Saturday, April 30, 2011
Reading Janet Frame, to adapt a quip of Bob Hope’s, is not for cissies. Some of her books are relatively easy going – Owls do Cry, Faces in the Water, A State of Siege, the posthumous Towards Another Summer, and of course the beloved autobiographies. But others are a tougher proposition.
The chain, which focuses on university textbooks, has been bought by a family trust linked to Geoff Spong, the New Zealander who in 1995 established Vol 1, another university textbook chain, which he later sold.
The deal, signed yesterday for an undisclosed sum, protects 30 jobs. Bennetts' headquarters will be in Palmerston North, where the company was established in 1889.
It will initially have eight stores, seven of which are on university and polytechnic campuses throughout New Zealand, as well as the flagship Bennetts Government Bookshop in Lambton Quay.
Bennetts' new owners have said they want to open stores on campuses throughout New Zealand, initially targeting Auckland.
Whitcoulls was placed in administration in February when its Australian parent company, RedGroup Retail, collapsed under a mountain of debt. This month 10 Whitcoulls stores at airports in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua were bought by Australian group LS Travel Retail, which will rebrand the outlets as Relay. Another 63 Whitcoulls and five Borders stores are still for sale.
Whitcoulls suffered from increasing competition from online sellers as well as electronic ebooks. But the new owners of Bennetts believed its specialist focus gave it a brighter future.
Sean Woodward of Invercargill, a lawyer and director of Bennetts, said textbooks were not optional purchases for academics or students, meaning a stable market remained. Bennetts would also improve its online sales offering.
Mr Woodward said Bennetts, which generates sales of about $10 million a year, remained profitable despite a lack of attention under Whitcoulls' ownership.
"In our view it's suffered from being a peripheral brand to a large corporate – it hasn't had the attention it needed and that's where it gets into trouble."
The initial focus will be to revitalise and standardise the shops throughout the country, broadening stock to include university memorabilia and convenience goods.
Bennetts was already planning new stores in Auckland to compete for the Auckland University of Technology market, Mr Woodward said. In the medium term it wanted to have outlets on academic campuses "from Invercargill to Whangarei".
The Bennett family controlled the book chain until 1988 when a majority stake was sold to Brierley Investments, which merged it with Whitcoulls. The company has had a string of owners since, including Graeme Hart and Eric Watson.
Story from stuff.co.nz
REDgroup administrators Ferrier Hodgson announced this week that another six Angus & Robertson stores will close as part of the administration process.
REDgroup administrators Ferrier Hodgson announced this week that another six Angus & Robertson stores will close as part of the administration process.
The store closures, which are expected to take place over the next four weeks, will affect 55 REDgroup employees--18 full-time and part-time employees and 37 casual employees.
The stores to close are:
- Woden Plaza
- Top Ryde
- Tweed Heads
- Warringah Mall
- Pacific Fair
- Collins Street
Ferrier Hodgson has previously announced the closure of 17 Borders stores and 49 Angus & Robertson stores across the country.
Report from Australian Bookseller & Publisher.
Earlier report on the book here .
These awards recognize the following categories: novel, first novel, paperback original, fact crime, critical/biographical, short story, juvenile, young adult, play, and TV episode.
Last year’s winners included John Hart, Stefanie Pintoff, and Mary Downing Hahn. Follow the jump to see this year’s winners in a few of the top categories.
The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books)
Best Fact Crime
Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime and Complicity by Ken Armstrong & Nick Perry (University of Nebraska Press – Bison Original)
The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy by Dori Hillestad Butler (Albert Whitman & Co.)
Best Young Adult
The Interrogation of Gabriel James by Charlie Price (Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books for Young Readers)
The Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark Award
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore (Chicago, IL)
Once Upon a Crime Bookstore (Minneapolis, MN)
Thursday 5 May, 6:00 pm
Auckland Central City Library, level 2
Join us for a welcome glass of wine at 5.30 pm, courtesy of Glengarry Wines
Bookings highly recommended, phone 307 0209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.
Artist, designer and illustrator Graham Percy was one of our most talented and original artists. Born in Taranaki in 1938, Percy spent apprentice years in Auckland before moving to London, where with his photographer-partner Mari Mahr he created a workshop-home, a microcosm of the outside world.
This stimulating rediscovery of a remarkable artist is an account of Percy’s life and art through sketches and bookshelves, showcasing his early design work, vivid children’s book illustration and thriving mature art. The drawings reveal Percy’s passion for the small and hand-drawn, for quirky histories and curious characters, from homesick kiwis to Commedia dell’Arte players.
