Shelf Awareness for Friday, July 5, 2013

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


Grand Opening: Dolly's Bookstore & Internet Café in Massena

A grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting were held Tuesday for Dolly's Bookstore and Internet Café, which is located at 18 Romeo Ave in Massena, N.Y., North Country Now reported.

Marie Binan, owner of Dolly's Books & Internet (Beckstead Photo/Daily Courier Observer)

Owner Marie Binan, a former Waldenbooks staff member, told the Watertown Daily Times last month that since Borders Group went out of business in 2011, Massena had been without a bookstore. Her new venture remedies the situation, and two other Waldenbooks booksellers have joined the staff.

"One was the manager," Binan said. "We all have such a passion for books.... You hear everybody saying we don't have a bookstore anymore. I just wanted a bookstore again."

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

Lisa Reid Buys Lucy's Books, Astoria, Ore.

Lisa Reid, a former school library assistant and volunteer and lifelong book lover, has bought Lucy's Books, Astoria, Ore., the Daily Astorian wrote.

"People are always going to want books," Reid said. "As we bring the website into play, we're going to start offering e-books." She will also start up the store's author events again in the fall.

Reid bought Lucy's Books from Patti Breidenbach, who had bought the store two years ago but wants to spend more time with her grandchildren and paint. "The book business was fun and a great way to meet people," Breidenbach told the paper. "It's a lot of work, which I don't mind. It isn't quite what I need right now."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Book House Ready to Book New Space

Michelle Barron, owner of the Book House, Rock Hill, Mo., has found a new space in nearby Maplewood and hopes to sign a lease next week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said.

The Book House's landlord is planning to demolish the store's current building and several neighboring structures to build a storage facility. The store will remain open at least until the end of the month.

Amazon: Less Competition, Less Discounting?

Although numbers are difficult to ascertain--as is usual with the e-retailing has been lowering or eliminating discounts on many printed scholarly, university press and backlist titles, much to the chagrin of some authors who say the prices closer to the suggested retail price lower their books' sales and exposure, the New York Times wrote.

Prices at Amazon "have all the permanence of plane fares," the paper wrote, citing many small press and academic publishers and books published by those presses. Amazon, which didn't directly answer questions about why certain titles are priced higher than in the past, continues to discount many current and popular titles.

Because Amazon "sells about one in four printed books" and has no close rivals, many believe that less competition is responsible for the tendency. Stephen Blake Mettee, chairman of the Independent Book Publishers Association, called this a classic move by a large company that has come to dominate a market. "You lower your prices until the competition is out of the picture, and then you raise your prices and get your money back," he said.

The Times noted that "in its 16 years as a public company, Amazon has received unique permission from Wall Street to concentrate on expanding its infrastructure, increasing revenue at the expense of profit. Stockholders have pushed Amazon shares up to a record level, even though the company makes only pocket change. Profits were always promised tomorrow. Small publishers wonder if tomorrow is finally here, and they are the ones who will pay for it."

Unexplored in the article is the role of some publishers in setting the "high" retail prices at the heart of the complaints.

Position Filled: Amazon Japan Hires Landscaping Goats

Amazon's "newest hires have four legs, are covered in hair and make excellent lawn mowers," according to CBC News, which reported that a herd of goats "will be responsible for chomping down on unruly grass outside the company's Japanese office once a week." noted that the goats "even seem to have employee style identification tags with their photos on them. That might not be an Amazon Japan thing, though. It could just be a goat thing."

ALA in the Windy City

Artists who participated in Friday's preconference for the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal at the Art Institute of Chicago: Back row, l.- r.: Chris Raschka, Paul Zelinsky, Leonard Marcus, Marla Frazee, Brian Selznick, Kadir Nelson. Front row, l.-r.: Peter Brown, Pamela Zagarenski, Melissa Sweet, Erin and Phillip Stead. (photo: School Library Journal)

Traffic came to a halt in Chicago last weekend when librarians, publishers, book lovers and Black Hawks fans all flocked to the city to celebrate the Newbery Medal, the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal and the Windy City's Stanley Cup win. Traffic also stopped for the filming of Divergent by Veronica Roth. One could call it the Renaissance City.

