Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 16, 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: College Store Management Debate; ALA Katrina Relief

The AP via the Boston Globe looks at arguments for and against leased college stores.

On one hand, Christopher Bradie, executive director of Penn Business Services, said that the bookstore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has carried more books, periodicals, gifts and other items since Barnes & Noble College took it over in 1998. "The new store has also enhanced the quality of campus life with its additions, including a cafe that is often filled to capacity with students," he said.

On the other hand, California State University, San Marcos, took back operation of the University Bookstore six months ago. Pam Edmonson, director of commercial services, told the AP that "university officials wanted to address campus needs more quickly. As a nonprofit foundation, the bookstore can make changes without having to go through layers of a corporate structure."

The paper also says that some 60 people "braved the cold" yesterday and attended a rally in support of the Brown Bookstore in Providence, R.I. A university committee recently recommended that the institutional school be leased out.


Barnes & Noble will close its store in Clackamas Promenade in Clackamas, Ore., on April 8 and reopen across the street in the Clackamas Town Center on May 3, according to the Oregonian. The 33,500-sq.-ft. B&N will be the company's largest in the Portland area and is "the first step in a $115 million mall expansion project."


The amount of money raised by the ALA's Hurricane Katrina Library Relief Fund recently crossed the $300,000 mark. More than 1,500 members, foundations, companies, groups and individuals have contributed.


Congratulations to Jim Carretta of Partners/West, who won the Northern California Children's Booksellers Association Rep of the Year award! The award was presented at the NCCBA Otter Award dinner, held last Saturday.


Sponsored by the College Art Association, the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award, honoring the author or authors of "an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art," has gone to Eleana Phipps, Johanna Hecht and Cristina Esteras Martín for The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork, 1530-1830 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, distributed by Yale University Press, $65, 030010491X).

The CAA's Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, for "an especially distinguished book in the history of art," went to The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of a Sculpture Collection by Carol Mattusch with Henry Lie (Getty Publications, $85, 0892367229).


If you feel a certain magic in the distance, it may be because today is Harry Potter day in Finland: the Finnish translation of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince went on sale at midnight. Lines began forming at Helsinki's landmark Stockmann's Academic Bookstore at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the Helsingin Sanomat reported.

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

U.S. Begins to Join World Book Day

Intended to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright, World Book Day has been celebrated on April 23 in many countries since UNESCO kicked it off in 1995. The U.S., however, has thus far not been one of them, mainly because the U.S. dropped out of UNESCO in 1984 and did not rejoin until 2003.

While the U.S.'s UNESCO office in Washington, D.C., plans to launch an initiative for official participation next year, a publisher is starting the celebration early--in a small corner of southern Oregon--and hopes to spread the word around the country.

David Wick, publisher of Silver Light Publications, Ashland, Ore., who learned about World Book Day while involved with other U.N., peace-related activities, has taken it upon himself to involve several local partners, including the Jackson County Libraries, local public schools, a local literacy council, independent bookstore Bloomsbury Books and a local Barnes & Noble, each of which will create displays or host readings or other events on World Book Day. A local graphic artist has volunteered to create a poster. Wick is currently approaching area business and local governments to act as sponsors. He hopes to convince wholesalers and regional bookseller associations to get involved as well.

"Though time is short, my inspiration is to get the word out now, to help people become aware of World Book Day, and to get ready for a coordinated effort next year," Wick said. For additional information about how to get involved, please contact or David Wick at  

Officially known as World Book and Copyright Day, World Book Day grew out of a celebration that originated in the Catalonia region of Spain, where on April 23, Saint George's Day, a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold. April 23 is also the day Cervantes and Shakespeare both died in 1616.--Maria Heidkamp

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

'NAIBAhood Gatherings'

Next month the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association plans two "NAIBAhood Gatherings":

On Sunday, April 9, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Suzanne Kelly of the Bridge Street Bookshop in Phoenixville, Pa., which opened last summer (Shelf Awareness, July 1), is hosting a meeting for "all those who have opened or taken over a bookstore in the past five years, as well as the professional staff from any store who see their future in bookselling." The group aims to "share and learn from each other's accomplishments, missteps and vision, and help shape the future of bookselling."

On Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Carrier Circle, Syracuse, N.Y., Rob Stahl of the Colgate Bookstore will host an ABA Forum and a 2% Solution seminar. The seminar, which has been given at BEA and other locations, will focus on making bookstores more profitable and feature specific suggestions about sales, gross margin, total compensation and occupancy expenses. Free for ABA and NAIBA members; $25 for all others.

RSVPs for either event should be sent to Veronica at NAIBA at or 877-866-2422.

