Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 1, 2009

Mariner Books: Everyone This Christmas Has a Secret: A Festive Mystery by Benjamin Stevenson

Grove Press: Brightly Shining by Ingvild Rishøi, Translated Caroline Waight

Running Press Adult: Scam Goddess: Lessons from a Life of Cons, Grifts, and Schemes by Laci Mosley

Broadleaf Books: Trespass: Portraits of Unhoused Life, Love, and Understanding by Kim Watson

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Quotation of the Day

Buy Indie Day: 'Take a Serious Look at the Special Places'

"I would not plunk down money wildly, but I want to take a serious look at the special places where I like the selection, personal service or the ambiance. And support them. May I ask you to take a moment and do the same thing, especially with places like indie stores and small size companies that you love? Friday, May 1st has been identified as a Shop Indie Bookstore Day, and readers are encouraged to buy books from independent store owners. I'd love to see you support this effort. Click on to find the indie bookstore nearest you."--Carol Fitzgerald, president of, in the Huffington Post. [For more on Buy Indie Day, see Robert Gray's column below.]

Peachtree Teen: Compound Fracture by Andrew Joseph White


Notes: Bookstock 2009 Video; Indie Spirit on Martha's Vineyard

Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif., has just released a great video (by Dana Kelley) promoting Bookstock 2009 (Shelf Awareness, April 11, 2009), which is, as the shop described it on its website, "a summer celebration of art for the whole family, with partial proceeds benefiting the Giants Community Fund. Join us for an exceptional evening of art, entertainment, great food and plenty of children's activities--all on the field at AT&T Park."

Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage's buyer, said the promotion actually begins next week when filmmakers Logan and Noah Miller, authors of Either You're in or You're in the Way: Two Brothers, Twelve Months, and One Filmmaking Hell-Ride to Keep a Promise to Their Father, chronicle the making of Touching Home, starring Ed Harris, on Tuesday at the bookstore and then host an advance screening of the movie Wednesday at Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

In June, the big show comes to town with Bookstock 2009: Music, Art & Movie Festival. "We are culminating our launch of this title with an event at AT&T ballpark, the home of the San Francisco Giants on June 6," said Cotleur, "and I'm claiming it's the largest venue single title book event ever in the world because I assume that is so. The authors arranged all that. We are just having a ball with these authors and their book and their events. They grew up near our store so we are ground zero for them."


"The spirit of independents" was celebrated by Martha's Vineyard Magazine in a detailed look at the "committed people who own, work in, and patronize our bookstores. Neither last year's Fourth of July fire nor the growth of big-box chain stores and online retailers is dampening that spirit."

That fire, of course, forced Bunch of Grapes Bookstore to close its location, but "two other bookstores, Edgartown Books and Riley's Reads in Vineyard Haven, continued to serve as worthy refuges for wayward book lovers."

"I see us as an island of readers," said Susan Mercier, manager and buyer at Edgartown Books. "I see us as an island of people that value the written word."

Zoe Pechter opened Riley's Reads children's bookstore in 2003. "I had a great bookstore growing up," she said. "I wanted to share that experience. . . . I have a love for books. I love kids, and I thought maybe there’s something there. I thought maybe there's a niche I can fill."

Dawn Braasch, who had served as Bunch of Grapes bookstore's events coordinator, "confesses that while she talked about purchasing the business before the fire, her interest truly peaked later." She bought the bookstore last October and has been operating in a temporary location until rebuilding can be completed. She hopes to reopen later this spring.

"After the fire, nothing was left except good will and the name," she said of her decision. "The store's future was far less certain. I couldn't imagine not having the bookstore in town. It was purely selfish really."


Pass Christian Books, Pass Christian, Miss., re-opened April 1 near its former location, which was leveled by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Bookselling This Week reported that during the intervening years, co-owners Rich Daley and Scott Naugle "operated online and out of their homes, then moved to a temporary storefront on the outskirts of town." A grand reopening is planned for the late spring.

