Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 11, 2013

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: Start your entrepreneurial journey with affordable packages, starting from $1,566

Candlewick Press: Mi Casa Is My Home by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Big Picture Press: Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols

Callaway Arts & Entertainment: The Beatles: Get Back by The Beatles, photographed by Linda McCartney

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont


Amazon & USPS Team for Sunday Deliveries is now working with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages to Amazon Prime members on Sunday. Launching initially in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas, the Amazon/USPS partnership has plans to extend this service in 2014 to a large portion of the U.S. population, including residents of Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

Dave Clark, Amazon's v-p of worldwide operations and customer service, expressed excitement that "now every day is an Amazon delivery day."

The New York Times noted that the deal "gives the Postal Service a chance to take some business from United Parcel Service and FedEx, which do not deliver on Sundays. Now, some orders that would have been handled by either of those carriers for Monday delivery will go through the Postal Service and arrive on Sunday."

Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

Busboys & Poets Owner Running for Mayor

Andy Shallal, activist and owner of "the Busboys & Poets mini-empire," said he intends to enter the Washington, D.C., mayoral race. During an appearance on WAMU-FM's Politics Hour, Shallal "made his intentions clear" and acknowledged "that he encountered plenty of skepticism from supporters curious as to why he'd want to enter the world of electoral politics," the Washington Post reported.

"The first thing they said was, 'Why do you want to be in this messy, filthy business?' That's not reassuring," Shallal recalled. The Post noted that he "wants to take a stab at bridging the city's cultural and economic divides, and he's planned a campaign kickoff for Tuesday at Ben's Chili Bowl."

Paraclete Press: Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck

Threshold Withdraws Benghazi Book

Threshold Editions has withdrawn Dylan Davies's The Embassy House: The Explosive Eyewitness Account of the Libyan Embassy Siege by the Soldier Who Was There "after serious doubts emerged about whether Davies had witnessed the 2012 raid," the Associated Press reported. Written under the pseudonym Sergeant Morgan Jones and co-authored by Damien Lewis, the book was published October 29. Threshold spokesperson Jennifer Robinson said 35,000 copies are in print.

"In light of information that has been brought to our attention since the initial publication of The Embassy House, we have withdrawn from publication and sale all formats of this book, and are recommending that booksellers do the same," Robinson stated. "We also are notifying accounts that they may return the book to us."

Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Dynamic Launch for Fantagraphics Kickstarter Campaign

Fantagraphics Books, which launched a $150,000 Kickstarter campaign November 5 to fund its entire spring/summer season of books for 2014, has already raised nearly $139,000 through pledges from more than 2,000 backers, with 24 days still remaining in the drive.

Profile: St. George's Bookshop, Berlin

Twin brothers Paul and Daniel Gurner opened St. George's Bookshop, an English-language bookstore, in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin in 2003. The pair had no previous experience in bookselling, but both had worked at the Cambridge University Library in England, where they had grown up.

"So a background of sorts with books," explained Paul Gurner, "but bookselling, no."

The pair did, however, have a background in selling. Between 2001 and 2005, they started several online retail businesses in the U.K., which Gurner called "very successful." His résumé of "real work," meanwhile, included four and a half years as a reproduction photographer at the library and four and a half years as a fine art photographer at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. He first came to Berlin, and Prenzlauer Berg, because of a girlfriend, who was a fashion student finishing her degree in Germany. It became clear to the Gurners that there was an "obvious gap" for an English-language bookshop in that neighborhood. Said Paul Gurner: "It was getting more and more trendy, and there was a noticeable migration from the western areas more traditionally inhabited by expats such as Schoeneberg and Charlottenburg."

The Gurners found the logistics of relocating to Berlin and opening up a new business to be perhaps their biggest challenge. Paul Gurner recounted loading 20 leather chesterfield pieces and 3,000 books into a 7.5-ton truck to bring to Germany as start-up stock. While en route, they realized that they were overladen by about 1,200 kilograms. Navigating the system of Germany's Boersenverein (the national association of publishers, wholesalers and booksellers, which regulates bookselling in ways that don't exist in the U.S.) was not difficult. Gurner elaborated: "They send you bills, some strange and some plain ridiculous, but pay them and they go away!"

Gurner estimated that during the workweek, around 70% of his customers are expats, with a surprisingly large portion from Scandinavia. On weekends, the number flips.

St. George's Bookshop has about 1,000 square feet of space and holds close to 30,000 books. The store sells both new and used, with used books the majority of sales. Used fiction is the biggest seller by far; the store's front room is dedicated to fiction, with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Poetry also sells very well, along with theory and philosophy.

