Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chronicle Books: Ivy & Bean

Yen on: Dark Souls: Masque of Vindication by Michael Stackpole

Grove Press: A Ballet of Lepers: A Novel and Stories by Leonard Cohen

Apollo Publishers: Why Not?: Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah by Mark Schiff

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza by Laekan Zea Kemp

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

Aladdin Paperbacks: Return of the Dragon Slayers: A Fablehaven Adventure (Dragonwatch #5) by Brandon Mull


Booksellers Coping After the Boston Marathon Bombing

photo: City Rover Media

"Just picking ourselves up over the last day has taken an enormous amount of energy," said Courtney Flynn, marketing and events coordinator of Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston, Mass.

The Trident is only a few blocks away from the intersection of Exeter Street and Boylston Street, where two bombs exploded on Monday afternoon during the Boston Marathon. Approximately a half hour after the bombs went off, killing three and wounding more than 100 people, police came and evacuated the store and cafe.

"We had many, many customers in here," Flynn said. "People were in the middle of their meals in the cafe. The whole street was closed. Yesterday we were able to get in and open semi-normally."

Flynn described an extremely fraught afternoon as she and many others in Boston who were eager to check in with and reassure family, friends and loved ones were unable to make outgoing phone calls. Text messages were "hit and miss." There were several Trident employees on Boylston Street, but no one was injured. Flynn's brother, who ran in the marathon, was unharmed. Said Flynn: "Everyone had some connection."

Carole Horne, general manager of Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., described a similar experience. "Our first response was getting in touch with everybody, seeing if everybody was okay."

Several Harvard Book Store staff members live near the site of the bombing, and others were volunteering at the marathon. One of them, Horne related, was "pretty close" to the explosions. All of them, however, made it out all right.

The store remained open for the rest of the day, although a Monday evening event with Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (Viking), was cancelled. As of Tuesday afternoon, Horne was unsure if Grant's appearance would be rescheduled, but an event planned for that night went ahead as usual.

The store also remained open on 9/11, and Horne remembered many customers appreciating that there was a place to go that "seemed as normal as things get in those sorts of circumstances."

After the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks became clear, employees of the Harvard Book Store and several other booksellers in the area came up with a list of books on relevant political, social and historical issues. As more details about the Boston Marathon bombing become clear, Horne expects that they will do something similar.

Kym Havens of Wellesley Books in Wellesley, Mass., described the events of Monday as surreal. "We were at mile thirteen [of the marathon route], watching people go past all day. Half an hour after the street was opened back up, we heard about the bombing."

None of the store's employees who had that day off were injured in the blasts, and Wellesley Books stayed open for the rest of the day. Havens, who is an assistant manager, kept the store open until nine, even though it was scheduled to remain open only until six. Although few customers came in that night, Havens and her co-worker kept busy by reorganizing books and reordering shelves. A handful of the customers who stopped by even helped with the shelving. "It was very therapeutic," Havens said. "There are few things more therapeutic than moving and organizing books. The store was a good place to recoup."

The strangest part of the day came Monday evening, when Havens watched policemen empty the trash bins outside the store. "They were checking trash cans all up and down the route," she said. "Wellesley is very slow at night. You never see four police at one time in Wellesley."

Havens, who writes the bookstore's newsletter, related that she had struggled for a while to write anything meaningful about the attack on Monday.

"So many great things have already been so well said," explained Havens, citing several pieces written by local authors, including Dennis Lehane. "What is there to add? And how do I transition from that to something about a cooking event? Eventually I stopped worrying and just wrote it, and it turned out okay." --Alex Mutter

Weiser Books: Hearth and Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde

'Pubs for the Hub' Fundraising Effort

Pubs for the Hub has been launched to benefit those who were affected by the tragedy at this year's Boston Marathon. The project aims to raise funds through offering publishing-related items and services at an online auction; the group is seeking donations. According to the organizers, auction proceeds will go directly to The One Fund, an initiative recently announced by Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The auction will take place over a span of two weeks, with the first set of items offered April 22–27 and the second set April 29–May 4.

Harper Muse: When We Had Wings: A Story of the Angels of Bataan by Ariel Lawhon, Kristina McMorris, and Susan Meissner

PaidContent Live: "The Evolution of the Book Industry"

Book publishing got its half-hour in the spotlight at gigaOM's second annual paidContent Live, a media conference held yesterday at the Time-Life Building in midtown Manhattan. During a panel discussion on "The Evolution of the Book Industry" led by paidContent publishing correspondent Laura Hazard Owen, Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah described her company's strategy as "trying to solve problems for readers in ways that are very useful for authors." As an example, she cited a statistic that, in the pre-ebook world, categorized 50% of book purchases as gifts. How do you make e-books attractive gifts and recapture some of that market? One of Sourcebooks' solutions is "Put Me in the Story," an app that allows users to create personalized digital and print versions of children's books like Santa Is Coming to My House! and Elmo Loves You.

