Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 1, 2013


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Editor by Steven Rowley

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Delacorte Press: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

News

Advocates for Independent Business Launches

The American Booksellers Association has joined with six other organizations to launch Advocates for Independent Business, "a coalition of trade associations and other groups dedicated to ensuring that locally owned, independent businesses succeed and thrive," Bookselling This Week reported. The new coalition will provide a structure for its member organizations to exchange information about successful programs, generate new ideas and advocate for shared public policy goals.

AIB was co-founded by the ABA with the American Independent Business Alliance, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, the Independent Running Retailers Association, the National Bicycle Dealers Association, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and Record Store Day.

"We look forward to working with our partners in AIB on a range of issues that are critical to the health and continued growth of locally owned businesses nationwide," said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. "And we hope even more indie trade organizations will join us in the future. There is much that can be accomplished in terms of public policy if we all work together, as well as many things we can learn from each other to better serve our members."


Oxford University Press: Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War by Elizabeth R. Varon


Merced, Calif., B&N Gets Short-Term Lease on Life

The Barnes & Noble store in Merced, Calif., will remain open for now, despite last month's announcement of a January closure. The Sun-Star reported that officials from B&N and Decron Properties, the building's management company, expect to agree on a month-to-month lease at a lower rent for the 21,714-square-foot building.

"It gives them some chance to see if they can't modify how their business is run," said John Love, the director of commercial properties for Decron. "It gives us an active tenant in the center and, if they can't make a go of it, gives an opportunity to find a more permanent replacement tenant while they stay in business." He anticipated the deal would extend "at least for six months, and possibly longer."

David Deason, B&N v-p of development, noted that communication had broken down between the two companies prior to the closure announcement, but negotiations have been productive since then.

"I just don't know why it hadn't been responded to previously," he said. "I'm not challenged or angry in any way; it was just unfortunate." Deason added that the company remains focused on keeping the store open and "we're hopeful we can do that."

A "Say NO to closing Barnes & Noble in Merced" Facebook page launched October 20 by Jacob Rafati Heravi has garnered more than 3,000 "likes," the Sun-Star wrote. "When you are closing a bookstore, you are closing culture," he said. "We have some more time to think about it. Maybe we can do something."


Ecco Press: White Elephant by Julie Langsdorf


Amazon to Build Office Facility in India

Amazon plans to build a 1.6 million-square-foot office facility in India at the Nanakramguda special economic zone in Hyderabad "to cater to its technical (software development) and non-technical (support/back office) operations," the Business Standard reported, adding that this "would be its first dedicated and owned facility after the one in Seattle." The online retailer said it would be be able to complete construction in three years and increase its employee base from 4,000 to 13,500.


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SCBWI, First Book & Indies Partner for 'Inside Story'

This weekend, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, in conjunction with First Book, is launching its first international Inside Story events at selected independent bookstores.

According to program coordinator Kayla Heinen at SCBWI, "We found out about First Book and all the great things they were doing, and we wanted to partner with them. It was a very collaborative effort between [SCBWI's] Lin Oliver and Erica Perl at First Book."

The goal is two-pronged: to provide an opportunity for young readers, teachers, librarians and children's book lovers to become acquainted with new releases, and to build traffic and sales for independent bookstores, where authors and illustrators will have a brief time to share the "inside story" behind their recent publications. The participating indies include Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, N.Mex.; Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.; Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla.; Bank Street Bookstore and Books of Wonder in New York City; the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah; Mockingbird Books, Seattle; the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.; Once Upon a Time Bookstore, Montrose, Calif.; and three stores in Australia.

The SCBWI is providing publicity, volunteers for the day of the event and prizes to help bring in patrons, including a drawing to win a phone call from a famous author. One grand prize winner--across all of the participating bookstores--will have a character named after him or her in a new Almost Identical book by Lin Oliver. In addition to Oliver, participating authors include Nikki Grimes, National Book Award finalist Carrie Arcos, Tao Nyeu, Diane deGroat, Corinne Demas, Chris Grabenstein, Richard Michelson, Aaron Reynolds and Uma Krishnaswami.

