Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern

News

Notes: Just Books Too Sold; 'Mulching,' the Banned Word

Just Books Too in Greenwich, Conn., is being bought by Marion Boucher Holmes, who plans "to renovate it and make it a more interactive community bookstore that caters to families and adults," according to the Advocate.

Jenny Lawton, who put Just Books Too and the neighboring Arcadia Coffee Co. on the market earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 19, 2008), has found some financial help and will keep Arcadia. She plans to renovate the store and expand the menu.

Boucher Holmes, who worked on Wall Street as a research analyst for 30 years, told the paper, "I want to bring [Just Books Too] back to life and do more with the infrastructure--take what Jenny did and extend it further." She added, "I understand it's not the best time in history to buy a bookstore, but I have a passion for it, and I'm happy to be keeping this institution in the community."

Lawton bought Just Books in 2002 and opened Just Books Too shortly thereafter. In 2004, she bought Arcadia Coffee Co., and in 2005 she closed the original Just Books.

Both Just Books Too and Arcadia will close for a week or two this summer for renovations.

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Barnes & Noble plans to open a branch in Slidell, La., in spring 2010. The new B&N will be in the Summit Fremaux at the intersection of I-10 and Fremaux Avenue.

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Never say "mulch." Such was the advice Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor-in-chief of Hachette Group's imprint, Twelve, received as an editorial assistant--"never to use a certain word when telling authors what would happen to their unsold books." In an article for the Washington Post, Karp also offered a brief overview of the publishing industry, saying that that "hope" remains an operative term, since "publishing is a business based primarily on blind hope."

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SciFi.com featured a previously unpublished interview with the late Arthur C. Clarke, which "was conducted by phone, e-mail, snail mail, audio recordings and in person in New York City" between October 1999 and March 2000.

Asked how he felt about his fiction, Clarke replied, "Well, I haven't looked at it for years. In fact I can scarcely ever remember rereading any of my fiction. Writing has always been a sort of hole in my life, and perhaps I resent the fact that it was a way to avoid living--although of course it has enabled me to live as I wished to do."

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"Poolside seminars" was the headline for New York magazine's list of recommendations for "summer reading, from pulp to politics (when they're not one and the same)."

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ESPN.com's D.J. Gallo offered "the skinny on this summer's sports books," but with a caveat emptor: "Granted, I haven't read many of these books. Well, any of these books. But I think it's pretty easy to figure out what each book is about just by knowing the title and author."

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A San Francisco Chronicle piece on the recent closings of local reading institutions Cody's Books, Berkeley, and De Lauer's newsstand, Oakland--headlined "Old guard of printed word fading away"--began with an all-too-familiar note of caution:

"I doubt if I'm the only one who has given nieces and nephews bookstore gift cards in hopes of nurturing their love of reading, only to wonder if they ended up being spent on a Bring It On DVD or the latest Coldplay album."

The final community event at Cody's "came Wednesday, after the lights of the bookstore were darkened, for a conversation with peace activist Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, and columnist Robert Scheer, author of the new book The Pornography of Power."

Scheer recalled his first job on the West Coast, at City Lights bookstore, where owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti offered these words to live and work by: "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."

 


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors


The Man in the Blizzard: Hot Summer Plot

This is a busy summer for Bart Schneider, bookseller, author and longtime editor of the late Hungry Mind Review: in July, he's moving to California to become events coordinator for Readers' Books in Sonoma and in August his fourth novel is appearing, which will lead him back to Minnesota to do publicity. The Man in the Blizzard (Three Rivers Press, $14.95, 9780307238139/030723813X) is Schneider's first set in the Twin Cities and takes place in the late summer in the near future: in the days leading up to the Republican national convention. (The real thing will indeed be held in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center beginning on Labor Day, September 1.)

The Man in the Blizzard features Augie Boyer, a private detective who likes to smoke a joint whenever the going gets tough (and the going often gets tough). He misses his wife, who has left him. He puts up with his appealing girlfriend. And he is mystified by a new client who draws him into a case that involves masterwork violins stolen by the Nazis from Jewish players and collectors. One of Boyer's best friends is St. Paul police detective Bobby Sabbatini, who quotes poetry as addictively as Boyer smokes reefer and encourages all his friends to memorize lines.

The book has an appealing noir tone ("I took a good look at her. Green eyes and a sweet mole just north of the bridge of her nose") but is comfortably and authentically set in 2008. Schneider respects hard-boiled rules--Boyer is worldly wise, seeming cynical, unable to communicate and love the way the reader wants him to. At the same time, the many wounded people who populate this books come to show their love for each other and politics are clearly left but not in your face.

The violin case, as it were, leads to a wealthy local right-wing man with a deep admiration for the Third Reich who plans to make a dramatic, deadly statement about abortion during the demonstrations and counterdemonstrations at the convention. Boyer's own daughter--a popular, political singer--is the star of one of those counterdemonstrations, and Boyer senses accurately that she is in great danger.

"This book has a political backdrop," Schneider told Shelf Awareness during BookExpo America. "But the most subversive aspect of it is the poetry." He quotes Detective Sabbatini, who says in The Man in the Blizzard, "Sometimes I wonder why Americans are as afraid of poetry as they are of al-Queda." Schneider sought to put poetry in the middle of things, he said, so that "the lines fit the context of the conversation."

