Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Dutton Books: The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Amulet Books: Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Canongate Books: The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford

Sfi Readerlink Dist: Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure by Jon Stone, adapted by Autumn B Heath

News

Book^2: The Unconference

Book^2 Camp organizers Ami Greko, Kat Meyer and Chris Kubica lay out the schedule.

At Book^2 (Book Squared) Camp, which took place Sunday afternoon in Workman Publishing offices in New York City, discussion topics for the "unconference" were chosen spontaneously by attendees, a diverse mix of booksellers, librarians and folks from both the print and digital publishing industries--many of them in town for this week's Tools of Change conference. In one morning session, attendees debated the merits of "closed" content models, from subscription-only access to the intentional scarcity of limited editions, as an alternative to putting everything online for free. The ability of writers to earn something for their work became a central issue; as Emily Gould, the co-founder of the digital book club Emily Books, put it, "The difference between a hobby and a business is profitability."

That theme popped up again in a later session called "Retail Zero," which asked what would happen to books if it ever came to pass that publishers and retailers decided that there was no profit to be made printing or selling books at the mass consumer level. Everyone seemed to agree there would be some people who'd still be compelled to write no matter what--but how would they support themselves? Would we see more authors competing for academic creative writing positions, or the rise of a "reading circuit" for those popular enough to attract audiences? Or would devoted readers turn to limited editions the way music collectors are willing to shell out for vinyl LPs? "If I had to pay $75 for a Toni Morrison hardcover, and that was my only choice," said one participant, "I'd have to do it."

Another discussion centered around the idea of adding a bookstore component to public libraries. One proposal was that libraries could act as showrooms, with customer orders being fulfilled by distributors. "I'd be willing to pay somewhere between full price and Amazon [for that]," someone admitted. There were, however, concerns about how political opponents might then use a library's bookselling revenues to advocate for reduced funding.

And, at the end of the day, after repeatedly circling around issues like "discoverability," somebody proposed: "What should we be talking about instead of all the stuff we talk about?" Unsurprisingly, that turned out to be a very popular topic. --Ron Hogan


Amulet Books: Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) by Lana Popovic


Longfellow Books Update: 'Buy Books!'

Longfellow Books owners Chris Bowe and Stuart Gersen are still aiming to open by Thursday night, according to the Press Herald. The Portland, Maine, store suffered extensive water damage in Friday night's blizzard when a window broke, pipes froze and burst and the sprinkler system turned on.

Chris Bowe, co-owner of Longfellow Books.
Photo: Gregory Rec/ Portland Press Herald

About half of the store's inventory of 30,000 books were damaged. "Many of the waterlogged books are beyond saving, but a large portion sustained only minor damage," the paper wrote. "Books that can be saved but not sold likely will be donated to libraries or other reading outlets, Bowe said. He has talked to his insurance company and is waiting to learn the best way to proceed."

Fans are trying to help and have discussed holding fundraisers. In the meantime, the consensus is that the best way to help Longfellow Books is to buy books.

Bowe commented: "I've been here 13 years. I know a lot of people. But I never realized what this store means to people until this weekend. Ultimately, we're a retail store. You can get our products anywhere. But people seem to love our store."


Scribner Book Company: Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford


SoulJourney Book Drive Benefits Damaged Library

After Superstorm Sandy, Sandi Liss, owner of SoulJourney, a New Age bookstore in Butler, N.J., sought to donate books to libraries that suffered damage. But she couldn't find any libraries on the Jersey Shore that were in need of donations. Eventually Liss learned of a library in nearby Paterson that had been badly damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Irene in 2011. The subsequent book drive, in which Liss donated a portion of SoulJourney's stock and customers gave books from their own collections, brought in hundreds of books, filling 27 boxes.

"It was just something that I wanted to do," said Liss. "I really needed to move out some books, and I wanted to help someone who had been damaged by the storm." In addition, she said, laughing, "I can't throw books away, which is a major disease for anyone who owns a bookstore."

A portion of the donated books, especially those in good condition, will go to helping the Paterson library restock its shelves. Others may be sold to raise funds or given to patrons for free. "Some donations were a little bit more than gently used," explained Liss.

This is the first book drive that Liss has organized, and although she has no immediate plans for another, she'd be happy to help another library in need. --Alex Mutter


Berkley Books: Master Class by Christina Dalcher


Main Street Books to Add Used Books

As it turned sweet 16 last Friday, Main Street Books, Mansfield, Ohio, announced that it is adding used books to its inventory--and is asking customers to donate gently used titles. The store is accepting donations in "any genre or binding style." The store will eventually trade store credit for books.

Manager Llalan Fowler said that customers have asked regularly for used books and said every small town should have a good used bookstore. "Bookstores are centers of culture, and incorporating used books will get even more people involved in the store's and the area's events," she said.


