Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 18, 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


Notes: Al Roker's Pick; Rallying for a Brooklyn Store

Al Roker's ninth pick for the Today Show Book Club for Kids is Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Scholastic, $16.95, 9780439372947/0439372941). The hardcover novel stars two savvy sixth-graders who attempt to solve the puzzle of a masterpiece gone missing on its way to their native Chicago. For more information and a Q&A with the author, check out the Today Show website.


The New England Independent Booksellers Association has awarded two more NEIBA Grants:

$2,500 to Local First Vermont, whose 147 members include 14 NEIBA stores. Local First Vermont will use the money to hire a full-time membership coordinator, which will help the organization reach its goal of 380 members by the end of the year and free the board to focus on fundraising.

$2,500 to Capital District Local First, in Albany, N.Y., a year-old organization whose mission is to promote and improve the strength of the locally owned, independent business community in the four counties of the New York State Capital District: Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady. The money will be used for member education, including attendance at the BALLE national conference in Boston in June, grant-writing seminars, publicity for membership recruitment and speaker fees for educational seminars. Members of the organization include Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Market Block Books and Open Door Bookstore.

In the past 10 months, NEIBA has awarded $16,000 in grants, partly underwritten by Bookazine, to help members create and strengthen local business alliances and to help them educate their communities on the values of locally owned, independent businesses.


Diana Books Plus, the African-American bookstore and gift shop in the East New York section of Brooklyn, N.Y., may close at the end of the month if owner Diana Ricketts doesn't pay more than $10,000 in back rent, according to the New York Daily News. Ricketts, who opened the store seven years, pays $1,100 a month in rent and faces eviction.

Some local residents and customers have rallied around the store. "It's not that people don't want a bookstore in the 'hood," Jean Simone Townsend, a PTA president, told the Daily News. "Sometimes people just can't afford books. People do walk past the store. We'll just have to get out the word and let them know they should stop in."

And Darin Spencer, a vocational rehabilitation counselor who is making purchases he doesn't necessarily need to support the store, said, "It's not just a bookstore. It has a plethora of Afrocentric and mainstream things--newspapers, magazines, lotions, creams, a variety of stuff."

Diana Books Plus is planning a fundraiser for March 22.


Noting that Everyday Bookshop's shelf stock is quickly diminishing due to its imminent closing, the Free Press featured a profile of 80-year-old owner Elizabeth Orr, whose retirement spells the end for the downtown Burlington, Vt., bookstore.

"It's time," said Orr, who has run the shop for 40 years. After Everyday Books closes, she has "no idea" what she will do next: "It's all just open. I want to have a rest and I'll be thinking of what I want to do."


With the theme "Going Green," the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association is holding its spring meeting Wednesday through Friday, March 26-28, in Estes Park, Colo. The program includes educational seminars, an ABA Forum, a Pick of the Lists, outings, tours and more. Speakers include David Wann, author of Simple Prosperity: Finding Real Wealth in a Sustainable Lifestyle; Leif Enger, whose new book is So Brave, Young, and Handsome; Amy Irvine, author of Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land; David Wroblewski, author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle; Sharman Apt Russell, author of the new memoir, Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist; and Chris Gall, whose new book is There's Nothing to Do on Mars.

In addition, Dave Weich of Powell's Books will talk about Out of the Book films, which have focused on Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and David Halberstam's The Coldest Winter, and Art Carson of Ingram will discuss Ingram's iQuest, a consumer kiosk version of iPage. 


The Len Riggio Barnes & Noble Stock Ownership Watch:

The B&N chairman owns about 15 million shares of company stock, following the purchase of another 280,000 shares last Thursday and Friday. Those 15 million shares are worth about $425 million. B&N closed at $28.38 a share yesterday.


Suzie Sisoler has been named director, online consumer marketing, at HarperCollins, a new position, and will be in charge of AuthorTracker, First Look, Newsletters and other company web initiatives that drive traffic to HarperCollins sites and lead to consumer registration. She will also help develop strategic plans for Sneak Peek and Full Access Browse Inside and relaunch some of the company's online membership programs.

Sisoler joined HarperCollins in 2000 as online marketing manager for the general books group and in 2005 moved to the children's online marketing team.


High book prices have made reading a luxury for low-income Vietnamese citizens, according to Viet Nam News, which reported that "when a poor farmer family's income is about VND500,000 [US$31.35], a month, a book worth VND100,000 is an exquisite luxury. Most will never buy or read it. . . . Tieng Chim Hot Trong Bui Man Gai (The Thorn Birds) is worth VND89,000, while a set of seven volumes of Harry Potter costs VND485,000."


