Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 3, 2008

Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern


Washington Still 'Booking' Worthy

Diane Wilson and Ken Mahnken, owners of Already Read Used Books, Alexandria, Va., which celebrates its second anniversary this spring, took exception to comments by Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda, made in an online discussion at that we quoted from on Friday's issue. Concerning Dirda's assertion that once "there were scores of places . . . to go out 'booking,' " but not now, they wrote:

Scores of places to go "booking" still exist in the Washington metro area. Dirda seems to not be aware of the many used and antiquarian bookstores that can be found by going to the Washington Antiquarian Booksellers' Association (WABA) website at The site lists 75-plus booksellers with more than half of them being open shops. In addition, several Washington metro area used bookstores and independent new bookstores that are not part of WABA may be found just by using a search engine.


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors


Notes: Good Yarns Reborn; Jones to Speak at AAP Meeting

Back from the brink.

Good Yarns Bookshop, Hastings on Hudson, N.Y., which was in the process of closing (Shelf Awareness, February 23, 2008), is being bought by manager Bill Tester.

Current co-owner Chris Kerr wrote that most of the store's inventory and some of its fixtures had been sold, when three days before the end, "Bill stepped in and said he wanted the rest." Tester is negotiating with the landlord, who has expressed support, and aims to remodel the store, rename it and convert it into a combination bookstore and learning center. "What a roller coaster ride," Kerr said.


At the AAP annual meeting on Wednesday in New York City, George Jones, president and CEO of Borders Group, will be interviewed by David Young, head of Hachette Book Group, on the subject of Retailers: New Dimensions. Originally Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio had been scheduled to speak. For a full schedule and more information, go to


March is Small Press Month, sponsored by PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association, the New York Center for Independent Publishing and the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.

The sponsors offer 31 ways booksellers and publishers can celebrate Small Press Month, now in its 12th year. For more information, click here.

---, the new online author conversation program hosted by Daniel Menaker, former Random House executive editor and fiction editor at the New Yorker, makes it debut today. Menaker will lead a group of authors in discussions that are modeled in part after Apostrophes, the popular French book discussion TV show, Charlie Rose and others.


Today's New York Times reports on "one of the first tests of editorial independence" for the Far Eastern Economic Review, a Hong Kong monthly that became part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire in December, when he took over Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Times, "The Review’s editor, Hugh Restall, has acknowledged getting 'cold feet' about publishing a review of a book [Rupert’s Adventures in China: How Murdoch Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife by Bruce Dover] that is critical of Mr. Murdoch’s business forays into China in the 1990s."


Michael Moorcock will be honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America during its Nebula Award Weekend in Austin, Tex., April 25-27.

The SFWA wrote: "Named one of the 50 greatest postwar British writers by the Times of London, Moorcock is best-known for his stories featuring the albino swordsman Elric of Melniboné. Other popular characters created by the prolific Moorcock include Jerry Cornelius and Hawkmoon, characters that, like Elric, are linked by their stories in what has come to be known as the Eternal Champion cycle."


The next Lonely Planet Window in a Box bookstore contest focuses on China and the Olympics. The display should be up for at least two weeks during April; bookstores need to send a picture of the display. Any interested store can obtain a starter kit that includes a T-shirt, poster, red paper fans and Chinese food takeout boxes that say "Lonely Planet Knows China" on them. Instead of a Gold Medal, the store with the most creative and fun display receives a prize of $500. For more information, write


Misha Defonseca, author of Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, has admitted that her bestselling book, published in 1997, "was an elaborate fantasy she kept repeating, even as the book was translated into 18 languages and made into a feature film in France," according to the Associated Press.

Defonseca, 71, "wrote in her book that Nazis seized her parents when she was a child, forcing her to wander the forests and villages of Europe alone for four years. She claimed she found herself trapped in the Warsaw ghetto and was adopted by a pack of wolves that protected her." In a statement, Defonseca said "she never fled her home in Brussels during the war to find her parents." The AP reported that there had been increasing pressure on the author recently to defend the accuracy of her book.

The Boston Globe explored the legal tangles that have been going on for more than a decade between Defonseca and her publisher, Jane Daniel.


