Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 26, 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

Quotation of the Day

'All Dressed Up . . .'

"It's like we're all dressed up for the dance, but the band hasn't shown up."--Sally Lott McClellan, Square Books, Oxford, Miss., site of the first presidential debate that may or may not be held tonight, as quoted by the Rocky Mountain News.

 


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


News

Notes: B&N College Enters Rutgers; New Bookstores

Barnes & Noble College will be an anchor tenant in a major mixed-use development that Rutgers University is building in New Brunswick, N.J., where its main campus is, according to the Star-Ledger. B&N becomes Rutgers's bookseller on Monday, replacing Follett. The Gateway project includes a 44,000-sq.-ft. bookstore that replaces the current 19,000-sq.-ft. store at Ferren Mall and is expected to be completed in two years.

Rutgers president Richard McCormick sounded as though he had attended a prospective booksellers seminar recently, telling the paper, "I have a very ambitious view of our new bookstore. [It] will be a campus center, a gathering place for Rutgers faculty, students and staff and the larger community. There will be readings by authors hopping off the train from New York and Philadelphia. . . . It's going to be the kind of bookstore that Rutgers needs and deserves."

New Jersey Books, a private bookstore, had challenged the city's attempt to seize its property for the development through eminent domain but has since come to an agreement whereby the store is being relocated.

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SOMe Book Nook, a children's bookstore and art gallery, has opened in South Orange, N.J., in Sparkhouse Kids, which sells toys and crafts and offers creative events and classes.

On September 16, SOMe Book Nook hosted Dionne Warwick, who recently published a children's book. The store's grand opening was held last week and included appearances by authors and illustrators Liz Murphy, Elliot Kreloff, Yukiko Kido and Mark Jones as well singers, robot makers, magicians and artists.

The stores are run by Marietta Barral Zacker, a children's literature specialist who has worked in education and the children's book industry, and Mike Casaren, a toy enthusiast.

The store is located at 15 Scotland Road, South Orange, N.J. 07079; 973-821-5227.

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Frugal Media, which has sold used books and media online since 2003, is celebrating the grand opening of its first bricks-and-mortar store, in Austin, Tex., tomorrow. The 8,600-sq.-ft. location stocks more than 60,000 new and used books as well as CDs, DVDs and games. On average, books are priced 60% off list price. There are also loyalty discounts.

The store has six reading areas and free wi-fi.

Customers can sell their books, CDs, DVDs and games to Frugal Media and receive "the highest possible prices based on current Internet pricing." Frugal Media staff will help customers find and order any product available on the Web.

Owners Rob Canuelle and Erik Franks will continue to operate Frugal Media's online business, which has sold and shipped more than 1.5 books and other products in five years. Most of that business is done through storefronts on Amazon.com and B&N.com. The company has a 40,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Austin.

The Frugal Media bookstore is located at 5400 North Lamar, Suite 103, Austin, Texas 78751; frugalmedia.com.

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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
From Here to Eternity
Something Happened
The Beautiful and the Damned
Looking Backward

Boing Boing showcased Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project, which "picks books out of collections whose spines, when placed in sequence, can be made into a sentence or story."

Look at your own bookshelves. Stack a story. Play Magnetic Poetry with books.

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Bloodsucking booksellers. Plans have been announced for a vampire novel trilogy by film director Guillermo del Toro (co-written with Chuck Hogan). The Guardian observed that del Toro "is set to tap what has become a rich vein of new vampire fiction . . . joining the current vogue for bloodsucking blockbusters."

Del Toro's effort joins "another epic, apocalyptic vampire trilogy published next year, Justin Cronin's The Passage." The publishing industry's vampiric feeding frenzy comes in the profitable wake "of a bloodsucking bookshop invasion which is proving very lucrative to the book industry. From Elizabeth Kostova's novel The Historian to Laurell K. Hamilton's paranormal romance series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and teen vampire queen Stephenie Meyer, the genre is flying off the shelves. Bram Stoker would be proud."