"Did they narrow the aisles?" That was the question most often asked in the exhibit hall of McCormick Place. Although the final count hasn't been released, the estimated attendance was 20,000-25,000, which certainly have contributed to the feeling of crowding in the halls.

John Lewis, Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney, Gloria Pinkney, CSK Author winner Andrea Davis Pinkney, artist Brian Pinkney.

At the Coretta Scott King Breakfast on Sunday morning, Congressman John Lewis lit up the room. Lewis walked in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with A. Philip Randolph, one of the men featured in CSK Author winner Andrea Davis Pinkney's Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney. She spoke of the first hands to hold her--her father's (one of the first black interns in the House of Representatives), and his promise to his daughter that her life would be "very different from his own."

Bryan Collier, CSK winner for illustration, connected the Pullman porters featured in his winning book, I, Too, Am America, with his neighbor, who served as model for the boy on his cover, and called the Pullman porters "conduits of culture," as they spread newspapers and magazines discarded by white passengers to African Americans across the country in their travels. Jacqueline Woodson, an honor winner in the author category for her picture book Each Kindness, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, underscored Collier's message with her call to action. She spoke of recent Supreme Court decisions and said, "Tomorrow is not a promise." She urged publishers, writers and artists to think of this as "the beginning of the work we all have to do to keep changing the world," and to discover the new writers and artists who will continue to carry the message.

L.-r.: Carol Tilley; authors Gene Luen Yang, Raina Telgemeier and Brian Azzarello; Charles Brownstein from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; moderator Robin Brenner. (Photo: Scholastic's Emily Heddleson)

Programming included "Busting the Comics Code," moderated by Robin Brenner (of No Flying No Tights, the graphic novel review Web site), and led off by Carol Tilley, whose research uncovered misinformation spread by anti-comics child psychologist Frederick Wertham in the 1950s. Questions from the audience suggested that librarians and teachers still confront the same obstacles that those in the 1950s did. To convince library directors to carry graphic novels, Brenner suggested purchasing 10 and keeping them on a cart--that's what she did, and their circulation rate convinced her director to carry them.

Patrick Ness, visiting from the U.K., spoke at the Booklist Forum Friday night; he's with Candlewick publisher Karen Lots (l.) and his U.S. editor Kaylan Adair.

At the Hyperion/Disney presentations, Mo Willems announced his forthcoming app, "Mo... on the Go," featuring a "Dance-O-Rama" from Elephant and Piggie, a "Dream Drive" with Pigeon, "Sticker Pictures" with Knufflebunny and a Leonardo "Monster Maker."

We'll have a wrap-up of the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder banquet next week. --Jennifer M. Brown


Image of the Day: Yoko Ono, OR Plant Acorn

"It's mad to put out this kind of book," said Yoko Ono at a party Tuesday celebrating the upcoming release of her new conceptual art book, Acorn (OR Books). "This madness is pushing us to the future, in a good way."

At the party held at the Refinery Hotel's Rooftop Bar in New York City, Ono signed copies of the book and spoke briefly about its origins. She described the book, which contains thematically grouped sequences of short poems, as a reflection of the way modern readers' brains work.

"The brain refuses it," Ono said, of reading long passages and full-length books, "because the brain is so used to Internet communication. But this is not a tragedy. [With Acorn] you don't have to worry about reading the whole page." --Alex Mutter

'Bingeing on Books' in Toronto

"Books are my souvenirs, bookstores my pilgrimage sites. So for a traveler like me, who can spend hours savoring stacks and shelves, Toronto's close to Shangri-La. A massive student population, a buy-local ethos and strong neighborhood ties mean that a vibrant homegrown bookstore culture still thrives here," wrote Michael Kaminer in a Washington Post travel feature headlined "In Toronto, bingeing on books."

