Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Literati Bookstore Opens in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., quietly opened on Sunday, reported. The first book sold at the store after its official opening: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker.

A major task in the past month was arranging sections in Literati. Owners Hilary Lowe and Mike Gustafson, who are engaged to be married, had help from three employees who are former Borders employees as well from the legendary Joe Gable, longtime manager of the original Borders in downtown Ann Arbor.

The final arrangement: fiction, poetry and children's books upstairs and nonfiction, including "a sizable biographies and memoirs section," downstairs. "I think cookbooks changed spots five times or so," Lowe told "First it was upstairs, then downstairs, then back up again."

Literati already has a series of events planned, including kids' story time and several author events. "Our next chapter is building our program to include more creative events beyond author readings and signings," Gustafson said. "We'd love to have panels, and we might do a storytelling series with Moth."

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Special Occasions Reopens in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ed McCarter
Photo: Bruce Chapman/Winston Salem Journal

Ed and Miriam McCarter are reopening their bookstore, Special Occasions, Winston-Salem, N.C., today after a two-year hiatus, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

The pair had shut the store in 2011 after 27 years in business, but Ed found that he needed "something to do," he told the paper. "Finally, I just decided I would open back up and do what I've been doing."

The new Special Occasions is across the street from its former location and will now sell used and rare books as well as new books. The old Special Occasions was one of the few black bookstores in the region and sold a variety of sidelines. The paper noted that it "was also known for providing a black Santa Claus during the holidays and selling church supplies, including choir robes."

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

Countdown to World Book Night: 3 Weeks to Tuesday, April 23

Details about the first of the Monday, April 22, Kick Off Celebrations are now on WBN's Facebook page. Each event features a WBN author, and the venues run from a club in Portland, Ore., to Mike Perry's hometown library to the Barnes & Noble Union Square store in New York City. As times are finalized and a few surprises get added, keep checking here. To read more about the planning for the kick-off, see WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz's blog posting.

The national giver map went up yesterday, and the regional maps go up on Facebook today.

Customizable Giver Thank You Certificates have been added to the bookseller and library sections of WBN Resources.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Harvard Common Press Opening S.F. Office

The Harvard Common Press, whose headquarters remain in Boston, Mass., has opened a San Francisco office that is being headed by associate publisher Adam Salomone. The office space will be primarily for meetings with food startups, investors and other entrepreneurs.

The West Coast presence makes the company "more closely connected to the San Francisco food and technology community," said Bruce Shaw, owner and publisher of the Harvard Common Press. "While we continue to be deeply invested in our publishing program, our focus is also on engaging with food startups and acting as a strategic content and investment partner. Our entry into the San Francisco marketplace allows us to broaden our footprint within this marketplace at a time when activity within this area is growing substantially."

"Over the past three to four years, the Harvard Common Press has grown to become more than just a book publisher," Salomone said. "Our investment in Yummly, an intelligent recipe search engine, back in 2010 was the beginning of our exploration of the business opportunity in food and tech innovation, but that has led us to more serious conversations, interactions and other investments with food startups."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

New Owners for Tilbury House

Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, Maine, was sold on March 22 by longtime owner Neil Rolde to Jonathan Eaton and Tristram Coburn, founders of Cadent Publishing, who plan to grow both imprints.

For 25 years, Eaton was publisher of the International Marine line of boating books under McGraw-Hill, and Coburn began his editorial career 19 years ago at Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books. After returning to Maine, Coburn was a McGraw-Hill acquisitions editor before founding the Tristram C. Coburn Literary Management agency.

Founded 40 years ago, Tilbury House began publishing regional nonfiction, then expanded to include children's books, and continues to publish books about Maine and New England history and culture. Rolde had owned Tilbury House since 1982.

"I'm looking forward to working with Jon and Tris," Tilbury House publisher Jennifer Bunting said. "We'll stay in Gardiner for now, with our present staff, and we'll be concentrating on acquiring new children's books and regional titles." The company will be issuing Tilbury titles as e-books, too.

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

NBA Judges Include Booksellers and a Librarian

For the first time, judges for the National Book Awards this year are not just writers and include booksellers, a librarian, literary critics and the v-p of a philanthropic foundation. The booksellers and librarian judges are:

  • Rick Simonson, who is senior buyer and co-director of the literary program at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Wash., where he has worked more than 35 years. He is one of the fiction judges.
  • Peter Glassman, founder and owner of Books of Wonder, New York City, and a bookseller for 38 years. He's also the author of three picture books and the editor of Books of Wonder Classics. He is one of the young people's literature judges.
  • Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Children's Literature Research Collections of the University of Minnesota, who earlier was director of the Center for Children's Literature and Children's Librarian of the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She also writes about children's and YA books on and is one of the young people's literature judges.

