Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern


Notes: James Thin to Be Rebranded; Copperfield's Change

A moment of silence, please.

The name of James Thin, the renowned Edinburgh bookseller for more than 150 years, will disappear following Blackwell's purchase of all 12 of Thin's remaining academic stores, including the flagship store, according to the Scotsman. The company's general bookstores were bought by Ottakar's last month. Both new owners will phase out the Thin brand over the next few months.

James Thin went bankrupt in January.


Effective immediately, Stephanie Deignan has replaced Sandra Sheffield as adult events coordinator at Copperfield's Books in northern California and will begin full-time office hours on August 11. She has years of experience as a frontline bookseller in Copperfield's Sebastopol store and, more recently, as an assistant to Sheffield, handling publicity and logistical support for events throughout the company. Deignan can be reached at 707-823-8991 ext. 215 or (where Sheffield's mail is now being forwarded). Her mailing address is 139 Edman Way, Sebastopol, Calif. 95472.


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

Cool Idea of the Day: The Bicycle as Bookstore Sideline

Monkey See, Monkey Read, Northfield, Minn., which opened two years ago (Shelf Awareness, February 22, 2007), is now selling the Kona Africabike 2.0 in the store and online. In his blog, owner Jerry Bilek explains why he's stocking the $299 bike that he calls a "utilitarian riding machine. . . Single speed, coaster brake, chain guard, fenders, basket on the front, rack on the back, thornproof tubes, rear wheel lock."

He wrote: "I know, why would a bookstore sell bikes? It goes like this. Books and bikes are two things I enjoy the most. Okay, add beer to the list, but I don't have a liquor license. And ice cream, but no freezer. So I settled on bikes. Not just any bikes, one bike. The Kona Africabike."

Bilek added that a T-shirt phrase he summed up his views on the matter. It read: "Gas sucks ride a bike."

For every two bikes that Monkey See, Monkey Read sells, manufacturer Kona will donate one to a home health worker in Africa as part of the BikeTown Africa program.


BINC - Double Your Impact

Learned Owl, Libraries Form Consortium

Crime scene investigator Lisa Black will discuss her thriller Takeover at the Hudson Library and Historical Society in Hudson, Ohio, on August 12, which marks the first event sponsored by the new consortium called Route 91--Readers' Row.

Joining the Hudson Library in the consortium are the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library and the Twinsburg Public Library, both in nearby communities, along with the Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson. By banding together to promote events, the consortium hopes to attract high-profile authors to the area. "We have a nice community, a lot of readers, and it's a perfect partnership," said Ellen Smith, head of reference and archives at the Hudson Library.

The three libraries formed the consortium several months ago and then asked Learned Owl owner Liz Murphy to come on board. Murphy already has a close working relationship with the libraries, using the facilities as venues to host author appearances as well as selling books at library-sponsored events. Now the connection is being taken a step further. "This will be the first time that we're really all working together and getting a lot of publicity for it," said Murphy.

Author events will take place regularly, held on a rotating basis at the libraries. The consortium is also planning to hold larger events such as a community-wide read. The consortium's efforts come at a time when more people are staying closer to home due to rising costs of energy, food--and everything else. "We have seen an increase in our programming this summer," Smith said. "With the price of gas I really believe that people are not going out of town like they were at one time. And the library is truly the best deal in town as far as entertainment. It's free."

Murphy has been reaching out to publishers to let them know about the consortium and has received an enthusiastic response to the idea, she said. (Please contact her at or 330-653-2252.) "Anything that one of us might do is going to be bigger and better with three libraries and a bookstore all working together," she observed. "I would highly recommend that any independent bookstore see if they can do this because I don't see any downside."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Breaking Dawn on Good Morning America

Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Ben J. Wattenberg, author of Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism (Thomas Dunne Books, $26.95, 9780312382995/0312382995).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Stephenie Meyer, author of Breaking Dawn (Little, Brown Young Readers, $22.99, 9780316067928/031606792X). The book goes on sale this Friday night at midnight.


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Salman Rushdie, author of The Enchantress of Florence (Random House, $26, 9780375504334/0375504338). As the show put it, "In this new novel, Salman Rushdie explores Renaissance Florence and the reign of Akbar in India, in order to describe a world on the verge of discovering that all its beliefs are incorrect. It's as if reality itself is under the spell of an enchantress. We discuss the role of feminine imagination as it mediates between the potential in dreams and the finalities of history."


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Teresa Miller, author of Means of Transit: A Slightly Embellished Memoir (University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95, 9780806139715/0806139714), which will be published in October.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Books & Authors

Awards: Man Booker Longlist

The longlist for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction consists of:

  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
  • Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
  • From A to X by John Berger
  • The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
  • The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif
  • The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
  • Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
  • The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
  • A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

The shortlist will be announced on September 9, and the £50,000 winner will be announced on October 14 at an awards ceremony in London.

Michael Portillo, the chair of the judges, said that the panel is "pleased with the geographical balance of the longlist with writers from Pakistan, India, Australia, Ireland and U.K. We also are happy with the interesting mix of books, five first novels and two novels by former winners. The list covers an extraordinary variety of writing. Still two qualities emerge this year: large scale narrative and the striking use of humour."

