Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 16, 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

Editors' Note

Welcome Aboard, Bookstores!

We welcome the following bookstores that have signed up recently to have Shelf Awareness for Readers customized for their stores:

  • Duck's Cottage Bookstore, Duck and Manteo, N.C.
  • The Book Frog, Rolling Hills, Calif.
  • The Quiet Man Bookshop, Mountainhome, Pa.
  • Chester County Book Company, West Chester, Pa.
  • Redbery Books, Cable, Wis.
  • The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.
  • The Little Book House, Albany, N.Y.
  • Market Block Books, Troy, N.Y.

The customized edition features the store's logo, an events feed with store events and buy buttons for each reviewed book that link back to the book's page on the stores' websites. The eight stores join the more than 50 bookstores already enjoying the benefits of helping customers discover books via Shelf Awareness book reviews, author interviews and more. To see the full list of stores, click here. If you are interested in participating, find out more on our website or please contact marketing manager Christopher Priest at

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

Quotation of the Day

Franzen on Bezos: 'One of the Four Horseman'

"In my own little corner of the world, which is to say American fiction, Jeff Bezos of Amazon may not be the antichrist, but he surely looks like one of the four horsemen. Amazon wants a world in which books are either self-published or published by Amazon itself, with readers dependent on Amazon reviews in choosing books, and with authors responsible for their own promotion. The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. But what happens to the people who became writers because yakking and tweeting and bragging felt to them like intolerably shallow forms of social engagement? What happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter of self-promotional decibel levels?"

--Jonathan Franzen in a Guardian essay called "What's Wrong with the Modern World"

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


Man Booker to Include U.S. Writers

Next year's Man Booker Prize, the preeminent international English-language book prize, will be open to U.S. authors for the first time, according to many press reports in the U.K. The Man Booker Prize organization has not confirmed the reports but says "some changes" to the prize will be announced on Wednesday.

Reaction has been mixed. Some authors and others say they prefer continuing to limit the prize to British, Irish and Commonwealth authors. For one, Jim Crace, who is on this year's Booker shortlist, told the Independent, "If you open the Booker prize to all people writing in the English language, it would be a fantastic overview of English language literature, but it would lose a focus. I'm very fond of the sense of the Commonwealth. There's something in there that you would lose if you open it up to American authors."

Some believe the limitation is anachronistic. As the Sunday Times of London pointed out: "Four of this year's six short-listed authors, who were announced last week, live and work in the United States. Three were born in either a Commonwealth country or Ireland. Another was born in America of a U.S. father and a Japanese mother but holds both U.S. and Canadian passports."

Others say the possible move to include Americans is a reaction to the creation of the Folio Prize, "the first major English language book prize open to writers from around the world," which will be awarded for the first time next year.

PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Napa Bookmine Opens

On Friday, Naomi Chamblin, her fiancé, Eric Hagyard, and Elayna Trucker opened Napa Bookmine in Napa, Calif., offering both new and used books. Some 5%-10% of the 16,000 titles in stock are new and are concentrated in children's books and popular fiction and nonfiction, according to the Napa Valley Register. The store will host a grand opening party this Saturday, September 21.

Chamblin grew up in bookstores: her father owns two Chamblin Bookmines in Jacksonville, Fla., founded in 1976. She and Trucker are managing the store, while Hagyard will manage finances.

The Napa Bookmine team: Elayna Trucker, Naomi Chamblin and Eric Hagyard.

Napa Bookmine plans to offer special events, with "speakers on literature, art, local issues, food and wine," the paper wrote, as well as performances, writing workshops, sing-alongs and hosting book clubs. "We've even brainstormed way to transform space into a pop-up art gallery," with mobile shelving and walls, Chamblin said.

The store features a long "community table" and Augie the Reading Stegosaurus. Eventually the owners want to add wine and beer to the offerings.

Napa Bookmine is located at 964 Pearl St., Napa, Calif. 94559; 904-465-6848.

