99, 9780399256516).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Lynn Povich, author of The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781610391733).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Michael Chabon, author of Telegraph Avenue (Harper, $27.99, 9780061493348).


Tomorrow on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: Raffaele Sollecito, co-author of Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox (Gallery, $26, 9781451695984).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Errol Morris, author of A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594203435).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Mitch Albom, author of The Time Keeper (Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401322786).

TV: Another Elmore Leonard Series?

USA Network has given a "cast-contingent" pilot order to an untitled hour-long project based on a story in Elmore Leonard's When the Women Come Out to Dance, a collection that also features "Fire in the Hole," the inspiration for FX's popular series Justified.

"We've got great pairings on some of our shows but not many where the romantic relationship is front and center," said USA's executive v-p Bill McGoldrick. "On this show, the sexual chemistry will be important, and we have a really strong female role with a lot of that kick-ass action Elmore Leonard is known for."

Books & Authors

Awards: BBC Samuel Johnson Prize Longlist

A longlist of 14 contenders for the £20,000 (US$32,494) Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction has been named. Chair of judges David Willetts said the list "reflects the diverse range of high quality nonfiction available for readers to enjoy, and we hope they will be inspired to pick up some of these titles and be entertained by the true stories they tell." A winner will be named November 12.

Book Brahmin: Robin Maxwell

Robin Maxwell often wonders how growing up a suburban New Jersey girl, an education at Tufts University as an occupational therapist, stints as a music business secretary, parrot tamer, casting director, dozens of Hollywood script development deals and marriage to yoga master Max Thomas prepared her for a career in writing. After eight historical fictions, including Signora da Vinci and The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, she is jumping genres with Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan (Tor, September 18, 2012), the first Tarzan tale written a woman and authorized by the Burroughs estate.

On your nightstand now:

I've had some trouble with my eyes, so I now happily listen to audiobooks. I just finished one of the most extraordinary and indescribable novels ever--Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. There are six distinct voices read by six amazing actors, each of them cleverly linked to the others. The language and the concepts boggle the mind. It was one of those books that made me think, how did that author write that? I never could have.

I'm halfway through Old Filth by Jane Gardam. I bought it because my two best girlfriends--separately--told me they'd read it and it was utterly fantastic (and because I was intrigued by the title). Again, I'm stunned by the beauty of the language, the originality of the story and characters, and its wicked humor.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I grew up reading the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales--the darker the story, the better. These stories stimulated my love of horror and fantasy, as well as my comfort with the medieval/Renaissance period, royal courts, princes and princesses, which later showed up in my historical fiction.

Your top five authors:

I learned a lot about writing by reading early Stephen King--particularly dialogue, of which he is a great master. Loved the scares, too. Doing research for my first historical novels, I found that the Tudor biographies of Carolly Erickson were the most fun to read. She wrote with real attitude and wasn't afraid to go out on a limb, saying things other historians didn't dare say. Loved the weird brilliance of Kurt Vonnegut and the late Terrence McKenna, who delved into the world of psychotropic drugs and their impact on human evolution, a fascinating subject to me. His sentence structure (when writing or lecturing) was so complex and off-the-chart brilliant that you couldn't believe he'd finished a single thought that had gone on for an entire paragraph that was grammatically correct and insanely incisive. C.W. Gortner stands out among the ever-increasing gang of historical fiction authors as a real gem. He fearlessly chooses the most reviled women in history and explodes the clichés and myths about their characters and deeds, guiding readers to an understanding of how they became these iconic figures.

Book you've faked reading:

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. I didn't exactly fake reading this monster bestseller. I tried reading it twice because everyone was raving about it. But I couldn't get through it--it was such an unrelentingly grim story of growing up dirt-poor in Dublin with an alcoholic father. I finally gave up trying. Then my friend gave me the unabridged book on tape, read by McCourt himself. There was so much natural humor in his voice that it transcended the darkness of the material. Listening to Angela's Ashes stands as the single greatest literary experience of my life.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. How does a book about a year in the life of a medieval village struck by the Black Plague end up as the book I most evangelize about? Gorgeous language. Heartfelt characters brimming with the deepest emotions under the most horrible of circumstances. Brooks taught me a lot about how to make readers root for the heroine.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire.

