Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Harper Voyager: Dragon Rider (Soulbound Saga #1) by Taran Matharu

Page Street YA: The Final Curse of Ophelia Cray by Christine Calella

HarperOne: I Finally Bought Some Jordans: Essays by Michael Arceneaux

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz


A Million Little Cuts

Fact: the controversy about the truthfulness or lack of truthfulness in James Frey's memoir, A Million Little Pieces, continues to reverberate. Some people are taking a surprisingly tolerant tone. Many readers simply like the story so much that for them, the revelation that it could be mostly fictional does not detract from it. Doubleday issued a kind of nondenial denial, saying, "recent accusations against [Frey] notwithstanding, the power of the overall reading experience is such that the book remains a deeply inspiring and redemptive story for millions of readers." And others are saying that memoir is so subjective that, truth be told, it often takes huge liberties with reality.

For our part, we liked the comments made by Peter Osnos, editor at large of PublicAffairs, who told the New York Times, "Obviously a book that's called nonfiction has to be, in every fundamental respect, nonfiction. It's dismaying that a book of this visibility and stature is clearly not up to the standards that any reader would expect it to be."

At least a few booksellers, who have enjoyed selling many copies of the title, are shifting copies of the book to the fiction section.

Frey and his allies have done little to defend him. In yet another odd twist concerning this book and author, tonight Frey is scheduled to appear on Larry King Live--but a CNN spokesperson said Frey would not be "interviewed."

Perhaps the best comment about Frey's "story" comes today in a New York Times op-ed piece by Tim Carvell, a writer for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, about the "million little corrections" he will make in the second edition of his "memoir," A Brief History of Tim.

For example: "In writing a narrative, it is sometimes necessary to compress or combine certain incidents for dramatic effect. I did much the same thing in the chapter of my book dealing with my prison term, although in reverse: in the interest of dramatic clarity, I expanded my 1993 arrest for jaywalking into a seven-year stint in Sing Sing for manslaughter.

"Okay, it wasn't so much a jaywalking 'arrest' as a ticket.

"Fine, it was a stern warning. Happy now?"

HarperOne: Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

Notes: Google E-Bookstore?; Rowling on Rowling

Google might set up an online bookstore for e-books--but only with the permission of copyright holders, according to the BBC News, which quoted CEO Eric Schmidt at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Concerning the company's library book scanning project, the subject of several lawsuits, co-founder Larry Page said, "You are certainly seeing a bit of negotiation by public relations."


The Daily Telegraph offered a long interview with J.K. Rowling, who among other things talked about the effect of her mother's death on her writing of the Harry Potter books, her post-Potter plans (she's written a new children's book and short stories) and the pressures of dealing with success.


The Quad City Times revels in the new 26,000-sq.-ft. Fairmount Street branch library in Davenport, Iowa, that opens on Saturday. The new library features a fireplace with plush chairs around it, low-level shelving for better views, a Teen Zone, a children's area, a friends of the library bookstore, meeting rooms, coffee shop and a training lab.


Because of a growing population, the Hussey-Mayfield Public Library in Zionsville, Ind., has put on a 29,000-sq.-ft. addition, which includes more computer rooms, break rooms, conference and study rooms, the Indianapolis Star reported. The revamped library opens January 22.


Arden Olson has joined Brodart Co. as director of sales of the books & automation division. He was formerly director of sales, college stores, at Baker & Taylor and earlier worked at Prentice Hall and Bowker.


The Times Union profiled Good Buy Books, a used and new bookstore in East Greenbush, N.Y., that Lynne Catelotti opened last fall in 500 square feet of space. One happy customer and her friends regularly trade books and give books as gifts; she likes the store, she told the paper, because of its coziness.


It's that time of the year: the beginning of a semester renews student complaints about high textbook prices.

