Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 18, 2013

Atria Books: The Silence in Her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Labyrinth Road: Plan A by Deb Caletti

Harper Muse: Unsinkable by Jenni L. Walsh

Mariner Books: Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

S&s/ Marysue Rucci Books: The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan

W by Wattpad Books: Night Shift by Annie Crown

Shadow Mountain: Under the Java Moon: A Novel of World War II by Heather B. Moore


Court Appoints Monitor in Apple E-Book Pricing Case

Michael Bromwich, a former U.S. prosecutor who recently worked in President Obama's administration, has been chosen to be the monitor "who ensures that Apple Inc. complies with a ruling from the e-book antitrust case the company lost this year," the Los Angeles Times reported. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote announced that Bromwich will serve in that role for two years, reviewing Apple's antitrust policies and procedures.

Bromwich "was part of the government's trial team in the U.S. case against former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Oliver North, and more recently headed up the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, an agency established to monitor oil and gas development following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," All Things Digital wrote, adding that he will be assisted by Barry Nigro, chair of the antitrust department at law firm Fried Frank. Nigro "served as deputy director for the Bureau of Competition at the Federal Trade Commission. His specialty there: Anticompetitive practices investigations and litigation."

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

New Bookstore in the Works for Downtown Greenville, S.C.

M. Judson, a new indie bookstore currently in the planning stages for downtown Greenville, S.C., fulfills a "long-held desire by city leaders, visitors, Governor's School students and just about anyone who loves to stroll into a bookstore while walking down a pretty street," the Greenville News reported.

The project is the result of a partnership among Samantha Wallace, publisher of Edible Upcountry; Ashley Warlick, the author of three novels who teaches creative writing at the Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities; and Tricia Lightweis, who has owned Booksmith in Seneca for 25 years and had put that store on the market almost two years ago when she was considering retirement.

They are scouting locations downtown and plan to open next year. "It will be a place where readers and authors meet, physically and on paper," Lightweis said.

"From the standpoint of downtown Greenville, its brand and what it is, a bookstore is one of the missing ingredients," said Mayor Knox White. "All great cities have some kind of bookstore."

The store is named in honor of Mary Camilla Judson, a teacher and principal at the Greenville Female College at the turn of the 19th century. Judson "was born in 1828 and studied at the Yale College Library but couldn't take classes because Yale was a males-only school," the Greenville News wrote.

"I like to imagine her as a true Victorian lady of her time, who also believed in the power of women to rise above their time and place," Warlick said. "Exactly the kind of modern, forward-looking spirit we're looking to tie to our bookstore. We also plan to funk her up a good bit."

Lightweis noted that they have secured significant initial funding are looking for a space with about 5,000 square feet.

"We can do this," Wallace added.

Britannica Books: Britannica's Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures--About Earth, Space, Animals, the Body, Technology & More--Revealed in Pictures by Valentina D'Efilippo, Andrew Pettie, and Conrad Quilty-Harper

Indies First Movement: Authors Eager to Handsell on SBS

Six weeks after Sherman Alexie wrote a letter urging authors to handsell books at their favorite local independent bookstores during Small Business Saturday (November 30), Indies First has struck a chord. Bookselling This Week reported that more than 285 authors have signed up and 225 bookstores nationwide will be hosting them.

Among the latest pairings are James Patterson at Classic Bookshop, Palm Beach, Fla.; Garth Stein at five stores around Seattle; Jess Walter at Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.; Robin LaFevers at Curious Cup Bookstore, Carpinteria, Calif.; Jim Lynch at Edmonds Bookshop, Edmonds, Wash.; Wiley Cash at Pomegranate Books, Wilmington, N.C.; Martin Cruz Smith at Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.; and David Small at Lowry's Books and More, Three Rivers, Mich.

GLOW: Carolrhoda Books: Pangu's Shadow by Karen Bao

Kobo Launches in India

Kobo has launched in India, where customers will now have access to the company's line of e-readers and tablets, e-bookstore and apps for iOS, Android, Microsoft and BlackBerry. As of yesterday, Kobo devices are available in retail locations across India through partnerships with booksellers Crossword and WH Smith, as well as electronics retailer Croma.

Wayne White, executive v-p and general manager, Kobo, said India "is in the early stages of what we believe is a 25-year transformation from print to digital reading. In partnership with some of the leading booksellers and retailers in the country, Kobo is poised to lead this transformation, by delivering a fully localized experience designed to meet the increased demand for digital content in India."