Panelists Ratliff, Raccah, Chou, with moderator Owen.

Rachel Chou of Open Road Integrated Media discussed the digital publisher's emphasis on marketing, which comprises more than half the company's staff. "We look at the analytics a lot," she said, but "the big shift has been... an editorial focus in the marketing content." Instead of simply focusing on the online storefront, Open Road works with its authors to develop content that can be used on their own online platforms to promote the books. She shared some details from Open Road's activity in social media: StumbleUpon has been one of the most effective sources for referrals, she observed, while Twitter has been "far and away" a better way to drive traffic to their promotional videos than Facebook.

"The fundamental unit of what we're producing is a story," said Atavist CEO Evan Ratliff of his company's longform nonfiction, whether it's sold in a no-frills version as a Kindle single or an in-app edition loaded with multimedia extras. Because its productions are "somewhere between magazines and books," Atavist has enjoyed some success selling subscriptions direct to readers; the fact that the subjects its authors cover can vary wildly from one book to the next hasn't been an issue. "People who know the Atavist know what we do and want more of that," Ratliff said. "They tend to like not just the topic. They like the format."

Chou spoke about complaints Open Road gets from customers about not being able to tell how far they've read in an e-book, and connected it to the e-book pricing problem: when a $2.99 price tag can be put on both an 800-page novel and a novella-length work that might take an hour to read, it's hard to set readers' expectations. She also cited one of the major problems with using free e-books to introduce readers to an author's backlist; the people who prefer free e-books "have plenty to choose from," she pointed out, and "stay inside" that no-cost inventory. Raccah jokingly agreed about the difficulty in "converting freegans to pay-gans," then brought up another problem publishers are facing with greater frequency: the need to develop a global focus and sell books to readers in markets around the world. "It's a solution we need," she warned, "and we don't have it." --Ron Hogan

KidsBuzz for the Week of 08.08.22

U.K. Independents Day Focusing 'Across the Creative Sector'

The Independent Alliance of Publishers, in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts, has announced the launch June 6 of Independents Day, a festival designed to "celebrate and explore independence across the creative industries and its impact on cultural innovation and business in the U.K." The program will feature discussion, debate and entertainment, with special guests from publishing, theater, film, art and music.

''With its potential to bring such diversity and excitement to our lives, in the current environment it seems more important than ever to celebrate and debate the value of independence across the creative sector," said Stephen Page, CEO of Faber & Faber.

Rebecca Nicolson, co-founder of Short Books, observed that "creativity and originality tends to start small. Independents Day is a reminder of this--that the big ideas of tomorrow are likely to come from the workshop under the arches, not from the giant corporate high rises in the center of the city."

Broadleaf Books: Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli

Jabba the... Puppett to Star in Angleberger's Origami Yoda Series

Angleberger with Jimmy James, owner of Park Street Books & Toys, in Medfield, Mass.

Tom Angleberger's fourth book in the Origami Yoda series will be The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, Amulet Books has announced. The book will have a one-day laydown on August 6, 2013, and a 500,000-copy first printing. In the new book, dark times fall on McQuarrie Middle School when the principal cancels art, music and LEGO classes to make time for a new test prep program called the FunTime Menace, so the students form a Rebel Alliance with the help of Origami Yoda.

"Jabba wasn't the feature character I was expecting," Angleberger admitted. "But I think once fans read the book, they will agree that it's hard to say no to him!"

Angleberger is on a 12-city tour for Art2 D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling, a companion activity book to the Origami Yoda series.

Soho Crime: Blown by the Same Wind (Cold Storage Novel) by John Straley


Cool Idea of the Day: Poem in Your Pocket Day Goes Local

Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich., partnered with the Michigan Theater, Morgan & York and the Zingerman's Companies to celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day today. Customers who visit any of these businesses will be given the handout featuring a poem on one side and list of participating merchants on the other. Nicola's events coordinator Lynn Pellerito Riehl said she "was thrilled at the eager response from the other merchants to participate in this event."

Booksellers on Stage: May the Schwartz Be with You

"To former employee Brent Gohde, David Schwartz's bookshop on N. Downer Ave. did more than sell books and provide a paycheck. The bookstore was an incubator for friendship, creativity and community in his life and, he believes, in the lives of many others," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted in its article on Gohde's May the Schwartz Be with You, which will be performed this weekend at Turner Hall Ballroom.

