Also published on this date: Wednesday, August 21, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: Fortunately, the Milk

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Little Brown and Company: The Sense of Wonder by Matthew Salesses

Dell: Solomon's Crown by Natasha Siegel

St. Martin's Press: The Collected Regrets of Clover by Mikki Brammer

Flatiron Books: The God of Endings by Jacqueline Holland

News

B&N: Stores and Nook to Stay Integrated

Yesterday, when Barnes & Noble reported more revenue losses and chairman Len Riggio said he is "suspending" his plan to buy the retail operations of the company, B&N stock fell 12.4%, closing at $14.17 a share, its lowest level since February, when Riggio announced his plan.

In part, Riggio's change of mind reflects changes in the executive suite at B&N, particularly the departure last month of CEO William Lynch, who was focused on the digital side of the business.

In a conference call with Wall Street analysts yesterday (via Seeking Alpha), B&N executives emphasized that they plan to continue to manufacture and market a range of Nook devices--just not color tablets--and will continue to operate Nook and bricks-and-mortar stores in an integrated way. Nook Media president and CEO Michael P. Huseby said that while the company will always consider offers that "contribute to shareholder value... that's not going to be the current focus as it has been for the last 18 months."

Huseby noted that in the four years since introducing the Nook, B&N has sold some 10 million devices, accounts for about 22% of the e-book market and has about six million reading apps installed on third-party devices. Active Nook owners buy three to four books a month. With its new partners, Microsoft and Pearson, it is bringing "new consumer and digital higher education-focused products to market."

Mitchell S. Klipper, CEO of B&N's retail group, said B&N will launch a new e-commerce site next year that will "enhance our search and accuracy, provide faster shipping and yield some cost savings." The company is looking forward to some fall titles, including "Doctor Sleep, which is Stephen King's sequel to The Shining; and Sycamore Row, which is a prequel to John Grisham's first book, A Time to Kill. And additionally, other powerhouse names, including new Bill O'Reilly, Nicholas Sparks and Malcolm Gladwell, among others, will be releasing books ahead of the holiday selling season." The company also has "great merchandise" in its gift and toys & games department, Kiipper added.


Kingfisher: Macmillan Collector's Library Anthologies


Amazon: 'Bubble Building,' Cycle Track in Seattle; Texas Offices

An updated design proposal has been submitted by Amazon.com's architect with a "different look for the bubble-like office building that would be the visual focus of its three-block Denny Triangle development," the Seattle Times reported. The revised plan "gives the three intersecting spheres a more organic, cellular look instead of the angular panels of the original proposal."

Amazon will also build a two-block cycle track around its office towers on Seventh Avenue and "provide stalls for about 400 bikes in each of its towers," the Seattle Times wrote, noting that the cycle track project emerged last year from discussions between the city and Amazon, which "sought to acquire public alleys running through each of its three blocks. In exchange for those, Amazon agreed to pay for the Seventh Avenue cycle track on its blocks and to install bike crossings across Westlake, among other things."

"Cyclists are part of the fabric of Seattle, and so we're thrilled to be creating a new cycle track that will make the ride to and from downtown safer and easier for all cyclists in the community," said John Schoettler, Amazon director of global real estate and facilities.
 
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Amazon.com's new North Texas regional offices will be located in Plano. The Dallas Morning News reported that the Granite Park III building on the Dallas North Tollway in West Plano has been selected after the online retailer "scouted locations up and down the tollway for about 100,000 square feet of office space for the new operation." Amazon is also building distribution centers in Coppell and Haslet.


University of Notre Dame Press: Touch the Wounds: On Suffering, Trust, and Transformation by Tomás Halík, translated by Gerald Turner


Commonwealth Book Prize Discontinued

The £10,000 Commonwealth Book Prize, which was won this year by Lisa O'Donnell for The Death of Bees, has been discontinued. In announcing the end of the award, Commonwealth Writers said it "has re-focused its prizes to concentrate" on the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, which "aims to identify talented writers who will go on to inspire their local communities." Regional winners next year will receive £2,500 and the overall winner £5,000.


Shelf Awareness Job Board: Click Here to Post Your Job>


JD.com Aims to Be China's Top E-Commerce Site

Former Amazon China manager Shi Tao, v-p and general manager of Chinese online retailer Jingdong, was in Seattle recently to introduce JD.com (formerly 360buy), which "spent years building its own network of warehouses and fulfillment centers, allowing it to manage its own delivery rather than simply matching buyers and sellers or relying on third parties to ship the goods," GeekWire reported, calling the new venture "a major player to watch" in China's "booming and highly competitive e-commerce market."

"Chinese consumers want to shop on the platform with the best experience, especially shipping and post-sales customer services," said Shi, who visited Seattle to meet with prospective customers and partners. Before joining Jingdong in 2010, he had been an Amazon China v-p responsible for books, audio-video, software and games categories. He was critical of Amazon's approach in the country, noting that the company wasn't localizing enough or responding quickly to market conditions

"The decision is not always fast, not always flexible, based on local market," he said. "Amazon believes in everyday low price, but in China customers are really attracted by promotions themselves and discounts. Customers demand in certain season you have to offer big promotions but Amazon never wanted to do that."


