Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 25, 2008


Bloomsbury YA: Dreamland (YA Edition): The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones

Balzer & Bray: The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Magination Press: Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You by Kathryn Gonzales and Karen Rayne

Sourcebooks Explore: Survivors of the Holocaust: True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children by Kath Shackleton, illustrated by Zane Wittingham

Central Avenue Publishing: Into Captivity They Will Go by Noah Milligan

Carolrhoda Books: A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity by Nicole Valentine

News

Notes: Bullish About Books; 'Reader in Chief'

Charles Kaine, owner of the Reader's Cove, was one of several Fort Collins, Colo., retailers who told the Coloradoan that they "remain upbeat about the upcoming holidays despite national projections that sales will grow at their slowest rate in six years as consumers worry about their jobs, housing, the stock market and high gas and food prices."

"Books are really good investments for the holidays and can be less expensive than other things, like electronics," said Kaine, who projects 5%-7% growth in the fourth quarter. "But, it's not going to be pretty. People are going to be more reserved in purchasing this year, and I think we will see a lot less purchasing on the Internet."

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Sherlock's Tomes, Bridgeton, N.J., has a reservation on October 7 at S.R. Riley's Musical Cafe, but it's for more than a meal. The two-year-old bookstore that specializes in mysteries, children's books, classics and bestsellers is moving into a 500-sq.-ft. space in the Beatles-themed cafe, according to the Press of Atlantic City.

"We're hoping this will be the kick that's needed for S.R. Riley's and for Sherlock's," Linda Durkin Richardson, co-owner of Sherlock's Tomes, told the paper. "And we won't have to walk so far for lunch."

Richardson and Jim Chiappardi had been looking for a new site for the store since the building in which it operates was sold in June and had wanted more space anyway--in part to host more book clubs and perhaps a writers' group.

The bookstore and cafe have partnered already on several events, including appearances and book signings by May Pang, a girlfriend of the late John Lennon, and Larry Kane, who chronicled the Beatles' 1964 North American tour.

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First Lady Laura Bush, dubbed by Librarian of Congress James Billington the "reader in chief," will host the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., this weekend. The event has "grown from about 30,000 attendees in 2001 to more than 120,000 last year," according to the Associated Press.

"I love the whole idea of the National Mall being turned over to literature for a Saturday a year," Bush said. "It still has that feeling of a lot of book lovers together, people who love to read and who love books and who are very happy."

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The Library of Google? Jorge Luis Borges' story, "The Library of Babel," should perhaps be invoked every time the quantum growth of the digital book world is mentioned. And even though Alberto Manguel wasn't talking digital in his New York Sun article, there was something eerily apt in his description of the Borges story as "nothing less than an attempt to describe the chaotic order and meaning of the universe, building on the ancient notion of the world as a book (or a book itself divided into an almost infinite number of books) in which we ourselves are written, and which we also attempt to read."

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Creative Loafing Atlanta has named Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga., "best place for author readings/signings" in both critics and readers polls. Congratulations!

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Two days ago, a shipment of more than 5,700 books donated by Harvard University Press, the MIT Press and Yale University Press left their shared TriLiteral warehouse, Cumberland, R.I., bound for Iraq. The Sabre Foundation, using a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, will arrange the logistics of delivering the books to the Iraq National Library and Archive as well as the libraries of Baghdad University, Mustansiriyah University and Baghdad Technical University.

Iraqi librarians were allowed to choose up to three copies of each title and picked from a range of subjects, including philosophy, law, history, art and environmental studies. The shipment includes textbooks, new titles and classic monographs.

In a statement, William P. Sisler, director of Harvard University Press, said the press was delighted "to help restore in some small way the intellectual capital that has been destroyed in this tragic war."

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Cool Idea of the Day: In connection with a talk by Noah Andre Trudeau, author of Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea (Harper), Scott Meyer, owner of Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, N.Y., arranged for a visit by reenactors from the 150th New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the Hudson Valley Ladies Aid Society who wore Civil War-period clothing and answered questions from the audience. Read the Millbrook Round Table's history of the evening here.

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Uncool Idea of the Day: Musical rights to American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel about an investment banker-serial killer have been sold, Variety (via the New York Times) reported.

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Promotions in the HarperCollins Speakers Bureau:

  • Jamie Brickhouse has been promoted to v-p, director. Under her leadership, the Bureau has grown by 15%, signed on an additional 75 authors and begun to include media spokesperson deals.
  • Julie Elmuccio has been promoted to assistant manager. She has been with the Speakers Bureau since its creation three years ago and will continue to book top speakers as well as assist in new marketing initiatives while co-managing the department.
  • Blair Bryant Nichols has been promoted to coordinator. In the past year, she has worked as a speaker booker and handles speaking campaigns for some authors.

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Debbie Burleson has rejoined Baker & Taylor as retail territory manager, serving, along with Charles Greiner, booksellers in the South. She was most recently an account executive at Ingram Digital Group, where she sold e-books and electronic content to the higher academic market. Earlier she was a marketing brand manager at B&T, where she managed independent studios and placed independent product into the retail, CDF and library markets. She may be reached at Debbie.Burleson@btol.com or 800-775-7930, ext. 3168.

