Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 15, 2013

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout


Google Book-Scanning Lawsuit Dismissed

Google won dismissal of a long-running lawsuit by the Authors Guild, which had accused the company of digitally copying millions of books for an online library without permission. Reuters reported that yesterday, U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan "accepted Google's argument that its scanning of more than 20 million books, and making 'snippets' of text available online, constituted 'fair use' under U.S. copyright law." If it survives an appeal, the decision would let Google continue to expand its digital library.

"In my view, Google Books provide significant public benefits," Chin wrote in his decision. "Indeed, all society benefits."

In a statement, Google commented: "This has been a long road and we are absolutely delighted with today's judgment. As we have long said, Google Books is in compliance with copyright law and acts like a card catalog for the digital age."

The New York Times noted that when Chin "dismissed a lawsuit that authors had filed against Google after countless delays, it had the whiff of inevitability. Even the judge... said during a September hearing on the case that his law clerks used Google Books for research."

Paul Aiken, Authors Guild executive director, said, "We disagree with and are disappointed by the court’s decision today. This case presents a fundamental challenge to copyright that merits review by a higher court. Google made unauthorized digital editions of nearly all of the world’s valuable copyright-protected literature and profits from displaying those works. In our view, such mass digitization and exploitation far exceeds the bounds of fair use defense. We plan to appeal the decision."

Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, said the organization "applauds the decision to dismiss the long running Google Books case. This ruling furthers the purpose of copyright by recognizing that Google's Book search is a transformative fair use that advances research and learning."

An amended $125 million Google settlement of the 2005 lawsuit was rejected in March of 2011 by Chin.

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

ABA Winter Institute: WI9 Scholarship Winners

The American Booksellers Association named 55 booksellers as winners of scholarships to the ABA's eighth annual Winter Institute in Seattle, Wash., this coming January. Bookselling this Week reported that 49 are recipients of scholarships from Wi9's publisher sponsors. An additional five ABA members have been awarded scholarships by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation and ABA has named the recipient of its Avin Mark Domnitz Scholarship, awarded to a store that participated in the 2013 ABACUS Survey. Publisher-sponsored Winter Institute scholarships cover the conference fee, up to a four-night stay at the host hotel and transportation costs up to $400.

"Once again, publishers have demonstrated their commitment to independent bookselling by sending a record-breaking number of scholarship recipients to the Winter Institute," said ABA Development Officer Mark Nichols. "We hope all of our members will join us in thanking them for their continuing support."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

B&N Closing Cincinnati Store

Barnes & Noble will close its store at Sycamore Plaza at Kenwood, in Cincinnati, Ohio, by December 31 because of lease issues with the shopping center's new owner, WCPO-9 reported.

"We have numerous locations throughout the Cincinnati metro area and look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve our customers at those locations," said David Deason, v-p of development for B&N.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Jeter Publishing: From Fall Classic to Fall List

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, "who is nearing the final act of a golden athletic career," wants to be a book publisher, the New York Times reported. Yesterday Jeter announced a partnership with Simon & Schuster to start his own imprint, Jeter Publishing, which is expected to release its first books next year.

"I think this sort of sets the blueprint for postcareer," said Jeter. "This is a great way to start." Because of injuries that curtailed his 2013 season, Jeter, who plans to play in 2014, said, "I've had a lot of time to myself to think. The whole last year has been sort of a blur. Being away from it for so long gave me the opportunity to think about what the future may hold after baseball."

The imprint will include nonfiction books for adults--including biographies and titles on business and lifestyle--as well as children's picture books, middle-grade fiction and books for young children who are just learning to read. Jeter intends to be "deeply involved in the details of every book" and has final approval over which titles are signed. "If I put my name on something, I'm going to be involved," he said. "I'm not just going to put my name on it and not pay attention."

"As he moves on into his career, he wanted to get involved in book publishing in a way that he could not just publish books by him or about him, but to curate books from other walks of life, like food, fashion and music," said Louise Burke, president of Gallery Books, an S&S division whose editorial team will work with Jeter on adult titles. "He really looks at this as a long-term project."

One of the first books planned, Anderson said, will be a "Derek Jeter guide to baseball" for younger readers that can be updated and reissued each year, the Times wrote.

