Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 14, 2008

Yen Press: Diary (Berrybrook Middle School #4) by Svetlana Chmakova

Shadow Mountain: Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb

Amulet Books: Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Canongate Books: The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Quotation of the Day

Kathy Patrick: Books 'Don't All Have to be Homework'

"Books can entertain, enlighten, and they don't all have to be homework. They can be fun. I think sometimes school takes all the fun out of reading. How many points am I going to get for reading this, you know? My bookstore survives because I'm kind of bringing the big city to my small town. Authors who come here have this real one-on-one experience with their readership, which they don't get to experience often in other places. Both parties get a lot out of it."--Kathy Patrick, owner of Beauty and the Book, Jefferson, Tex., in a Texas Observer piece that also profiled Three Dog Books, Archer City, and the Terlingua Trading Co., Terlingua.


Berkley Books: Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West


Notes: Golden Globes; A Night at the Opera

Movies based on books did very nicely at the dimmed Golden Globes yesterday. Among the winners: Antonement, best drama and best original score; No Country for Old Men, best screenplay (Ethan and Joel Coen) and best supporting actor (Javier Bardem); The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, best director (Julian Schnabel) and best foreign language film; and Into the Wild, best original song.


Yet more on the sale of Mitchell's Book Corner on Nantucket Island, Mass., from the Inquirer and Mirror.

Under the deal, Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, bought the building housing the business for $3.2 million. Apparently she bought the bookstore, too--although it's unclear whether that was a separate transaction. Schmidt is leasing the space and business to Mary Jennings, a longtime employee at Mitchell's, and Lucretia Voigt, who has worked there since the summer as she has closed down her used bookstore, Brant Point Books.

Mitchell's Book Corner seller Mimi Beman said, "This wasn't a gift. [Jennings and Voigt have] to pay rent, and they have to run a profitable business."

A real estate agent involved in the deal told the paper that the mission of Schmidt and her family foundation "is trying to support vulnerable historic communities. There are probably a number of ways in which Nantucket is vulnerable. Right now we have a collision of the authentic Main Street we love and real estate values which make running authentic businesses perilous. . . . Mitchell's was a fairly obvious choice, given its strategic location, and psychological and sociological importance. Imagine Main Street without Mitchell's. It would be a vastly different place."


The AP reported that Signet Books "will be examining" novels written by Cassie Edwards in the wake of plagiarism charges by the romance novel blog, Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books, which "posted numerous excerpts from Edwards' novels and placed them alongside passages from reference books and magazines that were found by using the Google search."

Edwards has written more than 100 novels, and 10 million copies of her work are in print. The author admitted  to the AP that "she indeed 'takes' material from other works, but said she didn't know she was supposed to credit her sources. She then asked her husband to get on the phone. Charles Edwards said the author only gets 'ideas' from other books and does not 'lift passages.'"

Candy Tan and Sarah Wendell, the blog’s co-authors, indicated that "while Edwards may not have infringed copyright law, they consider her actions unethical," as the New York Times put it.

Wendell added, "It's disappointing because, as a reader and a consumer, I assume it's something this person wrote. A good many historical romance novels contain authors' notes listing where you can go for more information. There are romance novelists who use footnotes."   


Cool idea of the day: to celebrate an 11% gain in holiday sales and their "expertise in handselling online," Mystery Lovers Bookshop owners Richard Goldman and Mary Alice Gorman closed the Oakmont, Pa., store yesterday and took the longtime staff to see the Metropolitan Opera's Macbeth by Verdi in a Met at the Movies presentation. Gorman noted that while "this may seem strange to some, to a couple and staff who enjoy no meetings or manuals in management style, it makes much sense."


Bills aimed at lowering the costs of textbooks have been reintroduced in five state legislatures. For a syllabus of these efforts, go to Campus Marketplace.

In a related item, the Asheville Citizen-Times explores the efforts made by state schools to meet the University of North Carolina board of governors' January deadline for easing the textbook costs either by offering book rentals or guaranteeing to buy back books for introductory classes at a set price.

Incidentally last year we went into some detail about one of the school's plans, Appalachian State's textbook rental program, which began in the 1930s (Shelf Awareness, April 10, 2007).


Faye Williams, co-owner of Sisterspace and Books, which shut down in 2004, had planned to reopen the store in mid-December but suffered a stroke on December 4, which has postponed the opening indefinitely, according to the Washington Blade.

Although Williams was originally unable to speak or move much, she has greatly improved. A friend commented: "She's doing much better. She's walking and talking, giving orders, doing her thing." A fundraiser on her behalf may be held later this spring.


Noting that 2007 was the Seattle Mystery Bookshop's "best year ever" (sales rose 6.5%), owner J.B. Dickey objected to the Seattle Times's coverage of the closing of M Coy Books (Shelf Awareness, January 5, 2008).

