Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 21, 2013

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville


Illinois Online Sales Tax Law Ruled Unconstitutional

More than two years after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill requiring online retailers with "broad networks of online affiliates" in the state to collect sales tax on purchases by residents, the law was ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court Friday, upholding a Cook County judge's decision, the Chicago Tribune reported. Amazon had cut ties with its affiliates in the state after the bill passed, and "some prominent Illinois-based Internet businesses, such as and, fled to Indiana and Wisconsin rather than be cut off from commissions from, and others."

The state supreme court ruling claimed the online sales tax law "violates a federal decree that prevents 'discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.' State law cannot trump federal law," WICS-20 said.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

Amazon: Calif. Warehouse; German Cartel Office Move officially opened its new Bay Area fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif., last week. The San Francisco Business Times reported that the "one-million-square-foot facility has more than 400 full-time employees and is still hiring."


Maintaining that the "best price clauses" Amazon and other Internet companies require from third parties are anti-competitive, Germany's federal cartel office is investigating Amazon and wants the company to change the practice, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Andreas Mundt, head of the cartel office, told the paper, "Sometimes it's not so easy for national authorities to prevail against international firms. Luckily we have instruments of torture that we can use if necessary."

This marks another difficulty for the e-tailer in Europe. Amazon has had labor problems in Germany--a union has staged several partial strikes at two Amazon warehouses and threatens to strike during the holiday season--and some politicians in Germany and elsewhere in Europe are calling for changes that would make the company pay more in taxes.

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

B&N In-Store Delivery: A Healthy Baby Boy

On Friday, a pregnant woman looking for books at a Torrance, Calif., Barnes & Noble left instead with a new son. Within minutes of arriving at the store, the woman went into labor; firefighters were called to the scene and helped deliver a healthy boy in the B&N lobby, the AP reported.

Torrance Fire Department Captain Steve Deuel said that firefighters were considering whether to take the woman to the hospital or prepare for an immediate delivery, when "the baby made that decision for them," he said. "Occasionally, nature writes the script, not us. This was a good Friday night for all of us."

Making for an unusual bricks-and-mortar bookselling experience, some 20 customers and others gathered to watch, and employees asked that they not take pictures or video while paramedics put up a cloth to give some privacy. Store manager Marchelle Hughes told the AP, "That is a really awkward event to do in public. At the same time, it's a really tender moment, and I think everybody wanted to share that." She added that the staff finished its shift with "a positive vibe."

Mother and son, who remained unnamed, are reportedly doing well. No word on whether the boy will be named Barnes or Noble or both.

Open Invitation to WBN U.S. 2014 Book Picks

All are welcome to visit the AAP offices in New York City on Wednesday, October 23, 6-8 p.m., when the World Book Night U.S. 2014 picks will be announced by booksellers, librarians, New York City givers from last year, a New York City school teacher and other book community figures. Half the presenters will be at AAP; half will join via video chat from around the country (including Shelf Awareness publisher Jenn Risko!). WBN board chair Michael Pietsch; Jamie Byng and Julia Kingsford from the U.K.; and WBN U.S. co-founder Morgan Entrekin will join in.

WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz commented: "It's going to be a fun, loose event, and over 2,000 past givers have already RSVP'd for the online event! We have surprise presenters on tap, and Michael, Jamie, Julia and Morgan have recorded messages of thanks to the givers and sponsors. We'll reveal the books one at a time, and then post the entire list when done; I'm shooting to finish before the first pitch of Game 1 of the World Series, and I won't have wine 'til the last book is announced. Giver applications commence the next morning, and bookstore and library host location sign-up is in full swing and going great. The amazing Laura Peraza will communicate with viewers via social media during the event; #wbnbooks on Twitter and on FB."

The AAP's New York office is at 71 Fifth Avenue at 15th Street, on the second floor. Those interested in watching can RSVP now; viewers can join in starting at 5:30 p.m. EST on October 23. 

Pew Research Center: More Tablets & E-Readers for Americans

Photo: Veronica Belmont/Flickr

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet Project, conducted from July 18 to September 20, found that the number of Americans ages 16 and older who own tablet computers has grown to 35%, and the share who have e-reading devices has risen to 24%. Overall, 43% of U.S. residents now have a tablet or an e-reader.  

The Internet Project study, which was conducted from July 18 to September 20 among 6,224 Americans ages 16 and older include, also discovered that more than half of those in households earning $75,000 or more now have tablets (compared to 25% last year) and 38% have e-readers (up from 19% last year).


