Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Delacorte Press: Six of Sorrow by Amanda Linsmeier

Shadow Mountain: To Love the Brooding Baron (Proper Romance Regency) by Jentry Flint

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Pixel+ink: Missy and Mason 1: Missy Wants a Mammoth

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Editors' Note

Happy Thanksgiving and Chanukah!

For the rest of the week, we're taking a break to give thanks for so many things. This is our last issue until Monday, December 2. Enjoy the holidays, and may all booksellers have an excellent Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Indies First celebrations!

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Quotation of the Day

'Take a Moment to Replenish with the Written Word'

photo: Lake Country Booksellers

"As we head into the upcoming, very busy holiday season, as booksellers we like to remind ourselves why we first stepped into a bookstore. We are lovers of stories. We are sharers of tales. We finish a good book and we are pressing it into the hands of a like-minded friend. The more we read, the more we discover new favorites to pass on to family to begin a new conversation with them. The shelves are brimming with opportunities to rekindle a spark, to refresh a tired spirit or to reconfigure a new phase in life. With all of the bustling, take a moment to replenish with the written word.  

"We look forward to making recommendations and helping you find just the right book to give this holiday season."

--From the e-newsletter sent yesterday by Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wis.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24


BAM: Third-Quarter Results Down; 'Select' Stores Open Tomorrow

In the third quarter ended November 2, revenues at Books-A-Million fell 3.5%, to $100.4 million, and the net loss rose 163%, to $7.1 million. Sales at stores open at least a year fell 8.5%.

Books-A-Million CEO and president Terrance G. Finley commented: "Our third quarter results are an improvement over the very difficult comparisons in the first half of the year. Comparable store sales improved throughout the quarter, and we are encouraged by the book and merchandise lineup as we prepare for the holiday season."

In a conference call with financial analysts transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Finley added that book sales "continued to stabilize" as digital sales growth has slowed. Some categories have improved in the quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago, including "biography and diet and health," he said. "Growth in the diet and health category was driven by strong interest in multiple weight loss titles, while biography continued to be positively impacted by the success of titles related to A&E's hit cable program Duck Dynasty. And while our kid and teen categories contracted slightly year-over-year, this large area of our business significantly outperformed the broader book trend and did exceed budget. A wide range of new titles from what is arguably one of the stronger publishing schedules seen in recent years began hitting stores late in the period."

At the same time, during the year, "the most difficult comparisons came from our Nook, magazine and bargain departments. The impact of industry-wide changes in the e-reader and magazine businesses will remain difficult. However, we have seen improvements in the performance of the bargain book area, and we expect those results to continue to improve."


Books-A-Million is not taking the day off tomorrow at many of its locations. On Facebook, the company announced: "Select BAM stores are opening the doors on Thanksgiving Day for our Books-A-Million friends who’d like to browse, shop early or just walk off some of that turkey and dressing. Come enjoy a free cup of coffee and see what's in store for the holidays!" Hours for the 80 open BAM stores will be 12-9 p.m.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Amazon: EU Looks to Close Tax Loophole; German Strike

The European Commission hopes to close a loophole that has allowed large corporations like Amazon, Google and Apple "to pay tax in countries with lower rates, even if they only own one letterbox there," the Independent reported, noting that while tax evasion is illegal, "aggressive tax planning" is a widespread problem. Amazon's headquarters for its European operations is in Luxembourg, which has relatively low taxes.

Algirdas Semeta, the EU's taxation commissioner, proposed amending the organization's corporate tax legislation "to introduce an anti-abuse clause for countries trying to shift money to a subsidiary abroad to cut their tax bills," the Independent wrote.


Nearly a thousand German Amazon employees participated in strikes Monday at the company's Bad Hersfeld and Leipzig fulfillment centers, acting on a recent warning from service-sector union Ver.di, which "threatened further action as the year's busiest shopping season begins," the Wall Street Journal reported.

"It lies completely in Amazon's hands whether more strikes will take place in the upcoming Christmas season," said Ver.di representative Mechthild Middeke, adding: "The moment Amazon agrees to talks we'll be sitting at the table instead of standing in the door. Employees need an appropriate and reliable wage determined by collective agreement rather than by the employer alone."

An Amazon spokeswoman defended the company's pay policies and "said neither a strike nor heavy order volumes would cause a blip in customer service in the coming weeks. In the event of a strike, she said the company can fall back on its European logistics network," the Journal wrote, noting that Ver.di "plans to increase the pressure on Amazon before Christmas, raising the possibility of further strikes."