In a letter to the paper, Dickey wrote in part, "The local media are quick to mark the demise of an independent bookshop and say once again how it is nearly impossible for a small independent to survive. Difficult, sure. But not impossible." After praising Michael Coy and outlining his store's particular problems--"his location in a high-rent area of downtown, his particular landlord, the fact that the shop is a general bookshop"--Dickey asked, "Why not do a story about how some independents are doing fine because of their customers who want to support small businesses? Isn't there a story in that?"


Books-A-Million will open a store in the near future in Richmond, Va., in West Broad Village, a mixed-use development. This is the company's 20th store in Virginia.


A man who for a decade operated as a fake bookseller and took publishers for $450,000, has been sentenced to 70 months in prison and has been ordered to make full restitution, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Leroy Singleton of Durham, N.C., used 50 fake names and 35 fake bookstore addresses to order books, CDs and other merchandise, none of which he paid for. He sold most of the items at flea markets. He was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for mail fraud, pled guilty and was sentenced last week.

Some booksellers will wonder at the treatment the faux bookseller received from suppliers. As the paper wryly put it, Singleton "tapped into a common practice among book publishers--shipping products to bookstores even before credit applications are formally approved."


The Guardian's Sean Dodson offered his list of the top 10 bookshops in the world.


Baby boomers "aren't afraid to blaze their own trails," Dawne Botke-Coe, co-owner of the Triple Goddess Bookstore, Okemos, Mich., told USA Today in an article on religious alternatives.

"Their disenchantment with the system, both politically and religiously, is something they don't usually just suck up and ignore," Botke-Coe added. "They seek alternatives."


Book group name of the year: The Manila Bulletin showcased "Read or Die’s booklist for the year 2007"


Police officers in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, are translating classic works of literature into cop code, according to the Washington Post. Police supervisors apparently believe they can soften the image of the force with some literary instruction.

Initial efforts did not work because "officers couldn't get into the material. They were distracted. Bored." That's when supervisors devised a plan to translate great novels into police radio codes: "Juan Meléndez Mecalco, a regional chief with a literary flair, dived into Don Quixote and produced his own little police-style masterpiece. Many of the officers were still resistant. But for others, it was a spark. Suddenly, classrooms that had been deathly quiet came alive. The big surprise, though, was that officers started asking for more books--and they didn't mind if they weren't translated into police code."

Here's the police code version of the opening paragraph of 100 Years of Solitude: "Many alfas later, in front of a 44 squad, Coronel Aureliano Buendia had a 60 about that distant afternoon when his father 26ed him to 62 ice. Macondo was a residential 22 of twenty 94s made of mud and 9 cane built on the bank of a river of diaphanous waters that 26ed over a 22 of clean, white rocks as big as prehistoric eggs."


Have books lost their "chic" for realtors? According to a BBC piece on the decline in reading among the general public, even real estate agents are unimpressed by personal libraries.

"If you try and sell your house, estate agents will tell you to get rid of the books, they are viewed as tired and middle aged," said Professor John Sutherland, who has chaired the Booker prize judging panel. 


Jennifer Haller has been appointed v-p and associate publisher of Harcourt Children's Books, an imprint of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group. She was most recently v-p of sales and marketing for Harcourt Children's Books. Before that, she was national accounts manager at Houghton Mifflin and worked at Candlewick Press.


Yen Press: Berrybrook Middle School Box Set by Svetlana Chmakova

Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Created

On Saturday at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia, Pa., as part of the kickoff to a public awareness campaign to honor its 40th Anniversary, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee announced the establishment of the Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. The standing-room-only crowd was cheered by the honor to Hamilton but felt a sense of sorrow at her loss.

Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002) was the first children's book author to receive a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, won the 1975 Newbery Medal for her book M.C. Higgins, the Great as well as garnered three Newbery Honors. She was twice winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award, for Her Stories in 1996 and for her story collection The People Could Fly in 1986. (The title story of The People Could Fly was recently published as a stand-alone picture book, for which Leo and Diane Dillon earned a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.)

Deborah Taylor, chair of the CSK Book Awards Committee and coordinator of school and student services at Enoch Pratt Free Library, and Andrea Davis Pinkney, v-p and editor-at-large at Scholastic and honorary chair of the CSK public awareness campaign, said that the Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award will be given annually and will alternate between creators and promoters of African-American literature for children. The inaugural award will be given to a writer or illustrator for the body of his or her work; the following year, the award will be given to a librarian, teacher, professor or other professional whose life's work, Taylor said, has been "to promote African-American literature to children."

