Shelf Awareness for Friday, August 16, 2013


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

St. Martin's Press: See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem Into a Breakthrough Success by Danny Warshay

Harper: Free Love by Tessa Hadley

Walker Books Us: Ferryman by Claire McFall

Shadow Mountain: The Slow March of Light by Heather B Moore

Berkley Books: Women who defied the odds. These are their stories. Enter giveaway!

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

News

Apple Facing E-Book Damages Trial Next Spring

Federal district court judge Denise Cote, who ruled against Apple in the case over the agency model for e-books, has scheduled a May 2014 trial to determine damages, Reuters reported, noting that the "schedule for a possible trial on damages calls for the government and Apple to wrap up their interviews with experts by December 13. Court papers on whether to certify a class of plaintiffs must also be fully submitted by that date."

The judge is also considering a plan to restrict the contracts that Apple could enter with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster "over a five-year period, but with lesser restrictions than the governments had proposed." In addition, she said she prefers "a strong internal antitrust compliance program" rather than "the government's proposal that Apple retain a court-appointed external monitor," Reuters wrote.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay


Amazon to Missouri Affiliates: See Ya

Amazon sent an e-mail to its Missouri affiliates notifying them that their associates accounts will be closed and the program operating agreement ended effective August 27, as a "direct result of the unconstitutional Missouri state tax collection legislation passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Nixon on July 5, 2013, with an effective date of August 28, 2013," Legit Reviews reported.

The e-mail from the Amazon Associates Team closed: "We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and look forward to re-opening our program when Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act."


Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!


Newburyport's Book Rack Converting to Cafe

Hugobooks plans to convert its Newburyport, Mass., store, the Book Rack Bookstore, into a coffee shop called the Atomic Café just a year after the location was renovated. The Newburyport Daily News reports that "signs notifying customers of the change have been posted on the windows, and staff has been busy over the last few days clearing out the furniture and getting the space ready for the conversion."

"We'll still have books, but there won't be nearly as many," said owner John Hugo. "Much of the space will be leased to a vendor who plans a cafe."

Citing business lost to Amazon as a key factor, Hugo, whose company, Hugobooks, also operates bookshops in Andover, Marblehead and Swampscott, said, "People will come in, see a book and then leave with the information on their smartphones so they can order online. In June and July, this trend really became evident. So we are making a change."

The Atomic Café, which is tentatively scheduled to open in six weeks, will take up 70% percent of the current space, with the remainder devoted to books and cards. In March, HugoBooks closed the Spirit of '76² store that it had opened in 2011 at a former Borders Express in Swampscott.


Chronicle Books: Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel


Survey: E-Book Generation Gap Twist in Japan

Senior citizens in Japan may be more open to digital reading than their children and grandchildren, according to a BookLive survey conducted in July among visitors to the Tokyo International Book Fair. The Japan Times reported that "nearly 70% of Japanese in their 20s prefer paper to digital books, while less than 50% of those in their 70s do.... Asked what they want from e-books, 52.5% of respondents cited low price. Among those who have already used e-books, 70.4% called for more titles."


Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier


'Books Are My Bag' Campaign Launching in U.K.

"Books Are My Bag," a trade-wide promotion by the U.K.'s Booksellers Association celebrating books and bookshops, is set to launch September 14 and will run through Christmas. Bookselling This Week reported that "more than a quarter-million cotton bags and other promotional materials with the brand message" will appear that day for the campaign created for by advertising agency M&C Saatchi.

"The concept is so simple," said BA CEO Tim Godfray, adding that the goal of the campaign is to "increase awareness of the importance of bookshops."

In addition to the exposure gained from shoppers using the bags and becoming "the main ambassadors for the bookshops they care about, another major element of the campaign will be a photo gallery featuring more than 100 authors and celebrities holding or using the bags bearing the 'Books Are My Bag' slogan," BTW wrote.


Notes

Image of the Day: Kentucky Traveler Ricky Skaggs

On Wednesday, in cooperation with Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., the Gaithersburg Book Festival held its first event that was not on the date or the location of the festival. The evening with bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, author of Kentucky Traveler: My Life in Music (It Books), took place at the Rosborough Cultural Arts Center in Gaithersburg. Here Skaggs appears with (from l.) P&P booksellers Virginia Sorkin, Pam Gibson and Susan Fallon.


