Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Little Simon: Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird

Houghton Mifflin: No Place for Monsters by Kory Merritt

Algonquin Young Readers: Skunk and Badger (Skunk and Badger 1) by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Timber Press: As the World Burns: The New Generation of Activists and the Landmark Legal Fight Against Climate Change by Lee Van Der Voo

IDW Publishing: Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni, illustrtaed by Thibault Balahy


Notes: Rowling on 'Real Life'; Bob Miller's HarperStudio

"On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure," said J.K. Rowling in her commencement address at Harvard University. "And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life,' I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination." You can find a video of the speech as well as the text on Harvard Magazine's website.


Before being anointed as one of Richard & Judy's Summer Reads, James Bradley's Gothic thriller The Resurrectionist had "sold fewer than 300 copies," according to the Independent, which added that, "unless he is very unlucky, Mr Bradley can now expect to be selling 250,000 copies--much more than if he had won the Booker Prize."

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Will Atkinson, sales and marketing director, Faber & Faber, "It's transforming for a book. Along with the big literary prizes, it's probably the most important promotional tool."


Good night and not-so-sweet dreams. Commissioning editor Caroline Raphael, head of BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime, had to defend her recent choices of The Behaviour of Moths by Poppy Adams and Helpless by Barbara Gowdy after some listeners complained that the books were "disturbing."

"I would accept that The Behaviour of Moths followed straight on by Helpless may not have been the best two books to put next to each other," she said. "However we do try to get books on publication, and the paperback of Helpless is out now, and Behaviour of Moths has just been published. That's when people are reading the reviews, and they are being talked about."


Bob Miller's new venture at HarperCollins (Shelf Awareness, April 3, 2008) will be known as HarperStudio.

He's hired Debbie Stier, who has headed Morrow Avon publicity for eight years, as senior v-p, associate publisher. She has also been named director of digital marketing development for HarperCollins's general books group, where she will focus on special projects "to extend the online marketing reach of our authors through partnerships with media outlets." The change is effective July 1.

Julia Cheiffetz is joining HarperStudio as senior editor. She has been an editor at the Random House Publishing Group.

In related moves:

Seale Ballenger has been promoted to v-p, group publicity director, for William Morrow, HarperEntertainment, Eos and Morrow Cookbooks. Since 2004, he has been director of publicity for HarperEntertainment and William Morrow and earlier working in publicity at Random House, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books and Atria.

Dee Dee De Bartlo has been promoted to senior director of publicity and new initiatives for William Morrow, HarperEntertainment, Eos and Morrow Cookbooks. She joined Morrow 10 years ago.


Globe Pequot Press has bought Compass Maps Ltd., Winford, England, and reorganized several parts of the company. Andy Riddle, managing director of Footprint, will add the role of sales director for Compass, and Linda Flynn, a longtime employee of Compass, has become general manager.

In the U.S., the map group, formerly part of Morris Visitor Publications, is becoming part of Globe Pequot.


Atheneum Books for Young Readers: Tune It Out by Jamie Summer

Books & Books Basking in Cayman Islands

Books & Books, which may be the only bookstore in the country other than Borders with a store abroad, has "gotten used to distance buying and dealing with Customs," owner Mitchell Kaplan said during a conversation at BEA. "We would consider opening other stores outside the country."

With its main store in Coral Gables, Fla., two other locations nearby and an airport store landing soon, Books & Books opened in the Cayman Islands last December in a new urbanism project "in the heart of Grand Cayman," Kaplan said. The Camana Bay development aims to create "a city center," Kaplan said, and "enhances the entire island." The island has less than 50,000 permanent residents, but tourism draws many people--both divers and passengers on the many cruise ships that stop in the Caymans.

The Books & Books store, one of the first retailers in Camana Bay, "is a beautiful store, and there's nothing like it in the Cayman Islands," Kaplan continued. "It's like bringing water to the thirsty. At home, we're in an extremely mature, competitive market. On the Cayman Islands, people are thanking us."

The store is a joint venture, which Kaplan called "the best of both worlds. My partners do as much locally as possible, and we provide all the services. My partners get it, which is great."

Before opening the store, "I didn't know much about the Cayman Islands," Kaplan added. Many Cayman Islanders shop in Miami, and through a mutual friend, he was introduced to Jackie Doak of Dart Realty, the developer of Camana Bay, who asked him to become involved. "They understood the power of what a bookstore could do for a sense of community," Kaplan said.

In just a half year, Books & Books in the Cayman Islands has had many successful events, Kaplan said, including signings by Michael Ondtaaje and Patrick McGrath, for example. The store celebrated its opening with a variety of readings by local, Caribbean and U.S. authors. "Part of what we're doing is bringing the whole idea of author appearances there," Kaplan commented.

