Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 20, 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: California Store to Close; B&N's MasterCard

The Book Rack in Lodi, Calif., plans to close in May because co-owners Charlotte and Cecil Brewer have not found a buyer and need to give up the business because of a family illness, the Stockton Record reported. "I've had a lot of people interested, but I'm not getting enough out of it for them," Charlotte Brewer, 73, told the paper.

The story traces the effect of online bookselling and the arrival of chains in the area on the Book Rack and other stores.


Barnes & Noble and Barclays have introduced the B&N Member MasterCard for members of B&N's loyalty program. The holders receive 5% rebates on most purchases at B&N and B& in addition to the regular 10% member discounts. On purchases at other companies, card holders accumulate points that are rewarded at intervals with a $25 B&N gift card.


We've heard recently from several booksellers and at least one publisher that their hotel reservations for BEA have been inadvertently cancelled or misplaced--for a variety of reasons. Best to check!


Sourcebooks, Inc., is moving warehouses, which means a change in its address for returns. Any returns made to Sourcebooks that will arrive May 1 or later should be sent to the following address:

Sourcebooks, Inc.
c/o Kaplan Logistics
901 Bilter Road
Aurora, IL  60502

For more information, please contact the Sourcebooks Customer Service Department at 800-432-7444.

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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ted Kennedy, Children's Book Author

This morning on the Early Show, Jane Fonda talks about My Life So Far (Random House, $16.95, 0812975766).


This morning the Today Show takes a ride with one of its columnists, Mike Leonard, author of The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345481488), in which he wrote about a trip with his parents, who are in their 80s.


Today KCRW's Bookworm talks with Dara Horn, author of The World to Come (Norton, $24.95, 0393051072). As the show describes it: "Dara Horn, a writer who specializes in Yiddish literature and culture, explores the metaphysical underpinnings of her new novel. We begin with the theft of a Chagall painting, proceed to the plight of Jewish artists under Stalin, the fate of the extended family and the instruction of unborn infants in heaven who are awaiting 'the world to come.' "


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Cesar Millan, star of the National Geographic Channel's Dog Whisperer show and author of Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems (Crown, $24.95, 0307337332).

Rehm also talks today with Bates Gill, an author of China: The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know About the Emerging Superpower from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for International Economics (PublicAffairs, $25, 1586484648).

Incidentally PublicAffairs crashed the book to have it out this week in time for Chinese president Hu Jintao's visit to Washington, D.C., today. The book aims to explain the complexities of modern China and Chinese-U.S. relations and has been reviewed widely, including in the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. All four authors will appear in a segment on Book TV this weekend (see below).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Pete Earley, author of Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153136).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Senator Edward Kennedy, who has written his first children's book, My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. (Scholastic, $16.99, 0439650771). He's also on Larry King Live tonight.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Bonnie Fuller tells all about her new book, The Joys of Much Too Much: Go for the Big Life--The Great Career, the Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You've Ever Wanted (Even If You're Afraid You Don't Have What It Takes) (Fireside, $24, 0743459474).

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

This Weekend on Book TV: China: The Balance Sheet

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, April 22

4 p.m. In an event held at the National Press Club, C. Fred Bergsten, Bates Gill, Nicholas Lardy and Derek Mitchell, authors of China: The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know About the Emerging Superpower from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Institute for International Economics (PublicAffairs, $25, 1586484648), talk about the growing economic and political influence of China and its implications for the U.S. The panelists also discuss trade and labor issues between the U.S. and China and comment on the visit this week to the U.S. by Chinese President Hu Jintao. (Re-airs on Sunday at 7:30 a.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 2003, Jon Kukla, director of the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation and author of A Wilderness So Immense: The Louisiana Purchase and the Destiny of America (Anchor, $16, 0375707611), talked about the obstacles Thomas Jefferson faced as he doubled the size of the U.S.

9 p.m. After Words. Mark Falcoff, author of Cuba: The Morning After--Confronting Castro's Legacy (AEI Press, $25, 0844741752) and resident fellow emeritus on Latin America at the American Enterprise Institute, interviews Julia Sweig, senior fellow and director for Latin America studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century (PublicAffairs, $25, 1586483005). Sweig argues that anti-American sentiment in Latin America has resulted from U.S. sponsorship of dictatorships and the corruption of democratic governments in the region. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

Sunday, April 23

5:15 p.m. History on Book TV. In an event that took place at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, Charles Jones, a staff writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, talks about his book Boys of '67: From Vietnam to Iraq, the Extraordinary Story of a Few Good Men (Stackpole, $29.95, 0811701638). In the book, Jones tells the stories of three Marine generals.

