Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gallery Books: The Lion Women of Tehran by Marjan Kamali

Other Press (NY): Deliver Me by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Two Trees: Among Friends: An Illustrated Oral History of American Book Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century edited by Buz Teacher and Janet Bukovinsky Teacher

Atlantic Monthly Press: I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger


Notes: Baen Ill; Binkley Back at Borders; Fountain Splash

Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books, one of the largest SF publishers, has had a stroke and is in a coma in a North Carolina hospital. Locus, the SF news magazine, has some information. Among the company's innovations, Baen has been offering e-books for free, figuring people will want to buy print versions eventually.


One of our favorite and most energetic book world PR people, Ann Binkley, has returned to Borders Group, which has named her director of public relations, a position she held from 2001 to 2003, when she left to become executive director of New York Is Book Country. Last year, she was instrumental in the launch of the Quill Awards. Before being director of public relations, she had worked at Borders and Waldenbooks in a variety of PR positions.


All three Luzerne County commissioners have indicated they will approve a $1.2 million loan to help finance an 18,000-sq.-ft. college bookstore in downtown Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Shelf Awareness, June 14), according to the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice. The aim, as several commissioners put it, is to made Wilkes-Barre into a "college town."


The Richmond Times-Dispatch profiles the Fountain Bookstore, founded by Louise "Boo" Smythe and her husband, Jim, in 1986 in Richmond, Va. For a time, the store did a nice trade in business books for corporations. But now, Smythe said, "Companies do not have to buy books to get information. It's found somewhere online and can be downloaded."

So Smythe began emphasizing, the paper continued, "what she calls entertainment books--basically, books people read for pleasure. The key to boosting their sales, she says, is scheduling author appearances." She's also focused on customer service, participating in local fundraising events and promoting local authors.

"The Fountain carries more local authors than any bookstore in the metro Richmond area," manager Kelly Justice told the paper. "It's very important to us to have that distinction. We have also just started a local authors page on our Web site."


On tour for her first adult hardcover, Queen of Babble (Morrow, $21.95, 0060851988), "relentlessly prolific" YA princess Meg Cabot tells today's Wall Street Journal that she always wanted to be a writer of adult titles. "I was going to be a romance writer," she said. "I actually started my career writing them. They were very smutty and I didn't want my grandma to find out."

Commenting on Cabot's career, one of our former colleagues, Diane Roback of Publishers Weekly, said: "What's particularly unusual about Meg is that she's so successful across several different age ranges--preteen to adults."


Penguin Group (USA) has launched the Penguin Speakers Bureau, which will be directed by Jacqueline Fischetti, who has been with the Penguin Group since 1999. She recently returned from a consulting position with the Penguin Press division of Penguin UK. Before that, she worked in the Office of the President on strategic development initiatives, including the launches of Portfolio, Gotham Books, the Penguin Press and Hudson Street Press.

In a statement, Penguin president Susan Petersen Kennedy said, "Our publicists regularly receive requests for our award-winning, bestselling fiction and nonfiction authors to speak to a variety of organizations. By bringing this service in-house, we're better positioned to be able to coordinate these efforts and in turn serve our authors."

Among Penguin authors who will initially participate: Harlan Coben, Steve Coll, Ana Marie Cox, Eric Jerome Dickey, Deborah Ford, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jason Jennings, Bethany McLean, Peter Elkind, Richard Peck and Mary Pipher.

Any professional organization, society or other group interested in booking a Penguin author for a speaking engagement should call Fischetti at 212-366-2271 or e-mail Jacqueline.Fischetti@us.penguingroup.


Hyde Brothers used bookstore in Fort Wayne, Ind., is opening a second store this summer to be called Every Other Book, according to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. The store's name reflects where the initial stock will come from--every other book in the original store will be culled--as well as Joel Hyde's desire to have "a small store with hard-to-find books," as he told the paper. His brother, Sam, prefers "an open shop with everything"--which will remain the emphasis of the original store.


