Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Severn House Publishers: Night Watch (First World Publication) (Michael Cassidy Thriller #3) by David C. Taylor

St. Martin's Press: A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

Workman Publishing: Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing But True Stories! by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by John John Bajet

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Sunnyside Plaza by Scott Simon

Other Press: Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching People What to Fear by Patrick Boucheron, translated by Willard Wood

Quotation of the Day

Modiano's Nobel Lecture: 'I Will Remain Optimistic'

Modiano

"Time has speeded up since then and moves forward in fits and starts--explaining the difference between the towering literary edifices of the past, with their cathedral-like architectures, and the disjointed and fragmented works of today. From this point of view, my own generation is a transitional one, and I would be curious to know how the next generations, born with the Internet, mobile phones, e-mails and tweets, will express through literature this world in which everyone is permanently 'connected' and where 'social networks' are eating into that part of intimacy and secrecy that was still our own domain until quite recently--the secrecy that gave depth to individuals and could become a major theme in a novel. But I will remain optimistic about the future of literature and I am convinced that the writers of the future will safeguard the succession just as every generation has done since Homer."

--Patrick Modiano, from the Nobel lecture he delivered Sunday. Modiano receives his Nobel Prize in Literature tomorrow.

GLOW: ECW Press: Moments of Glad Grace: A Memoir by Alison Wearing


News

Amazon Prime Now: One-Hour Deliveries by Bike in NYC?

Drone deliveries may still be on hold, but Amazon is experimenting with a more familiar, two-wheeled alternative in the Big Apple. The Wall Street Journal reported that the online retailer "is testing plans to offer deliveries within an hour in New York City by using bike messengers" to propel a service being called Amazon Prime Now.

According to a person familiar with the test, Amazon "has been holding time trials with messengers from at least three courier services to pick the speediest and most careful for its delivery fleet," the Journal wrote. Messengers are given an address and told to bike there from the company's new building on 34th Street (referred to as "the base") within an allotted time. They are being paid about $15 an hour and work eight-hour shifts. The base features "a lounge replete with foosball, pool and air hockey tables; an arcade; and other amenities for messengers hanging out between deliveries."

Gizmodo observed that Amazon "has now resorted to perhaps the most obvious and time-tested method of getting something somewhere fast in a big city: bikes."


Plough Publishing House: Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters


Hachette to Sell Trio of Titles on Twitter

Hachette Book Group has partnered with Gumroad to sell books on Twitter. The program begins this Thursday, December 11, and will feature, over the next few weeks, three print books "for a limited time and in limited quantities, each accompanied by an exclusive bonus item." Gumroad has been selling items from "major and independent musicians and charities." Hachette is its first publishing partner.

Within the authors' tweets, buy buttons will appear for the three books: Amanda Palmer's The Art of Asking, Chris Hadfield's You Are Here and the Onion's The Onion Magazine: The Iconic Covers That Transformed an Undeserving World. Palmer's book will be the first to appear with buy buttons, on December 11, and will include as a bonus an original manuscript page, with notes from the author and editor, and from Palmer's husband, author Neil Gaiman. Ex-astronaut Chris Hadfield's book will go on sale December 15 and will include a signed original photo. The Onion's promotion begins on December 18, and includes a set of note cards featuring 12 of the editors' favorite magazine covers.

Gumroad takes a 5% commission plus 25 cents per sale, and Hachette, which sells the books at list price, pays a fulfillment company to ship the titles, according to BusinessWeek and the Boston Globe.

Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO, commented: "With so much of our book marketing done socially now, in-stream Twitter purchasing is a natural next step. Gumroad's success working with music labels and artists to enable sales to fans, and their partnership with Twitter, put them at the forefront of social media commerce. We're excited to work with Gumroad to offer this unique capability, and to open up this new channel for Hachette authors and their readers."


Grove Press: Writers & Lovers by Lily King


Kobo Makes Debut in Gulf Region

Kobo has partnered with Lionfish General Trading to introduce its digital reading platform to the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) region, which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Kobo devices will be available in 34 stores in the region in the Dubai Duty Free Stores, Virgin Megastores and Xcite. They will also be available for purchase online at Modvito, Souq.com and Jado Pado. Customers will have access to the Kobo eBookstore.