Monday, April 24

12:30 a.m. Public Lives. In an event that was part of the National Black Writers Conference hosted by Medgar Evers College in New York City, Susan McHenry, editorial director of Black Issues Book Review, interviewed Marita Golden, author of Don't Play in the Sun: One Woman's Journey Through the Color Complex (Anchor, $13, 1400077362). The memoir recounts the author's experience growing up as a dark-skinned black woman.

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

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 2

Out in paperback with laydown dates of next Tuesday, April 25:

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (Dial, $12, 0385338694). A corporate attorney makes a huge mistake--and flees to the country and becomes, for a time, a housekeeper. From the author of the various Shopaholic titles.


Lie by Moonlight by Amanda Quick (Jove, $7.99, 0515139807). By Jayne Ann Krentz, a historical romance set in 19th century England.


The Innocent by Harlan Coben (Signet, $9.99, 045121577X). This thriller stars a young husband with a past that makes his current life very difficult.


Rococo by Adriana Trigiani (Ballantine, $13.95, 081296781X). New Jersey in the '70s in an Italian-American milieu.


Out in paperback on Saturday, May 1:

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen (Warner, $7.99, 0446615129). Another classic Hiaasen work of crime fiction mixing the hilarious, oddball and poignant.


Adored by Tilly Bagshawe (Warner Vision, $6.99, 0446617539). A Hollywood tale spanning decades.

Deeper Understanding

Are Salesreps Human?: Donald Harington Seeks an Answer

Called "Are Salesreps Human?" the following is an address in slightly altered form made by Donald Harington, whose most recent book is The Pitcher Shower (Toby Press, $22.95, 1592641237), at the Toby Press's fifth anniversary banquet in New York City last December 7 to a room full of sales reps and other book people:

When I was a kid growing up in the Ozark mountains, the world out there, and especially out there at night, was filled with scary things; monsters that we are told in adulthood are just "mythical" or at least "fabulous" but monsters we truly believed in and lost sleep over.

There was for example, the giasticutus, which the old-timers said was a cross between an ostrich and a pterodactyl. Since I had never seen an ostrich or a pterodactyl, I could only imagine with dread what the giasticutus looked like, so I could stay out of its way.

Then there was the jimplicute, a ghostly dinosaur said to walk the roads at night, grab travelers and suck their blood. I stayed off the roads at night.

The snawfus was a huge albino deer with supernatural powers that "can fly through the timber quiet as a Goddamn hoot owl." If a person should actually see a snawfus, he's not long for this world. I never saw one, although I was told that the glamorous blue haze which hangs over the Ozarks in the autumn is the smoke exhaled by the snawfus.

I may have caught a glimpse, once time, of the side-hill hoofer, which is similar to a beaver in appearance, but very much larger--about the size of a yearling calf. It lives in a burrow on some steep hillside. Always runs around the hill in the same direction, since the legs on one side of its body are much longer than those on the other side. If, by accident, it falls down into the flat country, it is easily captured, since on level ground it cannot walk at all. The female lays eggs as big as water buckets, and one egg will furnish breakfast for twenty-five men. "But they taste kind of strong," an old man said soberly.

Growing up with all the reports and stories about these fabulous critters, I was susceptible when my first editor, forty years ago, told me about a monster called a salesrep. The editor didn't call the salesrep a monster but painted such a horrid verbal portrait of it that it was easy for me to imagine a fearsome freak that would scare the daylights out of any Ozark monster.

"We can't include this paragraph," my editor would say to me, "the salesreps would be all over us if we tried." Or I would submit a book proposal, and the editor would say, "If I showed this to the salesreps, they would crush it flat."

Years after I had escaped from that particular editor and his terrifying tales of salesreps, I discovered that other editors also believed in salesreps and believed they were horrifying. "You'd just better cut this whole chapter," an editor told me, "because the salesreps would tear it to pieces."

I never met a salesrep, and so I couldn't verify that they had a supernatural sense of smell that would account for one editor telling me that certain sentences of mine "stunk to high heaven." Another editor told me "If the salesreps ever got a look at this, they'd kill you."

I began to imagine that possibly salesreps look something like the side-hill hoofer--maybe because of the steep ground they have to traverse, they have two legs shorter on one side than on the other, assuming they have four legs, which they would need to cover all their territory.

