Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 8, 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: Thomas Disch, R.I.P.; NAIBA Offers a Ride

Sadly we have to report that science fiction author, critic and poet Thomas M. Disch committed suicide on Friday in New York City. He was 68. Locus Magazine has a long obituary, and Daily Kos offers an extensive appreciation.


Cool idea of the day: for its fall conference in Cherry Hill, N.J., Sunday and Monday, September 21 and 22, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is arranging for a bus to take booksellers from Brooklyn and Manhattan to the show on Saturday evening. The bus will make a return trip late Monday afternoon.


Readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution were tipped off to the charms of Wichita, Kan., In a travel piece that highlighted "a fabulous bookstore, Watermark Bookstore and Cafe, where you can see the handiwork of authors and illustrators drawn on the wall in the basement."


Vald Svekis has cited "challenges" as the reason for further delays in opening his new bookstore in the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Building, Boca Raton, Fla., more than seven years after the closure of his Liberties Fine Books shop, according to the Boca Raton News.

Beth Hendrick, associate marketing manager for Mizner Park, said the "opening of the bookstore--originally.slated for the last quarter of this year--has been put off until the first quarter of 2009," adding that "the bookstore area of the redeveloped building has been turned over to Svekis." (See Shelf Awareness, July 9, 2007, for more details.)


A BBC News report on the U.K.'s Independent Booksellers' Week (July 1-8) highlighted Goldsboro Books, London, which focuses on "specially-bound signed books and in spotting new talent." One current favorite is Canadian Sean Dixon, author most recently of The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal and "a passionate advocate for independents--and independence in retailing."

"Large bookstores divide into sections like Fiction, History, Mystery, Politics," said Dixon. "They can't afford to get whimsical. If they did, their patrons would be stuck wandering around the labyrinth for hours, trying to decide whether they'll find James Frey's latest in Fiction, Non-fiction, Sincerity, Tall Tales, Truthiness."


Suggesting that "Nairobi is seeing the emergence of a new reading culture," Business Daily Africa profiled Salim and Naazleen Alibhai, co-owners of Book Villa, which "became a popular haunt for book lovers when it started library services three years ago. For a flat annual fee members get to read as many books as they want all year round. . . . If members want to keep a book they buy it at a discount."

"Many people wanted to read but couldn’t afford the books and to encourage more readers we at first lent books at a small fee,” said Salim of the reason for altering their business approach, which now also includes a "members’ lounge where patrons can relax and read while having a cup of coffee or a soft drink accompanied by delicious home-made snacks and meals, prepared by Naazleen."



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

After the Fire: Bunch of Grapes Aims to Rebuild

More about Bunch of Grapes, the Martha's Vineyard store that was severely damaged by fire on the Fourth of July.

Bunch of Grapes owner Jon Nelson, the son of founder and longtime owner Ann Nelson, is only just returning to Martha's Vineyard from Austin, Tex., where he was in the process of moving his family. (Ann Nelson continues to own the building.) In the meantime, Bunch of Grapes staff is hoping to put on some of its scheduled off-site events.

According to the Vineyard Gazette, the building can be saved and Jon Nelson has expressed an intention to rebuild the store. The paper also spoke at length with Ann Nelson about her first visit inside the burned building and her feelings of gratitude, particularly for firefighters.

Some readers have asked about how to make contributions to Bunch of Grapes, and a few publishers wish to send books for free to help the store get back on its feet. We will keep you informed.

Steve Fischer, executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, who was on Martha's Vineyard over the weekend, told Shelf Awareness that the damage he could see in the first floor "was just as bad as you can imagine. The dropped ceiling had collapsed. Lights were hanging down. And it all was covered in black, wet soot."

He added that Jon Nelson told him that he intends "110% to do what needs to be done to reconstruct Bunch of Grapes."

One correction: the Tisdale Street Fair, at which contributions will be solicited for Bunch of Grapes and the destroyed cafe next door, takes place today.


Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

New Chairman and CEO at Baker & Taylor

Effective immediately, Thomas I. Morgan has been named chairman and CEO of Baker & Taylor. He was formerly president and CEO of Hughes Supply, Orlando, Fla., a large construction supplies distributor that Home Depot bought in 2006. Before that, he was CEO of U.S. Office Products Company and had a 22-year career at Genuine Parts Company, which is the largest member and majority owner of the National Automotive Parts Association.

Former chairman and CEO Richard Willis resigned early this year. Board member Jack Eugster filled in as chairman since then.

In a statement, Gary Appel, vice chairman of Castle Harlan, the New York private equity firm that bought a controlling interest in B&T more than two years ago, said that Morgan has "a strong background as a leader of some of the country's largest and best recognized distribution businesses which will enhance our senior management and allow us to accelerate our strategic plans."


BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chain of Blame

This morning on the Early Show: Tony Dungy, head coach of the 2007 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts and author of You Can Do It! (S&S/Little Simon Inspirations, $16.99, 9781416954613/1416954619). He also appears tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends, an appearance that was originally scheduled for today.


Today on Fresh Air: Paul Muolo, author of Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis (Wiley, $27.95, 9780470292778/0470292776).


Tomorrow morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features an interview with Julia Reed, author of The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story (Ecco, $23.95, 9780061136641/0061136646).

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: Naomi Baron, author of Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780195313055/0195313054).


Tomorrow on the Tavis Smiley Show: Barbara Walters, author of Audition (Knopf, $29.95, 9780307266460/030726646X).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report, in a repeat: Robert Wexler, author of Fire-Breathing Liberal: How I Learned to Survive (and Thrive) in the Contact Sport of Congress (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.95, 9780312366445/0312366442).


