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."
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!"