Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 13, 2014

Viking: The Bookshop: A History of the American Bookstore by Evan Friss

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

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

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

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

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves


AAP: E-Books Sales Down 3.4% Through October

In October, total net book sales rose 3.8%, to $902.7 million, compared to October 2012, representing sales of 1,205 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the year to date, total net book sales have risen 0.9%, to $12.4 billion.

The most striking figures have to do with tepid e-book sales. For the month, e-book sales rose 4.5%, to $127 million, while for the year to date, e-book sales are down 3.4%, to $1.287.3 billion.

Children's/YA e-book sales, which fell 34.9%, to $136.3 million, for the year to date, accounted for the drop. Other e-book categories rose slightly in the first 10 months of 2013: adult e-books, up 2.2%, to $1.0889 billion; religious e-books, up 2.5%, to $52.4 million; and university press e-books, up 36.1%, to $9.7 million.

October results follow:

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Owl & Turtle in Maine Seeking Partner or New Owner

Nancy Borland, who purchased the Owl & Turtle Bookshop, Camden, Maine, a year and a half ago, is seeking either a business partner to join her or someone to buy the store completely.

Borland is seeking help because she learned during the holiday season that she will begin providing the sole support for her 25-year-old son, who has autism. "A bookshop requires a 100% commitment of time, energy, and devotion, and I suddenly find myself unable to provide that," she said.

During her ownership, Borland moved the store into a renovated spot on Bayview Street. She said she needed three years altogether to make "immediate and long-term changes so I could determine how things could work for the long run. Well, I've only been able to go half way, which is a great disappointment." The award-winning store is 43 years old and has had four sets of owners.

For more information, contact Borland at the shop at 207-230-7335 or at

GLOW: Milkweed Editions: Becoming Little Shell: Returning Home to the Landless Indians of Montana by Chris La Tray

Sages Pages Suffers Water Damage

photo: Dan Blank

Sages Pages in Madison, N.J., suffered a devastating flood last week. Owner Lillian Trujillo told Shelf Awareness that a water main broke Tuesday evening (a day when temperatures in the area were in the single digits), and they were unable to turn off the water until the following morning. The store remains closed as Trujillo and the insurance company assess the situation.

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

WBN U.S.: Launch Events, Free E-Book

More about World Book Night U.S., which takes place April 23:

The April 22 launch event in New York City will be held in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room at the New York Public Library's main building and will feature Malcolm Gladwell, Garrison Keillor, Esmeralda Santiago, Walter Dean Meyers, Tobias Wolfe, Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon. The event will be live-streamed. Twenty NYPL branches will also host poetry workshops on the 23rd.

The April 22 WBN author event roster features two dozen simultaneous events across the country; a confirmed map of events to be posted at the WBN website February 1.

Livrada and Ingram are producing a proprietary WBN e-book, free to all and containing short pieces by booksellers, librarians and author/givers. WBN e-book launch events will take place at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., and Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

Dover Publications will print a special WBN edition of Shakespeare's sonnets, to be given out on April 23 at select theaters and Shakespeare productions across the country. (Booksellers and librarians who want to host a local high school drama club on April 23 may e-mail to request copies of the sonnets.)

WBN U.S. executive director Carl Lennertz commented: "We have a lot more cooking: national media, audio downloads, a new WBN edition jacket design, and more surprises. Also, we are a month ahead of schedule on giver acceptance lists and getting info the stores and libraries in March. A half million WBN books are printing now, and we are all systems go!"

Kate DiCamillo Sworn in at the Library of Congress

Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Walter Dean Myers

Friday morning, at the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, author Kate DiCamillo was sworn in as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She is the fourth author to hold this position; Jon Scieszka was the first, followed by Katherine Paterson, and most recently, Walter Dean Myers.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), who played a key role in establishing the Young Readers Center in the Jefferson Building, hailed the author, who grew up in Florida, as an example that "the Gator Nation is everywhere." Congressman Robert Aderholt (R.-Ala.), who serves with Wasserman Schultz on the House Committee on Appropriations, also congratulated DiCamillo. "The books we read as children become the narratives of our lives," he said.

John Cole, director of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, welcoming new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Kate DiCamillo.

John Cole, director of the Library of Congress's Center for the Book, served as master of ceremonies. "We're a young program, but we do have traditions," he said. One is that the outgoing National Ambassador for Young People's Literature pass the baton to the incoming Ambassador. He invited Walter Dean Myers to the podium. "I was prepared for the frequent travel," Myers said. He travels so often that the cashier at the airport newsstand sees him and says, "Peanuts again?" Myers continued, "I was prepared for people saying, 'You're my favorite author.' What I was not prepared for was to find so many people eager to hear what I had to say. They understand that reading is important." Myers described what he called the most important moment in his two years as ambassador: "I was in a prison that was loosely run. By that I mean, some talking is allowed among the inmates," Myers said. When he started to speak, an inmate was talking. "'Keep quiet, I want to hear this,' one inmate said to the other," Myers recalled. "That touched me. I knew this program was working."

