Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


Notes: Feds Look into Google Settlement, Deadline Moved

The Justice Department has begun an antitrust inquiry into the Google settlement with authors and publishers involving Google Book Search, according to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

The Justice Department has been in communication with some groups that oppose the October settlement between Google, the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild.

In another Google move, the federal court judge overseeing the settlement has moved the deadline for authors to opt out of the settlement to September from May 5.


In June, Barnes & Noble is closing its 28,000-sq.-ft. store in the Brookdale Shopping Center, Brooklyn Center, Minn., the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported. The store opened in 2002.

The shopping center's vacancy rate is barely 50%, which David Deason, B&N's v-p of development cited as a main reason for B&N's decision.


The quest to add J.R.R. Tolkien's work to the e-book ranks "lasted six years, more than half as long as the author needed to complete his Lord of the Rings trilogy," according to the Associated Press (via USA Today).

"The Tolkien estate wanted to be absolutely confident that e-books were not something ephemeral," said David Brawn, publishing operations director at HarperCollins UK. "We were finally able to convince the Tolkien estate that the e-book is a legitimate, widespread format."

The AP added that while resistance to the format is diminishing, "you could still build a brilliant collection with the books that remain off-line. They include, most notably, the Harry Potter series, and countless other favorites: Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22; Lolita and To Kill a Mockingbird; Atlas Shrugged and Things Fall Apart; The Outsiders and Fahrenheit 451."


Reluctantly Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif., muses on the store blog about books that are better than their covers--and asks for examples. One pitfall of the discussion, he admits: "Maybe you don't want to unsell books . . ."


Midpoint Trade Books, the sales, marketing and books distributor, has begun a program under which interns write on a new blog, pressing digressions, about their experiences and books that interest them. The company said the contributors "are free to write what they want, say what they want and post what they want."

Midpoint said that the first intern, John Duda, a creative writing major at Brooklyn College, "expresses himself weekly on pressing digressions, speaking on a myriad of topics that range from news on our books to the book publishing industry as whole, all from the unique and unblemished perspective of a person brand new to book publishing. While learning the ins and outs of our industry, he will also be able to leave this internship with real life experience and something to show future employers."


Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

BEA 2009: Rocking Opening Night Keynote

Steven Tyler and Clarence Clemons will be interviewed together by Chuck Klosterman during BookExpo America's Opening Night Keynote on Thursday, May 28, at 5:30 p.m. The event is free to all BEA attendees and will be held on BEA's "main" stage in the special events hall at the Javits Center.

Tyler, a member of Aerosmith, has written the memoir Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? (Ecco), and Clemons tells about his life before, during and after the E-Street Band in Big Man (Grand Central). Klosterman is a columnist and author whose next book is Eating the Dinosaur (Scribner).

The keynote marks the debut of BEA's Author Stage, which features groups of authors who will be interviewed by journalists or other authors on the two stages on the show floor.

Other programming earlier on Thursday includes the ABA's Day of Education, the Big Ideas at BEA series, the CEO Roundtable with Tina Brown at 3 and the Editors' Buzz panel at 4:15.

In a statement, Lance Fensterman, BEA's v-p and show manager, called the keynote opener "an embarrassment of riches. These guys have seen it all and they will provide a wild opening to our show. BEA is about featuring stories, whether real or fictional, and Steve Tyler and Clarence Clemons certainly have their fair share of stories!"


News from New England: Awards and Grants

The winners of the New England Book Awards, sponsored by the New England Independent Booksellers Association, are:

Fiction: Geraldine Brooks, author of March, Year of Wonders, Nine Parts of Desire, Foreign Correspondence and People of the Book.

Nonfiction: Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Pig, Saving the Ghost of the Mountain, Wind Energy Basics, Journey of the Pink Dolphins and Tarantula Scientist.

Children's: Andrew Clements, author of, among other titles, Frindle, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, A Week in the Woods, The Jacket, The School Story, The Janitor's Boy, The Landry News, The Report Card and The Last Holiday Concert.