Obituary Note: Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard, a prolific and influential novelist "whose louche characters, deadpan dialogue and immaculate prose style in novels like Get Shorty, Freaky Deaky, Glitz and La Brava secured his status as a modern master of American genre writing," died yesterday, the New York Times reported. He was 87.

Among his many awards, Leonard was honored in 1992 with the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. On its website, MWA called him "truly a giant of the genre and will be sorely missed by fans all around the world."

USA Today noted that when he was asked the secret of his success, Leonard once said, "My purpose is to entertain and please myself. I feel that if I am entertained, then there will be enough other readers who will be entertained, too."

On his Facebook page, Dennis Lehane wrote: "Elmore Leonard has left us, which sucks. One of the biggest influences on my own work, if not the biggest. He was one of our most underrated satirists and social commentators and the most influential, game-changing crime novelist of the last several decades. When it came to writing dialogue, he sat on the mountaintop while the rest of us wandered in the valley. He's truly irreplaceable, and the world is poorer for his leaving it. RIP, Dutch."


Notes

Image of the Day: Zuccotti Park Press Book Launch

Zuccotti Park Press hosted a book launch party for A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home by journalist Laura Gottesdiener at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. Pictured from l.: Greg Ruggiero, founder of Zuccotti Park Press; Frances Goldin of the Frances Goldin Literary Agency; and Gottesdiener.


'Flash Opera' in Your Bookshop

Opera singer Rebecca MacLean recently performed a "flash opera" version of the "Habanera" aria from Georges Bizet's Carmen at the Strand bookstore in New York City. It was part of a new Melville House promotion to celebrate publication of Prosper Mérimée's classic novella Carmen, the latest addition to the publisher's Art of the Novella series.


Awesome Library Marriage Proposal

Paul Phillips teamed with Nashville artist Yoni Limor to create an amazing book-themed proposal to his girlfriend, Erika. Buzzfeed reported that Phillips hid a picture book he had created with Limor's help in the stacks at a local library. "He then told Erika they needed to stop by real quick to return a book on the way to dinner.... Of course, after something this adorable, Erika had to say yes."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Peter Orner on KCRW's Bookworm

Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Peter Orner, author of Last Car over the Sagamore Bridge (Little, Brown, $25, 9780316224642). As the show put it: "Peter Orner says his poignantly distilled, often tiny short stories are attempts to 'create silence on the page.' His most recent collection, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, follows new and recurring characters through scenes of dailiness and grief. Orner reflects on his fiction's emotional brevity, as well as its subtle sense of humor or lightness."

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jason Matthews, author of Red Sparrow (Scribner, $26.99, 9781476706122).

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Tomorrow on BBC's News Hour: Mark Leibovich, author of This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital (Blue Rider, $27.95, 9780399161308). He will also appear on Bloomberg's Surveillance.

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Tomorrow on a repeat of the Dr. Oz Show: Rev Run and Tyrese, authors of Manology: Secrets of Your Man's Mind Revealed (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781451681840).


TV: Someday, Someday, Maybe; Fresh Off the Boat

The CW network has put in development Someday, Someday, Maybe, based on Lauren Graham's debut novel, Deadline.com reported. Graham will write the script for the project and is executive producing with Very Good Production's Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman.

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ABC "has handed a put pilot commitment" to Fresh Off the Boat, based on the memoir by Eddie Huang. Deadline.com reported that Nahnatchka Khan "is writing/executive producing. Jake Kasdan also is exec producing the project, which hails from 20th Century Fox TV.... Kasdan's producing partner Melvin Mar also exec produces the project, while restaurateur/TV personality Huang serves as producer." Kasdan also has a book-based comedy with a pilot production commitment at Fox in the adaptation of Cindy Chupack's memoir The Longest Date.



Books & Authors

Awards: Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalists

Finalists were named for the $10,000 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, which recognizes fiction and nonfiction that "uses the power of literature to foster peace, social justice and global understanding." The winners and runners-up will be announced September 24, and honored November 3 in Dayton, Ohio. The shortlisted titles are:  

Fiction
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (HarperCollins)
The Coldest Night by Robert Olmstead (Algonquin)
The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore (Knopf)
The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Random House)
The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Random House)
The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Little, Brown)

Nonfiction
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (Random House)
Burying the Typewriter by Carmen Bugan (Graywolf)
Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King (HarperCollins)
Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Viking)
Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon (Scribner)
Pax Ethnica by Karl Meyer & Shareen Brysac (Public Affairs)


Book Brahmin: Diane Mott Davidson

Diane Mott Davidson is the author of 16 novels featuring caterer and sleuth extraordinaire Goldy Schulz. Davidson has won the Anthony Award from Bouchercon, and has been nominated for the Agatha, another Anthony and the Macavity Award. She and her husband divide their time between Colorado and Florida. Davidson's new novel is The Whole Enchilada (Morrow, August 27, 2013).