The past four years have been "a monumental challenge," Daley told BTW, noting that the continuing support of the community was a bright spot. "Yesterday, someone dropped off a tin of cookies with a note that said, 'Welcome Home! We missed you.' I taped the note to the wall," he said. "Once you lose everything you realize how insignificant it all is, if you can walk away with your life. Several people I know died in that storm. I wish the feds would have stepped up, helped small business owners. But we can say that we rebuilt it ourselves, with the help of our customers."


The Columbia Spectator profiled Park Slope’s Community Bookstore & Café, Brooklyn, N.Y., calling it a "hip but accessible gem of a store" that "is at once whimsical, colorful, striking, cool, and fiercely independent."


The Millions' NYC Indie Bookstore Tour is scheduled for Saturday, May 2. Bookshops included on the tour are Three Lives& Co. Booksellers, McNally Jackson Books, Housing Works Used Book Café, Bluestockings, BookCourt and Freebird Books & Goods. An updated itinerary is available on the website.


Tomorrow is also the eighth annual Free Comic Books Day, during which "more than 2,000 comic shops are offering free comics, ranging from Wolverine and The Avengers from Marvel to a preview of DC Comics' "Blackest Night" event in Green Lantern. There's a Shonen Jump manga special, Archie, Cars, even a NASCAR comic," USA Today reported.

"It's like the peace summit of comic books when all of the major publishers work together," said Geoff Johns, writer of DC's Green Lantern. "There's always something for everyone."


BTW continued its series spotlighting ABA candidates with a profile of Michael Tucker of San Francisco's Books Inc. He has been "an ABA Board member since 2005 and vice-president for the past year [and] is up for approval by membership to serve a one-year term as ABA president starting this June."

As ABA president, Tucker said he "would like to continue the accessibility and transparency of the Board. That's been a hallmark and the expressed objective of the Board, and what I have seen since I've come on. It's a very exciting time to be coming into the position of ABA president."


You know you've been waiting for this. The reported that Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan--whose handselling reign as the U.K. equivalent of Oprah's Book Club has been somewhat in decline of late--unveiled their Summer Reads for 2009:

  • Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
  • Guernica by Dave Boling
  • Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter
  • Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton
  • The Great Lover by Jill Dawson
  • Mystery Man by Colin Bateman
  • The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
  • The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee

Time magazine's annual list of 100 of the world's most influential people included diverse representation from the world of books, including Jeff Bezos, Jeff Kinney, Suze Orman, Rick Warren, Martin Lindstrom and David Sheff.


Michael J. Oprins has been promoted to v-p, merchandising, for non-book products at Borders Group, a new position, and is responsible for leading buying teams in non-book categories including: music, DVD, bargain, digital, newsstand, calendars, games, trend gifts and candy. He has been with the company 18 years, most recently as v-p, Paperchase operations, and earlier held a variety of positions, including Waldenbooks district manager and director of merchandising, children's and calendars.

Since 2002, he has also been a member of the board of directors of the Borders Group Foundation, which helps employees in need. For part of the time, he was a v-p and secretary.

In a statement, Anne Kubek, executive v-p of merchandising and marketing, called Oprins "a seasoned leader with strong institutional knowledge of our company as well as a breadth of merchandising and operations experience. He has successfully developed several business categories here and will play an important role in providing the strategic direction to drive the non-book areas of our business as well."


The following appointments have been made in Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Trade & Reference Division:
  • Josh Harwood has been promoted to national accounts director and will be based in the New York office. Formerly a sales rep covering New York and New England, he joined Houghton in 1996.
  • Beth Ineson has been promoted to director of field sales and distribution clients and will continue to work in the Boston office. She was previously distribution client manager, working with Beacon Press and The Old Farmer's Almanac, among others. She joined Houghton in 1997.
  • Emily Holden has joined the company as telephone sales representative and will work in the Boston office. She was formerly worked at Hachette in customer service.


Inner Traditions: Expand your collection with these must-have resource books!

Image of the Day: Pure Joy

Young fans at Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., flock around store manager Terra Elan McVoy at the launch party for Pure, McVoy's debut YA novel (Simon Pulse, $16.99, 9781416978725/1416978720). McVoy (far right) appears here with three members of the Glam Girls book group (to whom the book is dedicated). More than 200 people attended the event.