Thinking Big with 'The Texas Bookshelf'

The Texas Bookshelf, a 16-book project the University of Texas Press is calling "the most ambitious and comprehensive publishing endeavor about the culture and history of one state ever undertaken," will launch in 2017.

The initiative involves an effort by University of Texas at Austin faculty to chronicle the state's culture and history, beginning with a full-length history by Stephen Harrigan and continuing with the release of 15 more volumes over five years, all written by UT faculty members on a range of subjects, including politics, music, film, business, architecture and sports.


Personnel Changes: Trafalgar Square Publishing, Basic Books

The following appointments have been made at Trafalgar Square Publishing, the distribution arms of Independent Publishers Group that specializes in the distributing U.K. and Australian publishers in the U.S.:

  • Brooke O'Donnell has been promoted to managing director. She has been at IPG for 17 years and was most recently publishing director at Trafalgar square, which the company acquired in 2006.
  • Pam Harcourt has been promoted to publishing manager. Harcourt joined Trafalgar Square in 2006.
  • Shannon Frech has joined Trafalgar Square as publicity associate. She joined IPG earlier this year as an intern for IPG's publicity department and was most recently Trafalgar Square's publicity intern. She graduated last year from Creighton University with a B.A. in English.
  • Elizabeth Kepsel has joined the Trafalgar Square as sales associate. She received a publishing certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute and has an MFA in writing from Northern Michigan University and a B.A. in English from Cornell College.

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Nicole Jarvis has joined Basic Books as marketing assistant. She is a graduate of Emory University and the NYU Publishing Institute. She replaces Melissa Runstrom, who is moving to Portland, Maine, at the end of the month.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: James McBride on NPR's Weekend Edition

Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: James McBride, author of The Good Lord Bird: A Novel (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486340).

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Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition: David Ewalt, author of Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It (Scribner, $26, 9781451640502).


TV: The Daily Show on Bezos/WaPo Deal

John Oliver, who is subbing for Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show this summer, explored the comedic ramifications of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's recent purchase of the Washington Post. "The paper now comes in ludicrously wasteful packaging," Oliver said, adding, "I will say, they've made it much easier to return the news if you don't like it."


Movies: Therese; Vampire Academy

A preview clip from Therese, based on Emile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, hints at a "tale of burning desire and betrayal, powered by two of the hottest rising actors around in Oscar Isaac and Elizabeth Olsen," Indiewire reported. The film, which also co-stars Jessica Lange, Tom Felton and Matt Lucas, is directed by Charlie Stratton and will be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

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The first teaser trailer has been released for Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters, adapted from the book by Richelle Mead. Indiewire suggested that the project, written by Daniel Waters (Heathers) and directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls), looks like "yet another tale of teens and vampires and powers all in the name of hopefully, maybe launching another franchise to lure those all-important tween dollars." Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters is set for a Valentine's Day 2014 release.



Books & Authors

Awards: Encore

Ned Beauman's The Teleportation Accident won the £10,000 (about US$15,446) Encore Award for a second novel, the Bookseller reported. The judges said they were "bowled over" by the novel's "combination of exuberance and erudition, by its humor and eclecticism, and by its author's evident enjoyment in the act of literary creation. The result is a topsy-turvy historical novel that takes risks with the genre and lives to tell the tale."

Beauman observed: "For a few years you're a 'debut novelist' (i.e. glamorous youth) and then for the rest of your life after that you're just a 'novelist' (i.e. dusty procrastinator on the fringes of civilization). All my gratitude to the Encore Prize for taking some of the lurch out of this transition and also for investing so generously in the writing of my next book."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
Brewster: A Novel by Mark Slouka (Norton, $25.95, 9780393239751). "The setting is Brewster, New York, in 1968, at the peak of the Vietnam War. Sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher, the son of Jewish immigrants who escaped Europe during World War II, is searching for his own escape from a dead-end town and his guilt over his older brother's death. He meets fellow student Ray Cappicciano and together they struggle to make sense of their quickly changing world. Jon discovers his strength in running track with his high school team, and Ray finds a similar outlet as a fighter. Raw and brutal at times, the well-drawn characters of this poignant story stay with you well after the book is closed." --Helen Markus, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen, Evergreen, Colo.