Fully Booked Supporting Typhoon Haiyan Relief

"There's a lot of work to do and we're all busy fundraising, but we're not really in touch with the physical aspect of the typhoon," said Jaime Daez, managing director of Fully Booked, one of the largest bookstore chains in the Philippines, with 14 locations--none directly damaged--and a flagship in a district of Manila called Bonifacio Global City. "In Manila, you don't really feel it," he said.

Despite being removed from the physical reality of Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Typhoon Yolanda), which devastated the city of Tacloban and the surrounding region earlier this month, Daez and his staff are all affected, some more directly than others. Staff members with family in Tacloban were given leave from work and cash advances to fly to the afflicted areas and attempt to find their loved ones. The storm killed more than 5,000 people, and more than 1,000 are still missing. Those less personally affected have found ways to contribute to the calamity relief efforts.

"Everyone is kind of in unison to help out," said Daez. "One of the great traits of the people of the Philippines is, in any kind of catastrophe, they step up and sort of realize their inner hero."

Many people, including Daez's nephews, have volunteered at Villamor Airbase, where refugees from Tacloban are being flown. Others still have traveled to the Tacloban area itself, and those who are not physically volunteering are helping to raise funds and resources. Fully Booked locations have set up in-store areas where people can drop off food, clothing and other items; from there, Fully Booked forwards it to the organizations involved in the relief efforts. On November 23, Fully Booked partnered with Comic Odyssey (a specialty comics shop in Manila) and Vinyl on Vinyl (an art gallery) to host "Art with Heart," a silent fundraising auction and live art show. More than 60 comic book artists participated, with some donating art pieces for auction and others appearing in person to draw sketches on commission. All proceeds from the event will be donated to relief efforts.

"One of our strengths is that we have a very strong graphic novel section," explained Daez. "A lot of the really good comic book artists in the world come from the Philippines; we've done a lot of events over the past few years with local and international artists. Also, I have to admit, it's easier to raise money through artists than authors."

Still, Daez has secured donations from several prominent international artists and authors, including Charlie Adler (the artist for The Walking Dead) and Neil Gaiman. Due to the extent of the devastation and the countrywide atmosphere of grief, Fully Booked has canceled its annual extravagant Christmas party. Usually, some 300 people attend for a night of raffles, prizes and partying. This year, though, all the money earmarked for the party--in the neighborhood of $10,000, according to Daez--will be given to charity.

"It's just not really a time to celebrate right now," said Daez. "Instead of throwing that this year, we decided to help out the ones in need.

Fully Booked has also set up a PayPal account for groups who wish to donate. (E-mail Fully Booked for more information.) Daez commented: "We would be more than happy to handle it for them. We know what we're doing; I can guarantee that every cent of that money goes to those who need it." --Alex Mutter

Grand Opening for Austin's Malvern Books

Malvern Books, Austin, Tex., hosted its "three-day Grand Opening extravaganza" over the weekend and noted on its blog that the celebration "was a bright and buoyant success."

CultureMap observed that "while there is definitely an old Austin, anti-establishment, underground vibe to the space, Malvern Books is a much more open-minded and far-reaching bookstore than the one you might be imagining.... The store is focused on emerging voices in literature; Malvern Books carries only fiction and poetry, and has a strict policy about carrying only work that's published independently."

Owner Joe Bratcher "wants Malvern Books to be just as much a community space as it is bookstore, and the celebrations this weekend were just a taste of the sort of events Malvern Books hopes to host," CultureMap wrote, noting that Bratcher "is passionate about making the space accessible and inviting for everyone."

In September, we reported that Small Press Distribution had announced it was shipping to Malvern Books "the largest single order to an indy bookstore SPD has EVER done."

Person(s) of the Year: ABA's Teicher & Board

Congratulations to American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher and the ABA board of directors, who were named Publishers Weekly's Person of the Year for 2013. In accepting the honor, Teicher praised the board for "shaping the programs and policies of this association... with skill, intelligence and effectiveness." He also noted that "the real winners of this award are independent booksellers nationwide. Their hard work, continuous innovation, and passionate commitment to serving their customers and their communities, while connecting writers and readers, are responsible for this resurgence in indie bookselling."

Current ABA board members are Steve Bercu (president) of BookPeople, Austin, Tex.; Betsy Burton (v-p/secretary) of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah; Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan.; John Evans of DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, Calif.; Valerie Koehler of Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.; Matthew Norcross of McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.; Annie Philbrick of Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.; Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.; Jonathon Welch of Talking Leaves Books, Buffalo, N.Y.; and Ken White of Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

Modern Times Bookstore Collective Starts Indiegogo Campaign

Modern Times Bookstore Collective, San Francisco, Calif., has launched an Indiegogo campaign to "stay open through the end of 2013 and to expand our commitment to creating an inclusive community space into 2014." It seeks to raise $60,000 in 60 days.