My good current editor at Toby, Deborah Meghnagi, the eleventh editor I've had, and my editor-in-chief Matthew Miller have never mentioned salesreps to me until recently, when Matthew assured me that the salesreps I'd meet tonight have only two legs, just like everyone else, and are not to be feared.  Maybe they make strange sounds, like "FROF," "FROF," which I think is just short for "frontlist-on-floppy" but otherwise they not only speak good English but speak it in a very persuasive manner.

So you can understand my delight on this grand fifth anniversary of Toby Press to discover that all of these salesreps are truly not monstrous after all. I had imagined they would have names like Igor, and Beelzebub and Putana and Rothgar. So imagine my surprise to learn that they have names like Stephen and Bill and Melissa and Don! Possibly they belong to the NAIPR, which I think stands for "Networked Artificial Individuals Programmed for Repair," but they are devoted to the same religion that all of us here believe in--that good literature is the greatest invention since Noah rigged together an ark to escape a big flood.

I doubt that Noah had room for giasticutuses, jimplicutes, snawfuses or side-hill hoofers on that ark, although he probably had on board a pair of salesreps, male and female. Because they do multiply.

I should have been able to appreciate salesreps because there is a single male of the species in the Bible of Stay More, The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks, which has become the flagship of the fleet of ten of my books that Matthew is proudly sailing. This novel, despite its misleading title, attempts to tell the story of One Hundred Years of Beatitude in Stay More, Arkansas. Shortly after it was founded in the nineteenth century, by two brothers, Jacob and Noah Ingledew, it was visited by a young clock peddler from Connecticut named Eli Willard, who sells the brothers a clock. Six months later Eli Willard comes back again, to find that the clock he had sold them keeps impossibly fast time, so he sells them a new model, which, however, is also defective:
The new clock compensated for the old one by being as slow as the old one was fast, and Jacob calculated that he was regaining all the years he had lost to the old clock. Also, the new clock had a metal chime to strike the hours in the place of the harsh wooden pecker of the old clock. The new chime said PRONG, and since it struck only on the second Tuesday of each month, it was not at all annoying--in fact, an occasion to be looked forward to.

I suppose that salesreps can be depended on to keep coming back, year after year. Each time that Eli Willard shows up, he has something to sell the growing population of Stay More, something either very useful or utterly worthless--knives, scissors, straight-razors and other cutting tools, glass for windows, rifles and side arms to be used in the Civil War, and following the war, a line of elixirs, balms and unguents, then a line of chamber pots, then whale oil to light their lamps, the sale of which makes Eli Willard so wealthy he retires to take a trip around the world, but eventually comes out of retirement and returns as a Unitarian minister, which the Stay Morons have no use for whatsoever.

He is reduced eventually to peddling a line of grooming aids--toothbrushes, ear cleaners, hair tonics and hand cleaners. It's the twentieth century now, so no one is surprised when Eli Willard shows up one day with a big camera and a portable lab:

Everybody noticed something mighty peculiar about his wagon, but it took them a while to figure it out: there weren't any horses pulling the wagon.

But Eli Willard's horseless carriage spooks the livestock and he is sued in court, and stays away from Stay More for many years, until he finally returns with a circus sideshow billing him as "The World's Oldest Man."

A good salesman never gives up selling, right? And Eli Willard, the World's Oldest Man, is still peddling . . . peanuts. Young Hank Ingledew, great-great-grandson of the founder of Stay More, observes, "That there sideshow must not pay ye very well, that you've obliged to sell goobers on the side."

The old man shakes his head. "No, boy, I don't need to sell peanuts. I've been selling things all my life, and I just can't give up the confounded habit."

Each of us assembled here tonight is a sales rep in one form or another. Editors, bookstore people, writers, we are all in the business of selling books. Even the great illustrator Wendell Minor, who has joined us, who has the distinction of making covers for each of the vessels in my fleet, is essentially selling books with his art. I would not be here tonight if I had not sold Matthew Miller on the idea of accepting for publication a novel called With, after it had been turned down by all the publishers in New York. The email I sent him trying to get him to read it was the hardest thing I've ever written, nearly three years ago. He answered promptly but it took him another five months to read the book and to decide to publish it.

But the sale was made.

May all of you make your sales.

And may all of you continue to enjoy the pleasures of life in Stay More, Arkansas.

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