Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford

Quotation of the Day

At City Lights, 'Actions Still Speak Louder Than Words'

"City Lights is a flagship local bookshop for a flotilla of self-sufficient booksellers and publishers around the world who are committed to independent thought and who refuse to succumb to a mass-marketed literary canon. We may not like some of the books but, if we care about their right to be read, City Lights is an indie institution whose actions still speak louder than words. The beat goes on."--Megan Walsh, writing in the London Times about her visit to the legendary bookstore and publishing house in San Francisco, Calif.


Ingram: Congratulations 2019 National Book Award Winners - Learn More>


Notes: Textbook Costs 101; $5 Bookstore Browsing Fee

School starts in the next few weeks, and many newspapers are featuring stories about the high cost of textbooks. The Washington Post has a long roundup of the issues today.


Bob Woodward's new book is called The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008 and will be published by Simon & Schuster on Monday, September 8, following excerpts in the Washington Post Sunday edition the day before. The book will have a first printing of 900,000 and is Woodward's fourth on President Bush, following Bush at War, Plan of Attack and State of Denial


North Carolina Public Radio listeners were able to "Meet Nancy Olson" when Frank Stasio, host of WUNC's The State of Things, interviewed the owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C.


"I was so excited because it was like no other bookstore, and it was in the middle of this neighborhood," 16-year-old Brittney Graham told the New Haven Register as she recalled her first visit last year to A Walk in Truth Christian Books and blackPRINT, New Haven, Conn. Now working as an intern at the bookshop, Graham added, "You can come in and learn things about yourself."

The Register also noted that owner Bea Dozier-Taylor "doesn't press her many visitors to buy, but she does encourage them to read. One patron sat quietly in a corner reading for hours. These quiet readers may not bring in the bucks, but they represent quiet social change that comes from the cultivation of the mind."

"Books are life sustaining, they take you past your limitations," said Dozier-Taylor, who is currently celebrating the bookshop's 20th anniversary.


Calling it "a treasure of a bookstore" and "a testament to the steadfastness of the little guy in business," the Morning News profiled the Dickson Street Book Shop, Fayetteville, Ark., which Mayor Dan Coody called "unique in the world. Whenever I bring people here from around the country or around the world, I always bring them through the doors of the book shop to show them a slice of our community."

Although their retail space is small, co-owner Don Choffel said there are no plans to relocate: "Oh, we think of it but we can't bring ourselves to do it." His business partner, Charles O'Donnell, said, "We're glad to be where we are."


"Customer Service Don'ts" could have been the subhead for a article on the arrest of Walter Wakefield, owner of Antiquarian Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. The bookseller's rap sheet reads like a customer service nightmare, going well beyond a recent charge of check fraud to include earlier complaints of assaulting and insulting customers, as well as charging "a $5 fee to browse."


Novelist Eli Gottlieb's list of "top 10 scenes from the battle of the sexes" for the Guardian included:

  1. The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber by Ernest Hemingway
  2. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  3. Sylvia by Leonard Michaels
  4. A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch
  5. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
  6. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
  7. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  8. The Collector by John Fowles
  9. Miss Julie by August Strindberg
  10. Tickets, Please by D.H. Lawrence


Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter

Toulantis Resigns from B&

Marie J. Toulantis, CEO of Barnes & Noble's online business, B&, has resigned and will now work for the company as a consultant. Her duties have been assumed by Tom Burke, executive v-p of e-commerce, and Kevin Frain, CFO, who is now also executive v-p of e-commerce operations.

After a 25-year career in banking, Toulantis joined B&N in 1997 as executive v-p of finance and later became CFO. In 1999, she became CFO of B& and helped take public the e-commerce company, which for a time was jointly owned by B&N and Bertelsmann. In 2001, Toulantis was named president and CEO of B& In 2003, B&N bought back Bertelsmann's share, and in the following year B& was folded back into B&N, with Toulantis remaining the e-leader.

In a statement, B&N CEO Steve Riggio said that Toulantis "played a pivotal role in the emergence of Barnes & as one of the leading Internet sites of any retailer in the world. We thank her for her many years of service and for the leadership she provided to the entire organization."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry

Eighth Day Is Borders Imprint's Second Novel

Borders Group's State Street Press imprint is publishing its second novel, The Eighth Day by Tom Avitabile, which the company describes as a thriller about "a normally behind-the-scenes government official who is catapulted into the limelight while desperately trying to stop a series of bizarre and deadly terrorist attacks." The book goes on sale next Tuesday exclusively in Borders and Waldenbooks stores and on Borders has acquired film options for The Eighth Day.

State Street's first title was the novel Slip & Fall by Nick Santora, published in June 2007. The company has since published several nonfiction titles, including last week Between the Lines: A View Inside American Politics, People, and Culture, a collection of Newsweek articles written by senior editor and columnist Jonathan Alter that "chronicles the last quarter-century of American political history."

Avitabile is a senior creative director at a New York City advertising firm, is a writer, director and producer with many film and TV credits and has a background in engineering and computers.

