Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simon & Schuster: Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell

Sfi Readerlink Dist: Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure by Jon Stone, adapted by Autumn B Heath

Minotaur Books: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

Tor Books: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

DK: Free Pack of The Wonders of Nature Wrapping Paper - Click to Sign Up!

Quotation of the Day

The Book as 'An Art Object That We Should Defend'

"Literature is inseparable today from the books that carry their stories. If we want to save literature we have to save the rectangular objects that carry and spread their words. We have to respect the book for what it is: an art object that we should defend, defend against censors, narrow-minded educators and, most of all, the dangers of war. Fiction has described wars better than any history book because a novelist, a true novelist, is not a warrior. Literature and war carry opposite genes."--Mai Ghoussoub, from "Texterminators," published in this month's issue of Words Without Borders.


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


Notes: Bookstore Renovates; Women 'Break the Rules'

Renovations have been completed at Water Street Bookstore and Time of Wonder children's bookshop, Exeter, N.H. According to, "shopping has become easier and more enjoyable" in the new space. Owner Dan Chartrand had wanted to connect the two bookstores "for about the last five years."

"Our look was pretty tired after 16 years," he said, adding that in talking with his customers he had concluded that they wanted a separate, but connected, kids' section. These areas are now separated by a brick archway. "We've given our patrons and staff what they wanted," he added.

Other changes include opening up the backs of the stores with large windows looking out on the river, and  the addition of a couch and tables to the front. While Water Street Bookstore plans to celebrate the renovations with a series of events in April and May, the new look was described as just the first wave of changes.

"There are more waves coming," Chartrand said, including an upgrade of the stores' technology and working toward more energy efficiency. 


Cool idea of the day: for an April 4 event featuring Margaret Cezair-Thompson, author of The Pirate's Daughter; Deborah Noyes, author of Angel and Apostle; and Pamela Thompson, author of Every Past Thing, the Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass., has chosen the theme: "Women Who Take Risks and Break the Rules."


Alan Wastell, owner of Bookends Bookstore, Napa, Calif., told the Napa Valley Register that due to "falling walk-in traffic, online competition and downtown construction," he will close his bookshop when the lease expires at the end of May. Bookends was opened 35 years ago by Thomas and Angie Pieper. Wastell purchased it from Jerry Doherty in 2003.

"As much as I would like to continue, we haven't been earning anything from the store for a while," he said. "We can't afford to lose any more on the business."

---'s Eve Tahmincioglu posed the question, "Did Borders kill the small, downtown bookstore?" and answered affirmatively, even as she confessed that her favorite bookstore, Ninth Street Books, Wilmington, Del., ranks third on her priority list when she needs "to buy a book fast."

Suspecting that recent news about economic troubles for Borders Group might be good news for indies, she spoke with Ninth Street owner Jack Buckley.

"Business is awful," he said, adding that Wilmington is a "retail wasteland. . . . Even when companies relocate to the city, they bring the mentality with them that they had at their office parks. They don't leave the building and venture outside. We used to have a big business clientele, but no more."

When Buckley mentioned that he's considering closing when his lease is up in a year and a half, Tahmincioglu had a small epiphany: "Suddenly I'm overwhelmed with the thought that we all should have done more. Why didn't I just head over to Ninth Street to pick up the books I needed instead of first driving to a huge parking lot and walking into a huge chain?"


Book restorer Karen Tolley, owner of Lost & Bound Books, Roseburg, Ore., "has been stitching together spines and tightening the hinges of children’s classics and the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for more than a year now," according to the News-Review.

"It’s a reviving art," said Tolley, a former bookseller who opened While Away Books in 1994 and sold it in 2003. Her new venture is located nearby. "I knew exactly where I wanted it to be," she said. "I felt like I had left all of my friends."

Tolley can repair about 10 books a week, depending upon condition: "Each book kind of tells you what it needs. . . . It’s fun to bring life back to a book again. It’s magic what can be done."


Barnes & Noble has launched a new how-to website,, which offers guides "commissioned by Quamut editors, written by experts, fact-checked, copy edited, enhanced with illustrations and photographs, and produced in an easy-to-read format for free viewing online," according to the company. The website currently features titles covering more than 1,000 topics and plans to add hundreds of new titles each month.

Dan Weiss, publisher and managing director of, said, "We simultaneously publish everything in two formats, to the web as both HTML content and as downloadable PDFs. And in some cases, we actually publish in three formats, adding a four-to-six page laminated printed chart available at Barnes & Noble stores and Barnes &"

According to B&N, the business will be supported by advertising through display ads and Google AdSense, the sale of full-color PDFs and the sale of laminated printed charts. 