Cedar Block, Gohde's performance collective, "stages multimedia, genre-crossing events, with storytelling, music, film and visual art that can be called either happenings or variety shows," the Journal Sentinel wrote. Looking for a new project, Gohde recalled the years (1997-2000) he worked at Schwartz Bookshop and realized that "everyone I met over the past 15 years" is directly linked to "the day I got hired at Schwartz.... I met some of my heroes as the result of being the events coordinator at Schwartz Bookshop. But I also met my friends."

Cedar Block's production "is both one collective's look at the role Schwartz played in the local creative world and a set of reflections, in story, music and art, of the ways Gohde and his collaborators found like-minded artists," the Journal Sentinel noted. Gohde is also borrowing Schwartz ephemera from Boswell Book Company, owned by former Schwartz employee Daniel Goldin.

Honors for Indies in Michigan, Minnesota

Brilliant Books was named one of the 10 finalists in the Traverse City, Mich., Area Chamber of Commerce's 2013 Small Business Celebration. The Record-Eagle reported that during the next few weeks, SBC judges "will conduct site visits to the 10 finalists to gain a deeper understanding of their operations and meet employees as the selection process to identify the recipient of the 2013 Hagerty Small Business of the Year Award continues." The finalists will be honored May 8 at a "Meet the Top 10" breakfast, with the winner announced May 29.


Among this year's City Pages "Best of the Twin Cities" winners in the shopping & services category were Common Good Books in St. Paul for Best Bookstore (New) because even though the new store "has a different look, it's still got the same cozy feel of its old location"; and the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis for Best Store Pet because it "currently houses three cats, one chicken, a couple of ferrets and chinchillas, and cockatoos and doves. Braver (not necessarily older) visitors can peer into the tarantula and lizard tanks."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Vali Nasr on Morning Joe

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385536479).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: 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).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jackie Hance, author of I'll See You Again (Gallery, $26, 9781451674774). She will also appear on Rock Center with Brian Williams and NBC's Nightly News.


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Suzanne Steinbaum, author of Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum's Heart Book: Every Woman's Guide to a Heart-Healthy Life (Avery, $26, 9781583335055).


Tomorrow on NPR's Marketplace: Erica Grieder, author of Big, Hot, Cheap, and Right: What America Can Learn from the Strange Genius of Texas (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781610391924). She will also appear on MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes and the Blaze TV's Wilkow.

TV: 'Seriously NSFW' Hemlock Grove Trailer

The horror! A new red band trailer for Netflix's original chiller series Hemlock Grove, based on the novel by Brian McGreevy, opens with a warning card that states: "The following trailer is restricted to Mature Audiences Only by Netflix, Inc. for Mild Fornication, Fellatio, Heavy Cocaine Use, Lesbian Necrophilia, Violent Hemorrhaging."

Entertainment Weekly noted that "what follows is two minutes of madness that make Hemlock Grove look a little bit like The Vampire Diaries if The Vampire Diaries had way more blood and nudity and worms crawling places and Famke Janssen swanning around a mansion in a tantalizing bathrobe. Also, Nazis."

Hemlock Grove, which debuts 13 episodes April 19, stars Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, Dougray Scott, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley and Lili Taylor.

This Weekend on Book TV: L.A. Times Festival of Books Live

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 20
12 p.m. Book TV visits Virginia Beach, Va., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

1 p.m. James Antle presents his book Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? (Regnery, $27.95, 9781621570523).

2 p.m. Book TV offers live coverage of the 2013 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held on the campus of the University of Southern California and featuring events as well as the opportunity for viewers to interact with authors. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

8:30 p.m. Eric Draper, the longest-serving White House photographer, is interviewed about his book Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush (University of Texas Press, 9780292745476).

9 p.m. David Orentlicher presents his book Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive Branch (NYU Press, $29.95, 9780814789490).

10 p.m. After Words. Krissah Thompson of the Washington Post interviews Benjamin Wiker, author of Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion (Regnery , $27.95, 9781621570295). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Rosemary Gibson talks about her book Medicare Meltdown: How Wall Street and Washington are Ruining Medicare and How to Fix It (Rowman & Littlefield, $25, 9781442219793).

Sunday, April 21
Book TV's live coverage of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books continues, featuring events and the opportunity for viewers to interact with authors. Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

10 p.m. Rashid Khalidi discusses his book Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807044759).

Books & Authors

Awards: Stella Winner; SIBA Finalists; Orwell Shortlist

Carrie Tiffany won the inaugural $50,000 Stella Prize, which honors Australian women's writing, for Mateship with Birds. Chair of judges Kerryn Goldsworthy called the novel "a deceptively gentle-looking novel whose calm surface belies its many sharp and frank observations about the world." At the awards ceremony Tuesday night, Tiffany announced she would donate $10,000 of her prize money back to be split equally among the other five shortlisted authors.