Kate DiCamillo told a tale from her life as an example of how "Stories Connect Us," her platform as ambassador. It's the story of a silver fish and a blue dolphin, set in Silver Springs, Fla., where monkeys swing through the treetops and glass-bottom boats take passengers down the Silver River.

At age eight, DiCamillo took a ride in a glass-bottom boat. A silver fish swam beneath her. A woman, a total stranger, grabbed her wrist. " 'Did you see that?' the stranger asked," DiCamillo recalled. "Her face was open. She wore a rain bonnet even though the sun was shining." Terribly shy, DiCamillo said, "There goes a turtle." "That's right," the stranger replied, "That's a turtle. Oh my, this world."

The eight-year-old Kate saw it all as if viewing it from above. She felt a part of everything. Her mother asked her who the woman was. "She was just someone I was looking at things with," DiCamillo told her gregarious mother, who had no concept of how she could have such a shy daughter. "I had opened a bit," DiCamillo realized. "I was a tiny bit awake."

In 1972, Kate DiCamillo had Mrs. Boyette as a second-grade teacher. She was old and short-tempered. "I loved her with the whole of myself," said DiCamillo. "She read aloud to us Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell." In her class was a boy named Tony Fenchel, who "liked to trip me," she said. "I've changed his name." Not only was she a "preternaturally shy child," DiCamillo admitted, "I was a terrified child." When Mrs. Boyette read the scene in which Karana tames a wild dog, young Kate was on the edge of her seat. "I looked over at Tony Fenchel. Tony Fenchel was on the edge of his seat, too. I smiled at him. He smiled at me. Tony Fenchel was like me; he was not a monster."

On the eve of DiCamillo's inauguration, the ambassadors gathered at at Politics & Prose: (l.-r.) Jon Scieszka, Kate DiCamillo, Katherine Paterson.

DiCamillo likened Island of the Blue Dolphins to the glass-bottom boat: "That book had the feeling of a world hidden under the world I already knew." She floated above her second-grade classroom, much as she did in that glass-bottom boat. "Oh my, this world," said DiCamillo.

"Did Tony Fenchel stop tripping me?" DiCamillo continued. "He did not. But I could not go back to seeing him as a monster. Stories for me are a glass-bottom boat ride. We see each other; we open up. We change. Everyone is together in a room. Everyone is connected." When we read together, grandparent to grandchild, parent to child, teacher to student, brother to sister, said DiCamillo, "We are taken off that horrible rock of our aloneness. I want to work to bring more people together into a room." --Jennifer M. Brown


North Jersey Indies' Business Models

Northern New Jersey independent booksellers are "writing new chapters into their business models by hosting author events, offering tech-driven reading options and providing consulting services for school districts," the Record wrote.

Among examples: Bookends in Ridgewood moved in 2010 to lower its rent and focus on hosting author events to boost revenue. "Our author events are typically attended by 50 to 2,000 people, depending on who the author is," said Walter Boyer, who owns the store with his wife, Pat. The nearly 100 events a year account for a third of the store's revenue.

Watchung Booksellers in Montclair hosts author events and "other writing-centric 'happenings,' " and sells e-books, although owner Margot Sage-EL indicated that e-books are not "a major factor in the bottom line."

Books Bytes & Beyond, Glen Rock, focuses on acting as a middleman between publishers and schools to bring authors into schools and is advising school districts on selecting books that meet Common Core guidelines. Owner Mary Brown said, "The orders can be hundreds of copies of one title, or hundreds of books in general."

'There's a Lot of Conversation' at Barrett Bookstore

Sheila Daley, owner of the Barrett Bookstore, Darien, Conn., "has found ways to make her store stand out from the big-box competition," the Darien News reported, noting that the "store's success feeds off itself."
"We sell ourselves on the idea of customer service. The staff are all readers and can recommend books based on a particular taste," she said. "Customers will tell us about books that they love. There's a lot of conversation in this store."

Daley added that she loves "being with the people and it goes beyond that. You end up developing a relationship with people, not only talking about what they like to read but you also get to know their families and what their families like to read. It's just a very pleasant atmosphere."

Phyllis Mandell Has Left School Library Journal

Phyllis Mandell has left her position as managing editor/multimedia review editor at School Library Journal after more than 20 years. She is currently seeking new opportunities and can be reached at or 516-695-9033.