In reaction to the announcement that Odyssey Bookshop, Novato, Calif., is preparing to close its bricks-and-mortar operations and opt for a rare books website, the Marin Independent Journal reported that "the independents that are still hanging in say they are around because of customer loyalty, niche markets and rapport with the community. But some admit they are barely holding on."

"None of the independents are doing well except the larger independents such as Book Passage," said Sharon Jones, owner of Habitat Books, Sausalito. "The only way I keep going is the following I am trying to build. The ones making it are not single-entity small stores."

"I would certainly understand why bookstores would close if they were just bookstores," noted Gary Kleiman, owner of BookBeat, Fairfax, who supplements his book business with a cafe and live entertainment in the evening.

Michael Whyte, owner of Whyte's Booksmith, San Anselmo, told the Independent Journal "he benefits from customers who choose to shop locally because they don't want to lose the kinds of downtown businesses that enrich the quality of the neighborhood. In our 28 years on San Anselmo Avenue, we've grown to feel truly an integral part of what makes our town a special place. Our staff works hard to do that by offering depth and breadth of selection, making trips to big boxes along the freeway unnecessary."


The Boston Globe reported an industry trend in which "at least 10 publishers have started their own lines of short, nonfiction books, on subjects ranging from scientists to presidents to mythology." While tracing the recent lineage of this form to the Penguin Lives series, edited by James Atlas, the Globe also noted that the "nonfiction sketch dates back at least to Plutarch and has been upheld over time by John Aubrey in the 17th century and Lytton Strachey in the early 20th century."

Who's reading these books? According to Atlas, who edits the Eminent Lives series at HarperCollins, "I imagine a highly educated, reading public, readers of the New York Review of Books, readers of the New Yorker, readers of the New York Times Book Review. There is an audience I know empirically exists out there of several hundred thousand readers who have a dedication to the idea of being educated, in the highest sense."

Grove/Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin said, "It's not a gigantic commitment to read one of those books. . . . You can educate yourself about something in a short period of time."


Patrick Scanlin, a bookseller at Park Row Books, Clinton, N.Y., told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that "a loyal customer base and specialized services have helped the store survive" despite increased competition from big box retailers nearby. "The more New Hartford develops, it takes away business here. It’s unfortunate,” he added, cautioning that smaller downtown shops need support to stay in business. "It is up to the community."


"For lots of people, a vacation in a new town is incomplete until they've checked out the best area bookstore," wrote Evelyn Theiss in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, describing her trip to Ohai, Calif., and a stop at Bart's Books, "said to be the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the United States. . . . With its wood awnings and painted-green shelves, it looks not unlike book-vendor stands you find along the Seine in Paris. It's nestled under a 420-year-old coastal oak tree, on a quiet block that's a few hundred feet from the town's main thoroughfare. This indoor/outdoor bookshop offers some of its stock 24 hours a day--and not just online. Bart's is the only bookshop I've heard of that sells on the honor system." 


Bestselling suspense author Lisa Scottoline recounted some of her book tour memories for the Philadelphia Inquirer, including the always unnerving empty chair syndrome as well as the booksellers-posing-as-audience strategy.


BINC - Double Your Impact

Cool Idea of the Day: Shelter Also Offers Great Reads

"Every Monday at 4 p.m., Stephen King fans gather at 2100 Lakeside Men's Shelter. So do readers of Louis L'Amour, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X," according to the Christian Science Monitor, which profiled a book discussion group in Cleveland that is run by outreach nurse Donna Kelly.

Kelly "began the club last fall after noticing how many homeless men brought books to the health clinic  she helped run in the shelter's cafeteria." The Cleveland Public Library supplies books, in partnership with her employer, Care Alliance, a health care provider for the homeless.

"Sometimes healthcare isn't just about passing out pills," Kelly said. "It's about having a continuing relationship with my patients."

"We love books," said Willie Griggs. "We don't have a TV we can carry around with us."

The Monitor noted that "book fervor is catching. A new book club has started at Joseph's Home, a shelter for homeless men recently discharged from hospitals or with other serious health problems. And Kelly is working on starting another at a shelter for homeless women and children."


G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Oprah's A New Earth Webinar

This morning on the Good Morning America: Michael Farr, author of A Million is Not Enough: How to Retire with the Money You'll Need (Springboard Press, $24.99, 9780446582230/0446582239).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Steve McKee, author of My Father's Heart (Da Capo, $25, 9780738210971/0738210978).


