Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 17, 2008

Simon & Schuster: Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era by Jerry Mitchell

Sfi Readerlink Dist: Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of This Book: An Interactive Adventure by Jon Stone, adapted by Autumn B Heath

Minotaur Books: The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

Tor Books: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

DK: Free Pack of The Wonders of Nature Wrapping Paper - Click to Sign Up!


Notes: New Store; Reading Marathon Goes National

Pittsfield, Mass., has a new independent bookstore. reported that Chapters Bookstore owners Aimee McLear and Kelly Wright "have extensive bookselling and management experience. This is their first independent enterprise together." The bookshop is scheduled to open today.

"We are passionate about books and literacy, and hope to provide Berkshire County residents a unique atmosphere and personal service that exceeds their expectations," McLear said.

Chapters Bookstore is located at 78 North St., Pittsfield, Mass. 01201; 413-443-2665;


Great Expectations: A Reading Marathon, the 24-hour reading marathon that was organized earlier this year by RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. (Shelf Awareness, February 18, 2008 and February 25, 2008), is raising expectations: booksellers around the country are invited to organize their own reading marathons in October.

Marathon readers are asked to have family and friends sponsor them to read for the full 24 hours, and prizes are then given out to the highest fundraisers. Profits are donated to a local nonprofit of the bookstore's choice. The marathons are intended to celebrate books and raise awareness about reading.

RiverRun collaborators Michele Filgate and Liberty Hardy are working with the help of Jenn Northington of the King's English Bookstore, Salt Lake City, Utah, on the project. For more information, contact Michele Filgate at


The Borders Books & Music on Wolf Road in Colonie, N.Y., is closing on September 6, according to the Schenectady Daily Gazette. The 31,000-sq.-ft. store opened in 1993 and is near a Barnes & Noble that 10 months ago moved from across the street to the Colonie Center, part of an upgrade of the mall. A company spokesperson said that the Borders is "under performing expectations." Borders still has several stores in the Albany area.


The San Diego Jewish Journal profiles the Book Works, Del Mar, Calif., and its owner Lisa Stefanacci, who was, as she put it, "a scientist in my previous life"--at the Salk Institute. Concerning being a bookstore owner, she told the Journal: "In some senses it's very similar to science, because in science you have to come up with your own grant money, and you're constantly trying to market yourself . . . Running the store and [supervising] the staff is a lot like running a lab because you have a really cohesive group that's passionate about what they do and they don't mind not getting paid a lot . . . I've drawn from what I've learned in science."


Pippi's pancakes and Paddington's elevenses. Author Jane Brocket picked her top 10 food scenes in children's literature for the Guardian.


With Wings and a Halo, a non-profit agency based in Wisconsin, has now teamed up with Illinois police departments to equip patrol cars with B.A.C.K. (Be A Cheerful Kid) packets of about a dozen books "to provide some comfort to children who are forced to wait in the back seats of squad cars while their parents deal with an accident, fire, crime or other crisis," according to the Chicago Tribune.

"If we get called to a traffic accident or fire or some situation where small children have witnessed something traumatizing, we hand out a book . . . and try to make it something positive," said Deputy Police Chief Todd Fulton, Huntley, Ill.

The program, which was started last December by Paul Gilbertson, co-founder and executive director of With Wings and a Halo, and the Dane County Chiefs of Police Association in Wisconsin, is now active in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

"It's a life-changing event when a child is in a crisis situation," Gilbertson said. "This is about changing something negative into something positive.


F+W Publications has changed its name to F+W Media, which "better reflects the company's mission to deliver to passionate consumers the content, community, and data they desire--regardless of platform," F+W said.

The company has digital books, online purchasing channels, e-book selections, community sites, creates videos for online viewing and more, and aims "to dramatically grow its eMedia revenues while maintaining the core business." It is currently digitizing its catalogue of book titles and magazine archives.


