Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 22, 2007

 Kokila: Everything We Never Had by Randy Ribay

Nancy Paulsen Books: Sync by Ellen Hopkins

Running Press Adult: Cat People by Hannah Hillam

Beaming Books: Must-Have Autumn Reads for Your Shelf!

Dial Press: Like Mother, Like Mother by Susan Rieger

Severn House: A Messy Murder (Main) (The Decluttering Mysteries #4) by Simon Brett

Forge: My Three Dogs by Bruce W Cameron


Notes: NAIBA Sales Conference Set; Candidate Books

The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, which has changed its fall meeting from a trade show to a "booksellers sales conference," will unveil the new approach Sunday and Monday, October 14 and 15, in Baltimore, Md.

The conference will focus on rep picks of the list; marketing plans for those picks; authors appearing in the region; coop for those books; and events for those books.

"The emphasis is helping to sell the books coming into the stores at the time of the conference and thinking of the booksellers as an extension of the sales team," NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler told Shelf Awareness. The association has given publishers interested in attending "very specific ideas" of what to provide, including lists of authors in the region who can tour, reviews, text for store newsletters and more.

In addition, NAIBA will encourage booksellers to hold their own version of events the association puts on at the meeting such as the authors feast ("booksellers could have dinner with authors at a local restaurant," Dengler said), the quiz bowl and the noir bar, which features mystery and suspense writers.  

In other NAIBA news, the association has formed the NAIBAhood Network, something like the book doctors programs at other regional booksellers associations. Experienced booksellers will answer any bookseller's questions about such topics as coop, local alliances, events, reading groups, children's bookselling, children's events and staffing issues. 


This coming Saturday, the Northern California Children's Booksellers Association holds its 20th Annual Otter Award Dinner, at which it honors a person or organization that has shown a dedication to bringing books and children together. This year the association will honor Children's Book Press. Speakers include Robert San Souci, Robert Sabuda and Matthew Rinehart. NCCBA will also announce its literacy grant awards. 


In a piece on what it calls "candidate lit," today's New York Times includes these great observations on the near-obligatory book or books by presidential aspirants:

  • "You're not a real candidate, Pinocchio, if you haven't written your own book."--Mark Halperin, political director of ABC News.
  • "Candidates can win even if their books don't sell well."--Halperin again
  • "The book publishing business has become the new exploratory committee."--Chuck Todd, editor of Hotline.

And Peter Osnos, founder and editor-at-large of PublicAffairs, posited three types of candidate books: the "introduction," for relative unknowns; the "manifesto," about policies the candidate will pursue; and the "off-topic," such as Al Gore's Earth in the Balance or Senator Christopher Dodd's Letters from Nuremburg, about the war crimes trials, based on letters from his father, who was a prosecutor there (and later became a Senator).


The building housing Stacey's Bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., has been bought for $11 million by a Southern California real estate investment partnership that includes former professional tennis player Michael Chang and is looking for a new tenant "to take advantage of the new retail environment" downtown, according to a real estate agent quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. Owned by Brodart, Stacey's has a lease that runs until 2011, but the agent said the new landlord might try to buy the store out.

The building is unusual, the Chronicle said, because it is one of the few all-retail buildings outside of the Union Square area.


Yesterday's RadioFreePGW offers an unofficial list of PGW publishers' status with Perseus, gives advice to Perseus head David Steinberger, has details about layoffs at AMS and reports that PGW president Rich Freese fell in his home and suffered several broken ribs and other trauma. We agree with RadioFreePGW's sentiment wishing Freese "a fast, full and speedy recovery. We also hope they are giving him some really good drugs."


Borders has signed a lease for a 23,250-sq.-ft. space in the Village of Merrick Park shopping center in Coral Gables, Fla., the Miami Herald reported. The space had been empty for a year; the paper said that the center has struggled since opening five years ago and that the owners continue to try to reposition it. The new Borders is expected to open by the end of the year.