The store also had a book club mixer like the ones it hosts in Florida. The Cayman Islands version starred Lisa See and Carol Fitzgerald of the Book Report Network and drew more than 100 people. "There is no natural meeting place for people there," Kaplan commented. "We were able to bring down the concept of the community-based bookshop. It's something that translates abroad. In some countries, the independent brand of bookselling is pretty mature, but it does not exist everywhere. It's not even in the language in some parts of the world."--John Mutter


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 07.06.20

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Just How Stupid Are We

Tonight on the Daily Show: Ralph Reed, author of Dark Horse: A Political Thriller (Howard Books, $19.99, 9781416576495/1416576495). He will also appear today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Jules Asner, author of Whacked (Weinstein Books, $23.95, 9781602860179/1602860173).


Tomorrow morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features two interviews:

  • Virginia Boyd, author of One Fell Swoop (Thomas Nelson, $24.99, 9781595543998/1595543996)
  • DeLaune' Michel, author of The Safety of Secrets (Avon, $13.95, 9780060817367/0060817364)

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at; the archived edition will be posted tomorrow afternoon. 


Tomorrow morning on Fox News' Fox & Friends: Jackie Collins, author of Married Lovers (St. Martin's, $26.95, 9780312341817/0312341814).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Rob Walker, author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House, $25, 9781400063918/1400063914).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Scott McClellan, author of What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485566/1586485563).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Rick Shenkman, author of Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter (Basic Books, $25, 9780465077717/0465077714).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (FSG, $26, 9780374187675/0374187673).


University Press of Kentucky: The Redshirt (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose) by Corey Sobel

Books & Authors

BEA in L.A.: Editors Buzz

The Lace Reader

A bookseller got so caught up reading Brunonia Barry's The Lace Reader (July) one morning that she forgot to open her store, William Morrow editor Laurie Chittenden told the audience during the Editors Buzz panel at BEA, moderated by Sara Nelson of Publishers Weekly.

The Lace Reader was originally self-published and sold 2,000 copies, aided by Barry's appearances in the Salem, Mass., area, where she lives. Set in contemporary Salem, the novel's main character is from a family that can read the future in a piece of lace.

The story, said Chittenden, reminded her of books she loved while growing up: gothic tales like Rebecca and ones with strong women characters like The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Those who decide to delve into The Lace Reader, though, might want to pair up with a friend and read the novel simultaneously. After reading the ending, warned Chittenden, "You'll need someone to talk to."

The Heretic's Daughter

Another buzzed book is set in historical Salem, Mass.: The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent (September). The debut novel is narrated by young Sarah Carrier as she witnesses the tragic fate of her mother, Martha, one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Puritan New England.

A 10th generation descendant of Martha Carrier, Kent spent five years writing the novel. One of her colleagues read The Heretic's Daughter, said Little, Brown editor Reagan Arthur, "and immediately started it again because she didn't want it to end."

Miles from Nowhere

Riverhead editor Megan Lynch presented another debut novel, Nami Mun's Miles from Nowhere (December), about a teenage girl on the run in New York City in the 1980s. "Mostly it's a story of survival," said Lynch, with "moments of unexpected beauty."

The author shares similarities with her main character, including being born in Korea, raised in the Bronx and leaving home at an early age. "The authenticity of emotion is what makes you connect with the character and the story," Lynch said.

Mun first came to Lynch's attention when a mutual friend tipped her off that Mun, a Pushcart Prize winner, was doing a reading at a bar in New York City's East Village.

The Flying Troutmans

"Pretty much every book I've done is one you wouldn't know," Richard Nash of Counterpoint and Soft Skull joked. He's hoping that Canadian author Miriam Toews' new novel, The Flying Troutmans (October), will not fall into that category.

After Hattie's sister, Min, is taken to a psychiatric ward, she sets off on a wild road trip with her 11-year-old niece and 15-year-old nephew to find their father in the U.S. "The energy of it is like Little Miss Sunshine," said Nash, "with three crazy people driving across the country in a van."

The author has three teenage children, and the command she has of these voices is mind blowing," Nash said. He also noted that the book will appeal to everyone from young to old and "will engender in a lot of readers a sense of joy and discovery."

The White Mary

Part mystery, part adventure, part love story and "suspenseful the whole way through" is how Henry Holt editor Sarah Knight described The White Mary by Kira Salak (August).

The White Mary
is the story of Marika Vecera, a war reporter who travels into the remote jungle of Papua New Guinea. She's searching for a man she has admired from afar, Pulitzer-winning journalist Robert Lewis. Like everyone else, Marika presumes Lewis committed suicide--until a missionary writes to her claiming to have seen him in the jungle.

Salak was the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea, an experience she recounts in the nonfiction work Four Corners and draws on for The White Mary. "I'm never going to Papua New Guinea. Who are we kidding?" said Knight. "But Kira put me in the heart of the jungle."

