Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 18, 2013: Kids' Maximum Shelf: If the World Were a Village

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers


James Patterson on His Plan to Give Indies $1 Million

Author James Patterson plans to give a total of $1 million to independent bookstores in the next year. His main criteria are the stores be "viable" and have a children's section. Here he answers questions about the program that we put to him this week.

Why are you giving $1 million to independent bookstores?

I've become very concerned about the reading habit in America. I think e-books are a terrific development, but I don't think we as a society are really thinking through the implications of our changing retail landscape. I fundamentally believe our way of life is at risk if bookstores disappear.

In the past few years, I've been working to increase the role of reading in our lives--my site ReadKiddoRead helps parents and educators find addictive books for kids, I have teacher scholarships set up at 20 universities across the country, I have College Book Bucks and Summer Book Bucks, which award shopping sprees for kids to use at indies. And earlier this year I ran a print ad that I meant to be a little provocative: "Who will save our books, our bookstores, our libraries?"

This effort to help independents will hopefully be something of a shot in the arm for the book business. We need to do more than talk about this juncture. We need to do something about it.

You've said these grants could be of many sizes. Do you imagine that you will be helping many stores with smaller gifts rather than helping a few stores with larger gifts?

We're going to help as many stores as possible, and to do so as fairly as possible. I'd also like to prioritize stores that sell--or mean to sell--children's books. Because, of course, that's so often where the reading habit is forged, and where lives can really be saved.

I'm right now working to make sure we provide as fair and user-friendly a mechanism as possible.

How involved will you be in deciding how to assess requests and in disbursing grants?

An added benefit of running this is that I'll be granted a lay-of-the-land, in terms of what's going on across all the bookstores, and what's needed most. I'm excited to be very involved.

Will you seek the help of any organizations (like the American Booksellers Association) or people to help make decisions and to help in the process?

I'm a huge fan of the ABA. I do hope they help with the effort, and I'm sure more connections will help on a store-by-store basis.

Have you been influenced by any similar campaigns to help businesses or organizations on such a great scale?

There are great efforts from First Book and Reading Is Fundamental on the kids' side. The U.K. does something brilliant, a World Book Day in which all the kids can walk into a bookstore and get a free book--one of my Middle School books is on the docket for next year's. That's a great idea, and it works, year after year.

With this program, I'm looking to create something that I could possibly repeat in future years if it moves the needle, changes our habits.

Have you given grants like this before?

I ran the Pageturner Awards for a few years. I gave over $1 million for individuals or groups who had the most innovative ideas to encourage the reading habit. Submissions were all over the map, it was pretty exciting. Many bookstores were involved in those, but I stepped away from it to focus on ReadKiddoRead because it never got the kind of traction I hoped it would. With the indies rowing with me, I'm hoping things will be different this time.

Could you comment on the excited reception many booksellers have already given to your plan?

It's very heartening. And thank you, Shelf Awareness, for getting the word out about it, and about the larger issue of saving our books. The more attention to the issue, the better. I feel it's a very reasonable goal to reinvigorate books and reading in our lives. It just needs to be treated as the critical issue it is, or it will continue to be ignored.

Do you have any idea whether such gifts will be taxable for the recipients?

If so, we'll certainly endeavor to make it as easy as possible for people.

What else besides this program--in a more general way--do you think would help independent bookstores?

This is a must: parents have to take responsibility for their whole family's reading. They can't rely on teachers to instill the habit in kids. Parents have to make an activity out of visiting the bookstore, introducing everyone to how powerful it is to be in that environment. We have to teach our children that reading is the key to a successful life, but we also have to teach them that supporting the local booksellers, bolstering the kinds of businesses we want to see in our own communities, is everyone's responsibility. If we don't teach our children to be good citizens, good neighbors, good readers and thinkers, then I fear for the future of our country, and our children.

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Most Colorado Bookstores Spared in Flooding

The rain and flooding in Colorado have apparently spared most independent bookstores in the state, although Macdonald Bookshop in Estes Park said on Facebook that the store suffered "very minor damage. We had some flooding on the lowest magazine level of the store. It has been cleaned up and we have approval to be open for business. Thank you again for all your thoughts."

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association executive director Laura Ayrey said that otherwise "our stores are O.K.," and the Boulder Bookstore has been "faring well."