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

Best of Brazilian Design: Livraria Cultura

Congratulations to Livraria Cultura, which won a gold prize for its new store in Sao Paulo in the "environments" category in the 2008 Best of Brazilian Design competition, sponsored by IDEA/Brasil. The judges wrote:

"The execution of the new Livraria Cultura megastore project in Sao Paulo posed a series of challenges, such as integrating the bookshop into one of the city's landmarks, the Conjunto Nacional building . . . Another challenge consisted of adapting the old Cine Astor theater facilities--closed six years earlier--with its ramps, mezzanines and slopes designed for light-duty loads and incorporating them into the bookstore by reinforcing the whole structure to withstand up to 800 kg weights. The architectural project included the theater ramps to integrate the bookstore into the Conjunto Nacional building and also used ramps in the inner area to accommodate the building's spatial dynamics. The whole store can be viewed from the mezzanine floor."

Livraria Cultura was started in 1947 by Eva Herz in her living room, where she rented out 10 German-language books. The company, now owned by Eva's son, Pedro Herz, has seven stores--three in Sao Paulo, and one each in Campinas, Recife, Porto Alegre and Brasilia. This year Livraria Cultura is opening another store in Sao Paulo, in a new mall called Shopping Bourbon. For more about the company's history, see the October 24, 2006 edition of Shelf Awareness.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.14.19

SCIBA Booksellers Quench Thirst for Knowledge

The first annual Summer Quencher meetings sponsored by the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, held last Wednesday and Thursday, drew a range of SCIBA members who heard from Amy Sandberg of Co-optimize, who is designing software to help stores claim coop money from publishers; executive director Jennifer Bigelow on the holiday catalogue and how it can be used to boost sales (she recommended stores in a community do newspaper inserts together); and Paige Poe, the ABA's IndieBound outreach liaison, who discussed how booksellers are using the new program. Poe (at computer above) runs a slideshow for, among others, (l. to r.) Bobby McGue, The Mystery Bookstore, Westwood; Linda Brown, The Mystery Bookstore; and Emily Pullen, Skylight Books/Emerging Leaders Council, Los Angeles. Reporting and photo: Guinevere Platt.


GLOW: St. Martin's Press: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nuclear Family Vacation

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Heather Thomas, author of Trophies: A Novel (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061126246/0061126241).


Tomorrow on Fox and Friends: Dr. Kevin Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days (Baker Publishing Group, $17.99, 9780800719029/0800719026).


On NPR's Sunday Edition: Sharon Weinberger, author of A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry (Bloomsbury USA, $24.99, 9781596913783/1596913789).

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Firewatching by Russ Thomas

This Weekend on Book TV: Live Coverage of Harlem Book Fair

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, July 19

8:30 a.m. Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday, $27.50, 9780385526395/0385526393), examines the influence of Vice President Dick Cheney and his adviser David Addington in enhancing the power of the executive branch following September 11. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

11:15 a.m. Live coverage of the 10th annual Harlem Book Fair, which will include panels on "40 Years of African American Publishing," "James Baldwin and His Literary Legacy" and "Mississippi Freedom Riders."

8 p.m. Mark Krikorian, author of The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal (Sentinel, $25.95, 9781595230355/1595230351), argues that the U.S. should stop admitting any immigrants. (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words: Amitabh Pal, managing editor of the Progressive magazine, interviews Rajmohan Gandhi, author of Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire (University of California Press, $34.95, 9780520255708/0520255704). Gandhi talks about the life and philosophy of his grandfather, Mohandas K. Gandhi. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Sunday, July 27, at 12 p.m.)

Sunday, July 20

7 a.m. Bruce Herschensohn, author of Above Empyrean: A Novel of the Final Days of the War on Islamic Terrorism (Beaufort Books, $24.95, 9780825305160/0825305160), discusses his novel about what it would be like to live in the U.S. if the country were taken over by Islamic terrorists. (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m., Sunday, August 17, at 1 p.m. and Saturday, August 23, at 9 p.m.)
9 a.m. For an event hosted by Prairie Lights bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa, brain injury case manager Michael Paul Mason, author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and Its Aftermath (FSG, $25, 9780374134525/0374134529), recounts his work with the sufferers of traumatic brain injuries. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)


Arcadia Publishing: Stock Your Shelves!

Books & Authors

Awards: Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction

In an upset, Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, "a detailed account of the famous murder, in 1860, of a three-year-old child of a respectable middle-class family," won of the £30,000 (US$60,064) Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, according to the Guardian. Patrick French's biography of V.S. Naipaul had been the favorite.