Horst Rippert, a former Luftwaffe pilot, claims--sort of--that he shot down Little Prince author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery, whose plane disappeared July 31, 1944.

According to the Associated Press (via USA Today), last weekend Le Figaro published an excerpt from Rippert's upcoming book, Saint-Exupery, the Ultimate Secret, in which the onetime Messerschmitt pilot "says he believes that he shot down the plane--although he is not completely sure."

Rippert said, "I didn't see the pilot, and it would have been impossible for me to know that it was (Saint-)Exupery. I hoped, and I still hope, that it wasn't him." He added that he was a fan of the author's books: "In our youth, at school, we had all read him. We loved his books. If I had known, I would not have opened fire. Not on him!"


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

Image of the Day: Fear, Yoga and the Audacity of Hope

The day Debra Galant's new novel, Fear and Yoga in New Jersey (St. Martin's, $23.95, 9780312367251/0312367252), came out, she sent out an Obama-inspired e-mail to her 900 closest friends and readers. "No, I'm not stumping on behalf of Barack Obama, but I am attempting to borrow some of his mojo," she wrote. "You see I have the audacity of hoping that you won't just congratulate me on the publication of my second novel, Fear and Yoga in New Jersey, but that you'll actually buy it. Thanks ahead of time for your well wishes, but what I really need are sales." Most correspondents responded cheerfully, even sending Amazon receipts to prove they had complied, though one responded grumpily that it was the most graceless pitch he had ever seen. Accordingly, Galant bought a case of Bitch grenache for her book party.

Although getting attention for a sophomore effort can feel Sysiphean, Galant is trying anything and everything. She sent four Fear and Yoga bookmarks to every Book Sense member (Fear and Yoga is a March Book Sense pick), is having her publisher make posters for local yoga stores and is trying to interest New Jersey radio stations in book giveaways. When the manager of the local Starbucks took down her posters for a local reading, she turned it into a quest for a rare Starbucks book reading. And of course she's blogging every minute of the process, as one can see here.

Photo: Michael Reitman. 


BINC - Double Your Impact

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David McCullough on John Adams

This morning on the Today Show: Vikki Stark, family therapist and author of My Sister, My Self: Understanding the Sibling Relationship that Shapes Our Lives, Our Loves, and Ourselves (McGraw-Hill, $15.95, 9780071478793/0071478795).


Today on NPR's Leonard Lopate Show: Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason (Pantheon, $26, 9780375423741/0375423745). She will also appear tonight on the Colbert Report.


Today on NPR's Dennis Prager Show: Bart D. Ehrman, author of God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question--Why We Suffer (HarperOne, $25.95, 9780061173974/0061173975).


Tonight on Larry King Live: Laura Schlessinger, author of Stop Whining, Start Living (Harper, $24.95, 9780060838331/0060838337).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: David McCullough, author of John Adams (S&S, $20, 9781416575887/141657588X), which on Sunday began airing as a miniseries on HBO. [Incidentally, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its publication of McCullough's first book, The Johnstown Flood, his longtime publisher, S&S, ran a full-page ad in the New York Times today congratulating McCullough on "bringing history to life for forty years." We congratulate him, too.]


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show's Readers Review segment: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (Penguin, $15, 9780143038252/0143038257).


Today on NPR's Here & Now: Scott Simon, author of Windy City: A Novel of Politics (Random House, $25, 9781400065578/1400065577).


Today on NPR's Leonard Leopate Show: Scott Spencer, author of Willing (Ecco, $24.95, 9780060760151/006076015X).


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

Books & Authors

Awards: Debut Novels Highlight Orange Prize Longlist

Of the 20 books on this year's Orange prize longlist, seven are from first-time authors, according to the Guardian. Kirsty Lang, chair of the judges, said, "There were lots of big names in contention this year and stiff competition for places, so we were surprised and excited to find so many new voices that fought their way through."

The Orange prize longlist includes:

  • The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
  • The Room of Lost Things by Stella Duffy
  • The Keep by Jennifer Egan
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright
  • The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
  • The Master Bedroom by Tessa Hadley
  • Fault Lines by Nancy Huston
  • Sorry by Gail Jones
  • The Outcast by Sadie Jones
  • The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg
  • When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson
  • In The Dark by Deborah Moggach
  • Mistress by Anita Nair
  • Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
  • The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
  • The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer
  • The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
  • Monster Love by Carol Topolski
  • The Road Home by Rose Tremain
  • Lottery by Patricia Wood

The shortlist for the £30,000 (US$59,912) prize will be announced April 15, and this year's awards ceremony will take place in London's Royal Festival Hall on June 4.


