Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Freeform: Deadly Little Scandals (Debutantes, Book Two) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Workman Publishing: Halloween Titles by Various - Click here for more information!

Jackson University Press: The Papaya King by Adam Pelzman

Carolrhoda Books: Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen by Beth Mills

Sharjah Book Authority Publishers Conference October 27th-29th --Register Now!

Little Brown Books For Young Readers: Ping by Ani Castillo

Other Press: Labyrinth by Burhan Sonmez

News

Notes: In the Path of Gustav; New Bookstore

Windows a bookshop in Monroe, La., near the path of Hurricane Gustav, was closed yesterday because the store had no power, co-owner Elisabeth Grant-Gibson wrote. Power was expected to be restored during the night. The radio station where Grant-Gibson and Pat Grant record the weekly Book Report (see Media Heat below) is up and running. Yesterday the pair went ahead with the theme for the show that they had planned weeks ago: Katrina books.

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"It has been a lifelong dream of mine, one of those dreams you never think will come true," Linda Brown told the Pensacola News Journal regarding her decision to open the River Bank Art Gallery & Book Store, Milton, Fla., after attending July 4 festivities at the Riverwalk and realizing the area lacked a bookshop.

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After someone leaked a partial draft of Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun, the last part of the Twilight Saga, the author responded over the weekend by posting a draft of the book online, a version readers can download. Her reasoning, as she wrote on her website: she didn't want to make curious fans feel bad about looking at an unapproved site. Unfortunately, she wrote, the experience has made her put the book on hold "indefinitely."

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MacLean. Sir Fitzroy Maclean. The Telegraph reported that a "collection of James Bond books once owned by a man credited with being 'the real 007' is expected to sell for £20,000 [US$42,590] at auction this week." The collection features a rare first edition of the original Bond book, Casino Royale.

"Sir Fitzroy is one of the men thought to have inspired the character of Bond," said Simon Vickers, the auctioneer's representative. "He certainly fits the bill and when asked during his life about the link he wouldn't confirm or deny it. He was a friend of Fleming's and they moved in the same circles."

 


Gallery / Saga Press: The Deep by Rivers Soloman, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes


Mitchell Kaplan, Movie Mogul

Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, with several stores in southern Florida and one in the Cayman Islands and a past president of the American Booksellers Association, has come up with an unusual bookseller sideline: with Hollywood producer Paula Mazur, he's created a company will make films based on books. Already the Mazur/Kaplan Company has its first project: it has bought film rights to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows (Dial Press), which was released last month and has become one of the more appealing bestsellers of the summer.

Kaplan called the enterprise "an interesting permutation of what I've been doing all these years" and said that he's "always been interested in making books into film." He said that in the world of adaptations "basically it's all about the story and translating the story in an essential way."

Kaplan said that Mazur, whom he's known for a long time and with whom he has often discussed books and films, had just produced and wrote the initial screenplay for Nim's Island (based on the novel by Wendy Orr) and "has a good history of working with authors producing their books." Kaplan plans to be involved in all aspects of the company and can "bring books to the table early in the process."

For her part, Mazur told Shelf Awareness, "I have my own inroads into the publishing world but not nearly as substantial as Mitchell's." She said she is "thrilled" to be working with Kaplan. "I'm kind of an outside-the-box person in Hollywood. I've done what I've wanted to do, and this feels like the perfect next step: working with a bookseller."

Mazur said, too, that she likes to "involve the author in the process. Frankly it's so much fun to work with good authors." Sometimes, they like to be very involved, sometimes not. Often they can provide "the back story that doesn't show up on the page."

The Mazur/Kaplan Company has obtained financing and is considering buying film to two more books.

In the case of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Kaplan read the book in galley form in the spring and recommended it to Mazur. "I read it and loved it, too," she said. Then Kaplan and Mazur had lunch with Barrows during BEA in Los Angeles, and "shared our vision of the adaptation and how much we loved the book," Mazur said. "It was a meeting of the minds."

Mazur now is taking the project around "to the first tier of obvious companies [in Hollywood] to see if any want to come aboard at this point." She thinks the book will make a strong commercial film, saying that the authors "took subject matter that is substantive and dealt with it in a very light-handed way and made it a beautiful, lovely, easy read."

The Hollywood pitch for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: it is, Mazur said, "like Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones's Diary against a fantastic historical backdrop most people haven't seen."--John Mutter

 


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 08.19.19


Image of the Day: Bright Light on Skylight

At the grand opening last Saturday of Skylight Books 1814, the extension of Skylight Books, in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif.: (from l. to r.) City Council member Tom LaBonge; general manager and co-owner Kerry Slattery; Steven Salardino, a manager; and Charles.