"The judges were unanimous: this is one of those great non-fiction books that uses the techniques of fiction to magnificent effect," said judging panel chair Rosie Boycott. "On first reading, it is an absolute page-turner. Then, when you reread it, you realise how many levels it has, how much it tells you."

In addition to the Naipaul biography, the shortlist included Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart by Tim Butcher, Crow Country by Mark Cocker, The Whisperers by Orlando Figes and The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross.


Grove Press, Black Cat: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Children's Book Review: Little Leap Forward

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue and Clare Farrow, illustrated by Helen Cann (Barefoot, $16.99, 9781846861147/1846861144, 128 pp., ages 9-12, July 2008)

This is a story that deepens with each rereading. It is the true story of the pivotal summer of 1966, when Leap Forward grows up at the tender age of seven, as the Cultural Revolution begins. Guo Yue--translated as Leap Forward--and his co-author and wife, Farrow, keep the thrust of the book focused on the carefree feeling of being seven, before the Red Guards invade Beijing. Leap Forward leads readers through the "poor and overcrowded hutongs--a maze of dark, narrow alleys and high brick walls," where he lives, and which, just 40-some years before, housed the last Emperor's workers. Cann's detailed watercolors emphasize the shadowy, dank backdrop in predominantly beige and gray tones, with an occasional red door or window frame, and the residents all wear the requisite blue uniform. Yet the smells of dark rice vinegar and sesame seed oil fill the young hero's home, as spring onion makes a "whooshing sound" in the pan, and the addition of potatoes finely chopped sounds like "a clash of cymbals." Theirs is a musicians' compound; before the boy's father died two years before, he had played the Chinese violin. His father once told his son, "With music and your imagination, you can travel anywhere; you will always be free."
Leap Forward and his best friend, Little-Little, often play by the river. Here Cann's palette completely changes: the only brown and gray shades appear in the rocks; everything else is turquoise blue and jade green. The boys skip stones under the heart-shaped leaves of the Yang Shu trees. Together they consider birdsong: "Do you think they can choose which notes to sing?" Leap Forward asks. "No . . . They just sing the music that's inside them," Little-Little replies. Perhaps as if to answer that question, Little-Little captures a small yellow bird and gives it to Leap Forward, who names it Little Cloud and keeps it in a bamboo cage in the courtyard. But to his dismay, Leap Forward finds that after many days, Little Cloud still won't sing. The boy's mother gives him the gift of flute lessons, in hopes that his music might inspire the bird. Still the bird will not sing, but Leap Forward grows more adept as a musician. As time goes by, Little-Little hints at his regret at capturing the bird, and the tension between him and Leap Forward erupts during a kite-flying competition by the river with several other boys. They make up just as rumors spread through Beijing about counter-revolutionary activity, and the Red Guards quickly follow. The authors thread together themes of music, freedom and friendship so subtly that children will hardly detect the shifts going on within Leap Forward until he takes Little Cloud to the riverside. By ending the novel before the worst tragedies befall his family, Guo and Farrow suggest that Leap Forward has gained the inner strength he needs to get through whatever lies ahead.--Jennifer M. Brown
FYI: Guo's real story has a happy ending--in addition to being married to Farrow, he grew up to be an accomplished musician who has played his bamboo flute worldwide. You can hear him briefly discuss his own reminiscences here:


Berkley Books: Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin

Addendum: Book Sense Boost for City of Thieves

More about City of Thieves, the Viking hardcover that has stolen the hearts of many booksellers and reps:

Dan Cullen of the ABA noted that the novel was a Book Sense Pick for June and benefited from having 450 galleys included in the January White Box mailing to Book Sense stores. Another 150 galleys were distributed at the Winter Institute in Louisville, Ky., and booksellers attending the Publisher Focus Group Meetings in Brooklyn in March also received galleys. The book is currently No. 21 on the national Indie Bestseller List.


KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books:  Spies, Lies, and Disguise: The Daring Tricks and Deeds That Won World War II by Jennifer Swanson, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley
KidsBuzz: Bloomsbury Children's Books: More Than a Princess by E.D. Baker
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