Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thank You Booksellers For Making Our Award-Winning Books a Success!

St. Martin's Press: Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina by Chris Franz

Walker Books: The Good Hawk (Shadow Skye, Book One) by Joseph Elliott

Tor Books: Deal with the Devil: A Mercenary Librarians Novel by Kit Rocha


Notes: 'Magical Little Mazes'; Changing Reading Habits

"As those who haunt them know, bookstores can be magical little mazes of aisles and alcoves where half-hidden gems abound," noted the Springfield, Mass., Republican in its interview with David Ham, owner of the soon-to-close used bookshop, Half Moon Books, Northampton.
"People from out of town are not coming here," he said. "It used to be that a lot of people from New York would stop here to spend the night and go to Vermont." Ham isn't selling his bookshop because he "wouldn't feel right," he said. "I don't think you can make enough money to live on."


Shelfari has relaunched. The new design of the book-oriented social networking site offers, among other things, more information about which books are hot at the moment on Shelfari as well as information about people who are reading the same book a member is and who has the same books. Check it out at


An election year offers the perfect opportunity to teach kids about politics, and the Associated Press (via the Salt Lake Tribune) featured suggestions for "new children's books that cover the voting process, life in the White House and the nation's star-spangled failure to give women the vote until 1920."


The 10 stores that Hudson Group opened at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on June 1--awarded in early May--include a Hudson Booksellers and seven Hudson News newsstands. Hudson gained access to the spaces on Saturday night, May 31, and opened them at 5 a.m. Sunday morning.


A recent survey unveiled at the Bookseller's "Reading the Future" conference last week found that "56% of 18-24s think people will still be using bookshops in 20 years' time."

The research, which studied "reading and buying habits of 1,000 adults" in England, was conducted by Next Big Thing. The agency's spokesperson, William Higham, also noted that 28% of the 18-24 year olds approved of e-readers, compared to 9% of 65+ year olds; while 40% of the younger respondents liked the idea of downloadable chapters of books, versus 7% of those 65 and older.

Seni Glaister, CEO of the Book People, suggested that "content is king--always. As an industry I hope we don't spend too much time worrying about technology and let's protect our copyright, make sure downloads are available--but as content providers we shouldn't worry too much about technology."


For intrepid bookstore explorers, Iceland Review recommended Útúrdúr bookshop, Reykjavík: "This shop is a labour of love, the six friends who got together to make Útúrdúr happen, did so out of a love of their subject and belief in the need for a destination for those intrepid explorers curious to learn more about a scene that is rapidly becoming of major international interest."


Should governments be more involved in encouraging reading for pleasure? The Guardian explored the issue from a British perspective: "The government, through its education department, has declared itself on many occasions to be utterly serious about helping every child to do well at school and that this is predicated on knowing how to read. With this in mind they have invested huge amounts of money in the National Literacy Strategy and, more recently, a systematic method of teaching literacy known as 'synthetic phonics.' Alongside this they have voiced an interest in encouraging the reading of books for pleasure, but have singularly failed to back it up with the same kind of stick they have brought to bear on the Literacy Strategy and the implementation of synthetic phonics."


In a column in the Miami Herald, Leonard Pitts Jr. ruminates on the Atlantic's current cover story, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" about the Internet's effect on reading. "I am finding it increasingly difficult to read deeply, to muster the focus and concentration necessary to wrestle any text longer than a paragraph or more intellectually demanding than a TV listing. . . . More and more, I have to do my reading in short bursts; anything longer and I start drowsing over the page even though I'm not sleepy, or fidgeting about checking e-mail, visiting that favorite website, even though I checked the one and visited the other just minutes ago."

There's more. But we can't seem to bring ourselves to read it again.

Wait, we're back. No new e-mail. Darn.

The ending of Pitts's column is about how good it felt to get lost in Scott McClellan's What Happened, which Pitts had to finish in a rush. "The hours I spent reading McClellan's book felt like an escape, like I had stepped off a treadmill for the first time in years. The pages fell away and the hours got lost. I don't know about you, but I could use more days like that."