 


Abrams Books for Young Readers: Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (Questioneers) by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts


M&A Activity: Rowman & Littlefield; Random House SA/Struik

Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group has bought the assets of Sundance/Newbridge Educational Publishing from Haight's Cross Communications. Sundance/Newbridge's president and CEO Paul Konowitch will remain with the company and manage it as a separate business at its offices in Northborough, Mass.

In a statement, Rowman & Littlefield president and CEO Jed Lyons said that "with over 2,400 titles, Sundance/Newbridge's highly respected imprints provide a terrific entry for us into the K-8 educational marketplace. Until now, we have focused on the academic and college markets. In addition, through our book distribution business, National Book Network, we believe there are many attractive NBN juvenile trade books that can be used to enhance the existing selection of trade books that Sundance distributes through its popular 'Sundance Picks' core classroom library collections."

Konowitch said that Rowman & Littlefield "intends to aggressively support the Sundance/Newbridge imprints by rebuilding and expanding the sales team with independent reps and actively promoting its large number of titles through catalogs, exhibits, direct mail and web activities. Sundance/Newbridge has a very strong backlist of titles and we plan to move forward and continue with the development of new products."

The company's national sales organization will continue to be run by John Atkocaitis, senior v-p of sales, from Rowman & Littlefield's Ivan R. Dee office in Chicago. Order fulfillment and customer service remain in the Northborough office.

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Random House South Africa and Struik Publishing have merged to create Random House Struik, which will be led by Stephen Johnson, formerly managing director of Random House South Africa, and be owned 50.1% by New Holland Publishing and 49.9% by Random House Group, London.

About half of Random House Struik's list will be local and include titles in Afrikaans and English. Founded 47 years ago, Struik publishes primarily nonfiction African titles under the Struik, Zebra Press and Oshun Books imprints. Random House South Africa's local imprint, Umuzi, founded three years on the company's 40th anniversary, will continue to publish fiction and nonfiction.

The companies said that the merger will provide "a stronger platform for the company to move into digital publishing and gain access to new audiences worldwide. Struik's well-established trading network also means the company is well placed to reach markets on the African continent."

International Publishers Marketing, which distributes Struik in the U.S. and Canada, will continue as the distributor for the merged company. IPM's Jean Westcott said, "We will be bringing on the combined list over the next few months."

 


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Gorman to Become CEO of Allen & Unwin

Bookseller and Publisher Online has reported that effective October 27, Robert Gorman will become CEO of Allen & Unwin, the highly respected Australian publisher many of whose titles are distributed in the U.S. by Independent Publishers Group. Gorman has been CEO of HarperCollins Australia since Brian Murray returned to the U.S. in 2004. (Murray now heads HarperCollins in the U.S.)

With the change, Paul Donovan, managing director, becomes executive director, and trade publishing director Sue Hines and financial director David Martin will join A&U's executive board.

According to B&P, Allen & Unwin chairman Patrick Gallagher commented: "As we've enjoyed such stability in the leadership team from the beginning it was a challenge to contemplate change at the top. Paul Donovan and myself are not getting any younger though, and we agreed that new blood was needed and an infusion of fresh ideas. At the same time we are very jealous of the A&U culture and want to ensure that this will continue.

"Robert of course spent the first fourteen years of his publishing career with us. He made a major contribution before he went on to new challenges at HarperCollins, where we've watched and been most impressed by his achievements. We could not be more pleased that he's agreed to come and take the helm at Allen & Unwin."

He praised "the magnificent contribution Paul Donovan has made as sales and marketing and then managing director. We've worked together for longer than most marriages, over thirty years in fact, and I could not have had a better colleague."

At HarperCollins Australia, marketing director Jim Demetriou will assume Gorman's responsibilities until a new CEO is appointed.

 


Amulet Books: In the Hall with the Knife: A Clue Mystery, Book One by Diana Peterfreund


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Katrina Revisited

This morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., has two interviews on the theme of Katrina Revisited:

  • Kirby Larson, co-author with Mary Nethery of Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival, illustrated by Jean Cassels (Walker, $16.99, 9780802797544/0802797547)
  • Ian McNulty, author of A Season of Night: New Orleans Life after Katrina (University Press of Mississippi, $25, 9781934110911/1934110914)

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

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Newt Gingrich, co-author of Days of Infamy (Thomas Dunne Books, $27.95, 9780312363512/0312363516).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Emma Gilbey Keller, author of The Comeback: Seven Stories of Women Who Went from Career to Family and Back Again (Bloomsbury USA. $25, 9781596912236/1596912235).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Tracey Seaman, author of Real Food for Healthy Kids: 200+ Easy, Wholesome Recipes (Morrow Cookbooks, $29.95, 9780060857912/0060857919).

