Shelf Awareness for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ballantine Books: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

St. Martin's Press: Madam by Phoebe Wynne

Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster: Animal by Lisa Taddeo

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 1 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Rodale Books: Get Good with Money: Ten Simple Steps to Becoming Financially Whole by Tiffany Aliche

Beach Lane Books: Try It!: How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Giselle Potter

Counterpoint LLC: The Elephant of Belfast by S Kirk Walsh

Shadow Mountain: Real by Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard


Notes: Skylight Highlights; Bradbury: 'Is Long Beach at War?'

With a series of photos, the Los Angeles Times offered "a look into the recent expansion of Skylight Books," noting that "general manager Kerry Slattery sent out an e-mail to its loyal customers announcing the store's expansion and began setting up time slots for volunteers to help. About 30 volunteers, including local librarians, sales representatives and customers, showed up on July 30 for the overnight move, and they brought food and their own skills to the venture. Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena even provided carts."


"How do they do it?" asked the Arlington Connection in an article headlined "Book Stores for Real Book Lovers," which profiled indie bookshops in Arlington and Alexandria, Va.

"I don't make money," admitted Alina Gawlik, owner of Aladdin's Lamp Children's Books and Other Treasures. "The biggest threat is the Internet--the big chains are having problems too."

"I knew the community felt a void," said Ellen Klein, who, with co-owner Trish Brown--both of whom had worked for now-closed A Likely Story--recently opened Hooray for Books! "With all the families with small children, there was a need for a store."

"People who love books love to hold books," said Brown, adding that their decision to open at the former site of A Likely Story sparked emotional responses from their customers. "We've had people that are just so thrilled. We've had one lady who came in crying!"


Author Ray Bradbury was in Long Beach, Calif., earlier this summer (Shelf Awareness, June 26, 2008) to mourn the closing of Acres of Books. Now he has written a piece for the Press-Telegram objecting to the "pending forced closure of the Long Beach Main Library from public access to balance the city budget."

Bradbury called the move a "heartbreak and an outrage. Libraries are also an essential core public service. How can a major city not provide public access to a civic center library? City Hall decisions will remove access to over 1.5 million books from one square mile of the city! Is Long Beach at war with the printed word and books?"


If you think the name IndieFirst sounds just a little familiar, wait until you see the logo. has launched a program "designed to introduce you to new books and writers on the verge of popular renown." As the company put it, IndieFirst "surfaces fresh, original works from independent presses and delivers them in audio before the print edition hits stores." Joe Meno's Demons in the Spring, published by Akashic Books, will be the initial selection.


Clive Sinclair chose his top 10 western novels in the Guardian, admitting in a sidebar that his "preference is for works that assimilate post-modernism (or at least the idea that their subject matter is hokum) and yet still manage to excavate life's tragic core. What these books lack in optimism, they more than make up for in vitality, each being marked by a distinctive narrative voice that verges on a new idiolect."


Art imitates life? "There is something poignant in the news that publisher Macmillan has hastily assembled an anthology called Love Letters of Great Men to match the fictional volume of that name that is Carrie Bradshaw's bedtime reading in the recent film of Sex and the City," wrote John Mullan in the Guardian's book blog. "Apparently there were thousands of inquiries from would-be purchasers. Now they will be able to get something approximating it."


John Lindsay has joined Baker & Taylor as v-p, book merchandising. He was formerly v-p, marketing/merchandising, at Levy Home Entertainment. Before joining Levy in 2001, Lindsay held senior merchandise management positions with Shopko Stores and the Venture Stores division of the May Company.

In a statement, Jean Srnecz, senior v-p, merchandising, said that Lindsay "will play a key role in the implementation of our supply chain initiatives and our implementation of category buying."



Sourcebooks Casablanca: The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod

Media and Movies

On Stage: Little House on the Great White Way?

Little House on the Prairie, a new musical based on three of the nine books in Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular children's series, is currently a hot ticket in previews at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, Minn.

Scheduled for a 12-week run through October 19, Little House features actress Melissa Gilbert--who played Laura Ingalls in the popular TV series from 1974-1983--as the mother. But the big question is whether this production is Broadway-bound. According to Bloomberg, "While commercial producers of Little House have Broadway ambitions, some of its creators said that they don't know whether it belongs there."

"I have no idea what's going to happen,'' said Ben Sprecher, one of the producers. "It will only transfer out of the Guthrie if they get it right. I'm confident that we have the team in place so we can do the work necessary.''

"I don't think it is constructive to set out to make a Broadway show,'' added Adrianne Lobel, who conceived the musical and designed its sets. "It would be fine if it ended up there, but that is not the motivation.''