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is reaching out to booksellers in Colorado who may be in need of assistance: "If you are a bookstore employee, you may contact the Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation for assistance with immediate needs when evacuating your home. After the emergency has passed the foundation may also be able to help with needed repairs to make your home habitable and/or loss of income due to your bookstore's' storm-related closure." The Binc Foundation may be contacted at 866-733-9064 or

Scott McIntyre Joins Figure 1 Publishing

Scott McIntyre, founder and former CEO and publisher of Douglas & McIntyre in Canada, has joined Figure 1 Publishing as strategic adviser, bringing more than four decades of publishing experience to the firm. McIntyre will work closely with the publisher on business strategy and business development, as well as title acquisition.

"What these guys are doing is ambitious, and very smart," said McIntyre. "I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to help their new enterprise grow and flourish."

A new company co-founded by publisher Chris Labonté, associate publisher Richard Nadeau and creative director Peter Cocking, Figure 1 publishes illustrated books in the categories of art & architecture, food & wine, lifestyle, illustrated history and children's, as well as business books and corporate history. The inaugural list of nine titles launches this fall.

"This is a huge boon for us," said Labonté. "Scott has a brilliant brain for publishing. Nobody in the country knows this brand of high quality publishing better than he does."

Nadeau added: "We're thrilled to be reunited with the man who taught us so much. Scott always inspired us to create books that we could be proud of and he'll be a great guide as Figure 1 continues to grow."

'Why Amazon Doesn't Really Care About Its Competitors'

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke with Hanson Hosein, a journalist and University of Washington educator who recently conducted a series of interviews for Four Peaks TV in conjunction with the opening of the Bezos Center for Innovation at Seattle's Museum of History & Industry.

In an article headlined "'Why Amazon Doesn't Really Care About Its Competitors," GeekWire noted that Bezos "talks a lot about Amazon focusing on customers, to the point that it has become a cliché," but in response to one of Hosein's softball questions about how Amazon stays nimble as a tech giant, he "explains why that approach beats focusing on competitors, which is a common trap for many tech companies."

"If you have a customer-centric culture, that cures a lot of ills," said Bezos. "Let's say you're the leader in a particular arena, if you're competitor-focused and you're already the leader, then where does your energy come from? Whereas, if you're customer focused, and you're already the leader, customers are never satisfied.

"If you're customer-focused, you're always waking up wondering, how can we make that customer say, wow? We want to impress our customers--we want them to say, wow. That kind of divine discontent comes from observing customers and noticing that things can always be better."

Tesco's New Tablet Expected Next Week

Tesco is expected to unveil "a low-priced own-brand entry into the tablet market" September 23, the Guardian reported. The U.K. chain retailer has sent out invitations--using the phrase "We've got something to show you"--and displaying Tesco's new "Hudl" trademark. Last month, rumors began spreading that release of a tablet was imminent.

Ben Wood of CCS Insight suggested that Tesco's device, which is expected to have a 7-inch screenand may be priced as low as £99 (about US$157): "Obviously it'll be [running Google's mobile operating system] Android, probably [a storage capacity of] 16GB and attempting to hit the £99 price point--in my mind that will have to be the price.... I can see Tesco using substantial discounts on other services such as bundled media from Blinkbox, or vouchers for discounts on petrol or groceries through its ClubCard loyalty scheme."


Image of the Day: Shelf Awareness @ PAMA

Shelf's John Mutter and Jenn Risko

Last night, the Publishers Advertising and Marketing Association and Shelf Awareness hosted a cocktail party at Hudson Terrace Rooftop in Manhattan that, we're happy to note, apparently broke records for attendance at such events. It was great seeing so many people from the business and sharing views of a magnificent sunset followed by an equally striking moonrise. 

Kobo Supporting Literacy Campaign for Canada's Aboriginal Youth

Kobo and Free The Children announced a year-long partnership that will focus on supporting literacy among Aboriginal youth in Canada. Kobo has donated 3,500 Kobo Touch eReaders as well as $100,000 to develop a program "to cultivate a love and passion for reading."

Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said the partnership "is designed to empower youth across Canada to become active in their own learning, develop their imaginations, and explore the world through the written word."

Parnassus Books Loses 'Beloved Store Pup'

From the Facebook page of Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn.: "Dear friends, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we have to tell you that our beloved store pup Lexington died suddenly today. We are devastated, and appreciate you keeping Parnassus in your thoughts. She was the best good dog, and will be deeply, deeply missed."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Margaret Atwood on NPR's Diane Rehm Show

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Jeff Guinn, author of Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, 9781451645163).