More Than 700 Authors on Board for Indies First

More than 700 authors have signed on thus far to handsell their favorite titles at over 400 independent bookstores during Indies First on Small Business Saturday, November 30, Bookselling This Week reported. Today is the deadline for authors and booksellers to use the online form at, after which they can still send an e-mail to ABA until November 22.

The Indies First fervor has also spread overseas to Venice, Italy, according to BTW, which noted that the Venetian campaign "will be replicated on the same day as the U.S. celebration... and the event's organizer, the writer and independent bookshop collective Venezia: City of Readers, is taking 'concrete action' to support independent bookstores by actively inviting customers to visit each store to talk with the authors, browse books and get a head-start on holiday shopping."


Image of the Day: Pat Conroy at the Book Stall

Last week, some 325 fans came to an event hosted by the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill., at the Winnetka Congregational Church for Pat Conroy, whose latest book is The Death of Santini. Standing (from l.): the Book Stall's Jon Grand, Sarah Collins and owner Stephanie Hochschild. Seated: Random House district sales manager Laura Baratto and Conroy.

Literary Hotels 'Further an Understanding of the Destination'

Noting that "many new hotels aim to distinguish themselves with old-fashioned pages that guests can actually turn, housing libraries that range from historic collections to trendy ones," the New York Times featured several "literary-minded hotels" that are "establishing places for the reader and browser to go that, in the best cases, further an understanding of the destination."

In Southern California: 'Revival of the Small Bookstore'

"Anchoring in the community these days and connecting with the community will help us be successful," said Michelle Schwabe, owner of three $10 or Less Bookstores in southern California. The Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported that "Schwabe attributes the success of her growing number of small bookstores to readers who still like to browse the selection physically."

In addition to a large warehouse at its corporate office in Simi Valley, where the first bookshop opened in 2005, Schwabe and her husband operate stores in Northridge and Valencia. The average size of the shops is 4,000 square feet.

"I think there's a big segment of our population still wants the tactile feel vs. electronic segment," she said. "Also, I think the key factor is you're going to get the books under $10 and you're also getting a great variety."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Doris Kearns Goodwin's Bully Pulpit

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


Tomorrow on CNN's New Day Weekend: Howard Sounes, author of 27: A History of the 27 Club through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse (Da Capo, $26.99, 9780306821684).


Tomorrow on Huckabee: Brian Kilmeade, co-author of George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231031).


Sunday morning on Face the Nation: Thurston Clarke, author of JFK's Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594204258).


Sunday morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Erik Prince, author of Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591847212). He will also be on 60 Minutes on Sunday.

Also on This Week with George Stephanopoulos: Scott Walker, author of Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Sentinel, $28.95, 9781595231079).


Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning: Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, authors of The Untold History of the United States (Gallery, $19.99, 9781451613520).


Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition: Dana Goodyear, author of Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594488375).

TV: Catherine the Great

ABC is developing a limited series based on Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which noted that Michael Cristofer (Gia, Georgia O'Keefe, The Witches of Eastwick) will write the script and executive produce with Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and Charles Pugliese.

Movies: Divergent Trailer; Fifty Shades of Grey Pics

A full trailer has been released for Divergent, adapted from Veronica Roth's series and starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Zoë Kravitz and Ansel Elgort. Divergent opens on March 21, 2014.


Guess who's a little worried about the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey? "I'm terrified," author E.L. James told Entertainment Weekly. "Completely. I've been terrified from the moment I published the book. My mother was terrified of everything, and so am I. It's a terrible way to grow up. You don't expect this kind of success. Even now it floors me. My only ambition for the books was to see them in bookstores. This is huge. And there is this passionate fandom; we need to get this right for them."

EW reported that the film's release date has been moved to Valentine's Day, 2015, and featured a number of images, including the magazine's cover shot of stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, as well as other character portraits.

Books & Authors

Awards: Governor General's Literary; Goldsmiths

Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton picked up the Canada Council's Governor General's Literary Award in the fiction category for The Luminaries. Each category winner receives $25,000, which will be presented November 28 in Ottawa. This year's recipients are:

Fiction: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Poetry: North End Love Songs by Katherena Vermette
Drama: Fault Lines by Nicolas Billon
Nonfiction: Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa
Children's Literature, text: The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
Children's literature, illustration: Matt James for Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers
Translation, French to English: Donald Winkler for The Major Verbs (Les verbes majeurs) by Pierre Nepveu


Eimear McBride won the £10,000 (about US$16,025) Goldsmiths Prize for A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing. The award was created by Goldsmiths, University of London in association with the New Statesman to recognize "published fiction that opens up new possibilities for the novel form."