Slate featured a recession reading list for "connoisseurs of financial folly, commercial irrationality, and general fiscal inanity" so you can keep pace with the "best books, articles, and Web sites about the economic collapse."


Effective May 5, Andrea Sheehan will join the Random House Publishing Group as v-p, director, digital strategy and business development. She was formerly v-p, director, online sales and merchandising at Simon & Schuster and earlier was director of trade sales for online at John Wiley & Sons and publisher relations manager at Barnes& She began her publishing career in 1995 at Crown, in the publicity and marketing departments.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.14.19

AAP Book Sales: Increase to Start New Year

Book sales in January rose 7.2% to $745 million, based on sales at 79 publishers as reported to the Association of American Publishers.

Stronger categories:
  • Adult paperbacks sales rose 37.6% (with sales of $135.2 million).
  • Children's/YA paperbacks were up 28.2% ($34 million).
  • E-books rose 26.1% ($3.1 million).
  • Adult mass market increased 17.3% ($65.3 million).
  • Audio Books gained 16.8% ($13.5 million).
  • University press hardcovers gained 4.7% ($7.1 million).
  • Adult hardcovers were up 4.2% ($94.4 million).
  • Religious books increased 1.1% ($47.5 million).
  • Professional and Scholarly books rose 0.7% ($46.9 million).

Weaker categories:

  • Children's/YA hardcovers decreased 21.9% ($33.6 million).
  • El-Hi basal and supplemental K-12 decreased 1.6% ($68.8 million).
  • University press paperbacks fell 1.5% ($10.2 million).
  • Higher education sales declined 0.7% ($253.1 million).


GLOW: St. Martin's Press: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Hastings: Book Sales Boosted by Harry and Used Books

At Hastings Entertainment, total revenue in the fourth quarter ended January 31 fell 1.5% to $171.5 million and net income rose 13.7% to $5.8 million. For the full year, total revenue fell 0.1% to $547.7 million and net income rose 104.1% to $10.2 million.

Fourth-quarter sales at stores open at least a year dropped 1%. Comp-store sales of books rose 0.9% in the quarter, mainly because of increased sales of used and value books, "partially offset by lower sales of new hardbacks." Movies and music comp-store sales were down; all other categories, led by video games, cafe business and electronics, had gains.

For the year, comp-store book sales rose 2.1%, mainly because of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and "strong sales of used books."

In a statement, CEO John Marmaduke said that he was pleased with results considering that "the retail industry faced its weakest holiday sales period since 2002, followed by a sluggish January. In spite of a challenging retail environment, our sales remained relatively flat." Pre-tax profits rose because of the company's "continued focus on margin management and cost controls."

Marmaduke predicted that the year will be "difficult" for retailing but that the company expects to increase pre-tax profits by 16%. Hastings is responding to the "challenging" state of music sales by reformatting 35 of its 153 stores so that the music departments will be reduced 15%-20% and adding "new products" and expanded "inventory in other departments, including Trends and Children's products."

During the fourth quarter, Hastings opened a 24,612-sq.-ft. store in Cordova, Tenn., its first in the Memphis area. Hastings plans to open three new stores during the fiscal year and expand or relocate six stores. Hastings expects comp-store sales to rise in the "low single digits" during the year.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Weeknight Meals, Biggest Loser, Dog Problems

This morning on Good Morning America: Sara Moulton, author of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals (Broadway, $29.95, 9780767916592/076791659X).


This morning on the Today Show: Maggie Greenwood-Robinson, author of The Biggest Loser Success Secrets: The Wisdom, Motivation, and Inspiration to Lose Weight--and Keep It Off! (Rodale, $21.95, 9781594867996/1594867992).


Today on The View: Gene Wilder, author of The Woman Who Wouldn't (St. Martin's, $19.95, 9780312375782/0312375786).


Today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Senator Arlen Specter, author of Never Give In: Battling Cancer in the Senate (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95, 9780312383060/0312383061).


Today on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor: Cesar Millan, author of Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems (Three Rivers Press, $13.95, 9780307337979/0307337979) and subject of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan: The Ultimate Episode Guide (Fireside, $18, 9781416561439/1416561439). He will also appear tonight on Entertainment Tonight.


Tonight on Larry King Live: personal finance expert Suze Orman, whose books include Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny (Spiegel & Grau, $24.95, 9780385519311/0385519311).


Tomorrow morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features the following interviews:

  • Shirley Abbott, author of The Future of Love: A Novel (Algonquin, $23.95, 9781565125674/1565125673)
  • Hillary Jordan, author of Mudbound (Algonquin, $22.95, 9781565125698/156512569X)

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


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Matthew Parker, author of Panama Fever: The Epic Story of One of the Greatest Human Achievements of All Time--the Building of the Panama Canal (Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385515344/0385515340).


