Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 21, 2013

Simon & Schuster: A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart

Scholastic Press: The Guardian Test (Legends of Lotus Island #1) by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Kevin Hong

Tor Books: The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson

Island Press: The Good Garden: How to Nurture Pollinators, Soil, Native Wildlife, and Healthy Food--All in Your Own Backyard by Chris McLaughlin

Holiday House: For Lamb by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Quotation of the Day

'The Book Grapevine at Its Finest'

"This week I finished reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, and it... is... AMAZING! The book was brought to my attention by a customer, who wanted a copy because it had been recommended by the amazing author, John Green. Let's do a very basic flow chart: John Green recommends Eleanor & Park > Customer reads recommendation & contacts local bookseller to request a copy > Local bookseller puts copy on hold for customer & also grabs a copy for herself > Local bookseller reads book, loves it, and now recommends it to other customers. That, my dear book loving friends, is the book grapevine at its finest."

--Lindsey McGuirk, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash., in the store's newsletter.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Other Scams by Philip Ellis


AAP Sales for November: E-Slowing; Mass Market Jump

In November 2012, total net book sales fell 2.4%, to $1.06 billion, compared to November 2011, representing sales of 1,193 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first 11 months of 2012, net book sales slipped 1.6%, to $13.334 billion.

To emphasize the erratic nature of sales from month to month, mass market was the worst category in October--with sales that had fallen 28.1%, to $28.2 million--but in November mass market was No. 2 on the list, with sales of $38.2, a gain of 75.5%.

In November, e-book sales grew at less phenomenal rates than in the past several years, with the largest e-growth in "new" categories like university press and children's/YA titles. By contrast, adult e-books were up "only" 20.7% in the period, nothing like the regular triple-digit growth a year earlier.



  % Change

 University press e-books



 Mass market

 $38.2 million


 Children's/YA e-books

 $12.8 million


 Religious hardcovers

 $40.1 million


 Adult e-books

 $94.8 million


 Adult paperbacks

 $116.9 million


 Children's/YA paperbacks

 $46.1 million


 Downloaded audio

 $9.8 million


 Religious e-books

 $5 million


 Religious paperbacks

 $17.9 million


 University hardcovers

 $4.8 million


 University paperbacks

 $4.7 million





 Professional publishing

 $53.3 million


 Children's board books

 $5.1 million


 Children's/YA hardcovers

 $90.7 million


 Adult hardcovers

 $155.6 million


 Physical audiobooks

 $10.1 million



 $125.4 million



G.P. Putnam's Sons: Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo

Persepolis: School Board Denies First Amendment Violation

Interior image from Persepolis.

Chicago Public School administrators withdrew the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi from the seventh grade curriculum because of "graphic images of torture (depictions of a man urinating on another and placing a hot iron on another's back), as well as obscene language," a lawyer for the school board explained in a letter responding to a letter last week from a group of free speech and First Amendment organizations, including the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Kids' Right to Read Project of the National Coalition Against Censorship.

In the letter, Lee Ann Lowder, deputy general counsel in the law department of the Chicago Board of Education, also argued that the board has "broad discretion" to determine school curricula and that removing Persepolis from seventh grade curriculum does not violate the First Amendment. She noted that the board is still considering "whether and how Persepolis will be used in the eighth through tenth grade curricula."

Amazon Denies Rumor of $99 Fire HD Tablet

Mere hours after a writer at TechCrunch reported on rumors that Amazon was working on a $99 version of its 7-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet, an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that no such device is in the works. The spokesperson's exact words were: "It's not happening--we are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware." Such a drastic price cut--from $199 to $99--would have proven highly disruptive for Amazon's competitors.

Stephen and Tabitha King's $3 Million Library Pledge

The century-old Bangor, Maine, Public Library has been given a generous head start as it kicks off a $9 million fundraising effort aimed at modernizing its building. Authors Stephen and Tabitha King pledged $3 million toward renovations "as long as the library reaches its goal of raising another $6 million," the Bangor Daily News reported.

"They have just been wonderful supporters of the library," said director Barbara McDade, who noted that in the mid-1990s the Kings contributed $2.5 million toward an $8.5 million renovation and expansion fundraising effort. "They also replaced our front marble steps [six or seven years ago], which were worn to the point where they were dangerous."

'The Handsell with Ron Hogan &... '

Ron Hogan, founder of and a contributing editor to Shelf Awareness, has launched a new website and video series called "The Handsell with Ron Hogan &...," in which he interviews authors and indie booksellers to help come up with book recommendations for readers based on lists of titles that they've submitted.

The first four videos, from Hogan's trip to Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., are live on and Hogan's YouTube page. In one video, Hogan and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight, recommend several titles, including Marilynne Robinson's Gilead and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, to a reader from the West Village. In another video, Hogan and Paula Bomer, publisher and author of the novel Nine Months, come up with book suggestions for a reader from North Andover, Mass.