Chair of Judges Dr. Tim Parnell called the novel "just the kind of book the Goldsmiths Prize was created to celebrate, and we are delighted to have found such a remarkable novel in the award's inaugural year. Serious discussion of the art of fiction is too often confined to the pages of learned journals and we hope that going forward the Prize and the events surrounding it will stimulate a much wider debate about the novel."

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:

The Lion Seeker: A Novel by Kenneth Bonert (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780547898049). "This is a perfect book, and given that it is Bonert's debut novel, it's even more astounding. He uses South African apartheid, where blacks are treated like the Jews of Eastern Europe, to convey the drama of a Lithuanian family's emigration to escape the very debasement that they then perpetrate on those who live in their new community. It's a complicated story well told, emotional, fraught with angst, but also with some of the most memorable characters in recent fictional history." --Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz.

The Last Animal: Stories by Abby Geni (Counterpoint/PGW, $24, 9782629032822). "When people let you down, the natural world is the place to find solace, or so the reader learns from this fascinating new collection of short stories. Whether it be from Alzheimer's, depression, affairs, or reasons yet to be determined, family members in these stories keep disappearing. Fortunately, there are substitute connections, whether it's the teen student in 'Dharma at the Gate' who has her dog, or the young aquarium worker of 'Captivity' who is quite aware of the intelligence of the octopus. Geni's work is filled with unique images and situations, some of them heart-stopping." --Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

The Tulip Eaters: A Novel by Antoinette van Heugten (Harlequin MIRA, $15.95, 9780778313885). "This novel is set in the present day but the reader learns much about World War II from its pages. Nora, a doctor, comes home to find her mother dead and her young daughter missing. Why would someone want to harm her mother? After finding a locked metal box, Nora begins to wonder if the murder and kidnapping could be related to World War II and discovers many secrets her mother and father carried with them for years. Saving her daughter means traveling to Amsterdam to piece together the truth." --Rebecca Harrison, Lincoln's Loft, Hodgenville, Ky.

For Ages 9 to 12
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Terry Fan (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9781442490581). " 'You should never ignore a possible.' That is the great advice to all of us from the quirky duo at the heart of this creative, touching, and, at times, wild romp of a story that celebrates the belief in extraordinary things. Navigating around Paris from the rooftops in the company of homeless children to search for her lost mother, Sophie is a strong, loving, and believable character." --Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Brahmin: Jerry Stahl

photo: Frank Delia

Pushcart Prize-winner Jerry Stahl has written eight books, including the memoir Permanent Midnight (made into a film with Ben Stiller), and the novels Bad Sex on Speed and I, Fatty (optioned by Johnny Depp). A former culture columnist for Details, Stahl's fiction and journalism have appeared in Esquire, the New York Times, Playboy and the Believer, among others. His blog, OG Dad, appeared on the Rumpus. He has written extensively for film and television, most recently the HBO film Hemingway & Gellhorn. His new novel is Happy Mutant Baby Pills (November 5, 2013, Harper Perennial). Anthony Bourdain wrote: "Jerry Stahl should either get the Pulitzer Prize or be shot down in the street like a dog."

On your nightstand now:

Me and the Devil by Nick Tosches. One of the greatest memories of my life is driving to Santa Barbara with Nick and Hubert Selby. Selby had to give a speech, and beforehand we ate at some joint that served venison, full of guys who looked like they strangled the deer before putting it on the plate. The whole way back Selby kept asking me to step on it, so he get could get home in time to hear Jack Benny on the Old Time Radio Hour on KNX-AM. Here's one of the darkest, most unapologetically savage writers of the 20th century, and he can't wait to get home to Jack Benny and Rochester. Also, The Metamorphoses by Ovid, because sometimes you just grab a book at four in the morning, and it turns out to be perfect. Baby Farm Animals. Sort of terrifying--the opening page shows a sloe-eyed lamb who looks like she was born in Chernobyl, but my 16-month-old daughter loves it. The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven by Rick Moody. Moody is one of those writers who continue to astonish (not a word I use more than once a year). Underneath these are Daddy Cool by Donald Goines, the literary godfather of hip hop. When I taught at San Quentin, Goines was the one writer a lot of the fellas mentioned; he wrote a novel a week on heroin, and still didn't get a MacArthur grant. Witz by Joshua Cohen--it's about 9,000 pages, but every one's got a gem on it. Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein--which, given our current reality, is like living in a nightmare and having it explained to you at the same time. Love for Sale by Barbara Kruger. Her work hits somewhere below--or beyond--the verbal.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Diseases of the Skin. My best friend and I found this in a ditch when we were six, and the photos of some poor bastard in Guam with his testicles in a wheelbarrow or the girl with bleeding potatoes on her face no doubt altered my world-view in ways I'm still paying for.