Image of the Day: Chicago Review Press Turns 40

Chicago Review Press celebrated its 40th anniversary with a party at the Mars Gallery in Chicago's Fulton Market district. Attendees included press founders Curt and Linda Matthews; the entire Chicago Review Press staff (pictured), with publisher Cynthia Sherry (front row right, in red skirt); local authors and booksellers; and fellow Chicago publishers.

Literati Bookstore: 'Six Surprises Over the Last Six Months'

Having "completed the six-month gauntlet of opening the store, getting married and moving closer to the store," Hilary and Michael Gustafson, co-owners of Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., shared "six surprises over the last six months":

  1. People have all sorts of reasons for buying books from us.
  2. Art Fair and home football games are bad for business.
  3. Ann Arborites are writers.
  4. Poetry is our second-best section.
  5. Our staff.
  6. Positive press.

Oblong Books & Music: 'More Optimistic Than Ever'

Rural Intelligence offers a long profile of Oblong Books & Music, Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y., which, "through a combo of 21st century business savvy and old-school outreach," has grown and seen sales rise.

Oblong co-owner Dick Hermans said, "I'm more optimistic right now than I've been in several years. People are realizing the money they spend locally means a helluva lot more than the money they spend online that goes to some distant place and never comes back. More people are saying, 'I'll shop local, and my money will circulate in the community.' "

He's also very proud of his co-owner and daughter, Suzanna Hermans, who recently became president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. "Suzanna brings a lot to the table," he said. "She's a big reader, and she gets what it's all about. She wants to advance not only our stores, but the whole industry. That's pretty cool."

Coalesce Bookstore Celebrates 40 Years with Poetry Collection

As part of its 40th anniversary celebration, Coalesce Bookstore, Morro Bay, Calif., is publishing Where Our Palms Rest, a poetry collection featuring the work of four local writers, the Tribune reported.

"I've always loved poetry and read poetry myself but I know what a tough sell it is. It does not fly off the shelves unless you're Mary Oliver or Billy Collins," said Linna Thomas, who co-founded the bookshop with Janet Brown in 1973.

Iceland: A Nation of Authors and Readers

Although the entire nation has just over 300,000 people, Iceland "is experiencing a book boom," with "more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world," BBC News reported, noting that one in 10 Icelanders will publish one. There is even an Icelandic phrase, "ad ganga med bok I maganum," which means "everyone gives birth to a book" or, literally, everyone "has a book in their stomach."

"Writers are respected here," said Agla Magnusdottir, head of the new Icelandic Literature Centre. "They live well. Some even get a salary.... They write everything--modern sagas, poetry, children's books, literary and erotic fiction--but the biggest boom is in crime writing."

Novelist Solvi Bjorn Siggurdsson said, "We are a nation of storytellers. When it was dark and cold we had nothing else to do. Thanks to the poetic eddas and medieval sagas, we have always been surrounded by stories. After independence from Denmark in 1944, literature helped define our identity."

Book Trailer of the Day: Storied Sips

Storied Sips: Evocative Cocktails for Everyday Escapes by Erica Duecy (Random House Reference), in which the author--deputy editor of the Fodor's Travel website, writer about cocktails at and wine taster and recipe tester at SNOW, the alpine travel magazine--demonstrates the Royal Highball, one of the cocktails from her book.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dick Cheney Launches Heart

This morning on the Today Show: Dick Cheney and Jonathan Reiner, authors of Heart: An American Medical Odyssey (Scribner, $28, 9781476725390). They will also appear today on Hannity.

Also on Today: Hannah Luce, co-author of Fields of Grace: Faith, Friendship, and the Day I Nearly Lost Everything (Atria, $25, 9781476729602).


This morning on Fox & Friends: Bobby Orr, author of Orr: My Story (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399161759). He will also appear on Costas Tonight.

Also on Fox & Friends: Deborah Norville, co-author of The Way We Are: Heroes, Scoundrels, and Oddballs from Twenty-five Years of Inside Edition (Inside Edition Books, $16.99, 9781476757360).


This morning on CBS This Morning: Peter Baker, author of Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House (Doubleday, $35, 9780385525183).


Today on CBS's the Talk: Soleil Moon Frye, author of Let's Get This Party Started: DIY Celebrations for You and Your Kids to Create Together (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $22.50, 9781617690341).


