Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 4, 2013

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith


HarperCollins & Hachette Refine Agency Model in U.K.

HarperCollins & Hachette UK have introduced a refined agency pricing model with, which has now "removed the text indicating that HC and Hachette UK's e-book prices were 'set by publisher' " after concluding negotiations with the publisher regarding the European Commission's ruling last fall that Apple and four major publishers had to "terminate current agency agreements and come up with new terms," the Bookseller reported, adding that e-book prices for HarperCollins and Hachette e-books "have already dropped slightly"

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

Frommer Reacquires Frommer's

Arthur Frommer, who started his travel guidebook enterprise in 1957 before selling it to Simon & Schuster in 1971, has reacquired rights to the brand from Google and intends to resume publishing the line, the Associated Press (via the San Francisco Chronicle) reported. Although Google purchased the Frommer's brand last year from Wiley, the online search company has reportedly ceased production and publication of printed guidebooks. The terms of the deal between were not disclosed.

"It's a very happy time for me," said Frommer. "We will be publishing the Frommer travel guides in e-book and print formats and will also be operating the travel site"

Google confirmed the brand had been "returned to its founder, but added that the travel content it had acquired from Frommer's and Wiley had been integrated into various Google services such as Google Plus," the AP noted.

Pat Carrier, former owner of the Globe Corner Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass., called the deal "baffling.... I don't get why they (Google) bought Frommer's and then decided to essentially shut down the whole enterprise. Do they really think the content that they acquired from the Frommer's deal has a longer shelf life than yogurt?"

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

Brown Dog Books Finds a New Home

"Follow the paw prints!" Brown Dog Books & Gifts, Hinesburg, Vt., advised customers recently on its website, noting that the store would be "wagging our way up the street to our new digs" at 90 Mechanicsville Road. Brown Dog, which was named a "Community Gem" by the Vermont Retail Association last summer, had been forced to look for a new location after owner Natacha Liuzzi learned earlier this winter she would have to vacate the Firehouse Plaza by March 31.

More than 50 volunteers "put their busy hands and sturdy backs to work" helping with the move and Brown Dog reopened March 26, the Citizen wrote, adding that volunteers "shared a common message. They love their local bookstore."

"It feels exactly what I set out to do when I started up in 2008--to create a community bookstore," said Liuzzi "And they do own it It's theirs."

Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job

University Nebraska Press Buys Potomac Books

The University of Nebraska Press acquired Potomac Books, which publishes military history and current affairs works, for  $1.2 million, the Omaha World-Herald reported, noting that the purchase price included "$700,000 for existing inventory, $100,000 for approximately 500 e-book titles and the remainder for Potomac's trade name and future publishing rights." Under the deal, which took effect Monday, the NU Press will retain the Potomac name as an imprint.

"It expands into the military market and works well with UNL's (new) focus on defense research. That's a good synergy," said Donna Shear, director of the NU Press. Late last year, university leaders signed a multimillion dollar contract to do military research, the World-Herald noted.

Potomac publisher Sam Dorrance said the history and heritage of the NU Press "provides a strong environment for the work we do in Virginia to flourish. I am also pleased that Potomac Books will continue to work with our authors and vendors in the same manner as we have done for so many years."

Shear noted that approximately 5% of the NU Press's revenues come from e-book sales and Potomac's e-book revenues were attractive because they represent a revenue increase without additional expense for printing and warehousing.

Digital Public Library of America Launches this Month

The Digital Public Library of America, which will be officially launched April 18, "is a project to make the holdings of America's research libraries, archives, and museums available to all Americans--and eventually to everyone in the world--online and free of charge," wrote Robert Darnton, Harvard University Library director and DPLA steering committee member, in a lengthy New York Review of Books essay that attempts to answer in detail a question he poses at the outset: "How is that possible?"

Using his own university as an example, Darnton noted that "in serving as a hub, Harvard plans to make available to the DPLA by the time of its launch 243 medieval manuscripts; 5,741 rare Latin American pamphlets; 3,628 daguerreotypes, along with the first photographs of the moon and of African-born slaves; 502 chapbooks and “penny dreadfuls” about sensational crimes, a popular genre of literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; and 420 trial narratives from cases involving marriage and sexuality. Harvard expects to provide a great deal more in the following months, notably in fields such as music, cartography, zoology, and colonial history. Other libraries, archives, and museums will contribute still more material from their collections. The total number of items available in all formats on April 18 will be between two and three million."

Obituary Note: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Critically acclaimed novelist and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who was perhaps best known for her adaptation work on Merchant Ivory films (including A Room with a View, Howards End, The Remains of the Day and Heat & Dust) and who "achieved her greatest fame late in life, and for work she had once dismissed as a hobby," died yesterday, the Guardian reported. She was 85.