On your nightstand now:

We're reading The Healing of America by T.R. Reid for the Rocky Mountain Stanford Association book club. This work is a superb, data-driven, nonpolitical analysis of how other developed nations are able to deliver high-quality health care at much lower cost than we do here at home. The book is dedicated to Dwight Eisenhower, who saw during World War II that Germany had roads superior to those in the United States. Ike determined to copy what Germany had done with the Autobahn in the U.S., and our interstate highway system was born. Reid argues that we should see what other developed countries are doing better than we are, to make health care available to all our citizens.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I especially cherished The Secret of the Old Clock (a Nancy Drew mystery) by Carolyn Keene, because my mother gave me her copy. I read it and reread it until it fell apart.

Your top five authors:

Anne Tyler's Celestial Navigation was recommended to me by a friend, and after that I became a devotee. In the early '70s, we lived in a small house in Baltimore's Roland Park, where Tyler's books are set. I feel as if her unforgettable characters are always with me. Sue Grafton's A Is for Alibi was a revelation, and Kinsey Millhone is a character for the ages. I treasure Elmore Leonard's work not only for the writing, but because he does female characters so well. Alice Hoffman spins elegant webs with her stories, and I am always captured. I adore Dick Francis's mysteries, because of their crisp, clean prose, well-drawn characters, and intricate plots.

Book you've faked reading:

One of our assignments in high school was to read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. After the first 50 pages, I gave up.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Whenever I finish a book, I go to The Tattered Cover in Denver, ask for help picking out books, and end up with a pile of about a dozen. I then go to their cafe, order a latte, and carefully read the first few pages of each one, to decide which ones to buy. This was how I was introduced to Look at Me by Jennifer Egan, one of the best-written books I have ever read. Egan asks the question, How do we see people? The answers in this brilliant novel are startling. The way Egan anticipates 9/11 with one of her characters is particularly chilling.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (and I loved it). I was in a long line at my now sadly-closed Borders during the holidays. The cover of The Crimson Petal and the White, displayed nearby, caught my attention. So I reached it, read the first 10 pages while still in line, and bought it. The book is a captivating historical novel told from the point of view of a prostitute in Victorian England.

Book that changed your life:

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Goldberg gives writers access to right-brain techniques for finding their voices and stories. I've also attended her workshops, which are superb.

Favorite line from a book:

"Sister Dominique says a prayer to Saint Peregrine for her Canadian nephew's cancer as she dashes flour on a kitchen table and turns over a great slab of dough that rolls as slowly as a white pig." --from Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen.

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

Mariette in Ecstasy by Ron Hansen. Mariette in Ecstasy is not only a beautifully written literary novel set in a convent; it asks the questions: What does it mean to feel touched by the transcendent? What do we mean by a miracle? Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. Lit by Mary Karr. Of Such Small Differences by Joanne Greenberg. Once the children were off to school and the household chores done, I savored my time reading Of Such Small Differences and Mariette in Ecstasy. I read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and Lit once the kids had grown up, and I delighted in them, too. I've always wanted to form a group called "Women Who Read Too Much."


Book Review

Children's Review: The Snatchabook

Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illus. by Thomas Docherty (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 3-6, 9781402290824, October 1, 2013)

This whodunit with an uplifting ending will appeal to fans of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Instead of a villain who makes off with the fixings of the season, this one steals stories from their shelves as children sleep. While Cindy-Lou Who caught the Grinch in the act, here Eliza Brown, an industrious bunny, corners the Snatchabook.

Helen Docherty's rhyme scheme and meter, too, echo Seuss's: "In every house,/ in every bed,/ a bedtime book/ was being read." The husband-and-wife team opens with an autumn night as leaves swirl from the trees. Charming cutaway views of brightly lit scenes inside tree trunks and underground burrows show owls, squirrels, badgers, rabbits and hedgehogs snuggled up with their little ones, reading stories under a full moon. Thomas Docherty adheres to an autumnal palette of gold, brown and russet, with large swathes of forest green and cornflower blue as he moves from the landscape view of the forest animals' abodes to close-up vignettes that detail the books in progress. The badger family reads "tales of dragons, spitting flames," with an open page depicting a dragon in hot pursuit of a sword-wielding badger hero, while the hedgehog family hears about "witches playing spooky games." Pirate and princess stories delight the owl and bunny families, and children will recognize a bunny toting a basket and wearing a red cape as Little Red Riding Hood in Eliza Brown's book. That is, before someone (or something) snatches her storybook right out from under her. Other critters' books disappear, too, and their thought balloons indicate that they've begun to suspect one another: "Eliza Brown, at Number Three,/ was keen to solve the mystery."

Readers get a glimpse of the Snatchabook before Eliza does, as he flies away with his treasure by moonlight. When she does catch him, the Snatchabook is repentant (children will see that the stolen book is The Three Bears): "Eliza sighed. He looked so sad./ If he just had a mom or dad/ to read him stories every night--/ well, then he might behave all right!" Eliza has a remedy for that, too, but first the Snatchabook must set things right. Children will revel in the message that bedtime reading is a ritual to be revered, and will forgive the Snatchabook for his wish to share in it. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This picture book whodunit from a husband-and-wife team celebrates bedtime reading as a ritual to be revered, and features a thief who merely wants to share in the fun.


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