Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 11, 2013

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Quotation of the Day

Bookshops: An 'Important Part of Our National Culture'

"The physical browsing process is enormously pleasant. It's an important part of our national culture, those bookshops.... But the arithmetic does get more and more difficult, and online retailing gets more and more seductive. And all of us get more and more used to it, from grocery supply to buying books off Amazon. Yet I go to the Westfield shopping centre down the road, and it's turned out to be an absolute goldmine, heaving with people all year round. Anyone who tells you they know the future is telling you the most grotesque lie, because none of us do."

--Tim Waterstone, founder and former owner of of the British bookstore chain that still bears his name, in an interview with the Guardian. Waterstone is about to return to bookselling as "non-executive chairman" of Read Petite, an online outlet for short-form e-books that will be launched to the trade at the London Book Fair and to the public next fall.

Scribe Us: Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic about Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman


Hot Topics at NCIBA Spring Meeting: Goodreads and Tax Equity

As usual, the annual spring meeting of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, held last weekend, kicked off with the American Booksellers Association's open forum. What was unusual was the number-one topic on booksellers' minds: What does Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads mean to independent booksellers?

Most booksellers felt compelled to warn customers about the possibility Amazon would mine their private information on Goodreads. But they also agreed that speaking with their customers about the Goodreads acquisition without having a viable alternative to the site limited the discussion.

This past holiday season the NCIBA worked with Goodreads on a promotion, but the relationship has been "effectively severed," as NCIBA executive director Hut Landon put it. What, many wondered, could booksellers recommend as an alternative to Goodreads?

ABA CEO Oren Teicher asked what booksellers would want ABA to offer. "Better Reads," said Amy Thomas, owner of Pegasus Books in Berkeley. Michael Tucker, owner of Books Inc., suggested that getting authors involved in any social media replacement would be as important as getting them behind Indie Next and independent booksellers' websites. "It happens author to author, store to store," said Tucker.

Teicher noted that in recent meetings, booksellers in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions expressed skepticism about creating a new platform to replace Goodreads. But, as Landon pointed out, Northern California booksellers were often "on the cutting edge."

In discussing relations with publishers, Teicher said that in just three years, publishers have turned "180 degrees" on discussing such things as better terms and extended dates on books sold as part of promotions for independent bookstores, such as last fall's "Thank You for Shopping Indie" program.

ABA is working on two such promotions for the spring: Celebrate Debut Authors with Indies and Celebrate Moms, Dads and Grads with Indies. ABA is also planning a promotion for the fall.

Teicher said that the association needs members to participate in these efforts and provide sales numbers as "ammunition to demonstrate to publishers that we can make a difference and move the needle." While Teicher said the ABA knows that not every selected book works in every store, he said all the books chosen for these multi-publisher promotions were picked by indie booksellers. Across the board, sales for titles in "Thanks for Shopping Indie" last fall were up, providing publishers proof of its success.

On the issue of sales tax fairness (an effort led by Northern California booksellers), Teicher said he believes there is a real chance to see movement in that direction on the federal level. "For the first time ever, 74 members of the U.S. Senate voted in favor of sales tax equity," he said. "There's a shot we can get this done."

Of course, Teicher added, when called upon, booksellers need to keep sending letters to legislators. "You have no idea how a small number of letters gets their attention," he said. --Bridget Kinsella

Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

Blackwood & Brouwer, Kinderhook, N.Y., Closing

Rondi Brower

Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers, Kinderhook, N.Y., "a spirited independent," is closing at the end of June, the Times-Union reported.

"In addition to getting every last book out of the store, my goal is to celebrate the 23 good years we had and not focus on the 24th year that isn't going to happen," said Rondi Brower, whose parents, Jean and Dick Brower, founded the store in 1990 after they retired and moved to the area from New Jersey. The paper wrote that "her parents' advancing age and her father's recent hospitalization spurred the decision to close." Brower added, "There's no blame coming from us in any specific direction. It was a combination of factors. The miracle is that we stayed alive so long, not that we're closing now."

Blackwood & Brouwer emphasized "children's literature and the couple's own interests, including local history, World War II, aviation, gardening and cooking," the paper said. "They never computerized the operation."

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Tad Floridis to Lead Zola Books' International Expansion

Tad Floridis has joined Zola Books as director of international business development; his first task is taking the company into the U.K. and Commonwealth markets. An industry veteran, Floridis co-founded and was associate publisher of Canongate U.S., the transatlantic joint venture of Grove/Atlantic and Canongate Books; executive v-p of business development for Rightscenter; a researcher at Salomon Brothers; an editor at Random House; and has written for GQ, Men's Journal and the New York Observer.

Zola CEO Joe Regal commented: "We are delighted that Tad will be laying the groundwork for our launch abroad. His wealth of experience will help us target the best opportunities for development of content, identify possible strategic business partnerships, and build expert local teams in each of the markets we plan to enter in the coming months and years."