Publisher: Tilbury House, Gardiner, Me., which was founded some 35 years ago as the Harpswell Press and published mainly Maine books. The house grew slowly, adding some children's books, and in 1990 merged with another small publisher, Dog Ear Press. Recent titles include New Mainers: Portraits of Our Immigrant Neighbors, Wilderness Partners, Backyard Maine, Live Yankees, Maine in the World and The Cranberry.

The awards will be presented on October 1 during NEIBA's trade show in Hartford, Conn. Each author award includes a $500 grant from NEIBA to a literacy or other charitable organization chosen by the winner.


NEIBA has made two more Shop Local grants to:

Vital Communities: Local First Upper Valley. With booksellers from Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt., this new alliance will promote the importance of local business and cultural economies in the area, which cover several counties in Vermont and New Hampshire. The $1,250 grant will be used to help create a logo, develop a website and prepare membership materials.

Local First Vermont has been awarded $2,500 to continue its "outstanding work" begun in 2005 developing an online business directory of all locally owned products and services in the state. Local First Vermont has 216 members, 15 of whom are NEIBA members.

Since 2007, NEIBA has awarded Shop Local Grants totalling more than $20,000. The grants are intended for member stores "to establish local Independent Business Alliances which shift consumer culture toward supporting locally-owned businesses." The grants are made possible, in part, by Bookazine.


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill Gates Sr., PC Pop

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Bill Gates Sr., author of Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime (Doubleday, $22, 9780385527019/0385527012).


Tonight on NPR's Marketplace: Matthew Algeo, author of Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip (Chicago Review Press, $24.95, 9781556527777/1556527772).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Sharon Moalem, author of How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do (Harper, $26.99, 9780061479656/0061479659).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Julianne Moore, author of Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully (Bloomsbury USA, $16.99, 9781599903163/1599903164).


Tomorrow on the Martha Stewart Show: Nancy O’Dell, author of Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant (Simon Spotlight, $16.99, 9781439110256/1439110255).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Andrea Wulf, author of The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession (Knopf, $35, 9780307270238/0307270238).

Also on Diane Rehm: David Kessler, author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale Books, $25.95, 9781605297859/1605297852).


Future Documentary: Savages and Scoundrels

Here's a nice followup to Monday's Shelf Starter, which featured the opening lines of Savages and Scoundrels: The Untold Story of America's Road to Empire through Indian Territory by Paul VanDevelder (Yale University Press).

Film director Carlos Pienado (Waterbuster) of the Indian Arts Institute of America and director/producer Raymond Chavez (Keiko's Journey Home: The Free Willy Story, Journey to Medicine Wheel and Realm of the Ancient Redwoods) have teamed up with the Native American Public Telecommunications (We Shall Remain) to turn Savages and Scoundrels into a documentary for PBS.



Movies: The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa

"Phoenix Pictures and Robert Chartoff are teaming with helmer Roger Donaldson" for a film version of Seymour Reit's 1981 book, The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa, which chronicled the 1911 theft of the iconic painting from the Louvre, Variety reported.


Books & Authors

Book Brahmin: Hallie Durand

Hallie Durand, like her heroine, Dessert Schneider, marches to her own drummer. The star of Durand's debut novel, Dessert First, comes from "a food family" (her parents own and run the Fondue Paris restaurant), and when Dessert insists that "in a perfect world," lemon squares come before turkey burgers, she meets with some resistance. But soon enough, Dessert wins out, and she is off and marching. The spectre of double-decker chocolate bars, however, hovers in her future . . .  When Hallie Durand is not writing, she is drumming for other soloists as Holly McGhee, founder of Pippin Properties, an agency that represents outstanding creators of children's books. Dessert First, illustrated by Christine Davenier, goes on sale from Atheneum/S&S on May 19.

On your nightstand now:  

My nightstand is pretty cluttered with manuscripts, but there is a small pile of books underneath: Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos, A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, The Second Book of the Tao by Stephen Mitchell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and an ARC of The Girls from Ames by Jeffery Zaslow, which was sent to me by Bill Shinker, my first boss (who taught me the value of returning phone calls).

Favorite book when you were a child: 

Madeline, hands-down.

