Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 4, 2013


Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford

News

S&S Authors Show Indie Love

As Barnes & Noble takes a page out of the Amazon playbook and cuts back on orders of Simon & Schuster titles in the companies' dispute about terms, S&S authors M.J. Rose and Randy Susan Meyers have created the AuthorBuzz Indie Love Award, which aims to get attention for some February and March titles that may suffer from B&N's Bezos moment and to honor independent booksellers who don't engage in the kinds of tactics that can wreak havoc on authors.

As Rose put it: "We want to thank indies and show them our love. We both are huge indie supporters, but this dispute made us ever more aware of how important every single indie bookstore is."

The award highlights seven titles: Rose's The Book of Lost Fragrances and Meyers's The Comfort of Lies, as well as The Shortest Way Home by Juliette Fay, If I Were You by Lisa Renee Jones, Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara and The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau. Publishers include S&S's Atria, Gallery and Touchstone imprints, as well as Penguin and Viking Penguin.

The award is being announced this week to ABA stores receiving the red box. Indies that sell at least 28 copies of the seven titles receive a tin of treats from the Dancing Deer Baking Co. The store that sells the most copies overall receives a $500 American Express gift certificate. Indies that want to participate can keep track of copies sold of the seven books and e-mail the info by April 10 to authorbuzzco@gmail.com with the subject line "Indie Love."


Ingram: Congratulations 2019 National Book Award Winners - Learn More>


Eric Price Director of Sales, Marketing, Publicity for Quercus U.S.

Eric Price, the longtime Grove/Atlantic executive who stepped down as associate publisher and COO in 2011, has been appointed director of sales, marketing and publicity for Quercus, the independent British publisher that is opening a New York office and launching in the U.S. with a fall 2013 list.

Quercus CEO Mark Smith said he is "thrilled" that Price is joining the company "at this pivotal stage of development for our fledgling business. Eric's long and successful career at Grove/Atlantic demonstrates his unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities of an early stage, growth-oriented, independent publisher."

Founded in 2004 by Smith and fellow Orion Publishing Group alumnus Wayne Davies, Quercus publishes fiction, nonfiction and children's books, and encompasses the MacLehose Press, Jo Fletcher Books and Heron Books imprints. Among its many bestsellers was Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.

Price characterized the Quercus inaugural U.S. list as "a wonderfully diverse mix of titles ranging from commercial and literary fiction to science fiction, fantasy, horror, children's, nonfiction and gift books." Titles include Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, a crime novel; The Deliverance of Evil by Roberto Costantini, an international bestseller; Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson; The Light and the Dark by Mikhail Shishkin; Limit by Frank Schätzing, a thriller; and Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes, a children's book. Random House Publisher Services is handling North American sales and distribution for Quercus.

Quercus plans to publish 40 titles here this year, 125 next year and 200 in 2016.


Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter


Book Shop of Beverly Farms Turns 45

Congratulations to the Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Mass., which celebrates its 45th anniversary this month with a storewide sale February 21-23.

The Book Shop of Beverly Farms has 1,200 square feet of space in a New England clapboard building next to the town train station and is a general bookstore featuring fiction, nonfiction, children's books and travel.

The current owners--Pam Price of Beverly, Lee Simonds Brown of Manchester and Janet Weedon of Salem--bought the store 16 years ago and are the third group of owners. Coincidentally the store was founded by another trio of women, who, as Pam Price put it, "visualized a setting where readers and writers could congregate, share ideas and buy books. They also established a cozy children's book room on the second floor. Three generations of local kids have climbed the winding staircase to this sunny room, where they've escaped into the pages of books as varied and enduring as Curious George, The Secret Garden and Treasure Island."

Over the years, local authors such as John Updike, Henry Cabot Lodge, Ed Emberley and more recently Chris Van Allsburg have held book signings at the shop. In the case of Updike, the store had a special arrangement. "Each fall," Price recounted, "when Knopf published his latest book, we had the honor of selling and sending his signed copies to collectors all over the country. We still have a large shelf dedicated to his books and miss him greatly."

The store also has long-established ties to local schools, providing fundraiser/book fairs, discounted books for classrooms and special terms for educators. The Book Shop works closely with a number of North Shore book groups.

Calling the holiday season "good," Price said, "People seemed to realize that books are about the most thoughtful gift anyone can give--or receive. Our customers have seen the struggles of the big chains and have seen several local bookstores close their doors in the past year. They know we're giving it our all and they're showing their support."

She noted that many of the other small towns on the North Shore, including Gloucester, Rockport and Newburyport, have independent bookstores, and Manchester-by-the-Sea and Gloucester have solid second-hand bookstores. "You might call this area a haven for book lovers."