A New Age bookstore is converting to Christianity. Body, Mind, Spirit, Mocha & More, Clarksville, Tenn., will close on February 28 and reopen on March 8 as a Christian bookstore, according to the Leaf Chronicle. Owner Susie Clark told the paper that "a change of heart" motivated her decision.


The Dickson Herald checks out the Lighthouse Christian Bookstore in Dickson, Tenn., which opened February 10. Owners Linda and Joe Epley told the paper that it took eight years to open after having the original inspiration for the store. Besides Bibles and inspirational books, Lighthouse sells plaques, jewelry, gift items, music CDs geared toward teens and has a children's activity area.


The Louisville Courier-Journal gallops into the Bookstore, Horse Cave, Ky., with more than 40,000 books, owned by Tom Chaney. This weekend the store is helping put on the first Horse Cave Book Fair, which will feature area book dealers and authors who will sell a range of antique, collectible, used and out-of-print books.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Restaurant of Lost Recipes (A Kamogawa Food Detectives Novel) by Hisashi Kashiwai, Translated by Jesse Kirkwood

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Former Senator Edward Brooke

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, February 24

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in the early 1990s, 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer talked about visiting Vietnam in 1989, his first trip back since serving as a war correspondent there in the 1960s. He wrote about the experience in his book Flashbacks on Returning to Vietnam.

9 p.m. After Words. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.-District of Columbia) interviews former Senator Edward Brooke, whose memoir is Bridging the Divide: My Life (Rutgers University Press, $29.95, 9780813539058/0813539056). The first popularly elected African American to the Senate and a Republican, Brooke represented Massachusetts from 1967 to 1979. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

Sunday, February 25

12 a.m. History on Book TV. Journalist and medical ethicist Harriet Washington talks about her book Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans From Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385509930/0385509936). She contends that experiments such as the "Tuskegee Syphilis Study" have shaped the way many African Americans view the medical industry.

Harpervia: Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Media Heat: Cookbooks, Diet Books, Health Books

This morning on the Early Show, Lisa Drayer discusses her new book, Strong, Slim and 30 (McGraw-Hill, $22.95, 9780071464970/0071464972).


This morning the Today Show has a trifecta of authors:
  • Chef Gordon Ramsay, whose Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection (Harper Paperbacks, $13.95, 9780061191985/0061191981) is served in paperback next month.
  • Aimee Liu whose new book is Gaining: The Truth about Life after Eating Disorders (Warner, $24.99, 9780446577663/0446577669).
  • Dale V. Atkins, co-author of Sanity Savers: Tips for Women to Live a Balanced Life (Avon, $12.95, 9780061242953/0061242950).


Today Oprah shapes up again with her personal trainer Bob Greene, who shares more health and wellness advice in The Best Life Diet (S&S, $26, 9781416540663/1416540660).


Today the Diane Rehm Show faces off with Douglas Wilson, author of Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (Knopf, $26.95, 9781400040391/1400040396), winner of this year's Lincoln Prize.


Today NPR's Fresh Air hears from Allen Shawn about his memoir, Wish I Could Be There: Notes from a Phobic Life (Viking, $24.95, 9780670038428/0670038423).


Tonight in a repeat episode, the Colbert Report pals around with Charlie Leduff, author of US Guys: The True and Twisted Mind of the American Man (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594201066/1594201064).


Tonight on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, whose cookbooks include Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy: Delicious Recipes for Your Home Kitchen (Rutledge Hill Press, $34.99, 9781401601805/1401601804).


On Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Steven Laurence Kaplan will talk about his new book, Good Bread Is Back: A Contemporary History of French Bread, the Way It Is Made, and the People Who Make it (Duke University Press, $27.95, 9780822338338/0822338335).

Books & Authors

Awards: William E. Colby Awards Honor Two Books

The Colby Awards, honoring writing that helps "the public's understanding of intelligence operations, military history or international affairs," have gone to two books, one of which has a neat industry connection:

Conduct Under Fire (published in hardcover by Viking and in paperback by Penguin), about four doctors who fought for their lives as prisoners of the Japanese during World War II, is by John Glusman, v-p and executive editor at Harmony Books.