 

 


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


Borders Sale Deadline Looms

If Borders Group does not have a deal to sell itself by next Wednesday, the company will give its single-largest shareholder, Pershing Square Capital Management, 5.15 million warrants to buy Borders common stock that will further increase the hedge fund's control of Borders, the Wall Street Journal reminded us today.

Borders would also have to issue the warrants if it takes itself off the market or if it sells its Paperchase stationery subsidiary to Pershing Square before January 15.

The warrants were part of a deal reached earlier this year whereby Borders borrowed $42.5 million from Pershing Square (Shelf Awareness, March 20, 2008).

The Journal wrote: "Borders had hoped to have a deal in place by the end of the month, but the market turmoil and growing uncertainty about the retail sector have all but dashed those hopes, according to one person close to the company."

Pershing Square is likely to obtain the warrants, which price the company's shares at $7 each, roughly its current price. As a result, Pershing Square and its head, William Ackman, would "benefit even more from a sale and may begin to exert pressure on Borders to secure a transaction quickly," the Journal speculated.

 


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


Garth Stein at PNBA: The Art of Independent Bookstores

During what he called an "abysmal" family vacation in Vancouver, B.C., in 2005, Garth Stein received a call from his publisher, Soho Press, giving him the news that he had received a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award for his novel How Evan Broke His Head . . . and Other Secrets. Speaking at the PNBA meeting in Portland, Ore., earlier this month with the theme "How Independent Stores Helped Make Me Famous . . . and Other Secrets," Stein remembered being excited to have won an award but not sure what the award meant, since he had been living in New York when his first book, Raven Stole the Moon, was published and wasn't familiar yet with the Pacific Northwest bookselling community. Dawn Stewart, a local publicist, called to congratulate him on his award and gave him invaluable advice--visit as many independent bookstores in the Northwest as he could and build relationships with the booksellers.

Because of the PNBA award, Stein was able to set up a number of events. He even offered to lead writing workshops and to draw examples from his book instead of doing a typical reading. Attendance ranged from a handful of people to one event where no one showed. That didn't get him down. To each bookseller who hosted him, he said, "We tried our best. And one day I'll come back to your store when I have a bestseller, and we'll pack the place."

And that's just what he did.

When his bestselling The Art of Racing in the Rain eventually found a home at Harper after many setbacks (Shelf Awareness, April 23, 2008), the folks there gave him a 15-page questionnaire to get to know him better. Asked to list bookstores with which he had a special relationship, Stein wrote down 45 stores and included contact names and e-mails for each. Harper clarified that he wasn't supposed to mention all the bookstores he knew and requested he pare the list down to those with which he had a personal relationship. Stein replied, "I have a personal relationship with every bookstore I visit."

Stein recognized the value of having booksellers guide readers to books that would otherwise be overlooked, such as his own book, told from the point of view of a dog, featuring car racing and Zen philosophy. The Art of Racing in the Rain didn't receive a lot of national media attention (except for a flurry of press when Starbucks selected it as a featured title) because it didn't fit into the literary fiction box. Stein said, "And that's how independent booksellers saved me. Because independent booksellers aren't looking for a box. . . . Independent booksellers read and judge for themselves." While The Art of Racing in the Rain was on the New York Times bestseller list for a few weeks, it has remained on the PNBA list and Book Sense/IndieBound lists because independent booksellers recommend it to their customers. He also appreciates independent bookstores and the people who work there because he realizes the necessity of having a wide variety of books stocked and thus a range of ideas disseminated.

To independent booksellers, Garth continued, "You have an obligation to stay in business. . . . You were drawn to this profession and have taken on the duty of your office to keep a diversity of books on your shelves and keep the conversation going. . . . Sometimes it's hard. We feel we can't keep it up. But please keep doing what you're doing. Keep finding new books. Keep selling them. Keep providing readings and events for your community. Keep fostering the exchange of new ideas. I want to thank you for taking Enzo under your collective wing. I thank you. But more, I thank you for your passion, for you commitment and dedication. Without you, this world would be a very dark place."--Melissa Mueller

 


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Kostigen on Today

We were misinformed. 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), appears this morning on the Today Show, not the View.