Gregory O’Brien is a poet, anthologist, essayist and art critic. His recent publications include News of the Swimmer Reaches Shore (2007), Back and Beyond: New Zealand Art for the Young and Curious (2008) and Euan Macleod: The Painter in the Painting (2010). He is working on a collaborative book project with Mari Mahr, photographer and Graham Percy’s second wife, and is the curator of a major exhibition of Graham Percy’s art which is touring across New Zealand in 2011-13, opening in Auckland at the Gus Fisher Gallery on May 7th.
It's official: Prince William and Kate Middleton are man and wife. The Archbishop of Canterbury pronounced them married at 11:20 am BST.
In their vows, Kate followed in Diana's footsteps and took out the line of promising to "obey" her husband, promising to instead "love, comfort, honor and keep" William. Prince Harry carried out his big duty, handing off the ring to his brother without a hitch. Get the latest updates from our blog of the royal wedding at Westminster Abbey. Plus, video highlights, photos, and more.
Read it at The Daily Beast
And now stand back at wait for the books .....................
At the London Book Fair earlier this month, Russia was featured as Guest of Honor. Nearly every Russian writer of distinction was in attendance, save for one: Vladimir Sorokin. It’s no surprise, since anyone who has followed Sorokin’s career knows he has hardly been one to follow the crowd.
Full piece at Publishing Perspectives.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Number one on the
(Source: www.booksellers.co.nz via Nielsen BookScan, wk ending April 23)
Here in New York it's been raining and stopping and raining and stopping and it feels like we're caught in the last breath of the storm that ransacked the southern states earlier today. It's been an eventful few hours. We were looking for someone to launch this issue, Five Dials 19, and we thought of Steve Buscemi but had no way of contacting him, but a few minutes ago we were walking down 9th street, and hey, there he was on the sidewalk, and we thought 'Holy cow, that's Steve Buscemi,' but how do you approach Steve Buscemi and ask him to press send at a Five Dials launch? How does one do that? The scenario was made worse by a man in a passing car who had opened his window and was yelling out, 'Hey famous guy, hey famous guy' at Steve, who looked like he wanted to take refuge in the nearby 7th Ave subway stop. It was reminiscent of the scene in Annie Hall, when Alvy Singer is surrounded by goons who keep pointing to him and saying 'Hey, it's Alvy Singah, Alvy Singah.' So yes , no to Steve Buscemi.
The last time we spoke we were sending you a clutch of poems from upstate New York. This time the issue is a full-sizer, packed like the Lexington Ave number 4 train between 42nd St and 14th. This evening we're holding the launch at 826NYC, a nonprofit writing centre (they'd say 'center'), on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn. We've gathered some writers, some book people, some not-so-book people and — this is the best part — a whole group of Five Dials subscribers who decided they could make it to the Brooklyn launch even though not many of them made it to Jaipur. I have a feeling the 'Hey famous guy' guy from 7 Ave is going to show up later, or at least roll by on the street yelling something.
The magazine is free. Thank you for subscribing.
8:15 Harriet Lamb: banana wars and fair trade
9:05 Mandrika Rupa: hidden apartheid
9:45 Kevin Parker: saddleback dialects
10:05 Playing (Country) Favourites with John Newton
11:05 Dane Mitchell: tangible intangibles
11:40 Rugby with Spiro Zavos
Auckland engineer: Jeremy Ansell
Dunedin engineer: Sandy Sullivan
Dane is currently Dunedin Public Art Gallery/Creative New Zealand Visiting Artist in Residence for 2011, where he is working on Radiant Matter Part 2, continuing his exploration of ways of making the intangible tangible. The final exhibition of the three-part solo project will show at Artspace in Auckland from early July.
Readers of Frame’s books frequently sense the presence of some kind of puzzle to be solved but can’t quite distil its parameters. The Frame Function takes as its starting point this capacity of Frame’s texts to lure the reader into looking for solutions while simultaneously deterring such behaviour. In crafting a portrait of Frame’s compositional processes, Cronin provides new insights into the underlying relationship between prescriptiveness and elusiveness in Frame’s work. The Frame Function is a guide for those who are intrigued, stimulated, sometimes baffled by Frame’s powerful novels.
The Frame Function was launched last night at Unity Books Auckland by Peter Simpson. A report on the launch and Peter Simpson's comments will appear on the blog later.
