Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 9, 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


McNally Jackson Books: Four-Year-Old Takes Name of Newborn

On August 7, it's official: McNally Robinson Booksellers in New York City will become McNally Jackson Books. The name change for the four-year-old store is something owner Sarah McNally has been considering for a while because of confusion involving her family's stores in Canada. (This one is independent from those and is quite American.)

The store's new name is taken from McNally's first child, who is expected this month and will use McNally as a middle name and Jackson as a last name. (McNally is married to Chris Jackson, an editor at Spiegel & Grau.) The store said, "It's a name inspired still by the name of Sarah's bookselling family but unique to itself and born in New York."

McNally Jackson Books will celebrate the name change with a party Thursday, August 7, that will include appearances by writers such as Colson Whitehead, Joseph O'Neill, Sean Wilsey, among others, who will serve as staff for the evening, recommending books, serving food and drink, etc. The party also features live bluegrass music from the Strung-Out String Band and the unveiling of the new McNally Jackson logo. RSVP required at


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

Notes: Lonely Planet to Open Airport Store

In partnership with Lagardère Services Asia Pacific, which operates more than 100 stores through the Asia Pacific region, travel publisher Lonely Planet is opening a store at Sydney Airport in Australia next year, Bookseller & Publisher's Weekly Book Newsletter reported. The store will be "an information hub and a travel store as well as a bookstore," a spokesperson said, adding, "It's going to sell the full range of Lonely Planet books, plus a range of high-quality travel accessories--anything from laptop bags to notebooks, etc.--and it's also going to have what we're calling an interactive portal, which would be linked up to Lonely Planet's website and digital products."

Lagardere Services's CEO Scott Raisin indicated that the companies may open other Lonely Planet stores "in Australia and beyond."


In other news from Down Under courtesy of Weekly Book Newsletter, the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors have reaffirmed their support for Australia's current copyright law, which a government commission plans to review (Shelf Awareness, July 7, 2008). By contrast, the Australian Booksellers Association would like the law to be changed.


Janwillem van de Wetering, the Dutch writer best known for his series starring Amsterdam police officers Grijpstra and de Gier, died on July 4 in Surry, Me., where he had lived for some years and set several of his novels and his children's series about the porcupine Hugh Pine. He was 77.


Annie Randall, owner of the Village Booksmith, Baraboo, Wis., told the News Republic she feels "like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing." The store celebrated its 10th anniversary recently.

"The community has really responded to something most people don't think is going to fly in a small community," Randall said. "It's not just me being a crusader for the community. I benefit from it, too."


"Where we both love reading so much and we have kids that love reading, it just fit," Marilyn Haraden told the Duxbury, Mass., Clipper to explain the decision she and her husband Chris made in 2004 to buy Westwinds Bookshop.

"We really liked the hometown feel of it," she said. "This is exactly what we were looking for. Small, cozy, in a nice established town, with people who care about reading."

She cited customer interaction as her favorite part of bookselling: "It's the customer service that is our key for survival. We come in, we talk books, and customers get to know each one of our styles. It's not just a factory where you pick things up."


In caustic reaction to the announcement that Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth had won the Frank O'Connor award outright when the judges chose to dispense with a shortlist (Shelf Awareness, July 7, 2008), Nicholas Lezard wrote in the Guardian's book blog that he could think of "two main reasons" for having a shortlist:

  • The first is that prizes like this exist not simply to reward individual writers but to raise consciousness, and therefore sales. . . . And why deny these other unfortunate, not-as-good-as-Jhumpa-Lahiri writers the chance to put 'shortlisted for the 2008 Frank O'Connor award' on the back of their next book?
  • The second reason is that the judges have committed the unpardonable sin of failing to cater for that section of the literary public--and indeed the non-literary public--that likes a flutter. These prizes are only half about literature. They're half about gambling.
The reader responses following his piece are also worth a peek.


ABC television network has created a Lost Book Club, "home to any and all literary references made on the show--from Stephen King to Kurt Vonnegut."


Running Press: Thank You! Now on Instagram!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The ABCs of Pilobolus

Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Martin Schram, author of Vets Under Siege: How America Deceives and Dishonors Those Who Fight Our Battles (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.95, 9780312375737/0312375735).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Coral Bracho and Forrest Gander, author and translator of Firefly under the Tongue: Selected Poems (New Directions, $16.95, 9780811216845/0811216845). As the show describes it: "Coral Bracho, a major Mexican poet, writes ecstatic visionary poetry that has been translated into English for the first time. Our program marks another first--she has never before agreed to an interview. Bracho's poetry is read in English by poet-translator Forrest Gander, in Spanish by Bracho. We offer rare insight into the nature of the animal-mineral-vegetable hybrids at the soul of this poet's trance visions."


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a repeat: James Harding, author of Alpha Dogs: The Americans Who Turned Political Spin into a Global Business (FSG, $25, 9780374103675/0374103674).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report, in a repeat: Barbara Ehrenreich, author of This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation (Metropolitan Books, $24, 9780805088403/0805088407).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, in a repeat: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (Free Press, $26, 9781416568186/1416568182).

Also on the Late Late Show: Paulina Porizkova, author of A Model Summer (Hyperion, $23.95, 9781401303266/1401303269).


Tomorrow night on Late Night with Conan O'Brien: the dance troupe Pilobolus, "author" of The Human Alphabet (Roaring Brook Press, $16.95, 9781596430662/1596430664).


