Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yen Press: Diary (Berrybrook Middle School #4) by Svetlana Chmakova

Shadow Mountain: Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb

Amulet Books: Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Canongate Books: The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry and The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry


Notes: New Bookcase of Wayzata Owner; Angry Rowling

Charlie Leonard, an employee of the Bookcase of Wayzata, Wayzata, Minn., for 10 years, has bought the store from Peggy Burnet and Stephanie Ott, the mother-and-daughter owners since 1990.

In a letter to friends and customers, Burnet said, "Partnering with my daughter Stephanie for the past eighteen years has been a true and delightful gift. . . . We thank each of you for understanding that a community bookstore survives and thrives because its customers enjoy and appreciate the individual service that our knowledgeable and friendly staff provides."

Leonard, she wrote, "is passionate about reading and books. He has been a teacher in both the Wayzata and Hopkins schools, and is a lifelong resident of the Wayzata area. He is the founder and artistic director of Blue Water Theatre Company, a theatrical group for middle and high school students in Wayzata.

"Charlie is knowledgeable about every aspect of the book business, and he will bring new ideas and energy. The wonderful staff that you have known for years will remain and, along with Charlie, are very excited to continue serving you."


The third and final day of the trial regarding publication of an unauthorized Harry Potter book reached its dramatic conclusion when J.K. Rowling testified again and displayed "a flash of anger," according to today's New York Times

Rowling said that if the judge allowed the Harry Potter Lexicon to be published, "I believe the floodgates will open. Are we the owners of our own work?''

The Times observed that "lawyers on both sides of the Lexicon case appeared to be resolved to continue the litigation, although they revealed they have settled some sections of the suit that were not central to the copyright infringement claim."


On his own blog, Thomas Nelson president and CEO Michael S. Hyatt explained the reasoning behind his announcement that the company will not attend BookExpo America and the International Christian Retail Show. "The current economic downturn" was the catalyst for the decision, which had been debated for the past decade, he said.

Instead of going to the shows and visiting customers there, Nelson will have the mountain come to Mohammed, as it were. Last weekend, the company held a two-day "Open House" in Nashville, Tenn., which its top 100 Christian retail accounts, who represent 80% of Nelson's business in this market, attended. "Our goal was to arm participants with a better understanding of industry trends and merchandising strategies, while inspiring their relationships with God," Hyatt wrote. From now on, Nelson will hold the event annually.


An author book signing at Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich., last Saturday became a newsworthy event for the Herald Times, which reported that the bookstore "staff stopped counting after they reached 300 people" lining up to have their copies of Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope signed by Newell and Colleen Cerak.

"This has been such a big story for Gaylord all along," said owner Jill Miner of the local family who co-authored--with Don & Susie Van Ryn--the bestseller. "The Ceraks are such an amazing family--I think it was show of support for them." The Herald Times added that Saturn has "the only books that are signed by the Ceraks. . . . The local bookstore is approaching 900 copies of books sold."


The Inkwell Bookstore, Falmouth, Mass., celebrates its fourth anniversary in June. Co-owner Michelle Lemay told the Falmouth Bulletin that the "people in Falmouth understand the need to shop locally in order to maintain this wonderful Main Street. Falmouth is full of open-minded lovers of the written word. There's an enormous amount of readers and writers in the area. Some of the best books I've read have been customer recommendations, which I'll then go on to purchase for the store. When a customer comes in and is so excited and they want more, it just makes such a difference."


Twenty-eight years ago, Toni Forrend's accountant "predicted a dismal future" for her new business venture, the Yankee Paperback Exchange, Montpelier, Vt. "He said, 'I just want to let you know you're not going to make any money at this business--it's just in the numbers.' I was devastated," she told the Times Argus.

Although she made it her mission to prove him wrong--and did so for nearly three decades--Forrend now plans to close the bookshop in June: "It's sad when customers say, 'What am I going to do without you?' It's been fun. I've seen a lot of people come and go on this street."


