Also published on this date: Wednesday, February 12, 2014: Maximum Shelf: Redeployment

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


Book House Reopens in New, Larger Space

Congratulations to the Book House, Maplewood, Mo., which, "after months of waiting, hard work, and raising funds," has officially opened for business in its new location.

"We are doing the happy dance!!" the store wrote. "Now the fun begins. We have thousands of books to put out on display, and there will be more bookshelves going up and new things to see every day. Construction on the next phase (the lower level) will begin soon and hopefully be open by the end of April."

Last year the Book House had to leave its former home in nearby Rock Hill when the landlord decided to tear the building down. Its new 6,000-square-foot space--twice the size of its old location--is in a building that was vacant for nearly two decades and needed extensive renovations.

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

For Sale: Pacific Mist Books

Pacific Mist Books, Sequim, Wash., "located in the core of downtown for over 20 years," has been put up for sale until the end of March, the Gazette reported. Owner Vickie Maples, who purchased the bookshop in 2011, cited "urgent family health and business needs in California" as the primary reason for her decision.  

"I realize this is a very short time frame for prospective buyers but I sincerely hope there will be local interest in purchasing the shop in order to retain our local community bookstore," Maples said, adding that she has been "delighted with the tremendous support from both local residents and visitors alike." 

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Village Books Integrates Some Gifts and Books

Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., which has operated a gift store, Paper Dreams, next to its book business since 1982, has begun for the first time to integrate sidelines with books and vice versa. The biggest move so far has been putting cookbooks into Paper Dreams, which had been exclusively the non-book half of the business.

"We did that because we were carrying an increasing number of novelty cooking items in the gift store," explained Chuck Robinson, Village Books president, CEO and co-owner, via e-mail. "And we thought it was a place that even folks who were not regular book buyers would see cookbooks and purchase them for themselves or as gifts."

The stores have also integrated travel items with travel books and some games with the game book section. They plan also to put more gift items in related book sections, such as Asian items in the Eastern Religion/Philosophy section, as well as a smattering of books in the gift store. Some books on the Pacific Northwest, for example, have already been moved to the section of Paper Dreams with local and regional souvenirs. Although a few card racks have been moved into the bookstore, the majority of the cards will remain in the gift store, along with jewelry and clothing items.

So far, the changes have been well received, with an immediate boost in sales in the cooking section. Although cookbook sales dipped last holiday season, Robinson attributes that to a dearth of cooking bestsellers compared to the year before. "We believe more people are finding our cookbooks, which were in a rather obscure place before," he said.

For a long time, Robinson said, he has admired some bookstores that have integrated gifts and books effectively, such as BookPeople in Austin, Tex., and Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Ariz. As gifts and sidelines have become bigger and bigger parts of his store's business, the idea of integrating inventory has become more appealing.

"We've also long believed that folks don't really shop for books by section but by interests," Robinson added. "While building sections like 'books to read on an airplane' has always been appealing, the logistics of people finding certain books they are looking for has been daunting. This is one way to approach that idea: I'm going on a trip. I need a book, but, gosh, I also need a travel cosmetic kit, and, look, it's right there." --Alex Mutter

Open Road Acquires E-Reads

Open Road Integrated Media has acquired E-Reads, a digital publisher founded in 1999 that offers more than 1,200 titles spanning multiple genres, with a focus on science fiction and fantasy authors, but also including mystery, romance and horror novelists. Founder Richard Curtis will consult with Open Road during the transition.

"E-Reads is one of the publishing industry's pioneering companies, and it shares Open Road's passion for the digital future," said Open Road co-founder and CEO Jane Friedman. "Richard Curtis has built an incredible catalog filled with beloved and bestselling authors, and we are excited to welcome them to the Open Road family as we bring all of our resources to connecting them with readers around the world."

Curtis noted that his company had "proven to be as successful as I envisioned.... However, as I recently surveyed the state of the industry, it became apparent that it was time to seek an alliance with a company with greater resources, particularly in the all-important area of marketing."