First Book will donate a book to a child in need for every book purchased at an SCBWI Inside Story event.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite


California Bookstore Day Update: Featured Items

Among some of the special items publishers have created for the first California Bookstore Day, set for May 3, 2014: a California Classics Boxed Set (with work by Charles Bukowski, Armistead Maupin, Elmore Leonard and others); a special edition graduation essay by George Saunders (with doodles by the author); selected recipes from Michael Pollan's kitchen; a yet-to-be-finalized short story for young readers from Neil Gaiman; and a special edition of lists from Hank Zipzer, Henry Winkler's children's book character.

Also, author Lisa Brown, known for her three-panel book review comics that run in the San Francisco Chronicle (and who is married to Daniel Handler), has authorized CBD to publish a collection of her reviews. The collection will feature an introduction by Mo Willems that California Bookstore Day coordinator Samantha Schoech described as "hilarious."

When Simon & Schuster rep Cheri Hickman suggested using the line "California deserves what it gets," from Don DeLillo's White Noise, CBD created a wood stencil of it to be sold on the day. Other featured items include collectible HUGO lithographs signed by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, $20); matted prints from the forthcoming Curious George Goes to the Bookstore (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $10); and an illustrated writer's journal by Wendy MacNaughton (Chronicle, $9.95).

A committee of booksellers has approved 15 items so far, all of which are special items available nowhere else and are geared to draw customers into indies. Some are from publishers, some are produced by California Bookstore Day, and others are the work of authors and other bookish types with close relationships with indie stores in their areas. They're listed on the California Bookstore Day website, www.cabookstoreday.com, and available for order through Ingram through December 1. "We are still open to additions, if they came to us fully formed," said Schoech.

Schoech added that she hopes publishers will also provide giveaway items from other authors. Such giveaways, she noted, have been a boon to Record Store Day, a model the organizers have used for California Bookstore Day.

Earlier this year, Pete Mulvihill, one of the owners of Green Apple in San Francisco, came up with the idea for California Bookstore Day, which soon was adopted by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. NCIBA raised more than $13,000 in an Indiegogo campaign to fund the effort, and last month, Schoech and NCIBA's Hut Landon attended the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association meeting to help make the Day a statewide event.

Booksellers who wish to participate have to be members of NCIBA or SCIBA, sign up and agree to promote the event, order items by December 1, and not sell any items until May 3 (either in store or online). More than 300 stores in California are eligible--and the hope is that a successful statewide effort might lead to national campaign.

Publishers continue to be supportive. "As big believers in the power of grass-roots marketing, we see CBD as a great opportunity for stores to connect with local consumers in a fresh, new way," observed Ruth Liebmann, director of account marketing at Random House. --Bridget Kinsella


Notes

Image of the Day: Kidd at James River Writers Conference

Award-winning book designer Chip Kidd, author most recently of Chip Kidd Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design (Workman), gave the keynote speech, "Fail Better," at the James River Writers Conference, which was held recently in Richmond, Va. Pictured from left to right: conference chair Kristi Tuck Austin, Kidd and volunteer Tiffany Cardoza.


What Every Neighborhood Needs: A Bookstore

A bookstore or bookstore café would be a welcome addition to a certain Boston neighborhood, according to a recent survey by the Beacon Hill Civic Association Retail Vacancy Task Force. "Of 395 respondents, 265 said a bookstore is the type of business or store they would like to see come to the neighborhood," the Beacon Hill Times reported, followed by a mid-range restaurant (213 votes), cheese shop (187), bakery (182) and kitchenware store (163).

"In terms of a bigger trend, the survey shows that people want things they need on a day-to-day basis," said Michael Bruck, committee chair. "This isn't surprising, since people in the neighborhood live here, many work here, and they shop here."

He also noted the survey's comments section affirmed the neighborhood residents embrace unique and independently owned shops. "People feel that Beacon Hill is a special and unique place, and they want to preserve its character," Bruck said. "They believe businesses like chain stores contribute to the homogenization of the American shopping experience. They don't want goods and services that can be found at any strip mall in any town."


Pennie Picks Burial Rites

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316243919) as her pick of the month for November. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"For more years than I care to count, the things for which I am most thankful have been my family, my friends, my dogs, good wine and good books. While I would be hard-pressed to rank them, I can say that my gratitude for books is currently through the roof. Much of it is due to this month's book buyer's pick, Burial Rites, by first-time novelist Hannah Kent.