Today on the View: Mark Halperin, author of The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from, and How You Can Choose (Harper Perennial, $14.95, 9780061537301/0061537306).


Today on Oprah: Jamie Oliver, author of Cook With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook (Hyperion, $37.50, 9781401322335/1401322336), who appears on Oprah's Big Give special.

Also tonight Oprah starts the first of her 10 weekly interactive webinars with Eckhart Tolle, whose A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Penguin, $14, 9780452289963/0452289963) is Oprah's current book pick. (Readers may register at


Today on Fresh Air: Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War (Norton, $22.95, 9780393067019/0393067017).


Tonight on Lou Dobbs Tonight: Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson, authors of Where Does the Money Go?: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis (Collins, $16.95, 9780061241871/0061241873).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Chris Anderson of Wired and The Long Tail.


Tonight on the Colbert Report: Shashi Tharoor, author of The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: India the Emerging 21st-Century Power (Arcade Publishing, $27.50, 9781559708616/1559708611).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Jodee Blanco, author of Please Stop Laughing at Us . . . One Survivor's Extraordinary Quest to Prevent School Bullying (BenBella Books, $14.95, 9781933771298/1933771291). 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Movies & TV: Phillippa Gregory on Historical Adaptation

Novelist Phillippa Gregory wrote an amusing piece for the Guardian about our love of filmed historical costume dramas and how her fictional portrayal of Mary Boleyn was altered for the movie version of The Other Boleyn Girl, which opened to less than stellar reviews over the weekend.

"For many, I am sure, it is the visual delight of a pre-industrial landscape," she writes. "Rural poverty is always pretty, and the loving shots of unsprayed cornfields and ragged haymeadows, little villages with wandering geese and charming urchins, have all the joy of gardening programmes without the implied requirement that you learn something and then put it into practice. Vintage costumes and unproductive landscapes make for soothing viewing: they trigger the audience's nostalgia, not for the world that has gone--no viewers can remember that far back--but for other costume dramas, television one was allowed and encouraged to watch as a child. Far from being 'another country,' this past, as presented by these programmes, is comfortingly familiar."

The past, however, is not like the present, and Gregory admits that this "understanding of historical societies as deeply different from our own is what gives me the greatest pleasure in researching my novels. I know I have to find ways to explain this 'other country' to the modern reader. The new film adaptation cannot easily do this."


Books & Authors

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:


My Revolutions by Hari Kunzru (Dutton, $25.95, 9780525949329/0525949321). "Chris Carver seems to be a typical suburban white male: nice home, wife, daughter. However, what nobody knows is that in the '60s he was a radical student who briefly turned to terrorism: bombing targets around London. Kunzru's searingly told new novel shows how easily a pure-hearted activist can gradually step across the line and commit fanatical, destructive acts without consciously embracing a fanatical ideology. This is a must-read novel of great contemporary relevance."--Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, N.C.

Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir by David Rieff (S&S, $21, 9780743299466/0743299469). "David Rieff, Susan Sontag's son, has written a brilliant memoir about the last year of his mother's life. It's intimate and affectionate and so honest. It serves as a tribute to her life, but in detailing the agony of her death with such insight and affection, it also celebrates the fundamental bond forged by a mother and her son."--Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books, Coral Gables, Fla.


The Scent of Rosa's Oil by Lina Simoni (Kensington, $14, 9780758219244/0758219245). "Rosa grew up in a brothel, raised by all the women, but kept away from the goings on. When she falls in love with Ranato, with the help of a special perfume, she hides her past. But when Renato disappears, their love is challenged, and they will need more magic than her special oil."--Barbara MacDonald, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Teen Readers

Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonneblick (Scholastic, $16.99, 9780439837071/0439837073). "San Lee invents a different identity for himself at each new school. This time, he decides to pass himself off as a Zen Master. Will it win him popularity, relief from bullies, or the girl of his dreams? The best thing about this hilarious, touching novel is Sonnenblick's spot-on teenage voice. San Lee comes off as a real teen, with real worries and a terrific sense of humor."--Joanne R. Fritz, Chester County Book & Music Company, West Chester, Pa.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


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