Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 10, 2008

Sharjah International Book Fair: Your Chance to Get Your Book in Front of 1 Million Readers - Oct. 30th - Nov. 9th, 2019 - Learn More!

Other Press: Nvk by Temple Drake

Quirk Books: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Magination Press: Stand Up!: Be an Upstander and Make a Difference by Wendy L Moss

St. Martin's Press: A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram #1) by Darynda Jones

Grand Central Publishing: PostScript by Cecelia Ahern


Notes: Biden's Bookstore Visit; Marketing in Tough Times

Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to By the Book bookstore, Liberty, Mo., yesterday. The Kansas City Star reported that owner Chris Todd "got about three minutes warning before Biden showed, and was thrilled with the visit."

In the shop, Biden met with local merchants. "He acted like he would have stayed in there the whole afternoon if he could have," said Todd. "People asked him about health care and tax cuts. I was impressed. He answered in real specifics."


Who says the book industry is totally prObama?

Patriot Press, Gettysburg, Pa., is donating 25% of its proceeds this month to the McCain-Palin campaign.

"With the political climate such as it is, we feel an obligation to endorse and support the candidate who believes in the ideals and freedoms of America, and who has a proven record in defending and honoring her," said Patriot publisher T.A. Lower. "It is imperative that we, as Americans, think about our choice for the highest office, and put country first."

The press publishes books that "emphasize traditional American values." Its 2008 releases include a Civil War novel, Shades of Gray by Jessica James, and the nonfiction title The Southern Cross: A Civil War Devotional by Michael Aubrecht, which "recognizes the five virtues of the 19th century Christian soldier."


Bookselling This Week's latest entry in the Bookselling in Tough Times series focuses on marketing. Among tips offered: booksellers should take advantage of less costly marketing methods, not slash marketing budgets, promote books as great gifts, push public relations, stress buying local and use loyalty membership programs to keep customers and lure back "lapsed" customers.


Cool Idea of the Day: Brown Bookstore, Providence, R.I., delivers general books, on and off campus, between 2-5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to homes and offices within a five-mile radius of the store, according to NACS's Campus Marketplace.

Although the rules call for a charge of $3 for orders under $25, and a five-mile limit, "the store has not enforced either rule," CM wrote. One unfortunate rule beyond the store's control is that deliveries cannot be made to Brown University dorms because of a school ban on any kind of dorm delivery.

Still, bookstore director Manuel Cunard said that the store had had "great feedback" and the school's "big red van" with its name painted all over has been "a moving marketing campaign for the store."


Mostly Books, Tucson, Ariz., is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the Arizona Daily Star observed that sisters Bobbe Arnett and Tricia Clapp "have adapted to changes that would make many small business owners shudder."


"If the lovely folks at Vroman's read this column, here's a message for you," wrote Charlotte Schamadan in the Pasadena Star-News. "Please finalize your deal with the city of Monrovia and come to Old Town. We'll welcome you with open arms, abiding curiosity, and smiling faces. We have hundreds of customers for you! And great restaurants and shops nearby for you and your customers to enjoy." Schamadan referred her readers to the Rumor Control link on the city's website for further details about the ongoing negotiations.


The Island Book Nook, Sanibel, Fla., will reopen in mid-October under new ownership, according to the Island Reporter. Melanie and Jan Wiford are moving from Ohio to the Fort Myers area to operate the used bookstore, which has been closed since the unexpected death of former owner, Joan Simonds. Mary Gayle Skinner will serve as store manager.

"We look forward to reviving and carrying on the icon that Joan built,” said Melanie. "Living in Florida has been a dream and now with the purchase of the Nook, the dream will become reality."


Fearing a collapse of his beloved free market economy and a possible drift toward communism, Stephen Colbert examined "The Red Lending Menace" on the Colbert Report, noting that "It is our patriotic duty to go to the local libraries, check out all the books we can, and never return them."


"It will be no comfort to beaten-up bankers that their plight has spawned a mini-boom in publishing," the Economist reported, noting there are "at least 18 books on the crisis that are either in the works or already in the shops. With publishers still sniffing out possible authors and agents hawking proposals from grizzled hacks, expect at least another dozen to join them."


Rowman & Littlefield has joined the e-crowd: the company, whose imprints include Scarecrow Press, AltaMira Press and Lexington Books, has partnered with OCLC's NetLibrary and Amazon's Kindle to make available all of its frontlist and selected backlist as e-books. The goal is to have 10,000 titles in e-book format within two years.