Mary Albi has joined HarperCollins children's division as director of marketing. Her responsibilities include the management of the Narnia franchise, marketing for Shel Silverstein, the Laura Geringer imprint and titles for Phoebe Yeh's group. She was formerly a consultant at Virgin Books USA and earlier was v-p of sales and marketing for Continuum International Publishing Group and director of marketing, advertising and promotion at Hyperion Books for the adult trade division.

Christina Gilbert has been promoted to senior director of marketing at HarperCollins children's books division. She adds to her responsibilities marketing of the Joanna Cotler Books and HarperTeen imprints.

Neal Porter Books: Angela's Glacier by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Pirates, Elephants and a Fight Club

This morning on Good Morning America: Julia Fox Garrison, author of Don't Leave Me This Way: Or When I Get Back on My Feet You'll Be Sorry (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0061120618).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation, Gideon Defoe discusses his two-in-one swashbuckling book, The Pirates!: An Adventure With Scientists and an Adventure with Ahab (Vintage Books, $9.95, 1400077508).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Eviatar Zerubavel, author of The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life (Oxford, $26, 0195187172).


Today on the View: Kathy Freston, author of The One: Finding Soul Mate Love and Making It Last (Miramax, $23.95, 140135243X).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post reporter and author of Fight Club Politics!: How Partisanship is Poisoning the U.S. House of Representatives (Rowman & Littlefield, $19.95, 0742551180).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Bart D. Ehrman, author of Misquoting Jesus (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060738170).

GLOW: Avid Reader Press: The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1

The following are significant titles with laydown dates of next Tuesday, July 27:

Black Order: A Novel by James Rollins (Morrow, $24.95, 0060763884) continues the exploits of Sigma Force, an elite American special ops team, as it uncovers a secret, deadly Nazi weapon.

Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $25.95, 0425207978) is the 14th novel in the vampire hunter series. Anita Blake, necromancer and federal marshal, must cope with pregnancy and a dizzying list of possible fathers.

Proof Positive by Phillip Margolin (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060735058) follows defense attorney Amanda Jaffe as she reveals a forensic expert's plot to create incriminating evidence.

Cover of Night: A Novel by Linda Howard (Ballantine, $25.95, 0345486501) is a thriller about a small town B&B owner whose guest mysteriously vanishes. Armed men make demands, and, when thwarted, take the town hostage.

Sandcastles by Luanne Rice (Bantam, $24, 0553804197) is a story of heartbreak and redemption on the Connecticut shore.

Coming Out by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $20, 0385338325) follows the reactions of different families to an invitation to an exclusive "coming out" ball.

Simple Courage by Frank Delaney (Random House, $24.95, 1400065240) chronicles the brave efforts to rescue the freighter Flying Enterprise after being crippled by two monster waves.

Soho Crime: Ash Dark as Night (A Harry Ingram Mystery) by Gary Phillips

Book Review

Mandahla: The King of Lies Reviewed

The King of Lies by John Hart (Minotaur Books, $22.95 Hardcover, 9780312341619, May 2006)

Not another thriller about a disaffected Southern lawyer? Yes, but one written with passion and complexity. Jackson Workman Pickens is drifting in the wake of his father, a wealthy lawyer who has been missing for 18 months. On most days, he's ambivalent about being a lawyer; on the days when he hates it, the hatred is so deep he thinks something is seriously wrong with him. Flawed and weak, he's married to a woman chosen by his father, a woman who spends too much time at the country club, "pretending we were rich, happy, or both." He still sometimes sees Vanessa, the woman he's always loved, but whom he abandoned. He's estranged from his sister Jean, who suffers from the trauma of a bitter divorce, several suicide attempts, their mother's death and father's disappearance. She, in turn, calls Work their father's monkey boy. His life is a mess, and his father's body has just been discovered.

When he goes to the site and sees the pale and curving bones beneath rotting fabric, he feels "the return of a long-quiescent rage, and the certain conviction that this was the most human my father had ever appeared to me." Work wants to discover the truth about the murder, but worries about what it might tell him about his sister; however, he soon becomes the prime suspect and must find answers. As he searches, he is forced to strip away layers of deceit and misunderstanding.