"It's an honor receive a Colby," Glusman commented to Shelf Awareness. "I feel extraordinarily lucky to have met so many men who were survivors of the POW experience in the Pacific, and who let me tell their remarkable stories, many for the very first time."

The other winning title was Six Frigates by Ian W. Toll (Norton), about the creation of the U.S. Navy.

Named for the ambassador and former CIA director, the William E. Colby Awards will be presented at Norwich University, the country's oldest private military college.

Book Review

Mandahla: Monkey Girl Reviewed

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul by Edward Humes (Ecco Press, $25.95 Hardcover, 9780060885489, February 2007)

In the spring of 2004, the Dover, Pa., school board, over the objections of teachers and parents, decided that intelligent design should be taught in its classrooms. The entire science faculty had told the board they believed that ID was not science, that it was a form of creationism and that they did not want it introduced into the curriculum. The board, whose discussions had featured extensive references to God, creationism and the "myth of the church-state separation," paid them no attention. They were determined to counter "atheistic" evolutionary theory with creationism. One school board member, Bill Buckingham, said, "This country wasn't founded on Muslim beliefs or evolution. [It] was founded on Christianity." Furthermore, the board was promised free legal representation for the inevitable parents' lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center, which had been looking for the perfect ID case to take to the Supreme Court.
Also looking for the perfect Supreme Court case was the Discovery Institute, "progenitor of the intelligent design movement and the seductively reasonable argument that schools should of course teach evolution, but that they should also 'teach the controversy,' " a controversy that the Institute mischaracterized as genuine scientific debate. With a goal to transform society and science in 20 years, it had developed a plan called the "wedge strategy," and one major component was to get ID accepted as science, taught in schools, and with this Trojan horse, bring creationism into the classroom. (There seems to be more than a little irony in a Christian organization using a lie to get at "the truth": "In public, the discussion would always be focused on problems with evolution and on evidence for an unnamed designer. In private and among true believers, however, the 'wedge warriors' admitted that the designer virtually all of them were referring to was the Christian God.")
Obviously this court case didn't exist in a vacuum, and Humes provides the background with a fascinating history of Darwin's theories, science education in the U.S. and "the uneasy space between America's religious faith and its long-standing fondness for scientific progress." After the Scopes trial, evolution pretty much disappeared from textbooks to avoid offending anyone, but when the Cold War began, it was felt that American students were deficient in science, and evolution was re-introduced into texts. Following a 1987 Supreme Court ruling, creationists have been unable to ban evolution in schools, teach creationism or turn creationism into a science that the Court would accept. However, teachers and schools still avoid problems by using textbooks that give the theory only passing mention or by skipping the unit on evolution altogether. Saying that Americans have a "notoriously poor grasp of both science and biblical scholarship," Humes dispels myths about evolutionary theory (it is the opposite of random process, it is mischaracterized as survival of the fittest, it is not about the origin of life) and discusses the questions that science can and cannot answer.
As compelling as the science and history is, and Humes makes it quite compelling, the human stories are just as riveting: ACLU lawyer Vic Walczak, Topeka attorney Pedro Irigonegaray and Richard Thompson, head of the Thomas More Law Center; Judge John E. Jones, Republican and Bush appointee, who the Thomas More lawyers figured for a pushover; Philip E. Johnson, who originated the ID concept; Michael Behe, formulator of irreducible complexity, the silver bullet that supposedly would bring down evolutionary theory; Kenneth Miller, co-author of the textbook the board wants to counter, who is a Christian, and testifies for the plaintiffs; a Sunday school teacher called an atheist; a parent told he'd go to hell for supporting evolution; and God-fearing board members deriding parents with profanity and later, under oath, denying any discussion about God and creationism. It's a fine cast, and Humes manages the drama well.
Judge Jones found that time and again board members lied to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind their ID Policy. He also said, "Both Defendants and many of the leading proponents of ID make a bedrock assumption that is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general." He calls their decision breathtakingly inane, resulting in an "utter waste of monetary and personal resources." A good definition of a page-turner is a book that offers interest, suspense and excitement (a nice bonus is significance) even though the outcome is known. Edward Humes does that in spades with Monkey Girl.--Marilyn Dahl

Deeper Understanding

Mike Farrell: Actor, Activist and Author

Convincing Mike Farrell to write a memoir was no easy task for the actor's friend, Robert Greenwald, a filmmaker and co-founder of Akashic Books' nonfiction imprint RDV Books. "He insisted. I demurred," acknowledged Farrell, who continued to oppose the idea until Greenwald suggested he use the book to raise awareness about his activism.  