"Inspired by a true story, Kent examines the life of a woman accused of murdering her master. However, there are no women's prisons in 1829 Iceland, and Agnes is sent to an isolated farm to await her execution. As her death looms ever closer, the farmer's wife and daughters learn that every story has two sides.

"I imagine you, too, will be thankful for this beautiful novel that unfolds in a stark landscape."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Anne Lamott on OWN's Super Soul Sunday

Today on APM's Splendid Table: Andrew Schloss, author of Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More (Chronicle, $35, 9781452104690).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Studio 360: Mario Livio, author of Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein--Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781439192368).

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Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781416547860).

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Sunday on OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Anne Lamott, author of Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair (Riverhead, $17.95, 9781594632587).


Movies: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane; The Hobbit

Robert Zemeckis will direct The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, based on Kate DiCamillo's popular children's novel. Variety reported the project "has been set at New Line for the past seven years with Wendy Finerman producing. Zemeckis' Imagemovers partners Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke will also produce." Jeff Stockwell has written the adaptation.

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A pair of new TV spots for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug "emphasize director Peter Jackson's frantic grasp of action and the connection to the later Lord of the Rings trilogy," Indiewire reported, noting that "both do a great job underlining Jackson's calamitous approach to action, with sequences building and then toppling over on themselves (and other, adjoining sequences)." The movie opens December 13.



Books & Authors

Awards: Ernest J. Gaines

Attica Locke won the $10,000 Ernest J. Gaines Award for her novel The Cutting Season, Jacket Copy reported. "Attica is a superb storyteller, and her book addresses the struggles of race and class for a modern audience," Gaines said. "This selection highlights her contribution to contemporary American literature."


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcovers
The Last Banquet: A Novel by Jonathan Grimwood (Europa Editions, $26.95, 9781609451387). "In the pre-dawn of the French Revolution, Jean-Marie d'Aumont strives to wrest an ounce of immortality from every experience, taste, and sensation this world has to offer. From his rescue as a child at the foot of a dung heap to his appointment as Lord Master of the Menagerie, d'Aumont's life is 'built almost entirely on a foundation of events colliding.' Grimwood takes us on a tour through French history, from the death of the Sun King to the Revolution, but at its heart The Last Banquet is a beautiful--and, at times, macabre--meditation on the inexorable march of history and man's struggle to leave an indelible mark before his own time is spent." --Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

Mud Season: How One Woman's Dream of Moving to Vermont, Raising Children, Chickens, and Sheep & Running the Old Country Store Pretty Much Led to One Calamity After Another by Ellen Stimson (Countryman Press, $23.95, 9781581572049). "Have you ever dreamed of moving to rural Vermont? Imagined the good life away from traffic, noise, and the difficulties of city life? Stimson and her husband did exactly that, moving from St. Louis with children and dogs and cats in tow. By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Mud Season is the story of their immersion into a small town populated with crusty Vermonters who view 'flatlanders' with a combination of suspicion and amusement. This is a funny, self-deprecating memoir of making a new life in a beautiful place." --Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

Paperback
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd (Quercus Publishing, $15.95, 9781623650964). "George and Jeanie had been married for 22 years when he suddenly abandoned his marital bed without any explanation. Ten years later, living in a celibate marriage and with a seemingly amicable relationship, George opts for them to sell the family home and move to the country. Jeanie, however, has found a new spark in her life when she meets Ray in the park on the Thursdays she spends with her two-year-old granddaughter. Can she light that spark and enter into a late-in-life romance with Ray? Single or married, young or on the other side of young, read and ride along on this delightful, romantic journey." --Carol Hicks, Bookshelf, Truckee, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea by Lisa Martin and Valerie Martin, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Algonquin Young Readers, $16.95, 9781616202460). "This is a sweet story of adventure and determination. Cat brothers Anton and Cecil live in a quiet harbor town, where they spend their time watching ships come and go. Fishing boats bring food, but cargo ships and pirate ships need cats to kill the dreaded mice and rats on board. Adventure on the high seas begins when Anton is caught and taken onto a ship and Cecil is determined to find him. Creatures of the sea, land, and sky all help Cecil in his quest to find his brother and bring him back home." --Ellyn Gaich, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Brahmin: Jonathan Hickman

Writer-artist Jonathan Hickman was born in South Carolina and is a graduate of Clemson University. He writes comics like The Avengers for Marvel Entertainment and books, like Pax Romana, Manhattan Projects and The Nightly News. His latest work, East of West, Vol. One: The Promise (Image Comics), with artist Nick Dragotta, is about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse failing to bring about the end of the world because one of them falls in love.