Bookstore Sales Off 6.3% in July

July bookstore sales fell 6.3%, to $808 million, compared to July 2012, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have fallen 2.1%, to $6.9 billion. This has proved an erratic year so far: sales improved in January and March over 2012, but were down in February, April, May, June and now July, in part because of high sales a year earlier of the Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey trilogies.

Total retail sales in July rose 7.2%, to $429.1 billion, compared to the same period a year ago. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 4.3%, to $2,897.8 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."

For Sale: Atlanta's Bound to Be Read Books

Eight-year-old Bound to Be Read Books, Atlanta, Ga., has been put up for sale by owner Jeff McCord, who told Atlanta INtown the decision was difficult, but "what most probably don't know" is bookselling is his second career. McCord also works full-time in the communications department for the State of Georgia. "It means I've been working 80 or 90 hour weeks, and I just can't keep up that pace."

He added that work and family commitments have affected his running of the bookstore: "I need to be there during the day, hosting more events, going to schools, selling books and off-site events. But I just can't keep up."

McCord noted that Bound to Be Read has a loyal customer base and he plans to stay open as long as possible until the right buyer steps forward, adding he can't "pull the plug" because it would be unfair to the community. "I'm extremely proud and humbled by the support our customers, friends and neighbors have given Bound to Be Read," he said. "This is a dream job for me, and I have loved every minute of it." For more information on the sale, contact or call 404-522-0877.

U.K. Prime Minister Shops Indie


While President Obama may have been a no-show at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore during his Martha's Vineyard vacation last month, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron made a point to visit his favorite local bookseller, Jaffe & Neale Bookshop and Cafe in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, on Saturday to help launch the Books Are My Bag campaign, the Telegraph reported.

"Samantha and David are customers. We always try and treat them like we treat everyone else," said co-owner Patrick Neale, who is also president of the Booksellers Association. "It was like any other Saturday. David and Samantha come in, have a coffee and a cake and buy a book. They are pretty regular customers. We are their local bookshop."


Image of the Day: Kerrytown BookFest Revs Engines

The 11th annual Kerrytown BookFest took place last weekend in the historic Kerrytown district of Ann Arbor, Mich. The event highlights the area's heritage in the book and printing arts, and participants included authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, poets, storytellers, bookbinders, artists, letterpress printers, wood engravers, calligraphers, papermakers as well as new, used and antiquarian booksellers. Among the authors, who had a decidedly automotive bent (from l.): Larry Webster, editor, Road & Track magazine; Bob Lutz, author of Icons & Idiots; Bryce Hoffman, author of American Icon, and journalist for the Detroit News; and Steve Lehto, author of Chrysler's Turbine Car.

Cool (Brew) Idea of the Day: Books & Books' Academy of Beer

Every Thursday evening in October, 6:30-7:30 p.m., the Café at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla., is hosting the Academy of Beer, "4 weeks, craft beers, $99… bottles of beer on the wall."

The four-week series focusing on craft beers features a local beer expert and "special beer-inspired hors d'oeuvres created by chef Allen Susser." The "syllabus" includes "intro to beer" the first night, followed by "beer styles 101," "European beers and imports" and "big-bold beers and beer graduation dinner" that will include "a final exam (blind tastings)" and diplomas,.

St. Mark's Bookshop Seeks Help

As St. Mark's Bookshop, New York City, looks for new space (which it says it will announce soon), seeks to "reinvigorate the shop's identity" and create a hybrid profit and nonprofit organization, the store is seeking volunteers to help.

Among areas where the store says it needs ongoing assistance: social media, pr and communication campaign strategy (for two to eight hours a month for the rest of the year); advocates who will follow St. Mark's on Twitter and Facebook and share news about the store and events; and community networkers "who will help the store "connect with advocates" everywhere.

