Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 28, 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: B&T CFO to Leave; Summer Reading

James C. Melton, executive v-p and chief financial officer of Baker & Taylor, is leaving the company but will stay on during a transition period. He joined B&T in 2004 and was named CFO in 2006.

In a statement, Tom Morgan, who joined B&T as chairman and CEO earlier this month, said that Melton "has made many outstanding contributions at Baker & Taylor and we appreciate his dedication to the success of our company. He will be missed, and we wish him every success for his future."


BookStream will hold its second TitleWave event on Monday, August 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Nassau Inn in Princeton, N.J. The event is free and open to all employees of independent bookstores and aims to help them become more knowledge about titles and handsell them better.

At TitleWave, BookStream staff will presents picks of the lists and authors will be on hand to meet booksellers. Featured writers will be David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife (Random House); Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz, authors of The Miracles of Prato (Morrow); and Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, authors of Baked (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), who will offer samples of their desserts. Signed copies of these books will be available.

The event will also include lunch and a forum for booksellers that will include a discussion of favorite titles and ideas that have succeeded in their stores.

For directions, information on carpooling and to RSVP, contact Carolyn Bennett at or 866-416-1112 ext. 209.


Cool idea for a summer's day: On its website, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., showcases "summer reading recommendations by great writers from our 2008 author event series." Featured authors include Charles Baxter, Junot Diaz, Jorie Graham. Margot Livesey, Richard Price and Adriean Tomine.


When the Chicago Tribune recently featured a suggestion box for readers to comment upon the paper's book coverage, more than a thousand people obliged, including many who "wanted Chicago's great literary tradition to continue in our pages, hoping to be enriched, challenged, surprised and engaged by the transformative power of the written word."

Among the respondents:

"At a time when many papers have dropped their book review sections, or cut them back to a page or less, the Tribune's Books section is more important than ever," wrote author Sara Paretsky. "Readers depend on book reviews to help them know what's being written. You can't browse in an online store--you're dependent on what the online purveyor is putting on its home page. Without a good book section, there are ever fewer ways for readers to learn about diverse voices in the book world. A good book section should help bring readers from all over the country to the paper."

From Roberta Rubin of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, Ill.: "As an independent bookseller, I feel very strongly that the Books section in the Saturday Tribune is our lifeline to our public--to those who love to read and to those who love to just see what is happening in Chicago from week to week!

"I have fought for its survival for years--and I just can't imagine that it doesn't still have a place of importance in your paper. If it is eliminated, I fear that the Tribune will suffer more than we will--for its lack of vision and its support of the arts. Please consider its importance in the literary life of a great city."

And Susan Takacs of the Book Cellar, Chicago, wrote: "It is important to continue a section dedicated to books and the literary community. There needs to be a dedicated space for the Chicagoland area 'book types' to look to for reviews, suggestions, events and general literary updates.

"I love 'From the Precincts'; it shows the individuality of the readership in different neighborhoods. The reviews and 'Editor's Choice' are favorites as well. The events page is valuable. A Chicagoland best-seller list would be fun. If the Chicago Tribune does not support a dedicated book section, the New York publishers may begin to skip the Midwest for their book launches and author events."


The Night Bookmobile, a graphic novel by Audrey Niffenegger, is appearing in weekly segments at the Guardian's website.


Handselling by the number. Can you find "your perfect novel" just by turning to page 69? In the Guardian's book blog, Charlotte Stretch experimented with Marshall McLuhan's theory of choosing a book by reading that particular page: "If you like it, then chances are you'll like the rest of it too."


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

Obituary: Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch, co-author of The Last Lecture, which became a bestseller after being published by Hyperion in April, died last Friday. He was 47 and had been battling pancreatic cancer.

A computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, Pausch gave a talk last September modeled on the kind where professors are asked to pretend they are dying and discuss what really matters to them. In Pauch's case, he was dying, but his talk, called "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," focused on "the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment," as his publisher put it.

The talk and Pausch's story received amazing attention: he was named Person of the Week on ABC's World News, appeared on Oprah, among other shows, and when the book was published, Diane Sawyer did an hour-long show about him.

In a statement, Pausch's co-author, Jeff Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist, said, "Randy had a remarkable ability to reach into his own life and find an anecdote, a funny story, an uplifting memory--and then translate it in ways that resonated deeply with the rest of us. I first saw him move and inspire 400 people at his last lecture. It was astonishing to then watch his message leave that room and touch millions worldwide. As his co-author, it was a great honor to see his love of life from a front-row seat. I'll miss him."