In an announcement, the store said that "for many decades, Modern Times was a fixture on Valencia Street, but over the past five years, rent in that area has increased so drastically that Modern Times was long forced to operate at a loss. Two years ago, when Modern Times's lease ended, rent was hiked so steeply that the doors could not stay open. Modern Times was forced to move to another part of the Mission on 24th Street. Grappling with the immense financial hardships of relocating into a smaller venue with less foot traffic, Modern Times has been accruing debt and has continued operating at a loss."

The campaign aims to pay down the debt and revamp the store so that it can continue to be "amazing and important resource for the city" and "an important meeting spot for activists, book lovers, Mission locals, and visitors from the world over."

In May, the store said it had a debt of $100,000 and was seeking help reorganizing and expanding sales.

University of California Press on the Move

The University of California Press is selling its downtown Berkeley location at 2120 Berkeley Way and moving its publishing operations to a new space in the Lake Merritt Tower at 155 Grand Ave. in Oakland. The Daily Californian reported that UC Press' current building "is being sold through a sealed bid process starting at $4.75 million, with bids due March 4."

In its Oakland location, UC Press "will develop more digital products in the new space's technology center," the Daily Californian wrote, adding that the plan is for the publisher "to move in during the first quarter of 2014 pending renovations to the new space."


Image of the Day: Indie Bookstore Addicts

Indies First creator Sherman Alexie and Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, at the Miami Book Fair International, gearing up for Indies First Day/Small Business Saturday this coming weekend. They're the first Independent Bookstore Addicts to strike a pose on the IndiesFirst Facebook page, with plenty more to come!

A Very Bookish Holiday Season: Literati Bookstore

"Meet Robert, our new writer-in-residence," Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., posted on its Facebook page to introduce the typecast snowman "designed and built by the talented Samantha Schroeder!"

Bookstore Video of the Day: Battenkill Books Unleashed

Author Jon Katz took a turn behind the camera to interview Connie Brooks, owner of Battenkill Books, Cambridge, N.Y., in a YouTube video offering a behind-the-scenes look at how the indie bookseller handled nearly 800 orders for signed copies of Katz's latest book, The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story, which was released November 12.

"I'm focusing in on the book as a Christmas book, as a Black Friday book, as a support bookstores book and as a support Jon Katz book, last but not least," Katz says in the video. "And so I think its' going to be exciting. It's evolving in a different way than I'd imagined and Connie's become a big part of it."

HarperCollins to Fly American Airlines

HarperCollins has launched a holiday season program that will provide American Airlines customers with a selection of full-length and excerpted books, and Hudson Booksellers will offer a discount on the featured print titles from December 1 to January 1.

Customers can download a sampler containing a preview of the eight featured titles by digitally scanning advertisements in the December 1 and December 15 issues of American Way, the inflight magazine of American Airlines. In Hudson Booksellers stores, the discount code will be promoted on posters, plasma TVs, bookmarks and more. American Airlines First and Business Class customers on select flights will be able to read the HarperCollins titles in the program on their inflight Samsung Galaxy Tab entertainment system.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kevin Howlett on NPR's Fresh Air

Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Kevin Howlett, author of The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 (Harper Design, $60, 9780062288530).


Friday on a repeat of NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Lowland (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307265746).

Also on Diane Rehm on Friday: Dan Fagin, author of Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation (Bantam, $28, 9780553806533).


Saturday on NPR's Weekend Edition: Matthew Hart, author of Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451650020).


Sunday on Face the Nation: Scott Walker, author of Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Sentinel, $28.95, 9781595231079).

Also on Face the Nation on Sunday: 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 appear on C-SPAN's Q&A with Brian Lamb.

This Weekend on Book TV: Christina Hoff Sommers

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, November 30
7:45 p.m. Daniel Flynn, author of The War on Football: Saving America's Game (Regnery, $27.95, 9781621571551). (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Lauren Taylor, co-author (with Elizabeth Bradley) of The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting Us Less (PublicAffairs, $26.99, 9781610392099).

10 p.m. After Words. Richard Brookhiser interviews Brian Kilmeade, author of George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution (Sentinel, $27.95, 9781595231031). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m., Monday at 3 a.m. and December 8 at 12 p.m.)  

11 p.m. Noam Chomsky, author of On Anarchism (New Press, $15.95, 9781595589101).

Sunday, December 1
12 p.m. In Depth. Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men (S&S, $25, 9781451644180), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m. and December 7 at 9 a.m.)