Your top five authors: 

Nathanael West, Denis Johnson, Thomas Pynchon, Flannery O'Connor, Hubert Selby.

Book you've faked reading:

My own novel, Perv. When I first got glasses, I was so in denial I kept forgetting to leave the house with them, and one night found myself at a podium in Portland with the open book in front of me. I looked down, saw melting worms instead of letters, and just pretended to read while making up whatever vaguely relevant gibberish came to mind. Nobody seemed to notice, and it may have been better than the original.

Book you're an evangelist for:

On the Heights of Despair by E.M. Cioran. Cioran was this genius Romanian insomniac who wrote odd little paragraphs all night to keep from killing himself. Which is a lot more hilarious than it sounds reading the preceding sentence.

Book you've bought for the cover:

1000 Forbidden Pictures. Classic Taschen, with a black-and-white of a '50s woman who looks alarmingly like my mother exposing her nuclear brassiere on the cover. I'm not sure I can even explain it.

Book that changed your life:

The Dream Life of Balso Snell by Nathanael West. I read it when I was 15, and remember thinking, after certain sentences, "I didn't know you were even allowed to say things like that...."

Favorite line from a book:

"The special grotesquerie of sane men leading normal lives." --from White Noise by Don DeLillo.

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

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. Syllable by syllable, the most amazingly beautiful, hysterical and devastating description of a dope fiend's soul--and America's--I have ever read. Every time I re-read it, I recall what the musician Billy Taylor allegedly said when Art Tatum walked into a nightclub he was playing in in St. Louis: "I play piano, but God is in the house...."

Book Review

Review: The White Lie

White Lie by Andrea Gillies (Mariner Books, $14.95 paperback, 9780544061033, December 3, 2013)

Every family has skeletons in its closets, but some skeletons are more literal than others. In The White Lie, the first novel from memoirist Andrea Gillies (Keeper), one Scottish family has more than its fair share of secrets--and the lies are tearing them apart.

While he's unsure about "all the rest of it," narrator Michael Salter knows for certain he is dead. The 19-year-old son of the rarefied Highland Salters, owners of the once grand Peattie House, Michael disappeared into the dark waters of the nearby loch during a struggle with Ursula, his aunt. At least, that's the story told by Ursula and corroborated by Alan, the grown son of the estate's handyman-gardener. However, questions soon arise. Why would Ursula, who suffers from aquaphobia so acute it amounts to paralysis, have gone out on the loch in a boat? Is Alan, long assumed by the family to be Michael's unnamed father, trustworthy, or does he hold a grudge against Michael's mother, Ottelie, who never acknowledged his paternity? To protect the eccentric and deluded Ursula, the family members agree not to involve the police. To the outside world, Michael appears to have vanished without a trace; rumors of suicide surround his name.

A decade later, the family gathers for a birthday celebration, but though the still waters of the loch continue to keep their secrets, the Salters can no longer hold onto theirs. Did Ursula kill Michael, or did he kill himself? For that matter, did Michael even die that day? Truth and fiction blur together as the family tries to decode its history and finds that the cover-up of Michael's reported death isn't the first of their lies. The true white lie goes back to the death of another scion of the family many years past.

Although set in modern times, Gillies's family drama with its aristocratic setting and myriad intricacies and betrayals will surely intrigue Downton Abbey fans. While moments of unexpected levity keep the overall sadness of the plot from dragging the pacing--and the reader--into the doldrums, the power of filial duty to destroy the bonds between family members even as it demands their loyalty to each other is heavily explored. As Michael follows the lives of his surviving relatives and uncovers the first seeds of dissent as well as the truth about his demise, readers will raise eyebrows at the scandals of a deliciously dysfunctional dynasty. --Jaclyn Fulwood

Shelf Talker: Ten years after the alleged drowning of their heir apparent, the depth of the Salter family's deceit finally comes to light.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Was Black Friday a Bookselling Myth?