As the store now approaches its golden anniversary, Price, her co-owners and staff members Lalie Clayman and Mary Healey aim to keep the store vibrant and are engaging with customers in a variety of modern ways, including social media and its website, which, Price proudly notes, has the URL "realbookshop.com."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry


Retirements: James D. Jordan, Bryan Pearce

Effective September 1, James D. Jordan is retiring as president and director of Columbia University Press. He joined the press in 2004 and earlier had been director of Johns Hopkins University Press and head of Norton's college publishing operations.

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Bryan Pearce, who has been on leave as CEO of the University Book Store, Seattle, Wash., is planning to retire, the Daily UW reported. Louise Little, director of human resources since 1989, will succeed him as CEO, effective July 1.

Pearce, who has had a 22-year career at the store, which has eight locations on campus and in the Seattle area, said that an unspecified condition "has taken a toll on me physically and often disrupted my ability to serve the bookstore at the level I believe it, our customers, and, most importantly, our trust beneficiaries deserve."

During his tenure, Pearce has "established the U Book Store Textbook Scholarship, adjusted the student-to-faculty ratio on the bookstore's board of directors, and incorporated price-comparison technology on the U Book Store online textbook store," among other achievements, the paper said.

His top two goals, Pearce said, were "to serve and benefit our University of Washington Book Store trust beneficiaries at the highest levels and build and nurture quality, collaborative relationships with our UW students, faculty, and administration."


Obituary Notes: Justin Jasper, Chris Kyle

Bookseller Justin Jasper, "one of the driving forces behind the awesomeness that is Skylight Books, and one of the kindest and smartest people that you would ever meet, " died last week, the Los Angeles bookstore reported on its Facebook page. He was 35. A celebration of Jasper's life was held Saturday. Noel Alumit wrote a poem, "About a Bookseller," in his honor and Skylight's tribute included: "An intelligent lover of the weird and wonderful, his humor, insight, anarchic energy and creativity will be missed by all of us."

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Chris Kyle, former Navy SEAL sharpshooter in Iraq and author of American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History (Morrow), was shot and killed on a Texas shooting range by a fellow vet, according to the New York Times. Kyle was 38.


Notes

Image of the Day: Honoring William Stafford's Legacy


Throughout January, the Friends of William Stafford annually sponsors more than 60 "birthday parties" in the form of readings and celebrations honoring the poet's spirit, life and work at libraries, bookstores, art galleries, college campuses and other venues. Last week, Shelf Awareness book reviewer and former publisher Tom Lavoie and his wife, Margot, hosted an event at the Kenton Public Library in North Portland, Ore.

"It was one of two final events for January that took place that eve (the other was in Vancouver, Wash.), so we brought down the curtain on a very busy month of Stafford B'day celebration readings," Lavoie observed. "We had a nice turnout. With Tom Barnes speaking about the Friends of Stafford group and poet Herman Asarnow as a featured reader, and a number of folks from the audience came up to read a favorite Stafford poem. Including one elderly lady who talked about a writing class she took many moons ago co-taught by William Stafford and Ursula Le Guin (another long-time Portland resident)."


School Librarian Takes a Hike

Diane McCormick, a school librarian in the Montgomery, Pa., Area School District who "dedicated herself to completing a hike of the Appalachian Trail" nine years ago in her spare time and during summer vacations, "reached the impressive goal this past summer," the Luminary reported. 

McCormick runs the district's Accelerated Reading program and each year set an AR goal for her students to reach to have the opportunity to hike on a portion of the 2,183 mile trail. "It is a dream of mine to have one of my students finish the trail like I did," she said, adding that her program teaches them map skills, math, geometry and geography.


Book Trailer of the Day: Schroder

Schroder by Amity Gaige (Twelve), in which the author talks of the inspiration for her tale of a dad with a hidden past who abducts his daughter in a custody dispute.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tony Kushner on Sendak's My Brother's Book

This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Maurice Sendak's longtime friend, award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner will discuss My Brother's Book (HarperCollins, $18.95, 9780062234896), Sendak's last completed work.

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Today on CBS's the Talk: Dr. Phil McGraw, author of Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World (Bird Street Books, $26, 9780985462734).

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Today on the Sean Hannity Show: Ben Shapiro, author of Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences Americans (Threshold, $25, 9781476709994).

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Today on NPR's Marketplace: Amy Webb, author of Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525953807).

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Today on Access Hollywood: Hoda Kotb, author of Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451656039).

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Tonight on the Daily Show: Michelle Rhee, author of Radical: Fighting to Put Students First (Harper, $27.99, 9780062203984).

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Tonight on the Colbert Report: Sonia Sotomayor, author of My Beloved World (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307594884).

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Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Ed Whitacre, co-author of American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA (Business Plus, $28.99, 9781455513017).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Leeza Gibbons, author of Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings (Hay House, $25.95, 9781401939816).