The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association will take over the former Blue Heron Bookstore, Peninsula, Ohio, according to the Beacon Journal. Reopening "in early summer, it will operate as Park Place in Peninsula and will combine books, merchandise and snacks to appeal to park visitors. . . . The new store will focus on local, environmental, nature, train, health and children's education books. It will also sell higher-end souvenirs, outdoor-oriented items and environmentally friendly goods."


Lee Gomes has discovered, much to his surprise, that he enjoys reading on his cell phone. In the Wall Street Journal, he wrote that the Sony Reader "turned out to be a gateway device. Once you've experienced its great rush of convenience, choice and portability, you just have to have more. It's then that you cross the line and start downloading British novels onto a BlackBerry. Actually, the logic of reading a book on a BlackBerry, or its kin, is pretty straightforward: You have the thing with you, so you might as well make the most of it."


Elsewhere on the digital front, the New York Times reported that Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Sage Publications have sued Georgia State University, "contending that the school is violating copyright laws by providing course reading material to students in digital format without seeking permission from the publishers or paying licensing fees."


Pop star/lit prize update: Earlier this month (Shelf Awareness, April 8, 2008), we noted that British pop star Lily Allen, an unlikely choice for the Orange Prize judging panel, had withdrawn due to reported "ill-health." The Times, however, reported Orange Prize organizers have now "admitted that they had dropped her from their panel of judges after she failed to turn up to meetings."


Borders Group plans to open another of its new concept stores this June in Wareham, Mass., in the southeastern part of the state. The 25,401-sq.-ft. store will be located in the Wareham Crossing shopping area at Highway 28 and Interstate-495. Borders is opening 14 new concept stores this year.


In November, Books-A-Million plans to open its first store in northeastern Ohio in the Westgate retail development in Fairview Park and Rocky River, according to Crain's Cleveland Business. The 15,500-sq.-ft. store is in an open-air site that replaces Westgate Mall.


And last but not least, in October, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in San Antonio, Tex., in the Shops at La Cantera at 15900 La Cantera Parkway. 



Berkley Books: Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

Bookstore Sales: What Slowdown?!

Following a rise of 4.7% in January, bookstore sales in February surged 11.4% to $1.1 billion from $1 billion in February 2007, according to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For the year to date, bookstore sales rose 6.7% to $3.4 billion.

By comparison, total retail sales in February rose 6.9% to $314.7 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales were up 5.8% to $627.8 billion.

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.


Yen Press: Berrybrook Middle School Box Set by Svetlana Chmakova

Image of the Day: A Bookselling Star Is Born

Bookstore as backdrop: last week at the Strand Book Store, New York City, Nora Ephron shot scenes for her new movie Julie & Julia, based on the book by Julie Powell. From l. to r.: Strand co-owner Fred Bass, Delia Ephron, Nora Ephron and Strand co-owner Nancy Bass Wyden. As an extra, Wyden played a Strand employee shelving books on the dollar carts. In the background at left: Mary Lynn Rajskub, a star in the movie. Amy Adams plays Julie Powell.


Ramsey Press: Debt-Free Degree: The Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Your Kid Through College Without Student Loans by Anthony ONeal

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Arthur Schwartz Cooks Passover Classics

Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Arthur Schwartz, author of Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited (Ten Speed Press, $35, 9781580088985/1580088988), will demonstrate some Passover classics.


Starting today on WETA's Author, Author!: Vikram Chandra, author of Sacred Games (Harper Perennial, $16.95, 9780061130366/0061130362).


Tomorrow on the Martha Stewart Show: Jon Scieszka, the inaugural National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and author of Smash! Crash! (S&S, $16.99, 9781416941330/1416941339).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Marcus Buckingham, author of Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance (Free Press, $30, 9780743261678/0743261674).