Media and Movies

Golden Globe Book Winners

While book-to-screen adaptations did not dominate last night's Golden Globe Awards, they did take home prizes in some of the major film and TV categories. Winners involving films and series that started as books were:

Motion picture, drama: 12 Years a Slave, based on the book by Solomon Northrup
Actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the book by Jordan Belfort
Original song, motion picture: U2's "Ordinary Love," from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based on the autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Animated feature film: Frozen, based on Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale The Snow Queen.
TV miniseries or movie: Behind the Candelabra, based on the book by Scott Thorson  
Actor, miniseries or TV movie: Michael Douglas for Behind the Candelabra

Movies: Gone Girl Pic & Script Changes

David Fincher, director of the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's novel Gone Girl, offered to shoot this week's Entertainment Weekly cover himself and even "dreamed up the image, which features Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne curled around his wife, Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. The result is an unsettling portrait of love gone demented."

Making bigger headlines than the cover shot over the weekend was the news that Flynn, who wrote the screenplay, "wasn't afraid to take a buzzsaw to her own novel."

"There was something thrilling about taking this piece of work that I'd spent about two years painstakingly putting together with all its eight million LEGO pieces and take a hammer to it and bash it apart and reassemble it into a movie," she said.

The revelation from the EW interview with Fincher and Fynn "is simply how much the film's ending will differentiate from the book," Vanity Fair reported. Affleck was shocked by the change, according to Flynn, who noted that the actor said, "This is a whole new third act! She literally threw that third act out and started from scratch."

TV: Outlander, Game of Thrones Trailers

Starz has released the first trailer for Outlander, based on Diana Gabaldon's bestselling novel. The Wrap reported that the trailer was first viewed at a live event in Los Angeles for nearly 2,000 fans at which Gabaldon appeared alongside executive producer Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and stars Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall). Outlander will premiere this summer.

"Romance is an element, but there's nothing sappy about this story," Balfe told the Wrap about the scope of the Starz series. "It's really gritty, lots of action, lots of adventure. None of the female characters are weak."

Also released was a photo of "one of the most iconic scenes of the Outlander novels": Captain Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) delivers "Red Coat justice" to Jamie Fraser.


HBO has released a trailer for Game of Thrones season 4, which premieres April 6.

Media Heat: Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Fresh Air

This morning on Good Morning America: Sherri Shepherd, co-author of Plan D: How to Lose Weight and Beat Diabetes (Even If You Don't Have It) (It Books, $14.99, 9780062226259).


This morning on Fox & Friends: P.J. O'Rouke, author of The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way... and It Wasn't My Fault... and I'll Never Do It Again (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25, 9780802121974).


This morning on the Today Show: Robert M. Gates, author of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (Knopf, $35, 9780307959478).


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Chang-Rae Lee, author of On Such a Full Sea (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486104).


Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe:

Jane Pauley, author of Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476733760)
Nicholas Griffin, author of Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World (Scribner, $26, 9781451642773)
Laura Vapnyar, author of The Scent of Pine (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781476712628).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Lou Dobbs, author of Upheaval (Threshold, $26.99, 9781476728858).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Craig Steven Wilder, author of Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781596916814).


Tomorrow on the View: Chris Matthews, author of Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked (Simon & Schuster, $29.95, 9781451695991).


Tomorrow on Fresh Air: Sonia Sotomayor, author of My Beloved World (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307594884).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Drew Barrymore, author Find It in Everything (Little, Brown, $18, 9780316253062).


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Tieraona Low Dog, author of Healthy at Home: Get Well and Stay Well Without Prescriptions (National Geographic, $26, 9781426212581).


Tomorrow on CBS's OMG! Insider: Sam Harris, author of Ham: Slices of a Life: Essays and Stories (Gallery, $26, 9781476733418).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Deborah Soloman, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374113094).

Books & Authors

Awards: BIO Winner; Story Prize Finalists; NBCC Finalists

Stacy Schiff has won the 2014 BIO Award, given by members of Biographers International Organization to a colleague who has made "a major contribution to the advancement of the art and craft of the genre."

Schiff is the author of Véra (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, winner of the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American Studies and the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Institut Français d'Amérique; and, most recently, Cleopatra: A Life, which won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for biography.

James McGrath Morris, president of BIO, commented: "Through her writing Schiff has been, and remains, an inspiration to biographers worldwide. But also she demonstrated her devotion to biography through her willingness to lend her support when we first began to create our organization. She is the remarkably generous writer whose devotion to her art and craft extends beyond the written page."

Schiff will receive the award during the 2014 Compleat Biographer Conference on May 17 in Boston, where she will deliver the keynote address.