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

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected hardcover titles appearing next Tuesday, March 25:

Buckingham Palace Gardens: A Novel by Anne Perry (Ballantine, $26, 9780345469311/0345469313) is the 25th Thomas Pitt mystery.

Hollywood Crows: A Novel by Joseph Wambaugh (Little, Brown, $26.99, 9780316025287/0316025283) examines corruption in the LAPD through a new member of the Community Relations Office.

Compulsion: An Alex Delaware Novel
by Jonathan Kellerman (Ballantine Books, $27, 9780345465276/034546527X) is the 22nd mystery starring the retired child psychologist.

In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures by Helen Mirren (Atria, $35, 9781416567608/1416567607) is the illustrated memoir of the film and TV star.

Yankee Stadium: The Official Retrospective by Al Santasiere and Mark Vancil (Pocket, $50, 9781416547792/1416547797) recalls the stadium's 85-year history--just before its last season.

Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by Don and Susie Van Ryn, Newell, Colleen and Whitney Cerak (Howard Books, $21.99, 9781416567356/1416567356) explores the incident in which a girl was buried under the name of another girl who was in a coma.

The Cure for Modern Life: A Novel
by Lisa Tucker (Atria, $24.95, 9780743492799/074349279X) follows a pharmaceutical company executive whose ex-girlfriend is a medical ethics watchdog working against him.

Olive Kitteridge: Fiction
by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, $25, 9781400062089/140006208X) is a collection of 13 interconnected stories about coastal Maine residents.

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas (St. Martin's, $21.95, 9780312351649/031235164X) is a romance novel about the daughter of a rich Texan businessman.

Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson (Kensington, $22, 9780758211835/075821183X) follows a crime writer who enrolls in a Catholic school to investigate the disappearance of several students.

In paperback next week:

Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: The Ultimate Episode Guide
by Jim Milio, Melissa Jo Peltier and Cesar Millan (Fireside, $18, 9781416561439/1416561439).

Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World
by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger (Fireside, $14, 9780743294515/0743294513).

Hokus Pokus by Fern Michaels (Zebra, $6.99, 9781420101850/1420101854).


Book Review

Book Review: The Translator

Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur by Daoud Hari (Random House (NY), $23.00 Hardcover, 9781400067442, March 2008)

Daoud Hari's wrenching memoir, The Translator, is graceful, honest, spare and restrained, with occasional flashes of helpless rage. The narrator's irrepressible sense of humor and bottomless compassion make what could have been a gallery of horrors into a vibrant crucible for the human spirit. Hari is the native guide who led Western film crews, including the BBC, into the genocide of Darfur, and he's such a generous, well-meaning, good-natured guy that you willingly go with him into the heart of darkness. He wins over everyone he meets--well, except for his government torturers.

In the face of the appalling, unspeakable evil sweeping down on his family and his homeland, Hari notices the unexpected flares of goodness and the dignity of people bravely suffering and facing death in a country with no doctors. His compassion extends to the enemy as well, who is often nothing more than scared 14-year-old boys with big guns.

The book certainly contains a few eye-popping horrors, though never unnecessarily, and if the occasional violent image is nightmarish, it's because Hari is a haunted man simply sharing his ghosts with you. He's also a delightful narrator, with his love of camels (he thinks they're beautiful) and his fear of crossing over water.

As far as sheer writing goes, Dr. John and Ali, the two men who accompany Daoud on the final third of the memoir, are as sharply defined as any characters in a good novel, and their battering odyssey together cancelled all my plans, since I was unable to leave my armchair during the final nail-biting 70 pages.

It's taken me several days to recover from the book. As a writer and as a man, Daoud Hari is my personal hero. No one can tell you what is happening in Darfur better than he can.--Nick DiMartino



Here's Looking at You, Kid

This is one of the weirdest corrections we've ever run. The Hotel New Hampshire shelf talker at Diesel, A Bookstore, Oakland, Calif., that we mentioned yesterday reads:

"John Irving is as American as apple pie and as weird as a bucketful of frog eyeballs."

That's frog eyeballs, not fish eyeballs. Our apologies to wordsmith Grant Outerbridge for mangling the meaning of his sentence!


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