Tomorrow on Nightline: Carl Anderson, author of A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World (HarperOne, $19.95, 9780061335310/0061335312).


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.21.19

This Weekend on Book TV: Virginia Festival of the Book

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, April 19

8 a.m.-5 p.m. C-Span features coverage of numerous panels at the 2008 Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, Va.
6 p.m. Encore Book Notes. For a segment first aired in 2004, Stephen Greenblatt, author of Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare (Norton, $26.95, 9780393050578/0393050572), discussed the Bard's life, work and legacy.

7 p.m. David Rothkopf, author of Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making (FSG, $26, 9780374272104/0374272107), takes a look at the richest 6,000 people in the world and the influence they have. (Re-airs Monday at 5:45 a.m.)

8:15 p.m. In his book Nixon's Web: A Year in the Crosshairs of Watergate (Times Books, $26, 9780805082562/0805082565), L. Patrick Gray III, the former FBI director, recounted his tenure and knowledge of the Watergate scandal. His son, Ed Gray, completed the work after his father's death in 2005. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

9:30 p.m. Roger Mudd, author of The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485764/1586485768), is the guest of honor at a book party hosted by Kate and Jim Lehrer in their Washington, D.C., home.
10 p.m. After Words. Michael Scheuer, former head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA, interviews Steve Coll, author of The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century (Penguin, $35, 9781594201646/1594201641). Coll talks about the history of the bin Laden family and its rise to prominence in Saudi Arabia. (Re-airs Sunday 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, April 20

8 a.m. Aaron David Miller, author of The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace (Bantam, $26, 9780553804904/0553804901), talks about the history of conflict in the Middle East and suggests options for bringing peace to the region. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)


GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: The Last Flight by Julie Clark

Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: Lila and the Secret of Rain

Lila and the Secret of Rain by David Conway, illustrated by Jude Daly (Frances Lincoln, distributed by PGW, $16.95, 9781845074074/1845074076, 28 pp., ages 4-8, April)

On the opening spread of this gracefully nuanced book, a giant sun dominates a pale blue and yellow landscape of dry earth, bare trees and a handful of modest tents huddled together. "For weeks and weeks the sun beat down on the Kenyan village where Lila lived." Young Lila, as tall as her firewood bundle, her red outfit offering the illustration's only splash of color, rests against a mound of dry earth, and three panel illustrations demonstrate the relentless beating of the sun: "It was too hot to gather firewood, too hot to weed the village garden, and even too hot to milk the cow." When the heroine's grandfather tells her a tale he heard as a boy that confides the secret of rain ("You must climb the highest mountain . . . and tell the sky the saddest thing you know"), off the girl goes to save her village. Conway (Loose Change) wastes no words as he describes both Lila's internal journey and her hike to the mountaintop. At first, she describes the sad things she knows as the things to which all children can relate (a cut on her brother's leg, burning her fingers while cooking). But when she tells the sky about the fate of her village, the earth seems to stop. Artist Daly's (The Elephant's Pillow) quietly escalating drama comes to a pregnant pause. The sun hangs suspended above the mountaintop, as if Lila could stand up and touch its scorching heat ("Everything on the mountaintop was silent. Nothing could be heard except the sound of Lila weeping"). Through the elegant pacing of words and pictures, we watch the clouds move in, then grow "darker and darker, filling with Lila's sadness . . . until the sky was ebony with emotion." Upon her return, as the village celebrates, only Lila and her grandfather share "a knowing smile." In its elegantly understated way, this book gets to the heart of the ongoing struggle of man against nature, and the power of one child's belief that she can make a difference.--Jennifer M. Brown


Amulet Books: Blood Countess (a Lady Slayers Novel) by Lana Popovic

KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books:  Power of a Princess (More Than a Princess) by E.D. Baker
KidsBuzz: Windsong Press: The Shockhoe Slip Gang: A Mystery by Patricia Cecil Hass, illustrated by Laura Corson
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