Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shambhala: Wait: A Love Letter to Those in Despair by Cuong Lu

Other Press: Nuestra América: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation by Claudio Lomnitz

Scholastic Press: Muted by Tami Charles

Berkley Books: The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton


Notes: B&N Studying Borders Purchase; Campaign Readers

Barnes & Noble "has assembled a team of executives and advisers to study the possibility of acquiring" Borders Group, the Wall Street Journal reported. Borders put itself up for sale two months ago; some "30 people" have expressed enough interest to sign confidentiality agreements or are negotiating to sign them, the paper added.

Among B&N's apparent concerns: Borders's store leases, store locations near B&N stores and possible antitrust hurdles. The paper quotes our favorite book industry statistician, professor Al Greco, who estimates B&N's market share at 20%-22% and Borders's at 10%-12%.


The New York Times captured an image of Senator Barack Obama on the tarmac openly carrying The Post-American World by Newsweek international editor Fareed Zakaria (Norton). The likely Democratic presidential nominee appeared to be halfway through the new book.


Story time at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lexington, Ky., featured a surprise guest reader yesterday. The Herald-Leader reported that Chelsea Clinton read What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel-Nolan to a dozen children.

According to marketing manager Rachel Ray, the bookstore received confirmation of the visit at about 10 p.m. on Monday.

The Herald-Leader also noted that "not everyone at the event was a Hillary Clinton supporter. [Frankie] Vanderwier voted for Clinton's opponent, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, before taking her granddaughter to story time."

--- asked readers to share "what irks them about strangers' kids," and included among the responses was, "I seen kids scream to the top of their lungs in book stores while people are trying to read."


China's education ministry plans to send 800,000 counseling books to children affected by the devastating earthquake last week. China View reported that, "as of Tuesday noon, the first 50,000 books had been sent to students in hard-hit Mianyang city in southwest Sichuan province, where classes have resumed in tents. The ministry said other books were being printed and sent to students in other areas of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. The books were specially written by a dozen experts in child psychology after the quake on May 12."


Mark W. Pitts has been named v-p of sales for the Americas at Lightning Source, a new position at the Ingram Content company. He was formerly director of Glatfelter's book publishing papers business unit and has worked at Glatfelter, a specialty papers and engineered products company, for many years. Earlier he was a purchasing manager for Doubleday.


Aftershock Comics: Kill a Man by Steve Orlando and Phillip Kennedy Johnson, illustrated by Alec Morgan

Changing of the Guard at Random House, Part 2

More on the departure of Peter Olson and the arrival of Markus Dohle as chairman and CEO of Random House, which was officially announced yesterday morning:

Perhaps in part to allay concerns about how Random House will be run after Olson's departure at the end of the month, Bertselsmann chairman Hartmut Ostrowski said that Dohle "will build on Random House's longstanding traditions and the high degree of autonomy that its publishers bring to acquiring and publishing their books" as well as build on "its strong relationships with the best authors in the world, and its partnership with retailers. In this spirit, we at Bertelsmann continue to regard Random House as a valued core business."

At the same time, Ostrowsi said, Dohle "will open up new business prospects and opportunities for Random House. He will bring his innovative energy to tapping new lines of business for the company, such as the digital realm, and to lengthening its value chain."

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ostrowski added that Random House needs "new ideas in terms of how to distribute and market our books."

Concerning Olson, Ostrowski said, "I greatly regret Peter's decision and his departure." He emphasized that Olson is "leaving of his own initiative" and praised his decade at Random, saying, "Peter has greatly increased [Random's] profitability and under his aegis, Random House has sold more than four billion books worldwide. During the Peter Olson era Random House published more than 4,000 national bestsellers and numerous major literary award recipients, including eight new Nobel Prize winners, in 19 countries and in the German, English, Spanish, Japanese and Korean languages. These accomplishments are unequalled by any competitor."

In a letter to Random House employees--whom he thanked for their "loyalty, support and hard work"--Olson said that he has always wanted to enter academia and is moving with his family to an apartment in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. "I am in discussions for a senior faculty position starting in the fall with a full-time workload at a nearby university," adding, "The challenge of working with students and the writing and research aspects of this prospective position are enormously exciting to me."

Olson wrote that the impetus for the change came "while out of the office late last year recuperating from double pneumonia," when he "reflected on what's next for me as I near 60--and when would be the right time to start to pursue it."