For more information, contact

Now Online in San Antonio: BiblioTech All-Digital Library

The Bexar County BiblioTech, the nation's first all-digital public library system, opened recently in San Antonio, Tex. The Express-News reported that the system "is based in a predominately Hispanic, low-income neighborhood on the South Side, where 75% of the population lacks Internet access."

County Judge Nelson Wolff said he envisioned the $2.4-million facility after reading the biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs: "E-book readership was going up, more e-books were being produced, so we thought why not address that segment at probably one-third of the cost... as opposed to building a big branch library. We know we're on the cutting edge. Somebody said the other day, 'There's 15,000 libraries. Are you sure you know what the hell you're doing, because none of them are doing it?'.... We believe we know what we're doing."

The Express-News noted that the "glistening reading room, with a bold orange color scheme, is poised for patrons, with 48 iMacs ready for action. Assets including 600 3M e-readers are available for two-week borrowing, but patrons are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices to expedite registration and setup."

Media and Movies

TIFF: 12 Years a Slave Wins People's Choice Award

Noting that the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award "has more often than not been an early augur of a film's potential," Indiewire reported that Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, based on the book by Solomon Northup, took this year's top prize. The movie, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams and Michael Fassbender, has been "drawing nothing short of rave reviews (including our own) even if by all accounts it's a tough, wrenching watch. That being said, it was easily the most talked about movie around Toronto by a mile, and clearly those conversations resonated in a big way," Indiewire wrote.

Opera: Brokeback Mountain

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx has written the libretto for Charles Wuorinen's new opera based on her short story "Brokeback Mountain," which was released as a film in 2005, the New York Times reported, adding that the opera will have its world premiere January 28 at the Teatro Real in Madrid.

Proulx said one of her goals in writing it was "to preserve the dry and laconic western tone" of the story. Wuorinen praised the author for producing a "splendidly concise and apposite libretto, in which Proulx, through her characteristically laconic style, conveys character and scene with great efficiency."

Media Heat: Linda Ronstadt Talks About Simple Dreams

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Mike Lupica, author of QB 1 (Philomel, $17.99, 9780399252280).


This morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Richard Wolffe, author of The Message: The Reselling of President Obama (Twelve, $27, 9781455581566).

Also on Morning Joe: Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, $27, 9781400069224).


This morning on CBS This Morning: James Patterson, co-author of Treasure Hunters (Little, Brown, $14.99, 9780316207560).


This morning on Good Morning America: Linda Ronstadt, author of Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451668728). She will also appear tonight on Nightline and tomorrow on Fresh Air.


This morning on Fox & Friends: Si Robertson, author of Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle (Howard, $22.99, 9781476745374). He will also appear on Dr. Oz.


This morning on the Today Show: Samantha Geimer, author of The Girl: A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski (Atria, $26, 9781476716831). She will also appear today on the View and Anderson Cooper and tomorrow on Inside Edition.


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Debora L. Spar, author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (Sarah Crichton, $27, 9780374298753).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Juan Zarate, author of Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare (PublicAffairs, $29.99, 9781610391153).


Today on Fox's Markets Now: Sheila Bair, author of Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself (Simon & Schuster, $16, 9781451672497).


Today on MSNBC's the Cycle: David McRaney, author of You Are Now Less Dumb: How to Conquer Mob Mentality, How to Buy Happiness, and All the Other Ways to Outsmart Yourself (Gotham, $22.50, 9781592408054).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Andrew Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (Metropolitan, $26, 9780805082968).


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Delia Ephron, author of Sister Mother Husband Dog: Etc. (Blue Rider, $25.95, 9780399166556).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jewel, author of Sweet Dreams (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442489318).

Also on Today: Jim Ziolkowski, co-author of Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World? (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781451683554). He will also appear on MSNBC's the Cycle.


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Kenneth Pollack, author of Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476733920). He will also appear on MSNBC's Martin Bashir.


Tomorrow on Katie: Maggie Scarf, author of The Remarriage Blueprint: How Remarried Couples and Their Families Succeed or Fail (Scribner, $26, 9781439169537).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594202278). He will also appear on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Clive Thompson, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204456).