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: 'An Intimate Dinner with the Author'

Last Wednesday, after a public event at the store, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., hosted a small dinner for Owen Laukkanen, author of Criminal Enterprise (Putnam), at Zingerman's Roadhouse, across the street from the store. It was the first in the store's An Intimate Dinner with the Author series, which it aims to do twice in the spring and twice in the fall: 12-18 people buy tickets that include a copy of the author's book. Laukkanen called the dinner "an absolute blast." Lynn Pellerito Riehl, Nicola's events coordinator, said, "The best part of this event was that we were able to put Owen's book into the hands of new readers, and hopefully they will become lifelong readers of his thrillers!"

Music and Memory in Seattle

Jennie Shortridge launched her new book, Love Water Memory (Gallery Books), Tuesday night at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle with readings bookended and punctuated by music from the Rejections (and Trailing Spouses). The band, whose first gig was at the launch party for Erica Bauermeister's The Lost Art of Mixing, is composed of Seattle7Writers and spouses: Shortridge on vocals, her husband, Matt Gani, on guitar and vocals; Paul Mariz (husband of Laurie Frankel) on guitar and vocals; Ben Bauermeister (husband of Erica) on violin; Garth Stein on bass; and Stephanie Kallos on keyboard, vocals and percussion. And what a band it is! Shortridge is a soulful, lyrical singer, and Kallos is a sultry songstress who soloed on "They Can't Take That Away from Me." The violin perfectly complements the guitars, the vocal backup is a pleasure. Lucky attendees found a CD taped under their chairs, and you can download the songs on Shortridge's website (highly recommended).

Aside from the sheer joy of the music, the songs in the set fit nicely with Shortridge's readings. In Love Water Memory, Lucie finds herself far from home, suffering from amnesia. Her fiancé, Brady, finds her and takes her back to Seattle, where she is a stranger to him and to herself. One of her first connections with her past is at the piano in the basement of their house, where she finds herself playing "They Can't Take That Away from Me" in the middle of the night. As Lucie begins to recall her life, she sometimes longs to leave it; as she falls in love again with Brady, he becomes distant. If you've read any of Shortridge's books (When She Flew, etc.), you will guess how this ends, but that doesn't lessen the journey you will take with Lucie and Brady one whit. Get the book, download the music, and settle in for a treat. --Marilyn Dahl

Spellbound Children's Bookshop Looking for More Space

Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, N.C. has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help expand its space and programming. The bookstore is looking to move to a larger location in a neighborhood just outside of the downtown area.

"While tourists and customers who live or work downtown have welcomed our downtown presence, most of our longtime local customers have told us emphatically that they miss having Spellbound in a location that's easier to get to--they want less traffic and easier parking when shopping with their kids," owner Leslie Hawkins explained on the fundraising page. "And everyone wants the bookstore to be bigger.... Spellbound needs to go back to having a free-standing kids-only space again to better serve our customers and the larger community. It's something our customers have been asking for and waiting for... we know we have the moral support. Now we're asking [them] to translate that into action."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ryan McIlvain on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Ryan McIlvain, author of Elders: A Novel (Hogarth, $26, 9780307955692).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Mariel Hemingway, co-author of The WillingWay: Stepping Into the Life You're Meant to Live (Changing Lives Press, $21.99, 9780985024857).


Tomorrow morning on Marketplace Morning Report: Neil Irwin, author of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204623). He will also appear on CNBC's Nightly Business Report.


Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594204548). He will also appear on NPR's Science Friday.

Movie Visuals: Hobbit Sequel; Mortal Instruments; Percy Jackson

The first footage for the Tolkien sequel The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is now available online. Indiewire reported that the clip features a q&a with Peter Jackson in which he "takes questions from fans, including Stephen Colbert and actor Billy Boyd (Pippin in The Lord of the Rings series)," and shows off some behind-the-scenes footage. The film opens December 13.


"So, YA franchises: lucrative new trend or risky fad?" asked Indiewire in showcasing a new trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, based on a bestselling book series by Cassandra Clare. The movie, which stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lena Headey, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West, Kevin Zegers, Aidan Turner, CCH Pounder and Kevin Durand, will be released August 23.


The first trailer for the sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, adapted from Rick Riordan's series, is out. Indiewire noted that "Logan Lerman is back in the title role, with Stanley Tucci continuing his random steps into the blockbuster world, taking the role of Dionysus. But mostly, this one is for the young folks, with Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Jake Abel, Leven Rambin, Daniel Cudmore among those in the cast. Oh yeah, Nathan Fillion too as Hermes." The movie hits theaters August 16.

This Weekend on Book TV: Amy Goodman

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, April 6
12 p.m. Book TV visits Mesa, Ariz., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:15 a.m.)

3:45 p.m. Co-authors Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert and Nina Shea talk about their book Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson, $16.99, 9781400204410).

7 p.m. David Axe presents his book Army of God: Joseph Kony's War in Central Africa (PublicAffairs, $14.99, 9781610392990).