Fodor's on BEA: A Night of Jazz

Every city has a soundtrack. Looking at the New York City skyline, the taxi cabs leaning on their horns and the swinging staccato of pedestrian traffic, it's easy to conclude that the Big Apple is a hotbed of jazz improvisation. BookExpo America may claim your days, but the nights are open to catching a cool performance. So pack your dark glasses and your artfully distressed leather jacket and head down to the Village, the legendary haunt for free-flowing jazz.

Making advanced reservations may not entirely jibe with jazz's spontaneous sensibilities, but it's not a bad idea, especially if you want to get into some of the Village's best-known venues. Booking several days ahead for a table at the Blue Note will ensure that you have a memorable night; you'll be able to see jazz greats like Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Cassandra Wilson, and Taj Mahal right up close from one of the cramped 40-or-so tables. This is also a great place to have dinner; the Note serves up some notable barbecue.

Another spot that's worth booking in advance for is the nearby "Carnegie Hall of Cool," the Village Vanguard. John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins used to jam here regularly, and modern-day jazz giants like Wynton Marsalis make rare appearances.  When the headline act's not huge, though, you can sometimes wander in at 8 (when the doors open) and still get a seat.

With smaller, less famous Village venues, you can afford to extemporize a bit; these places are almost always packed with nodding jazz fans, but you can show up without a reservation (often without paying a cover charge) and still catch some top-quality music. The Garage Restaurant & Café is one such spot; you can have a steak dinner in front of the giant fireplace while listening to great local trios and quartets (or, on Mondays, big-band swing). The Knickerbocker Bar & Grill is another place where you can satisfy both your gastronomic and musical appetites; on Friday and Saturday nights live ensembles play while diners dig in to seared Pacific salmon and rack of lamb.

Arthur's Tavern is another no-cover venue, with a coolly grotty dark-wood (or, more accurately, dark wood-veneer) ambience; you can chill out in the piano bar or catch a jazz trio from one of the dining room tables. Sweet Rhythm, another great choice, is also a place to support starving student artists; on Monday nights, a jazz ensemble from the nearby New School University's music program takes the stage. Expect a student crowd.

Although the Village has the highest concentration of jazz clubs in the city, there are a few fabulous venues that may be closer to your hotel and the Javits Center. Iridium in Midtown is where guitar great Les Paul plays on Monday nights. A bit farther south near Times Square is the famous Birdland, named for the late great Charlie "Bird" Parker; the cover charge here includes a drink. All the way uptown near Columbia University, Smoke is a true jazz-lover's haven; Sunday nights, when the scatting and vocal acrobatics of top vocalists fill the tiny space, are not to be missed.

For more New York City recommendations, check out Fodor's New York City 2009, the full-color guide the New York Times calls "the can't-go-wrong choice" or visit


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Requiem for a Paper Bag

Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: Davy Rothbart, author of Requiem for a Paper Bag: Celebrities and Civilians Tell Stories of the Best Lost, Tossed, and Found Items from Around the World (Fireside, $15.99, 9781416560548/1416560548).


On Sunday on Meet the Press: Richard Haass, author of War of Necessity, War of Choice: A Memoir of Two Iraq Wars (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781416549024/1416549021).


Movies: Trailer for Julie and Julia

The first trailer for the film Julie and Julia, adapted from Julie Powell's book, has just been released. Entertainment Weekly described the movie, which is directed by Nora Ephron, as "the frosting on my Must List cake this week. Streep's energetic portrayal of Child comes off as comical but not a complete caricature (at least in the trailer), and Amy Adams has the 'relatable everywoman' schtick down pat (though I'm definitely not feeling the dowdy haircut)."


Theater: Wishful Drinking

Carrie Fisher published her memoir, Wishful Drinking, last year, and her solo show by the same title "has nailed down its Broadway run . . . to be presented by the Roundabout Theater Company at Studio 54 in the fall," Variety reported, adding that the "production begins Gotham previews Sept. 22 ahead of an Oct. 4 opening, with the limited run skedded to end Jan. 3." Tony Taccone will direct.