For the full list of judges, click here.

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano


Overdue Acknowledgment: 'Coolest Librarians Alive'

Most librarians "are probably cooler than you," Flavorwire observed in selecting "10 of the coolest librarians alive." Reader feedback quickly inspired an additional list of "10 more of the coolest librarians alive."

"After all, their job is to wrangle books, attract readers, and then get the two together--one of our own favorite activities," Flavorwire noted. "Though for many years, the librarian stereotype was a severe old lady who couldn't stand excessive noise, the mold has changed.... Now, many librarians are punk-rock agents of social change, complete with tattoos, tech savvy, and new ideas to get books to the people."

Medford's Bestsellers Cafe 'Brings a Sense of Community'

"I love it when booksellers make their presence felt," wrote Ed Siegel, critic-at-large for Boston's WBUR public radio station, to open his ARTery piece headlined "A Bookstore Brings a Sense of Community to Medford."

Siegel profiled Bestsellers Cafe owner Rob Dilman, who "has been able to add more books and indie bestsellers are competitively priced, though he doesn't have the shelf space of some of Cambridge's better independent bookstores like Harvard Book Store or Porter Square Books. He's been able, though, to make that something of a virtue. Buying one of those independent bestsellers--Herman Koch's The Dinner, the last time I was in--along with a chicken cranberry on rye and a cup of coffee and feasting over all of them while looking out onto the Mystic River--surrounded by books and local art--is a pleasure like no other.... there's that sense of community. Dilman... adds the personal touch to bookselling."

Dilman noted that the sense of community is "not just to customers, but my relationship to the staff. We're family. You get to see what customers purchase and know what they like and but it's also, when Marianne got pregnant, there was such an outpouring of support for Charlie as a newborn. There's a sense of community that we felt as parents. It doesn't always generate thousands of dollars of sales, but it makes it easier to come in and be greeted by friendly customers, and develop those relationships."

Louise Erdrich to Be Honored by North Dakota

Author and indie bookseller Louise Erdrich will receive the 39th Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award April 19 from North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple at a ceremony in Wahpeton, "and a portrait of her will eventually hang in the state Capitol with other award recipients," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Although Erdrich was born in Minnesota and lives there now, she grew up in Wahpeton and a considerable amount of her work is set in North Dakota. Previous honorees include Roger Maris, Louis L'Amour, Larry Woiwode, Angie Dickinson and Eric Sevareid.

Post Polls D.C. Region Book People

In profiles in the Washington Post, a range of people "who live by the book" in the Washington region, including David Miller of Island Press, Raphael Sagalyn of ICM/Sagalyn, Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian of the District of Columbia, and authors discuss changes in the book world and their affects on their businesses and organizations.

Mark LaFramboise of Politics and Prose commented in part: "While we don't have the same market penetration as the brand name e-book retailers, independent bookstores can (and most of us do) sell e-books from our Web sites. This is important because many of our customers enjoy the convenience of e-readers but also want to support us. It's this customer loyalty that we can never take for granted and have to constantly keep in mind as we offer programs, classes, trips, author events and anything else that can't be fulfilled by a national chain or an e-retailer."

Square Books, Bruce J. Miller Win Bookstore, Rep of the Year

Congratulations to Square Books, Oxford, Miss., which has won PW's Bookstore of the Year Award, and Bruce J. Miller of Miller Trade Book Marketing, who has won PW's Rep of the Year Award.

Square Books was founded by Richard and Lisa Howorth in 1979 and has developed a series of unusual programs including Thacker Mountain Radio and Camp Square Books for adults. Richard Howorth is a former president of the American Booksellers Association.

Miller led the fight to save the University of Missouri Press after the university decided to shut it down last year.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds on the View

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Julia Sweeney, author of If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451674040). She also appears tomorrow morning on the Today Show.


This morning on Fox & Friends: Crystal McVea, co-author of Waking Up in Heaven: A True Story of Brokenness, Heaven, and Life Again (Howard, $23.99, 9781476735856). She will also appear on CBS's Extra.


Today on Katie: Nia Vardalos, author of Instant Mom (HarperOne, $26.99, 9780062231833). She will also appear today on Dateline, CBS's Entertainment Tonight and the Insider and tomorrow on Current's Joy Behar.


Today on MSNBC's the Cycle: John Sexton, co-author of Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592407545).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Dan Fagin, author of Tom's River: A Story of Science and Salvation (Bantam, $28, 9780553806533).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Hisham Matar, author of Anatomy of a Disappearance (Dial Press, $15, 9780385340458).