Three-time winner Salman Rushdie is the bookies' favorite to win, according to BBC News.


Midwest Connections: Savvy and Julia Gillian

From the Midwest Booksellers Association: two recent Midwest Connections picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

Savvy by Ingrid Law (Dial Press Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780803733060/0803733062)

MBA wrote: "Savvy introduces us to the Beaumonts, an eclectic family whose members each possess a 'savvy'--a special power that erupts when they turn thirteen. Savvies haven't always been kind to their family, however. These paranormal 'gifts' have forced them to move around the country and home-school their children. Now young Mibs Beaumont is celebrating her big birthday in two days. Mibs is eager to blow out her thirteen dripping candles, but more importantly, she can't wait to discover her savvy."

Carla Ketner of Chapters Books & Gifts, Seward, Neb., calls Savvy "a wonderfully creative story set in a little place directly between Kansas and Nebraska, known as Kansaska Monday through Wednesday and Nebransas Thursday through Saturday. It reminds us that we all have our own special talents, although they may not be as spectacular as those of the characters in this book, who cause hurricanes and electrical surges until they learn to 'scumble' their savvies. Ingrid Law's voice is fresh, humorous, and heartwarming without being sentimental. Savvy is one of the most satisfying middle-grade novels I've read in a long time."


Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee (Scholastic Press, $15.99, 9780545033480/0545033489)

Jennifer Wills Geraedts, manager of Beagle Books, Park Rapids, Minn., described this as "a charming book about a girl named Julia, AKA 'Noodlie.' The story is set in Minneapolis, but Julia's acquaintance with her neighbors and local merchants makes the story feel like it's set in a small town. Julia is creative; she makes her own papier-maché masks, and depending on her mood, will wear a different mask. When she wants to feel brave, she wears her raccoon mask. Julia's parents are both teachers and are both taking summer classes to 'become better teachers.' They keep trying to interest Julia in books, but so far, she's found only one book that's captured her attention and she's afraid to finish it because she has a feeling the book will have a sad ending. Julia has reason to be afraid; she's rather gifted at 'the art of knowing.' Meanwhile, Julia is busy with her daily routine of walking her dog in their nine-block parameters, mastering the claw machine so she can move on to learn juggling, and convincing a neighborhood girl who's about to enter kindergarten that it really will be ok. Julia doesn't save the world or go on any fantastic journeys, but she's a great kid with integrity, even if she does tease the neighborhood snob dog by telling him, 'Sorry you can't go to the DOG PARK.' I highly recommend this as a read-aloud-together book for girls and moms, grandmas, uncles, whomever!"


Book Review

Book Review: Rome 1960

Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster, $26.95 Hardcover, 9781416534075, July 2008)

With the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing almost upon us, it's the perfect time to look back on the dramatic summer games of 1960, a time both simpler and more complex than our own. In the capable hands of Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss, it's a stimulating trip, blending spellbinding accounts of sporting victories and defeats, Cold War political intrigue and affecting portraits of key participants, both famous and obscure.

While the Rome Olympics may not have "changed the world," there's no doubt strong currents of change rippled through these games, among them pressure to redefine the nature of amateurism, increasing tension between the growing prominence of African-American athletes and the blatant racial discrimination they faced at home, even the first stirrings of concern over athletes' resort to performance-enhancing drugs. All of this is played out against the backdrop of the ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, as their struggle hovered on the brink of perhaps its most dangerous phase.

Maraniss paints sharp and memorable portraits of many athletes, minus the maudlin human interest spin that's become a mainstay of recent television coverage: the brilliant decathelete Rafer Johnson; the electrifying sprinter Wilma Rudolph; Cassius Clay before he became Muhammad Ali; and lesser-known names like James Bradford, the American weightlifter who took leave without pay from his $56-a-week job at the Library of Congress to compete, or David Sime, the sprinter recruited in a bungled scheme to encourage Soviet long jumper Igor Ter-Ovanesyan to defect.

Although he's written acclaimed biographies of Vince Lombardi and Roberto Clemente, Maraniss isn't a sportswriter by trade. Despite that, his accounts of the competitions are crisply narrated, drawing effectively on first-person reports from legendary writers like Red Smith and A.J. Liebling. He's equally skilled in exposing the hypocrisy of the Olympic "movement"--personified in the chair of the IOC, Avery Brundage--imposing draconian definitions of amateurism while lavishing expensive perks upon its leadership.

When one considers the more than $2 billion NBC paid to provide almost nonstop coverage of the Beijing games and the 2010 Winter Olympics, it seems quaint that in 1960 CBS News paid $600,000 to air 20 hours of taped highlights narrated by the late Jim McKay, whose career became identified with this international competition. It's a long path from what now feel like the almost pastoral days of 1960 to the bloated spectacle into which the modern Olympics have grown. Maraniss's engaging narrative is an expertly told tale of what was and what never will be again.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: An engaging account of the dramatic summer games of 1960, with spellbinding accounts of sporting victories and defeats, Cold War political intrigue, IOC hypocrisy and affecting portraits of key participants.

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