On your nightstand now:

I skip around a bit. Let's see... right now I have The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall, the Michael Clayton screenplay by Tony Gilroy, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie and Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young. Beautiful art by Skottie in that last one, by the way.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day. I'd draw my own versions of the fictional animals and then concoct little origin stories, ancient battles, and unknown histories of all the creatures Mister Tolkien created. I really liked A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels by Gustav Davidson for the same reasons.

Your top five authors:

Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Iain Banks, Frank Herbert and William Gibson.

Book you've faked reading:

Oh, plenty of stuff. Anything assigned for homework during high school. White Fang, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby... anything I could get the Cliffs Notes for. I just wanted to spend all my time painting and drawing. I corrected most of these as I've gotten older; still no White Fang, though.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Daniel Dociu did the art. He's a concept guy, which is a sweet spot for me, and there was the added bonus of me absolutely loving the book. Bends off two-thirds of the way through and takes you into a pretty special place.

Book you're an evangelist for and book that changed your life:

I read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield over a long dinner in a Greek restaurant one evening. That night I went home and immediately started what would be my first published book. I'm sure I'm not the only disciple out there, but The War of Art remains very personal and powerful stuff for me.

Favorite line from a book:

"You teach them to cheat, to cover their tracks, and they cheat you as well." --from The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré.

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

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.


Book Review

Review: The Tell

The Tell: The Little Clues That Reveal Big Truths about Who We Are by Matthew Hertenstein (Basic Books, $26.99 hardcover, 9780465031658, November 12, 2013)

In the lively and likable The Tell, psychologist Matthew Hertenstein synthesizes findings in behavioral and neuroscience to show how the mind filters clues from the most ephemeral and unwitting of facial expressions and behaviors to make predictions about someone's trustworthiness, leadership ability and likelihood of marital success or failure--even the possibility that certain infant behaviors presage developmental disorders such as autism. His goal, he says, is not to make us better predictors, but to make us better observers.

Hertenstein (The Anatomy of Touch) calls these clues "tells" and he looks at a range of them to determine which behaviors are predictive and where we routinely get them wrong. For example, attachment styles in infants reflect their mothers' sensitivity and responsiveness to their babies' emotional signals, with lifelong consequences for those children's odds of forming secure bonds or developing a range of psychopathologies later in life. Other personality characteristics are genetically determined; Hertenstein explores the relationship between innate and environmental factors in personality development and discusses where intervention can be effective.

Physical appearance and behaviors also drive our predictions about someone's intelligence, leadership ability or suitability as a mate, with varying degrees of accuracy. Drawing on evolutionary psychology in a section on mating, Hertenstein discusses the attributes men seek out in women as signs of youth and fertility, though certain features (hip to waist ratio, for example) are better predictors of reproductive ability than others (breast size, leg length). Evolutionary psychology also helps explain our ability to predict sexual orientation based simply on photographs: women's predictive accuracy in this regard is at its highest during ovulation.

All of these predictions have profound consequences, from job interviews to the outcome of elections. Sorting through which tells are relevant and which are not--or at least, recognizing that we are often wrong--is vital to avoid harmful social policies like racial profiling. Hertenstein offers some specifics, though he warns against the pitfalls of a prescriptive approach.

The Tell stops short of being a practical guide, but it also lacks the heft that a stronger unifying idea could provide. It reads more like a survey of studies, many familiar, tied together by a general acknowledgement of the predictive potential of the mind. Nevertheless, the subject is fascinating, and The Tell succeeds as an engaging tour through current work in the science of behavior by a young psychologist who has the makings of a leading contributor to his field. --Jeanette Zwart

Shelf Talker: In a charming look at the power of the human mind, Hertenstein shows how we routinely make big decisions about the people around us based on small clues.


Ooops

Lerner Handling Walter Foster Custom Bound Library Editions

Mentioned here Wednesday, the distribution agreement under which Lerner Publisher Services will be exclusive U.S. and Canadian distributor of Walter Foster Publishing spring frontlist titles to the school and public library markets and, in June, full backlist applies only to hardcover custom library-bound editions. Our apologies for the error!