Jean-Marc Dupuis, managing director of EMEA, Kobo, said, "G.C.C. countries are still in the early adoption stages of reading digitally and we are pleased to lead the transformation of this market."

Lionfish will manage all facets of Kobo's presence in G.C.C. countries, including distribution, retail partner relations, marketing and customer care.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry


Obituary Note: Menis Koumandareas

Acclaimed Greek author Menis Koumandareas, who "wrote some 20 novels, short story collections and essays starting in the 1960s" and has been translated into several languages, died Saturday. He was 83. Agence France‑Presse (via France 24) reported that although a cause of death has not yet been determined, authorities said he may have been murdered.

"The tragic death of Meni Koumandareas deprives Greek literature of one of its greatest authors," said Greece's culture minister Kostas Tasoulas. "Over the past half-century Koumandareas has expressed with his unparallelled sensitivity and personal style the hopes of contemporary man and society."


Holiday Hum: Shopping Frenzy Begins, Part 2

More on how booksellers around the country are faring at the beginning of the holiday season:

"Small Business Saturday was very, very busy," said Elena Hight, v-p and general manager of day-to-day operations for Best of Books in Edmond, Okla. In October, Hight and her parents, Joe and Nan Hight, bought the 23-year-old store. "It's been kind of steadily busy ever since."

This holiday season is the first that Hight has spent with the store. She reported that John Grisham's Gray Mountain, along with Revival by Stephen King and Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett, have done very well. And Emily St. John Mandel's National Book Award-nominated novel Station Eleven has been selling steadily since its publication. A pair of local titles, a memoir entitled The Nicest Nazi: Childhood Memories of World War II by Christiane Brandt Faris (a retired Oklahoma City University professor who grew up in Germany under the Nazi regime) and the true crime anthology Oklahoma's Most Notorious Cases by Kent Frates, have also been popular. "A lot of people are coming out to buy books by Oklahoma authors," Hight commented.

Hight plans to run a variety of promotions throughout the holiday season, including discounts on books by Oklahoma authors. Although she hasn't implemented it yet, Hight wants to run a promotion in which shoppers get a discount on children's books if they bring in their favorite childhood toy or stuffed animal. "We'll do things like that up until Christmas, just to get people excited," she explained.

For Anne Holman, the co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, the shopping season kicked off Thanksgiving week. "It really starts for us on Black Friday," said Holman. "We do a shift-your-spending week with our local first organization. We're at 15th and 15th here in Salt Lake City, so we do 15% off. It goes crazy all week, and Small Business Saturday adds to that."

Despite reports that overall retail sales were down for Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend, Holman is optimistic about the season. "We're hoping it's not the case for us," she said. "It feels to us like the local first message is out there--people want to shop local."

The King's English has been selling Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See "hand over fist." Phil Klay's Redeployment and Fives and Twenty-Fives by Michael Pitre have also been selling well. "It seems like some of the books we love the most are some of the saddest," Holman remarked.

Over the past four or five years, Holman reported, the store's sales have been up every year. She hopes and expects to see the trend continue. "It seems like people are buying, and it seems like they're buying local."

At Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee, Wis., owner Daniel Goldin reported that so far, this year's holiday sales are below last year's. Despite the dip in sales from an astronomical 2013, though, he said that the season is going fine.

"We had an unusually large increase last year, so this year has brought us back to earth," explained Goldin. "And while we are down, we are beating 2012. This really wasn't an unexpected script, but it does make it difficult for us to compare number."

The holiday rush is on--weekends began to pick up noticeably throughout November, and December is usually three times as busy as a normal month. As far as particular titles go, David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks and Haruki Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage have had staying power. His staff have been "aggressively handselling" Station Eleven and Sarah Water's The Paying Guests. Sales of Richard Flanagan's newest novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, have jumped appreciably since it won this year's Booker Prize, but Goldin noted that it has not seen as big of a jump as The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, which won the Booker Prize in 2013. Two titles from earlier in the year--Shotgun Lovesongs by Nicholas Butler and The Vacationers by Emma Straub--have returned as end-of-the-year favorites. Goldin, too, pointed to All the Light We Cannot See as the biggest novel of the season for his store. "Really, Anthony Doerr is blowing everything away," he said.