Return to Oakpine: A Novel by Ron Carlson (Viking, $25.95, 9780670025077). "Thirty years after the heyday of their high school band, four men reunite in their hometown of Oakpine, Wyoming. One has returned to live out his last days, and he stands as the focal point as all of the men, and those close to them, examine how they've lived and what fulfills them. Carlson has written a beautiful novel full of soulful searching, gentle wisdom, and the clarity gained from acknowledging one's weaknesses while still striving to love. By the end, it made me weep." --Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's, Sebastopol, Calif.

Paperback
Countdown City: The Last Policeman, Book II by Ben H. Winters (Quirk Books, $14.95, 9781594746260). "The second book in the Last Policeman trilogy, Countdown City turns darker as the destruction of the world gets closer. Life has come to a halt as everyone prepares for the last days, and vital services such as electricity and water are no longer available. Hank Palace is an out-of-work policeman who continues to believe that helping people is part of who he is. When an old friend asks for Hank's help in locating her missing husband, he agrees and is helped along the way by his rebel sister, who may be onto a way to save the world. Part conventional mystery and part existential query, this book both entertains and provokes thought. I can't wait for the final volume!" --Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, S.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look, illustrated by Meilo So (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780375870019). "This incredible book tells an imagined story of the life of Wu Daozi, China's greatest painter, who lived during the height of classical Chinese civilization's T'ang Dynasty. The author's notes state that Wu Daozi almost single-handedly changed the way people viewed painting, and in this gorgeous biography So's watercolor, ink, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations bring the story to life." --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: Linda Lael Miller

Photo: John Hall Photography

The daughter of a town marshal, Linda Lael Miller is the author of more than 100 historical and contemporary novels, most of which reflect her love of the West. Raised in Northport, Wash., the self-confessed barn goddess now lives in Spokane, Wash. Miller finances the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women, awarded to women seeking to improve their lot in life through education. Miller's newest book, Big Sky Wedding, is the latest and fifth title in her Big Sky series (Harlequin Mira, August 27, 2013).

On your nightstand now:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Akashic Record by Dr. Synthia Andrews and Colin Andrews; A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny; and The Lotus and the Lily by Janet Conner. As you can see, my reading tastes are eclectic! I love to read fiction, but I devour books on spirituality, with an emphasis on Christianity.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Wow, that's a hard one--there were so many that I loved! Katherine by Anya Seton was a big favorite, along with Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books--those were so vivid to me--and, of course, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

Your top five authors:

Dorothy Dunnett, author of the Lymond Chronicles and The House of Niccolo; David McCullough, who writes the best histories ever; Mary Higgins Clark; Joy Fielding; Larry McMurtry.

Book you've faked reading:

The Odyssey. I mean, really. Sometimes, all you need is a copy of the Cliffs Notes! The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy bored me silly in high school, but I think I actually waded through it.

Books you're an evangelist for:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and The Lotus and the Lily by Janet Conner.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Too many to list. When I'm looking for a new author, I scan them all. Covers capture my attention first, of course.

Book that changed your life:

Can I list more than one? The Message: The Bible Written in Contemporary Language; The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale; The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol; Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Favorite line from a book:

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." --from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett, and all the books that followed. The plots are multilayered, the dialogue is brilliant, and Francis Crawford (Lymond), is tied with Rhett Butler for all-time favorite hero.

Has the Great American Novel already been written and, if so, what is it?

In my humble opinion, Larry McMurtry's amazing Lonesome Dove deserves this title, hands down.


Book Review

Review: Enon

Enon by Paul Harding (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9781400069439, September 10, 2013)

Charlie Crosby, the protagonist of Enon, is the grandson of George Crosby from Paul Harding's Pulitzer-winning Tinkers. Like that novel, Enon is set in a familiar New England landscape, but everything else has changed. In one year of Charlie's life, we see the ravages wrought by the accidental death of his 13-year-old daughter, Kate, killed by a car while riding her bike. A week after the funeral, his wife, Susan, goes to visit her family in Minnesota; that is the last he sees of her.

Charlie's grief is monumental, self-destructive and nearly fatal. He cannot accept the brutal fact his daughter is forever gone. In an outburst of rage and helplessness, he breaks the bones in his hand punching through the living room wall. Now he requires pain medication just to keep functioning--the beginning of his long downward slide into living the life of a derelict, going from one slug of cough syrup or whiskey to the next, one pill to another. He watches the detritus of his daily life pile up around him, unable to rally even to shower or change his clothes.