Worldreader App Reaching a Half Million People Globally

Worldreader, a U.S. and European nonprofit whose mission is to make digital books available to children and their families in the developing world, said it is reaching more than 500,000 readers a month on their cell phones. The service allows people to read story books, textbooks, short stories, novels and health information on the Worldreader Mobile app "for their feature phones, devices commonly found throughout Africa and the rest of the developing world."

Users spend 60,000 hours reading on their mobile phones per month, according to Worldreader, which said that approximately 100,000 "power readers" read more than 20 times per month.

"There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes on this planet," said David Risher, co-founder and CEO. "Together with our growing e-reader program, Worldreader Mobile connects us to millions of the world's poorest people, providing the books they need to improve their lives."

Obituary Note: Marilyn Abel

Marilyn Abel, longtime executive director of the Educational Book and Media Association, died on April 5 following a brief illness. She was 74.

Abel started her career in publishing with the American Booksellers Association and then worked with Wayne State University Press, New American Library, Viking Penguin, the University of Chicago Press and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1975, she co-founded the Educational Paperback Association, now known as the Educational Book and Media Association, and was executive director for 35 years.

Gene Bahlman of Follett Library Resources, president of EBMA, said: "We have lost our visionary leader. Without Marilyn's inspired vision and leadership, EBMA would not be the success it is today. She will be deeply missed."

Several of us at Shelf Awareness knew her for many years and considered her one of the nicest, smartest people in the industry.

There will be a funeral mass at Most Holy Trinity Church in East Hampton, N.Y., on Saturday, April 13; burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Abel's memory may be made to the National Coalition Against Censorship, 19 Fulton Street, Suite 407, New York, N.Y. 10038.


Image of the Day: Booksellers' Ideal Bookshelf

Booksellers at Changing Hands are big fans of Jane Mount's "ideal bookshelf" paintings and her book, My Ideal Bookshelf. So the store commissioned one of her works.

Each Changing Hands staffer selected one book (his or her all-time favorite, which was no easy task) and sent the list of 33 titles to Mount. The gorgeous result now hangs above the magazine racks, with a huge banner in the front window, and, of course, the books are on display in the store.

Changing Hands staffers Em Manus, Kyle Hague and Sarah Murrell.

Politics & Prose Bookstore Named 'Best of D.C.'

Politics & Prose took "Best Book Store" honors for the third straight year in Washington City Paper's Best of D.C. readers' poll, garnering laudatory comments like "best in the nation," "how fortunate we are to have this gem" and "proving that a book store can still thrive in the age of the Internet." Runners-up were Kramerbooks and Capitol Hill Books.

Mo and Hervé: Books to Be Played, Not Read

On Monday night at Books of Wonder in New York City, Mo Willems stated a mantra that applies to himself and to Hervé Tullet: "I want my books to be played, not to be read."

Authors Mo Willems and Hervé Tullet with Shelf Awareness's Jennifer Brown.

Earlier that day, Willems, best known for his Pigeon picture books and his beginning readers starring Elephant and Piggy, serendipitously met French author and artist Hervé Tullet, known for his picture book sensation Press Here, in Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Tullet was playing boules. Soon Willems and Tullet were playing together (since Tullet was visiting the U.S. from France, Willems, as the American host, graciously "let him win").

As their conversation unfolded at Books of Wonder that evening, Willems and Tullet revealed that they never really stop playing. Both author-artists said they draw in order to free themselves. The work comes in when they shape the book from the drawings they do. In answer to the question, "What is it with you two and circles?" Tullet answered, "I'm lazy," and Willems responded, "I want all my drawings to feel as if a five-year-old can do it." ("I'm five!" piped up a child seated on the floor in front; "That's great!" Willems responded.)  When asked to talk about their palettes, in particular why Tullet uses such bright primary colors and Willems a more muted range of hues, Tullet's response was, once again, "I'm lazy!" (to much laughter from the crowd). Willems said he uses a softer palette because "I'm a line guy"; subtler tones allow the line to pop.

photo: Meg Parsont/Phaidon Press

Neither author admitted to getting stuck ever, nor are they afraid of getting stuck. Tullet quoted a jazz musician who once said that improvisation feels like falling, but you never actually fall. Willems said, "I'm fearless in my exploration." Each evening, Willems and his family and any dinner guests on hand all gather around the dining room table where they stretch a giant piece of paper and draw. His dining room walls have a chalkboard surface so they can draw there, too. "The time you put into your life is more important than the time you put into your drawing," Willems said.

