Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 15, 2006

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


Notes: Let 200,000 Bookstores Blossom; Tower to Sell?

Over the next five years, China intends to open 200,000 bookstores to serve some 900 million people in its rural areas, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The effort is part of a national cultural development program that is in the Five-Year Plan that runs through 2010.

"Each rural bookstore project will at least have 1,000 books, 30 magazines and periodicals and some audio visual products," Liu Binjie, vice director of the State Press and Publication Administration, said.


Barnes & Noble is negotiating to open a franchise branch of the company in Israel, according to Israel National News. If true, this would mark several firsts for B&N: a retail presence outside the U.S. and a franchise operation. More than 10 years ago, B&N had reportedly scouted sites in the U.K., and for a time it owned a stake in Chapters, once Canada's largest bookseller, which was later taken over by Indigo.


The parent company of Tower Records has selected Great American Group, a liquidation company that sometimes sells off assets to make a company more attractive for sale, as the "lead bidder" to handle its assets, the Sacramento Business Journal reported. At least a dozen companies have expressed interest in buying Tower Records or parts of the company at a bankruptcy court auction scheduled for October 5. Tower has said it wants either a quick sale or an infusion of money.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Bookstore Sales Slide in July: Blame Harry

Bookstore sales in July were $1.077 billion, down 9.3% from $1.187 billion in the same month in 2005, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Total retail sales rose 3.9% to $331.8 billion compared to $319.5 billion in July 2005.

For the year to date, bookstore sales were $8.547 billion, down 0.6% from $8.598 billion in the first seven months of 2005. As of last month, bookstore sales had been up 0.8% compared to the same period a year ago.

As with AAP sales figures for July, reported here on Tuesday, sales comparisons were hurt by the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood King in July 2005.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales are of new books and do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Media and Movies

Share the Wealth of All the King's Men

Next Friday, September 22, All the King's Men, written and directed by Steven Zaillian (the screenwriter for Schindler's List), opens. Sean Penn plays a character based on Huey Long of Louisiana, the Governor and then Senator who practiced an effective if bruising and dictatorial form of populism and was assassinated in 1935. The movie also stars Jude Law, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Patricia Clarkson, Anthony Hopkins and Kathy Baker. This is the third or fourth adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, depending on how one counts feature and TV movies. The tie-in edition is now out (Harvest Books, $15, 0156031043)

Among the many books about Long:

  • Huey Long by T. Harry Williams (Vintage, $24, 0394747909). The authoritative Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner that first appeared in 1969.
  • Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long by Richard White (Random House, $26.95, 140006354X). The Louisiana State University professor's book came out in April.
  • The Kingfish and his Realm: The Life and Times of Huey P. Long by William Ivy Hair (Louisiana State University Press, $23.95, 080712124X), which casts a darker light on the subject than some of the other books.
  • Every Man a King: The Autobiography of Huey P. Long (Da Capo). Out of print but with the most positive take on the Kingfish.

Media Heat: Kitty Dukakis on Electroconvulsive Therapy

The morning on Good Morning America: Kitty Dukakis, author with Larry Tye of Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy (Avery, $24.95, 1583332650).


Today on ABC Radio's Satellite Sisters: Kris Holloway, author of Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali (Waveland Press, $17.95, 1577664353).


Today on Fox and Friends: Patricia B. McConnell, author of For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345477146).


On the Late Show with David Letterman: Rachael Ray whose latest book, Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook: Over 200 Recipes for Easy Entertaining (Lake Isle Press, $17.95, 1891105310), appears in October.


On Sunday on NPR's Weekend Edition: Daphne Oz, author of The Dorm Room Diet: The 8-Step Program for Creating a Healthy Lifestyle Plan That Really Works (Newmarket Press, $16.95, 1557046859).


Books & Authors

Man Booker Shortlist Gives Short Shrift to Favorites

The Man Booker Prize shortlist consists of:

  • Kiran Desai for The Inheritance of Loss (Atlantic Monthly, $24, 0871139294)
  • Kate Grenville for The Secret River (Canongate U.S., $24, 1841957976)
  • M. J. Hyland for Carry Me Down (Canongate U.S., $23, 1841957402)
  • Hisham Matar for In the Country of Men (Dial, $22, 0385340427--scheduled for January 2007)
  • Edward St. Aubyn for Mother's Milk (Grove/Open City, $23, 1890447404)
  • Sarah Waters for The Night Watch (Riverhead, $25.95, 159448905X)

Each of the six authors, culled from a longlist of 19, receives £2,500 (about $4,722). The winner will be announced October 10. BBC News noted: "British author David Mitchell--the bookmakers' early favourite to win when the longlist was announced last month--is not included on the shortlist. Waters, previously shortlisted in 2002, has been named the bookies' favourite. Previous recipients Peter Carey, Nadine Gordimer and Barry Unsworth also failed to make it past the first round."