Allen & Unwin - NZ$39.99
Michael Connelly is loved the world over for his Harry Bosch detective novels (recently voted ‘World’s Favourite Detective’ by a landslide in an online knock-out tournament) and the Mickey Haller legal thriller series (who was played by Matthew McConaughey in the recent Lincoln Lawyer film). Connelly has recently been called 'the greatest living American crime writer' (The Mirror) and 'a crime-writing genius' (Independent on Sunday).
Michael Connelly's excellent latest book, The Fifth Witness has been hailed as Mickey Haller's "strongest and most pertinent performance yet." The Bookman is having an extended Easter holiday in an exotic location and I have read The Fifith Witness over the past couple of days beside the pool and I would have to agree with this comment. I found it absolutely rivetting.
It is set in post-recession Los Angeles as the foreclosure boom starts to hit, with Mickey not so much working to keep his clients out of jail, but working to keep a roof over their heads. When a bank's CEO is found dead in the car park, Mickey Haller is called in to defend the accused - a single mother who is facing foreclosure and has a restraining order out against her to prevent her protesting outside the bank.
It is a complex, intriguing story that exposes the real life scandal of the Californian foreclosure business.
While all this is going on Haller is desperately trying to get back together with his former wife which provides an interesting sub-plot.
I greatly enjoyed this latest from a master crime writer who is visiting NZ in May.
Royal weddings aside, everybody’s talkin’ bout a pair of films: True Grit the Elder and True Grit the Usurper. Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout which one’s better.
Here's how the argument goes: The original’s clearly better; it starred The Duke in his only Academy Award-winning performance. Nah, the remake’s better — Duke-schmook, you can't beat the Coen brothers.
I've recently watched both, and I yam happy to provide you with what I know you've been seeking: the definitive answer. Which is…
There's no contest — True Grit II is the winner. The first did have John Wayne, and he turned in a fine performance. But Jeff Bridges is no slouch, either. Though I'd give him the nod, let’s call that part a tie.
As you'd expect from the Coens and a movie called True Grit, in their film, everybody looks like they haven't washed for a week, or in the case of Bridges, for 16 weeks. In the original, even if they'd been riding the dusty trail and sleeping rough, every actor’s hair was squeaky clean. Every male actor was freshly shaved. Even that drunken roughneck Rooster Cogburn appeared to have just stepped out of a Rodeo Drive spa.
What's more, the first Grit’s director, Henry Hathaway, shot for the scenery. Every outdoor image was framed or backdropped by a glorious mountain range or clear-flowing river or fertile valley — the score could have been God Bless America. (Actually, the score was soaring strings, the auditory equivalent of those scenic backdrops.) It was shot like a western musical, more Oklahoma! than Arkansas. By contrast, the Coens focus tight on Rooster, on Mattie, on the villains they're chasing. Given the story, that’s a much better choice.
So. The winner and champeen is True Grit 2010. I adored it. Liked the 1969 version — adored the remake.
But not quite as much as I adored the book they're both based on.
True Grit, the book, is an American classic, right up there with Tom Sawyer and Grapes of Wrath. It’s recently been re-issued in paperback by The Overlook Press. I so highly recommend it to you.
Will you love it, too? If you love the lede graf, the answer is yes.
Here’s more from the bookseller’s tribute: “Scourge of dogs, invader of laps, lover of whatever you’re trying to eat. His was the long, happy life of a badass bookstore cat.”
Two months ago, Monty starred in the debut post of the bookseller’s Tumblr. Patrons Safa Samiezade’-Yazd and Kara Zavada have already posted memories of Monty–did you ever meet this real life GalleyCat? (via Shelf Awareness)
By Maryann Yin on Galley Cat April 28, 2011
In addition, Fall of Giants author Ken Follett will be teaching a novel writing class during the CraftFest portion of the annual conference. The conference will also feature AgentFest–a two-hour period where aspiring writers can pitch their proposals in three-minute sessions. Sixty agents have agreed to participate.
Other special guests who will be in attendance include authors Robert Crais, Diana Gabaldon, and John Lescroart. The event will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City from July 6th to July 9th.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Bookseller- Charlotte Williams- 28 April 2011
Faber has signed up the memoirs of the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, for a rumoured £90,000, according to an article in the Evening Standard.The newspaper reports that the autobiograpy is to be published in spring 2012, just as the next race for London mayor begins, in which Livingstone is running again for the post.
