Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 27, 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: Wahrenbrock's Reopening; Borders in Brooklyn

Closed by a major fire in February (Shelf Awareness, February 20), Wahrenbrock's, the used, rare and collectible bookstore in San Diego, Calif., will reopen next week with a refurbished first floor, where most of the damage occurred, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The second and third floors are unchanged.

Deemed arson by the Fire Department, which has not arrested anyone, the fire caused $147,000 in inventory and $88,000 in structural damage. Seven tons of books and damaged wood had to be removed. The store has about 260,000 books in total; 25,000 were lost in the fire.

Sections are being maintained where they were before. "If my golf customers came in and the golf books had been moved, they would be very upset and confused," owner Chuck Valverde told the paper.

Wahrenbrock's was founded in 1935.


The Borders Books Music and Cafe on Coldwater Road in Fort Wayne, Ind., has again been selected by readers of the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette as the best bookstore in the area.

"There's nothing I haven't wanted I haven't found here. And even if I did, I know they will get it for me," Ben Waterman, a customer, told the paper as he sipped coffee and read a golf magazine.


In other Borders news, the company is headed to Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the New York Post. The company has reportedly signed a letter of intent to open a 32,000-sq.-ft., three-level store in the ornate lobby of the historic Williamsburg Bank Building in Fort Greene, near the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Atlantic Center. The 34-story building, the tallest in Brooklyn, is being converted to condos.


The Dancing Rabbit Press Gallery, a bookstore and gallery, opened last Saturday in Philadelphia, Miss., a kind of joint venture between two relative newcomers to the town--Joni Goudie and Cindy Runnels, former California residents and sisters--and building owner and self-published author Steve Stubbs, the Neshoba Democrat reported.

The sisters wanted to do something together that would "express their creativity" and had thought of opening a bakery, but heard from residents that they wanted a bookstore. "Someone told us to go to Square Books [in Oxford]," Goudie told the paper. "They said they wanted that for Philadelphia. That was kind of our inspiration."

Stubbs was looking to open a bookstore and gallery to display his collection of Civil War memorabilia and sell his three books: Duty, Honor, Valor, about the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment in the Civil War; Neshoba at War, about county residents' involvement in World War II; and Mississippi's Giant Houseparty: The History of the Neshoba County Fair. Stubbs and the sisters met, and the rest, as they might say, is a Philadelphia story.

The bookstore serves coffee and features "mainstream" books, local interest titles and Stubbs' trio of titles.


Joe Monti is joining Houghton Mifflin as national accounts manager of the Children's Book Group, where in the newly created position, he will sell the company's children's lines to Barnes & Noble and Baker & Taylor. Monti is an 18-year veteran of B&N, and for the past nine years, he has been the children's book buyer specializing in YA and teen fiction. He starts May 30 in Houghton's New York office and reports to director of national accounts David Falk.

In a statement, Houghton's v-p of sales Gary Gentel commented, "Few individuals have the overall book knowledge and market savvy that Joe has, and we will be looking to him to help us build on the strong foundation already laid down for our various children's formats--especially as we expand our Graphia line for teens."


Other Press is moving next week. As of May 4, its address will be:
Other Press
2 Park Avenue
24th Floor
New York, NY 10016
The office will be closed on May 4 and 5, though some staff will be working from home.
Phone and fax numbers will remain the same.

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

Opal Mehta Latest: Photographic Memory at Fault?

Kaavya Viswanathan's appearance yesterday on the Today Show seemed not to convince interviewer Katie Couric or many viewers that she had innocently and unintentionally borrowed parts of Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty for her How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. The Harvard sophomore apologized to McCafferty for any "upset" she might have caused.

In today's New York Times, Viswanathan added that her photographic memory might have caused the problem.