"I really wanted to give you cars . . . just couldn't pull that off," Oprah Winfrey told Stanford University's 2,600 graduates, each of whom received, as a consolation prize, copies of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Reuters reported that "as far as gifts go, they are less likely to get you in trouble with the tax man."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Olsson's Closing Penn Quarter Store

Effective June 27, Olsson's Books and Records is closing its Penn Quarter store, in the Lansburgh Building on 7th Street, N.W., in Washington, D.C. A store announcement said, "The landlord has other plans for the space." Olsson's has five other stores in northern Virginia and Washington.

Olsson's was a modern pioneer in the Penn Quarter area. Jean Westcott, senior marketing and publicity manager of International Publishers Marketing and a former Olsson's staffer, wrote that when the store first opened 15 years ago, "the Tariff Building was shuttered, two streets above us was an open air 'shooting gallery,' there were adult bookstores 1.5 blocks away, there was no pretty new convention center--but there were a lot of great customers."

Among her memories: "One of the first evenings, we heard a sword fight out back--it turned out to be a rehearsal of Julius Caesar! (Next door was the Shakespeare Theatre.) When the Oklahoma City bombing happened, FBI agents (FBI headquarters was three blocks away) came in and bought Two Seconds Under the World--they thought Middle Eastern terrorists were responsible."


Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

BEA in L.A.: What's Hot in Graphic Novels

At BEA a panel of graphic novel gurus--Nick Smith of the Pasadena Public Library in Pasadena, Calif., Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of McNally Robinson Booksellers in New York City, Atom Freeman, owner of Brave New World Comics in Newhall, Calif., and Tom Flinn of ICv2--shared their picks. The 10 titles:

The Absolute Sandman by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo). The third volume collecting Gaiman's Dream King series in a deluxe edition (priced at $99) is available this month, and the fourth volume is coming in November. "It's a good bet for the holiday market," Bagnulo said.

Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Chip Kidd, Saul Ferris and Geoff Spear (Pantheon). Graphic designer and novelist Chip Kidd spearheads this adaptation of Batman comics originally published in Japan in the 1960s.

Hellboy by Mike Mignola (Dark House Comics). Mignola is "well-versed in folklore and combines it with action," said Bagnulo, who added that the series has a "richness not found in a lot of comics." Hellboy II: The Golden Army hits theaters in July.

The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories by Jiro Taniguchi (Fanfare/Ponent Mon). The title story in this collection of six tales features adventure writer Jack London as one of the characters.

Iron Wok Jan by Shinji Saijyo (Dr. Master Productions). Combining cooking and manga is "something you would never think of as a possibility," said Smith, who called this series about the adventures of a chef a "complete sleeper."

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (Wildstorm). "If you've only seen the movie, ignore it," Smith said. This series set in 19th-century London is "rich with allusions to literature," Bagnulo remarked, "and has a real appeal to a book-buying audience."

Naoki Urasawa's Monster
(VIZ Media). This "very cinematic" thriller "grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go," said Flynn, who noted that it will appeal to readers of all ages. "It's a beautifully done book," Friedman added.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto (VIZ Media). This top-selling manga series about a mischief-making ninja-in-training "is in a class by itself," said Flynn. The latest installment is available July 1.

Scalped by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra (Vertigo). "It should be an HBO series," said Friedman of this crime drama--set on a reservation--that blends organized crime with current Native American culture.

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino (VIZ Media). First introduced in 2007, this four-volume series, Flynn said, is "one to watch."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Junot Diaz's Wondrous Appearance on Colbert

Tomorrow on the Today Show: Emma Jackson, author of A Home for Dixie: The True Story of a Rescued Puppy (Collins, $16.99, 9780061449628/0061449628).


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

  • Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover (Viking, $24.95, 9780670063505/0670063509), which will be published in paperback July 29 (Penguin, $14, 9780143113546/0143113542).
  • Robert Olmstead, author of Coal Black Horse (Algonquin, $13.95, 9781565126015/1565126017).