7 p.m. Santiago Lyon, Peter Arnett, Nick Ut and Julie Jacobson discuss Vietnam: The Real War--A Photographic History by the Associated Press (Abrams, $40, 9781419708640).

8:15 p.m. Katrina Alcorn, author of Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink (Seal Press, $16, 9781580055239), at Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif.   

10 p.m. Co-editors Andrew and Stephen Schlesinger present The Letters of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (Random House, $35, 9780812993097).

11 p.m. Mirta Ojito, author of Hunting Season: Immigration and Murder in an All-American Town (Beacon, $24.95, 9780807001813), at Book Culture in New York City.

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Winton Science Winner; Costa Shortlists

Sean Carroll won the £25,000 (about US$40,525) Royal Society Winton Prize, which "celebrates outstanding popular science books from around the world," for The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World.


Finalists have been named for this year's Costa Book Awards, which recognize the most enjoyable books in five categories--first novel, novel, biography, poetry and children's book--published during the past year by writers living in the U.K. and Ireland. Category winners will be announced in January and then compete for the overall £30,000 book of the year prize. You can find the complete shortlists at the Independent.

Book Brahmin: Kelley Armstrong

photo: Kathryn Hollinrake

Kelley Armstrong is a prolific Canadian fantasy and crime fiction writer; her works include the Cainsville and Otherworld series (13 books), plus the Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising teen paranormal trilogies. Her most recent book, Wild Justice (Plume, November 26, 2013), concludes her Nadia Stafford crime trilogy. Armstrong lives in rural Ontario, Canada,

On your nightstand now:

Justin Cronin's The Passage and Lauren Beukes's The Shining Girls. And on my iPod, the audio for Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Favorite book when you were a child:

There were so many! But I'll go with Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.

Your top five authors:

Jane Austen, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling.

Book you've faked reading:

Herman Melville's Moby Dick. I recently said it was on my summer reading list... but it has been for 20 years. It's the only classic I can't read--never get past about page 50.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Richard Adams's Watership Down. It was the first fantasy book I read that wasn't meant for children. It works on so many levels.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Most recently Asylum by Madeleine Roux. I haven't read it yet, but the cover is so wonderfully creepy that I had to pick it up.

Book that changed your life:

Not necessarily my life, but my writing life: Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat.

Favorite line from a book:

Oh, I'm so bad at remembering lines from novels. I actually try to avoid it, because if I love and remember a line, I might reuse it by accident! Can I cheat and use a poem? Sir Walter Scott's "The Lady of the Lake." The line is "The will to do, the soul to dare." I remember reading and loving that line in the poem. Years later, I found a necklace with it inscribed in tiny writing--too small for anyone to read, but I know it's there.

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

I'm going with nonfiction here. Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, which brought me to James George Frazer's The Golden Bough, both big influences.

Book Review

Children's Review: Josephine

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, illus. by Christian Robinson (Chronicle, $17.99 hardcover, 104p., ages 7-10, 9781452103143, January 14, 2014)

Patricia Hruby Powell (Blossom Tales) begins this biography of the larger-than-life Josephine Baker (1906–1975) with her 1927 quote, "I shall dance all my life.... I would like to die, breathless, spent, at the end of a dance." A dancer herself, Powell uses rhythmic language like the beat to this life well lived, and chronicles how Baker fulfilled her wish, leaving this life after a triumphant opening at the Bobino theater in Paris, at age 69.

Christian Robinson's (Harlem's Little Blackbird) pleasingly flat-planed, folk-art style  works to dramatic effect. Drab background colors as Josephine's mother scrubs floors to support the family give way to a bright white backdrop of vaudeville dancers on the next page, the manifestation of the woman's own dreams of dancing. He follows Tumpy, the childhood incarnation of Josephine, as she transforms into a dancer whose "knees squeeze, now fly/ heels flap and chop/ arms scissor and splay/ eyes swivel and pop." A teenage Josephine, suspended above the stage as Cupid, seems to swing off the page, her arms and legs pumping as if with a child's joy on a playground swing. Powell suggests that Baker's witness of the East Saint Louis riots seeded "the core of a volcano" that she'd later channel into her dances.

Creative use of type and design lay out the text like poetry; italics indicate original quotes (attributed on an end page). Brief staccato phrases move like music ("she stumbled off balance on elastic legs--/ on purpose--/ looked up in surprise,/ dropped her elbows/ like limp washcloths,/ crossed her eyes, flashed a smile./ And the audience laughed"). Powell lays out the realities of segregation in the United States for a touring Josephine and, by contrast, the warm welcome she received in France. The author suggests, however, that even after headlining at the Folies Bergère in Paris, Baker never quite felt at home in her native land. She became "the first and only Negro star" of America's Ziegfeld Follies, yet had to enter her hotel through the servants' entrance. Powell discusses Baker's work in the French Resistance and how she lived out her philosophy through her "rainbow tribe"--12 children she and her husband adopted from around the world and raised in their own religions.