Hogan plans to visit more indie bookstores in the New York City area throughout the spring.

Obituary Notes: John Mark Eberhart; James Herbert; Loris Bree

John Mark Eberhart, a poet, former Kansas City Star book review editor, the "Book Doctor" on NPR affiliate KCUR and reader's advisory coordinator for the Johnson County Library system, died on Tuesday, after a long battle with cancer. He was 52.

KCUR has a touching obituary that includes one of his poems. In addition, Chip Fleischer, publisher of Steerforth Press, remembered him this way: "John was one of the most passionate, discerning and hard working champions of books and authors I've ever known. He was also a prince of a human being."


British horror author James Herbert, who wrote 23 novels (including The Rats, The Fog and The Survivor) published in 34 languages that sold more than 54 million copies worldwide, died yesterday, the Guardian reported. He was 69.

Loris Bree, who co-founded Marlor Press in the early 1980s after publishing her State by State Guide to Budget Motels--the first of many self-published books--and who founded the Midwest Independent Publishers Association in 1984, died March 9, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. She was 77.


Image of the Day: A Book Is a Book...

A Book Is a Book Is a Book: That's an exhibit of book sculptures created by students at a local middle school on display at [words] bookstore in Maplewood, N.J. The window was put together by Claudia Sohr, a Millburn Middle School art teacher and store customer; her friend Deborah Kaplan, who is an art designer of book jackets at Penguin; and Sohr's students.

'Slam Dunk': Reading Through March Madness and are celebrating the NCAA March Madness tournament by a putting a bookish spin on the bracket.

For "Slam Dunk: Reading Through the Madness," each college team has been paired with an author who either attended or taught at the institution, along with a book written by that author. For example, representing Indiana in this bracket is The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, while Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays is playing for Harvard. As basketball teams get eliminated from the tournament over the next few weeks, so will their corresponding authors and titles, until only one book is left standing. Bookreporter will follow along with each round of the tournament.

Check out the full bracket.

Personnel Changes: Mitch Gaslin; Joe Rukeyser; Laina Adler

Mitch Gaslin, who has worked at Food for Thought Books, Amherst, Mass., since 1986, is leaving to join the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass., where he will work as the bookkeeper. At Food for Thought, a not-for-profit, workers' collective, he has been responsible for bookkeeping as well as textbook orders and remainder buying. He is a former board member of the New England Independent Booksellers Association and is on the ABA's Booksellers Advisory Council and the steering committee of Pioneer Valley Local First.


Joe Rukeyser has become manager of Toad Hall Bookstore, Rockport, Mass. He was a former member of the board of the nonprofit bookstore, which donates all net profit to environmental projects.

"Small bookstores are very close to the heart of the communities they serve," Rukeyser told the Gloucester Daily Times. "There is no question about the vital role that Toad Hall plays on Cape Ann. We have the amazing support of both local customers and a large summer population of vacationers and visitors, and we have a dedicated staff with long experience at providing the books our community wants to read."


Laina Adler has been promoted to v-p, senior director of marketing, at HarperOne. She has been senior director of marketing and earlier was director of marketing and associate director of marketing.

Lynne Rienner Publishers Buying Kumarian Press

Effective April 1, Kumarian Press, an imprint of Stylus Publishing, is being acquired by Lynne Rienner Publishers of Boulder, Colo. As of April 1, all orders for Kumarian titles should be sent to Lynne Rienner Publishers. Returns of Kumarian titles purchased before April 1 may be returned to Stylus. For more information, contact or

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Robin Quivers on Her Vegucation

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Robin Quivers, author of The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life (Avery, $35, 9781583334737).


Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Clive Davis, author of The Soundtrack of My Life (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476714783).

TV: Anatomy of Violence

Amber Tamblyn (House) will play the female lead opposite Skeet Ulrich in the CBS drama pilot Anatomy of Violence, inspired by Adrian Raine's nonfiction book The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime, reported. The project is written and executive produced by Homeland's Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Alex Cary, and directed by Mark Pellington.

This Weekend on Book TV: Sandra Day O'Connor

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, March 23
1:30 p.m. John McLean discusses his book The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder, and the Agony of Engine 57 (Counterpoint, $26, 9781619020719). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15 a.m.)

3:30 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Stephen Hess presents his book Whatever Happened to the Washington Reporters, 1978-2012 (Brookings Institution Press, $29.95, 9780815723868).

7 p.m. Fiona Deans Halloran presents her book Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons (University of North Carolina Press, $35, 9780807835876). (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

8 p.m. Live from the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Va., Book TV features a conversation with U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D.-Ga.), author of Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change (Hyperion, $22.99, 9781401324117), and John Carlos, co-author with Dave Zirin of The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World (Haymarket, $15.95, 9781608462247).

