Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 13, 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

Showrooming: 'Smart Phone, Dumb Move'

"The only reason independent bookstores are surviving is because there are still people--many people, thank goodness--who want a bookstore in their neighborhood, and understand that if they want that bookstore to survive, they need to spend money there.

"Using a smartphone to compare prices to Amazon is downright rude--and it's also missing the point of what indie bookstores can provide. Shoppers who are just looking for a discount won't necessarily find what they are looking for at an indie bookstore. But shoppers who are looking for an experience--real human interaction, booksellers who get to know what kinds of books they like, a community gathering place--they will find what they are looking for. It doesn't involve a smartphone. It involves the real world and fantastic books--not an app on a screen."

--Michele Filgate, a writer and bookseller/events coordinator at the Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., in a Center for Fiction column headlined "Smart Phone, Dumb Move."

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


Call to Action for Marketplace Fairness Act

Following its overwhelming passage last month by the Senate, the Marketplace Fairness Act (H.R.684) is currently awaiting consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Booksellers Association is urging members to write to their representatives in support of the bill, especially if their congressperson is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

To further expand the outreach, a letter from ABA senior public policy analyst David Grogan (see the Book Buzz announcement by the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association) noted that the ABA has created template letter to congressional reps. "You may feel free to offer this template letter to your own members, if you wish. It can be found in our E-Fairness Action Kit, which is organized by state," Grogan wrote.

"Passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act in the House will not come without a fight, but I firmly believe we can succeed so long as your House representatives hear from you," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "More than anything, this is about leveling the playing field for small retailers. We at ABA know how busy you are as booksellers, but the campaign for sales tax fairness began with independent bookstores and your continued leadership will play a critical role in a winning vote in the House."

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

HarperCollins & Pearson to Close New Zealand Operations

HarperCollins plans to close its distribution operations in New Zealand by the end of July and Pearson is shutting down its educational business in the country at the end of August, the Bookseller reported. HarperCollins will switch supply of the New Zealand market to its warehouses in Australia, with support services carried out from the Sydney offices.

James Kellow, CEO of HarperCollins Australia and New Zealand, said the company was still "committed to publishing New Zealand books for New Zealand readers" and would continue to maintain a local publishing program.

David Barnett, CEO of Pearson Australia and New Zealand, said, "Over the last few years it has become clear that our current business model is no longer appropriate." The publisher will continue to sell products in New Zealand via a local distributor.

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Ann Patchett Presented with WNBA Award

Ann Patchett with WNBA Award chairperson Nancy Stewart of Ingram Book Group and Women's National Book Association president Valerie Tomaselli of MTM Publishing.
Photo: Annette Haley

"Even though I didn't know I was applying for the job, I have somehow become the spokesperson for independent bookselling," said Ann Patchett, calling books "my religion."

The author and bookseller was speaking during a reception held Sunday at her store, Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., when she received the WNBA Award, given "every two years to a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books or the allied arts and has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession."

The WNBA Award has been presented continuously since 1940. Previous recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl Buck, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Perri Klass and Kathi Kamen Goldmark. 

Penguin Launches Leveled Readers App

Penguin Young Readers has introduced the Penguin Leveled Readers App for iOS. Good E-Reader reported that the app, which is currently available for iPhone and iPad, "features engaging narration, but also incorporates the ability for users to record the stories themselves via their devices' installed microphones.... Tools such as this are released in time to coincide with what many parents and educators fear during the summer months, the dreaded 'summer slide.' Educators have often remarked that the first weeks of any new school year are wasted acclimating students to academics and reviewing material that is forgotten over the summer. Programs that encourage reading while providing appropriate content for consumption on fun devices can prevent some of the loss prior to the start of a new school year."

Friend Street Books: New Location, Expanded Inventory

photo: Wicked Local/J.C. Lockwood

Friend Street Bookstore, Amesbury, Mass., opened last month with a new name and location, as well as some key inventory additions. Owner Liz Schneider previously operated used bookshop Middle Street Books in Newburyport, but last February she received a call from her landlord saying she must leave, Wicked Local Amesbury reported.

"It was like getting kicked in the teeth," she said.

In May, she reopened her business as Friend Street Bookstore at 15 Friend St. in Amesbury, where she has expanded beyond her previous used book inventory to offer new children's books and games, jewelry, bookmarks, note cards and more.

