Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 17, 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: Jackson's to Close; Brock Joins Koen Levy; GG Award

Jackson's Books, Salem, Ore., is closing by the end of the year, the Salem Statesman Journal reported. Owners Carole Fewx and Greg Millard said that sales at the 4,000-sq.-ft. store, which has been in business 29 years, have declined steadily "for years."

The owners preferred to go out of business rather than cut hours and inventory, Fewx told the paper. "Honestly, we would just hate for them to think less of us." She noted that clientele has gotten older over the years and that the downtown's improvement had little effect on store sales. 


Don Brock has joined Koen Levy Book Wholesalers as Northeast field sales representative. Most recently he was a publishers rep for Melman-Moster Associates and earlier worked for Random House and was the New England field sales representative for Koen Book Distributors.


In comparison to the Giller Awards shortlist titles, announced last week, the shortlist for the Governor General's Literary Award for English fiction features what the CBC calls "a slightly less obscure" group of "mainly first- and second-time authors." For those and nominees in the other five categories, click here.

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

Movies: Running With Scissors, Flags of Our Fathers

Opening this Friday, October 20:

Directed by Ryan Murphy, the movie Running With Scissors is based on Augusten Burroughs's bestselling, strange and entertaining memoir. Joseph Cross stars as Burroughs. Other cast members are Brian Cox, Annette Bening, Joseph Fiennes, Alec Baldwin, Vanessa Redgrave, Jill Clayburgh and Gwyneth Paltrow. The movie tie-in edition of the book (St. Martin's, $14, 0312425414) is out.


Clint Eastwood directs Flags of Our Fathers, which is based on the book by James Bradley with Ron Powers about the famous raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima and how the heroes fared after World War II. Cast includes Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Jesse Bradford, Jamie Bell, Ben Walker, Paul Walker and Neal McDonough.

There are tie-in editions in a variety of formats:

  • Trade paper (Bantam, $14, 0553384155)
  • Mass market (Bantam, $7.99, 0553589342)
  • Large type (Random House, $16.95, 0739326597)
  • Young people's (Random House Children's, $5.99, 0440229200)
  • Abridged CD read by Barry Bostwick (Random House Audio, $14.99, 0739332198)


Harpervia: Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Media Heat: Vice and Vices

This morning on the Today Show: spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, whose latest book is Life after Death: The Burden of Proof (Crown, $24, 0307345785).

Also on the Today Show: Alex Kuczynski talks about Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385508530).


Today on Good Morning America, a trifecta of authors:

  • New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, author of Teammates (S&S, $16.95, 1416924892). Barber will also zip around Midtown for appearances later today on Fox and Friends and ESPN's Cold Pizza.
  • Lou Dubose, author of Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency (Random House, $24.95, 1400065763).
  • Stephen Grey, who has written Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program (St. Martin's Press, $25.95, 0312360231).


Today on the Tyra Banks Show: Linda Wells, founding editor of Allure magazine and author of Allure: Confessions of a Beauty Editor (Bullfinch, $24.99, 082125779X).


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Dr. Kevin T. Kalikow, author of Your Child in the Balance: An Insider's Guide for Parents to the Psychiatric Medicine Dilemma (CDS Books, $22.95, 1593153597).


Today on NPR's Morning Edition: David Kuo, author of Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction (Free Press, $25, 0743287126).


Today on NPR's On Point: Annie Leibovitz, who talks about her work in A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005 (Random House, $75, 0375505091).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Amy Sedaris, whose new book is I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Warner, $27.99, 0446578843).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin, $27, 0618680004).

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

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

The following are selected titles whose laydown dates are next Tuesday, October 24:

The Lay of the Land by Richard Ford (Knopf, $26.95, 0679454683). The author of The Sportswriter and Independence Day continues the story of everyman Frank Bascombe.

The Mitford Bedside Companion: A Treasury of Favorite Mitford Moments, Author Reflections on the Bestselling Series, and More by Jan Karon (Viking, $26.95, 0670037850). Edited by Brenda W. Furman, Karon's sister, this book collects trivia questions, puzzles and more.

Hundred-Dollar Baby by Robert B. Parker (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153764). April Kyle returns, once again needing help from Spenser and Hawk.

Lisey's Story: A Novel by Stephen King (Scribner, $28, 0743289412). The widow of writer Scott Landon, Lisey Debusher Landon sorts through her husband's papers--and winds up going to the dark places he often inhabited.

The Darwin Awards 4: Intelligent Design by Wendy Northcutt (Dutton, $19.95, 525949607). Read it and laugh.

