Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Bloomsbury YA: Dreamland (YA Edition): The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Central Avenue Publishing: Into Captivity They Will Go by Noah Milligan

Carolrhoda Books: A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine

Quotation of the Day

Bookstore Events: Preparation, 'Then You Cross Your Fingers'

"You have to have as much in place as possible, and then you cross your fingers. When people ask if I have a degree in marketing, I say, 'No, I grew up with the books!' . . . I'm amazed we can have 200 events a year and get people to show up for all of them, especially when I think about how protective people are in their spare time. Seeing someone give up two hours of their Tuesday night to spend that time in a bookstore thrills me to no end."--Katherine Whitfield, marketing manager at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Memphis, Tenn., in an interview with the Commercial Appeal.

 


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


News

Census Bureau: Bookstore Sales Rise Again in November

Bookstore sales in November were $1.186 billion, up 7.5% from $1.103 billion in sales in November 2006, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales have been $14.654 billion, up 0.8% from $14.532 billion in the first 11 months of 2006. This marks the fifth month in a row that bookstore sales were up over the same period last year--and the second month in a row that year-to-date sales have topped last year's comparable figures.

By comparison, total retail sales in November were $347,688 billion, up 6.4% over November 2006, and sales for the year to date were $3.665 trillion, up 4.1%.

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.

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Baby Loves the Five Senses by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan


Notes: Zagat Reviews Options; Saletan Promoted

Zagat Survey, the privately-held firm owned by Nina and Tim Zagat with minority investors, "is considering a number of methods--including a possible sale of the company--to accelerate growth," Newsday reported.

"The range of possibilities include, for example, a partnership or joint venture of some kind, among other things--whatever turns out to be the best way to optimize the company's growth," a Zagat spokeswoman said.

Zagat publishes consumer-based reviews of restaurants, hotels, airlines, retailers and spas in distinctive maroon books as well as online and in digital formats. According to Newsday, "Zagat now covers 47 of the 50 largest U.S. markets and 100 countries, with guides translated into languages including Japanese, French, Hebrew and Korean. The company distributed more than 5.5 million print guides in 2006."

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Becky Saletan has been named publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Adult Trade Books, according to the New York Times, which reported that Saletan, who had been publisher of the trade division of Harcourt, will now oversee "a combined unit that resulted from Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep’s recent $4 billion takeover of Harcourt."

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"Best Books for Babies" may be the most appropriate top-10 book list for a new year. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that the list, which "recommends titles for the very young," was started eight years ago, when the literacy group Beginning with Books "invited some experts--including the late Fred Rogers of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' TV fame--to choose the best books for babies and toddlers published the previous year."

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Bonanza Street Books, Walnut Creek, Calif., will close in late March, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"It's a long-term trend that rent and other expenses have been going up while sales have been flat or going down," said owner Peter Guadagni. "Reading is going down." The bookstore, which he purchased eight years ago, has been in business downtown since 1987.

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Dzanc Books plans to publish a collection of stories by Laura van den Berg called What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us in late 2009. Van den Berg won the first Dzanc Prize worth $5,000 last month for "the quality of her fiction sample and her proposal to teach writing to prisoners in the Boston area" (Shelf Awareness, December 2, 2007).

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"Tales to Take Your Breath Away," abridged classic books packaged like cigarettes, debuted in England last summer in the wake of smoking bans in pubs and restaurants. According to the Guardian, the books, which were created by publisher and design company Tank, "were well received by the design press and have made popular Christmas presents." 

Now, however, "British American Tobacco (BAT) claims that one of the packs, containing Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro and The Undefeated, resembles its own Lucky Strike pack. Claiming that such an association could seriously damage the health of the brand, BAT is trying to have the works pulped."

Masoud Golsorkhi, co-founder and creative director of Tank, said he "had been toying with the idea of using the cigarette packs for some time. . . .  I am appalled that these great and beautiful books should be destroyed. [BAT's] contention is that we are damaging their business. I suggest that the opposite is true and that they should lighten up."