In a statement, Borders's executive v-p of merchandising and marketing Rob Gruen commented: "The book's theme of a diabolical terrorist threat coupled with a compelling hero in 'Wild Bill' Hiccock, whom we expect to see more of in upcoming books from Tom Avitabile, makes The Eighth Day a book that readers will find impossible to put down."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Team of Rivals During O-Veep Week

Today on Fresh Air, Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals (S&S, $21, 9780743270755/0743270754), discusses how Abe Lincoln turned his political rivals into allies and cabinet members.


Today on Oprah, in a repeat: John Wood, author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children (Collins Business, $15.95, 9780061121081/0061121088).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Paul Auster, author of Man in the Dark (Holt, $23, 9780805088397/0805088393).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in a repeat: Philip Pan, author of Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China (S&S, $28, 9781416537052/1416537058).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report, in a repeat: Jorge Ramos, author of The Gift of Time: Letters from a Father (Morrow, $14.95, 9780061353109/0061353108).


Movies: Faulks' Bond May Not Be Back on Film

"Bond Is Back" was the ad campaign slogan for Devil May Care, the James Bond thriller written by Sebastian Faulks, but the suave British sleuth may not be coming to a screen near you any time soon.

Variety reported that "Eon Prods., the U.K.-based shingle behind the 22 pics in the Bond franchise, has passed on the opportunity to pick up the film rights to Devil from author Sebastian Faulks. That does not mean one of the film world's most profitable characters has suddenly become available to Hollywood's franchise-seekers. While producers could acquire the film rights to Devil, jointly owned by the Ian Fleming Estate and Faulks, they wouldn't be able to use the James Bond name, his 007 call sign, the James Bond theme or gun-barrel sequence. . . . Eon also has a major role in choosing who distribs the pics."


Books & Authors

Awards: Thurber Prize Finalists

Finalists for the 2008 Thurber Prize for American Humor, sponsored by Thurber House, are:

  • Larry Doyle, for I Love You, Beth Cooper (Ecco)
  • Patricia Marx, for Him Her Him Again the End of Him (Scribner)
  • Simon Rich, for Ant Farm (Random House)

The award includes a $5,000 prize and a commemorative crystal plaque. The winner will be announced at a ceremony October 6 at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City.


Book Brahmins: Selden Edwards

A graduate of Princeton and Stanford, Selden Edwards is a former English teacher and headmaster of several private schools. He lives near Santa Barbara, Calif. The Little Book, published by Dutton last Thursday, is his first novel.

On your nightstand now:

I am one who seems always to be reading 10 books at once, and they are all lying in various states of should-finish all over the house. Recent books in these piles are Geraldine Brooks's March, biographies of William James and J.P. Morgan (next-novel research), Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Lawrence Wright's The Looming Tower and Beth Gutcheon's delightful newest novel, Good-bye and Amen.
Favorite book when you were a child:

Favorites among those read to me were Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Paddle to the Sea. In my early years of school, it became obvious that I was not learning to read properly. When I was eight and nine, I was helped by a kindly reading specialist named Mrs. Camper, who introduced me to abridged large-print classics. It was a brilliant strategy. I loved large sprawling stories, and I read with passion and relish abbreviated versions of Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, A Tale of Two Cities and The Count of Monte Cristo. I also loved Classic Illustrated comics.

Your top five authors:

Along with being a headmaster, I spent 40 years as a high-school English teacher, so I have read and taught many of the classics many times. I would have to say that The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn and Salinger's Nine Stories are my favorites. Reading on my own, I'd say John Le Carre, John Irving, Richard Ford, Larry McMurtry, E.L. Doctorow, Tom Robbins and Pat Conroy have given me the very best high-involvement reads over the years. The Prince of Tides, for me, is the very top of the pyramid I have been trying for many years to scale with my own writing.

Book you've faked reading:

Because of the difficulty I have with reading, I am embarrassed to admit that over my lifetime as a student, teacher and general conversationalist, I have shamefully "faked" countless times; sometimes so much that even I don't remember that I didn't read the book. Prominent among all those fakings would be all of Jane Austen, Don Quixote and David Copperfield.  
Book you're an evangelist for:

In our early days of parenting, my wife and I were zealots for Between Parent and Child by Haim Ginott. Later, as a school leader I got pretty worked up over The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge and Please Understand Me by Isabel Briggs Myers. As a teacher, I promoted many works of fiction with the passion of an evangelist. Among them were Henry V, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye and My Antonia by Willa Cather. Even today I tell people, "If you haven't read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, do it."
Book you've bought for the cover:

I'm not one unduly affected by a cover. But when my book was being designed, I suddenly became very interested. I loved the covers of Cold Mountain, Suite Francaise and the second Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Book that changed your life:

The aforementioned Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Malt and The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell all changed my way of looking at the world.

Favorite line from a book:

The first sentence in Kafka's The Metamorphosis, the last sentence in Gone with the Wind and the last paragraph in The Great Gatsby are among my favorites. But my favorite favorite line, the one I have incorporated into my own favored lexicon, is from Kurt Vonnegut's magnificent Slaughterhouse Five: "So it goes."

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

It is rare that I just pick up a book and keep going until I finish it. Books that have captivated me from the first few pages and kept me going are The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Lonesome Dove, The Cider House Rules, Roots, Independence Day, The Prince of Tides.  With any of them, I'd love to erase the old memory bank and start over again, afresh.


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