Today on the View: Debbie Reynolds, co-author of Unsinkable: A Memoir (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062213655).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Jonathan Sperber, author of Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life (Liveright, $35, 9780871404671).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America (PublicAffairs, $35, 9781586489120).


Tomorrow on Katie: Marie Osmond, co-author of The Key Is Love: My Mother's Wisdom, A Daughter's Gratitude (NAL, $25.95, 9780451240316).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Knopf, $24.95, 9780385349949).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: A.C. Grayling, author of The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781620401903).

TV Teasers: Under the Dome; Behind the Candelabra

CBS offered a first look at its summer drama series Under the Dome, an adaptation of Stephen King's novel produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, reported.


The first teaser for Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra: The Secret Life of Liberace, "was a real tease, indeed--offering only a jazzy credits roll and a series of falling piano keys," reported. The HBO TV movie, which will air on May 26, stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. It was inspired by Scott Thorson's book.

Books & Authors

Awards: Hugo Nominees; Reading the West Shortlist

Nominees for the 2013 Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer have been named. Winners will be announced September 1 at LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio, Tex.

Finalists for best novel are 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit), Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit), Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen), Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor) and Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

The John W. Campbell Award for best new writer nominees are Zen Cho, Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty, Stina Leicht and Chuck Wendig.


The shortlist for the 2012 Reading the West Book Awards, sponsored by the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, is:

Adult Nonfiction
Its Head Came Off by Accident: A Memoir by Muffy Mead-Ferro (Two Dot/Globe Pequot Press)
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG)
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats by Kristen Iversen (Crown)
Geronimo by Robert M. Utley (Yale University Press)

Adult Fiction
Theft: A Novel by B.K. Loren (Counterpoint Press)
Boleto: A Novel by Alyson Hagy (Graywolf Press)
The Dog Stars: A Novel by Peter Heller (Knopf)
The Bird Saviors: A Novel by William J. Cobb (Unbridled Books)
The Soledad Crucifixion by Nancy Wood (University of New Mexico Press)

Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack, Jr. (Chronicle Books)
Fated: The Soul Seekers by Alyson Noel (St. Martin's Griffin)
Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell (Putnam/Penguin Young Readers Group)
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas (Sleeping Bear Press)
Liberty's Christmas by Randall Platt (Texas Tech University Press)

Winners will be announced May 30.

Book Review

Review: The Proper Words for Sin

The Proper Words for Sin by Gary Fincke (Vandalia Press, $16.99 paperback, 9781935978886, April 2013)

Most of the stories in The Proper Words for Sin, Gary Fincke's new collection, are set in the large swath of Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that James Carville once derisively called "Alabama." Having lived and worked in that territory much of my life, I'm impressed at how Fincke, who teaches at a nearby university and has published 24 books of short fiction, poetry and nonfiction, has captured, with both honesty and empathy, the mix of stubbornness and stoicism that characterizes our region.

Disaster and tragedy are never far away in these 11 stories. In "The Fierceness of Need," a high school English teacher and his pregnant wife battle over whether they will return to their home in the shadow of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant after its partial meltdown, while their neighbor struggles to cope with his daughter's life-threatening eating disorder. "There's Worse" sets a disintegrating marriage against the backdrop of the Challenger explosion, while in "The Blazer Sestina" a high schooler loses his mother on the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination.

"Somebody Somewhere Else," the story that concludes the book, is by far its most powerful. Set in Centralia, where an underground mine fire has burned for more than 50 years, it focuses on one of the handful of people remaining in the hollowed-out community, a recently retired man who thinks he's been a witness to the abduction of a young girl. Defeated, and yet unwilling to abandon the corpse of his dead town, he's someone who "wished for anger rather than the soul-killing surrender that waited for me each morning like a hangover."

Although it wouldn't be accurate to characterize any of his stories as truly comic, Fincke seasons them with some memorably odd characters. "The Out-of-Sorts" features a woman who briefly holds several police officers at bay by brandishing three poisonous snakes. In "Private Things," a homeschooling mother includes shopping trips and watching the Jerry Springer Show in her 12-year-old son's curriculum. And the protagonist in "The Promises of Labels" bides his time waiting to start the second fight that he knows will see him banished from his favorite bar. As strange as these characters may seem, Fincke never treats them as objects of ridicule.

The stories in this collection are more likely to evoke a knowing nod than a jolt of surprise. But readers who enjoy the gritty, realistic short stories of Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff will find themselves comfortably at home in the work of Gary Fincke. --Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: Gary Fincke's story collection admirably portrays the lives of people living in a large swath of his native Pennsylvania.

