Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 8, 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


Notes: VNU Bid; Tattered Cover's Neighbor; Greenspan Green

VNU has accepted an $8.9 billion bid from six private equity firms to buy the Dutch media company, Bloomberg reported. Some major shareholders have been pushing for a breakup of the company, which owns Nielsen BookScan, the Book Standard, Kirkus Reviews, the Bookseller and Watson-Guptill. It is not certain that those shareholders will agree to the deal.

The private equity group is overwhelmingly American and includes firms that have owned book-world companies, including the Carlyle Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and KKR. The group told Bloomberg that it planned to keep VNU "substantially together as an integrated company."

The usual pressures involved in dressing up a company for sale have already been felt--last month company-wide reductions in force affected several people at Watson-Guptill.


The last piece in the development at the Lowenstein Theater in Denver, where Tattered Cover's flagship store moves June 26, has fallen into place. In November, Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Café will open three movie theaters and a café. (The largest of the theaters, "an expanded living room," will include couches, dining tables, love seats and stadium seats.) The other major tenant is Twist & Shout, a music store. Developer Charles Woolley told the Denver Post, "Books, music, film and food--these are the core anchors for any great community retail project."


Bill Rickman, onetime general manager of Kroch's & Brentano's in Chicago, Ill., and a former head of the ABA, is celebrating his 10th anniversary owning the Island Bookstore in Duck, N.C., on the Outer Banks. He's doing so by opening a third store, in Kitty Hawk.

Speaking with Shelf Awareness, Rickman said he has signed a lease and fixtures have arrived, but he has not yet set them up. The new store should open in the next few weeks. "We're pretty excited about opening in Kitty Hawk to serve the local population better," he said.

In the last 10 years, Rickman has expanded the Duck store and doubled the size of its offerings. Located in the Scarborough Faire shopping center, the store has more than 44,000 titles in 2,400 square feet on two floors. He has also opened a second store, about the same size, in nearby Corolla.


One of the two plaintiffs in the plagiarism case concerning The DaVinci Code conceded to a Random House lawyer in court that he had exaggerated the material Dan Brown might have taken from his book, according to the New York Times. "I think my language was infelicitous, and I think I have to agree with you on that," Michael Baigent said.


In the major-public-figure-memoir sweepstakes, former Federal Reserve Bank chairman Alan Greenspan's book deal of more than $8.5 million with Penguin Press is on a par with Pope John Paul II's advance for Crossing the Threshold of Hope and Ronald Reagan's An American Life and lags only Bill Clinton's estimated $10 million for My Life. For more on the deal, see the New York Times.


The Raleigh News & Observer offers a thoughtful piece on the often-neglected art of translations. Translation: the book world should give more credit to translators, who "are like priests who mediate our relationship with the literary gods. We depend on them even as we wish for direct contact."

Another problem in this area: although "literature from foreign lands is one of the best ways to understand and experience distant cultures," only 891 of the 195,000 new titles printed in English in 2004 were works of adult literature in translation, according to Bowker statistics.


A Saturday fire in an apartment above Bob's Beach Books in Oceanlake, Ore., has caused smoke and water damage in the store, which is temporarily closed, according to the News Guard. The store is conducting business through its twin store, the Book End, also in Oceanlake. Bob's Beach Books opened seven years ago.


Baseball hall-of-famer and former Minnesota Twin Kirby Puckett, who died Monday at 45, was the author of three books:

  • Kirby Puckett's Baseball Games (Workman, 1996)
  • Be the Best You Can Be (Waldman House, 1993)
  • I Love This Game! My Life and Baseball (HarperCollins, 1993)

Jerry Bilek, trade book manager of St. Olaf Bookstore, Northfield, Minn., in prime Puckett country, remembered a signing at which Puckett signed 800 copies of one of his books in an hour and then went off to batting practice. "He was a pro," Bilek said.


The Mississippi State University Reflector notes that the new Barnes & Noble store on campus will have the first escalator in Oktibbeha County.


Michele Crim has joined Ten Speed Press as director of sales. She was formerly senior director of marketing at National Book Network.