The New York Times reported that the "nearby university" is--fasten your seatbelts--Harvard, specifically Harvard Business School. The paper also said that Richard Sarnoff, president of Random House's digital media investments group, has been appointed co-chairman of Bertelsmann, "where he would play a critical role in directing strategy in the U.S."



GLOW: Beacon Press: Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother by G'Ra Asim

BEA in L.A.: Picks of the Panels

Check out BEA's Saturday graphic novel and library programming. A few highlights:

Graphic Novel Distribution, Bookstores, and the Direct Market, Saturday, May 31, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Representatives from graphic novel publishers and distributors talk about the growing graphic novel market, comics stores and the risks and rewards of selling comics through traditional bookstores. Moderator is Douglas Wolk, contributing editor of PW Comics Week. Panelists are Kuo-Yu Liang, v-p, sales and marketing, Diamond Book Distributors; John DiBello, Norton; Chris Oliveros, publisher, Drawn & Quarterly; John Cunningham, v-p, marketing, DC Comics; Gonzalo Ferreyra, v-p, sales, VIZ Media; and Mary Beth Thomas, v-p, director of client services, HarperCollins.

Building a Graphic Novel Section for Kids and Teens
, Saturday, May 31, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Publishers and a bookseller talk about the growth of graphic novels for younger readers. (Most graphic novels have been for adults.) This workshop is designed for booksellers who are considering creating a kids/YA graphic novel section or expanding one and includes lists of core titles, advice on different rating systems, tips on handling series, lists of resources, customer insights and more. The moderator is Janna Morishima, director of Diamond Kids. Panelists are Kristen McLean, executive director of the Association of Booksellers for Children; Francoise Mouly, publisher, Toon Books; and Erik Ko, publisher, Udon Books.

Graphic Novel Buzz, Saturday, May 31, 4-5 p.m. Top graphic novel editors talk about the titles that most excite them. Moderated by Calvin Reid, senior news editor, Publishers Weekly.

How Libraries Buy: Librarians Reveal Their Methods for Collection Development
, Saturday, May 31, 9:30-10:30 a.m. A panel of librarians will discuss how they buy books, what they're looking for, how publishers can best reach them and more. Moderated by Nora Rawlinson, founder of, the Publisher/Librarian Connection.


Berkley Books: Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fresh Air Reaches Nixonland

Today on Fresh Air: Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (Scribner, $37.50, 9780743243025/0743243021).

Also on Fresh Air: Mark Evanier, author of Kirby: King of Comics (Abrams, $40, 9780810994478/081099447X), a biography of Jack Kirby, creator of the X-Men, the Hulk, Captain America and other comics characters.


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Honor Moore, author of The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoir (Norton, $25.95, 9780393059847/0393059847).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Bruce Weigl, author of Declension in the Village of Chung Luong (Ausable Press, $14, 9781931337311/1931337314), and Brian Turner, author of Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, $14.95, 9781882295555/1882295552). As the show describes it: "Bruce Weigl is a poet who served in Vietnam. Brian Turner wrote poetry while serving in Iraq. Theirs is the poetry of war as written by on-site observers. These poets eschew easy platitudes about the horrors of war, returning readers to the human revelations that are the consequences of the politics of warfare."


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna discuss their new children's book, Read All About It! (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061560750/0061560758).


Tomorrow on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: John Harwood, co-author of Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power (Random House, $26, 9781400065547/1400065542).


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, May 27:

The Enchantress of Florence: A Novel
by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $26, 9780375504334/0375504338) chronicles Florence and the Mughal empire during the Renaissance.

Panic in Level 4: Cannibals, Killer Viruses, and Other Journeys to the Edge of Science by Richard Preston (Random House, $26, 9781400064908/1400064902) chronicles the most bizzare and horrifying prospects of modern science.

Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters by Richard A. Clarke (Ecco, $25.95, 9780061474620/0061474622) examines and offers solutions to the country's national security disasters.

Black Out: A Novel by Lisa Unger (Shaye Areheart Books/Crown, $23, 9780307338488/0307338487) follows a woman whose idyllic family life is threatened by her forgotten past.

Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $25.95, 9780425222195/0425222195) is the 16th novel with vampire hunter Anita Blake.

Chasing Harry Winston: A Novel
by Lauren Weisberger (S&S, $25.95, 9780743290111/0743290119) follows a trio of Manhattan friends who decide to change their lives.