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Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: part one of An American Bookworm in Paris, which features a talk with Sylvia Whitman, manager of Shakespeare and Company, the legendary store that has a long tradition of helping American writers in Paris, then a talk with François Cusset, co-author of French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States (University of Minnesota Press, $24.95, 9780816647330/081664733X), who "explains how French Theory--that blend of philosophy, politics and literary criticism--found its bastion and stronghold in American universities."

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Qanta A. Ahmed, author of In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom (Sourcebooks, $14.99, 9781402210877/1402210876).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (Viking, $24.95, 9780670020744/0670020745).

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Tomorrow on Talk of the Nation: Linda Robinson, author of Tell Me How This Ends: General David Petraeus and the Search for a Way Out of Iraq (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485283/1586485288).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Ron Paul, author of The Revolution: A Manifesto (Grand Central Publishing, $21, 9780446537513/0446537519).

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Great Great Lakes Books; Wallace Stevens Award

The winners of the 2008 Great Lakes Book Awards, sponsored by the Great Lakes Booksellers Association and recognizing "excellence in the writing and publishing of books that capture the spirit and enhance awareness of the Great Lakes region," are:

  • Fiction: Keeping the House by Ellen Baker (Random House)
  • General: The Third Coast by Edward McClelland (Chicago Review Press)
  • Children's Chapter Book: Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)
  • Children's Picture Book: Toy Boat by Randall de Sève, illustrated by Loren Long (Philomel)

GLBA also is giving its Voice of the Heartland award, recognizing "a person or company in the book industry for a lifetime contribution to regional books," to Partners Book Distributing, the wholesaler and distributor in Holt, Mich., that has specialized in regional books since its founding in 1984. It also has an annual catalogue of regional titles and promotes regional books to its customers. GLBA added that Partners's "commitment to regional books has been an integral part of the success of many independent bookstores and small presses."

The awards will be presented at luncheon on Friday, October 3, during the GLBA fall trade show in Dearborn, Mich.

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Louise Glück has won the 2008 Wallace Stevens Award, which is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets and recognizes "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry." The award carries a $100,000 stipend.

Academy Chancellor Robert Pinsky said that Glück "sometimes uses language so plain it can almost seem like someone is speaking to you spontaneously--but it's always intensely distinguished . . . There's always a surprise in Louise's writing; in every turn, every sentence, every line, something goes somewhere a little different, or very different, from where you thought it would."

In addition, Brigit Pegeen Kelly has won the 2008 Academy Fellowship, which is awarded once a year to a poet for "distinguished poetic achievement" and includes a stipend of $25,000.

Concerning Kelly's work, Academy Chancellor Carl Phillips said: "In the course of her three books, Brigit Kelly has shaped a poetry and vision that demand to be taken on their own terms--which is to say, there's an originality that is everywhere unmistakable. Her sentences shuttle steadily back and forth to produce a tapestry-like meditation that throws into arresting--often disturbing--relief a world that lies 'beyond the report of beauty,' where cruelty and sweetness are easily, perhaps necessarily, confusable for one another, a world whose topography is at once mythic, recognizable, and utterly Kelly's own."

 



Book Review

Mandahla: Walking the Perfect Square

Walking the Perfect Square by Reed Farrel Coleman (Busted Flush Press, $13.00 Paperback, 9780979270956, June 2008)



Originally published in 2001 by Permanent Press, Walking the Perfect Square has been reissued by Busted Flush Press, good news for mystery lovers, since Reed Farrel Coleman is quite a writer, and this is only the first of five books about Moe Prager. Prager is a 30-ish former cop, turfed out after a knee injury from slipping on a piece of carbon paper at the station. Not the usual hurt-in-the-line-of-duty cop, the loner, the misfit, Moe is surprisingly stable and sane. In this first novel, he's beat up a bit, and his car is torched, but most of the mayhem is psychological, dealing with a young man trying to find his place in the world, who is up against a hard father and the legacy of a heroic brother who died in Vietnam.

The story begins in 1998, 20 years after Prager was asked to look for a missing college student, Patrick Maloney. Summoned to a hospice by a dying man's request, he is pushed back into memories of his search, which began in the wintry months of 1978. Rico Tripoli, Moe's oldest friend from the force, sets Moe up with Francis Maloney, the father of Patrick, to aid in the search. Oddly the father is combative, and doesn't seem to want his son found. Moe is reluctant, but the dangling carrot is the ability of the elder Maloney to pave the way for a liquor license for the wine store Moe and his brother Aaron want to open. He takes the case, but thinks, "As a Jew I had a sort of genetic X-ray vision for tragedy, and tragedy was all I could see coming."