 


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



Books & Authors

Awards: Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness won the £1,500 (US$2,766) Guardian children's fiction prize, beating Jenny Downham's Before I Die, Frank Cottrell Boyce's Cosmic and Siobhan Dowd's Bog Child.

"I think it was a super-strong shortlist," said a "genuinely astonished" Ness of his first novel, published here by Candlewick, about a world where thoughts are audible. "Before I Die is a huge hit, Frank is a great writer, and I'm reading Siobhan Dowd now. It's really great and I kind of thought she would win."

According to the Guardian, Ness, a literary critic at the paper, "turned to children's fiction after he had the idea of a world where information overload is inescapable, and knew it was a book for teenagers."

"The thing a teenage audience will do for you is that if you don't insult their intelligence, they will often follow you to strange places, so you can really really go for it," he said. "This story felt like something that's got to be really gone for, really shouted out from the rafters, and teenage fiction is where you can do that and still not be shoved into genre."

 


Book Brahmins: Jonathan Carroll

Jonathan Carroll's 15th novel is The Ghost in Love (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG), which will be published in October. His novel The Wooden Sea was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2001. He is the author of such acclaimed novels as White Apples, The Land of Laughs, The Marriage of Sticks and Bones of the Moon. He lives in Vienna, Austria. For more information, please visit jonathancarroll.com.

On your nightstand now:

Memorial by Bruce Wagner. Wagner is funny, bitter and memorable all at the same time. He's the best chronicler of Hollywood since Nathanael West and one of the few writers around whose characters break my heart time after time. When you meet someone at a party who's a Wagner fan, too, you sneak off to a corner with them and jabber happily about his work for hours.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I didn't read much as a kid, but for some odd reason I was given this book and read it time after time. I wish only that I had bought the theatrical rights to it when I was seven. I could have sold them to Andrew Lloyd Webber years later and made some serious money.

Your top five authors:

James Salter, Robertson Davies, poet Thomas Lux, Elias Canetti, Stefan Zweig. Choosing your five favorite writers is like choosing five favorite anythings that you like a lot. You think and argue and get into mental fistfights with yourselves and in the end settle for a bruised list that your yous only grudgingly agree is a decent but deeply flawed compromise. Under their breath, however, they're all still mumbling writers' names that have been (criminally) left off the list. An hour later you wonder how the hell could I have not named them.

Book you've faked reading:

Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma. College. French literature class. There was a dreamboat in the class who loved the novel. I wanted that girl so much that I was even willing to try to climb Mount Stendhal to win her and show my undying devotion. Little did I know that peak was as treacherous and difficult to ascend as Annapurna.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts. I don't like fat novels. I'm both jealous of any writer who can do that and resentful that they make me carry their phonebooks around for weeks while I finish them. But a few summers ago, when I read Shantaram, I didn't have to carry it anywhere because I sat in my chair for three days reading continuously. It was that wonderful feeling you have every once in a while reading something you can't bear to put down because for that period of time, the world on the pages is more important than the one you live in. Just for that feeling alone I am grateful to the author.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Bonfire of the Vanities (hardcover). I really like Wolfe's work, but that Fred Marcellino cover of New York reflected in a glass coffee table was what made me buy the book. It has got to be one of the greatest jacket illustrations ever. I always loved Marcellino's work, but that was his masterpiece.

Book that changed your life:

"Circus at Dawn," a story from a collection by Thomas Wolfe. I was a terrible high school student and had to go to summer school every year to catch up on the classes I'd failed. One session I took a creative writing class because "English" was the only subject I did reasonably well in. The teacher read us "Circus at Dawn," about kids at the turn of the century watching a traveling circus set up in their rural North Carolina town. Towards the end of the story, all of the circus hands and performers sit down to eat breakfast after setting up the tent and putting the animals away. Wolfe gives one of his beautiful signature descriptions of the food they ate. While the teacher read it to us, I heard this loud drip. I looked down at my desk and saw that I had drooled on it. The writer's description of food had made me drool. I was so astonished that words could do that to me that I thought, man, that's some serious magic.