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: Amanda Ripley, author of The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes--And Why (Crown, $24.95, 9780307352897/0307352897).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594489587/1594489580).


Tomorrow night on Nightline: Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (Viking, $24.95, 9780670020744/0670020745).


G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Tender Thing by Emily Neuberger

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles, appearing next Tuesday, June 24:

TailSpin by Catherine Coulter (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399155031/0399155031) is the 12th entry in the FBI Thriller series.

Brida: A Novel by Paulo Coelho (Harper, $24.95, 9780061578939/0061578932) follows a young Irish girl on a quest to learn about the spiritual world.

Undead and Unworthy
by MaryJanice Davidson (Berkley, $23.95, 9780425221624/0425221628) is the seventh book featuring vampire queen Betsy Taylor.

America America: A Novel by Ethan Canin (Random House, $27, 9780679456803/0679456805) follows a working class boy in the 1970s who unwittingly joins a senator's campaign for president.

The Last Oracle: A Novel by James Rollins (Morrow, $26.95, 9780061230943/0061230944) chronicles a plot by rogue scientists to bioengineer a new prophet.

Rogue by Danielle Steel (Delacorte, $27, 9780385340250/0385340257) tells the story of a woman who divorces her rich husband and takes their children.

Moving Forward: Taking the Lead in Your Life by Dave Pelzer (Center Street, $22.99, 9781599950655/1599950650) offers advice on using negative past experiences for a positive purpose.

Now in paperback:

The Navigator by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos (Berkley, $9.99, 9780425222362/0425222365).

Double Take: An FBI Thriller
by Catherine Coulter (Jove, $7.99, 9780515144697/051514469X).

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva (Signet, $9.99, 9780451224507/0451224507).

Fast Track by Fern Michaels (Zebra, $6.99, 9781420101867/1420101862).


Book Review

Mandahla: Gardens

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition by Robert Pogue Harrison (University of Chicago Press, $24.00 Hardcover, 9780226317892, June 2008)

Gardens is a dazzling and inventive book. Every page has a thought-provoking idea; every page has a passage that you'll want to share with someone. Robert Hogue Harrison, a Stanford professor of Italian literature, contemplates gardens through numerous lenses--literature, of course, from Dante's Paradiso to Malcom Lowry's Under the Volcano to Pablo Neruda; or anthropology, with the idea that the first gardens came before agriculture and were created for purposes that were ritualistic and magical, not economic or productive. With that thought, he ponders the gardens homeless people create, saying that gardens are a response to human needs that are not reducible to our animal needs.

Beginning with Eden, the first garden, Harrison says that only after the fall did Adam acquire "a measure of resiliency and character." Nothing was at stake for Adam and Eve "until suddenly, in one decisive moment of self-revelation, everything was at stake. Such were the garden's impossible alternatives: live in moral oblivion within its limits or gain a sense of reality at the cost of being thrown out." The question for Harrison is whether the gift of the Garden of Eden "was wasted on us prior to the price we paid through our expulsion . . . Adam and Eve were altogether too beautiful, hence also heartless. They had to earn their human hearts outside of the garden, if only in order to learn what beauty is, as well as what a gift it is . . . It was only by leaving the Garden of Eden behind that they could realize their potential to become cultivators and givers, instead of mere consumers and receivers."

In discussing Islamic extremism and Western modernity, he talks about the "craving in the Western soul that cannot be fulfilled by the ideal of serenity or the self-contained contentment of Eden . . . In the West we tend to speak of 'Islamic extremism' as if the West were the measure of moderation. Yet the paradox is that Islamic extremists long for a garden where all is moderation and temperance, while we in the modern West are driven by the need to constantly act . . . driven by compulsions that assume any number of extreme manifestations."

There is a need in people to transfigure reality; there are "aspects of our humanity which nature does not naturally accommodate." Gardens are one type of accommodation and "stand as a kind of haven, if not a kind of heaven." Think about that while weeding, or battling slugs, and see the garden with new eyes.--Marilyn Dahl


Powered by: Xtenit