Moe soon realizes he's being used by someone in the police department, or higher up, serving as a conduit for the flow of information. But for what and to whom? As Moe wends his way through this twisted landscape of secrets, he not only meets his future wife, Patrick's sister, but learns more than he wants about Francis Maloney: "Cruelty is an unlimited resource. There were days on the job I wondered why it didn't rain crying babies."

The story and the characters will hook you, and Coleman's lightly warped take on the world will make you laugh, dark as the tale is. As soon as I finished Walking the Perfect Square, I started the next in the series, Redemption Street. The only problem with the following three (The James Deans, Soul Patch, Empty Ever After) will be to decide whether to read them immediately or savor them over a period of time.--Marilyn Dahl

 


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Bookshop Religion Sections Seek Balance

One of the monks, called Serapion, sold his book of the Gospels and gave the money to those who were hungry, saying: I have sold the book which told me to sell all I had and give it to the poor.

This bookseller's parable comes from Thomas Merton's The Wisdom of the Desert: Some Sayings of the Desert Fathers. It's a Catholic book, written by a Trappist monk, with requisite Nihil obstat and Imprimatur. It also happens to be a book I believe I could handsell to a reader of any religious faith--or faithlessness, for that matter.

Sharon Roth of Loyola Press originally asked us whether "there is a religious bias by bookstore buyers in ordering religious books--especially Catholic books." I have no straightforward answer for her other than my suspicion that "bias" is not the appropriate word here. Substitute "balance" because that is how most indie booksellers seem to describe their aspirations for building a good religion section.

But what is "balance?"

Is this "balance" achieved in most bookshops?

These are also good questions.     

"As a buyer, I look at the demographic and market that my store is in and completely bypass my own beliefs for the most part," said Katie Glasgow of Mitchell Books, Fort Wayne, Ind. "Being in a predominantly white, middle-class market we have mostly Protestant Christians as a customer base and therefore stock more Christianity texts. But, we stock a wide variety of religious books, everything from the Koran to Apocrypha to Mother Teresa to the Dalai Lama, although recently we decided to limit the amount of books within our religious section since it really wasn't selling."

Stephanie Anderson of the Moravian Bookstore, Bethlehem, Pa., carries books "based on what the interests of the community are. For example, as we are in the middle of a large Moravian community, we tend to heavily promote and merchandise Moravian titles (in fact, Moravian books have their own section in the store). Other religions are best merchandised in terms of popular authors (Deepak Chopra, Karen Armstrong, etc)."

"We have a permanent display table up front for religious books as well as several wall sections," noted Patrick Covington of Accent on Books, Asheville, N.C. "We also do numerous displays at conferences and workshops. As far as some of our customers are concerned we are a religious bookstore. That's what they come to us for." In addition to books on other faiths, Covington stocks "books by the 'new atheists' such as Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris . . . and they do quite well. Our customers--which include many clergy--don't mind being challenged by such ideas. As for books that seemed to us hateful or downright bigoted, we wouldn't carry those books whether they dealt with religion or any other topic."
 
Kelley Drahushuk of Spotty Dog Books & Ale, Hudson, N.Y., tries "to appeal to the broadest audience possible in as many religions as possible." She observes that books about atheism are "my best-selling 'religious' titles, hands down. Apparently my store attracts a bunch of heathens. Could it be the fact that we serve beer here?" As to whether a bookstore has any responsibility to the community to carry religious books, Kelley answered, "If the community demands it, then the bookstore would be foolish not to provide it. Responsibility is a strong word though, I think."

Another of Sharon Roth's questions--"Should a bookstore carry the Koran and books about Islam?"--provoked, as might be expected, some heated responses.

"Good god that's a seminal religious text important not only to Muslims but to anyone interested in religious scholarship and ideas," wrote Sheryl Cotleur of Book Passage, Corte Madera (and San Francisco), Calif. "It is not a political book. I cannot imagine a world where an independent bookstore would refuse to carry the Koran and think it important to carry the Bible."

Kelley Drahushuk also wondered if there was "some reason why a bookstore would not carry books about Islam or the Koran? Should a bookstore carry the Bible? I carry books on Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Wicca, Buddhism, Judaism, and Hinduism. Heck, I carry a book called Gay Witchcraft that outsells many of the other titles in the section."

Balance.

Thomas Merton wrote that "these Desert Fathers had much in common with Indian Yogis and with Zen Buddhist monks in China and Japan." If bookstore religion sections represent an at once small and infinite world, what is "balance" in this context? For most of us, balance is a bookseller's quest, not a destination.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

 


AuthorBuzz: Revell: The Words Between Us by Erin Bartels
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