Tomorrow on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen: Jewel, author of Sweet Dreams (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781442489318).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Russ Kick, editor of The Graphic Canon Volume 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest (Seven Stories Press, $44.95,  9781609803803). As the show put it: "From The Diary of Anaïs Nin to The Wizard of Oz to Infinite Jest, The Graphic Canon Volume 3 is a garden of literary and visual delights that wondrously illustrates the arc of twentieth-century literature in diverse adaptations by over 80 graphic artists. Series editor Russ Kick revisits his experience assembling the three total volumes of The Graphic Canon over an industrious three-year period, and talks about the series' perfectly pitched combination of the populist and the highbrow."


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Margaret Atwood, author of MaddAddam (Nan A. Talese, $27.95, 9780385528788).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: James McBride, author of The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486340).


Tomorrow on CBS's the Doctors: Lori Duron, author of Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son (Broadway, $15, 9780770437725).


Tomorrow on NBC's Valerie's Story: Valerie Harper, author of I, Rhoda (Gallery, $16.99, 9781451699470).

Downton Abbey: Virginia Woolf Joins Cast & New Clip

You'll have to wait until January to see the fourth season of Downton Abbey on PBS, but in anticipation of its U.K. premiere on ITV September 22, RadioTimes featured a helpful guest list guide to "the new faces arriving in Downton when it returns." Among them is author and Bloomsbury icon Virginia Woolf, played by Christina Carty. "No doubt an inspiration for Downton's new budding journalist Edith, our bet would be that the middle Crawley sister finds herself rubbing shoulders with the famous writer at a fancy soiree in London," RadioTimes speculated.

A new clip from Downton Abbey Season 4 has been released. noted that the "new season starts six months on from the death of Downton heir Matthew Crawley. An important focus of the new season... will be how Matthew’s widow, Lady Mary Crawley, deals with his passing and her future."

Movies: Far from the Madding Crowd

Principal photography has started in the U.K. on Thomas Vinterberg's adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. noted that Michael Sheen (Midnight in Paris, Frost/Nixon) and Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Killer Joe) have been added to a cast that already included Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, Drive) as Bathsheba Everdene, Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone, Bullhead) as Gabriel Oak and Tom Sturridge (On the Road, Pirate Radio) as Frank Troy. The script was written by David Nicholls, author and screenwriter of One Day and Starter for Ten.

Books & Authors

National Book Award Longlist: Poetry

The National Book Foundation is unveiling the longlists for the National Book Award this week. NBA finalists will be revealed October 16, and winners named November 20. The longlisted titles in the poetry category, which were announced yesterday, are:

Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart (FSG)
Bury My Clothes by Roger Bonair-Agard (Haymarket Books)
Stay, Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido (Knopf)
So Recently Rent a World, New and Selected Poems: 1968-2012 by Andrei Codrescu (Coffee House Press)
Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan University Press)
The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka (Penguin)
American Amnesiac by Diane Raptosh (Etruscan Press)
Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen (Louisiana State University Press)
Transfer of Qualities by Martha Ronk (Omnidawn Publishing)
Incarnadine by Mary Szybist (Graywolf Press)

Awards: International Literary Adaptation; Scottish Crime Book

Lebanese film producer Ziad Doueiri won the Frankfurt Book Fair's €10,000 (about US$13,340) Best International Literary Adaptation Prize for his film version of Yasmina Khadra's novel, The Attack (Die Attentäterin). Doueiri and his wife Joëlle Touma, who wrote the screenplay, will be honored October 11 during the awards ceremony for the Hessen Film and Cinema Prize.


Malcolm Mackay won the £1,000 (about US$ 1,590 ) Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year for his novel How a Gunman Says Goodbye, BBC News reported. Chair of judges Magnus Linklater said Mackay "brings something new to the crime genre with this novel. This is no straight Glasgow gangland book, but a brave and involving psychological study of the cycle of life."

Book Brahmin: David A. Adler

David A. Adler is the author of more than 235 children's books, including the Young Cam Jansen series. Danny's Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Sept. 3) kicks off a new series aimed at ages 7-10, and it's the first to feature Adler's original spot-art illustrations. He lives in Woodmere, N.Y.