The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has determined finalists for the 2013 SIBA Book Awards, "representing booksellers' favorite handsells of the year." Winners will be announced July 4, "Independents Day." Finalists and winners will be honored during SIBA's Trade Show in New Orleans in September. Check out the SIBA Book Award shortlist here.


A shortlist of seven books has been announced for the £3,000 (about US$4,570) Orwell Prize, which recognizes work that comes closest to George Orwell's ambition "to make political writing into an art." The winner will be named May 15. This year's shortlisted titles are:  

Burying the Typewriter by Carmen Bugan
On the Front Line by Marie Colvin
Leaving Alexandria by Richard Holloway
From the Ruins of the Empire by Pankaj Mishra
Occupation Diaries by Raja Shehadeh
Injustice Clive by Stafford Smith
A Very British Killing by A.T. Williams

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 23:

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316154697) is the author's latest collection of humor essays.

The Hit by David Baldacci (Grand Central, $27.99, 9781455521210) follows an assassin pitted against a rogue colleague.

Wedding Night: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella (Dial Press, $26, 9780812993844) follows an impulsively sealed wedding pact.

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe by Lee Smolin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547511726) explores the possibly illusory nature of time.

Snapper by Brian Kimberling (Pantheon, $24.95, 9780307908056) takes place in rural Indiana, where an ornithologist ekes out a living among local eccentrics.

The Hope Factory: A Novel by Lavanya Sankaran (Dial Press, $26, 9780385338196) follows a tenuously successful Bangalore businessman.

I'll See You Again by Jackie Hance and Janice Kaplan (Gallery, $26, 9781451674774) is the memoir of a mother who lost three young daughters in a car crash.

Jumpstart to Skinny: The Simple 3-Week Plan for Supercharged Weight Loss by Bob Harper and Greg Critser (Ballantine, $25, 9780345545107) is a plan for short-term weight loss.

Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by Brian Stelter (Grand Central, $28, 9781455512874) explores early morning TV.

Now in paperback:

Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $27.50, 9780307462886).

Fabio's Italian Kitchen by Fabio Viviani (Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401312770).

The New Rules for Blondes: Highlights from a Fair-Haired Life by Selena Coppock (It, $14.99, 9780062131812).

Book Review

Review: NOS4A2

Nos4a2 by Joe Hill (Morrow, $28.99 hardcover, 9780062200570, April 30, 2013)

A world of evil has lain in wait for Victoria McQueen ever since she helped police capture serial child abductor Charles Talent Manx. While Manx lies helpless in a coma, Vic keeps getting phone calls from his dead victims. Those children were never found, but when they call Vic, they tell her they're not dead--they're flourishing happily in Christmasland. Still, Vic remembers the boy she discovered in the back seat of Manx's Rolls-Royce Wraith--a chilling, vampiric creature with hooks for teeth.

An epic novel that spans three decades, NOS4A2--a pun that comes from the vanity license plate on Manx's car--is Joe Hill's first foray into a traditional horror style reminiscent of (his father) Stephen King. While his previous novels were a genre mix, NOS4A2 will particularly delight horror fans with its unsettling imagery and pervasive dread. Its subversion of Christmas into something menacing serves as a metaphor for the subversion of childhood innocence--or its unnatural preservation.

While Manx is a charismatic villain, possibly more terrifying is his mentally feeble henchman Bing, the Gasmask Man, whose task is to entrap the mothers of Manx's victims. Bing's modus operandi--gassing his victims into days of soul-annihilating submission in the House of Sleep--conjures a nightmare tableau that is impossible to forget.

While the plot never flags, the true engine of the novel is its protagonist. Vic's journey begins when she is just a child and seeking a resolution to the pain of her parents' hostilities toward each other. On her bike, she finds the Shorter Way Bridge; over the years, it leads her to various lost objects--what she ultimately seeks, though, is the lost innocence of her childhood. It's appropriate that she is driven to Manx, whose fetishizing of childhood innocence becomes a form of perversion.

In Vic, Hill creates a tough and complex character with wounds, tattoos and a restless spirit that gives NOS4A2 its most animated force. Given the classical horror structure, savvy readers may not always be surprised by the novel's violent turns of events. Vic and the cast of supporting characters--from her geeky and kind boyfriend, Lou Carmody, and her tormented son, Wayne, to the various people unfortunate enough to encounter the Wraith--lend dimension to an otherwise familiar tale. --Ilana Teitelbaum

Shelf Talker: Hill's follow-up to his first two novels, Horns and Heart-Shaped Box, is a horror epic filled with terrifying imagery and compelling characters.

KidsBuzz: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova
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