Soho Crime: My Favorite Scar by Nicolás Ferraro, translated by Mallory Craig-Kuhn

The Book of Matt: Indie Events Update

More than a week after the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression expressed support for indie bookstores hosting events for controversial author Stephen Jimenez (The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard), Bookselling This Week reported the events held thus far have prompted civil discussions from all points of view.

"We were unwavering in our commitment to hold the event," said Bradley Graham of Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C. He and co-owner Lissa Muscatine introduced the author together, noting objections to the book and pointing out that there are also people who believe the book is worthy of consideration. "We stressed that in a democracy like ours, people should have the opportunity to hear divergent views, as long as the discussion remained respectful," Graham added. "It was a very civil dialogue."

San Francisco's Books Inc., hosted a Jimenez appearance at its store in the Castro District September 26. "We were happy with the event," said manager Ken White, noting that many audience members had come to challenge the author. "[Jimenez] dealt with it very rationally. He knew his stuff, he did the research. People wanted to meet a crackpot and knock him down and that's not what happened.... This is definitely a book that had a lot to say, that is especially relevant to where we are, and as long as it's not hate-speech, we're pretty game for showcasing all kinds of ideas."

Obituary Note: Mark Brandon Read

Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read, "a notorious Australian criminal and self-described 'murdering maggot' who spun tales from his violent history into a successful comedy routine and 10 top-selling books, including one illustrated for children," died Wednesday, the New York Times reported. He was 58.


Image of the Day: Harvard Square Turkey

Harvard Square is known for its shopping, restaurants, culture, history--and turkeys? This turkey has been seen strolling past Harvard Book Store many times in the last few weeks, often stopping to take a look in the window. Here she's checking out the new paperbacks. (photo: @diane_xy)

Author Competes in Jeopardy! Battle

Vote early and vote often.

Tom Nissley, whose A Reader's Book of Days (Norton) appears on November 4, is in the running to be a Fan Favorite in Jeopardy!'s 30th anniversary Battle of the Decades tournament. To win, Nissley, who won eight straight games on the way to becoming the show's third-highest money winner, needs as many votes as possible between now and Sunday, the 20th. Vote by tweeting "Tom #JeopardyVote" and visiting Jeopardy!'s Battle of the Decades site and Facebook page. (In both places you can watch Nissley's video for a cameo appearance by fellow author and Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings.)

Air Book: Aussies to Experiment with Drone Deliveries

The "world's first unmanned aerial drone controlled by GPS for deliveries is set to launch next year and will reduce costs by flying rental textbooks directly to users," the Age reported. Beginning next March and pending regulatory approval, Australian students "will be able to order books from Zookal via an Android smartphone app and have one of six Flirtey drones deliver them to their door in Sydney. As the drone arrives, students will be able to track it in real-time on a Google map."

Flirtey hopes to then expand the service to other products and locations, "even seeing potential to deliver food and drinks to people and blood to and from blood banks and hospitals in future," the Age wrote.

Personnel Changes at Tor

At Tor:

Eric Glover has joined the company as publicist. He was previously digital publicity manager at Media Connect.

Ardi Alspach joined the company as associate publicist. She had been publicity assistant at Skyhorse.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Sedaris on Fresh Air

This morning on CBS This Morning: Brad Meltzer, author of History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Workman, $24.95, 9780761177456).


Today on Fresh Air: David Sedaris, author of Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316154697).


Tomorrow on PRI's Whad'Ya Know?: Nicholson Baker, author of Traveling Sprinkler (Blue Rider Press, $26.95, 9780399160967).


Sunday on 60 Minutes: Dick Cheney and Jonathan Reiner, authors of Heart: An American Medical Odyssey (Scribner, $28, 9781476725390).


Sunday on OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Mark Nepo, author of The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have (Conari Press, $24.95, 9781573245388).

Movies: Catching Fire Visuals; Holiday Season Adaptation Guide

More photos and a new TV spot (featuring Coldplay's anthem "Atlas") have been released for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, directed by Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, I Am Legend), Indiewire reported. The movie opens November 22.


Noting that the movie slate for the rest of 2013 "is packed with a delicious assortment of page-to-screen adaptations diverse enough to please nearly any predilection," Word & Film created a handy Holiday Movie Adaptation Guide.

Books & Authors

Awards: Planeta Prize

Clara Sanchez won Spain's extremely lucrative €601,000 (about US$813,261) Planeta Prize for her novel El cielo ha vuelto. Latino Daily News reported that the Madrid author "had hidden her true identity by using the pen-name Jose Calvino and the fictitious title of her work was La dama del hechizo."