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Never haggle with a bookseller. At the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Reader Blog, bookseller Michael Lieberman shared his discovery of "Twelve Maxims for Book Collectors," which appeared in Volume 1 of The Bibliophile: A Magazine and Review for the Collector, Student and General Reader, published in 1909.

Rule #6 in its entirety: "Never haggle with a bookseller. He is sure to have a reason for his price, and even if it is a bad reason he will be loth to abandon it. Moreover, should he give way, now and again, in order to effect a sale, the Collector who always beats him down will certainly be the last person to whom he will offer a good book. N.B.--If you mean to haggle, don't telegraph for a book first and dispute the price afterwards, unless you can show serious misdescription."

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The Guardian's book blog revisited Fahrenheit 451: "On a broader scale, I'd hope that it wouldn't take Ray Bradbury to tell me that the proscription of books is alarming. Even so this is probably a good place to be reminded of the various works that are currently banned in different parts of the USA . . . There's a full list available at the excellent Pelham Public library. Yes, Fahrenheit 451 is on it."

 


imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kathy Patrick on Book Report

This morning on Good Morning America: Bob Berkowitz, author of He's Just Not Up for It Anymore: Why Men Stop Having Sex, and What You Can Do About It (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061192036/0061192031).

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This morning on the Early Show: Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy winner whose new trivia book is Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days (Villard, $20, 9780345499974/0345499972).

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This morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features an interview with Kathy Patrick, bookstore owner, the over-the-top organizer of the Pulpwood Queens and author of The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life (Grand Central, $13.99, 9780446695428/0446695424).

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at thebookreport.net; the archived edition will be posted this afternoon.

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This morning on the Today Show:

  • Dave Isay, author of Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (Penguin Press, $24.95, 9781594201400/1594201404)
  • Sarah, Duchess of York, will discuss Weight Watchers Start Living, Start Losing: Inspirational Stories That Will Motivate You Now (Wiley, $22.95, 9780470189146/0470189142).

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Today on Inside Edition: Andrew Morton, author of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography (St. Martin's Press, $25.95, 9780312359867/0312359861).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Strobe Talbott, author of The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (S&S, $30, 9780743294089/0743294084).

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Today on NPR's All Things Considered: Russell Banks, author of The Reserve (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780061430251/0061430250).

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Today on NPR's On Point: Sue Miller, author of The Senator's Wife (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307264206/0307264203).

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Richard M. Cohen, author of Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780060763114/0060763116). Also on the show: Cohen's wife, Today Show anchor Meredith Vieira.

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki



Books & Authors

Awards: 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Random House) was named the Best Business Book of the Year, the overall winner of the first annual 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards. The book also won in the advertising/marketing category.

Jack Covert, founder and president of 800-CEO-READ, which is affiliated with Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, Wis., praised Made to Stick for its "exceptional, thought-provoking ideas about communicating messages and making them last. We were impressed with how the authors offer valuable insight to marketers, teachers, salespeople or anyone struggling to present their ideas to an audience."

For more information and winners in 13 categories, go to 800ceoread.com/bookawards. The company received nearly 300 nominations, which were reviewed by the editorial staff.

 


Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


GBO's Book Pick for January: The Have Nots

For its January book, the German Book Office has chosen The Have Nots by Katharina Hacker, which will appear February 20 in a translation by Helen Atkins (Europa Editions, $14.95, 9781933372419/1933372419).

The book won the German Book Prize during the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006. Hacker has also written Morpheus and The Lifeguard.

The GBO said: "Katharina Hacker casts her critical and insightful eye on the upcoming generation, the 30-somethings who are reaching their peak years while navigating the cultural and political forces of a post-9/11 world. Jakob and Isabelle agree to meet for a date on September 11, 2001. After their hasty decision to marry, the couple's happiness begins to fade. Despite their financial success, the aimlessness of their lives soon leads the couple to emotional frustration and melancholy.
 