G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks


Obituary Note: Stanley Baron

Stanley Baron, an editor at Thames & Hudson for many years and the author of several novels and works of nonfiction, died late last month at age 90.

Thomas Neurath, chairman of Thames & Hudson, wrote this about Baron to the company's staff:

"Sad news from Miami reached us the day before yesterday that our dear colleague Stanley Baron died in his sleep during the night of January 28th to 29th. Stanley was highly esteemed as an extraordinarily bright mind and ultra-gifted editor throughout the higher echelons of British, American and Continental publishing circles since the 1960s, and recognised as an exceptional talent in many other quarters too, from the worlds of music-making to the playing of a canny hand of bridge, we are told. These were but two of his many further passions which at one stage or another of his multitrack life he mastered to a consummate degree…

"Characteristically he made it perfectly plain to those closest to him that under no circumstances did he want the end of his life to be marked by any elaborate ceremony nor any large gathering. So those whose own lives were so enriched by his friendship, wit, intelligence and high sense of principle must find their own way, largely in private as we understand it right now, to honour him and everything that he contributed and stood for."


Notes

Image of the Day: Glide's 'Winning Team'

Last week HarperOne celebrated the publication of Beyond the Possible: 50 Years of Creating Radical Change in a Community Called Glide by Reverend Cecil Williams and Janice Mirkitani with a party in San Francisco. The book chronicles the transformation of the Methodist church in the city's crime-riddled Tenderloin neighborhood that Williams built up from a dying entity with only 35 congregants into a thriving church that draws thousands to its Sunday services and has created a community of acceptance, compassion and social justice. Glide, and the charismatic couple who run the church, have been at the forefront of civil rights and might be the only church where you can still get a free AIDS test during services. At the party, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee toasted Williams and Mirikitani, saying, "We might not have won the Super Bowl, but we've got the winning team right here." HarperOne publisher Mark Tauber pointed out that it was a bit ironic to have a VIP party to celebrate a book about a community where everyone is a VIP, but he said the publisher really wanted to celebrate the book. For more about Beyond the Possible, watch the book trailer here. VIPs: (from l.) HarperOne's Tauber, authors Williams and Mirkitani and Mayor Lee. --Bridget Kinsella


A Snowy Silver Lining: 'Alone in the Store in Daylight'

R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn., is in a section of the state that had the highest accumulation of snow--more than three feet--in Friday night's storm, and many roads are just getting plowed. Yesterday owner Roxanne Coady wrote to customers that a silver lining of the situation is that "today I got to do something I haven't done in over 20 years--I got to be in the bookstore by myself in the daylight. Later on I will lament about the frustration of being closed for four days and dealing with an unplowed Boston Post Road and unplowed everything else, but for the moment will focus on the silver lining.

"Kevin loaded our snow blower and off we went to Madison to try and clear the front and back sidewalks of the store. We were joined by Kym who runs the café, Lori (our store manager) and her intrepid husband, Mike, and most importantly by Semir (the best handyman, plower, gardener and driver you have ever met!) and voila--the sidewalks got done. They all left, and Kev went to clear out another building, and I was left deliciously alone in the bookstore. The pleasure of all of the books, all the choices and the sense of discovery enveloped me--I could have easily pulled dozens and dozens off the shelf, sat myself down in a comfy chair and been lost in my books for days. Very quickly I forgot all the frustration of the last few days."


Cool Idea of the Day: Library Plants Reading Seeds

Planting the seed of a lifelong reading habit has taken on a literal meaning for a small public library in Basalt, Colo., that "is trying an experiment: in addition to borrowing books, residents can now check out seeds," NPR reported.

Patrons with a library card receive a packet of seeds. "You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others," NPR wrote.

Library director Barbara Milnor called the idea another way to draw people into libraries: "You have to be fleet of foot if you're going to stay relevant, and that's what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevance."


Kate Stark Promoted at Putnam and Riverhead

Kate Stark has been promoted to associate publisher for Putnam and Riverhead and continues as v-p, director of marketing. She joined the imprints in 2007 from Avery.


Book Trailer of the Day: The Whipping Club

The Whipping Club by Deborah Henry (T.S. Poetry Press), featuring Eric Roberts. A grisly depiction of a key scene of the novel, which might better be called The Caning Club.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fawzia Koofi, The Favored Daughter

Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Robert H. Lustig, author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease (Hudson Street, $25.95, 9781594631009).

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Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Pamela Druckerman, author of Bebe Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting (Penguin Press, $19.95, 9781594205538).

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

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Tomorrow on Anderson Live: Brandi Glanville, co-author of Drinking and Tweeting: And Other Brandi Blunders (Gallery, $25, 9781476707624). She will also appear on Current's Joy Behar: Say Anything.