His wife, Jai Pausch, said, "I'd like to thank the millions of people who have offered their love, prayers and support. Randy was so happy and proud that the lecture and book inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children. The outpouring of cards and emails really sustained him."

The family has requested that donations on Pausch's behalf go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, Calif. 90245 or to Carnegie Mellon's Randy Pausch Memorial Fund.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.14.19

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Speaker of the House on Know Your Power

This morning on the Today Show: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and author of Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters (Doubleday, $23.95, 9780385525862/0385525869). She also speaks about her message today on Morning Edition, the View and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.


Today on Fresh Air: Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307264787/0307264785). He'll wheel onto the Today Show tomorrow morning, too.

Also on Fresh Air: Michael Gazzaniga, author of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique (Ecco, $27.50, 9780060892883/0060892889).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Victoria Nourse, author of In Reckless Hands: Skinner v. Oklahoma and the Near-Triumph of American Eugenics (Norton, $24.95, 9780393065299/0393065294).


Tomorrow on the View: Tori Spelling, author of Stori Telling (Simon Spotlight, $24.95, 9781416950738/1416950737).


Tomorrow on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Jeff Abbott, author of Collision (Dutton, $24.95, 9780525950288/0525950281).


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

Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:


Missy by Chris Hannan (FSG, $24, 9780374199838/0374199833). "Dol McQueen is permanently addled on liquid opiates ('gonged on Missy') and is making her way through the West in the middle of the silver boom. Dol's many misadventures--told in Hannan's unique voice--make for a western that reinvents the very idea of that genre."--Russ Marshalek, Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga.

Lopsided by Meredith Norton (Viking, $24.95, 9780670019281/0670019283). "This is an honest account of what it is like to have and survive breast cancer. Yet the author puts in the humorous side as well. I hope this is read by every woman so she can be prepared if she faces a diagnosis of cancer."--Catherine Carpenter, Cate's Books and Stuff, Louisiana, Mo.


Perpetual Care
by James Nolan (Jefferson Press, $16.95, 9780980016413/098001641X). "New Orleans has always been a home for eccentrics, and city native and French Quarter resident Nolan knows them intimately. The stories are pitch-perfect, dark, satirical, desperate, sensual, and amazingly funny."--Deb McDonald, Garden District Book Shop, New Orleans, La.

For Ages 9 to 12

Deep Down Popula by Phoebe Stone (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, $16.99, 9780439802451/0439802458). "Conrad used to be the most popular person in his class, until, in 6th grade, a leg brace hinders his athletic abilities, and his popularity disappears. But new friendships grow, and, with them, the understanding that knowing who you are, where you're going, and what you want to do might be more important than the perceived idea of popularity (with all its fickleness). I think this is Stone's best novel."--Sue Carita, The Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, N.H.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


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

Shelf Sample: The Last Days of Old Beijing

China to the left of you, China to the right, stuck in the middle with . . . too many China books. If you had to pick one recent book out of the slew being published, The Last Days of Old Beijing by Michael Meyer (Walker, $25.99, 9780802716521/0802716520, June 24, 2008) would be a grand choice. Meyer was sent to China in 1995 with the Peace Corps after hoping for a teaching post in Latin America. When he moved to Bejing, after two years in Sichuan province, it was love at first sight, even though he was raised to distrust cities: "[They] could be abandoned by industry and divided by class . . . they could force you to watch major league baseball indoors." He ended up in a community--Dazhalan--more than eight centuries old, whose half square mile contains 57,000 residents. Meyer's story of his hutong neighborhood, its people and the government's relentless destruction and relocation programs to make way for shopping malls and wider streets, is told with compassion and commitment. The opening paragraph captures Meyer's flair for description:

"The Widow opens my door without knocking. A trail of Flying Horse-brand cigarette smoke enters behind her. An old cotton cap hides coarse, mortar-colored hair, brushed back from her brow to reveal a gold loop in each ear. She wears a fleece vest and forearm mufflers that match the vermilion and crimson wood beams of our courtyard home. When I picture my neighbor the Widow, I see these colors--dull whites and grays, lustrous yellows, imperial reds--and smell ashes and age. She is the shade and scent of our hutong, one of the lanes that lattice the heart of Beijing. The Widow has lived in this neighborhood for most of her eighty years. She can't imagine moving to the glassy high-rise landscape that encroaches from all sides. She often declares she will never leave. The Widow, like most hutong residents, will not have a choice."--Marilyn Dahl


Arcadia Publishing: Stock Your Shelves!

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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