 


Mango: The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight by Fred Bollaci


Obituary Note: Brian M. Thomsen

Brian M. Thomsen, a Tor Books consulting editor and an author, died last Sunday in his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 49.

Thomsen wrote more than 60 short stories and articles, two fantasy novels and such nonfiction works as Ireland's Most Wanted, The Awful Truths and Man of Two Worlds. His latest works were Oval Office Occult: A Book of White House Weirdness, a collection of true stories about U.S. presidents and their encounters with occult phenomena, and Pasta Fazool for the Wiseguy's Soul, an homage to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and wiseguy films (both published by Andrews & McMeel).

Thomsen dropped out of a Ph.D. program in English to enter publishing. He was one of the founding editors of Warner/Popular Library's Questar imprint and later ran the fantasy line at TSR.

Tor added: "Brian was incredibly intelligent, good-humored, and passionate about his craft. He is survived by his wife, Donna, and many, many friends and admirers."

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Baby Loves the Five Senses by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan


Brisingr Spreads Like, Um, Wildfire

The title of Christopher Paolini's third book in the Inheritance Cycle (which began with Eragon and continued with Eldest) is an ancient fictional term for "fire." How appropriate, then, that sales of Brisingr should spread like wildfire. The book sold 550,000 hardcover copies last Saturday, making it the greatest one-day sale ever recorded for a Random House Children's Books title. "We are thrilled with the first day's sale of Brisingr: the numbers have far surpassed our projections," president and publisher Chip Gibson said in a statement.
 
Some of those 550,000 copies were sold at midnight parties on Friday, September 20, when the book was officially released. Booksellers reported mixed results for the parties. Lisa Sharp at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, Ark., scheduled a party from 10 p.m. to 12 midnight, but only 10 people showed up, two of them at 11:45. (Sharp had been hoping for "a couple dozen.") "We had trivia games and a read aloud with the event kit [that Random House provided], plus a costume contest," Sharp said. "Everyone was a good sport, but I thought it didn't look very good to have such a sad event." She believes that if she'd held the event on Saturday during the day, she may have had a better turnout. "That's what I'm thinking of doing for [J.K. Rowling's] The Tales of Beedle the Bard, just a Saturday morning thing, when we're already open and it's easier for people to shop." For the August 1 midnight release of Breaking Dawn, Nightbird Books attracted 75 people, but the store also made a bigger deal of it, Sharp says. They had a DJ and a dance floor set up in the parking lot. Plus, she added, "Teens could drive themselves [to the event]."
 
The parents who accompanied their 10- to 15-year-olds to the Brisingr event at Quail Ridge in Raleigh, N.C., stayed for the duration, according to Carol Moyer, who opened the doors at 11 p.m. on Friday for the main event--a swordplay demonstration by a local fencing club. "Ours was less a dragon event and more of a sword play," Moyer said. "They did more than just fence; they brought different weapons and explained their history and uses. We had a few minutes of the trivia contest, but the fencing was so interesting that it took up the hour." Quail Ridge hosted about 70 people for the event but hoped for "a couple hundred." Still, it was a better turnout than for Quail Ridge's Breaking Dawn event, which drew only 25.
 
Anna Morris, who worked with general manager Andrea Vuleta at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop, La Verne, Calif., on the Brisingr event, said, "We had what we expected. We gave the option for people to come and get the book, but it's not our target audience--not like Harry Potter." The store had presold books and opened at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, held a raffle for T-shirts and gave away freebies. "I think for our store, it's slightly more challenging because [we're] very family-oriented," Morris added. "Things that the whole family can attend work well."

Mandy Brooks, marketing coordinator and events planner at BookPeople, Austin, Tex., did not hold a midnight party on September 20, because the store will host author Christopher Paolini in person at 4 p.m. next Friday, October 3. Brooks says the store will dress its mechanical bull like a dragon, create a face-painting booth and host a troupe of troubadours in Renaissance gear "to emulate the Renaissance feel of the book," along with sword demonstrations. When customers buy a book, they receive a line ticket. BookPeople will sell up to 1,560 line tickets and has already sold nearly 300. "If you want a signed copy, you must be at the party or have someone act as an agent for you," Brooks explained.

Is there a secret to the success of a "big book" party? "There must be and I'm trying to figure out what it is," Quail Ridge's Moyer says, laughing. "Harry Potter didn't start out being a big deal. These [the Twilight Saga and the Inheritance Cycle] also gained in recognition and popularity." And certainly that's been true of the Inheritance Cycle thus far. Eragon, the first book in the series, which Paolini wrote at age 15, has sold six million copies in hardcover and paperback in North America since its release in August 2003, and the second book, Eldest (2005), has sold four million copies. Together Eragon and Eldest have sold over 15.5 million copies worldwide. Paolini will bring the series to a close with a fourth book, whose publication date has not yet been announced.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


imon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Max & Ruby and Twin Trouble (Max and Ruby Adventure) BY Rosemary Wells


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dennis Lehane on The Given Day

This morning on the Today Show: Dennis Lehane, author of The Given Day: A Novel (Morrow, $27.95, 9780688163181/0688163181).