In another story, on the front page, today's Times explores the role of the book packager Alloy Entertainment in the development of Viswanathan's book, stating early on that "nobody associated with the plagiarism accusations is pointing fingers at Alloy." Still, in an odd twist, it turns out that Claudia Gabel, who as an editorial assistant at Crown helped work on McCafferty's books, was involved in the development of the idea for Viswanathan's book as an editor at Alloy after she changed jobs. (Gabel is now an editor at Knopf Delacorte Dell Young Readers.) Random House spokesperson Stuart Applebaum told the Times that Gabel worked at Alloy from spring 2003 until last November, "before the editorial work was completed" on How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. He stated that Gabel "told us she did not touch a single line of Kaavya's writing at any point in the drafts" and that she was one of several people who worked on the project.

The author added that the first piece she showed her future agency, the William Morris Agency, was in the style of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, but was considered too dark. "They thought it would be better if I did a lighter piece," she said. "They thought that was more likely to sell." Eventually she wrote four chapters and a synopsis of what became How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, which she sent to Alloy and became the basis for her contract with Little, Brown.

Viswanathan said that other than those first four chapters, on which Alloy made "very minor suggestions," the packager did not help and that she worked "almost exclusively" with her Little, Brown editor, Asya Muchnick.

Several industry people emphasized that the genre lends itself to broad similarities between books. "The teenage experience is fairly universal," Bethany Buck, a v-p and editorial director at Simon Pulse, told the Times.

Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Spring Catalog Fever

The first Spring Into Reading Catalog has sprung--more than two million copies are being distributed through booksellers to consumers in stores, in mailings or via newspapers and are available on many store Web sites. Subtitled "books from your local independent bookstore," the catalogs are sponsored by eight of the nine regional booksellers associations (all but the New England Booksellers Association) and produced by Ingram.

Wanda Jewell, executive director of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and a driving force behind the Spring Catalog, said that the goal is for it "to become a premiere national catalog for promoting and selling good books during this critical second season of bookselling."

The inaugural 12-page catalogue aims to be current through June and highlights nearly 90 titles in both general sections common to all editions and sections geared to particular regions. The Southern California Booksellers Association version, for example, begins with "SoCal Selections" that includes such titles as Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan; several Zagat guides to Los Angeles and Southern California; Adventures of a Hollywood Secretary by Valeria Belletti; Hollywood Dish by Akasha Richmond; Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack; Pop L.A by Cecile Whiting; and Western Landscaping.

National sections are geared to graduates, newlyweds, Mother's Day, Father's Day, summer reads, cooking, sports, "inquiring minds want to know," advice and inspiration, history and biography and more.

Booksellers contacted by Shelf Awareness reacted positively. Page & Palette, Fairhope, Ala., for one, is distributing 5,000 copies of the catalog in the same places it distributes its printed newsletter, including restaurants, salons, doctors' offices and other public places, as well as in the store. Owner Karin Wilson said that customers have reacted very well in part because the catalog has a "very nice quality and is readable." One suggestion she had for next year's edition: adding sidelines, but this might not work "because they're so much out there."

Books & Company in Oconomowoc, Wis., is inserting about 5,400 copies of the catalog in the local paper next week and will coordinate that effort with an in-store display of the titles and catalogs, according to Diana Cohen. Altogether the store ordered 6,000 copies. "Since I did not have an initial charge for the catalog," Cohen said, "I was able to justify the money for inserting it in our newspaper."

Michael Russo of Russo's Books, Bakersfield, Calif., said his store is using the catalog as a bag stuffer and has coordinated a center aisle store display of books from the catalog. "By spotlighting something different each week, such as fiction, home, wedding, Mother's Day, graduation, we are able to keep the display up for an extended period and still keep it fresh and meaningful," Russo said.

Already in the first two weeks since the catalog's arrival, the store has had "a significant sell-through of titles," he continued. The staff is "very pleased with the quality, look and title selection. An attractive and professional catalog gives us instant credibility with our customers." Next year the store may use the catalog as a newspaper insert.