Book Review

Mandahla: The Thirteenth Tale Reviewed

Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Atria Books, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780743298025, September 2006)

"It was November. Although it was not yet late, the sky was dark when I turned into Laundress Passage. Father had finished for the day, switched off the shop lights and closed the shutters; [it was while I was] about to turn my key in the door, that I first saw the letter." A promising opening, since ominous tales are better set in the winter months, and The Thirteenth Tale is well-suffused with shadowy skies, chilling rain and muffling snow. The letter is from Vida Winter, the world's most famous living author, as well-known for her secrecy as for her novels. In the letter, she asks Margaret Lea, a plain, quiet London bookseller's daughter ("people hardy ever notice me for long enough to ask me personal questions"), to consider writing her biography. Margaret has penned a slight book that leads Miss Winter to believe she has an unusual understanding of sibling relationships, particularly twin relationships. The young woman is intrigued, since the author fascinates her. When Margaret was a child, books were everything to her; as an adult, she has a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of books, which she rediscovered when she read Vida Winter's famous short story collection, Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation: "And during this time, these days when I read all day and half the night, when I slept under a counterpane strewn with books . . . the lost joys of reading returned to me. Miss Winter restored to me the virginal qualities of the novice reader, and then with her stories she ravished me."
Margaret journeys to Miss Winter's home, appropriately situated on the Yorkshire moors. Greeted by the enigmatic housekeeper, she enters a place that is utterly silent, every floor carpeted and the walls baffled by damask drapes. "Just as blotting paper absorbs ink, so all this wool and velvet absorbed sound, with one difference: Where blotting paper takes up only excess ink, the fabric of the house seemed to suck in the very essence of the words themselves." After she meets the reclusive author, and decides to take the commission, Miss Winter is reluctant to speak. She begins, "Angelfield was odd . . . Isabelle Angelfield was born during a rainstorm." Then she stops, so used to hiding the truth that she cannot speak for some time, but finally continues with the story of Isabelle and her equally odd and sadistic brother Charlie, Isabelle's twin children, Emmaline and Adeline, and their caretakers. Emmaline had the goodness of two children, Adeline the wickedness of two. "The twins were . . . strange all through, right into their very hearts." The story of this peculiar and destructive family includes a governess, a doctor, a housekeeper and a gardener, an engaging character named Aurelius Alphonse Love, and perhaps a ghost or two.
Diane Setterfield sets a marvelous stage for this moody, haunting mystery. As Margaret fixes her room up for writing, she lays out a ream of paper and 12 pencils, and then screws a pencil sharpener to the edge of the desk; the implements are reminiscent of an earlier, more innocent time. However, as she sharpens the pencils, she watches her reflection in the dark window, and sees a pale other self: "But where my chair was red, hers was gray; and where my chair stood on an Indian rug, surrounded by light gold walls, her chair hovered spectrally in an undefined, endless plane of darkness in which vague forms, like waves, seemed to shift and breathe." The familiar and unfamiliar blend into an unsettling puzzle; romance and terror enter Margaret's life as her sorrow and Miss Winter's intertwine in this tale of secrets and their unveiling. Setterfield pays tribute to traditional Gothics when Margaret says, "I read old novels. The reason is simple: I prefer proper endings." The Thirteenth Tale refreshes the classic style in a satisfying story with a very proper ending.--Marilyn Dahl

The Bestsellers

The Book Sense/PNBA Bestsellers

The following were the bestselling titles at Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association stores during the week ended Sunday, September 10, as reported to Book Sense:

Hardcover Fiction

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Algonquin, $23.95, 1565124995)
2. The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig (Harcourt, $25, 0151012377)
3. Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen (Random House, $24.95, 0375502246)
4. Gallatin Canyon by Thomas McGuane (Knopf, $24, 1400041562)
5. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Viking, $25.95, 067003777X)
6. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud (Knopf, $25, 030726419X)
7. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (Knopf, $25, 1400044731)
8. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's, $26.95, 0312349483)
9. Messenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear (Holt, $24, 0805078983)
10. Postcards from Ed by Edward Abbey, edited by David Peterson (Milkweed Editions, $24.95, 1571312846)
11. Owl Island by Randy Sue Coburn (Ballantine, $23.95, 034548763X)
12. Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks (Ballantine, $26.95, 0345484088)
13. Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg (Random House, $25.95, 1400061261)
14. Dead Wrong by J.A. Jance (Morrow, $25.95, 0060540907)
15. The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer (Warner, $25.99, 0446530999)