The finalists for the Story Prize, honoring the best short story collections, are:

Archangel by Andrea Barrett (Norton)
Bobcat by Rebecca Lee (Algonquin Books)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (Random House)

In addition, the Story Prize Spotlight Award, which each year provides $1,000 to an additional collection deserving of further attention, goes to Byzantium by Ben Stroud (Graywolf Press), which the judges called "a remarkable debut collection that spans continents and eras, from 7th Century Constantinople to post-Katrina Texas."

Story Prize founder Julie Lindsey and director Larry Dark selected the finalists for the Story Prize. Three independent judges will determine the winner: Stephen Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin; Antonya Nelson, who is the author of four novels, including Bound, and six short story collections, including Nothing Right; and Rob Spillman, editor and co-founder of the literary magazine Tin House, contributor to many magazines, newspapers and collections and editor of Gods and Soldiers: the Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing.

The winner will be named at the award event at the New School's Auditorium at 66 W. 12th Street in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5. That night, the finalists will read from and discuss their work with Larry Dark. At the end of the event, Julie Lindsey will announce the winner and present that author with $20,000 (which remains the biggest top prize of any annual U.S. book award for fiction) along with an engraved silver bowl. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000.


The National Book Critics Circle has chosen the 30 finalists in six categories--autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry--for the best books of 2013. The winners will be announced on Thursday, March 13, at 6 p.m. at the New School in New York City. A finalists' reading will be held on March 12, also at 6 p.m. at the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.

The NBCC also has awarded the debut John Leonard Prize, recognizing "outstanding first books in any genre," to A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (Hogarth).

The 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing has been won by Katherine A. Powers, contributor to many national book review sections, including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post and the Barnes & Noble Review. She is the editor of Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J.F. Powers, 1942–1963.

The Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award has been won by Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, "the dean of Chicano authors" and author of the Klail City Death Trip cycle of novels. He is also a translator and essayist, mentor and inspiration to several generations of writers, and professor of literature at the University of Texas, Austin.

Loudest Voice on Sale Sooner

Random House is moving up the on-sale date of The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country by Gabriel Sherman to tomorrow from January 21 because of what the publisher calls "heavy media attention."

In response to early reviews and an excerpt in New York magazine, where the author is a contributing editor, Ailes told the Hollywood Reporter: "Attacking me and Fox News is nothing new--it's a cottage industry. What's new is that Random House refused to fact check the content with me or Fox News--that tells you everything you need to know about this book and its agenda."

In response, Sherman wrote to Politico: "During two and a half years of reporting, I made a dozen requests both in writing and in person to speak with Roger Ailes about every aspect of my book, The Loudest Voice in the Room. A team of two fact-checkers spent more than 2,000 hours vetting the manuscript before publication. Roger Ailes declined every request to discuss the reporting with me."

Book Review

Review: The Last Enchantments

The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch (St. Martin's Press, $24.99 hardcover, 9781250018717, January 28, 2014)

In The Last Enchantments, an engagingly written novel about a young American man coming of age at Oxford, Charles Finch departs from his usual historical mysteries (A Beautiful Blue Death, etc.). Instead, he sets the scene in a place where the past and present are in a constant state of fusion. Twenty-five-year-old Will Baker has, to all appearances, an enviable life: a career in politics he enjoys, a wealthy and sympathetic girlfriend and a glamorous lifestyle in New York City, where going out to clubs at midnight is seen as getting an early start. Despite having what most Americans would equate to success, however, Will is restless and desirous of a change.

The years of his life Will recalls most fondly are those spent earning an undergraduate degree at Yale; on that basis, he applies to Oxford to study English literature. Coming from a family of deeply embedded privilege, where he "grew up conflating stylistic and moral choices," Will comes to realize most of his own choices have not been from the heart. In the course of the novel, and primarily via the intense romance and friendship he experiences at Oxford, Will grapples with the consequences of his upbringing and begins, painfully, to arrive at the truth about himself.

The host of colorful characters Will meets includes Tim, the upper-class British student who becomes his best friend at college (despite Will's private observation that "there is nobody as hopelessly vulgar as a British aristocrat"); Anil, an Indian wannabe-rapper; Ella, an Asian-American scholarship student grimly determined to succeed; and the beautiful and unattainable Sophie, who becomes Will's obsession for the duration of his time at Oxford.

While relationships and coming to terms with adulthood are the focus of The Last Enchantments, it is also especially evocative of Oxford. Readers who are curious about the parties, about the sports--particularly the punting, which forms the backdrop for many social situations--and the classes will find much to satisfy them. Above all, however, Will's story is about the space that perpetually separates the interim pleasures of college and the vagaries of adult life--and it is within that space that he must ultimately find some semblance of peace. --Ilana Teitelbaum

Shelf Talker: Finch sidesteps from his Victorian-era mystery series with an engaging contemporary coming-of-age novel set at Oxford.

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