The shop hosts events usually twice a month, with Paul Gurner letting staff members take the lead in organizing and running those events. "As a father of two, one of them a one-year-old, I tend to shy away from doing readings," he added. Gurner has plans to open another, smaller store in Berlin's Mitte, the center of the capital.

During his time in Berlin, Gurner has seen his neighborhood, and much of the city, change drastically. "Everything's been made pretty and all the gaps have been filled with luxury flats," he said. "I didn't realize there were so many luxury people for the luxury flats. And everyone seems to have kids." --Alex Mutter

Ingram, WBN Celebrate Veterans Day

Ingram Book Company has shipped several hundred 2013 World Book Night book boxes to Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends packages of necessities--including a book--to military personnel overseas.

"One of our interns found this great organization, and this is our second shipment to them," said WBN executive director Carl Lennertz. "Additionally, we continue to receive giver applications from individuals living on or near military bases across the country, on bases overseas, and from people who will go to VA hospitals and Wounded Warrior facilities to share books."


Image of the Day: Paretsky Hits the High Notes

The National Writers series, Traverse City, Mich., hosted an event last week with Sara Paretsky for her new book, Critical Mass, the 16th V.I. Warshawski installment.

About 400 people attended the event, held at Traverse City's City Opera House. Inspired by the beauty and history of the venue, Paretsky treated the audience to an aria by Mozart.


Holiday Shopping Tip: '45 Great American Indie Bookstores'

Noting that independent bookstores "are surviving, and in some cases thriving, in an Amazon-ruled, post-bookstore chain environment that shouldn't necessarily be hospitable to shops that handsell books to locals," Flavorwire showcased "45 great American indie bookstores (in no particular order) that sell new or used novels, art books, zines, coffee, that biography you really need to read, and/or delicious vegan treats--all of which are as important to their community as any business you can think of, and deserve your support."

The good news is that even when "making a list and checking it twice," dozens and even hundreds of indie bookstores could be added.

Cool Idea of the Day: Piscataqua Press Novel Contest


RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., is inviting writers to enter its Piscataqua Press Publishing Contest, which will "give a chance for three hardworking and talented writers to shepherd their work into print." Manuscript samples will be reviewed by staff of Piscataqua Press and RiverRun, with finalists selected and asked to submit their complete novels for the second phase of the selection process.

Winners will be announced in March. First Prize is a publishing contract worth $1,500 with Piscataqua Press, covering the full standard cost of publication. Second Prize is a voucher worth $1,000 toward publication with the press; and third prize is a $500 voucher toward publication.

Andrei Codrescu Considers Buying a Bookshop... in Israel


On a recent edition of All Things Considered, author and NPR commentator Andre Codrescu shared the tale of his recent chance to become a bookseller. He was asked to consider purchasing Stein Books in Jerusalem, "frequented in the past by the likes of Saul Bellow and other novelists and in the present by brilliant young writers, a bookstore filled with new, old and rare books unlike any other in the city of books.

"Jerusalem where the shrine of the book is located. Jerusalem, where books are so important, they start holy wars and philosophical quarrels and just plain old quarrels. Jerusalem, where books are currency worth their weight in flesh and are certainly a lot weightier than the screen holding all your e-books."

Ultimately, however, he passed on the opportunity: "It's cheap for the money. If I had it, I would buy it for whatever it costs. You get a square of the blue sky of Jerusalem with it, a square with a cloud on it, a cloud an angel sits on reading a book."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Patricia Cornwell on CBS This Morning

This morning on CBS This Morning: Patricia Cornwell, author of The Bone Bed (Putnam, $28.95, 9780399157561).


This morning on the Today Show: Squire Rushnell, author of Divine Alignment: How Godwink Moments Guide Your Journey (Howard, $14.99, 9781451667776).


Today on Fresh Air: James Tobin, author of The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9780743265157). He will also appear tomorrow on Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Also on Fresh Air: stories from Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War edited by Matt Gallagher and Roy Scranton (Da Capo Press, $15.99, 9780306821769).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death (Scribner, $25, 9781451641998).


Today on Dennis Miller: Mark Halperin, co-author of Double Down: Game Change 2012 (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204401).


Tonight on the Daily Show: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $40, 9781416547860). She will also be on Imus in the Morning, Morning Joe and Charlie Rose today and on CNN's the Lead with Jake Trapper tomorrow.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Peter Baker, author of Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House (Doubleday, $35, 9780385525183).


Tonight on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Billy Crystal, author of Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? (Holt, $28, 9780805098204).