Also at Ten Speed, Zak Nelson has been named senior publicist and marketing specialist. He was formerly marketing and publicity director at Heyday Books.


Bill and Geri Bruso have opened the Franciscan Religious Books and Gifts Shop in Rutland, Vt., the Rutland Herald reported. The 1,700-sq.-ft. shop sells books, rosaries, crucifixes, devotions, statues, artwork, greeting cards, DVDs and religious games. (There are also several books critical of The DaVinci Code.) The new store is located at 17 Center St.

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

Harvard Book Store's Chuck Pacheco Dies

Chuck Pacheco, a bookseller for 34 years and a frontlist buyer at the Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., since 1994, died on Monday.

In 1993 and 1994, he managed the Harvard Book Store Café on Newbury Street in Boston. From 1984 to 1993, he managed the Reading International store in Belmont, Mass., and was supervisor of the Darrow Bookstore in Lexington, Mass., from 1974 to 1983. He began his bookselling career in 1973 as manager of the Little Professor in Waltham, Mass.

The New England Booksellers Association commented: "Passionate about books and bookselling, Chuck was known for his consummate professionalism, extensive book knowledge, unfailing courtesy and constant good humor. NEBA extends our deepest sympathies to Chuck's life partner, Craig Sonnenberg, Chuck's family and friends, his colleagues and friends at the Harvard Book Store and throughout the book industry."

Services will be held this Saturday, March 11, at 11 a.m. at the Forsyth Chapel, Forest Hills Cemetery, Morton St. (Route 203), Jamaica Plain. A reception will follow at Chuck and Craig's house at 18 South Bourne Rd., Jamaica Plain. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in Chuck's name to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attn.: Contribution Services, 10 Brookline West, Brookline, Mass. 02445. On the check memo line, please write "brain cancer research."

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Libraries for the 21st Century: A Panel

Libraries for the 21st Century: New Challenges, New Directions is the focus of the Women's National Book Association's New York City Chapter's panel on Wednesday, March 15, 6-8 p.m., at the Small Press Center in New York City. Panelists will discuss libraries and "pressures concerning freedom of speech and privacy rights, electronic publishing and the changing nature of media--even literacy."

Janet Greene, historian and director of the Library of the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, where the Small Press Center is located, will make special remarks and give a standing tour. Panelists are:
  • Francine Fialkoff, editor-in-chief of Library Journal
  • Heike Kordish, director of New York Public Library's Humanities and Social Sciences Library and president of the Metropolitan New York Library Council
  • Patricia Renfro, deputy university librarian, Columbia University Libraries
  • Barbara Stripling, director of library services, New York City Department of Education
  • Pat Tumulty, executive director, New Jersey Library Association

Organizers and moderators are Valerie Tomaselli, president of MTM Publishing, and Cynthia Yazbek, associate editor of Kaplan. The Small Press Center is at 20 W. 44th St. For more information, go to the WNBA New York Web site.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Guy's Guy Frank Vincent

Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show, Judith Levine continues to sell her new book, Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping (Free Press, $25, 0743269357).


Today the View has a sitdown with Frank Vincent, author of A Guy's Guide to Being a Man's Man (Berkley, $24.95, 0425208761).


Today World Talk Radio's Antoinette Kuritz talks with Debra Galant, author of the new satiric novel, Rattled (St. Martin's, $21.95, 0312349319), and Paul Levine, author of The Deep Blue Alibi (Bantam, $6.99, 0440242746), the second in his Solomon vs. Lord legal thriller series.

Books & Authors

Publicity Pumps Up Early Sales of New Bonds-Steroid Book

An upcoming book by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance William about baseball star Barry Bonds's use of steroids is showing signs of serious juicing following its serialization this week in Sports Illustrated and major play in the Chronicle that includes a long story and podcast featuring the authors.

No. 119,745 in sales on Monday on, yesterday Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports (Gotham Books, $26, 1592401996) edged into the top 10. Likewise on B&, the book went from below 15,000 to No. 268 in one hour yesterday.

Game of Shadows is due out March 27.

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

The following titles go on sale next Tuesday, March 14:

A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveler by Frances Mayes (Broadway Books, $26, 0767910052). The author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany satisfies a case of wanderlust by traveling to other exotic destinations--although not buying and restoring any old villas.


Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos
by Seth Lloyd (Knopf, $25.95, 1400040922). This MIT professor's title could popularize an esoteric scientific subject.


Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor (Pantheon, $27.95, 0375422625). The authors, respectively the New York Times's chief military correspondent and a military columnist for the Times and NBC, also teamed up on 1994's The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, about the first Gulf War.

Deeper Understanding

Hitchhiking Book Author to Hitch Store to Store

Shelf Awareness spoke with Elijah Wald last weekend just after the hitchhiking gods had apparently punished him: while on a trip to Texas that involved no hitchhiking, he had been involved in a fender bender with his rental car in Austin. "As I suggest in my book," he commented, "when you don't follow the righteous path, you are punished." But as he also suggests in his book, it is difficult to hitchhike out of most major American cities these days because urban highways provide poor access for pedestrians, and San Antonio, the midpoint of his recent trip, is a case in point. Hence the rental car.

Wald aims to make amends to the hitchhiking gods when he begins an unusual book tour in May for his new title, Riding With Strangers: A Hitchhiker's Journey (Chicago Review Press, distributed by IPG, $22.95, 1556526059), an account of a hitchhiking trip cross-country that includes a history of hitchhiking, his own stories of hitchhiking around the world over the past 30 years or so, and lots of facts about contemporary hitchhiking. (For example, states in the West tend to be tolerant of hitchhiking and many hitchhikers are never "seen" because they approach drivers directly at truck stops, one of the best places to find a ride.)

During the cross-country tour in May and June, Wald will hitchhike most of the way, stopping at a variety of independent booksellers, including Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colo., Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa, 57th Street Books, Chicago, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., and Coliseum Books, New York City.

One reason Wald is hitchhiking on the tour: "Every interviewer's first question will be, 'Did you hitchhike here?' " he said. "How would it feel if I couldn't say, 'Yes?' "

Wald expects to have some "fairly entertaining readings. I'll have my guitar along, I'll sing and read a little and I'll listen to others people's hitchhiking stories." One phenomenon of his hitchhiking interest is that just about anyone he meets over age 35 or 40 tells him his or her hitchhiking tales. "Any time I've mentioned this book at a party in the past few years, I'm deluged with stories," he said.

Most booksellers he contacted about appearances have responded well, he said, although a few have worried whether he'll make it on time. Concerning timeliness, he argues in his book that usually he can travel faster hitchhiking than by taking busses or trains. In certain cities, he's added an unusual condition for his bookstore appearance: a ride to the highway afterwards.

Wald will not hitchhike on one relatively short leg of the trip, in Idaho, when he's riding with Rosalie Sorrels, "one of the grand masters of American folk music," who is in her 70s and appropriately for the tour was a friend of Neal Cassady, Hunter Thompson and Ken Kesey. The two will sing and read together at the Log Cabin Literary Center in Boise, Iconoclast Books in Ketchum and Walrus & Carpenter Books in Pocatello.

Wald warned that Riding With Strangers contains no "thrilling road stories of axe murderers in the wilds of Montana. It's a tricky book. I didn't want to pick a few weird, unusual rides and write about them. Rather it's about the extraordinary experience of meeting people you'd never meet in normal life and talking with them intimately." On most of his trips, like the one he wrote about, "I have perfectly nice conversations that in a normal context aren't worth writing up. I'm trying to convey how pretty straight forward a normal hitchhiking trip cross-country is."

It's distressing to Wald that most people consider hitchhiking and picking up hitchhikers so dangerous. In fact, he argues that hitchhiking is actually less dangerous than it was 40 years ago. "Even people who tell horror stories generally talk of hitchhiking positively," he said. Wald himself has "never been physically harmed, and I never felt that I was in danger of that.

"The whole purpose in doing the book is to get people to realize this needn't be something in the past, that it's as much of an option as it ever was," Wald continued. "I don't expect everyone to fall in love with hitchhiking, but they should have the experience and be open to it."

Otherwise, they'll miss a certain thrill. "Obviously hitchhiking is not completely safe," he said, "And that's part of the fun of it."

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