Road Trip: America's Most Literate Cities

Washington, D.C., continued its reign as "America's most literate city," according to the annual study conducted by Central Connecticut State University president John Miller. The study is based on data collected from the largest cities (population 250,000 and above) in the U.S., including number of bookstores, educational attainment, Internet resources, library resources, periodical publishing resources and newspaper circulation.

The top 10 most literate cities in 2013 were:

  1. Washington, D.C.
  2. Seattle, Wash.     
  3. Minneapolis, Minn.     
  4. Atlanta, Ga. (tie)
  5. Pittsburgh, Pa. (tie)
  6. Denver, Colo.
  7. St. Paul, Minn.
  8. Boston, Mass.
  9. St. Louis, Mo.
  10. San Francisco, Calif.

The study measures quantity, not quality, Miller told USA Today, explaining that quality is "more subjective and harder to verify." When people complain or question his rankings, he counters: "Show me the data." Next year, Miller plans "to take his study global and rank the most literate countries. He predicts that Finland may surprise people," USA Today wrote. Among the highlights of this year's findings:

  • Parts of the "Rust Belt aren't so rusty" when it comes to public libraries. Cleveland is No. 1, and Pittsburgh is No. 2, based on the number of branches, volumes, circulation and staff per capita.
  • Boston is No. 27 in education levels, despite being home to scores of colleges, because of "its abysmal high school dropout rates."
  • Washington, not New York (No. 16 on the overall list), scores highest for the number of magazine and journal publishers "because of all the trade publications devoted to politics and the federal government."

Obituary Notes: Sebastian Barker; Erik Blegvad

Sebastian Barker, a "lyrical poet, much influenced by William Blake, whose later work contained a strong philosophical and reflective streak," died January 31, the Guardian reported. He was 68. Barker "was an important public spokesman for poetry, sitting on the Pen executive committee and chairing the Poetry Society," the Guardian wrote.


Erik Blegvad, a "prolific children's book artist renowned for illustrations whose fine-grained propriety could barely conceal the deep subversive wit at their core," died on January 14, the New York Times reported. He was 90. Blegvad illustrated more than 100 picture books, including many by his wife, Lenore.


Image of the Day: Grasshopper Jungle at Malaprop's

Yesterday, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, N.C., celebrated the release of Andrew Smith's Grasshopper Jungle (Dutton), which the YA book club will discuss at its next meeting. From l., enthusiastic booksellers Robin, who leads the YA club; an anonymous grasshopper; Lauren; and Erin, who made the papier mache and cardboard costume.

Iowa City Indies 'at Peak During Digital Age'

Despite the growth of e-books since the launch of the Kindle in 2007, "independent bookstores have been growing [in] popularity in Iowa City," the Daily Iowan wrote.

"I think that independent bookstores have staff that are warm, smart, and spontaneous," said Jan Weissmiller, co-owner of Prairie Lights. "We like seeing people. We don't look at this as just a job; everyone who works at Prairie Lights loves Prairie Lights and is really curious about our customers that come in here."

Weissmiller added that print books still have a loyal audience: "There is something about touching a book, writing in a book, and knowing where you are in one. Just physically and technically, there is something that people like about old-fashion books. There is also an awareness that bookstores are endangered, and I think people know if they want a bookstore, they have to support it."

Nialle Sylvan, owner of the Haunted Bookshop, said, "Independent bookstores are where people exchange ideas; it's where people go to meet. It's a community location, it's very active, and that is something that really speaks to people. And maybe people are just remembering that books are places where beautiful things happen; we all kind of need a little of that right now."

Moe's Books Honored with Historical Plaque

Congratulations to Moe's Books, Berkeley, Calif., which was honored this week with the installation of an historical plaque. Berkeleyside reported that the 55-year-old bookstore--founded by Moe and Barbara Moskowitz and now run by their daughter, Doris--received the plaque from the Berkeley Historical Plaque Project, which was established in 1997 with sponsorship from the city and its Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association and the Berkeley Historical Society.