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

Books & Authors

Awards: SIBA Books of the Year

The winners of the 2008 SIBA Book Awards, sponsored by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance and honoring books that SIBA members most enjoyed handselling, are:

  • Fiction: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (Bantam). Two Sisters Bookery, Morehead City, N.C., commented: "Asheville, N.C., resident Sarah Addison Allen has made a fan out of us! In her first novel, Allen gives us great characters, a pinch of magic and a beautiful cover that draws us in."
  • Poetry: The House on Boulevard Street by David Kirby (Louisiana State University Press). Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla., said, "Kirby's narrative poems are so amazing and thought-provoking, funny in places you would never expect, and wise and humble. Like the very best in poetry, they need to be read out loud. You have the feeling you have set out on a journey with a fascinating companion, lost track of the way, and when you are sure you are lost you suddenly find yourself, if not exactly where you intended to be then in a new place even better than you expected to find."
  • Nonfiction: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperCollins). City Lights, Sylva, N.C., wrote: "A fascinating and beautifully written book that is about so much more than merely eating locally."
  • Cookbook: A Love Affair with Southern Cooking by Jean Anderson (Morrow). Park Road Books, Charlotte, N.C., wrote, "Black-eyed pea hummus--yummy!"
  • Children's: Deep in the Swamp by Donna Bateman, illustrated by Brian Lies (Charlesbridge). The Raven Bookstore, Homer, La., said, "I absolutely love selling this book to children. The swamp in the book is in Georgia, but relates to our Louisiana swamps, too. I love giving kids books about their own land and heritage. Beautiful illustrations on every page."

The awards will be presented Labor Day weekend during the Decatur Book Festival, Decatur, Ga. There will be a private reception for the authors and SIBA members before a public ceremony.


Awards: Hold the Shortlist . . . We Have a Winner

Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth won the €35,000 (US$55,055) Frank O'Connor prize for a short story collection, according to the Guardian, which reported that the contest's jurors chose to dispense with "the ritual of issuing a shortlist" because Lahiri's work "was so plainly the best book." The judges included Granta fiction editor Rosalind Porter, Cork City chief librarian Liam Ronayne and Irish Times literary correspondent Eileen Battersby.

Lahiri will receive her award at the Frank O'Connor International Short Story festival, September 21.


Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, July 15:

The Time Paradox
by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion, $17.99, 9781423108368/1423108361) is the sixth book in the Artemis Fowl series.

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner (Bantam, $25, 9780553804331/0553804332) follows a pregnant FBI agent tracking a serial killer.

Rules of Deception by Christopher Reich (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385524063/0385524064) examines the web of lies surrounding a surgeon working for Doctors Without Borders.


Book Review

Book Review: The Red Prince

The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke by Timothy Snyder (Basic Books, $27.95 Hardcover, 9780465002375, June 2008)

The tumult of 20th-century Europe, in all its destruction, confusion and change, comes into sharp focus as Timothy Snyder views it through the lens of Habsburg Archduke Wilhelm (1895-1948), dubbed the Red Prince by Germans upset about his pro-liberation stance for the Ukraine.

As the 20th century dawned, the House of Habsburg continued to take the long view of history. Rudolf, founder of the Habsburg dynasty, was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1273; there were ups and downs (to put it mildly) during the following 650 years, but the Habsburgs always wielded power somewhere. Emperor Franz Josef ascended the Austrian throne in 1848 during the rise of the Age of Nationalism and survived. Archduke Wilhelm and his older brother Albrecht grew up in a milieu that believed, in Snyder's cogent summary, "If nationalism must come, let it work for the enlargement of the empire rather than its disintegration. For the plan to work, Habsburg archdukes would have to re-create themselves, in advance, as national leaders."

Despite the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, Wilhelm and Albrecht kept the faith. Albrecht envisioned becoming King of Poland just as Wilhelm planned to be King of the Ukraine under the umbrella of a restored Habsburg monarchy. Evidence of the impossibility of Wilhelm's dream accumulated throughout his incarnations as World War I officer, diplomat championing recognition of the Ukrainian National Republic, bisexual playboy driven from France in disgrace, German officer in World War II, agent for Ukrainian nationalists in post-war Vienna and, finally, Stalin's political prisoner. In Snyder's telling, Wilhelm's European journey is a tale of hope and persistence (including numerous political alliances, many questionable and nefarious) alternating with true horrors.

Snyder draws parallels between the Habsburg dream at the beginning of the 20th century and the organization of the European Union at the beginning of the 21st. His argument that the E.U. bears significant similarities to the Habsburg blueprint for organizing independent nation states under an over-arching authority is one more illuminating flourish in this brilliant work of history that also allows space to note twin ironies: the Habsburg crown now appears on every bottle of beer produced at the Zywiec brewery in Poland (formerly run by Archduke Albrecht, confiscated by the Nazis, taken over by the Polish communist government and now owned by Heineken); in Vasyl Vyshyvanyi Square in Lviv, Ukraine, there is a pedestal dedicated to Wilhelm using his Ukrainian name--Vasyl Vyshyvanyi stands for Vassily the Embroidered--but the pedestal is missing a statue.--John McFarland


The Bestsellers in June: Russert No. 1 and No. 2

The top 10 bestselling books on during June:

1. Big Russ and Me by Tim Russert
2. Wisdom of Our Fathers by Tim Russert
3. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen
4. Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama
5. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
6. The Red Car by Don Stanford
7. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
8. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
9. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms by Rodney Dale
10. Night by Elie Wiesel

[Many thanks to!]


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