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

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Manliness

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, March 18

8:45 a.m. Public Lives. Jackie Spinner, a Washington Post reporter, talks about her new book, written with her sister Jenny Spinner, an assistant professor of English at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Tell Them I Didn't Cry: A Young Journalist's Story of Joy, Loss, and Survival in Iraq (Scribner, $23, 074328853X). (Re-airs at 11:30 p.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 2002, Sandra Mackey, a journalist and TV commentator on the Middle East, talked about her book The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein (Norton, $16.95, 0393324281) and argued that invading Iraq and defeating Saddam Hussein would not solve Iraq's problems.

9 p.m. After Words. Naomi Wolf, who has also written books on gender and society including The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood and The Treehouse: Eccentric Wisdom from My Father on How to Live, Love, and See, interviews Harvey Mansfield, a government professor at Harvard University, about his new book, Manliness (Yale University Press, $27.50, 0300106645). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

Sunday, March 19

4:30 a.m. History on Book TV. At an event held at Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla., Teo Babun discusses The Cuban Revolution: Years of Promise (University Press of Florida, $34.95, 0813028604), which features photographs collected by his father that depict the uprising against and the overthrow of the Batista government in the late 1950s. During the talk and following Q&A, Babun stressed that Castro, with whom his father worked, reneged on his promise to create a democracy.

Media Heat: The Late Octavia Butler on Bookworm

Today on Good Morning America: Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Tripping the Prom Queen: The Truth About Women and Rivalry (St. Martin's, $22.95, 0312342314).

Good Morning America also talks with Michael S. Berman, author of Living Large: A Big Man's Ideas on Weight, Success, and Acceptance (Rodale, $24.95, 159486277X).


This morning on the Today Show: 10-year-old Noah McCullough discusses his surprise bestseller, The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia (Random House, $9.95, 1400064821).


This morning on Imus in the Morning and today on the View: Cindy Adams, author of Living a Dog's Life, Jazzy, Juicy, and Me (St. Martin's, $19.95, 0312323778).


Today WAMU's Diane Rehm Show has a date with Ilena Silverman, editor of the anthology of in-law stories, I Married My Mother-in-Law (Riverhead, $23.95, 1594489092).


Today on KCRW's Bookworm: the late Octavia Butler, author of Fledgling (Seven Stories Press, $24.95, 1583226907). As the show put it: "As a science fiction writer, the MacArthur Prize-winning Octavia Butler has taken the conventional elements of the genre and transformed them so that they profoundly comment on sex, race, biology and history. Here, she proves that all of her revelations depend on a deep understanding of the characters. Her sympathy for her young vampire heroine is the key."


Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Will Blythe, author of To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever (HarperCollins, $24.95, 006074023X).


This evening on Larry King Live: Macaulay Culkin, author of Junior (Miramax, $22.95, 1401352340).


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman, a repeat from February featuring Charles Barkley, whose new book is Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?: Race, Power, Fame, Identity, and Why Everyone Should Read My Book (Riverhead, $14, 1594482055), a series of interviews with public figures on the subject of race in the U.S.

Book Review

Mandahla: The Madonnas of Leningrad Reviewed

Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (William Morrow & Company, $23.95 Hardcover, 9780060825300, March 2006)

The Madonnas of Leningrad opens with Marina, a young docent at the Hermitage Museum, leading a tour of the Spanish Skylight Hall, but veers off from her description of three Spanish peasants eating lunch with a whole loaf of white bread to ". . . not the blockade bread that is mostly wood shavings . . . We fry bits of potato in linseed oil. Later, when the potatoes and oil are gone, we make a jelly out of the glue used to bind frames and eat that." Marina is in Leningrad for the great siege of World War II; she is also living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Dmitri, and is losing her mind to Alzheimer's. The intertwining of Marina's memories and present life form the structure of this haunting, poignant novel.
"Whatever is eating her brain consumes only the fresher memories, the unripe moments. Her distant past is preserved, better than preserved. Moments that occurred in Leningrad sixty-some years ago reappear, vivid, plump, and perfumed."
During the summer of 1941, every painting, every object in the museum had to be packed and removed to a secret location. The employees worked constantly, and 1,118,000 exhibits were evacuated in July of that year, since Hitler had decided to wipe Leningrad from the face of the earth, saying he had no interest in the preservation of even a part of the population of that city. Two thousand of the Hermitage staff and their families lived in the cavernous vaults beneath the museum and the Winter Palace, enduring freezing weather, starvation, and bombings. At one point, faint from the slightest exertion, Marina is given an armful of pine boughs, and eats an entire branch--"it tasted wonderful, sharp and spicy, like eating a forest."
As Marina walks through the museum rooms every day, Anya, one of the rooms attendants, helps her build a memory palace, filling in the empty frames on the walls, for "someone must remember, or it all disappears without a trace, and then they can say it never was." They add rooms every day, mentally restocking the museum with evocative descriptions of paintings.
"It is Ferdinand Bol's Old Woman with a Book, a severe-looking shrew in widow's weeds, clutching an open Bible in her lap. Her husband provided for her well, one can tell from the big brooch on her chest, but her expression suggests that she will make her heirs grovel and leave it all to the church."
Marina is particularly fond of Madonnas, a passion that her artist daughter Helen has mysteriously inherited, "mysteriously" because Marina does not have any interest in art that Helen has ever seen. "Her mother is odd that way. She knows a great deal about art for someone who has no particular love for it." In fact, her two children know very little of their parents' history. We learn much more, but while Debra Dean gives great detail about pieces of Marina's life during the siege, and about her present life, she only hints at the rest of the story. It's like one of the paintings from Marina's memory--a few finely drawn details with imagination filling in the rest.
"Here we are, the Hall of French Art. The room as delicate as a suspended breath, the pale dove-colored walls curving under neo-classical vaults, the inlaid floors a minuet of repeating circles and turns."
This is an extraordinary story, beautiful and heartbreaking. (For more information on the Hermitage and this extraordinary period, go to Dahl