Your top five authors:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: I didn't know about magical realism before reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. 
William Steig, because he always wrote the truth. Rainier Marie Rilke.
 Lorrie Moore, because she was my T.A. in English 101. It's hard to pick the fifth, but in trying to, I realize I am usually not drawn to the book that made the writer famous--I am always drawn to the less popular sibling: Joseph Heller's Something Happened, Randall Jarrell's The Bat Poet, Thomas Pynchon's Slow Learner.

Book you've faked reading: 

I used to do it a lot. Now I just try to change the subject to food.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog
by Eugene O'Neill.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A paperback of Valley of the Dolls, in sixth or seventh grade, at Waldenbooks, the only bookstore near us. It was all about those colorful pill capsules! I wasn't disappointed. There was a lot of stuff in there my parents wouldn't tell me.

Book that changed your life:

Holly in the Snow, a chapter/middle grade novel by Eleanor Frances Lattimore. In third grade, when I was still carting around Madeline, the librarian took my hand and presented me with Holly in the Snow. It had my name on it!! And I devoured it and that was the end of Madeline . . . for a while. My mom was so relieved (it turns out she had called the librarian and asked for assistance with the "Madeline problem"). But I'm right back in the picture books now.

Favorite line from a book:

"That piece of garbage changed his whole life." From Zeke Pippin by William Steig

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

Pierre or the Ambiguities
by Herman Melville. It's not his best book by most standards, but when I read the version Maurice Sendak illustrated in 1995, it meant a great deal to me personally. I doubt I would feel the same way now. But it reminds me that so much of one's appreciation of art or music or literature is dependent on what one is bringing to the story from inside.

A book I don't think I can stand to read one more time but I know I will because I can't stop reading it again and again:

Black Beauty. It is so painful and so honest and so beautiful. And I'm not even a horse person. But how Black Beauty can endure and go on and even feel mildly content is a testament to the power of spirit. We can bear it. Yes, we can bear it.


Book Review

Book Review: Between the Assassinations

Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga (Free Press, $24.00 Hardcover, 9781439152928, June 2009)

Between the Assassinations, by the author of the Booker Prize-winning The White Tiger, unfolds like a tour guide. Aravind Adiga tells you one spellbinding story after another, while guiding you around Kittur on the southwest coast of India, the town where all the stories take place, between the assassination of Indira Gandhi, in 1984, and that of her son, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991.

Assuming you're a tourist in town for a week, the italicized framework gives you advice on the best walking tours. You go to the Kittur train station and hear the story of a small black Muslim porter boy and the mysterious benefactor who pays him to count the trains. You go to St. Alfonso's boys' school, where a bomb goes off in the classroom of the chemistry teacher with a speech impediment.

From story to story the reader learns the geography of the place, so that before long you know where to find all the shops on Umbrella Street, how steep Lighthouse Hill is and how dangerous the Bunder warehouse district is. Since the vision behind the stories is so uniform, a momentum builds that unites them all into a torrent of exhilarating, endlessly-surprising narrative.

Every story is packed with little character surprises, as you watch the disadvantaged and unlucky in the town of Kittur, the booksellers and bus drivers, newspaper reporters and cycle-cart pullers, cooks and conmen and excavation site laborers, defiantly struggle on with their compromised lives. Adiga tells just enough to create moral dilemmas for the characters, who are then forced to make difficult decisions. His tales have shapes that catch you off-guard, unexpected heroes, unanticipated alliances. They're serpentine and tricky--not in the writing, which is straightforward, but in the thinking behind them, the way they open up into decisions you don't see coming.

The style is swift and economical. There's no lingering, no wasted words, with a delight on almost every page, dozens of unanticipated turnarounds and personality-revealing encounters. Above all, Adiga's indignation at unfairness gives this crowded little volume a heartwarming unity, a feeling of Chekhov-like compassion that somehow redeems the soul-killing poverty and debasement with the grace of humor, spunk and understanding.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A series of linked stories set in a small town on the southwest Indian coast, filled with morally complicated characters, unexpected heroes and redeeming compassion.


Powered by: Xtenit