IBPA Sets Slate for New Board Members

The nominating committee of the Independent Book Publishers Association has named the following to stand for election to two-year terms on the IBPA board of directors:

Brenda Avadian of North Star Books
Jim Milliot of Publishers Weekly
Shannon Okey of Cooperative Press
Rob Price of Price World Publishing
Mark Suchomel of Legato Publishers Group
Brooke Warner of She Writes Press

The candidates will appear on the board ballot for membership vote during IBPA's March 22 annual meeting during IBPA's Publishing University in San Francisco, Calif. Leaving the board are:

Davida G. Breier of Johns Hopkins University Press
Roy Carlisle of the Independent Institute
Dr. Haki Madhubuti of Third World Press
John Mutter of Shelf Awareness

Book Trailer of the Day: Changers Book One

Changers Book One: Drew by T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper (Black Sheep), one of the debut titles for this new imprint for young readers from Akashic Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Junot Diaz & Jaime Hernandez on KCRW's Bookworm

Today on Fresh Air: Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Holt, $28, 9780805092998).


Tomorrow on Ellen: Cameron Diaz, author of The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body (HarperWave, $25.99, 9780062252746).


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Jones, author of Love Illuminated: Exploring Life's Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers) (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062211163).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle: Joan Williams, co-author of What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know (New York University Press, $24.95, 9781479835454).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Junot Diaz and Jaime Hernandez, author and illustrator of the deluxe version of This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead, $40, 9781594632853). As the show put it: "Junot Diaz says that Jaime Hernandez's illustrations for the deluxe new edition of his acclaimed collection of stories, This Is How You Lose Her, make their collaboration 'rise to the level of jazz.' Here, astonishingly, Diaz and Hernandez speak in person for the first time, revealing their deep admiration and understanding for one another's work. Diaz proclaims that 'American fiction is [still] catching up to Love and Rockets,' Hernandez's renowned comic series of the past three decades, and the two begin to unravel the roots of their intense affinity and interview each other."

TV: Redshirts

FX is teaming with producer Jon Shestack (Dan in Real Life) and producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and his partner Alexandra Beattie to develop a limited series based on John Scalzi's Hugo award-winning novel Redshirts, reported. Kwapis will direct the opening episode.

"Redshirts is a madcap, hyper-meta tale," Shestack said.

Kwapis added: "If Jorge Luis Borges had been a staff writer on the original Star Trek, he would no doubt have concocted a story like Redshirts."

Books & Authors

Awards: U.K Political Book of the Year; Omnivore Hatchet Job

A shortlist has been released for the U.K.'s £10,000 (about US$16,400) Political Book of the Year, which goes to a work "deemed to have been the most impressive political book published in the past year, or that which has had the most overall impact on politics, political thought and/or political debate." The winner will be announced March 19, as one of nine categories comprising the Paddy Power Political Book Awards. The shortlisted titles are:

Perilous Question by Lady Antonia Fraser
This Boy by Alan Johnson
Power Trip by Damian McBride
Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography by Charles Moore
Empire of the Deep by Ben Wilson
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb


Sunday Times journalist A.A. Gill's review of Morrissey's Autobiography ("A cacophony of jangling, misheard and misused words... a sea of Stygian self-justification and stilted self-conscious prose...") won Omnivore's Hatchet Job of the Year, which goes to the writer "of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review" during the past year. At yesterday's awards ceremony in London, Gill received the "Golden Hatchet" and a year's supply of potted shrimp, the Guardian reported.

Book Brahmin: Patience Bloom

photo: Patrick Smith

Patience Bloom wanted to be a movie star until college graduation. Then came reality--that, perhaps, becoming the next Danielle Steel would be easier and involve less dieting. After a short stint as a secretary, she taught high school French and Latin in New Mexico. Six years later, she moved to New York City and into publishing. She's now a senior editor at Harlequin Books, where she works on a variety of romances with a specialization in romantic suspense. In her 40s, Bloom finally met her own real-life hero, which inspired her to write Romance Is My Day Job (Dutton, February 6, 2014), a memoir detailing her romantic (mis)adventures while editing sultry love stories on the page.