Through it all, Harding captures the times that Charlie and Kate spent together--feeding birds, learning the landscape, camping, going for walks, talking about anything and everything--so we know what he has lost. Charlie ruminates about the New England seasons, spending days and nights walking all over town. He also recalls things he learned from his grandfather, lamenting they will not be passed on. There is no corner of loss and profound grief Charlie does not experience.

One night, marauding around town looking for drugs, he breaks into the house of a very old woman, Mrs. Hale, who, not a bit afraid, upbraids him for what she has witnessed to be shameful behavior. When he apologizes for being in her house, she tells him: "Well and fine, Mr. Crosby, but your sorrows are selfish. You are a maker of dismal days. You burn your daughter in strange fires, when I should think you would be grateful for the blessing of having had a lovely child. Enough is enough."

He hears this oracular pronouncement and thinks: "I realized that what I had been doing since Kate's death was nothing short of violence. It was not grieving or healing or even mourning, but the deliberate, enthralled persistence in the violence of her death." He is finally able to come back to some kind of life. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A deeply interior novel that explores the workings of grief felt by a father after the death of his daughter.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Shopkeepers & the 'Heart of the Community'

"Where's your village? What makes up your village?" asked Kathleen Noonan last week in a Brisbane Courier-Mail piece headlined "Shopkeepers are the heart of the community that we call home." Published on Australia's National Bookshop Day, the essay has been making the book trade social-networking rounds here in the U.S. ever since. And for good reason.
    
"Just look up your local shop on the Internet or drop in," Noonan advised, noting that she would be "pretending to be a bookseller" behind the counter at Avid Reader bookshop, "hopefully just popping books in brown paper bags, saying knowing things like, 'Oh, the symbolism in that one's magical'--and not actually in charge of tricky credit card transactions."

She wasn't just writing about booksellers, however. Noonan explored the concept of being a shopkeeper now: "We're not talking rustic cutesy row of shops here but the village each of us has in our daily lives, in our routine, that actually helps us survive in a big city. Dealing with the sheer size of the city and chaotic intensity means you have to make your own village, a space where you know people and chat to shopkeepers on a daily basis--your favorite sandwich maker, your dry cleaner.... At the core of these villages are shopkeepers."

Shopkeepers have not traditionally garnered such high praise. Adam Smith sounded a little snarky in the 18th century: "To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight, appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers, but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers."

As did Henry David Thoreau in the 19th century: "When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shopkeepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them--as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon--I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago."

HBO

I've spent much of my life as a shopkeeper, and I always bristled at the idea that the term was a pejorative. This may come from watching too many westerns, where shopkeepers are traditionally portrayed as either obsequious, sleeve garter-wearing cowards or the widows of obsequious, sleeve garter-wearing cowards. The HBO series Deadwood struck a less insulting shopkeeper chord with Timothy Olyphant's fierce portrayal of Seth Bullock, a man who wants to trade his gunslinging past for a new life as a hardware store shopkeeper, though choosing a lawless South Dakota settlement for his venture complicates things a bit. Imagine an armed Bernard Black.

Customers do not witness the complexity of a shopkeeper's day. Many bookstore patrons, for example, see only an ideal job that involves bookish conversations in a soothing environment, and good booksellers sustain the myth by remaining calm and cordial, even as their work day--an endless cycle of shelving, ordering, straightening, cash register duty and other responsibilities--devolves into an angst-inducing blur. Bookstore patrons don't need to know about any of this, of course.

Shopkeepers play an essential role in fostering our sense of community. As Noonan observed, in addition to "providing a retail service, these shopkeepers make up your village." She also cited author David Malouf's recent observation that "at the heart of a village is often a good bookshop."

"Bookshops are havens. I reckon you are never too scruffy, hungover, or bruised and bewildered to slouch into a bookshop," Noonan concluded. "Books are the friends you don't have to dress up for. They are the lovers that require no stroking of ego or anything else. They are the teachers that set no exams. Bookshops aren't just bookshops. They are ideas shops."

And shopkeepers? Let's just say that in these perilous bookselling times, shopkeeping and community building are not for faint-hearted, sleeve garter-wearing cowards. Maybe it was always so. A 1922 New York Times article, headlined "Shopkeeper of Shakespeare and Company," described legendary Parisian bookseller Sylvia Beach as "efficient and determined, but with her efficiency and determination there was understanding besides." To me, these sound like the core elements of a bookseller... and a shopkeeper... and a village. --Robert Gray, contributing editor


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