Along the way he drops illusions ("[his wife] laughed in a way that made her suddenly ugly, and I knew that hope would change nothing."), but gains reality. This is classic damaged family territory, but John Hart navigates it well, and has written an outstanding first novel. --Marilyn Dahl

Deeper Understanding

Flying Pig Readies for Short Flight to New Digs

Just in time for its 10th anniversary this fall, the Flying Pig, Charlotte, Vt., will head up the road about five miles to a new location in Shelburne, Vt., a move that should take place in August and will lead to a reinvention of the store. "We have been a specialty kids store with a surprising number of books for adults," co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle told Shelf Awareness. "In the new, larger space, we will be a selective general bookstore"--and continue with a strong children's selection.

The store's selling space is almost doubling, to 1,460 square feet from 850. In addition, Shelburne is a somewhat larger town and is a major tourist draw in part because of the Shelburne Museum and the Vermont Teddy Bear Co. factory. Thus, while the Charlotte store has been "off the beaten path and definitely a destination store," the Shelburne store should draw many tourists as well as Shelburne residents. Luckily for the Flying Pig, most Charlotte residents do basic shopping in Shelburne, so "everyone says we'll be more convenient for them anyway," Bluemle said cheerfully.

The new store will increase its adult stock and have more room for faceouts, among other things. "There is so much flexibility for us to take out what's not working, to add more of what's working and to try new things," Bluemle said. "This is really fun."

The new Flying Pig will expand its "Vermont offerings," everything from classic Vermont maple syrup--but maybe only during sugaring time--and other products. "There are lots of great possibilities," Bluemle said. "Part of the fun is exploring." The store will also increase its section featuring titles by Vermont writers. "There are more authors per capita in Vermont than in any other state," Bluemle added.

The new store is in the former Shelburne Inn, one of the oldest inns in New England, which is being completely renovated. The other major tenant besides Flying Pig is a restaurant that just opened, which is amusingly named in and of itself but a great pairing for the Flying Pig: the Bearded Frog.

To commemorate the move and the store's anniversary, the Flying Pig is inviting customers to create art work, which will be scanned onto 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" tiles. The tiles will be built into one wall of the new location. "It'll be nice for the kids in Charlotte who grew up in the store to see themselves reflected in the new store," Bluemle commented.

If everything goes according to plan, the Flying Pig will take flight in August. Some customers have volunteered to help, although the store hopes that a library transporter will be able to move most titles, which total 30,000. Altogether, some 40,000 items will be making the move.

Until now Bluemle and her partner, Josie Leavitt, have run the store essentially themselves--sometimes a part timer helps out. For the new store they will have a staff of six, and have begun hiring people. With the increased staff--for that matter, with any staff--Bluemle and Leavitt will be able to work on other things they either haven't done yet or want to expand. These include a new and improved buy local program that Bluemle hopes to broaden to encompass a variety of businesses. She also wants to create a one book, one town program.

Considering all the extracurricular work they do, it's amazing to think of what else Bluemle and Leavitt might accomplish. Already Leavitt, a stand-up comic in her non-bookseller life, teaches comedy, performs and is on a morning radio show once a week. To fill in her extra time, Bluemle co-directs the local community theater production twice a year and writes. Her first book, released this spring, is My Father the Dog illustrated by Randy Cecil (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 0763622222), which is a Book Sense Summer Pick for Kids. Kirkus Reviews called it "Tail-wagging hilarity that's simply doggone funny--and a perfect Father's Day gift."

Bluemle has been touring some New England bookstores for My Father the Dog, which she called "really great," adding, "I recommend every bookseller write a book. You see so many things from the author's eyes, and you realize some of the things that make a great event are different from the author's perspective compared to the bookseller's perspective." For example, "we all want a lot of people, but having a glass of water handed to you as an author is wonderful." Being a bookseller has made the events "very relaxed," Bluemle continued. "They know and I know that an event can be packed or two people can show. We know that whatever happens happens."

Bluemle has two more books coming out from Candlewick. Dogs on the Bed will appear in fall 2007, and How Do You Wokka-Wokka? will be published later. And following that? "I have a few other things percolating that I should be working on," Bluemle said with a laugh. Then with some understatement but in a convincingly excited way, Bluemle said, "I like to keep busy!"

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