Jeff Foxworthy's Redneck Dictionary 2 by Fax Bahr (Villard, $16.95, 1400065682). You know you're not a redneck bookseller if you think that phrase is an oxymoron.

Lessons in Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn (Riverhead, $25.95, 1594489297). The actress tells her story.

Barefoot Contessa at Home: My Favorite Food for Your Favorite People by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35, 1400054346). The Food Network star gets even more cozy in her fifth cookbook.

Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King
by Antonia Fraser (Nan A. Talese, $32.50, 0385509847). Lush pickings--from the king's mother to his many lovers.

Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw (Penguin, $35, 1594201048). All about the industrialist-philanthropist. 

Deeper Understanding

An Alphabetical Life: Excerpts, Part 3

The following is the third of several excerpts Shelf Awareness is running from An Alphabetical Life: Living It Up in the Business of Books by Wendy Werris (Carroll & Graf, $15.95, 078671817X), which will be published November 5. A former bookseller and longtime sales rep, Werris also works as a freelance author escort and photographer in the Los Angeles area. For more about the book and author, check out her Web site.

When she became manager of the children's section at Pickwick, Werris occasionally had contretemps with the legendary Lou Epstein, the head of the store.

At twenty years old my sense of whimsy was just beginning to emerge, fed heartily by the ecstatic creativity in those children's books. Each day I sorted through the cartons that arrived, filled with fairy tales, fantasies and books about nightmares hiding in closets. I'd become lost in the beautiful images before me while shelving both the new and backlist titles. Happy that I was finally allowed to do the reorder buying for my department, the only interruption would occur during one of my ongoing battles with Lou Epstein over the Classics section.

Mr. 'E,' as we fondly called him, had been president of the Pickwick Bookshop chain (which grew to sixteen locations in Southern California) since opening the Hollywood store in 1938. He was deservedly known as the granddaddy of Los Angeles bookselling. From a hole in the wall joint on Sixth Street in downtown L.A., where he sold used books, he built an empire of fine independent bookstores. When I met him he was a seventy-year-old walking, breathing human library, with a great shock of white hair, bushy eyebrows and a Cuban cigar always stuck in his mouth.

Mr. 'E' expected more of me, perhaps, than he did from the other young sales clerks at Pickwick because he sensed that my interest in books was serious. In a brusquely paternal way he paid close attention to my job performance, and with a mixture of pride and fear I then set upon a course that made him my mentor. When he wasn't harassing me about my inability to speak Hebrew ("What kind of a Jew are you, Wendy?"), he was stalking me up on the mezzanine to find something that could be improved in the children's book department.

He eventually discovered that I was alphabetizing the children's classics by title, which I was more familiar with at that time, rather than author. This was deeply offensive to Mr. 'E'. About once a month he would approach me, all 6' 2" of him, and chastise me for my lack of literary continuity. "It's the parents who buy these books," he barked, waving his cigar in my face, "not the kids! Parents are looking for authors!" He then began the tedious process of pulling each book off the shelves to alphabetize them by author. Watching this elderly millionaire in action, performing a minimum-wage task that he probably hadn't done for thirty years was a remarkable sight. But because I both loved and feared him, I let him have his way.

When enough time had passed for him to forget about our running feud I'd re-shelve the books in order by title, from Anne of Green Gables to The Wind in the Willows. Then, having had a memory lapse a month or so later, he would reappear to harangue me about the errors of my ways, and the process would begin all over. It was our lovely running joke, although finally I acknowledged he was right and alphabetized the section by author.

Mr. E would also engage me in discussions about sales in the children's department, advise me on how best to merchandise new releases, and chasten me when I over-bought on a title. "Far gelt bakumt men alts, nor nit kain saichel!!" he'd say in Yiddish, shaking his finger at me affectionately. "Money buys everything except brains!"

Mr. E was a self-made man who grew up in a poor immigrant family. He was a brilliant businessman, though, and for those at Pickwick who showed more than just a passing interest in the industry he gave of his wisdom freely. One of the many pearls he shared with me was that although bestsellers are exciting, they come and go. It's basically a business of one's and two's when it comes to the backlist books that consistently make money for a bookstore over the long haul. More than three decades later, I believe this philosophy still holds true for independent bookstores.

There were no such things as discount book chains thirty years ago; in fact, this idea was simply unthinkable to Mr. 'E'. "Never give anyone a discount!" he would tell us. "I don't even give my rabbi a discount!" But times were different back then, and when Crown Books burst on the scene ten years later with cut-rate prices, it was a hard reality to accept.

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