Hardcover Nonfiction

1. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron (Knopf, $19.95, 0307264556)
2. Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin Press, $27.95, 159420103X)
3. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089)
4. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright (Knopf, $27.95, 037541486X)
5. The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Penguin Press, $26.95, 1594200823)
6. Grayson by Lynne Cox (Knopf, $16.95, 0307264548)
7. The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman (FSG, $30, 0374292795)
8. Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier (Harmony, $24.95, 0307337332)
9. Screwed by Thom Hartmann (Berrett-Koehler, $22.95, 1576754146)
10. Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron (Shambhala Publications, $12.95, 1590304012)
11. My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme (Knopf, $25.95, 1400043468)
12. This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel J. Levitin (Dutton, $24.95, 0525949690)
13. The Creation by E.O. Wilson (Norton, $21.95, 0393062171)
14. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (Morrow, $25.95, 006073132X)
15. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Knopf, $24.95, 1400042666)

Trade Paperback Fiction

1. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (Penguin, $14, 0143037145)
2. Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos (Grove, $13, 0802142109)
3. A Sudden Country by Karen Fisher (Random House, $13.95, 0812973437)
4. Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor, $12.95, 1400077109)
5. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $15, 0143037749)
6. March by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, $14, 0143036661)
7. History of Love by Nicole Krauss (Norton, $13.95, 0393328627)
8. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Random House, $13.95, 0812968069)
9. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $14, 1594480001)
10. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd (Penguin, $14, 0143036696)
11. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (Delta, $15, 0385340397)
12. The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch (Bloomsbury, $13.95, 1582346291)
13. Citizen Vince by Jess Walter (Regan Books, $14.95, 0060989297)
14. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $13.95, 0061122416)
15. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, $14, 031242440X)

Trade Paperback Nonfiction

1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Scribner, $14, 074324754X)
2. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart (Harvest, $14, 0156031566)
3. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (Random House, $14.95, 0812973011)
4. Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (Back Bay, $13.99, 0316013269)
5. The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer (Hyperion, $14.95, 0786888768)
6. An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore (Rodale, $21.95, 1594865671)
7. The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant (Norton, $14.95, 0393328643)
8. If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende (Algonquin, $12.95, 156512524X)
9. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond (Norton, $16.95, 0393317552)
10. Homegrown Democrat by Garrison Keillor (Penguin, $12, 0143037684)
11. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (Plume, $15, 0452287081)
12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Back Bay, $14.95, 0316346624)
13. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (Anchor, $14.95, 1400032806)
14. The End of Faith by Sam Harris (Norton, $13.95, 0393327655)
15. 1776 by David McCullough (S&S, $18, 0743226720)

Mass Market

1. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (Warner, $7.99, 0446616451)
2. A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson (Berkley, $7.99, 0425184234)
3. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's, $7.99, 0312985347)
4. The Camel Club by David Baldacci (Warner, $7.99, 0446615625)
5. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (Anchor, $7.99, 0307275558)
6. Thud! by Terry Pratchett (HarperTorch, $7.99, 0060815310)
7. Long Time Gone by J.A. Jance (Avon, $9.99, 0380724359)
8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Berkley, $7.95, 0399501487)
9. The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (HarperTorch, $9.99, 0060724234)
10. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, $6.50, 087779930X)

Children's Titles

1. Pirateology by Captain William Lubber (Candlewick, $19.99, 0763631434)
2. Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic, $4.99, 0439376149)
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins, $19.99, 0060586583)
4. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Knopf, $9.95, 0375826696)
5. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Disney, $7.99, 078684907X)
6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic Paperbacks, $9.99, 0439785960)
7. Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis, illustrated by Laura Cornell (Joanna Cotler, $16.99, 0060753463)
8. The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer (Miramax Books, $16.95, 0786849568)
9. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (HarperCollins, $7.99, 0694003611)
10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (Megan Tingley, $17.99, 0316160199)
11. Carnival at Candlelight (Magic Tree House #33) by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca (Random House, $4.99, 0375830340)
12. Skippyjon Jones by Judith Schachner (Puffin, $5.99, 0142404039)
13. Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton (Delacorte, $17.95, 0385733801)
14. Sing a Song of Tuna Fish by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Hyperion, $5.99, 0786836520)
15. The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly by Luis Sepulveda (Scholastic, $5.99, 0439401879)

[Many thanks to Book Sense and PNBA!]

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