Books that changed your life:

Norah Lofts authored the first historical fiction novels I ever read--The King's Pleasure, about Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and The Concubine, about her successor, Anne Boleyn. By the time I'd finished Concubine, I was hooked on everything Tudor. It would be 25 years before I'd write my debut novel, The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, but I'd write five more about the Tudors and their immediate ancestors before I broke rank and departed for the Italian Renaissance. Lofts' two books changed the course of my career, my fortunes and my life.

Favorite line from a book:

You don't have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
--From "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems Vol. 1.

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

Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock. I've always been fascinated by lost civilizations and the antediluvian world. British journalist and skeptic Hancock set off with his wife to disprove the most persistent myths about these mysterious places, and came away a believer. His beautifully researched doorstop of a book documents them all, ending with a sharply drawn theory of the whereabouts of the granddaddy of lost civilizations--Atlantis. Fingerprints is a big Brooklyn cheer to those who consider seekers of the great mysteries of the universe (like myself) a bunch of crackpots. Even now I'm putting the final touches on my own Atlantis novel.

Book you wish you'd written:

Fingersmith. Holy cow, can Sarah Waters write! This is another book I believe was enhanced by having it read to me by talented actresses. But the characterization of two very different young women in Victorian England tied together by the strangest of circumstances, a circuitous but neatly worked plot and a cast of characters so colorful they rival Dickens's best, kept me up night after night until it (sadly) came to an end. A stunning end.


Book Review

Children's Review: Little White Duck

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu, Andrés Vera Martínez (Graphic Universe/Lerner, $9.95 paperback, 106p., ages 9-12, 9780761381150, October 28, 2012)

Through seven episodes from Na Liu's childhood, Na Liu and Andrés Vera Martínez (her husband, co-author and the artist of the book) offer readers a close-up picture of life in 1970s China. The vignettes move as fluidly as the Yangtze River that flows through Na Liu's town, from an experience of national concern to one of great moment for Na personally.

Called "Da Qin" (translated as "Big Piano"), Na Liu was born in a suburb of Wuhan, China, in 1973. The book opens as four-year-old Da Qin wakes up next to her younger sister, Xiao Qin ("Little Piano"). Thinking she'll be late for school, Da Qin grabs a cup with her toothbrush and toothpaste, and heads outside to a spigot to brush her teeth. But there is no school today. It is September 6, 1976, and Chairman Mao has died.

Unlike many books written by Chinese-born Americans about life under Mao, Na Liu's demonstrates the benefits of his regime to her family. Her mother, born into a working-class family, was paralyzed by polio and underwent several surgeries for free, under Mao's policies--and was able to walk again. Martínez (Babe Ruth) uses the graphic novel format to perfection, zeroing in on young Da Qin's face when she sees her parents' sorrow, and conveying the chairman's importance through wide-angle views of streets teeming with weeping citizens, and Mao's likeness on murals and banners. Author and artist stay true to a child's sensibility throughout the book. They convey a history lesson on Lei Feng in the context of a humorous episode in which the two sisters try to emulate the man (who "always put others before him") by attempting to save a neighbor's chicks from the heat.

The most moving of the seven vignettes comes at the end, the title episode, "Little White Duck." Da Qin insists on wearing her special coat with a little velvet white duck sewn on it to her Baba's rural village, even though her mother advises against it. The children there have never seen anything as fine or touched anything as soft as the little white duck. By the close of the book, Da Qin has learned firsthand of the disparities that her mother and father told her about, and gained compassion because of it. Liu and Martínez find the universal moments in the details of an exotic land, inviting readers to see themselves in Da Qin's experiences of friendship, family and country. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This extraordinary graphic novel/memoir by a husband-and-wife team offers a rare, wide-ranging view of 1970s China.


Powered by: Xtenit