On your nightstand now:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I like to pretend I'm into plants, so this novel's premise appealed to me. Plus, since it comes from the author of Eat, Pray, Love and her Facebook page uplifts me every day, I pre-ordered as soon as it became available. I'm excited to lose myself in it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Forever by Judy Blume. A budding romantic, I confess, I secretly read this when I was 11. Soon after, I suckered a relative into buying me Wifey (very adult), claiming it was a cute YA novel. A year or so later, my hormones mellowed out with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Your top five authors:

Brenda Novak, Emily Giffin, Eloisa James, Susan Mallery, Penny Jordan.

Book you've faked reading:

Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (on page 57 of Swann's Way for the last 12 years...). My husband is a Proust scholar so at first I tried to care, but I don't and can't continue... I love Balzac, though.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Hours by Michael Cunningham: definitely not a romance novel but you need some contrast in life.

Book you've bought for the cover:

This happens to me all the time! Yes, I am just that superficial. I tend to impulse-buy books with uncomplicated covers--no people, no image. With women's fiction, I prefer super-girly art (pink, illustrations, martini glasses, shoes). My last purchase was You Knew Me When by Emily Liebert.

Book that changed your life:

Fools Die by Mario Puzo. It made me want to write, though I did have the flu at the time.

Favorite line from a book:

"Directly we glance at Orlando standing by the window, we must admit that he had eyes like drenched violets...." --Orlando by Virginia Woolf

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

Bring Me Back by Karen Booth. This love story was such a page-turner that I hated getting to the end. What a gift to a reader. It doesn't happen to me often. I'm waiting to forget the story so that I can read it again.

Book Review

Children's Review: The Scraps Book

Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, $17.99 hardcover, 72p., ages 5-10, 9781442435711, March 4, 2014)

Lois Ehlert takes children on a guided tour deep inside her scrapbook and her studio. This succinct memoir is just right for a five-year-old, yet meaty enough to inspire adults. In it, she reveals the sources of her ideas, her planning stages and her wonderful collections of words, photos, paints and fabric swatches.

Ehlert starts with a capital "W" that looks stenciled onto the snow-white page: "When I was little, I read all the books on the library shelf, and I thought maybe someday I could make a book." A collage butterfly alights on a black-and-white photo of the author as a child of perhaps four or five. In the margins, polka dots and coconuts, orange shapes carved with pinking shears and spontaneous spatters of paint reveal an artist's hand guiding the pages. A banded bunch of asparagus (from Eating the Alphabet) acts as a picket fence between a photo of Ehlert's parents ("returning home after hunting for wild asparagus") and a picture of the house where she grew up. Her mother sewed, her father had a basement workshop and, in a corner of the house, he set up a folding table for young Lois: "It was my spot, a place to work and dream." In an inspired touch, Ehlert shows her "spot" then and now, with more similarities than differences (note the color scheme). She draws a linear progression from childhood play to adulthood creativity.

Ideas are everywhere, she tells children: "When a squirrel slipped into my house, a book idea walked right up to me." An image from Nuts to You!, along with scraps of watercolor wash she used in the book, serve as evidence. She shares the "fishy" words she collected for Fish Eyes, followed by a photo of her ice-fishing decoy collection, which dominates a spread. Her sister's cat brushing her ankles inspired Feathers for Lunch. A walk becomes an opportunity to go "looking for good stuff" (such as seedpods, crab apples and pumpkin seeds, all of which made their way into her books).

The author-artist reveals "I'm messy when I work. My wastebaskets overflow," encouraging children to embrace their passions and try new things (e.g., spattering paint with a toothbrush and rubbing a crayon over a cheese grater). In these pages, Ehlert shares not only studies for her books (which children will certainly seek out after examining these pages) but also lessons for a life well lived--observing, collecting, playing and creating. Brava! --Jennifer M. Brown

Shelf Talker: In this compact, skillfully designed scrapbook-cum-memoir, Lois Ehlert takes readers deep inside her creative process.

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