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $26.95, 9780399158384). "This sequel to the delightfully fresh and entertaining Gods of Gotham is even more compelling and enjoyable as it brings 1840s Manhattan to vivid life. 'Copper star' policeman Timothy Wilde sets out to help a woman whose sister and son have been stolen by slave-catchers. With the help of a charming cast of street denizens, Wilde does his best to protect the people who need his help, including his decadent brother Valentine, while ruthless and dangerous people--possibly even his brother--try to stop him. Absolutely wonderful!" --Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.

The Night Guest: A Novel by Fiona McFarlane (Faber & Faber, $26, 9780865477735). "You will be hard-pressed to find a more unsettling read this year. From the very beginning, this tale of a widow living alone in an isolated locale and the mysterious woman who comes to take care of her is filled with a subtle haunting menace that lurks behind even the most simple of day-to-day events. It is the rare kind of novel that is genuinely unexpected and surprising. More than once while reading, you will have to put the book down, pick up the phone, and call your mom to make sure she's alright." --Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train: A Novel by William Kuhn (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780062208293). "The Queen has tried to stay up to date, practicing yoga and learning to surf the Internet, but decades of pomp and circumstance have taken their toll and Her Majesty needs a break. She sets off alone--well-disguised in a skull-motif hoodie--on a train to Scotland, only to be pursued by a motley crew of royal attendants determined to bring her home before she creates a royal scandal. This debut novel is thoroughly fresh and charming, an imaginative story about the most famous woman who almost no one really knows." --Jody Misner Chwatun, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
Captain Cat by Inga Moore (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 9781763661519). "Moore has created a new classic! This story has everything--a captain, a queen, the high seas, unknown territory, murder, mystery, romance, treasure and CATS! Moore's trademark illustrations pull you in and make you want to read it again and again." --Isabel Berg, Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Brahmin: Bob Mould

photo: Peter Ellenby

Musician, singer/songwriter and producer Bob Mould was an original member of the 1980s band Hüsker Dü. He released several albums after the band separated, including Workbook, Body of Song and Life and Times. In the 1990s he was part of the band Sugar; its 1992 album Copper Blue was NME Album of the Year. His autobiography, See a Little Light, was just published by Cleis Press. Mould lives in San Francisco.

On your nightstand now:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Professional Rock and Roll, edited by Herbert H. Wise.

Your top five authors:

William S. Burroughs, Marshall McLuhan, John Fante, Yukio Mishima and David Leavitt.

Book you've faked reading:

Dr. Seuss's ABC.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

Book you've bought for the cover:

E Pluribus Venom by Shepard Fairey.

Book that changed your life:

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.

Favorite line from a book:

"Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats." --from Dickens, Dali, and Others by George Orwell.

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

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

Book Review

Review: Havisham

Havisham by Ronald Frame (Picador, $26 hardcover, 9781250037275, November 5, 2013)

Miss Havisham is one of the most famous of Charles Dickens's characters; jilted at the altar, she isolated herself within her mansion, wearing her wedding dress the rest of her days (until it catches fire, killing her). Using the few "biographical" clues strewn about Great Expectations as his outline, Ronald Frame turns this supporting cast member in Pip's story into a completely realized character in her own right--including a first name: Catherine.

In Havisham, she tells her story from the beginning. After her mother's death in childbirth, she is raised by her father, a wealthy Kent brewer. Young Catherine enjoys a privileged, if lonely, life, and forms a bond with Sally, a dead employee's daughter. Father watches over her carefully, raising her as a proud "Havisham," worthy of an upper-class life. To help foster this, he sends her to Durley Chase to live with Lady Chadwyck and her children, which Catherine loves; she feels like "a flower that's had a dark time growing, opening at last to the sun."

Durley Chase is a place of poetry, dances, balls, fine clothes--a life derived from books like The Vicar of Wakefield and Fanny Burney. It begins to turn Catherine into a bit of a snob. After a brief attraction to young "W'm" Chadwyck, she meets Charles Compeyson. He's always showing up at the same balls and masques; he's charming, witty and, unlike W'm, has a bit of the bad boy in him. Catherine falls for him--soon she's on a "silken halter." Compeyson loves to gamble and Catherine helps him with his many debts; he plays her perfectly. As readers of Great Expectations know all too well, the promised marriage never occurs, and Miss Havisham self-destructs. Years later, only Estella (and Pip) can "save" her ruined life.