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Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Bill Tancer, author of Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why it Matters (Hyperion, $25.95, 9781401323042/1401323049).

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WETA's Author, Author! has an interview with Cathy Alter about her new work, Up for Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over (Atria, $24, 9780743288408/0743288408).

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Marvelyn Brown, author of The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive (Amistad, $14.95, 9780061562396/0061562394).

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Tomorrow on the View: Thomas Kostigen, author of You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet (HarperOne, $25.95, 9780061580369/0061580368).

Also on the View: Candace Bushnell, author of One Fifth Avenue (Voice, $25.95, 9781401301613/1401301614).

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki


Movie: Miracle at St. Anna

This Friday, Miracle at St. Anna, the movie directed by Spike Lee based on the James McBride novel, opens. McBride, author of The Color of Water, wrote the screenplay for Miracle at St. Anna, which follows a group of African-American soldiers fighting in Italy during World War II. The tie-in edition is available from Riverhead ($15, 9781594483608/1594483604).

 


Atheneum Books: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Alexander Nabaum


This Weekend on Book TV: National Book Festival Live

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, September 27

10 a.m. Book TV provides live coverage of the eighth annual National Book Festival from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The schedule includes events interspersed with interviews and viewer calls with featured authors, including Gordon Wood, Senator Kay Baily Hutchison, Kimberly Dozier, Michael Dobbs, Rick Atkinson, Michelle Singletary and Immaculee Ilibagiza. (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m.)

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. For a segment that first aired in 2003, Monica Langley, author of Tearing Down the Walls: How Sandy Weill Fought His Way to the Top of the Financial World--and Then Nearly Lost It All, spoke about the former CitiGroup chairman's career and management tactics.

9 p.m. At an event hosted by Warwick's bookstore, La Jolla, Calif., Bing West, author of The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq (Random House, $28, 9781400067015/1400067014), discussed the progress being made in Iraq and the change in tactics brought by General David Petraeus. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 a.m., Monday at 7 a.m., Saturday, October 11, at 12 p.m. and 9 p.m., Sunday, October 12, at 3 a.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday, October 26, at 7 p.m.)
     
10 p.m. After Words. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle interviews the current holder of that position, Senator Harry Reid, author of The Good Fight: Hard Lessons from Searchlight to Washington (Putnam, $25.95, 9780399154997/039915499X). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, September 28

9 a.m. Retired General William Boykin, author of Never Surrender: A Soldier's Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom (FaithWords, $24.99, 9780446582155/0446582158), talks about his military career and the role of religion in his life. (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m. and 11 p.m., and Monday, October 20, at 4 a.m.)

2:30 p.m. Psychologist Drew Westen, author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation (PublicAffairs, $15.95, 9781586485733/1586485733), contends that Republicans are more skilled than Democrats when it comes to making emotional appeals to voters.

 


Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: Old Bear

Old Bear by Kevin Henkes (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780061552052/0061552054, 32 pp., ages 2-7, September)

As he did with his Caldecott Medal-winning Kitten's First Full Moon, Henkes once again artfully straddles the line between observing animals' true nature and imagining what they might be thinking. Here the author-artist considers what a bear might meditate on during the long stretch from first snow to first thaw (even the front and back of the dust jacket echo this idea). In the opening credits (the copyright and dedication pages), Old Bear walks to the right of a spread, then halfway off the page as a light snow begins to fall. He takes shelter in a hollowed-out giant tree trunk as the snow comes down harder. Then he begins to dream of each season in turn. "He dreamed that spring had come and he was a cub again." Henkes depicts the furry fellow in his youth, curled up in the center of a giant pink crocus ("The flowers were as big as trees"). Yellow and blue butterflies and humongous daffodils dot the landscape. For summer, "the sun was a daisy, and the leaves were butterflies," thick as a hedge; blueberries rain from the clouds above. In autumn, everything turns crimson and golden--"even the birds and the fish and the water." But a touch of blue here and there, in the river, in a waterfall, in the sky, allows children to point to a glimpse of the world as they know it in the painting. The winter sky evokes the Northern Lights, with a crystal-blue and white landscape of newly fallen snow, and the heavens "blazing with stars of all colors." Henkes uses a four-panel window-pane style illustration to depict the ursine hero's restlessness as the sky changes to spring hues outside his den. When Old Bear at long last wakes up, what awaits him is so beautiful that "it took him a minute to realize that he wasn't dreaming." Henkes slyly includes elements in the springtime scene that were present in his dreams during his season-long slumber, beautifully evoking the almost surreal experience of walking out into a spring day filled with blossoms and fragrances, abundant sunlight and butterflies after a long, dark winter. Even youngest children will know just what that Old Bear is feeling.--Jennifer M. Brown

 



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