The article stated that the book was expected to include details about his childhood in Streatham, his first job as a technician in a medical laboratory, his entry into local politics and his time as Mayor from 2000 to 2008.
Faber confirmed the signing, but at the time of writing declined to release any further details.
Book2Book -Posted,Thursday 28 Apr 2011
On Tuesday, Penguin Press announced that it had acquired "The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee," a memoir by the former reporter, Marja Mills, that was "written with direct access to Harper and Alice Lee and their friends and family."
Thursday, 28 Apr 2011 - Book2Book
Market Wire (press release)
By ARTHUR PHILLIPS
Reviewed by MICHIKO KAKUTANI
27 April, 2011 | By Tim Danaher, RetailWeek
Any deal to sell Waterstones to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut is unlikely this week, and could be several weeks off, according to sources familiar with the situation.Reports that a deadline of Saturday - HMV Group’s year end - had been set for Mamut to table an offer for the business are incorrect, and talks are ongoing.
Trading has continued to be tough for HMV and the hot weather is not helping the beleaguered business. However, the six trial HMV stores, featuring a higher proportion of technological products, are understood to be performing well.
HMV will issue full-year results in June.
The story from Edward Nawotka
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - A British World War Two veteran and his publisher have defended his account of smuggling himself into Auschwitz concentration camp to witness first hand the horrors of the Holocaust after doubts surfaced about the story.
The main point of contention was Avey's account of how he twice swapped places with a Dutch Jew in order to smuggle himself into Auschwitz III camp following weeks of planning including bribes to a guard.
Piotr Setkiewicz, head of research at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum, told Reuters that while it was impossible to prove or disprove Avey's swap story due to the absence of survivors personally involved, it was a problematic account.
"Theoretically it is possible to do such a thing, but for practical reasons it would be extremely difficult," he said.
"It is a question of confirmation, and I can't see any way to confirm Mr. Avey's story. Nevertheless, privately, I don't think this (the swap) happened."
He said it was almost certain the swap would have been detected even if a guard was bought off and a handful of fellow prisoners kept informed.
Setkiewicz added that the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign under which Avey said he marched almost certainly did not exist at Auschwitz III, although he did not have conclusive proof.
Hodder & Stoughton issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the Daily Mail article by Guy Walters, while Avey and co-author Rob Broomby stood by their story.
"I am certainly not distancing myself from the book at all," said Broomby. "I stand by everything in the book."
Full story at Reuters.
Agricultural Heritage, A History of the Auckland Agricultural and Pastoral Association, 1843-2010, by Hugh Stringleman.
The Auckland A & P Association, founded in 1843, is one of the oldest organisations of its type in the country, and for more than a century its Easter Show has been a central event on the city’s annual calendar.
Now that Auckland is so densely urban it is easy to forget its roots lie as deeply in the soil as any other part of New Zealand. Stringleman, who was helped in this commissioned project by the late Graeme Hunt, starts with stories of the horticultural activities of the Colonial Surgeon, Dr John Johnson, who was gardening in what is now the inner city within weeks of William Hobson’s decision on just where the new New Zealand capital would be situated.
The earliest settlers like Johnson and John Logan Campbell were excited to get two crops a year from the volcanic soil, helped as it was by the warm rain that fell pretty evenly through the seasons.
The large numbers of British troops garrisoned here for thirty years from the 1840s were fed by farms in Newmarket, Epsom, Remuera and Ellerslie as well as by enthusiastic nearby Maori farmers.
It is a good story, well told by a veteran agricultural journalist who is shrewd and experienced enough to know that even in a formal commemorative books people rather than events make good reading.
Although Auckland was a bustling commercial centre from its earliest days and never as wholly devoted to agriculture in its colonial era as most other New Zealand centres, it was always fundamentally supported by farming. And when dairying became export-orientated the regional farmers soon exploited the fact that South Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are among the best grass-growing places in the world. Thus, people central to farming in the region and in the country were also influential figures in the history of Auckland, amond them a long time Prime Minister William Massey.
Edited by Graeme Hunt
Published by Oratia Media for the Auckland Agricultural & Pastoral Association
Specs: 260 x 210 mm portrait, jacketed hardback, 324 pp (includes 12 pp colour section)
Available from good bookstores
or through Publishers Distribution Limited, T: 09 828 2999 F: 09 828 2399 E: email@example.com
Gordon McLauchlan is an Auckland-based writer & commentator, and an occasional reviewer on this blog.