On your nightstand now:

An alarm clock, my eyeglasses, and the somewhat new Jeffrey Archer book Only Time Will Tell.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved the Dr. Seuss book The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. In Dr. Seuss's story, even when someone takes off his hat, he may still have a hat on his head, again and again. The movie Groundhog Day has a similar premise. My favorite Dr. Seuss books are the early ones, including Bartholomew and the Oobleck, The King's Stilts and Horton Hatches the Egg.

Your top five authors:

David Halberstam, David McCullough (I like Davids), John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and Richard Ben Cramer.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't fake. So many people think that because I'm a writer I've read every book they have read, and I am quick to say, "I'm sorry. I don't know that book." And then that look! It seems to say, "What kind of a writer are you if you haven't read it? Even I read it, and I'm an accountant."

Book you're an evangelist for:

I often suggest to parents that they introduce their children to the many books written by Johanna Hurwitz. I call them "smile books." I smile when I read them because if I was a child, I'd want the people in her stories to be my friends.

Book you've bought for the cover:

It's not the cover that convinces me to buy a book. It's the author. Often the author is a retired politician. It's time I learned that I won't read more than 100 pages of a 1,000-page memoir.

Favorite line from a book:

"A little at a time." I know my answer should be lines from someone else's book, but those five words launched my career as a writer. I was a math teacher in a tough N.Y.C. school and my three-year-old nephew visited and kept asking questions. Whatever answer I gave just lead to another question. That night I began to write what became my first book, A Little at a Time, the story of a boy and his grandfather who walk through a city much like New York, visit a museum and see a huge dinosaur skeleton, get a snack and walk home. The entire story is in dialogue, questions the boy asks and the grandfather's answer which all end with "A Little at a Time." That was 235 books ago, but for me, it started it all. It led to my many math books, biographies, the Cam Jansen Mysteries and to Danny's Doodles: The Jelly Bean Experiment.

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

Ragtime. I love the era, the blend of fact and fiction and, of course, E.L. Doctorow's writing.

Book Review

Children's Review: Mr. Wuffles!

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780618756612, October 1, 2013)

Luckily, curiosity does not kill the cat, Mr. Wuffles, in David Wiesner's (Tuesday; Flotsam) latest (nearly) wordless masterpiece.

The only human presence involves a couple of cameo appearances of the presumed owner, dangling a fish from a thread ("Look, Mr. Wuffles, a new toy!") and later inquiring of Mr. Wuffles, who trains his rapt attention on activities beneath the heat register, "What's so interesting, Mr. Wuffles?" In the first instance, the human disturbs the cat from his nap, and Mr. Wuffles stalks off, revealing a trail of unused toys on his journey. But wait--one of these is not like the others. From inside a ball-shaped gray structure on three legs, some tiny green beings peer out of a horizontal opening. Wiesner cuts to the interior, where the creatures make sounds of an alien kind, represented by symbols and geometric shapes. Next, the aliens see the green eyes of the cat staring through their window and,... topsy-turvey they go. The horizontal panels convey the upending of the aliens' vessel, causing damage to its controls. With the turn of a page, Wiesner moves to a full-page view of the cat staring at the upside-down ship, the alien language spilling from its openings. Wiesner cuts back and forth between the two views as the five alien passengers assess the situation, then make a mad dash to escape. A ladybug distracts their pursuer long enough for the quintet to reach safety under a heat register.

Wiesner uses the full-page and panel illustrations to build the tension and lay out the aliens' predicament. In their refuge, a full-bleed spread depicts Lascaux-like paintings of Mr. Wuffles terrorizing ladybugs, ants and mice; others have sought this safe harbor from the furry predator. A series of step-by-step panel and close-up inset illustrations chronicle the aliens using only drawings to convey their plight, and to ask help of their fellow beleaguered compatriots to help repair their spaceship. Together they create a strategy for returning the aliens to their ship.

In a time-honored tradition of stories that stretch from Gulliver's Travels to The Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders," Wiesner's tale juxtaposes a collision of two worlds. Young readers will be able to identify with both Mr. Wuffles, who's aware of an entire fascinating world undetected by adults, and with the aliens who face seemingly insurmountable odds laid out by beings much larger than they. The author-artist's ability to toggle between these two viewpoints adds up to a larger whole and a wider perspective, and both sides may win readers' sympathies. A great conversation starter. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: Three-time Caldecott Medalist David Wiesner tips his hat to science-fiction and fantasy in this nearly wordless tale; children may have trouble choosing sides.

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