Deeper Understanding

Between You and Me: Mike Wallace at a Sprightly 87

Mike Wallace's announcement that he is finally sort of retiring from 60 Minutes reminded us that it's time to mention his wonderful talk at the NACS/CAMEX show in Houston last week.

In a tone of mild surprise he introduced his new book, Between You and Me: A Memoir (Hyperion, $26.95, 1401300294), saying in his familiar baritone, "This is a pretty good book." The "best part," he continued, was the DVD in it that has excerpts of a few of the interviews he's done over the years with "some of the most fascinating, hateful, controversial people imaginable."

He then showed parts of four of those interviews and commented on them:

Eleanor Roosevelt he called "one of the heroes of American history. When I was in the Navy, she came to visit us. She was the eyes and ears and legs for her husband. He depended on her for advice and was a surrogate for him."

Clint Hill, a Secret Service agent who was on duty when President Kennedy was assassinated, years later still felt he should have prevented the killing. In the clip, he told Wallace that if he had blocked the shots and died instead, "that would have been fine with me."

Nancy Reagan, a friend he stays in touch with, doesn't want to take credit for her major accomplishments. "Some day the real story will come out about how important she was in helping Ronald Reagan make an arrangement with Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War," Wallace said. "It is a part of history that still has to be written." He added that First Ladies are "extraordinary. They are elected to nothing and have to be careful of what they say and who they say it to. Someday someone will do a history of First Ladies of the 20th Century and it will show a lot of courage, intelligence and sensitivity."

In his clip, Louis Farrakhan blew up at Wallace, then smiled and partly apologized. "Malcolm X was a friend of mine," Wallace said. "For some reason we hit it off. He was extraordinary American. He really tried to bring us together, blacks and whites. Louis Farrakhan was jealous of Malcolm X's ties with black people in U.S. and said things about Malcolm that he shouldn't have said and acknowledged that later."

Wallace said that the "most valuable lesson" he had learned "in all my years of reporting is to keep fresh eyes." He noted that "we reporters take a lot of bashing for focusing on bad things, not good things." But, he continued, "Reporters become reporters because they're so curious and nosy and the job is so satisfying. Imagine going around world and talking to all kinds of people about all kinds of things and getting to ask nasty questions?"

As an example, he mentioned interviewing Ayatollah Khomeini two weeks after the American hostages were taken in Iran in 1979. At one point during the interview, Wallace said, "Anwar Sadat says you are not a good Muslim, and besides he thinks you're a lunatic."

The translator thought Wallace the lunatic, he said, but when he translated the question, "for the first time, I got the attention of the Ayatollah. He said, 'I don't think Sadat is a very good Muslim, and I don't predict much of a future for him.' " Of course, the following year Sadat was assassinated.

Perhaps Wallace's approach explained what he said next, which seemed all the more striking because he was speaking in the George Bush Grand Ballroom at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Tex.

"I've talked with every president since Abe Lincoln--or that's the way it seems," Wallace said. "The only president I've not had the opportunity to talk to is George W. Bush." He noted that he tried to interview Bush when he was governor of Texas for a story on tort reform, but Karl Rove told him, "I know what you're down here doing and the governor won't talk to you about tort reform." Then after the governor was elected president, "I called Karl--now I called him Mister Rove--and said now that he's up here, I'd like to interview him. He said, 'I don't think we're going to talk with you.' " Wallace noted that President Bush is the first president in 50 years that he has not interviewed--and not even met. In a hopeful tone he said, "If anyone here is a good friend . . . ?"

Then he said that had been able to interview President Bush, he would have asked him to "answer this question we should all consider. What qualifies a man or woman to run for the office of President of the United States of America? What kind of background should he or she have? How much should he know about the military? How much should he know about diplomacy? How much traveling should he have done overseas? What does qualify someone to have the boldness to run for what in effect is the job of commander-in-chief of the free world?" After a pause, he ended, "I guess I'm not going to get the answer."

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