Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford

Quotation of the Day

Look it Up: Encyclopedias Go Full Circle?

"We think the market for print reference books remains positive. The book is highly flexible, I can use it on the sofa while watching television, at the desk, in the garden or in bed, without having to turn on the computer."--Beate Varnhorn, a director at Bertelsmann Lexicon, which in September is publishing an encyclopedia of German Wikipedia entries that "will list in a single volume the 50,000 most commonly searched terms on the German Wikipedia website over the past two years," the Guardian reported. The book is geared to people "who do not use Wikipedia online."


Ingram: Congratulations 2019 National Book Award Winners - Learn More>


Notes: Developing Community; Midnight Parties

"Moving away from the big business, money-making focus of selling books and getting to the development of children and community" is the ultimate goal for Lauren Walker Thomas and her mother, Debra Walker, of Ladels Children's Book Boutique, Detroit, Mich., according to Model D.

"About 12 years ago I worked for Borders, and I got stuck in the kid's section at one point. It was awesome!" said Lauren. "The kids were so passionate about what they wanted to read, and so I wanted to open my own children's bookstore. . . . What libraries do is kind of what we like to do. We aren't librarians, but they are a part of the community. We wanted to do that but also have the retail aspect."

In choosing a location for the bookshop, Lauren said that the Corktown neighborhood "chose us," and they have been successful building relationships within the community and with other businesses.

"You can say location, location, location--but think outside the box. Make the store work with your vision," Debra added. "It's really the best of all worlds here. . . . Everyone else is downsizing, but Detroit can lead the way in independent businesses."


Instead of being threatened by the Internet, "business is booming at Canada's major public libraries," the Vancouver Sun reported. Among the reasons: "the high price of buying books to social networking, vampires and a new social acceptance for frothy best-sellers." More and more people are getting library cards and circulation continues to grow.


TiVo, which allows viewers to record shows and skip commercials, and Amazon are teaming up on a new project to allow viewers to see, in onscreen menus on TiVo, "links to buy products like CDs, DVDs and books that guests are promoting on talk shows like the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Late Show with David Letterman and the Daily Show," according to the New York Times.

For the past year, users of broadband-connected TiVos can download movies and TV shows from Amazon's Video on Demand store.

Although TiVo is in "only" some four million homes, it is working with such cable giants as Comcast and Cox to use its software in their boxes.


What would Harry do? Launching Potter-style events for books in other hot series has become a popular way to drum up excitement for new releases, the Associated Press (via the Reading, Pa., Eagle) noted, the current example being the midnight parties planned on August 1 for Breaking Dawn, some of which were highlighted here last month (Shelf Awareness, June 25, 2008).

Similar event excitement is building for the September release of Christopher Paolini's Brisingr, part three of his Inheritance fantasy series, and led the publisher to change the book's pub date.

"The retailers have become dependent on event marketing to expect their reach and broaden their sales," said Judith Haut, publicity director for Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. "We initially planned to release Brisingr on a Tuesday. From the get-go, we knew it was going to be a huge release, and we immediately were hearing from our accounts that they wanted a Saturday release."


"I go to downtown bookstores too but usually to check some books I have in mind before buying them online,'' 24-year-old office worker Kim Soo-jung told the Korea Times, which reported "the overall book-selling market is stagnant but online bookstores are growing at a notable speed due to cheaper prices and convenience catering to the taste of website customers."

The Korea Times also noted that there are now half as many bricks-and-mortar bookstores in the country compared to a decade ago, the total number having shrunk from 4,987 to 2,042. Meanwhile, "online book sales have risen by over 100 billion won ($98.3 million) each year since 2005. Their share of the market has also been rising--18% in 2005, 24% in 2006 and 28% last year."


Actress Joanna Lumley thinks contemporary poetry is something less than absolutely fabulous. The Guardian reported that, in a controversial introduction to Liz Cowley's A Red Dress and Other Poems, Lumley dismissed "so much" of today's poetry as maddeningly obscure and self-indulgent, writing, "It is a rare modern poem that achieves the balance between being challenging and accessible."

Ian McMillan, described by the Guardian as a "presenter of BBC Radio 3's the Verb, poet in residence at Barnsley football club and a contender for the next Poet Laureate," responded by calling Lumley ill-informed: "I suspect that she hasn't read very widely because she's ignoring the fact that poetry in the 21st century is a broad church. It's sad and frustrating that people can still come up with generalisations like this. You shouldn't be able to get poems on the first reading. Part of the delight is the time you take with them to understand them."


To ink or not to ink, tatt is the question. The Telegraph featured a number of photographs of "people whose body art is inspired by their favourite novel, poem or song." Sylvia Plath and Kurt Vonnegut "seem to hold a particular appeal."


Boing Boing
's Cory Doctorow lauded his U.S. publisher's new website,, as a "totally clueful big publishing website . . . which is part sf zine, part group-blog, part social network."


Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter

Media and Movies

Movie: Brideshead Revisited Revisited

Brideshead Revisited, starring Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon, opens this Friday, July 25. Julian Jarrold directs this story of Charles Ryder, a captain stationed at Brideshead Castle during World War II, who remembers a distant, different time when he was a guest at Brideshead--this version focuses on his relationship with Julia Flyte. The movie tie-in edition will be available June 24 (Everyman's Library, $18, 9780307269966/0307269965). The book was made into a widely successful TV miniseries in 1981 that starred Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry

Media Heat: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

Today on Fresh Air: retired U.S. Army officer Colonel John Nagl, author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam (University of Chicago Press, $17, 9780226567709/0226567702). 


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jane O'Connor, author of Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany (HarperCollins, $12.99, 9780061549236/0061549231)


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

  • Monte Burke, author of Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass (Plume, $15, 9780452287150/0452287154)
  • Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, author of Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too (Berkley, $14, 9780425221341/0425221342)
  • Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World (Hudson Street Press, $23.95, 9781594630385/1594630380)

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


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: T.J. English, author of Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution (Morrow, $27.95, 9780061147715/0061147710). 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 29:

The Bourne Sanction by Eric Van Lustbader (Grand Central Publishing, $25.99, 9780446539869/0446539864), is the author's third novel continuing the series begun by the late Robert Ludlum and follows Jason Bourne's attempt to return to the quiet life of being a linguistics professor, an effort that ends when his mentor asks for help investigating the murder of a former student by a Muslim extremist group.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061624766/0061624764) is narrated unreliably by Towner Whitney, a member of a family of Salem women who can read the future in patterns of lace and who have secrets that go back generations. 

It Only Takes a Moment by Mary Jane Clark (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061286094/0061286095) traces what happens after the seven-year-old daughter of Eliza Black, host of a morning TV show, is kidnapped from summer camp--and the Sunrise Suspense Society organizes to find the girl. 

Who's Loving You by Mary B. Morrison (Dafina, $24, 9780758215147/0758215142) stars Honey Thomas, a onetime hooker who wins a second chance in life and finds the man of her dreams--but then must battle for him and against a murderous foe. 


Out next week in paperback:

You've Been Warned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (Vision, $9.99, 9780446198974/0446198978).

Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen (Grand Central Publishing, $7.99, 9780446400664/0446400661).

Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan (Jove, $7.99, 9780515145069/0515145068).

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs (Ace, $7.99, 9780441016150/0441016154).

The Sanctuary by Raymond Khoury (Signet, $9.99, 9780451223197/0451223195).

Left to Die by Lisa Jackson (Zebra, $7.99, 9781420102765/1420102761).


Book Review

Mandahla: Hurry Down Sunshine

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg (Other Press, $22.00 Hardcover, 9781590511916, September 2008)

One summer in Greenwich Village, Michael Greenberg's 15-year old daughter cracked up. Went crazy. Lost it completely. This was no adolescent weirdness, puzzling to parents, manageable by therapy or a few popular drugs; this was a psychotic episode that would not subside and that landed Sally in a psychiatric ward. The day she ended up there, her father chased her down a narrow cobblestone alley, trotting to keep up with her. "I have the powerful sense of having veered out of time, into some luridly accurate painting by Bosch or Brueghel: Two Fools Chasing Madness through the streets of some walled medieval town."

Soon Greenberg believes that his life will be an indefinite loop from Bank Street to the hospital, with no respite. But eventually, Sally comes home, laden with drugs and a Wellness Contract, and begins her struggle with manic depression outside the confines of the ward. The story of Sally's psychosis, the effect is has on her family and the background of Greenberg's life make a powerful, compelling story. Here Greenberg and Sally's stepmother, Pat, watch her in fear and amazement as she tries to explain her vision on that hot day she fell apart:

Pat and I are dumbstruck, less by what she is saying than how she is saying it. No sooner does one thought come galloping out of her mouth than another overtakes it, producing a pile-up of words without sequence, each sentence canceling out the previous one before it's had a chance to emerge. Our pulses racing, we strain to absorb the sheer volume of energy pouring from her tiny body. She jabs at the air, thrusts out her chin--a cut-up performance really: the overwrought despot forcing utopia down the throats of her poor subjects. But it isn't a performance; her drive to communicate is so powerful it's tormenting her. Each individual word is like a toxin she must expel from her body.

Entwined with Sally's story is her uncle Steve's story--a homeless man, paranoid, whose groceries Greenberg buys every week; her grandmother's story--having Steve too soon after her first son, resenting him, shutting him out, now blaming herself for his situation. And the Hasidic family visiting their son in the psych ward every day, believing him to have a gift, saying he existed in the spirit world, "alone in a sea of bliss." What sets Greenberg's account apart from many such stories is his crystalline prose and his ability to make us understand who Sally is from the inside and to see her from outside as they watch her madness and her fight for life.--Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: An intense account of a young girl's manic depression, told by her father in crystalline prose with searing intensity. Passionate and unforgettable.


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