Schneider also has filled The Man in the Blizzard with references to Twin Cities booksellers and bookstores, including Micawber's and Common Good, "Garrison's store," as Schneider put it. At one point, Boyer remembers a conversation with Schneider's former boss, David Unowsky, "Uno," who owned Hungry Mind. Boyer carries a Hungry Mind bag. And the last name of the woman who hires Boyer is Odegard--also the name of a long-defunct bookstore in Minneapolis.

Bookworld name dropping is not a new thing for Schneider. He is originally from California, where his first three novels--Blue Bossa, Beautiful Inez and Secret Love--were set. "I got City Lights in all of them," he said happily.--John Mutter

 


BINC - Double Your Impact


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lady Liberty: A Biography

Tomorrow morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features interviews with Matt Tavares and Doreen Rappaport, authors of Lady Liberty: A Biography (Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763625306/0763625302)

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

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: James P. Carse, author of The Religious Case Against Belief (Penguin Press, $24.95, 9781594201691/1594201692).

 


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


Movies: Revolutionary Road Takes Festival Detour

The much-anticipated film adaptation of Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates will not be finished in time to debut at film festivals in Telluride, Toronto or New York "because [director Sam] Mendes has been shooting the Focus Features comedy Farlanders this summer, a road movie set for 2009 release co-written by Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida," according to Variety.

Mendes will reportedly "return to the editing bay around Labor Day to do the final mix" on Revolutionary Road in preparation for an opening later this year.

Mendes's next movie is a film version of George Eliot's Middlemarch, Variety noted.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 8:

Tribute by Nora Roberts (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399154911/0399154914) follows the granddaughter of a movie star as she attempts to fix up a neglected farm.

Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307266583/0307266583) follows a young writer who is accidentally thrust into the investigation of a political murder.

Swan Peak: A Dave Robicheaux Novel by James Lee Burke (S&S, $25.95, 9781416548522/1416548521) follows the Louisiana cop on a case that takes him to Montana.

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, $25, 9780345496881/0345496884) is the fifth book featuring Temeraire, a dragon who fights for England against Napoleon.

Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen (St. Martin's, $24.95, 9780312367992/0312367996) explores the deadly secrets of a decommissioned Soviet submarine.

Time Is a River by Mary Alice Monroe (Pocket, $25, 9781416544364/1416544364) takes place in an old fishing cabin where a southern woman escapes to recover from cancer and a cheating husband.

So Long at the Fair: A Novel
by Christina Schwarz (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385510295/0385510292) chronicles the unexpected secrets of a small Midwestern town.

 


Welcome to Children's Books, Brooke!

When HarperCollins approached Brooke Shields about writing a children's book (which would become Welcome to the World, Baby, illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld), she was pregnant with her second child. Her first pregnancy was the subject of the bestselling Down Came the Rain (Hyperion, 2005), which frankly and openly chronicled Shields's struggle with postpartum depression after giving birth to Rowan, now five years old. With this second pregnancy (she knew it was another girl), Shields wanted Rowan to be a part of the process. "I didn't want her to feel displaced," Shields said. "So I asked her, 'What do you want to do with your sister?'" These conversations formed the basis of the book, and in many ways, according to Shields, Rowan wrote Welcome to the World, Baby, for Grier, who is now two years old.

Shelf Awareness met with Shields in the Green Room at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca in New York City on the afternoon of the book's release, June 24. She had been working on the set of the NBC TV series "Lipstick Jungle" since 5 a.m. that morning but still looked as fresh and energetic as someone who has based her career on acting and modeling. Asked if this book was easier to write than Down Came the Rain, Shields said, no, quite the opposite. "With Down Came the Rain, I had to recount [the experience]; it was like writing a diary," Shields said. "But writing a children's book is so frustrating. As my friend Candace Bushnell said, 'It has to be like poetry; every line has to sing.'"

Shields said she has always enjoyed writing, though her first publishing experience was not ideal. After she wrote the first chapter of On Your Own (Villard, 1985), a kind of advice book for teens, with life, beauty and health tips, her editor "chopped it all up" into terse sentences. Under those circumstances, "I didn't want to spend my first year at Princeton writing the book," Shields said, so she asked for a ghost-writer. [Full disclosure: This reporter went to college with Shields and shared a dressing room with her for the school's Triangle Show, in which Shields's featured role as a dancing waitress in the musical number "Spiller," a send-up of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," received national attention while she was a freshman.]

Since then, while much of her life continues to be in the spotlight, Shields has managed to enjoy great autonomy with her writing. The author did not have a say in picking the artist for her picture book, but she did give Doerrfeld notes on the scene she imagined for each line. The opening spread is just how events played out when the entire family returned home with Grier from the hospital, according to Shields; Rowan walked through the door first, opened her arms wide and proclaimed the title line, "Welcome to the world, baby!" Doerrfeld brought her own ideas to the artwork, too, of course. Shield's favorite example is the closing spread, "We can even share/ cuddling with Mom"), in which Mom's feet are in Dad's lap as the two girls cuddle with Mom on the couch. The artist added the detail of the baby holding onto her big sister's finger, so the whole family is touching.

As Shields made her way out to the crowd of more than 200, she exclaimed, "It's so great to see all the babies!" For those who have read Down Came the Rain, this simple statement had a deeper resonance. After she read the book, she took questions. One adult wondered why there were so many celebrity books for kids. Unlike Madonna, who said she felt a need to write for children because there were "no good books" for children, Shields expressed respect for the many wonderful books for children and the "great authors" who write them, then gave a refreshingly honest answer: "I think it's because we're asked."--Jennifer M. Brown

 



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