"Amesbury is treating us well," Schneider said, "but more and more people are going to have to discover us to make this work. Newburyport people are going to have to cross the river to make this work. People are popping in. That needs to happen more, but I'm not discouraged. Every day more and more people are discovering us. That's good. I'm trying to be patient, I'm still hoping. Only time will tell."

Audiobook Month: 'Expanding the Market'

Citing a new Random House advertising campaign "directed at consumers who may never have bought an audiobook but whose hobbies may predispose them to listening to one," the New York Times explored the expanding market for listening to books.

A Bowker study commissioned by the Audio Publishers Association found that "among people who have recently bought audiobooks, 47% listen while commuting in a car, 25% while working around the house and 23% while exercising," the Times wrote.  

"We were for so many years the stepchild of print," said APA president Michele Cobb. "But now there is so much more interest in audiobooks that we can look outside of just aligning our marketing with the book and focus on different, interesting things about audiobooks."


Image of the Day: Gurganus's Gathering

In Hillsborough, N.C., Tuesday, a group of booksellers gathered at the home of author Allan Gurganus, just before a dinner in Chapel Hill to celebrate his September book, Local Souls (his first work in more than a decade); the event was organized by Norton sales rep Kristin Keith. The group, clockwise from the lower left (and revolving around Gurganus at the center):  Nancy Olson (owner, Quail Ridge), Jamie Fiocco (owner, Flyleaf), Erica Eisdorfer (Flyleaf), Tom Campbell (owner, Regulator), Jim Olson (Nancy's husband), Michael Webb (Flyleaf), Stacie Smith (Bull's Head, University of North Carolina), Kimberly Daniels (Country Bookshop).

Prison Library at Guantánamo Bay

photo: Ryan J. Reilly

The prison library at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has approximately 18,000 books (roughly 9,000 titles) and "is housed in a prefabricated building behind chain-link fencing and razor wire inside Camp Delta, an older, largely disused wing of the complex," the New York Times reported, noting that "the place has the feel of a branch library, with several rooms of books divided by language and genre--but its patrons may not browse the stacks. Instead, the chief librarian, a civilian who asks to be identified as 'Milton' for security reasons, or an aide fills plastic bins with about 50 books and takes them to each cellblock once a week." After a recent visit to the library, reporters posted snapshots of some of the books in the collection at

Jeff Tegge Joins Legato Publishers Group

Jeff Tegge has joined Legato Publishers Group, the recently founded affiliate of Publishers Group West, as v-p, sales. Tegge was formerly v-p of sales at Independent Publishers Group and has 23 years of publishing experience.

Legato is headed by former IPG president Mark Suchomel, who commented: "I am delighted that Jeff is joining the Legato team and look forward to working with him as we help our client publishers reach their potential. Jeff has a strong history of aligning the interests of publishers and accounts and will be a great asset to both."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Carl Hiaasen on Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Carl Hiaasen, author of Bad Monkey (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307272591).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews: Jessica Buchanan, co-author of Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six (Atria, $26, 9781476725161).


Tomorrow night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781451646078).

Movies: First Trailer for Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The first trailer has been released for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and Indiewire noted that the "only reason anyone is here is for one reason: Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular dragon. But there are lots of other new faces to keep up with too including: Evangeline Lilly's elf warrior Tauriel; Lee Pace's Elvenking Thranduil; Mikael Persbrandt's skin-changing Beorn; Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman; Stephen Fry as Master Of Lake Town and oh hell, Orlando Bloom is back as Legolas." The movie hits theaters December 13.

This Weekend on Book TV: Khaled Hosseini

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, June 15
12 p.m. Book TV visits Raleigh, N.C., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

5:30 p.m. Publication party for former Chief White House Photographer Eric Draper, whose book is Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush (University of Texas Press, $50, 9780292745476).

7 p.m. John Strausbaugh, author of The Village: A History of Greenwich Village--400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues (Ecco, $29.99, 9780062078193).

8 p.m. Cate Lineberry, author of The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316220224).

9 p.m. Hayek Prize Lecture by Yang Jisheng, author of Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962 (FSG, $27, 9780374277932).