Books & Authors

Awards: Edgars; Arthur C. Clarke

C.J. Box's Blue Heaven was named best novel at last night's 63rd Annual Edgar Awards Banquet, presented by the Mystery Writers of America in New York City and featuring Grand Masters James Lee Burke and Sue Grafton.

2009 Edgar winners:

  • Best Novel: Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
  • Best First Novel: The Foreigner by Francie Lin
  • Best Paperback Original: China Lake by Meg Gardiner
  • Best Fact Crime: American Lightning: Terror, Mystery and the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Howard Blum
  • Best Critical/Biographical: Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to his Tell-Tale Stories by Dr. Harry Lee Poe
  • Best Short Story: "Skinhead Central," Mystery Writers of America Presents: The Blue Religion by T. Jefferson Parker
  • Best Juvenile: The Postcard by Tony Abbott
  • Best Young Adult: Paper Towns by John Green
  • Best Play: The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza
  • Best Television Episode Teleplay: "Prayer of the Bone," Wire in the Blood, Teleplay by Patrick Harbinson
  • Best Motion Picture Screen Play: In Bruges, Screenplay by Martin McDonagh
  • Robert L. Fish Memorial Award: "Buckner's Error," Queens Noir by Joseph Guglielmelli
  • Raven Awards: Edgar Allan Poe Society, Baltimore, Md., and Poe House, Baltimore, Md.
  • S&S/Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Killer's Wife by Bill Floyd

Song of Time by Ian R. MacLeod was named winner of the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel at the award's official ceremony during the opening celebrations of this year's SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival.

"Set in a near-future England, Song of Time is a rich and subtle novel that couples themes of memory and identity with well crafted and all too human characters," said Paul Billinger, chair of the judges.


Book Brahmin: Michael Malone

Most writers find a genre of fiction they like, and then more or less stick to it. But Michael Malone, now in his 60s, has hopped around the literary landscape. He is the author of Four Corners of the Sky (May 12, 2009, Sourcebooks Landmark), which has earned starred reviews from both Kirkus and Booklist. He's also the author of 10 novels (including Handling Sin, Uncivil Seasons and Dingley Falls), a collection of short stories and two works of nonfiction. Educated at Carolina and at Harvard, he is now a professor in Theater Studies at Duke University. Among prizes he has won: the Edgar, the O. Henry, the Writers Guild Award and the Emmy. He lives in Hillsborough, N.C., with his wife.

Books on your nightstand now:

Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House
by Elizabeth Keckley. (Keckley was enslaved at the Burwell School here in Hillsborough, N.C. Through her dress-making skills, she bought her freedom and that of her son. She designed clothes not only for Mary Todd Lincoln but Mrs. Jefferson Davis and Mrs. Robert E. Lee.) Also The Dickens Theatrical Reader, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford, a Frank Capra movies scrapbook, Money-Driven Medicine by Maggie Mahar and A Case of Two Cities by Qiu Xiaolong.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Treasure Island. It's still a favorite.

Your top five authors:

Charles Dickens, E.M. Forster, Edith Wharton, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor.

I could list another five and then another five; and of each one of them I could say, you're the top, you're an O'Neill drama, you're Whistler's mama, you're camembert.

Book you've faked reading:

Spenser's The Faerie Queene. (My wife is a Rensaissance scholar.)

Book you're an evangelist for:

Steven Milhauser's Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright.  

Book you've bought for the cover:  

Any of the old Penguin Books classic Golden Age British murder mysteries--writers like Margery Allingham, Nicholas Blake, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh. Any of the old Pocket Book Library 35-cent classics. Most covers designed by Chip Kidd.

Book that changed your life:

Any book that I every wanted to read more than once.

Favorite line from a book:

An odd collection of three come to mind, and one of those is from a play.

"All kings is mostly rapscallions."--The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

"He is a marvelous good neighbor, faith, and a very good bowler."--Love's Labor's Lost.

"Only connect."--Howards End by E.M. Forster

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

War and Peace
. And the way my memory is going lately, it's very likely that I'll get my chance.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Buy Indie Day--A Movement in 140 Characters

"And can you, can you imagine 50 people a day, I said 50 people a day walking in, singin' a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out? And friends they may think it's a movement. And that's what it is . . ."--Arlo Guthrie, Alice's Restaurant

Fighting back is all about character, and sometimes 140 characters are just enough to get started. Today is Buy Indie Day, which was igniteded by author Joseph Finder and subsequently powered by word-of-mouth on Twitter and Facebook.