GLOW: Greystone Books: Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden by Marc Hamer

Media Heat: Six Good Innings

Now on WETA's Author, Author!: an interview with Alan Furst, author of The Spies of Warsaw (Random House, $25, 9781400066025/1400066026).


Today on Writer's Roundtable, hosted by Antoinette Kuritz: an interview on sportswriting with Mary Alice Monroe, author of Time Is a River (Pocket, $25, 9781416544364/1416544364), and ESPN commentator Mark Kreidler, author of Six Good Innings: How One Small Town Became a Little League Giant (Harper, $24.95, 9780061473579/006147357X). The program is available at


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: former President George H. W. Bush, who will talk about The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691130064/069113006X).


On Sunday on NPR's On the Media: David Carr, author of The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of his Life--His Own (S&S, $26, 9781416541523/1416541527).


Berkley Books: The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

This Weekend on Book TV: The Solzhenitsyn Reader

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 9

10 a.m. For an event hosted by University Bookstore, Washington, D.C., Gary Marcus, author of Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780618879649/0618879641), argues that the human brain is a functional but not carefully constructed device. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 1996, Monica Crowley, author of Nixon Off the Record, talked about her time as foreign-policy assistant to former President Richard Nixon from 1990 to his death in 1994.

7 p.m. Elizabeth Royte, author of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It (Bloomsbury, $24.99, 9781596913714/1596913711), reports on the bottled water phenomenon. (Re-airs Monday, August 11, at 4:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute, interviews Patrick Cockburn, author of Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq (Scribner, $24, 9781416551478/1416551476). Cockburn examines the rise and influence of the Shiite cleric who leads one of the largest militias in Iraq. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Sunday, August 17, at 12 p.m.)
Sunday, August 10

1 p.m. Vernon Jordan, author of Make It Plain: A Life of Speaking (PublicAffairs, $26, 9781586482985/158648298X), explains how he and other African-Americans rely on preaching and storytelling traditions in making speeches. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m. and Sunday, August 31, at 9 a.m.)
7 p.m. John Talbott, author of Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics (Seven Stories Press, $16.95, 9781583228654/1583228659), talks about Barack Obama's proposed economic policies and assesses whether they will work. (Re-airs Saturday, August 23, at 9 a.m., Sunday, August 24, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Monday, August 25, at 7 a.m.)
11 p.m. Edward Ericson, Jr.  and Daniel Mahoney, editors of The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings 1947-2005 (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, $30, 9781933859002/1933859008), discuss Solzhenitsyn's work and life with two of his sons.


One World: My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: I Feel a Foot!

I Feel a Foot! by Maranke Rinck, illustrated by Martijn van der Linden (Boyds Mills/Lemniscaat, $16.95, 9781590786383/1590786386, 32 pp., ages 2-6, September)

This nocturnal guessing game from the team behind Prince Child and its companion, The Sweetest Kiss, will appeal to children and parents alike as a picture-book remedy to the notion of monsters-under-the-bed and as a clever puzzle for young animal lovers. The opening scene features a brightly colored hammock in bold stripes and diamond patterns stretched between two formidable-looking trees. It holds five unlikely companions attempting to catch some Zzzzs: Turtle, Bat, Octopus, Bird and Goat. "Suddenly, Turtle opens his eyes. 'Hey,' he whispers, 'do you hear what I hear?' " The narrative describes the night as "pitch dark," and van der Linden obliges. As the startled animals tumble out of the hammock, a smidgen of which is visible at the very top border of the next spread, the creatures' jewel-like colors light up against the coal-black background. Bat's lavender wings sport flowers and frond-like twists; Octopus's cream-colored body shows off a swirl of blue, gold and rust-colored fish, like an X-ray view of her most recent meals. As the friends attempt to investigate what Turtle has heard in the deep dark night, each discovers a different clue--and relates it back to him- or herself. First up, Turtle "feels a foot," in the image that appears on the cover. Indeed, the foot pictured resembles a giant version of Turtle's own. But when Bat flies into the air to explore, she discovers a wing, "Just like my wing--but superduper big." Not until Octopus touches what she thinks is a tentacle (but which will look to keen-eyed observers suspiciously like a trunk) will youngsters begin to piece together the other clues. Each body part in isolation works beautifully with the five animals' hypothesis that the nighttime intruder is just a larger version of themselves. When the interloper reveals himself for who he is, and the quintet asks him to join them in the hammock, those formidable-looking trees bend so low that the hammock touches the ground. Rinck and van der Linden strike just the right note between suspense and reassurance to offer a bedtime tale with a humorous twist.--Jennifer M. Brown


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