Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 31, 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!

Quotation of the Day

Skylight Books: 'That Rare Breed of Bookstore'

"For a town that is closing its beloved bookstores and hacking its own Book Review section to pieces, we were delighted to learn that Skylight Books is . . . that's right . . . expanding! Skylight Books is that rare breed of bookstores--just the right inventory, passionate staff that knows their stuff, and carefully curated author events . . . Whenever we go for a reading or to pick up a book, we linger in the store and the surrounding neighborhood for hours."--LAist on newly expanded Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif.


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


Notes: New Store; Store to Move; Rowling Hoax

Construction for a new bookstore called the Green Toad has begun on Main Street in Oneonta, N.Y., according to the Daily Star.

Owner Michele Pondolfino hopes to open the general bookstore in November. The Green Toad, which aims to be "a gathering place," will have a passageway to the Latte Lounge next door. Pondolfino has sold real estate since 1993 and has long wanted to open a bookstore. 


Heights Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., won’t close, even though the building that houses the bookshop is being sold. "We don't own the building, so this wasn't our decision," co-owner Tracy Walsch told the Brooklyn Paper. "But we have no plans to close. We'll move before we close." Walsch added that they hope to remain in the neighborhood: "We're victims to the market. But we'll do what we have to to stay in business."


Harry Potter and the nonexistent author event? Book Sack bookstore, Slidell, La., was the site--and victim--of a Harry Potter hoax Tuesday morning that saw fans line up for a book signing by J.K. Rowling, despite the fact that she may have been half a continent and an ocean away at the time.

According to the St. Tammany News, a "line of several hundred children, teens and parents snaked down Bayou Lane ending in the shopping center behind the bookstore. They had all heard the news that Rowling would be signing books at the small bookstore starting at 9:30 a.m."

Even after Book Sack co-owner Betty Kittner told the crowd that Rowling wouldn't be coming, "some of the fans reluctantly left, but the majority stayed in line, hoping against hope that there would be some real magic and the author would show up."


From the "there's no such thing as bad publicity dept.," Tom Bullough, who suffered a "national embarrassment" when he was mistakenly announced as the winner of the Wales Book of the Year (Shelf Awareness, July 7, 2008) at the awards ceremony, has garnered unanticipated public interest in, and increased sales for, his novel, The Claude Glass, according to WalesOnline.


Effective immediately, David Falk has been named director of sales and marketing of the Overlook Press. He was formerly director of national accounts at Houghton Mifflin and before that was a buyer at Baker & Taylor and a store manager at Barnes & Noble.


Jessica Deutsch has been promoted to marketing and publicity manager of Milkweed Editions. She joined the house in 2006 as marketing associate. Earlier she was a co-manager at Wild Rumpus bookstore and interned at the Loft Literacy Center's Speakeasy Magazine and at Coffee House Press.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.14.19

Cool Idea of the Day: Bookstore Cafe & Job Training

Two weeks ago, More Than Words, the nonprofit bookstore in Waltham, Mass., opened a cafe that, like the bookstore, is staffed by troubled young adults aged 16 to 21, according to the Daily News Tribune.

"Our goal is always to help them move on to bigger and brighter things," Jennifer Stewart, director of operations, told the paper. "These are skills they can use primarily in the hospitality industry and the food service industry . . . Our goal is as we build the program to be giving them more skills to make them more marketable."

Starbucks helped train the More Than Words baristas.


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

Memorial Fund Created for Carol A. Nemeyer

The Freedom to Read Foundation has created a memorial fund to honor Carol A. Nemeyer, a former president of the American Library Association and a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, who died on June 30. The Foundation, which is affiliated with the ALA and serves as the association's First Amendment legal defense arm, lauded Nemeyer's "long and distinguished career" and said she was "a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in creating an informed citizenry."

Nemeyer's doctoral thesis at Columbia's School of Library Service, called Scholarly Reprint Publishing in the United States, was published by Bowker. She was a librarian at McGraw-Hill before joining the newly created Association of American Publishers in the early 1970s, where she directed the General Publishing and Direct Marketing/Book Club Divisions and the Committee on Education for Publishing.

In 1977, she became associate librarian for national programs at the Library of Congress, overseeing the creation of the Center for the Book. She was president of the ALA in 1983 and founded the Washington, D.C., Chapter of the Women's National Book Association.

In a statement, Freedom to Read Foundation president Judith Platt said, "The establishment of this Fund provides the many friends and admirers of Carol A. Nemeyer with an opportunity to honor her remarkable legacy of service and her commitment to intellectual freedom, and to express their appreciation for her extraordinary gifts."

Contributions to the fund, which are tax deductible, can be made by check payable to the Carol A. Nemeyer Memorial Fund and mailed to the Freedom to Read Foundation, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611. Donations may also be made by calling 800-545-2433 ext. 4226 or going to (click the orange "Give Direct" button and type "Carol Nemeyer Fund" in the comments section).