8:30 p.m. Jacqui Dunne and Bernard Lietaer discuss their book Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity (Berrett-Koehler, $27.95, 9781609942960). (Re-airs Monday at 5:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel interviews Neil Irwin, author of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire (Penguin, $29.95, 9781594204623). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Sam Roberts talks about his book Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America (Grand Central, $30, 9781455525966).

Sunday, April 7
12 p.m. In Depth. Amy Goodman, author most recently of The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance and Hope (Haymarket , $16, 9781608462315), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

5 p.m. Alex Watson and his father Robert Watson discuss their Let's Write Together campaign and new children's book, Tsunami (TriMark Press, $14.95, 9780984956838).

7:30 p.m. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, presents his book Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family (Random House , $27, 9781400069033).

10 p.m. At an event hosted by Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa, Lee Sandlin talks about his book Storm Kings: The Untold History of America's First Tornado Chasers (Pantheon, $26.95, 9780307378521).

11 p.m. Kristan Hawkins, executive director of the pro-life group Students for Life of America, discusses her essay collection Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime (CreateSpace, $10, 9781481171717).

Books & Authors

Awards: Jackson Poetry Prize; PEN/Malamud Short Fiction

Arthur Sze has won this year's $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize. Sponsored by Poets & Writers magazine, the award honors "an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition" and is "designed to provide what all poets need: time and the encouragement to write." A reading and reception in his honor will be held May 15 in New York City.

Sze is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light, Quipu, The Redshifting Web and Archipelago, all from Copper Canyon Press, which will also publish his new collection, Compass Rose, in 2014.

The judges called Sze "one of our most patient, painstaking, and prepared observers. The impression of land and sky on mind and mind on the mess we tend to make of things is seldom brought to such an exquisite degree of awareness. In exacting language, Sze has brought his gleaming perceptions and looming concerns to a rare quality of order."

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced yesterday that George Saunders will receive this year's PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. The prize includes a reading in the 2013/14 PEN/Faulkner Reading Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library and $5,000.

Malamud award committee member Alan Cheuse praised Saunders--author of four collections including the recent and much-lauded Tenth of December--as "one of the most gifted and seriously successful comic short story writers working in America today. And his comedy, like most great comedy, is dark. George Saunders is the real thing, the successor to such dark comedians of ordinary speech as Donald Barthelme and Grace Paley. He's a Vonnegutian in his soul and, paradoxically, a writer like no one but himself."

Pennie Picks Beautiful Ruins

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780061928178) as her pick of the month for April. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"If I had magical powers and could choose any book to step into and take up residency, it would be this month's pick, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

"The novel begins in 1962 on the Italian coast. A young innkeeper looks up to see a woman in white approaching in a boat. She is an American starlet, and she is dying. Flash forward 50 years to a movie studio's back lot. An elderly man is searching for a mysterious woman he last saw decades ago.

"Walter takes readers on a journey that includes stops at the Cleopatra film set, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and points in between. The characters he's created--including the star-struck Italian man--and the people he's recreated--the passionate Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton--populate an engaging world readers won't want to leave."

Book Review

Review: The Smart One

The Smart One by Jennifer Close (Knopf, $24.95 hardcover, 9780307596864, April 2, 2013)

Jennifer Close's debut novel, Girls in White Dresses, was a bestseller with a devoted following. The Smart One is every bit as good; Close has a fluent, conversational style and writes pitch-perfect dialogue, no matter the gender or age of her character.

The Coffey family--Will and Weezy and their children Martha, Claire and Max--all love each other very much, but they are a family, after all, so it gets tricky at times. When the story opens, Claire, almost 30, is breaking her engagement to Doug, or he's breaking up with her--it doesn't really matter. Claire is living way beyond her means, doesn't want to take on a roommate and is practically catatonic when she realizes her credit cards are maxed out. Something must be done--quickly, or she will be evicted. Odious as it seems, she decides to move home and pay her bills.

At 31, Martha is a needy worrywart, socially inept, in love with crisis and disaster. After her nursing career flames out, she goes to work at J. Crew and glories in the perfectly folded sweaters and khakis--until she can't look at them another minute. She is back at home, living in her old bedroom and taking on temporary caregiving jobs, promising herself that she will become re-certified as a nurse. To round out the cast, Max, a senior in college, suddenly learns his girlfriend, Cleo, is pregnant; upon their graduation, they move in, too. It's high school all over again: slammed doors, fights over the bathroom and sniping. (Except for Max, who is a lover, not a fighter.)

Claire is the smart one who sees everything clearly even though it takes her some time to sort herself out. For example, did she really need to hook up with the goofy guy she had a crush on in high school, who is now living in his mother's basement? Martha takes smaller steps than Claire, while Max and Cleo and baby Nina Grace stay with Will and Weezy, but great changes have taken place--even some growing up--in Jennifer Close's great take on family life. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: An eminently readable, thoroughly enjoyable novel about the people next door, warts and all--but even their warts are endearing.

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