Books & Authors

Awards: Polari First Book Prize Shortlist

Finalists have been named for the £1,000 (about US$1,590) Polari First Book Prize for a work of poetry, prose, fiction or nonfiction published in the U.K. that "explores the LGBT experience." The winner of the award, whose new sponsor is Société Générale UK LGBT Network, will be announced November 13. The Polari shortlisted titles are:

The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah
Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson
The Sitar by Rebecca Idris
Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan by Mark O'Connell
The Tale of Raw Head & Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf

GBO Picks The Beginning

For its September Book of the Month, the German Book Office has chosen The Beginning: Berlin Gothic by Jonas Winner, translated by Edwin Miles (AmazonCrossing, $14.95, 9781477807347).

The GBO described the book this way: "Taken in by the Bentheims, orphan Till Anschütz quickly befriends his new brother, 12-year-old Max. Together, the boys explore the office where their cold, distant father, horror novelist Xavier Bentheim, writes his novels. They discover a secret door that leads to a dark hallway connecting with the city's underground tunnels. The boys are horrified by what they encounter and soon realize Xavier has been leading a disturbing double life.

"Meanwhile, Berlin Police Inspector Konstantin Butz discovers the mutilated corpse of a woman; beside her lies a power drill freshly wrenched from her stomach. This latest in a series of related murders launches Butz on an obsessive search for the killer, but the key could lie hidden with his own girlfriend: Claire Bentheim."

The Berlin Gothic series was self-published by Winner, a former reporter and TV editor, in seven volumes in Germany and is now being released in two volumes in the U.S. This is the first of those two volumes.

Book Review

Review: Jack London: An American Life

Jack London: An American Life by Earle Labor (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30 hardcover, 9780374178482, October 1, 2013)

When Earle Labor was a boy, he named his dog Buck, after the protagonist of Jack London's The Call of the Wild. He grew up to become the curator of the Jack London Museum in Louisiana and the editor of Penguin's The Portable Jack London. His affectionate, meticulous and beautifully written Jack London: An American Life--the definitive biography of the iconic "American Kipling"--is based on a half-century of study.

Many readers grew up reading London's stories and novels, from the classic "To Build a Fire" to The Call of the Wild and White Fang, two of the best dog stories ever written. But, Labor argues, the man who, in the words of E.L. Doctorow, "leapt on the history of his times like a man on the back of a horse" may be the U.S.'s most misunderstood writer.

After a hardscrabble youth, London lived a hobo's life for a while, worked on a schooner, then attended UC Berkeley briefly before heading off to the Klondike Gold Rush. These experiences laid the foundation for his fierce socialist outlook on life (he joined the party in high school). The "wanderlust in [my] blood" wouldn't let him rest. He read voraciously and committed himself to writing 1,000 words a day, six days a week.

He cut his writing teeth on short stories and started to get published in the Black Cat and Overland, then Harper's and McClure's. Then came the novels; with his third, in 1903, he struck paydirt. The Call of the Wild manifested a "special genius," written in what London called "a sheet of flame." Then came The Sea Wolf--another classic, one that inspired more film adaptations than any of his other books. Wolf Larsen was one of his greatest characters, what Ambrose Bierce called a "tremendous creation." London's career (through his hard work) started to mirror the American dream of the self-made success.

London went on to write other fine novels, including Martin Eden and The Iron Heel, as well as a hobo memoir, The Road, that influenced Hemingway, Steinbeck and Kerouac. He continued to travel and built his own house and boat--though he and his wife barely came away from their trip through the South Pacific with their lives. A busy life of writing and public speaking took its toll. In 1914 he wrote, "I shall go down into the darkness standing by my opinions, and fighting" for them. London died two years later, a few weeks shy of his 41st birthday. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: Labor's beautifully written, impeccably researched biography is the definitive book on author, journalist, adventurer and activist Jack London (1876-1916).

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