Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dutton Books: Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

Disney-Hyperion: The Mirror Broken Wish (Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Basic Books: Dog-Eared: Poems about Humanity's Best Friend by Duncan Wu

Abrams Comicarts: Drawing the Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Voting in America by Tommy Jenkins, illustrated by Kati Lacker


Notes: Bookstore Openings, Closing, Ownership Changes

Here's what may be a first: a couple decide to close their bookstore after 21 years and as they shut it down, they buy a different bookstore, which is working out well.

According to the Sacramento Bee, earlier this year, Vicky Panzich and John Hamilton announced the closing of Next Chapter bookstore, Woodland, Calif., citing discount retailers. As they wound down the business, the owners of Raven's Tale, Placerville, Calif., suggested Panzich and Hamilton buy their store.

Of course, their initial reaction was negative, but they visited the store several times and decided they could make it work because it was smaller, with lower rent and utility bills and only one or two part-time employees.

" 'Charmingly stupid' probably describes it best," Panzich told the Bee. But she added, "It's hard not to do what you really care about."


Last month Mockingbird Books, a 1,700-sq.-ft. children's store offering 7,000 titles, opened in Seattle, Wash., and has at least two booksellers on staff who used to work at All for Kids Books & Music, which closed last week. See stories in both the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and NWsource.

Mockingbird is owned by Alyson Stage. Geeta Teredasai is the manager. Bookseller Linda Spoor was a teacher and librarian in Seattle Public Schools for 35 years before joining All for Kids.

Mockingbird will have a grand opening party on August 31.

Mockingbird Books is located at 7220 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., Seattle, Wash. 98115; 206-518-5886;


Although she was only five years from retirement with substantial benefits, Kristy Bell, a Navy lieutenant, quit because she was burned out and dreamed of operating a bookstore, the Times-Dispatch reported. In May, Bell opened Minerva Books, Petersburg, Va., which stocks some 10,000 new and used titles, including 1,500 children's books.

"Some days I think I'll actually be able to make a living," she told the paper. "Others, I think I'll spend the winter huddled around a trash can fire underneath the Appomattox River bridge with trash bags strapped to my feet for warmth."

She describes herself as Minerva Books's "owner, janitor, perennial favorite for Employee of the Month and the PR department."

Minerva Books is located at 233 Bartow Alley, Petersburg, Va. 23803; 804-732-2440; (check out the great pictures on the store's website).


After seven years, owners Paul and Mary McDonough are shuttering their gallery of children's book illustrators' art and books, Child at Heart Gallery, Newburyport, Mass., the first week of September. However, they will keep the web site active for the time being. One of a few art galleries dedicated to children’s book artwork, it has represented Dr. Seuss and Harry Potter limited edition prints as well as more than 30 other regional artists, including Newburyport native David McPhail, and has exhibited such other artists as Ed Emberley, Chris Demarest and Jane Dyer. The Child at Heart Gallery was one of the founding members of the ArtWalk in Newburyport, and hosted the snowflake exhibition for Robert's Snow for Cancers Cure, the proceeds from which benefited sarcoma researcher at Dana Farber. This event was initiated by author/illustrator Grace Lin (represented by the gallery) and her husband, Robert Mercer, who died in August 2007. Mary McDonough will continue to be involved in the Newburyport Literary Festival children's programming.


Madison Magazine touted Avol's Bookstore, Madison, Wis., as "that place you've been meaning to check out for years, but haven't found the time."

"A lot of people come in from the outside and the first thing I hear is 'Whoa, this place is big,'" said owner Ron Czerwien, adding, "What I like best about the store is what people tell us: that they haven't seen anything like it before. They love the selection, they enjoy the space itself, they appreciate that we do support the local writing community. Those are all things that we are very happy and very proud to do."


Tower Book Shop, Shreveport, La., "is nothing like your typical large bookstore. It's a full-service independent bookstore serving the community in a variety of ways," according to the Shreveport Times.

"We pride ourselves on customer service," said co-owner Frances Comegys. "Being able to share and put in a good word for a book is what I love about this job. Our staff is knowledgeable and we encourage new people to walk through our doors anytime."


Yikes. Swift Boat redux?

On its front page, the New York Times examined the phenomenon of Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality by Jerome R. Corsi, co-author of Unfit for Command, the 2004 book that was an integral part of the Swift Boating of Senator John Kerry. Obama Nation was published by S&S's Threshold Editions August 1 and will be the No. 1 on the Times's hardcover nonfiction list this Sunday.