BINC: Double Your Donation with PRH

Movie: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hellboy II: The Golden Army, directed by Guillermo del Toro, opens this Friday, July 11. Ron Pearlman stars as friendly demon defending Earth from an invasion of mythical creatures. Based on the Hellboy series of graphic novels from Dark Horse. The novelization of the movie is by Robert Greenberger ($6.99, 9781593079543/1593079540).



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

Books & Authors

GBO June Pick: Close to Jedenew

The German Book Office's June book pick is Close to Jedenew by Kevin Vennemann, translated by Ross Benjamin. The book will be published next Tuesday, July 15, by Melville House as part of its Contemporary Art of the Novella series ($13, 9781933633398/1933633395).

Born in 1977, Kevin Vennemann began writing fiction while studying literature in Cologne, Germany. He first published a collection of short fiction called Wolfskinderringe with Tropen Verlag in 2002.

Close to Jedenew is Vennemann's first novel. Melville House described it this way: "Set in Poland during the onset of World War II, Close to Jedenew is about a Jewish family that had been living a quiet and aloof life in a nameless Polish village before the arrival of the Nazis. When the villagers decide to preempt the Nazi arrival by hunting down their Jewish neighbors, the family is forced to flee into the surrounding woods. Narrated in the first person by the children of the family, the story reads like a dreadful fairytale with no magic and no happy ending. Vennemann finds the places in the family's life where fear and hatred converge with love and happiness. His prose, distanced and stark yet no less intense, penetrates the experiences of betrayal, expulsion, and the endurance of love."


Book Review

Book Review: Books: A Memoir

Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster, $24.00 Hardcover, 9781416583349, July 2008)

Most people know Larry McMurtry as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove or the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Brokeback Mountain. In this breezy and unconventional memoir, readers will be introduced to a different and equally fascinating McMurtry--the avid book collector and dealer.

McMurtry traces the road he has traveled from his birth on a "bookless" ranch outside the tiny, dusty Texas town of Archer City to proprietor of a secondhand book business with an inventory of more than 300,000 volumes, whose personal collection numbers some 28,000 books. At age six, McMurtry, who claims he doesn't even recall how he learned to read, received a box of 19 books from a cousin on his way to serve in World War II. Those forgettable books, with titles like Poppy Ott and the Stuttering Parrot, sparked a love of reading and a lifelong passion for the written word.

McMurtry began his bookselling career as a "book scout," haunting used bookstores first in Texas and then in San Francisco, looking for items he might purchase and then resell to dealers at a modest profit. He learned the basics of the trade, and he's not embarrassed about disclosing his own bookselling blunders, including the time a copy of The Great Gatsby that resembled one he'd purchased for $12, and later allowed his partner to resell to raise the money to repair her back porch, was auctioned by Christie's for $120,000.

In 1971, McMurtry and his partner, Marcia Carter, opened a bookstore called Booked Up, in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown section, which became a focal point for the buying and selling of books by some of the capital's power elite (few of them congresspeople, by McMurtry's account). By the mid-'90s, McMurtry began moving a significant portion of his inventory back to Archer City, whose own version of Booked Up now occupies six buildings around the town square and has become a prime destination for book tourists. There, he's realizing his vision of a book town similar to the Welsh village, Hay-on-Wye.

The only place where McMurtry falters is in his tendency to share a few too many tales of long-deceased booksellers or defunct bookshops. But his wry, often self-deprecating humor and the fascinating tales of serendipitous acquisitions or the books that got away more than compensate for these occasional lapses. It's easy to picture yourself scanning the shelves of McMurtry's bookstore with him by your side, pausing when a dusty volume prompts one of his favorite stories. That's the spirit in which this pleasantly rambling book is best enjoyed.--Harvey Freedenberg


The Bestsellers

IMBA: Top Mystery Titles in June

The following were the bestselling titles during June at member bookstores of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association:


1. Nothing to Lose by Lee Child (Bantam)
2. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's)
3. The Broken Window by Jeffrey Deaver (S&S)
4. I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming (St. Martin's)
5. The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow (Knopf)
5. Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie (Morrow)
7. Careless in Red by Elizabeth George (Harper)
8. The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner (Dutton)
8. Murder on Bank Street by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)
10. The Reapers by John Connolly (Atria)

Trade Paperbacks

1. In the Woods by Tana French (Penguin)
2. Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski (St. Martin's)
3. She Shall Have Murder by Delano Ames (Rue Morgue)
4. Winter of Her Discontent by Kathryn Miller Haines (Harper)
5. War Against Miss Winters by Kathryn Miller Haines (Harper)
6. The Foreigner by Francie Lin (Picador)
6. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann (Flying Dolphin Press)
8. Raven Black by Anne Cleeves (St. Martin's)
9. New England White by Stephen L. Carter (Vintage)
10. Ghost Walk by Rebecca Stott (Spiegel & Grau)

Mass Market Paperbacks

1. Index to Murder by Jo Dereske (Avon)
2. The Unkindest Cut by Honor Hartman (Signet)
3. China Lake by Meg Gardiner (Obsidian)
4. The Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke (Pocket)
5. A Killer Stitch by Maggie Sefton (Berkley)
6. High Marks for Murder by Rebecca Kent (Berkley)
6. Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett (Berkley)
8. Still Life by Louise Penny (St. Martin's)
9. Murder in Chinatown by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)
10. Only the Cat Knows by Marion Babson (St. Martin's)

[Many thanks to the IMBA!]


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