Powell and Robinson create a biography of a woman whose life and art are inseparable. Josephine Baker did exactly what she set out to do: she danced all her life. --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: This liberally illustrated biography of Josephine Baker captures a remarkable, courageous woman whose life and art were inseparable.

Deeper Understanding

Bringing The Book Thief to the Big Screen

The Book Thief is a story of children swept up in war. Death, who narrates, takes an interest in the vibrantly alive Liesel. In the novel, we see her through Death's eyes. In the film, the voice of Death opens and closes the story, and breaks into the film perhaps half a dozen times. But we see the atrocities of World War II firsthand--Kristallnacht, the carting off of neighbors, Jewish prisoners marched through the streets. Readers can put down the book, take a break. But moviegoers cannot escape the images of cruelty.

In the book, Death enables our relationship with Leisel. In the movie, Death must move out of the way. Director Brian Percival reminds viewers--through aerial shots--that we are seeing events through a wider lens; we see what Death sees. Yet there is beauty in the film, too. The laughter of children playing, the pleasures of a snowball fight. The secret kindnesses bestowed onto Liesel by Hans (played with such nuance by Geoffrey Rush), the slow thaw of icy Rosa (portrayed brilliantly by Emily Watson).

Earlier this month, Markus Zusak and Brian Percival spoke with Thelma Adams of Yahoo Movies at New York City's School of Visual Arts Theater in Chelsea. Zusak recalled that he and his wife went on one of their twice-yearly outings to the movies (they have a two-year-old and a seven-year-old) to see Monsieur Lazhar, with  Sophie Nélisse as Alice L'Écuyer. "She'd make a great Leisel," Zusak told his wife. "You should tell them," his wife replied. Brian Percival said that he and his team saw 1,000 girls, between self-tapes and casting directors. "Leisel had to be both feisty and vulnerable," he said. They flew Nélisse and three other girls for a test in Berlin. Nélisse is 13 years old, yet her emotional range, conveyed just by the curling of her lip or a twinkle in her eye, is mesmerizing.

The Book Thief author Markus Zusak (center) with director Brian Percival (r.) on the Berlin movie set.

Zusak is pleased with the film. If he misses one moment, it's the scene in the book when Liesel sees Max wearing a Star of David and being marched through the streets by the Nazis and she recites to him "The Standover Man"--the story Max wrote and left for her in the painted-over pages of Mein Kampf. But Zusak feels he also gained a scene that he had not written in the book: when Max tells Leisel that everything that lives knows "the secret word for life."

Zusak feels as though he was "a different version" of himself when he wrote The Book Thief. "There are things I'd change, but that could take away the spirit of the book," Zusak said. He's had 10 years of being with the book, writing it, publishing it, bringing it to film. "I thought this would be my least successful book,"

Zusak said. "This book's given me everything. I wrote four books before, but I'm the writer of The Book Thief." He's been writing for the past six to seven years, but hasn't finished another book. "I didn't want to be a dad who goes away," he said. "But I need to block the world out; I have to become the author of something else now."

Zusak's parents couldn't speak English when they moved to Australia. His mother cleans houses; his father is a housepainter. And they told their four children stories.

"To have one great storyteller in your life, you're lucky," said Zusak. "But to have two is amazing. They taught me how to write, how to tell a story, because of their love of stories. I had a huge appetite for those stories, just as Leisel does." Zusak believes his mother and father would not have told their children those stories if they still lived in Europe.

"There's one story that didn't make it into the book," Zusak said. "After the war, Mom's town was occupied by Americans, Dad's by the Russians. My father and his friends were stealing things from the Russian camp, then they'd run. One day, a Russian truck stopped, and a man got out. He stopped, looked at my father, walked up to him, touched his face and said, 'Kind'--child. It suggests what he'd seen and left behind. He got back in his truck and drove off." Zusak paused. "A book is built on what didn't make it in. That's also what holds it up."

This reader missed Death's voice in the film. But Percival explained that he had to show, not tell. "You can't keep inserting Death's voice. That would interfere with our relationship with Leisel," he said. He's right. He added, "You have to see it from Death's point of view, rather than hear it."

Maybe a film is also built on what doesn't make it in. Because the movie ends the way all who loved the book need it to end, and the sparing use of Death's voice makes its appearance at the conclusion that much stronger.  --Jennifer M. Brown

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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