10 p.m. After Words. Juan Williams interviews Dr. Carl Hart, author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (Harper, $26.99, 9780062015884). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., Monday at 3 a.m. & 3 a.m.)  

11 p.m. Kevin Williamson, author of The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier and More Secure (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062220684).

Sunday, June 16
4 p.m. Bruce Bechtol, author of The Last Days of Kim Jong-il: The North Korean Threat in a Changing Era (Potomac Books, $29.95, 9781612346113).

5 p.m. Kathleen Frydl, author of The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (Cambridge University Press, $99, 9781107013902).

7 p.m. Deepak Chopra and Sanjiv Chopra, co-authors of Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream (New Harvest, $28, 9780544032101).

10 p.m. Gary Greenberg, author of The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry (Blue Rider Press, $28.95, 9780399158537), at an event hosted by BookCourt, Brooklyn, N.Y.

11 p.m. Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed (Riverhead, $28.95, 9781594631764).

Books & Authors

Awards: Times Sports Book of the Year

Bobby's Open: Mr. Jones and the Golf Shot that Defined a Legend by Steven Reid won the Times Sports Book of the Year, presented in association with the British Sports Book Awards. John Hopkins, head of the golf judges, said that "Reid's trick is to have unearthed some new information which he has leavened with material that was known and presented it all in a thoughtful and thought provoking way."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 18:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062255655) is Gaiman's first adult novel since 2005's Anansi Boys.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree: A Novel by Sahar Delijani (Atria, $25.99, 9781476709093) follows a persecuted family in post-revolution Iran.

Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20, 9780547429335) is the second Claire DeWitt mystery.

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250007032) reunites estranged childhood friends at their Maine summer house.

Claudia Silver to the Rescue by Kathy Ebel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780547985572) follows a young woman in 1990s New York City.

Island Girls: A Novel by Nancy Thayer (Ballantine, $26, 9780345528735) returns a trio of sister to their father's Nantucket home.

The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking by Brendan I. Koerner (Crown, $26, 9780307886101) explores the 1972 hijacking of Western Airlines Flight 701.

Book Review

Review: I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place

I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 hardcover, 9780547385426, July 9, 2013)

Howard Norman writes in several genres: books for young readers, translated folk tales, scholarly essays and, perhaps most recognizably, novels such as The Bird Artist. I Hate to Leave this Beautiful Place is yet another departure. It's a memoir--but, this being Howard Norman, it's no ordinary memoir. Norman captures five incidents in his life, watershed moments of "arresting strangeness." Far from being an overstatement, those words prove mild once the reader considers some of the events.

The first recollection takes place when Norman is 15, enamored of his brother's girlfriend and working in a bookmobile. His mostly absent father, having told the family he is in California, is hanging out in a drugstore across the street from one of the bookmobile stops. Norman wins $666 in a random radio contest; his father immediately seeks him out for his "share." About the girlfriend, the less said the better.

In Halifax, an affair with an older woman causes a beloved older man he calls Uncle to tell him: "Your Mathilde's got bigger appetites for life than you have... she's got a lot of stickers on her steamer trunk." When she is killed in a plane crash, Norman's grief is all-consuming.

In the Canadian Northwest Territories, he meets band members whose entire repertoire consists of the songs of John Lennon. While he is translating Inuit life stories and folk tales, the news arrives that John Lennon is dead. Norman drinks and grieves with the band, heartbroken their idol is gone. He learns of a man turned into a goose by a malevolent shaman. When it is time to fly south, his soulful lament "I hate to leave this beautiful place" is heard at great distances.

The final recollection is very sad. Norman and his wife allow a friend to stay in their D.C. home while they spend time in their Vermont farmhouse, about which he says: "Everything I love most happens most every day." While in their home, the woman brutally kills her young son and herself in their dining room. This horrendous act eventually causes Norman to seek solace among his beloved birds--this time in Point Reyes, Calif.

Each recollection is serious, poignant, filled with meaning for Norman and, in turn, for the reader. What isn't said tells us as much as what is--and all of it is important in order for us to begin to understand this complex, extraordinarily sensitive, caring man and writer. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Shelf Talker: A memoir like no other, filled with birds, mysterious occurrences, people we don't meet every day--all overlaid with the poetic sensibility of a master of the written word.

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