The Reapers: A Thriller by John Connolly (Atria, $26, 9781416569527/1416569529) examines the effect of witnessing a brutal crime during a young age.

Blue Smoke and Murder by Elizabeth Lowell (Morrow, $24.95, 9780060829858/0060829850) follows a river guide whose discovery of valuable paintings leads to death threats.

Shadow of Power: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini (Morrow, $26.95, 9780061230882/006123088X) is the newest crime thriller with defense attorney Paul Madriani.

In paperback next week:

High Noon by Nora Roberts (Jove, $7.99, 9780515144680/0515144681).

In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin, $14, 9780143113492/0143113496).

Obsession by Karen Robards (Signet, $7.99, 9780451222732/0451222733).

Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton (Broadway, $15.95, 9780767925365/076792536X).


Book Review

Book Review: Medical Myths That Can Kill You

Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life by Nancy Snyderman (Crown Publishing Group (NY), $24.95 Hardcover, 9780307406132, May 2008)

While your grandmother is probably right about the medicinal properties of chicken soup, her knowledge of what causes cancer or whether chocolate aggravates acne is best taken with several grains of salt. And if this same grandmother is posting her advice on the Internet, says Dr. Nancy Snyderman, you should avoid it altogether. The chief medical editor for NBC News, Snyderman has put together an eminently readable and user-friendly compilation of common medical myths that have found new life and luster in cyberspace by millions of willing cyberchondriacs. And as anyone who's ever typed a benign symptom into Google and received a dire diagnosis can attest, this kind of specious medical advice can be quite damaging to one's physical and mental health.
Snyderman divides her book into seven concise chapters, each describing and then dismantling a medical myth. Some seem quite basic: It is a myth that you can just "snap out" of a mental illness, for example, or that only the elderly are victims of stroke and heart disease. Other myths, however, have found surprisingly stubborn traction in this age of managed health care and miracle cures; the belief that annual checkups are no longer necessary, for example. In her discussion of this myth, Snyderman presents a chart of simple medical tests and screenings, broken down by age and gender, that can detect diseases at their earliest stages. She also discusses her own experiences, illustrating the importance of early screening.
Perhaps a more potentially harmful myth, however, is that "natural means safe." In this section, Snyderman lists many of the common herbal supplements and "cures" that are now widely available and discusses the risks and benefits associated with each. She also points out that doctors are not opposed to "alternative" treatments and that modern medicine seeks to incorporate natural remedies into traditional therapy.
Beyond these discussions, Snyderman offers plenty of juicy sound bites in the form of her "101 Truths." There is something for everyone here, for while many readers may already know that secondhand smoke is deadly and that not all fats are bad for you, many more will learn that certain types of ear wax may predict breast cancer risk and that drinking unfiltered coffee can raise cholesterol.
Snyderman's warm, accessible style is a perfect complement to her practical, scientifically proven advice. Despite the alarmist tone of its title, this is a sensible, even-keeled book full of information that will be useful to all readers.-–Debra Ginsberg


The Bestsellers

The IMBA Bestsellers: April

The following were the bestselling titles during April at member stores of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association:


1. Winter Study by Nevada Barr (Putnam)
2. Santa Fe Dead by Stuart Woods (Putnam)
3. Black Widow by Randy Wayne White (Putnam)
4. The Spellman Curse by Lisa Lutz (S&S)
5. Buckingham Palace Garden by Anne Perry (Ballantine)
6. Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh (Little, Brown)
7. The Third Circle by Amanda Quick (Putnam)
8. The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber (Morrow)
8. An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear (Holt)
8. Hold Tight by Harlan Coben (Dutton)
8. The Sudoku Puzzle Murders by Parnell Hall (St. Martin's)

1. French Pressed by Cleo Coyle (Berkley)
2. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (S&S)
3. Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett (Berkley)
4. Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child (Bantam)
4. Still Life by Louise Penny (St. Martin's)
6. Murder of a Chocolate Covered Cherry by Denise Swanson (Signet)
7. The Various Haunts of Men by Susan Hill (Overlook)
7. Hollywood Station by Stuart Woods (Vision9)
7. The Woods by Harlan Coben (Signet)
10. The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber (Harper)
10. Glass House by Jane Haddam (St. Martin's)

[Many thanks to IMBA!]


Powered by: Xtenit