Sarah Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books in Wichita, Kan., reported that though the holiday weekend itself was a little underwhelming, things have steadily built since, and the shopping rush is now in full swing. She added that while there doesn't seem to be a book of the season like Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch last year, her store is selling "a little bit of everything." All the Light We Cannot See is a strong performer, as is Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. In the kid's section, B.J. Novak's Book with No Pictures has been flying off the shelves.

"The sales are really spread out," said Bagby. "Whoever's behind the counter is driving sales of whatever fiction we're selling today."

With the holiday rush in full swing, the store's event calendar has slowed down, but there are still a few big events planned before the end of the year. The standout, Bagby said, is an event with Christo Brand, author of Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend. Brand was Nelson Mandela's guard for many years while Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island. Brand and Mandela gradually bonded and remained lifelong friends as apartheid ended and Mandela became president of South Africa. The event is an off-site one, hosted in conjunction with Wichita State University, and promises to be huge.

"It was the result of an official city visit to South Africa," Bagby explained. "They visited him and invited him. It's a great, great event for this time of year. It's all about empathy and conflict resolution."

Despite the slow build to the season, Bagby expects to be up over last year's holidays. "There are so many good books to sell," she said. "We have a local following that wants to support their local bookstore. More people this year are saying that they just don't want to shop on Amazon, and they're naming it this year instead of just saying online.... Every year the local support is more built up, more in the public mind." --Alex Mutter


Notes

Image of the Day: James Ellroy Signs for Tom's Book Club

James Ellroy, the Los Angeles Review of Books' most recent Tom's Book Club pick, signs copies of Perfidia (Knopf) at Emerson College in Los Angeles. The nonprofit LARB has also launched a fund drive with this video that all book reviewers will understand.


Happy 20th Birthday, Loganberry Books!

Congratulations to Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, which celebrated its 20th anniversary Saturday with a full day of live music, book presentations and book signings, not to mention a birthday cake at noon and food and drink in the evening. Owner Harriett Logan described it as "a whirlwind of a day."


Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House

In the Penguin Random House Publishing Operations Group:

Sue Malone-Barber has been appointed senior v-p, director, publishing operations, Penguin Random House. Nihar Malaviya, executive v-p, chief operating officer, Penguin Random House U.S., commented: "Pre- and post-merger, Sue has brought her skills and expertise to focus on the Penguin Random House Systems integration, as she and her team coordinate the migration of data, pricing, and inventory for more than 400,000 titles, and the systems training of nearly 1,000 Penguin colleagues across the U.S. and Canada."

Kirk Bleemer has been named v-p, director, production strategy, operations, and vendor management, Penguin Random House.

Patty King has been named v-p, director, production, Berkley Publishing Group, and v-p, director, strategic production spend management, Penguin Random House.

Sue Driskill has been named v-p, director, inventory management, Penguin Random House.

Chelsea Vaughn has been named v-p, director, publishing operations business process and support, Penguin Random House.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bob Saget on the Late Late Show

This morning on Morning Joe: Jack Jones, author of Chizi's Tale: The True Story of an Orphaned Black Rhino (Keras, $16.99, 9780692220429).

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Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Brooke Shields, author of There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525954842).

Also on the Meredith Vieira Show: Trista Sutter of The Bachelorette and author of Happily Ever After: The Life-Changing Power of a Grateful Heart (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $24.99, 9780738216652).

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Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Austin Mahone, author of Austin Mahone: Just How It Happened: My Official Story (Little, Brown, $21, 9780316286800).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show: Suki Kim, author of Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite (Crown, $24, 9780307720658).

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Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: Bob Saget, author of Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian (Dey Street Books, $15.99, 9780062274793).


Movies: Still Alice; Predestination

Sony Classics has released the first trailer for Still Alice, based on Lisa Genova's novel. Variety reported the film, starring Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin and Kate Bosworth, was written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. It opens January 16.

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Watch the first seven minutes of Predestination, adapted from Robert A. Heinlein's classic 1959 short story "All You Zombies." Indiewire reported that the clip "holds pretty good promise, and the film develops a rhythm that is both to-the-point and subtly abstract." Directed by Peter and Michael Spierig, the film stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook and Noah Taylor. It opens January 9.