Noting that the Canadian Booksellers Association Web site lists more than 50 non-chain bookstores in the greater Toronto area, Kaminer observed that "the sheer range of outlets makes Toronto one of the last places on the continent where an honest-to-goodness bookstore vacation--unhurried browsing, languid leafing, cheerful chats with passionate proprietors--still feels possible."

Alison Fryer, owner of the Cookbook Store, said, "We don't have that many chain stores. The stores we do have are community-based. We're lucky to have a lot of readers and a lot of support."

Pennie Picks Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (Dial Press, $15, 9780812982855) as her pick of the month for July. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Just once I'd like to use this space to say nothing more than 'Trust me, you'll love it.' If I can't say those words about this month's Book Buyer's Pick, then I likely never will. This coming-of-age debut novel deals with love, death, growing pains and so much more.

"When 14-year-old June Elbus' uncle--and favorite person in the world--dies too young, she struggles to make sense of the world she knows. In doing so, she learns certain ideas she held as truths are anything but reality.

"The bottom line is that Tell the Wolves I'm Home is packed with real emotion and characters that, if they don't tap into someone you used to be, will at the very least make you think of someone you once knew. Trust me, you'll love it."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Presidents Club

This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, authors of The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity (Simon & Schuster, $18, 9781439127728).


Today in a repeat on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: David Rothenberg, author of Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9781250005212).


Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: Susan Choi, author of My Education (Viking, $26.95, 9780670024902).


Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered: Nathan Rabin, author of You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music's Most Maligned Tribes (Scribner, $16, 9781451626889).

This Weekend on Book TV: Mary Roach

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, July 6
12 p.m. Book TV visits Bakersfield, Calif., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites, including Russo's Books. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

3 p.m. Rich Lowry, author of Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream--And How We Can Do It Again (Broadside Books, $26.99, 9780062123787). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

5 p.m. Jennifer Bradley and Bruce Katz, authors of The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economies (Brookings Institution Press, $29.95, 9780815721512).

8:45 p.m. Floyd Abrams, author of Friend of the Court: On the Front Lines with the First Amendment (Yale University Press, $32.50, 9780300190878).

10 p.m. After Words. Emily Pierce interviews Michele Swers, author of Women in the Club: Gender and Policy Making in the Senate (University of Chicago Press, $30, 9780226022826). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)  

11 p.m. Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, authors of Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America (S&S, $28, 9781476700250). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

Sunday, July 7
12 p.m. In Depth. Mary Roach, author most recently of Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Norton, $26.95, 9780393081572), 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. Andrew O'Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (Yale University Press, $37.50, 9780300191073).

7:30 p.m. Alvaro Vargas Llosa, author of Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America (Independent Institute , $26.95, 9781598131338).

10 p.m. Adam LeBor, author of Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World (PublicAffairs, $28.99, 9781610392549).

Books & Authors

Awards: SIBA Winners

The winners of the 2013 SIBA Book Awards, sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, are:

Fiction: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash (Morrow)
Nonfiction: Stand Up That Mountain by Jay Erskine Leutze (Scribner)
Poetry: Descent by Kathryn Stripling Byer (Louisiana State University Press)
Cooking: The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day (Artisan)
Children's: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Young Adult: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage (Dial Books for Young Readers)

Book Brahmin: Ofir Touché Gafla

photo: Yanai Yechiel

Ofir Touché Gafla's debut novel, The World of the End, first published in Israel in 2004, won the 2005 Geffen Award for best science fiction/fantasy novel and the 2006 Kugel Award for Hebrew literature. The World of the End follows Ben Mendelssohn, a man who has lost his wife, Marian, under bizarre circumstances. Unable to cope, he decides to join her by ending his own life. When he wakes up, he finds an afterlife where the deceased from every age live an eternal second life. Unable to find Marian, Ben hires an afterlife investigator to track her down--and what he finds will haunt him through eternity. The World of the End is published here by Tor Books (translated by Mitch Ginsburg; June 25, 2013). Gafla's later novels include The Cataract in the Mind's Eye, Behind the Fog and The Day the Music Died. He teaches creative writing in the Sam Spiegel School of TV and Cinema in Jerusalem.