The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong

Rounding out the spotlighted books was the sole nonfiction title, The Book of Animal Ignorance (September), the follow-up to The Book of General Ignorance. "It was a surprise bestseller for us," said Harmony Books editor John Glusman of the latter. The original book came out of a BBC quiz show and currently has 180,000 copies in print. Glusman touted the illustrated tomes--filled with "possibly useless but interesting information"--as good holiday gift selections.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Awards: Translation Prizes; Yale Drama Series

"Good news for translated fiction and small presses doesn't arrive that often," the Guardian noted in its report on recent awards for literary translations into English.

Margaret Jull Costa's translation of The Maias by Portuguese novelist Eca de Queiroz was honored with the Oxford Weidenfeld prize, which was especially pleasing to the book's U.K. publisher, Dedalus Press, "since just weeks ago this English rendering of The Maias also secured the $3,000 PEN/Book-of-the Month club translation prize." The book is available in the U.S. from New Directions.

David Dollenmayer received the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize for his version of Moses Rosenkranz's Childhood: An Autobiographical Fragment, published by Syracuse University Press.


Grenadine by Neil Wechsler has won the 2008 Yale Drama Series Award and will be published by Yale University Press and receive a reading at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Wechsler also receives the David C. Horn Prize of $10,000. The judge was Edward Albee.

Last year's inaugural winner, The Boys from Siam by John Austin Connolly, will be published this October.


Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, June 17:

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's, $27.95, 9780312349516/0312349513) is the 14th adventure with bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

No Choice But Seduction: A Malory Novel by Johanna Lindsey (Pocket, $25, 9781416537328/1416537325) is the newest historical romance featuring the aristocratic Malory family.

The Sister by Poppy Adams (Knopf, $23.95, 9780307268167/0307268160) follows two sisters who reunite at their childhood home after 50 years apart.

One in a Million by Kimberla Lawson Roby (Morrow, $19.95, 9780061442957/006144295X) explores a marriage changed forever by unforeseen events.

The Beach House by Jane Green (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018857/0670018856) follows a reclusive Nantucket resident who opens her home to renters after having financial trouble.

Appearing in paperback next week:

Return to Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux (Pocket, $7.99, 9781416509738/1416509739).


Novel Destinations: Venice

The following is the last of four excerpts Shelf Awareness has run from Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon (National Geographic, 9781426203664), which is now on sale. Click here for information about the book, which includes a foreword by Matthew Pearl, and to visit the authors' literary travel blog, go to Shannon is a contributing writer to Shelf Awareness.



No literary journey would be complete without a trip abroad--or dining and dozing in the same places famous scribes once did the same. Here we follow Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, and other writers to Venice, Italy.

Caffè Florian
Venice, Italy

Caffè Florian's long and illustrious history began on December 29, 1720. In the ensuing centuries, famous figures have been drawn to its lushly decorated interior, which features hand-painted antique mirrors, frescoes, ornate woodwork, and plush red seating. Native Venetian and legendary lothario Giacomo Casanova went in search of female company at Florian's, which was then the only café to admit women. Other famous patrons have included Lord Byron, Goethe, Marcel Proust, Charles Dickens, and Henry James, who featured the café in the short stories "The Aspern Papers" and "The Chaperon."

Florian's is located in the Piazza San Marco, which James described in Wings of the Dove as "a great social saloon, a smooth-floored, blue-roofed chamber of amenity." A particular treat is to enjoy an evening on the piazza--as James once did--where live chamber music is played from April to October. He reminisced in The Italian Hours about enjoying "star-light gossip at Florian's, feeling the sea-breeze throb languidly between the two great pillars of the Piazzetta and over the low black domes of the church."

Hotel Gritti Palace
Venice, Italy

A 16th-century former doge's palace on the Grand Canal was Hemingway's Venetian pied-à-terre during trips he took to the waterbound Italian city in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After his 1948 stay there, he tattled to his publisher that his archenemy Sinclair Lewis, a fellow guest at the Gritti, "would go down to the bar and have three or four double whiskies in the evening and then write." Hemingway's time in Venice inspired his critically dismissed novel, Across the River and into the Trees, whose doomed protagonist checks into his familiar room at the Gritti, feeling at last "really home, if a hotel room may be so described." In early 1954, Hemingway spent several weeks recuperating at the Gritti after surviving two near-fatal plane crashes during an African safari. With typical bravado, he relished sitting on the hotel's canal-side terrace each morning with a glass of cold champagne while reading his obituaries, which had erroneously appeared in newspapers around the world after his second plane crash. Today, guests can book the luxurious suite where Hemingway nursed himself back to health.

Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon. Copyright © 2008 Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon.


AuthorBuzz: Constable: The Mimosa Tree Mystery (A Crown Colony Novel) by Ovidia Yu
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