"Without any direct commentary from the author, this story directly challenges the habitual complaisance that leads to a waning sense of personal responsibility. Material wealth comes so easily to Jakob and Isabelle that they lose the skills necessary to drive their lives forward. Instead they drift along, falling victim to their immediate whims and frustrations. Hacker's novel is an important commentary on contemporary society and its potential pitfalls."

And the German Book Prize jury wrote: "[The characters'] questions are our questions: What kind of life do you want to live? What are your values? How should you and how can you act? The novel's quality lies in resolving these questions in stories, stories that do not make do with laconically simplistic answers from politics and the media."

 


Book Review

Book Review: Intern: A Doctor's Initiation

Intern by Sandeep Jauhar (Farrar Straus Giroux, $25.00 Hardcover, 9780374146597, December 2007)


 
Sandeep Jauhar's engrossing account of the first two years of an internal medicine residency at two major New York teaching hospitals should come with a warning: "hypochondriacs beware." Like medical students who feel they've contracted all the diseases they're studying, sensitive readers may find themselves checking out suspicious symptoms on WebMD. But those fleeting moments of discomfort are a small price to pay for the rich rewards of this often disturbing and yet ultimately optimistic memoir.
 
A Berkeley Ph.D. in physics, who considered careers and law and journalism before deciding to follow his brother into medical school, Jauhar embarked on his residency with no small amount of trepidation. "Laymen often view doctors as Type A overachievers with little self-doubt," he writes, and he offers his account to "dispel this myth." What's most striking about the residency experience is the sheer mass of technical information and practical experience young doctors must absorb, while developing the judgment to apply that training to real patients. It's easy to understand why Jauhar writes that he was "constantly afraid."
 
A prominent theme of Jauhar's memoir is his deep dissatisfaction with the backbreaking schedule medical residents must endure. His description of exhausted interns working 24-hour shifts and 80-hour weeks while handing off an impossible numbers of patients to the next shift on "night float" seems to lay out a recipe for catastrophic mistakes.
 
During the period Jauhar chronicles, he himself became a consumer of medical services, suffering a herniated cervical disk and slipping toward the edge of a crippling depression. These experiences helped foster in him an empathetic philosophy, one that runs counter to what he describes as the "almost criminal . . . callousness with which we treat some of our patients."
 
One of the most striking aspects of Jauhar's memoir is the sheer physicality of a doctor's work even in this age of computerized medicine. His graphic accounts of his first attempt to insert an arterial line or of a futile "code," where doctors struggle to revive a patient in cardiac arrest, are harrowing. There's almost a feeling these physicians in training are more mechanics than sophisticated professionals, but Jauhar understands, and reminds us with great sensitivity, that the practice of medicine is a profoundly human endeavor.
 
Following in the path paved by doctor-writers like Lewis Thomas and Richard Selzer, Jauhar writes with grace, precision and passion. What makes him such a stimulating companion is his willingness to couple candid insights into the state of modern American medicine with equally revealing glimpses into the soul of a young doctor. Even in his current role as a successful Long Island cardiologist, it's not hard to imagine he'll carry the hard-earned lessons of his internship with him for the rest of his professional career.--Harvey Freedenberg

 


The Bestsellers

Mystery Bestsellers: December

The following were the bestselling titles during December at member bookstores of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association:

Hardcovers

1. 'T' Is for Trespass by Sue Grafton
2. Person of Interest by Theresa Schwegel
3. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
4. Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon
5. The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry
6. The Darkest Evening by Dean Koontz
6. Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton
8. SPQR XI: Under Vesuvius by John Maddox Roberts
8. Knitting Bones by Monica Ferris
10. Red Mandarin Dress by Qiu Xiaolong

Paperbacks

1. Dust by Martha Grimes
2. Trap Door by Sarah Graves
3. The Mystery Lover's Puzzle Book by Linda Murdock
4. The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly
5. Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
5. The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey
7. Preaching to the Corpse by Roberta Islieb
8. Murder 101 by Maggie Barbieri
9. Fire Trap by Earl Emerson

Note: IMBA said that "because holiday handsells created so much diversity, there were only nine consistent bestselling paperbacks among the stores in December.

[Many thanks to IMBA!]

 


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