Favorite line from a book:

Any number of lines from James Salter's work. It is criminal that Salter is not more widely read and appreciated. He is cursed with being labeled "a writer's writer," which means too few people have read his work, despite the very loud praise of writers like John Irving and Susan Sontag. If you haven't read him yet, start with Light Years, which is one of the most beautiful novels I have ever read. If you are anything like me, have a pencil nearby because you'll be marking passages and lines that you know you either have to remember or send to people you love.

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

The Car Thief by Theodore Weesner or A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley. Astonishingly both of these are first novels, but you would never know it. I read them back to back 30 years ago and remember both of them chapter and verse--they're that good.

 


Ooops

Apologies to Him and Him

Yesterday's issue noted several promotions at HarperCollins's Speakers Bureau, including those of Jamie Brickhouse and Blair Bryant Nichols. We didn't exactly misidentify them but we did change genders. Our regrets to both of you!

 


Deeper Understanding

Meltdown Lit: Recommended Books for the Wall Street Debacle

As Wall Street waits for a rescue, booksellers and librarians are highlighting titles to help consumers understand how things could go so bad and how the mess might be cleaned up. Quite a few authors anticipated the current crisis. Among the highest-rated, gilt-edged titles:

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means by George Soros (PublicAffairs, $22.95, 9781586486839/1586486837), which was published in May. Glen Robbe, trade book manager at the Stanford Bookstore, Stanford, Calif., said that the store has "done very well" with the book, which is "designed for lay people who are looking to learn more than what they're getting in newspapers."

The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash by Charles R. Morris (PublicAffairs, $22.95, 9781586485634/1586485636), published in March. Praveen Madan, co-owner of the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., noted that "with uncanny accuracy, Charles Morris predicted the current crisis and even estimated the magnitude of it. . . . Although the book does get a bit technical in some parts, most of it is written in such a way that even people without an advance finance degree can understand the basics."

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
by Naomi Klein (Picador, $16, 9780312427993/0312427999), which appeared in paperback in June. Glen Robbe of the Stanford Bookstore called this title "prescient" and said that the store will highlight the book in connection with an appearance by Klein at the school October 16. He called the hardcover book trailer for the book "so compelling that you can't not want to read the book after seeing it."

Financial Shock: A 360-Degree Look at the Subprime Mortgage Implosion, and How to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis by Mark Zandi (FT Press, $24.99, 9780137142903/0137142900), a July publication. Chief economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.com, Zandi "called the mess before it happened," Maureen Montecchio, community relations manager at Barnes & Noble in Devon, Pa., said. "The book is written in layman's terms. As my sister the stockbroker put it to me, 'Even you could understand it.' " Montecchio added that Zandi appeared at a "very well attended" event at the store recently.

The Subprime Solution: How Today's Global Financial Crisis Happened, and What to Do About It
by Robert Shiller (Princeton University Press, $16.95, 9780691139296/0691139296) is an August title. Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten of 800-CEO-READ, the business book part of Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, commented: "Shiller's work on housing values is well-known and originally established in Irrational Exuberance. This book describes pretty clearly the mortgage crisis we are in and offers some solutions to get out."

I.O.U.S.A.: One Nation. Under Stress. In Debt. by Addison Wiggin and Kate Incontrera (Wiley, $19.95, 9780470222775/0470222778), which has a pub date of September 29. Carol Hill, owner of Book Mine, Leadville, Colo., said that this book, written as a companion book to the documentary of the same title released in August, and is "very readable, with the obvious advantage that it also provides a picture of where we are today. As the blurb on the back notes, it is 'defiantly nonpartisan,' including interviews with Warren Buffet, Alice Rivlin, Robert Rubin, Ron Paul, Paul Volker, Alan Greenspan and Paul O'Neill among others."

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $25.95, 9780670019076/0670019070), which appeared in April. By the author of American Theocracy and American Dynasty, Bad Money notes that 20% of the economy is based on finance and if it is in trouble, it will have a major effect on the rest of the economy. Oh yes.

Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing by Hersh Shefrin (Oxford University Press, $19.95, 9780195304213/0195304217). Published last year, this book explains "the behavioral factors that guide the decision-making processes of Wall Street professionals."