Besides promoting the stores and boosting book sales, the catalogs have another purpose: proceeds from the Spring Catalog are underwriting the Spoken Word, the Public Radio Partnership that offers hour-long radio programs recorded at bookstores around the country featuring authors reading from and being interviewed about their work. Hosted by Daren Wang, the shows mention stores in all regions and are aired on a range of public radio stations.

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

Media and Movies

Water to Flow Tomorrow

Written and directed by Deepa Mehta, Water opens in limited release in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco tomorrow. On Friday, May 5, it opens in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, and during May it will open in more than 60 cities.

Water is the third of a trilogy, following Fire and Earth. Set in colonial India in 1938, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuyia, who is widowed and sent to a home for Hindu widows. As the film puts it, "Chuyia's feisty presence deeply affects the lives of the other residents, including a young widow, who falls for a Gandhian idealist."

Water stars Lisa Ray who was in Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood; Seema Biswas of Bandit Queen, Bollywood regular John Abraham and Sarala, who as Chuyia makes her screen debut.

Several books related to Water are washing toward booksellers:

In Shooting Water: A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking (Newmarket Press, $23.95, 1557047111), Devyani Saltzman, the daughter of Water director Deepa Mehta, chronicles the difficult five-year production of the movie as well as the slow reconciliation she and her mother made during that time.

Bapsi Sidhwa has written a novelization of the movie, also called Water (Milkweed Editions, $16.95, 1571310568). In a nice piece of symmetry, Mehta's film Earth was based on Sidhwa's novel Cracking India (Milkweed Editions, $15.95, 1571310487).

This Weekend on Book TV: LA Times Festival of Books

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 29

4 p.m. Live coverage of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. For a full schedule of Festival programming on Book TV Saturday and Sunday, click here.

8 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 1998, Paul Johnson, who writes a weekly essay for the Spectator, talked about his book A History of the American People (Perennial, $20, 0060930349).

9 p.m. After Words. Walter Shapiro, Washington editor of Salon and author of One-Car Caravan: The Amazing True Saga of the 2004 Democratic Race from its Humble Beginnings to the Boston Convention (PublicAffairs, $14, 1586482750), interviews Time magazine political columnist Joe Klein, whose new book is Politics Lost: The Lost Music of American Politics (Doubleday, $23.95, 0385510276). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

Sunday, April 30

11:30 a.m. History on Book TV. In an event hosted by the Brooklyn Public Library in New York, Harry Bruinius, professor of journalism at Hunter College and founder of the Village Quill writers' loft, profiles two victims of the eugenics movement in the U.S., as discussed in his Better for All the World: The Secret History of Forced Sterilization and America's Quest for Racial Purity (Knopf, $30, 0375413715).

12:30 p.m. Public Lives. Senator Gordon Smith (R.-Ore.) discusses his book, Remembering Garrett: One Family's Battle with a Child's Depression (Carroll & Graf, $23.95, 0786717629), about his son Garrett who suffered from depression and took his own life at 21. With his wife, Sharon, Smith took questions from the audience and talked about the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act he sponsored that funds suicide prevention efforts.

Media Heat: Bookworm Eats Up Stephen Wright

This morning the Today Show features Lucy Jane Miller, author of Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153373).


Today the Bookworm talks with Stephen Wright, author of The Amalgamation Polka (Knopf). As the show put it: "Stephen Wright has written a Civil War novel and has mastered all the prose styles of classic American literature (Melville, Twain, Stowe, et al.). Here, we explore the profusion of voices and attitudes that characterized pre-P.C. America: abolitionists, freed slaves, plantation masters, snake-oil salesmen, con men, ministers and utopians. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a democratic culture in which every shade of opinion has a voice and should be heard."


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show:

  • Senator Edward Kennedy, author of America Back on Track (Viking, $24.95, 0670037648)
  • Edward O. Wilson, author of Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006 (Johns Hopkins University Press, $35, 0801883296).

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