For example, the Iowa State Daily debated buying texts and other books on campus versus online. Interestingly one student found she saved money buying expensive texts online but felt she did fine buying novels and other titles at the store. The Gateway at the University of Nebraska at Omaha had a column suggesting cheaper alternatives to buying books at the campus bookstore. And students' suspicions can run so deep that one in Utah protested his campus bookstore's use of ISBN-13, seeing it as a nefarious plot to make it harder for students to obtain traditional 10-digit ISBNs for purchases elsewhere!

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Former Chaplain James Yee

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's Web site.

Saturday, January 14

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 1996, Daniel Balz, national political correspondent at the Washington Post, discussed the book he co-wrote with Ronald Brownstein, Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and the Republican Revival (Little, Brown, 0316080381).

8 p.m. After Words. James Yee, author of For God And Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire (PublicAffairs, $24, 1586483692), describes his experience as a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was falsely arrested and imprisoned for being a national security risk. He is interviewed by Rowan Scarbourgh, defense reporter for the Washington Times, who broke the story in September 2003. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

9 p.m. History on Book TV. Phil Scott talks about his new book, Hemingway's Hurricane: The Great Labor Day Storm of 1935 (McGraw-Hill, $24.95, 0071453326). Papa led the effort to investigate the incompetence that contributed to the hurricane death toll of more than 400. Sound familiar?

Sunday, January 15

7 p.m. Public Lives. In an event hosted by the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, Tex., doctor and professor Jack McCallum argues that the subject of his book Leonard Wood: Rough Rider, Surgeon, Architect of American Imperialism (New York University Press, $34.95, 0814756999) is one of the most fascinating but least remembered figures in modern American history. The Major General was the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, commander of the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War, a friend of Theodore Roosevelt and an unsuccessful candidate for president in 1920.

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Media Heat: Food, Politics and Long Life

Today on the Early Show, for at least five minutes: Rocco Dispirito, author of Rocco's 5 Minute Flavor (Scribner, $26.95, 0743273842).

Also on the Early Show both today and tomorrow: Lee Eisenberg, author of Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life (Free Press, $26, 0743270312). (Eisenberg will be on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show later today, too.)


This morning the Today Show checks out Jessica Weiner, author of Do I Look Fat in This?: Life Doesn't Begin Five Pounds from Now (Simon Spotlight, $19.95, 1416913572).

Also on Today: Friends of Bill James Carville and Paul Begala, authors of Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (S&S, $24, 074327752X).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Dr. Steven Pratt, author of SuperFoods HealthStyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Health (Morrow, $24.95, 0060755474).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show: Alston Purvis, author of a book about his father's rise and fall at the FBI, The Vendetta (PublicAffairs, $26, 1586483013).


Tonight PBS airs part two of the three-part series Walking the Bible, based on the books by Bruce Feiler (Shelf Awareness, January 3).


L. Paul Bremer III, who wrote My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (S&S, $27, 0743273893) with Malcolm McConnell, appears today on Larry King Live and the Charlie Rose Show. In news reports this week about the book, Bremer said that he asked unsuccessfully for more soldiers to be sent to Iraq when it became clear that the action would not be the cakewalk that had been promised.


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Peter L. Bergen, author of The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader (Free Press, $26, 0743278917).

Books & Authors

Pennie's Pick: The Society of Others

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, book buyer at Costco, has chosen The Society of Others by William Nicholson (Anchor, $13.95, 1400078210), just out in paper, as her pick of the month, which is highlighted in the Costco Connection, the magazine that goes to some members of the warehouse club.

The book's protagonist is "an unnamed 20-something young man already tired with life, who wraps his cynicism with a wry humor and disdain for the folly of humanity.

"Setting off on a hitchhiking trip to nowhere in particular, the man is caught up in a series of increasingly dramatic events, each one tearing him further from his cynical moorings and teaching him--in a style that becomes almost Kafka-esque--what he has hidden from himself his entire life."


Animals in Translation in Paperback

Point of clarification. Temple Grandin, whom we mentioned yesterday as a Leonard Lopate Show guest, is currently touring for the newly released Harvest paperback edition of her Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior ($15, 0156031442).

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