For some understanding of the outlook of the current Fed chairman and his predecessor:

The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan (Penguin, $17, 9780143114161/0143114166), published in paperback earlier this month. Robbe of the Stanford Bookstore said that the paperback edition with its new epilogue includes "more information" from the former Fed chairman and "has some important things to say."

Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten of 800-CEO-READ noted that "many are laying the blame [for the crisis] at Mr. Greenspan's feet" and that Greenspan's epilogue outlines "his thoughts on the current crisis."

Essays on the Great Depression
by Ben Bernanke (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691118208/0691118205), published in 2004, offers "insight into what the current Fed chairman is thinking" and "reading his perspective on the last event of this magnitude may help understand what he does in this one," Covert and Sattersten noted.

For an understanding of other similar crises:

When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management
by Roger Lowenstein (Random House, $14.95, 9780375758256/0375758259), which first appeared in 2001. Glen Robbe said this story of the 1998 collapse of the hedge fund and the bailout organized by the Fed "foreshadowed what's going on today" and has "a really good narrative."

In a review, Todd Sattersten said that Lowenstein shows "how blind arrogance brought down the company and almost the entire financial system" and offers "a case study for how markets defy formulaic explanation." He added, "this was peanuts compared to the current crisis."

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (Portfolio, $16, 9781591840534/1591840538), first published in 2003. In a review, Jack Covert of 800-CEO-BOOK wrote with foresight that Enron's failure could happen again "when you have hubris at the CEO level, sales peoples' compensation based on short term success, upper level people totally focused on growth to satisfy short term Wall Street success, an accounting system that supports this concept, and finally an accounting firm that doesn't do a good job of oversight. Add to this a deregulated industry and watch what happens."

A look at how high finance affects people far from Wall Street:

The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker
by Steven Greenhouse (Knopf, $25.95, 9781400044894/1400044898), an April book. Aaron Curtis, quartermaster of the buying office at Books & Books in Florida, said the book, which includes suggestions and examples for improving the lot of working-class America, is "not Wall Street specific but very relevant."

Some titles arriving soon will garner a lot more attention than anticipated even a month ago. Among them:

The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs
by Charles D. Ellis (Penguin Press, $37.95, 9781594201899/1594201897), coming October 7. Ellis is an investment banker and longtime strategy consultant to the investment bank that just this week sold a $5 billion stake to legendary investor Warren Buffett, head of Berkshire Hathaway. Speaking of whom . . .

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder (Bantam, $35, 9780553805093/0553805096), appears on Monday. A former insurance industry analyst and managing director at Morgan Stanley, Schroeder had full access to Buffett.

Fixing Global Finance by Martin Wolf (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9780801890482/0801890489). The publisher is just shipping copies of this book, which is by the associate editor and chief economics commentator for the Financial Times.

The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
by Niall Ferguson (Penguin Press, $29.95, 9781594201929/1594201927) will be published November 13. Nathan R. Maharaj, category manager at Indigo Books & Music in Canada, says that this and the following book by Michael Lewis "may be the best reading" until a year from now, when, at the earliest, we will begin to see "the best books about the current crisis--the ones that are fundamentally great reading experiences, not just extended newspaper articles."

Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis (Norton, $27.95, 9780393065145/0393065146) will be published December 1. Covert and Sattersten said this book about five recent meltdowns--the crash of 1987, the Russian default, the Asian currency crisis of 1999, the Internet bubble and sub-prime mortgage disaster--is "bound to be brilliant." Lewis wrote Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side and more.

Bernanke's Test: Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and the Drama of the Central Banker
by Johan Van Overtveldt (Agate, $26, 9781932841374/1932841377), which will be published in January. The book is by a Belgian economist who argues that the mess confronting the Fed chairman was created by his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, and that Bernanke is well prepared for the current crisis.

Bailout Nation: How Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy by Barry Ritholtz (McGraw-Hill, $24.95, 9780071609050/0071609059), will be published in January. The title says it all.

By the way, Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten of 800-CEO-READ are writing the mother of all business books: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You, which will be published by Portfolio in February.--John Mutter

 


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