Best known for his roles on the TV series M*A*S*H and Providence, Farrell has spent decades championing various causes. He is co-chair emeritus of Human Rights Watch in Southern California and president of Death Penalty Focus, an organization that seeks to stop executions. He has visited war-torn regions around the world, from Rwanda to the Gaza Strip, and writes about human rights issues for the Los Angeles Times.

Now Farrell shares his life story in Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist (on sale March 1), from his childhood in West Hollywood to his acting career to his tireless advocacy work. The book's title, says Farrell in the opening pages, is the answer he gives when people ask if they should call him an actor or an activist.

This unassuming attitude is evident in Farrell's contribution to an ambitious book tour that will take him to nearly 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada. The breadth of the tour "is a reflection of how hard Mike is willing to work," said Akashic publisher Johnny Temple. "We're a small company with a limited budget," he added, and Farrell was more than willing to extend the number of cities by driving rather than flying to as many places as possible.

Farrell's first appearance will be on March 6 at Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore in his hometown of Los Angeles. "You're thrilled any time an author of his caliber wants to set up an event in your store, but his daughter used to work here and so we feel like he's family," said Lise Friedman of Dutton's. Along with a warm welcome for the author, the book will receive prominent placement in the store. It will be featured in both the new nonfiction and film/TV sections, and the event will be promoted with a window display, flyers handed out in the store, press releases sent to community organizations and venues and an ad in LA Weekly.

On March 20 Farrell will speak at the Town Hall, a community cultural center, in Seattle, Wash. The event, with a $5 admission fee, is co-sponsored by the Elliott Bay Book Company and the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, which will receive part of the proceeds. "I always like to pair up with local groups where possible partly because they can help us advertise the event," said Karen Maeda Allman, Elliott Bay's events coordinator, who expects a minimum turnout of 300. The Coalition will promote Farrell's appearance during a fundraiser in early March, and Allman has also contacted the local ACLU to help spread the word. Elliott Bay's in-store promotions, mailings and other publicity endeavors will be supplemented by the Town Hall's outreach to its member base.

Farrell's upcoming event at Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass., on March 29 is already generating buzz with customers. "We wanted to book him because of his reputation on M*A*S*H," said events director Brian Foley, who is lining up a local political organization to co-sponsor the signing. A listing on the store's Web site has elicited early interest, and Foley and other staff members are talking up the event.

Just Call Me Mike is shaping up to be a hit for Akashic, which is located in Brooklyn, N.Y. "Certainly the media profile of Mike's book will probably be the highest of the year for us," said Temple. Farrell's confirmed media includes Hannity & Colmes, the Tavis Smiley Show and CNN Showbiz Tonight, with more local and national television, radio and print coverage expected.

Temple is confident about Farrell's appeal to potential book buyers. "Mike is a really unique person," he said. "There are a lot of Hollywood activists who are motivated by the desire to do good deeds, but there are also image issues too in the political causes they get involved with, whereas Mike is very selfless. Anyone who reads his book will come away knowing that."

Farrell would like the book to have more than mere entertainment value. "My fondest hope," he noted, "is that reading this book encourages others to recognize both their responsibilities as citizens of the U.S. and the good they can do by engaging in our society." He added, "Despite the fact that some of the things I have to say in the book are harsh, it is intended to be meaningful and helpful and it comes with love. Mostly."--Shannon McKenna

To view Mike Farrell's complete tour schedule, visit

Powered by: Xtenit