Tullet will be doing events in New York and Boston the next couple of weeks for his new book, I Am Blop! (Phaidon), including one at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn this afternoon at 4 p.m. Willems had to depart swiftly for a rehearsal of Elephant and Piggy I Am in a Play in Washington, D.C. However, Willems, who will be spending the coming year in France, threatened a boules rematch with Tullet in Paris on September 15. Que le jeu commence! (Let the games begin!) --Jennifer M. Brown

Pearl the Bookish Buffalo on Duty at Full Circle

Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City, Okla., was profiled by KOKH-TV in a "Jaime's Favorite Things" segment that featured a conversation with owner Jim Tolbert, who bought the business 30 years ago. The bookshop's inventory includes many titles "either set in Oklahoma or by an Oklahoman marked by a certain buffalo you may get to know. 'Pearl' stands guard at the indoor entrance to Full Circle. She is part of that beautiful buffalo campaign we saw a few years ago as artists created their own buffalo statues and set them up across OKC. Pearl is 'an inside girl' as Jim calls her. She is wrapped fully in pearls of all sizes and the kids (and myself) love to give Pearl a little pat as they walk into the store."

Alison Martin Promoted at Random House

Alison Martin has been promoted to v-p, fulfillment operations and IT systems, at Random House, Inc.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Laurie Edwards on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Laurie Edwards, author of In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America (Walker, $26, 9780802718013).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Carol Burnett, author of Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story (Simon & Schuster, $24.99, 9781476706412).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Gabrielle Reese, author of My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life (Scribner, $25, 9781451692662).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Cass R. Sunstein, author of Simpler: The Future of Government (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476726595).


Tomorrow on NBC's Chris Matthews Show: Mark Mazzetti, author of The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204807). He will also appear on CBS Radio's Weekend Roundup.


Tomorrow on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door (ILR Press, $21.95, 9780801451720).

This Weekend on Book TV: Celebrating Philip Roth

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 13
10 a.m. Book TV offers live coverage of the Annapolis Book Festival in Annapolis, Md. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7 p.m. A celebration of the life and work of Philip Roth at the Newark Museum includes a panel discussion, followed by an address from Roth himself. The author turned 80 last month.

10 p.m. After Words. Kimberly Tignor, advocacy counsel of the National Bar Association, interviews Martin Clancy and Tim O'Brien regarding their book Murder at the Supreme Court: Lethal Crimes and Landmark Cases (Prometheus Books, $26, 9781616146481). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Logan Beirne presents his book Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books, $27.99, 9781594036408). (Re-airs Sunday at 2 p.m.)

Sunday, April 14
4 p.m. At an event hosted by McNally Jackson Books in New York City, Douglas Rushkoff talks about his book Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now (Current, $26.95, 9781591844761).

6:45 p.m. Lee Edwards discusses his book Leading the Way: The Story of Ed Feulner and the Heritage Foundation (Crown Forum, $27.50, 9780770435783).

7:30 p.m. David Kirp talks about his book Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools (Oxford University Press, $24.95, 9780199987498).

10 p.m. Charlene Mires presents her book Capital of the World: The Race to Host the United Nations (NYU Press, $29.95, 9780814707944).

11 p.m. Fouzia Saeed talks about her book Working with Sharks: A Pakistani Woman's Story of Sexual Harassment in the United Nations--From Personal Grievance to Public Law (Advances Press, $21.99, 9781935866466). (Re-airs Monday at 6 a.m.)

TV: Behind The Candelabra Full Trailer

The full trailer for Steven Soderbergh's HBO movie Behind The Candelabra: The Secret Life Of Liberace has been released "and it's quite a vision," reported, noting that the film is "full of glitz, glamour, dazzling piano-playing and Matt Damon screaming 'I don't even have my own face!' " Based on Scott Thorson's memoir and starring Michael Douglas as Liberace, the TV movie airs May 26.

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN/Hessell-Tiltman; Orion; Translated Books; Commonwealth

Keith Lowe won the £3,000 (about US$4,600) PEN/Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History for Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II. Chair of judges Philip Ziegler praised the book as "a magnificently researched account of the terrible years that most of continental Europe suffered after the end of the Second World War.... It is a tribute to Lowe's skill that this bleakly tragic tale is nevertheless compulsive reading: the reader longs for it to stop and yet craves for more. It could not have been better done."


Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth by Craig Childs (Pantheon) has won the 2013 Orion Book Award, sponsored by Orion Magazine. The editors said, in part, that the book "puts an entirely new spin on our usual preoccupations with climate change and catastrophe in general. Traveling to some of the harshest and most far-flung corners of the planet--from desert to ice sheet to massive wasteland of genetically modified corn--Childs takes the long view, exploring the ongoing life and death of the earth on a scale most of us rarely think about."