On your nightstand now:

Correction by Thomas Bernhard.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. When I was a child, I kept looking for it. Luckily, being a writer has enabled me to find it time and time again.

Your top five authors:

William Shakespeare, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, John Irving, John Banville.

Book you've faked reading:

Ulysses by James Joyce. Read about a quarter of it, and told myself I should give it another try in the future. Alas, that future seems to elude me.

Book you are an evangelist for:

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. This book just fills me with happiness. A masterpiece.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson, which just goes to show that sometimes you should judge a book by its cover. Such a brilliant novel, compelling story and exquisite writing.

Book that changed your life:

I guess it's the Bible, not for religious causes, God forbid, but because of the wealth of stories it holds and their cruel beauty.

Favorite line from a book:

"I don't believe in God, but I miss Him." --from Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Wow, so many of those. Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Read it when I was 15 and was so overwhelmed by the mental probing of Raskolnikov.

Book Review

Review: Tumbledown

Tumbledown by Robert Boswell (Graywolf, $26 hardcover, 9781555976491, August 6, 2013)

Some madness and insanity lie at the heart of some of the best characters in literature, whether Shakespeare's Hamlet, Carroll's March Hare or Kesey's Randle McMurphy. In Tumbledown, Robert Boswell (Mystery Ride; Century's Son) fleshes out a clinic full of colorfully off-plumb clients at Southern California's Onyx Springs Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Center. James Candler is their therapist, counselor and even friend, but he doesn't really have it together, either. One successfully rehabbed former client perceptively recognizes this strength: "He was damaged in ways that made him possible. He wasn't a floor rag, content to clean up the mess of other people's lives.... He was a man with demons who helped others by seeing himself in them."

A former counselor himself at a San Diego clinic, Boswell focuses on Candler and the reconciliation of his empathy for his clients with his own uncertainty and search for love and stability. However, Boswell's real gift is to bring Candler's damaged clients to life in ways that transcend their limitations. Take Mick Coury, a schizophrenic artist who knows his "meds made him like the blackened nub of an eraser on a pencil, while his mind without medication was like the pointed end... how could he compose with an eraser?" Or Alonso, "dumb as a sack of stupid... and couldn't think his way out of an elevator," but he is a loyal friend to Rhine, "who was a clinically measurable nerd... a nice guy, but his head was so far up his ass he had to stare out his belly button." The Onyx Springs clients can function marginally in their own "outside" worlds, but the glue that holds them from spinning over the edge is the clinic's Goodwill-like work shelter and the compassionate Candler's attentive patience. They pursue the same dreams as we all do.

In a moment of quiet contemplation, Candler finally begins to understand. "Oh well, he thought, people weren't really so complicated, were they? Humans didn't do all that much but seek out people... they might like to eat with and argue with and lie next to." With a big heart and a perceptive eye for the layers of wisdom behind the surface kinks of madness, Boswell stands solidly in the literary tradition that brings us understanding through those who don't quite understand. --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: Set among the misfit clients and staff of a Southern California rehab and recovery clinic, Robert Boswell's new novel finds universal connection in their longings and ambitions.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Declarations of Independent Booksellers Week

While we're celebrating our big independence win over England 237 years ago, the United Kingdom isn't holding a candlelight vigil this week, mourning colonies found and lost. Instead, they are in the midst of Independent Booksellers Week, with 360 bookstores offering "an eclectic range of events across the country," the Bookseller reported.

"We have a record number of bookshops taking part, and this year's IBW is looking set to be the biggest and best yet," said Meryl Halls, head of membership services for the Booksellers Association, which is featuring a Facebook photo page as well as ongoing reports from IBW participants on Twitter (#IBW2013).