Arcadia Publishing: Stock Your Shelves!

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, April 1:

Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399155086/0399155082) contains unpublished writing from the late, great author.

A Remarkable Mother by Jimmy Carter (S&S, $22.95, 9781416562450/1416562451) is a biography of Miz Lillian, the former president's mother.

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews (Hyperion, $26.95, 9780786865659/0786865652) chronicles the early life and career of the stage and cinema star.

Maya Angelou: A Glorious Celebration by Marcia Ann Gillespie, Rosa Johnson Butler, Richard A. Long and Oprah Winfrey (Doubleday, $30, 9780385511087/0385511086) is a biography of the author and poet laureate.

Infected: A Novel by Scott Sigler (Crown, $24.95, 9780307406101/0307406105) follows a CIA agent trying to cure a mysterious plague--from the podcast author.

Nightshade by Susan Wittig Albert (Berkley, $23.95, 9780425219560/0425219569) is the 16th mystery with former attorney China Bayles.

Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399154676/0399154671) is about a tarot deck that links two women living over a century apart.

Small Favor by Jim Butcher (Roc, $23.95, 9780451461896/0451461894) is the 10th adventure with wizard-detective Harry Dresden.

Winter Study (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)
by Nevada Barr (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154584/0399154582) is the 14th mystery thriller to feature National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon.

Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish (Bantam, $22, 9780553805307/0553805304) takes place during a summer in which a troubled couple separates.

Belong to Me: A Novel by Marisa De Los Santos (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061240270/0061240273) follows a city dweller who moves to the suburbs.

Guilty by Karen Robards (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154614/0399154612) chronicles the aftermath of a courtroom shooting.

Pleasure by Eric Jerome Dickey (Dutton, $24.95, 9780525950455/0525950451) is a romance novel about a female ghostwriter.

The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by Steve Coll (Penguin Press, $35, 9781594201646/1594201641) is by the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ghost Wars.  

Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball
by Jose Canseco (Simon Spotlight, $25.95, 9781416591870/1416591877) reveals the full extent of steroid use in baseball.

In paperback next week:

The Quickie by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Grand Central, $14.99, 9780446501644/0446501646).

For One More Day by Mitch Albom (Hyperion, $12, 9781401309572/1401309577).


Grove Press, Black Cat: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Book Review

Book Review: Liberty's Blueprint

Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Jefferson Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World by Michael Meyerson (Basic Books, $26.95 Hardcover, 9780465002641, March 2008)

From abortion rights to domestic spying to religious freedom, matters of constitutional interpretation intrude daily on our lives. Now law professor Michael Meyerson has given us a lively account of one of the key touchstones our courts rely upon to construe the Constitution--The Federalist Papers.

Written between October 1787 and May 1788, The Federalist consists of 85 essays principally authored by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and published under the pseudonym "Publius." Taken together, they comprise a compelling brief in support of the ratification of the Constitution and a fascinating treatise on the history and theory of representative democracy. In our age of sound bite politics it's refreshing to be reminded that, as Meyerson notes, "the ratification conflict was also waged on an intellectual plane that is difficult to imagine today." Despite that, he's quick to acknowledge that the Founding Fathers were crafty politicians, every bit as ambitious as any modern presidential candidate.  

Meyerson deftly sketches the political backdrop of the times, rejecting the notion that the formation of a strong national government to replace the loose affiliation of states that existed under the Articles of Confederation was inevitable. He leavens his discussion of occasionally dry subject matter with an absorbing description of the curious alliance between Hamilton, a New Yorker energetically pushing the limits of federal power, and Madison, a slave-owning Virginian somewhat less enthusiastic about that prospect and yet sufficiently visionary to help provide the intellectual underpinning for the new Constitution.  It's hard to suppress a feeling of sadness as Meyerson chronicles how their close personal relationship fractured and then hardened into a bitter political rivalry only a short time after the Constitution was ratified.
In the concluding chapters of the book, Meyerson applies some of the principles laid out in The Federalist to contemporary constitutional debates such as the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce or the separation of powers. While some of this discussion may be of more interest to lawyers, it sheds a useful light on the often vapid debate between "strict constructionists" and "judicial activists," demonstrating how each side can bend the Founders' words to its purposes.

Meyerson never tries to hide his respect for the craftsmanship of Hamilton and Madison, yet he cautions that we should treat The Federalist as an "invaluable yet fallible book." Having read this engaging work, we're likely to view the debates over the intent of the Constitution's drafters in a fresh light and even more so to admire the product of these patriots' labors.--Harvey Freedenberg


Berkley Books: Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin

KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books:  Spies, Lies, and Disguise: The Daring Tricks and Deeds That Won World War II by Jennifer Swanson, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books: More Than a Princess by E.D. Baker
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