The Times cited significant errors pointed out by others, but publisher Mary Matalin called Obama Nation "a piece of scholarship, and a good one at that."

The author told the paper, "The goal is to defeat Obama. I don't want Obama to be in office." He added that he plans to help several groups that will run ads against Obama.


Baker & Taylor continues to make changes in the executive suite.

Effective next Monday, Robert C. Nelson is joining the company as executive v-p, strategic business development, a new position. He was formerly president of UCT Forestry Group and earlier worked at R.R. Donnelley, at different times as president of Global Document Solutions in London, president, ipgs sales, and president, corporate sales. Before that, he held senior sales positions at Moore Corp., enfoTrust Networks and World Color.

In a statement, B&T president Arnie Wight said that Nelson "will work very closely with our management group to bridge the gap between where we are today and where we need to be in the future. He will be the leader for developing new products, services, markets and managing their integration. He will also support our senior sales and merchandising management in developing a stronger foundation for increasing growth and value in our current markets."


University of California Press: Deviant Opera by Axel Englund

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Lt. Commander McHale Lands

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

  • Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace (Free Press, $14, 9780743284486/0743284488)
  • Kate Braestrup, author of Here If You Need Me: A True Story (Back Bay, $13.99, 9780316066310/0316066311)
  • Ann Fessler, author of The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade (Penguin, $15, 9780143038979/0143038974)

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


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Ernest Borgnine, author of Ernie: The Autobiography (Citadel, $24.95, 9780806529417/0806529415).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Mary Ellen Geist, author of Measure of the Heart: A Father's Alzheimer's, A Daughter's Return (Springboard Press, $23.99, 9780446580922/0446580929).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff (Doubleday, $22.95, 9780385523820/0385523823). As the show put it: "Ohio's the state that spawned Sherwood Anderson's classic Winesburg, Ohio. Almost ninety years after Winesburg, Knockemstiff, Ohio, a speck of a town--a little bit louder and a lot worse--inspires Donald Ray Pollock to explore the miseries and ferocities of small-town life."


Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Alvin S. Felzenberg, author of The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn't): Rethinking the Presidential Rating Game (Basic Books, $29.95, 9780465002917/0465002919).


Tomorrow on the Tavis Smiley Show: David Maraniss, author of Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World (S&S, $26.95, 9781416534075/1416534075).


Tomorrow on the Colbert Report: Bing West, author of The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq (Random House, $28, 9781400067015/1400067014).


GLOW: Tor Books: The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Book Review

Book Review: The Power of Place

The Power of Place: Geography, Destiny, and Globalization's Rough Landscape by Harm De Blij (Oxford University Press, USA, $27.95 Hardcover, 9780195367706, July 2008)

There is no denying that the juggernaut of globalization charges forward as more trade barriers drop. But is the world flat, with all players equal, as some euphoric commentators have declared? Not by a long shot, says Harm de Blij in this informative and provocative book. First of all, he asks if a playing field can be considered level when nations with 15% of the population garner almost 75% of the world's annual income. Then he moves on to examine the huge and growing population of "locals" (the vast majority of the world's population who live out lives near their birthplace) and the prospects for their ever being part of the globalization process.  

Uphill is a term that takes on new meaning as de Blij addresses the challenges that language, religion, health status and gender present for one local to break through to become a global player. De Blij's analysis of each of these issues is made all the richer by his inspired use of maps.  

The maps are nowhere more eye-opening than in illustrating the locales of epidemics and tropical diseases. The chapter on the topography of human health shows the heart-breaking distance that lies between today's global reality and the health-care standard we in the U.S. demand for ourselves. De Blij states, "Conditions in large areas of the periphery [that is, outside the prosperous core with 75% of the income] are in some ways worse than they were a half century ago." With the facts that he presents, anybody can imagine what would have to happen before a person living with multiple diseases in isolated sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from globalization.

The future that vocal globalization proponents envision begins to seem more inflamed than rosy the longer we study de Blij's findings. Efforts to reduce barriers to entry become especially challenging when considerations of religion come into play; de Blij is so daunted by the divisive potential of religious fundamentalism that he sees religion (or at least its recalcitrant offshoots) as a "countervailing force, roughening rather than flattening the landscape of globalization."

De Blij stops short of drawing prescriptive conclusions, but his solid research indicates that if locals are to be drawn into the globalization process (and thus share in the income generated), we all need to prepare on many levels: true diversity with tolerance and acceptance on everyone's part is essential for future non-violent progress of the globalization juggernaut.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A brisk counteractant to the empty sloganeering that often accompanies all sides of the globalization debate--provocative, substantive and smart.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

Deeper Understanding

What Happens at the Denver Publishing Institute . . .