"I do feel that the week has a higher profile. Customers know about it and certainly there's a much higher profile of it within the trade," added Sheila O'Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books.

"Independent bookshops are the keystone species of our cultural ecosystem," wrote Ruth Ozeki, winner of this year's IBW Book Award in the adult category for A Tale for the Time Being (R.J. Palacio's Wonder was the children's winner). "When they are endangered, the rest of our species is imperiled as well. When they flourish, so do we all. Luckily, we know this somehow. Independent booksellers are an adaptable and resilient lot, and readers and writers are loyal and stubborn, and together we form a strong relationship of symbiotic mutualism."

In the Guardian, literary agent and bookseller Felicity Rubinstein offered "five good reasons to support your local indie bookshop":

  1. To make sure that good writers continue to be published
  2. Variety
  3. Ethical shopping
  4. To keep us from folding
  5. To maintain property prices in your area

Melville House Books, which recently opened Melville House UK in London, checked on the current state of independence for British booksellers Keith Smith of Warwick and Kenilworth Books, Jonathan Main of The Bookseller Crow and Nik Górecki of Housmans bookshop.

Author Kate Mosse and bookseller Nic Bottomley, owner of Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, were part of IBW's headline event, a Southbank Centre debate among six industry experts titled "The Perfect Storm: Why Bookshops Are in the Frontline in the Battle for the High Street," the Bookseller noted.

"We should be saying we as a society think bookshops matter," said Mosse. "It is a statement of who we think we are as a society. It is not about value for money all the time--we do not have to go along with that. I do not think there is a single person in this room that hasn't bought a book from Amazon, but reading books and buying from stores matters more than that. We should have the courage to say 'free' isn't everything."

"People talk about bookshops as places of discovery, but we also need to be places of purchase," Bottomley observed. "I think we should be places of acquisition. Nobody showrooms from us because by the end of it they want to pick up a book and walk away with it after a visit. It is not just customer service, it is taking that to the next level, it is sexing it up, pimped for the 21st century."

He also presented a "personal, undoubtedly incomplete, manifesto for 21st century independent bookselling":

  1. Do one thing differently every week.
  2. Tell everyone what you're doing. Tell customers what's happening at your shop; tell publishers which of their books you're selling hard; tell the press anything remotely interesting. It will come back to help you.
  3. Never pay for advertising.
  4. Copy good ideas from other geographically distant independent businesses.
  5. Inspire 10 book-lovers every day; convert one book-agnostic every day.
  6. Surround yourself with creative booksellers who love books as much as you and can wax on about them even better than you.
  7. Use social media.
  8. Use the time you were going to spend bitching about Amazon to work out, realistically, what your business needs from publishers. Tell the publishers.
  9. Create a community. Hold events and book groups that are so good people will attend even if they've never heard of the author and that afterwards they'll rave about to everyone they know.
  10. Don't give excellent customer service. Give extreme customer service--so that you become part of the fabric of your customers' lives. They will do your advertising for you
  11. Sell e-readers now if you love them as much as physical books. If not, wait until the margins are plausible before you think about it and in the meantime carry on selling books.
  12. Don't buy stock from Amazon.
  13. Be surprisingly cut-throat and financially driven when no-one is looking; Aim not to survive, but to thrive.

Almost sounds like a Declaration of Bookseller Independence. --Robert Gray, contributing editor

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Surrender Your Love by J.C. Reed
2. Conquer Your Love by J.C. Reed
3. Forever Too Far by Abbi Glines
4. Life Code by Dr. Phil McGraw
5. The Way You Look Tonight: The Sullivans by Bella Andre
6. Mine to Take by Cynthia Eden
7. The Billionaire's Obsession: The Complete Collection Boxed Set by J.S. Scott
8. Falling Into You by Jasinda Wilder
9. Him by Carey Heywood
10. Falling Into Us by Jasinda Wilder

[Many thanks to!]

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