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Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Jeffrey Frank, author of Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781416587019).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jacqui Stafford, author of The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget (Gotham, $25, 9781592407736).

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Tomorrow on Current's Joy Behar: Tyrese Gibson and Rev Run, authors of Manology: Secrets of Your Man's Mind Revealed (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781451681840).

Also on Joy Behar: Rachel Dratch, author of Girl Walks into a Bar...: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle (Gotham, $16, 9781592407576).

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Tomorrow on CNN's Starting Point: Heather McDonald, author of My Inappropriate Life: Some Material Not Suitable for Small Children, Nuns, or Mature Adults (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781451672220). She will also appear on CNN's Showbiz Tonight.

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Julie Andrews, co-author of The Very Fair Princess Follows Her Heart (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316185592).


Downton Abbey: Amazon Streams; Stevens Edits; Music! Houses!

Amazon's Prime Instant Video service will be the exclusive subscription home for streaming of Downton Abbey, the company announced Friday. Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available on Prime Instant Video. Beginning June 18, Prime Instant Video will be the exclusive subscription service for streaming season 3 and later this year no other digital subscription service will offer any seasons of the series, Amazon said. Under the terms of the agreement with Carnival/Masterpiece, Prime Instant Video will continue to be the exclusive subscription home through season 4 and, if produced, season 5.

The Wall Street Journal commented: "What makes Amazon's coup so painful is that Netflix was the place to stream Downton--at least the first season, ideal for anyone who missed those episodes to catch up before watching later seasons. But Amazon's Prime Instant Video is now the place for such dilatory viewers."

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Dan Stevens (aka Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey) edited the latest issue of The Junket, an online literary magazine where he is an editor-at-large. The Telegraph noted that Stevens, who studied English Literature at Cambridge, "was a judge for the Man Booker Prize in 2012 after criticizing the previous year's panel for the emphasis they placed on 'readability.' When he understandably found it difficult to finish his Booker reading list while filming, the costume department on Downton Abbey sewed a pocket in his jacket for his Kindle."

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And if that's not enough about Downton Abbey for you, check out musician Sagar Jethani's clever Game of Thrones/Downton Abbey theme song mashup  and the Daily Beast's feature: "The Other Downton Abbeys: Nine Illustrious Houses in Fiction."



Book Review

Review: How Literature Saved My Life

How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields (Knopf Publishing Group, $25.95 hardcover, 9780307961525, February 2013)

David Shields (Reality Hunger, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead) is once again, in How Literature Saved My Live, trying to convince readers that fiction is dead and that the essay--and perhaps the memoir--are the most authentic genres extant today. In this ongoing crusade, he succeeds in writing personal essays that are clever, entertaining, erudite, funny and genre-bending.

Shields here continues the process of examining, through his writing, every nook and cranny of his psyche. His subjects have ranged from his stutter to his familial relationships, failed love affairs, his take on sports and race--and, in this book, his dogmatic statement that literature is the only stay against oblivion, despair, chaos and the abyss. He is depressive enough to make the case.

What saves all of this from being simply a narcissistic exercise in navel-gazing is that Shields is possessed of a mordant wit and a nicely overstuffed brain. He has read widely. "If you want to write serious books," he says, reflecting on his earlier Reality Hunger, you must be ready to break forms." Annie Dillard's The Writing Life, he says, shows us a path to this goal: "She establishes the problem, deepens the problem, suggests 'solutions,' explores the permutations of these solutions, argues against and finally undermines these solutions, returning us to the problem." (Which is, he admits, "pretty much the M.O. of this book as well.")

A few more echt Shields quotes:

"The only way out is deeper in. A candid confrontation with existence is dizzying, liberating."

"...language is all we have to connect us, and it doesn't, not quite. It never fails to fail us…"

"I love language as much as any element in the universe, but I also have trouble living anywhere other than in language. If I'm not writing it down, experience doesn't really register."

That last is very telling. Does Shields live more in the "real" world or on the page? "I wanted literature to assuage human loneliness," he writes at the end. "Nothing can assuage human loneliness. Literature doesn't lie about this--which is what makes it essential." --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: An incisive, deeply thoughtful meditation on literature, life and where they intersect.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles on AbeBooks.com in January

The bestselling books at AbeBooks.com in January:

1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
3. Beloved by Toni Morrison
4. They Say / I Say by Gerald Graff
5. Sula by Toni Morrison
6. Give Me Liberty! by Eric Foner
7. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
8. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien  
10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The bestselling signed books at AbeBooks.com in January:

1. Tenth of December by George Saunders
2. Pastoralia by George Saunders
3. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
4. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
5. Maximized Manhood by Edwin Louis Cole
6. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
7. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
8. The World until Yesterday by Jared Diamond
9. 3:16 The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado
10. The Third Bullet by Stephen Hunter

[Many thanks to AbeBooks.com!]


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