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

Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: Looking for Trouble

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, August 2

9 a.m. David Maraniss, author of Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World (S&S, $26.95, 9781416534075/1416534075), recounts a pivotal Olympic Games, which was influenced by both the Cold War and the civil rights movement in the U.S. (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m., Saturday, August 9, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 10, at 1 a.m.)
12 p.m. Benny Morris, author of 1948: The First Arab-Israeli War (Yale University Press, $32.50, 9780300126969/0300126964), explores the political and military aspects of the conflict as well as the role played by the Soviet Union, U.S. and Britain. (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)
6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 1998, Robert Sobel, author of Coolidge: An American Enigma (Regnery, $19.95 9780895262479/0895262479), argued against the caricature of the 30th president as a silent, do-nothing leader.

7 p.m. Yale law professor William Eskridge, author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America 1861-2003 (Viking, $32.95, 9780670018628/0670018627), talks about the creation of sodomy laws in the U.S. and their use after 1900 to persecute homosexuals. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:45 a.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)
10 p.m. After Words. David Broder interviews George Will, author of One Man's America (Crown Forum, $26.95, 9780307407863/0307407861). Will writes about the people, stories and events that have shaped the U.S. throughout its history. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Sunday, August 10, at 12 p.m.)
Sunday, August 3

12 p.m. In Depth. New York Post columnist Ralph Peters, whose most recent book is Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World (Stackpole Books, $27,95, 9780811734103/0811734102), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or e-mailing questions to (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m. and Saturday, August 9, at 9 a.m.)


Arcadia Publishing: Stock Your Shelves!

Media Heat: Barbara Walters, Maria Shriver

Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show: Barbara Walters, whose memoir is Audition: A Memoir (Knopf, $29.95, 9780307266460/030726646X).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Maria Shriver, author of Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within. (Hyperion, $14.95, 9781401323189/1401323189).


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

Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: Shifty

Shifty by Lynn E. Hazen (Tricycle, $15.99, 9781582462578/1582462577, 192 pp., ages 12-up, September)

Soli, aka "Shifty," survives by his wits. His 15-year-old narrator's voice will carry readers through this chronicle of four days in the lives of his San Francisco foster family members: seven-year-old Sissy; a crack baby named Thaddeus, whom they call "Chance"; and Martha, their widowed foster mother, who has a prosthetic left leg from the knee down. Martha does not have much, but what she does have she shares, including her love and trust. Hazen (Mermaid Mary Margaret) creates fully formed characters here, and through Soli's narration, the audience witnesses firsthand his resourcefulness and rationalizations. So it makes perfect sense to Soli, for instance, when he's feeling pressed for time, to sneak the keys to Martha's minivan so he can drive Sissy to the Toy Mart to purchase a gift for her friend Darlene's birthday party. Finding no parking spot, he takes a handicapped space (Martha even has a handicapped tag, but he forgets to put that on the windshield), and when a cop starts to issue a ticket, he conveniently finds an elderly lady in the shop whom he calls "Mama" and who happily accepts a lift. Soli is out of a jam. Or is he? Hazen has a gift for turning humor into poignant situations devoid of sentiment. Later, Soli and Sissy meet up with the same cop again, and discover that the elderly woman's name is Annie Simmons and she is in the hospital; the two children find themselves labeled "next of kin" and get pulled into Annie's rather complicated life. The plotting becomes at times too dense (e.g., at the doctor's office when a shady character tries to get Sissy to give a sample for the woman's urine test), and some readers may think Soli has one too many close calls from which he escapes. But the realistic relationships between the four foster family members, their ability to believe in each other in a world where each of them has already had more than their share of bad breaks and Soli's survivor-humor make these characters memorable.--Jennifer M. Brown


Berkley Books: Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin


The Thin Man Returns

Our item yesterday about the disappearance of James Thin, Edinburgh, was slightly out of date. (Beware Google Alerts.) The venerated bookstore company went under in 2002. Our apologies for any confusion!


Deeper Understanding

Billionaire Bookseller's Own Big Book

A billionaire who owns a bookstore, Sam Wyly is becoming an author, too. His 1,000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire is being publishing in September by Newmarket Press.

Writing a book has been "something I've been thinking I wanted to do forever," Wyly, who bought Explore Booksellers & Bistro, Aspen, Colo., with his wife, Cheryl, early last year, said. "Over 30 years or so I made a few efforts, but then always got busy with something else." But several years ago, he finally did begin to write his story--and found that the hard work was "not in the writing, but the re-writing."

The memoir/business book is written in elegant, declarative style and chronicles the author's life and career, starting as a record-breaking salesperson at IBM, then founding his first company and becoming a millionaire before age 30. Although he is best known for creating and building businesses--including Michael's craft stores, Bonanza Steakhouses, the Maverick Capital hedge fund, Sterling Software, among others--"I come from a long line of people who read and write," Wyly commented. "Books have always been in my life." His parents put out a weekly newspaper when he was a child in a small town in Louisiana. His father did most of the writing, and his mother handled the business side and wrote a social column. Wyly and his brother "grew up helping out. I was a bit of a go-fer."