Tonight on Conan: Chris Hadfield, author of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316253017).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Mitch Albom, author of The First Phone Call from Heaven (HarperCollins, $24.99, 9780062294371).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Mike Tyson, co-author of Undisputed Truth (Blue Rider Press, $30, 9780399161285). He will also be on the View tomorrow.

Also on the Today Show: Shirley MacLaine, author of What If … : A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure (Gallery, $23, 9781476728605). She is also on Katie tomorrow.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Neil MacGregor, author of Shakespeare's Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects (Viking, $36, 9780670026340).


Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half (Touchstone, $17.99, 9781451666175).


Tomorrow on Piers Morgan Live: Artie Lange, co-author of Crash and Burn (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781476765112).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Joe Scarborough, author of The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered Politics--and Can Again (Random House, $26, 9780812996142). He's also on the View tomorrow.


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316204361).

TV: Headhunters

HBO his developing Headhunters, based on the bestselling novel by Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbø. reported that Alexander Woo will write the adaptation and executive produce with HBO-based producer Carolyn Strauss for Swedish production company Yellow Bird Entertainment and Lionsgate Television.

Movies: A Walk in the Woods

Larry Charles (Borat, Bruno) will direct the film adaptation of Bill Bryson's bestselling memoir A Walk in the Woods, starring  Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, Indiewire reported.  The project, with a script written by Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), is aiming for a March start.

"Growing up in the wilds of Brooklyn, you can see why I was the natural choice to direct A Walk in the Woods," Charles said. "I didn't see a tree till I was 27. I've pitched a lot of projects, but I've never pitched a tent. But A Walk in the Woods is not merely about a hike. It is an epic, intense, absurd journey through our collective past, present and future. A journey outward and inward. A journey into darkness but also into the light. And I am honored and humbled to take that walk with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Two true bonafide icons of American cinema. Does anyone have bug spray?"

Books & Authors

Awards: CBC Eleanor Farjeon

David Almond won the Eleanor Farjeon Award, which is voted for by members of the Children's Book Circle, the Bookseller reported. "The award is intended to recognize those who have provided an outstanding contribution to children's literature and he is an exceptionally worthy winner," said CBC co-chair Rachel Kellahar. "As well as being a brilliant and well-loved author, David is a passionate advocate of the value of writing for children and its power to enrich our society."

Almond, whose works include Skellig, My Name is Mina and The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, has won the Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Prizes and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Book Review

Review: My Venice and Other Essays

My Venice and Other Essays by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press, $26 hardcover, 9780802120366, December 3, 2013)

Well known as the author of the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery novels, American Donna Leon has lived in Venice for 30 years and knows its vagaries and delights in and out.

The essays in My Venice are filled with her pointed observations, humor and insight. Her rant on Saudi Arabia--she taught there for a year--is filled with trenchant comments about the men and their relationship to women, seen as inferior in every way and treated as such. "I was a guest in their country," she recalls, "and they spat on me and cheated me." She then repeats that essay's mantra, ironically: "But, darlings, it's got lovely beaches, and the local people are so friendly."

Her trips back to the U.S., where she never intends to live again, give her pause. She wonders what has happened to the language's meaning and clarity--and how did so many Americans get so fat? Why are rich people thin and poor people fat? She wastes no time, nor many words, in finding out.

She describes Venice as "a provincial town of fewer than sixty thousand inhabitants where one of the chief sources of entertainment is gossip and where, consequently, there are no secrets." This reality, she's concluded, is a refuge from the nonsense of the Internet and "communicating" with people we will never see.

In the last section, there are two very funny set pieces about her war with--and against--e-mail and an afternoon with the Barbara Vine side of Ruth Rendell (the dark side). Over lunch, they debate the various delightful ways of committing murder, wherein Vine says: "I have to admit I have a great weakness for strangling. There's something so tactile and personal about it." The essay ends with: "Tell me, Ruth, before we order dessert, have you ever watched an autopsy?"

Leon's insight into the human condition is writ large in an essay on Lady Di, whom she compares to the heroine of The House of Mirth. "Lily Bart is great because Edith Wharton is a genius; Emma Bovary is real because Flaubert was another one," she writes. "Princess Diana, alas, found only the shabbiest of hacks to tell her tale... her life could never be anything more than a succession of clichés and photo opportunities."

Leon's great intelligence and wit come through in every one of these essays, whether concerned with garbage collection or her great knowledge and love of music. In reading these first-person pieces, it is clear that the irresistible Commissario Brunetti is channeling Donna Leon. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.

Shelf Talker: A lively collection of essays giving the reader insight into the writer behind the Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries.

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