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Garry Wills, author of Why Priests?: A Failed Tradition (Viking, $27.95, 9780670024872).

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Tomorrow on the Judith Reagan Show: Delia Ephron, author of The Lion Is In (Blue Rider Press, $24.95, 9780399158483).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Fawzia Koofi, author of The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight to Lead Afghanistan into the Future (Palgrave Macmillan, $26, 9780230120679).


TV: Amazon to Stream Under the Dome

Amazon's Prime Instant Video will be the exclusive online subscription home for the upcoming CBS miniseries Under the Dome, based on Stephen King's novel and produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television. Under the content licensing deal, Amazon Prime members will have access to episodes of the series, which premieres June 24, four days after broadcast.  

Scott Koondel, chief corporate content licensing officer for CBS, said the decision was influenced by Amazon's "distinct combination of having a terrific video service with a huge fan base among their customers for Stephen King's book, making them the perfect partner for this summer programming event."  

PaidContent noted that CBS "has been reluctant to make new content available to outside services for streaming: The network has only given Hulu access to a few older shows, and most of those are only available to Hulu Plus subscribers. The network's deal with Amazon on one show doesn't necessarily mean that Prime Instant Video users should hold their breath for new episodes of CSI and The Mentalist, but it's a possible step in that direction."


Movies: Books Shine at BAFTA Awards

Films with book connections took away the hardware in several categories at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, which were announced Sunday in London.

Argo, inspired by events chronicled in Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio, led the way with awards for best film, director (Ben Affleck) and editing (William Goldenberg)

Les Misérables, the film version of the musical based on Victor Hugo's novel, won for best supporting actress (Anne Hathaway), sound, production design and make-up & hair. Lincoln, based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, won a BAFTA for best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis).

Silver Linings Playbook, adapted from Matthew Quick's novel, took the best adapted screenplay prize (David O. Russell). Other category winners included Life of Pi, adapted from Yann Martel's novel, for cinematography (Claudio Miranda) and visual effects, and Anna Karenina for costume design.



Books & Authors

Awards: Lincoln Prize; U.K.'s Political Book of the Year

The 2013 Lincoln Prize, sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and honoring "the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era," has been awarded to Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 by James Oakes (Norton), the New York Times reported.

Oakes also won the Lincoln Prize in 2008 for The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (Norton).

Oakes receives $50,000 and a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' sculpture of Lincoln in New York City on April 10.

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Caroline Shenton won the U.K.'s £10,000 Political Book of the Year for The Day Parliament Burned Down, which Mary Beard, one of the judges, described as "microhistory at its best," the Bookseller reported.



Book Review

Review: Ghostman

Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Knopf, $24.95 hardcover, 9780307959966, February 20, 2013)

Roger Hobbs is a 2011 graduate of Reed College, where he wrote a lot and studied film. Something must have clicked for him, because his debut novel, Ghostman, a superbly written dark crime thriller, takes the reader at breakneck speed deep into the intricate world of criminals and their crimes. It's narrated by the smart, stoic Jack Delton, aka Ghostman, a fixer as meticulous and resourceful as Jason Bourne, who translates ancient texts in his down time. (His code comes from The Aeneid: "If you can't reach heaven, raise hell.") With a story told in short, James Patterson-like chapters  of addictive prose that fire off like casings ejecting from an automatic weapon, it's as good a first noir as Nic Pizzolatto's Galveston.

An armored car heist at an Atlantic City casino involving lots of federal money goes wrong. Enter Ghostman, who can't change his smell, but can change his look, talk, walk (think Verbal in The Usual Suspects). The very brutal Marcus, the über-criminal mastermind who planned it all, asks Ghostman--who owes Marcus after a botched heist in Kuala Lumpur five years earlier--to retrieve the money taken by one of the fleeing robbers. This has to happen fast: The money is tagged with the "kiss of death," an ink bomb that will go off in 48 hours, destroying the money. As the clock ticks down, Hobbs inserts suspenseful flashbacks to that old job, where Ghostman was mentored by Angela, who taught him to cut off his "last ties with the normal world and how to live like a ghost." Hobbs juxtaposes these two tales well, telling his story in a pitch perfect tone that Chandler would have enjoyed: "This non-neighborhood resembled a crack addict's mouth; row-houses stood out like crooked teeth with huge gaps between them."

After checking out the site, Ghostman concludes that there was a third person, a shooter, firing from a parking lot at the robbers below. Was this all a set-up, a double cross? Is he now in the cross-hairs? Is Marcus after him? Getting in Ghostman's way is Wolf, a sadistic killer, and a relentless FBI agent. Smart, gripping, shrewdly observed, and oh so well written, this is a sharp, standout piece of fiction. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: An entertaining noir crime thriller as sharp as bloody tacks, edgy, keen in intellect and trenchantly written--one heck of a debut novel.


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