Maybe I imagined all of it, like Dorothy waking up in Kansas again and telling her hick relatives they had all just been with her in Oz--And you, and you, and you and you were there! Still, the memories are strong. In the 1990s, when I first started working as a bookseller, Black Friday seemed a very big deal indeed. Even as late as 2004, I opened a blog post with: "Is anybody ever ready for Black Friday. Ready is not the word. It's more a kind of constructive paranoia--generously mixed with terror--that propels us to take every precaution we can think of to insure success."

Was Black Friday just a bookselling myth I perpetuated in my imagination? It's a bit irrelevant now, of course, since the Thanksgiving retail weekend stretches out to Cyber Monday, with Small Business Saturday tucked neatly within (not to mention Barnes & Noble's recently hatched Discovery Friday).

Even the Thursday holiday itself is now an endangered, shopping-free species. "Every year, [Black Friday] infringes more and more on the holiday," retail analyst Walter F. Loeb told the New York Times this week. Referring to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, he added, "Next year, I could visualize Santa Claus, instead of riding past Macy's into oblivion on 34th Street, he'll actually go into the store, and lead customers in."

I checked with several veteran booksellers this week about their ancient Black Friday memories, which prompted doubts regarding mine. I'll be sharing some of their observations over the next couple of weeks, and welcome yours as well.

"Black Friday was never our busiest day," said Steve Bercu of BookPeople, Austin, Tex. "Our busiest day has been the Saturday before Christmas for many years though it changes a little when Christmas comes on a Friday. Basically the week before Christmas is our busiest however it is configured. I have been pleased to see how much Small Business Saturday has taken off. It has become the focus of the conversation around here instead of Black Friday."

Catherine Weller of Weller Book Works in Salt Lake City noted that "Black Friday's significance has diminished. That said, according to my mother-in-law, it never was our biggest day, nor was it a make or break day for us. It was, however, a more impressive day than it is now. I can't say exactly when that changed but it was prior to the millennium."

Weller added that this was "probably due to the decline of the downtown area in which we were located, which started far earlier. By the 2000s, Main Street Salt Lake City wasn't really a shopping destination. Black Friday was also the day by which all holiday displays needed to be in place and most of the stock needed to be in and received, except for those late releasing titles. Because of that the stress leading up to Black Friday was often as great or greater than Black Friday itself. Currently it's a nicely busy day, nothing to shout about. Small Business Saturday is growing for us. CyberMonday does bring a notable uptick in e-commerce orders, though we typically have bigger e-commerce days the second week of December."

At Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., Gayle Shanks recalled that "in the 40 holiday seasons I've lived through, Black Friday has never been a huge shopping day for book buyers. What we find is that the die-hard shoppers who want to wake up in the middle of the night or stand in line for TV sets are not our customers for the most part. Friday morning is historically slow for us, but by noon the store starts filling up with people.

"Anecdotally, some customers say they have no idea why they thought of shopping anyplace else; or why they even thought they wanted to go to the mall; or 'Thank God, I've found a haven outside of the mall,' etc. As far as our busiest day, no, far from it. We put gift cards on sale for 10% off and sell lots of those on Black Friday. It's a good day, just not anything like Small Business Saturday or the two weeks before Christmas."

John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore in Oakland, Calif., agreed: "Black Friday has never been a significant day in terms of sales. It has always been a significant day in another respect however: people showing off the store to their families over Thanksgiving weekend. Customers bring by their family and say: 'This is a great bookstore.' 'This is our local bookstore--I love it!' 'Check this great bookstore--we shop here all the time.' And so we meet the extended families of our customers.

"But, in general, this is a post-Thanksgiving stroll day, not a bust-down-the-doors consumer frenzy. People have often commented about how relieved they are to not be at the malls on Black Friday, and to just be enjoying the usually warm weather and holiday ease of strolling up the street and stopping in their favorite stores with their families."

More from indie booksellers on the (or my) Black Friday myth next week. As always, your recollections and observations are welcome, too. Maybe, just maybe, someone can confirm that I wasn't imagining everything. --Robert Gray, contributing editor

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