Frame ably follows in the tradition of expanding upon a minor character from another writer's novel (as in Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea). The danger in this, of course, is missing the mark and merely riding Dickens' coattails. But Frame hits the bull's eye and provides much entertainment as we plunge into the believable "life" of this mysterious, forlorn woman. --Tom Lavoie

Shelf Talker: If you love Great Expectations, you'll bask in the light of Frame's detailed and atmospheric prequel focusing on the dark and tragic Miss Havisham.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Highlighted Passages from a Trip to BookWorld

Like highlighted passages in our favorite books, there are moments during the annual fall indie bookseller trade show season that we can recall (or, when memory is hazy, find scribbled in our notebooks) to remember the good vibes atmosphere these gatherings naturally engender. Business is business, but for a few heady days each autumn, we're truly living in BookWorld, a magical land (with room service) where every citizen reads and cares deeply about the printed word.

This year, I attended the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show in New Orleans and the New England Independent Booksellers Association fall conference in Providence, R.I. Here are just a few highlighted passages from my journey to BookWorld:

"This is a great group. I just love you guys," said Nathaniel Philbrick in his acceptance speech at the Author Awards dinner, where Bunker Hill was honored with the New England Book Award for Nonfiction. "You don't know how much you mean to me.... Going to your stores; it's like an extended family."

Wendy Hudson (owner of Nantucket Bookworks), Melissa Philbrick, Nathaniel Philbrick and Annie Philbrick (photo: Karl Krueger)

After Annie Philbrick, co-owner of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and outgoing NEIBA president, presented Wendell and Florence Minor with the President's Award for lifetime achievement, Wendell praised indie booksellers as "the heart and soul of the printed word; and it's coming back like I'd never imagined."

I noted last week that NEIBA director Steve Fischer said he kept running into new bookstore owners at the show. Among them was Katherine Osborne, a longtime Maine bookseller who is now co-owner and buyer at Letterpress Books in Portland, which will open this Monday. I had several conversations with Katherine and her parents, John Paul and Karen Bakshoian, who have teamed up to establish the family-owned indie. Those discussions became a highlighted passage of their own.

Here's another: "Please listen to your staff," advised Jamie Tan, events director at Brookline Booksmith during the "Trends and Best Practices for Successful Events" panel. Sound advice.

And David Wiesner (Mr. Wuffles!) said, "It is always great to speak to booksellers, the keepers of the flame" at the Author Breakfast on the final day of the NEIBA show.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans: "I am in my heart a bookseller," author Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty School Daze) told his audience during SIBA's Kick Off Lunch. "Up until doing what I do now, I was a bookseller." Recalling the eight years he'd spent at Shakespeare and Co. and seven at Books of Wonder in New York City, Bruel shared what he described as a well-kept industry secret: "There comes this moment in every day when you look at your inventory, all those incredible titles, and you look around just after closing and think, 'Wow, this place would be awesome if not for all those filthy customers who come in every day.' "

Parapalooza at SIBA.

This year's SIBA show marked the debut of Parapalooza, during which the audience could "enjoy a cocktail while authors read, with meaning, feeling, and enthusiasm, a single favorite hand-picked paragraph from their book." I think it's a great concept, putting writers in the position of essentially highlighting passages from their own new works.

Emceed with humor and requisite enthusiasm by Tim Federle (Tequila Mockingbird:  Cocktails with a Literary Twist), the program featured a wide-ranging baker's dozen of alternately serious or funny--but always fascinating--literary voices, including Jesmyn Ward (Men We Reaped), Lisa Patton (Southern as a Second Language), Jeffrey Stepakoff (The Melody of Secrets) and Amalie Howard (Waterfell).

Danny Ellis

Somewhere in the middle of this event, we heard a different kind of voice. When Danny Ellis (The Boy at the Gate) was introduced, the singer-songwriter chose to perform, a cappella, "Tommy Bonner" (here's a 2009 instrumental version). While his memoir recounts a tough Dublin childhood and years he spent at the notorious Artane Industrial School orphanage for boys, his voice--on the page as well as in song--transcends those circumstances with a mischievous tone even as he faces them squarely:

Early Mass that first black Sunday, I'm not praying very hard
Then he sings the most beautiful solo Kyrie and rips my soul apart
And tears that I'd held back for days came pouring down like rain
It wasn't hard to let it all go
When Tommy Bonner sang

In BookWorld, and beyond, words can heal as well as sting, as we know so well. Ellis writes of a lesson from his mother, when he was a kid, on the proper use of a certain F-word: "I learnt a great lesson from Ma that evening. The right words, said properly, in the right place, make all the difference." And, yes, I highlighted that passage as well. --Robert Gray, contributing editor

Powered by: Xtenit