Arnold Adoff, Hamilton's husband as well as a poet and children's book author, wrote and read a poem for the occasion. He and his family have endowed the lifetime achievement award, which will be a cornerstone of the (roughly 18-month) public awareness campaign to commemorate the 40th anniversary Coretta Scott King Book Awards, first given in 1970.--Jennifer M. Brown


Ramsey Press: Debt-Free Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans by Anthony ONeal

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Diets and Childrearing

This morning on Good Morning America: Alan E. Kazdin, who discusses his new book, The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child: With No Pills, No Therapy, No Contest of Wills (Houghton Mifflin, $26, 9780618773671/0618773673).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Dr. Walter Willett, co-author of The Fertility Diet (McGraw-Hill, $24.95, 9780071494793/0071494790).


Today on Oprah: her personal trainer, Bob Greene, author of The Best Life Diet (S&S, $15, 9781416540694/1416540695).


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.21.19

Books & Authors

Awards: National Book Critics Circle Finalists

Finalists for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Awards were announced at City Lights bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday. Joyce Carol Oates garnered nominations in both the fiction and autobiography categories.

Sam Anderson was named this year's winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, while Emilie Buchwald will receive the Ivan Sandrof Life Achievement Award. Book winners will be announced in New York on Thursday, March 6, at the New School University’s Tishman Auditorium. For more information, see NBCC's Critical Mass blog.

NBCC Award Finalists:


  • Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone by Joshua Clark (Free Press)
  • Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf)
  • The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973–1982 by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)
  • Writing in an Age of Silence by Sara Paretsky (Verso)
  • Russian Diary: A Journalist's Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin's Russia by Anna Politkovskaya (Random House)


  • American Transcendentalism by Philip Gura (FSG)
  • What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press)
  • Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington (Doubleday)
  • Legacy of Ashes: A History of the CIA by Tim Weiner (Doubleday)
  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s)


  • Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra (HarperCollins)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead)
  • In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar (Dial)
  • The Gravediggers Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates (HarperCollins)
  • The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins (S&S)


  • Stanley: The Impossible Life of Africa's Greatest Explorer by Tim Jeal (Yale University Press)
  • Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee (Knopf)
  • Ralph Ellison by Arnold Rampersad (Knopf)
  • The Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 by John Richardson (Knopf)
  • Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin (Penguin)


  • Elegy by Mary Jo Bang (Graywolf)
  • Modern Life by Matthea Harvey (Graywolf)
  • Sleeping and Waking by Michael O'Brien (Flood)
  • The Ballad of Jamie Allan by Tom Pickard (Flood)
  • New Poems by Tadeusz Rozewicz (Archipelago)


  • Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints by Joan Acocella (Pantheon)
  • Once Upon a Quniceanera by Julia lvarez (Viking)
  • The Terror Dream by Susan Faludi (Metropolitan/Holt)
  • Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff (FSG)
  • The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross (FSG)


GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: The Last Flight by Julie Clark

Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


Super America: Stories by Anne Panning (University of Georgia Press, $24.95, 9780820329963/0820329967). "This edgy collection is a wonder. You'll fall in love with Panning's characters--and be maddened by their heartlessness. She employs a variety of settings, from a Mexican monastery to an Oregon laundromat. 'Hillbillies' exemplifies her skill and wit: It's up to the hillbillies who live next to a custom-homes development to tell their new neighbors their homes are sinking into the swamp they're built on."--Archie Kutz, Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, N.Y.


River by Lowen Clausen (Silo Press, $14.95, 9780972581127/097258112X). "After the death of his son, a father takes the river voyage he has always dreamed of. Starting out from his family farm on the headwaters in the Sandhills of Nebraska, his inner voyage takes him to new acceptance of the son he never said goodbye to in life, while he faces the solitude and challenges of the river itself. The land plays as large a part of the story as do the people on the river. Lowen Clausen has written an exquisitely heartbreaking novel, with a soul as big as the eponymous river."--Tammy Domike, Jackson Street Books, Seattle, Wash.

For Children to Age 8

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman (Holt, $16.95, 9780805079531/080507953X). "This is the best multicultural book I've seen in a long time. The Cinderella story is told in more than one thousand countries, and this book opens windows to many of those traditions. Cinderella flits to a different country on every page, and the illustrations are gorgeous. We cannot keep this book on our shelves."--Laura DeLaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, Idaho

For Ages 9 to 12

Little Klein by Anne Ylvisaker (Candlewick, $15.99, 9780763633592/0763633593). "Little Klein is a gem! He is the youngest of several strapping, mischievous Klein boys. Their salesman father is absent for weeks at a time, and their mother is a wise, gutsy woman. A stray dog named LeRoy joins the fray, with delightful results."--Sue Carita, The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, N.H.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Amulet Books: Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) by Lana Popovic

KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books:  Power of a Princess (More Than a Princess) by E.D. Baker
KidsBuzz: Windsong Press: The Shockhoe Slip Gang: A Mystery by Patricia Cecil Hass, illustrated by Laura Corson
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