Finalists have been named for the 2013 Best Translated Book Awards, honoring "the best original of international fiction and poetry published in the U.S." and sponsored by Three Percent, part of the University of Rochester. Winners will be announced on May 3 in New York City. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Planets by Sergio Chejfec, translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary (Open Letter Books)
Prehistoric Times by Eric Chevillard, translated from the French by Alyson Waters (Archipelago Books)
The Colonel by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, translated from the Persian by Tom Patterdale (Melville House)
Satantango by László Krasznahorkai, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes (New Directions)
Autoportrait by Edouard Levé, translated from the French by Lorin Stein (Dalkey Archive)
A Breath of Life: Pulsations by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz (New Directions)
The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller, translated from the German by Philip Boehm (Metropolitan Books)
Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz (Open Letter Books)
Transit by Abdourahman A. Waberi, translated from the French by David Ball and Nicole Ball (Indiana University Press)
My Father's Book by Urs Widmer, translated from the German by Donal McLaughlin (Seagull Books)

Transfer Fat by Aase Berg, translated from the Swedish by Johannes Göransson (Ugly Duckling Press)
pH Neutral History by Lidija Dimkovska, translated from the Macedonian by Ljubica Arsovska and Peggy Reid (Copper Canyon Press)
The Invention of Glass by Emmanuel Hocquard, translated from the French by Cole Swensen and Rod Smith (Canarium Books)
Wheel with a Single Spoke by Nichita Stanescu, translated from the Romanian by Sean Cotter (Archipelago)
Notes on the Mosquito by Xi Chuan, translated from the Chinese by Lucas Klein (New Directions)
Almost 1 Book / Almost 1 Life by Elfriede Czurda, translated from the German by Rosmarie Waldrop (Burning Deck)


Commonwealth Writers has announced this year's shortlists for the Commonwealth Book Prize and Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Regional winners will be named May 14 for Africa, Asia, Canada/Europe, Caribbean and the Pacific. The overall winner will be announced May 31 during the Hay Festival.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 16:

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780547576213) follows two troubled sisters sharing a luxury Manhattan apartment.

A Man Without Breath by Philip Kerr (A Marian Wood Book/Putnam, $26.95, 9780399160790) takes Berlin cop Bernie Gunther to the Eastern Front to investigate a Soviet massacre.

Amity & Sorrow: A Novel by Peggy Riley (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316220880) follows a mother and her two daughters fleeing a polygamous cult leader.

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780547759265) connects an Iraqi widow and a chef's daughter through a cooking class.

The Omni Diet by Tana Amen (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250029843) advocates a balance of 70% plant-based food to 30% protein.

Book Review

Review: The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir

The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir by William Friedkin (Harper, $29.99 hardcover, 9780061775123, April 16, 2013)

Director William Friedkin captures all the ups and downs of his distinguished film career in his thoroughly enjoyable, honest and engaging memoir, The Friedkin Connection. As he says, "I never played by the rules, often to my own detriment."

A Chicago lad, Friedkin was a loser with no future until he got a job in television out of high school, working his way up to director. It was only after he saw Citizen Kane, though, that he realized he wanted to direct films. In 1967 he got his first shot: Sonny and Cher's Good Times. Three more followed before his breakthrough picture, The French Connection--which almost didn't happen, then won him a directing Oscar (as well as Best Picture). The famous chase scene, he says, was "all in my mind’s eye" before he shot a single frame.

Friedkin was author William Peter Blatty's choice to direct The Exorcist. He explains in fascinating detail how they filmed the terrifying exorcism scenes. Then the magic moved out, and hubris moved in. Of his next picture, Sorcerer, he says, "I felt I made a great film." Given carte blanche to remake the classic The Wages of Fear, he spent $1 million to build a suspension bridge over a raging South American river for a key scene--and the river dried up. They took the bridge apart and rebuilt it over another river; that river dried up, too. "It turned out to be the most difficult, frustrating, and dangerous film I've ever made," Friedkin confesses, "and it took a toll on my health as well as my reputation." He chides himself for being callous and self-involved, and his subsequent films became more obsessive, darker, less audience-friendly.

In 1985, To Live and Die in L.A. came, with an even more amazing chase scene than The French Connection: "There may be better chase sequences in films," Friedkin says, "but few as elaborate." (The "best chase scene I've ever directed," though, "and the most difficult to realize is the one in Jade.") As for his most recent film, 2011's Killer Joe, he believes it will be a long time "before anyone makes another film as provocative and controversial."

Filled with insights into the art of film and its practitioners and honest assessments of his work--and the work of others in the film industry--this is terrific stuff. After reading it, you'll be anxious to see all the Friedkin movies you've missed. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: Sit down with William Friedkin and he'll tell you about his life making films his way--and why Sonny Bono was one of the few geniuses he ever met.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw
2. Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder
3. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
4. Light in the Shadows by A. Meredith Walters
5. Music of the Heart by Katie Ashley
6. Twisted by K.A. Robinson
7. The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken
8. To Die For by various authors
9. The Love Game by Emma Hart
10. Torn by K.A. Robinson

[Many thanks to!]

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