Carl Lennertz, v-p, independent retailing, at HarperCollins whose blog is, reports from this year's Denver Publishing Institute. 

I think I am correct to say that the Denver Publishing Institute is the longest-running book-only publishing course in the land. Stanford has been around a while, too, but it is for mid-career folk; Pace is also for those already in, I believe. Columbia and NYU are world-famous, but for magazines, too. Denver is for college grads looking to get in for the first time. Also, Denver is also the only one involving a boa and lobster boxer shorts. I'll explain in a moment.

An amazing woman, Elizabeth Geiser, started the Denver program 30 years ago and recently retired, handing over the reins to the one-and-only Joyce Meskis, owner of the one-and-only Tattered Cover Bookstore. Denver's Jill Smith and Sandra Bond keep the intense schedule on track, and that sked is two weeks of editorial workshops (kicked off by a keynote speech from a publishing dynamo like Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks), a week for marketing and finally, a week of career focus, including interviews with HR folks from several publishing houses, small and large.

I'm just back from running the week of marketing (or the "dark arts," as I've coined it, a term which the Harry Potter-raised and now Stephenie Meyer-consumed students seem to enjoy). This was my third year since inheriting the reins from that high-energy force known as Richard Hunt, now at Keen Communications/Clerisy Press but for many years, the indie man at BDD.

It takes a pot of coffee the first day of that third week, as Richard and I both attempted to impart several decades of marketing experience and jargon into the heads of 100 eager but overwhelmed (mostly) English majors. The goal is not to woo them over to marketing but to make certain that these future editors know the importance of marketing, now more than ever. They need to know the landscape if they want to do all they can to help their books succeed.

Whether it's the fact that many of the students have some interning experience or that the two weeks of editing workshops pointed out that being an editor is as full of detail and deadline as anything else, the marketing lingo seems to go down pretty well. Their three homework assignments that week--to design an ad, write a press release and work up a full marketing budget for a book--hopefully seem less daunting by 5 p.m. on Monday than they did at 9 a.m.

Mercifully, for me and them, a roster of wonderful guest speakers take the podium Tuesday and Wednesday: Carolyn Schwartz of Random on advertising and promotion, the inimitable Scott Manning on publicity, Kent Freeman of Ingram and Pete McCarthy of Random on online marketing, and Chris Brown from the University of Denver Library on e-books. I love these sessions, as do the students.

One of the highlights of the week (pizza day at the cafeteria aside) comes on Thursday, when commission rep David Waag sells part of a list to Cathy Langer of Tattered Cover in front of the class. A few folks move right over to a sales or bookselling career that day.

Friday brings the close of marketing week, and every student presents their wild idea for a book's campaign. There has been an emphasis all week on the basics of a campaign and staying on budget, but the last day, they are allowed to go wild with something creative and without cost restraint, although even then, something free and on-line is preferred and much more indicative of what we need in the real world. After each idea, I throw (if it's a T-shirt) or hand along (if a book, ARE or weighty tchotchke) a prize to each student. (I gather AREs and swag from all publishers all year long. Hint hint.) There is also a surprise that last day, the nature of which I cannot reveal for the sake of future classes, but it's really fun and the week ends on a perfect book-related high.

Just as important as the class learning from all the guest speakers, we speakers learn from the students. They are the next generation of readers as well as employees, and it is very interesting to hear what they are reading and what they respond to marketing-wise in the real world. I know that all of the teachers leave reenergized by the enthusiasm and perspective of the students. Heck, we're just thrilled these people want to follow in our publishing footsteps.

Okay then, about the boa and lobster boxer shorts. The boa was a prize saved from Harper Children's Fancy Nancy campaign; the boxer shorts (with images of purty red lobsters all over) from the twisted mind of my friend Steve Wallace, now working for Unbridled. The shorts became a totem of the week, a symbol of all things fun marketing-wise. On that the last day, things got exuberant, and much to Joyce's chagrin, the boa went around my neck and the shorts on over my jeans. Out came the cell phones and snap, there might now be pictures of me in this undignified state around the net.

What happens in Denver doesn't stay in Denver, I guess. Oh right, that's the whole point.  Go get 'em, ye of the next generation.  


Peachtree Publishing Company: Madeline Finn and the Therapy Dog by Lisa Papp

Powered by: Xtenit