Many other people have kept the momentum going, including Kevin Guilfoile, who blogged about Buy Indie Day early last month, and began compiling a list of writers that will be celebrating at bookshops today.

I've been following Buy Indie Day's (also #buyindieday) Twitter trail since it began. Will what happens today change consumer buying patterns? Will it become Buy Indie Week or Buy Indie Month or Buy Indie Infinity & Beyond? Who knows? But a statement is being made, and it's just been fun to watch the enthusiasm build.

Here's a sampling from the past couple of days (all typos forgiven because they conform to the unofficial Twitter stylebook):

Some folks who got off to an early start yesterday:

  • @BrooksSigler I think I might be purchasing things a bit early for Buy Indie Day, but it'll be like Buy Indie Eve.
  • @VillageBksBham Tomorrow is International Buy Indie Day. Why not start early?
  • @permanentpaper In an early start to #buyindieday, I found this lovely bookstore in Evanston Via Indiebound iPhone app!!!

Some bookstores who are in the game:

  • @mysterybooks Friday, May 1--it's BUY INDIE DAY!--AND our lovely friends Mary & Carol Higgins Clark will be on the Today Show, too!
  • @LilMissBookBug Tomorrow--Buy Indie Day--Shop at Chapters & save 10% when you mention you're shopping Indie
  • @kingsenglish May 1 is Buy Indie Day. Mention it tomorrow at the register and get 10% off!
  • @AaronsBooks Even though we are an indie, we'll buy a few from fellow tweeters & send gifts to friends & family, spreading indie love :).
  • @ibnyc Tomorrow, May 1, is Buy Indie Day: Where will you be buying indie?
  • @Suejustbooks Visit The Bookstore in Glen Ellyn tomorrow to celebrate Buy Indie Day! For Couples Night Out--Books paired with wines--great way to celebrate!
  • @ClintonBooks: Tomorrow is International Buy Indie Day. Support Indies and keep your home-town strong.
  • @FlyingPigBooks Friday, May 1, is Buy Indie Day! Make it a revolution: Pass it on.
  • @KenyonBookstore #buyindieday is Friday. Come visit the Bookstore for a book, or a t-shirt, or an ice cream! Scan our sale merchandise--some great bargains.

And some indie love from the book world:

  • @Blairpublisher Buy one book (at least) at an independent bookstore near you tomorrow, May 1, and make a mass statement about the importance of indies!
  • @ConsortiumBooks: Tomorrow is Buy Indie Day! Support your local indie bookstore with a new book purchase!
  • @timetoread International Buy Indie Day is Tomorrow!! Celebrate by buying at least one book at your local Indie--like any of us can stop at just one . . .
  • @Clerisy_Kara Tomorrow is International Buy Indie Day. Support Indies and keep your home-town strong. Buy at full retail price!
  • @Joe_Wallace my #buyindieday commitment is to buy a book by as many authors I follow here as I can afford . . . at my town's indie bookstore.
  • @thebookmaven: Can't wait for #buyindieday tomorrow . . . plan to buy the new Anne Michaels, LOWBOY, A FORTUNATE AGE, and more. Much more!
  • @KatMeyer @wordbrooklyn + even tho I bought indie already this week, i am compelled 2 do so again tomorrow (and tonight too!)
  • @literaticat (Actually, who am I kidding? EVERY day is Buy Indie Day. I'll have to buy a STACK o' books on May 1!)
  • @Urrealism Indie Day, 5/1: Cindy and I will be at Anderson's in Naperville buyin' stuff! Come over and let's shop. I'll buy you a Starbucks later.

I will also be hitting the road to buy books at a couple of indies today, renouncing my usual staff discount. That's my longtime bookseller's small gesture of support--paying full retail.

And can you imagine 50 people a day, I said 50 people a day walking into an indie bookstore, buying a book and walking out? Friends, they may think it’s a movement.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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