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: You Oughta Be in Pictures... & Books

As the unofficial movie/TV news correspondent at Shelf Awareness, I spend an unhealthy amount of time scanning "the trades" (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Deadline.com, etc.) for bookish showbiz tidbits. This may explain why I'm particularly aware of new books by writers with screen credentials. For example, this week saw the release of S. by J.J. Abrams (Lost) and Doug Dorst; as well as Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions by del Toro and Marc Zicree.

I noticed the screen/page connection often during my fall regional bookseller trade show pilgrimage, beginning at SIBA in New Orleans with an appearance by George Pelecanos (The Double)--whose impressive TV credits include The Wire, The Pacific and Treme--during the Southern Life Lunch. 

Walter Jury, Julie Schoerke of JKS Communications and S.E. Fine

There was also a screen-related mystery afoot at SIBA. The book signing for Scan, an upcoming YA novel, featured co-authors Walter Jury and S.E. Fine. At the time, the pseudonymous Jury was not revealing his true identity, but last Thursday the Hollywood Reporter wrote that he is Pouya Shahbazian, "the rep behind New Leaf Literary and Media and a producer on the upcoming YA adaptation Divergent.... He focuses on book-to-film adaptations and has set up numerous projects around town," among them Shadow & Bone and Runner.

Shahbazian told THR he used a pen name because he "wanted to take a stab at it without anyone knowing it was me.... I'm going to be focused on my day job. I love my day job, but I do like the idea of creating something that can be translatable to film and television."

Jeffrey Stepakoff reading at SIBA's Parapalooza event

Translatability is a key factor when writers shift from screen to book. At the SIBA show, I also met Jeffrey Stepakoff, whose latest novel, The Melody of Secrets, has just been published. Stepakoff's screenwriting credits include The Wonder Years, Sisters and Dawson's Creek, for which he was co-executive producer. I asked him about working in the different forms.

"In some ways, for me at least, developing a novel is very similar to the process of developing an original screenplay or television pilot," Stepakoff said. "In both fiction and screen/scriptwriting, you begin by fleshing out the characters while simultaneously designing the structure. I use the exact same three-act structure for a novel that I use for a screenplay. (TV shows today are five acts.) For fiction I also use the same story construction that I use on a dry erase board in an episodic television story room--opening with an inciting incident (or hook), a series of rising complications, all driving to an inevitable but unexpected climax."

He noted that the difference between the two "lies in the rendering. That is, a television script or a screenplay is really a story map, one which is of course later realized by actors, directors, lighting designers, etc. Whereas a novel is rendered only with language. In many ways, storytelling with fiction is much more challenging. But, there is one thing that fiction does remarkably better than television and cinema. A character in a novel can bring a reader into his or her head, into thoughts and feelings, in a way that actors cannot. Film and television writers must, at the end of the day, rely on actors to impart the fine points of story. As a novelist, I am the actor, and the director, and the lighting designer, as well as the writer."

D.J. MacHale

So how, you may wonder, does a writer for the screen become a writer of books? At the NEIBA fall conference, D.J. MacHale, author of the 10-volume Pendragon series and most recently of SYLO, helpfully shared his own eight-step strategy. MacHale has created numerous successful movies and TV series, including Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark and HBO's Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective. In his amusing presentation, he advised:

  1. Avoid writing like the plague. (In school, he would spend weeks making a short film rather than a couple of hours writing a paper.)
  2. Prepare for the real world. (aka unemployment)
  3. Find your "waiter's job." (MacHale made industrial/corporate films, learning "how to take a vast volume of boring information and narrow it down.")
  4. Have an epiphany. (An epiphany is "you're doing something wrong," he said, adding his came when a friend advised him to write screenplays for children's programs.)
  5. Win awards... or at least get nominated.
  6. Be sure one of your shows has book spinoffs. (His Are You Afraid of the Dark series paralleled the success of the Goosebumps books)
  7. Write a book. (or at least a half-baked proposal)

"I hesitate to give you the eighth step," MacHale warned before revealing his ultimate strategy: "Find an author you like, or even one that you don't like. Hunt them down and hound them until they give up the named of their agent and/or editor."

While admitting that his advice was meant to be used for recreational purposes only, he concluded: "One thing that is not tongue-in-cheek is I love to tell stories." And that, it would appear, is the common thread between writing for screen or printed page. --Robert Gray, contributing editor


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