Today on Fresh Air: Reed Albergotti, co-author of Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever (Gotham, $27.50, 9781592408481).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Julie Andrews, author of The Very Fairy Princess Sparkles in the Snow (Little, Brown, $18, 9780316219631). She's also on the Today Show tomorrow morning.


Today on Al Jazeera America's Consider This: Maajid Nawaz, author of Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism (Lyons Press, $26.95, 9780762791361).


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: David Perlmutter, M.D., co-author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers (Little, Brown, $27, 9780316234801).


Today on NPR's Tavis Smiley: Scott Adams, author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life (Portfolio, $27.95, 9781591846918).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Alan Greenspan, author of The Map and the Territory: Risk, Human Nature, and the Future of Forecasting (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594204814).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Howard G. Buffett, author of 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451687866). He will also appear on NPR's All Things Considered and CNN's Piers Morgan.


Tomorrow morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe: Jeff Greenfield, author of If Kennedy Lived: The First and Second Terms of President John F. Kennedy: An Alternate History (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399166969).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Tori Spelling, author of Spelling It Like It Is (Gallery, $26, 9781451628593). She will also appear on the View and Bravo's Watch What Happens Live.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Billy Collins, author of Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems (Random House, $26, 9780679644057).


Tomorrow on NPR's Here & Now: Veronica Roth, author of Allegiant (Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780062024060).


Tomorrow on Entertainment's Inside Edition: Gavin Edwards, author of Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind (It, $24.99, 9780062273154).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316204361).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: A. Scott Berg, author of Wilson (Putnam, $40, 9780399159213).

Movies: Wild Set Pics; Lance Armstrong Project

Reese Witherspoon has been posting photos on from the set of Wild, the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.


Studio Canal and Working Titles have confirmed that Stephen Frears will direct a movie about disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, from a script by John Hodge based on David Walsh's book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong. reported that the cast includes Ben Foster as Armstrong and Chris O'Dowd as Walsh, along with Guillaume Canet and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) in key supporting roles.

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Winton Prize For Science Books

Finalists have been named for to £25,000 (about US$40,414) Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. The winner will be announced November 25. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Bird Sense by Tim Birkhead
The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll
Cells to Civilizations by Enrico Coen
Pieces of Light by Charles Fernyhough
The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson
Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts

Book Review

Review: American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell

American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28 hardcover, 9780374113094, November 5, 2013)

Magazine cover art is not the ubiquitous phenomenon it once was. Gone are Life, Colliers, Newsweek and the mighty arbiter of American life, the Saturday Evening Post. Magazine artists, or "illustrators" as Norman Rockwell would have put it, are largely left only with the ironic platform of the New Yorker... and Rockwell didn't do "irony" unless it was a gentle, playful irony. He chronicled a half century of life in the U.S. while many other artists dazzled critics with thick, dripping and swirling paint, illustrating nothing but their "abstract expressions"--Rockwell and his huge audience saw more in boys (and sometimes girls) being boys, whether at war, at the ball field, at prayer or at the dentist's office.

Deborah Solomon's American Mirror, a comprehensive biography of Rockwell, is neither nostalgia nor revolutionary revisionism. Solomon is a pro whose biographies of Jackson Pollock and Joseph Cornell remain definitive studies. Born in New York City, she was raised by her gallery-owning parents to think that all great art came from the downtown end of the island and only from the hands of broke and dissipated geniuses. American Mirror, however, presents a fresh look at a man who had a complicated and troubling inner life, but transcended his inhibitions to practice his skillful craftsmanship in enormously popular and commercially successful art that allowed him to live, if not a "Norman Rockwell life," at least a full and reasonably satisfying one. As scrupulous in her research and writing as Rockwell was in his art, Solomon flavors her biography with detailed references not only to his work, but also to his unstable family life, estrangement with his older brother and awkward marriages.

When Breaking Home Ties (his 1954 Saturday Evening Post cover depicting a rural workingman father sending his scrubbed-up son off to college) sold at Sotheby's for $15 million in 2006, Rockwell at last joined the highest ranks of his contemporaries--although he probably would have preferred instead to be named to the Baseball Hall of Fame (which he was, in a way, with two of his baseball-themed Post covers now hanging prominently in Cooperstown). During his 84 years, Rockwell did as much as anyone to create an "American mirror" reflecting an ideal to which both recent immigrants and native-born citizens could aspire. Would that we might have such an ideal again. --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: Following biographies of Jackson Pollock and Joseph Cornell, Solomon brings her careful research and easy prose style to a different sort of American art icon.

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