The Bestsellers

Watermark Books Bestsellers--And Why

The bestsellers at Watermark Books in Wichita, Kan., for the week ended March 23, include local and regional histories, national bestsellers, a short story collection and even an exhibition catalogue. In the words of Watermark's owner, Sarah Bagby: "We are very connected to our community, and our community has broad tastes. We cast a wide net."

The store's top seller is Radiating Like a Stone: Wichita Women and the 1970s Feminist Movement, a collection of more than 60 essays, compiled and edited by writer and former teacher Myrne Roe, that tells the stories of nearly 80 women in Wichita during the tumultuous '70s. The book was published by Watermark Press, the store's small press, nearly a year and a half ago. It has since been adapted into a play, which has added to the title's popularity. "The stage play just premiered," explained Bagby, "so a lot of women are buying it now for younger women who came to the play."

Radiating Like a Stone is the first book published by Watermark Press in 20 years. The press launched in 1989 with five titles, and by 1992 had published 17 books altogether, including Leaving Las Vegas by John O'Brien, which later became an Academy Award-nominated film, and Cows Are Freaky When They Look at You by David Ohle, Roger Martin and Susan Rosseau, an oral history of hemp growers, marijuana harvesters and hippies around Lawrence, Kan., in the '60s and '70s. Watermark suspended publication of new titles in 1992 in order to focus more time and resources on growing the store.

"I kind of went into it kicking and screaming," said Bagby, laughing, about the decision to publish another title, and such an intricate one at that, after two decades. "But the reason I published Radiating Like a Stone is because I thought it was such an important part of local history."

Another book pertaining to local history, In the Middle of America: Printmaking and Print Exhibitions by C.A. Sewards & Friends, is also doing well, and Bagby expects it to remain on the list for the next few months. It is a catalogue of four exhibitions that will be held in four different Wichita museums this spring, all relating to the history of printmaking in Kansas and Middle America. Bagby reports that print makers and collectors from around the country are ordering the book.

Also on the list are two novels by Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being and All Over Creation. The former, a story about a writer who makes a connection to a Japanese 16 year old through her diary, pulled from the Pacific Ocean, made its debut earlier this month. The latter was published in 2004 and features a young woman returning home to a potato farming town in Idaho and becoming embroiled in the ensuing drama. Ozeki has done two events at Watermark. At both events, Bagby reported, Ozeki connected wonderfully with the audience, and she described Ozeki's novels as "perennial sellers."

Juliette Gordon Low, Stacy Cordery's biography of the founder of the Girl Scouts, has sold well ever since the author visited Watermark in honor of the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary. "She did an amazing presentation for young women on this woman who was very unconventional," related Bagby. "She spoke to everyone in the audience--historians, Girl Scouts, biography readers, writers."

The Golden Egg Book, Margaret Wise Brown's classic Easter children's book, shows up on the bestsellers list every spring. "It's a classic," Bagby said. "Every child's library needs it. It sells itself every year."

Amber Dermont's first novel, The Starboard Sea, a coming of age story about a young, wealthy man who begins a relationship in the wake of devastating loss, was Watermark's book club selection for March, and number four on the list. Karen Russell's new short story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, was Watermark's March selection for its signed first edition club, and is at number seven. "Anybody who read Swamplandia doesn't hesitate to buy this one," Bagby noted.

Rounding out the bestseller list are two nonfiction titles: Sheryl Sandberg's national bestseller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Julia Pandl's Memoirs of the Sunday Brunch. The latter is a regional title from Algonquin about a big, eccentric family that ran a restaurant in Milwaukee, Wis. Pandl, the youngest of nine children, recounts her memories of growing up and working in the restaurant. The book was a Watermark book club selection, and is one of Bagby's favorite books to handsell for the spring.

When asked if there were any surprises on the list, Bagby took a moment to think about it. "If I said yes, I would probably not be telling the truth," she then said. "We drive a lot of what we sell." --Alex Mutter

The Watermark bestsellers:

  1. Radiating Like a Stone edited by Myrne Roe (Watermark Press)
  2. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Viking)
  3. Juliette Gordon Low by Stacy Cordery (Penguin Books)
  4. The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont (St. Martin's Press)
  5. In the Middle of America: Printmaking and Print Exhibitions by C.A. Seward & Friends (Barbara Thompson Publishing)
  6. The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown (Golden Books)
  7. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell (Knopf)
  8. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg (Knopf)
  9. Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl (Algonquin Books)
  10. All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki (Penguin Books)

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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