TV: The Magicians

Jason Ralph (Aquarius) and Sosie Bacon (The Closer) will play the leads in Syfy's pilot The Magicians, adapted from Lev Grossman's bestselling book trilogy, Deadline.com reported. They join a cast that includes Stella Maeve, Hale Appleman and Arjun Gupta. Mike Cahill is directing the pilot, production of which is now underway in New Orleans.


Books & Authors

Awards: 800-CEO-READ Business Books; Blue Peter

A shortlist comprised of eight category winners has been announced for the 2015 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards. The overall Business Book of the Year will be named January 8 at the company's awards ceremony and business book industry gathering in New York City. Also to be announced at the gathering will be the inaugural winner of the Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry. This year's category winners are:

Leadership & management: The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation by Josh Linkner (Jossey-Bass)
Entrepreneurship: The Responsible Entrepreneur: Four Game-Changing Archetypes for Founders, Leaders and Impact Investors by Carol Sanford (Jossey-Bass)
Finance & economics: How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class by John Hope Bryant (Berrett-Koehler)
Marketing: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyel (Portfolio)
Sales: UnSelling: The New Customer Experience by Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer (Wiley)
Personal development: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (Crown Business)
Innovation & creativity: The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)
General business: The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company by Michael S. Malone (HarperBusiness)

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Finalists have been announced for the Blue Peter Book Awards. Approximately 200 children from 10 schools across the U.K. will read the shortlisted books and vote for their favorites in each category. The two winners will be announced March 5. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Best book with facts
Animalium by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Katie Scott
Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy
The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff by Andy Seed, illustrated by Scott Garrett

Best story
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell
The Spy Who Loved School Dinners by Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Thomas Flintham


Book Review

Review: The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (Scribner, $26 hardcover, 9781439199350, December 9, 2014)

Anita Diamant (The Red Tent; Day After Night) delves into life in early 20th-century Boston, Mass., through the eyes of a young Jewish woman, Addie Baum. Taking the form of an interview of 85-year-old Addie by her 22-year-old granddaughter, The Boston Girl starts in 1915 when Addie is 16 years old.

She lives in a one-room tenement apartment in the North End of Boston with her Mameh and Papa and her older sister Celia. Addie has another older sister, Betty, who lives by herself; Mameh thinks Betty is a "whore" for moving out before she's married, and Addie misses her terribly. Their apartment is in a neighborhood that smells of "garbage and worse." "We had a stove, a table, a few chairs, and a saggy couch that Mameh and Papa slept on at night. Celia and I shared a bed in a kind of narrow hallway that didn't go anywhere; the landlords chopped up those apartments to squeeze in more people so they could get more rent." Despite being 29 and unwed, Celia is the favored daughter, who sews so well she can "sew the wings on a bird." Addie is called "the other one"; since she has no skill with a needle, she's unable to help with the piecework Mameh does to bring in extra money. Living in such squalor, with a home life that lacks any joy, Addie spends as much time a possible at school and the library.

At school and at Saturday Club--a literary reading group that meets at the library--Addie forges friendships with a circle of girls that will last throughout her life and meets the women instructors who influence her choices and decisions later on. These characters--some Jewish, some Italian--move in and out of the story as Diamant intertwines Addie's moments of personal reflection with details of historical events of the period, including the 1918 flu epidemic and World War I.

With the help of her friends, Addie learns how difficult it is to make a mark on the world, due to discrimination against women in the workforce and against Jews in particular. And although Addie wants a husband, she wants to be more than just someone's wife. Through her avid interest in reading and writing she lands a job at a newspaper and manages to become her own woman, then eventually marries a young, ambitious Jewish man. Diamant focuses primarily on Addie's adolescence, and this rich tapestry weaves together the joys and sorrows of families struggling to cling to old-country ways as their youngest members embrace a new culture with the success that can come from strong bonds of friendship forged in childhood. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: Filled with colorful family fights, forgiveness and first loves, Anita Diamant's fifth novel highlights a young Jewish woman's life in early 20th-century Boston.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in November

The following were the most popular book club books during November based on votes from more than 120,000 book club readers from more than 39,000 book clubs registered at Bookmovement.com:

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
3. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
4. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
6. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
9. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
10. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

Rising Stars:

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

[Many thanks to Bookmovement.com!]


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