The love of books also led Wyly and his wife to purchase Explore Booksellers & Bistro when the store and building it is in were put on the market after founder Katharine Thalberg died in 2006. A seasonal resident of Aspen, Wyly had been going to the store "for a long time." (Explore general manager Lynda Schultz confirmed that "Sam had been coming in for years, but no one knew who he was. He would sit off in the corner reading books for hours.") Wyly admits to enjoying reading "a lot of biography, geography, history and fiction, especially historical fiction, like James Michener. I love good stories about imaginary characters built into real, historical things I've studied."

Wyly had already seen his two favorite independent bookstores close in his hometown of Dallas, Tex., and didn't want to see such a thing occur a third time. In addition, keeping Explore in business was "really good for the town." If he hadn't bought it, he added, the store likely would have closed and the building "converted to coops or something like that."

He and his wife inherited what Wyly called "a great team of people, several of whom had worked there for a really long time." He also praised Lynda Schultz, who before the sale was the children's book buyer and then became "an absolutely, terrific manager."

While aiming to continue the traditions of Explore--which stocks some 75,000 books in a 4,500 square feet of space in a Victorian house and includes a popular vegetarian bistro--the new owners have made some changes that Wyly described as "incremental." In fact, they sound substantial:
  • The old main office in the back has been opened up and converted into an area that is used for events. (The rare and oop sections are on the shelves in the area.) In addition, the area has been upgraded with "the kind of a/v equipment some authors require now," Schultz said. The adjacent patio, which used to be reserved for the previous owner's dogs, is now also public space and is used for events, too. "We used to do our events in the front of the store and it got so crowded," Schultz noted. "Now we have a lovely space for authors to present their books."
  • The computer system in the store is being upgraded, and the website is being improved.
  • In line with a passion of the Wylys, Explore has made an effort to go green, Schultz said. The store has evaporative cooling, not air conditioning. Light fixtures have been replaced. "And we just got a little electric flatbed truck," Schultz continued.

Schultz confessed to having some trepidation when the Wylys bought the store. "We were worried," she said. "We thought only that a self-made billionaire from Texas was walking into the store." Besides his business life, Wyly also is well known as a philanthropist whose beneficiaries, when taken as a whole, are a bit bewildering for some: the Aspen Writers Foundation, his own foundation for minority businesspeople, an educational TV channel in Dallas, environmental efforts, the Bushes and the notorious Swift-boating campaign of 2004. (About these last donations, Sam and his brother, Charles, longtime Texas Republican contributors, have said that "loyalty" has been an important reason for their political choices.)

In the end, Schultz said, she found Wyly to be "one of the most genuine, down-to-earth, kind and ethical men I've met." The Wylys, she continued, are "fabulous people who truly value independent bookstores. You can't ask for more than that."


Besides a party at the store, Wyly will promote 1,000 Dollars & an Idea at an event at the Aspen Institute. He's also appearing at several business group gatherings, including the Entrepreneurs' Organization, the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Wyly sounds somewhat reluctant about the appearances, saying, "I want to see the book sell well, but I'm enjoying my peace and quiet in Aspen." But he's not reluctant about supporting the title in other ways. Wyly is putting up "about $300,000" to promote the title, according to Newmarket publisher Esther Margolis. The book will be advertised in the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor and in six weekly ads in the Wall Street Journal. Wyly is making appearances on TV and radio. In addition, Continental Airlines will do a promotion for the book on all domestic flights in October that features an interview with Wyly.

There is also "a very strong Internet publicity and marketing plan," Margolis said, which will have an emphasis on blogs and sites with business and entrepreneurial themes. (The book's website is

Newmarket will continue marketing the book through the fall. "It'll be a great holiday gift," Margolis said. "And certainly for young people."

Margolis expressed a bit of surprise that Newmarket wound up publishing the book. Early on, she said, she was introduced to Wyly's agent, Ed Breslin. "We all met. Sam was curious about the business and independent publishing and peppered me with questions. I didn't think I was a candidate to publish the book." But later she met with them again saw the manuscript. "It was high quality," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, this is a real book, not a vanity thing.' "

She praised 1,000 Dollars & an Idea for "going into risk taking and failures, not just successes" and for its message of the importance of "listening to customers and paying attention to what they say." The book has gotten favorable reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly. "It has great word of mouth, and I hope independent booksellers especially consider handselling it," she said.

Explore general manager Lynda Schultz said that in the book, Wyly "was able to retain his sense of humor and communicate his down-home, down-to-earth attitude that led to his success in business." She continued, "It's a business book, but so much of the man comes through. You can't separate him from what he accomplished. He is a remarkable man, a one of a kind."--John Mutter


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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