10 p.m. After Words. MSNBC's S.E. Cupp interviews David Burstein, author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping Our World (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807044698). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Sandra Day O'Connor discusses her book Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court (Random House, $26, 9780812993929). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

Sunday, March 24
12 a.m. Waldo Martin presents his book Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (University of California Press, $34.95, 9780520271852). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

2 p.m. Dina Hampton talks about her book Little Red: Three Passionate Lives Through the Sixties and Beyond (PublicAffairs, $25.99, 9781586480936). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 p.m.)

5 p.m. On the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Book TV highlights some of the books on the subject that the network has covered since then. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

6:45 p.m. Robert Dalzell talks about his book The Good Rich and What They Cost Us (Yale University Press, $28, 9780300175592).

7:45 p.m. Frank Easterbrook, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, discusses the late Robert Bork's book Saving Justice: Watergate, the Saturday Night Massacre, and Other Adventures of a Solicitor General (Encounter Books, $23.95, 9781594036811).

10 p.m. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, presents her book Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice (Walker, $26, 9780802779649)

Books & Authors

Awards: Orwell Prize; Intelligence Book of the Year

A longlist of 12 books has been announced for the £3,000 (about US$4,530) Orwell Prize, which recognizes work that comes closest to George Orwell's ambition "to make political writing into an art." This year's shortlist will be announced April 17, with the winner named May 15.


Henry Crumpton won the £3,000 St. Ermin's Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year Award, which recognizes the "best new intelligence book last year in recognition of the hotel's long connection with the British intelligence community," for The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 26:

Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family by Ezekiel J. Emanuel (Random House, $27, 9781400069033) is by one of the three Emanuel brothers, who include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel.

New and Selected Poems: 1962-2012 by Charles Simic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780547928289) includes 50 years of award-winning poetry.

Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton (Grand Central, $23.99, 9781455504763) continues the Hamish Macbeth series.

The Burgess Boys: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, $26, 9781400067688) follows siblings reuniting in their home town.

The Paradise Guest House: A Novel by Ellen Sussman (Ballantine, $15, 9780345522818) is set in Bali in the aftermath of the nightclub bombing in 2002.

Book Brahmin: Hilary Reyl

Hilary Reyl has a Ph.D. in French literature from New York University, with a focus on the 19th century, and spent several years working and studying in France. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children. Lessons in French (Simon & Schuster, March 5, 2013) is her first novel.

On your nightstand now:

Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy, Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Amor Towles's The Rules of Civility.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban.

Your top five authors:

Marcel Proust, Gustave Flaubert, Honoré de Balzac, Virginia Woolf, William Shakespeare.

Book you've faked reading:

Paul de Man's Blindness and Insight (for a lit class in college).

Book you're an evangelist for:

Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

Book you've bought for the cover:

David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (very glad I did).

Book that changed your life:

Flaubert's Madame Bovary.

Favorite line from a book:

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." --from "The Captive," In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust.

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

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Book Review

Review: Walking Home: A Poet's Journey

Walking Home: A Poet's Journey by Simon Armitage (Liveright, $24.95 hardcover, 9780871404169, March 25, 2013)

As a memoir of traveling on foot, Simon Armitage's Walking Home is more a cousin to Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods than Cheryl Strayed's Wild. It's the amiable story of a 19-day ramble along the 256-mile Pennine Way, bisecting England from the Midlands to the Scottish border--at times a world of stunning beauty, but more often an "unglamorous slog among soggy, lonely moors, requiring endurance and resolve."

Instead of traversing the trail from south to north, as is the custom, Armitage decided to proceed in the opposite direction so he would finish in the town of Edale, near his home. The other reason for his choice of direction--the sense that this way he'd be walking downhill--turns out to be hilariously wrongheaded. Armitage financed his trip with nightly poetry readings, and he's meticulous about recording his take at each stop, along with all the other odd objects audience members deposited into the sock he passed for the voluntary offering.

There are no wild animals or outlaws to menace Armitage along the way, but he recounts some frightening moments when he's lost in the mists of the Cheviot Hills or scrambling up a narrow path on the mountain ominously known as Cross Fell ("a truly terrible place"), where he eventually beholds "a dizzying vastness full to the brink with nothing but light and air." The boggy moorlands Armitage navigates bring to mind the works of the Brontë sisters, and he remarks on the hordes of tourists (many of them Japanese) who flock to the ruined farmhouse at Top Withens that may have inspired the Earnshaw house of Wuthering Heights. Armitage shares the path at times with a motley crew that includes his wife and daughter and a college friend nicknamed Slug. Their quirks and the litany of odd English place names--from the waterfall known as Cauldron Snout to Blakehopeburnhaugh to Buttertubs Pass--only add to his account's consistent charm.

The appeal of a book like Walking Home turns largely on the likeability of its narrator, and Armitage scores high on that scale. Possessed of an ample supply of sharp and self-deprecating British wit, he's erudite but still in most respects an Everyman. Perhaps best of all, he concludes his journey in a way that's as surprising for its candor as it is completely satisfying. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: English poet Simon Armitage offers an engaging account of a 19-day trek across the spine of his native country.

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