In a statement, Rowman & Littlefield president and CEO Jed Lyons said, "This initiative will make our current offerings and deep backlists available to scholars and students around the world."



Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

Barefoot Near the Park

Last Thursday, October 2, Barefoot Books, the children's book publisher born in the U.K., with offices in Cambridge, Mass., hosted a packed gala opening in its own 1,000-sq.-ft. corner of FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue, near New York City's Central Park.

With its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking 59th Street, the Barefoot Books boutique in the world's most famous toy store is a far cry from the small booth in a faraway aisle of the children's-only section where founders Nancy Traversy and Tessa Strickland made their first U.S. appearance at what was then ABA. Even then, however, they draped the tables in jewel-colored batik fabrics and lined up books alongside puzzles and gift cards that featured their illustrators' work.

The happy marriage between Barefoot and FAO Schwarz began with a courtship at the gift show in Manhattan. A table likely quite similar to that ABA debut caught the attention of David Niggli, president and chief merchandising officer of FAO Schwarz. Niggli said that Traversy convinced him to make a visit to Cambridge to see the Barefoot store there and to get a sense of how they bring their philosophy to life. "I loved it," Niggli said at Thursday's celebration. "We had a discussion about Barefoot's values and message. FAO was the first children's bookstore in New York, but [the bookstore] had been pushed downstairs, and it lacked cohesion. Now we're bringing the bookstore element back to FAO to the forefront."

If you've read the publisher's titles one at a time, it's hard to describe the cumulative effect of seeing them all together in one space, how beautifully coordinated their palettes, how unified within the boutique's overall design. Yes, Clare Beaton, Debbie Harter, Christopher Carr and Niamh Sharkey (to name but a few of Barefoot's stable of artists) all have distinctive styles. But set face out (oh, the luxury of it!) against backdrops of peat green, cantaloupe orange and watermelon pink, they all cohere. Traversy designed the space with Edie Twining, and every inch makes sense. The northwest corner of the boutique is set off as a performance arena, where children are encouraged to interact three times a day at storytelling hour (11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.), and this past Saturday as part of the gala opening, hourly storytelling and even a yoga class took place--based on Yoga Pretzels and Yoga Planet, each pose featured on a durable oversize playing card housed in a sturdy corrugated case. Nothing could coax out a wallet more effectively than watching a bunch of 3- to 5-year-olds doing "downward dog" or emerging from a tuck into a "lion's breath" pose with a full-throttle "roar!"

Traversy and Strickland, who took a risk in their decision not to work with chain bookstores because the returns were killing their business, have now seen it pay off in spades. They bet on independent bookstores along with an innovative network of what they call "Stallholders," who sell books at fundraisers and book fairs much like the Avon ladies and Fuller Brush men of old. Traversy says, "Today Stallholding accounts for 20% of Barefoot's business globally and is the fastest growing channel of the business." This summer Barefoot Books also launched its first title for older readers, Little Leap Forward (Shelf Awareness, July 16, 2008), an illustrated novel inspired by author Gao Yue's childhood during China's Cultural Revolution. The publisher is definitely in expansion mode. Traversy says that they've had to go back to press on "too many titles to name," but especially gift items and board books since the store-within-the-toy-store opened (six weeks ago).--Jennifer M. Brown


BINC - Double Your Impact

Media and Movies

Movie: Body of Lies

Body of Lies, based on the novel by David Ignatius, opens today. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as a CIA agent tracking a terrorist in Jordan under the direction of an arrogant U.S. government official (Russell Crowe). The movie tie-in is available from Norton ($13.95, 9780393334296/0393334295).


G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers: The Best of Iggy by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

Media Heat: George Soros on the Credit Crisis

Tonight on 20/20: Bryan Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (Princeton University Press, $17.95, 9780691138732/0691138737), which recently was reissued in paperback with a new preface from the author.


On Sunday on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS: George Soros, author of The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means (PublicAffairs, $22.95, 9781586486839/1586486837).


On Sunday on 60 Minutes: Joaquin Garcia, author of Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family (Touchstone, $24.95, 9781416551638/1416551638).


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Books & Authors

Awards: Nobel Prize to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio

French author Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio has won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Swedish Academy cited Le Clézio as an "author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization." The new Nobel laureate will receive 10 million Swedish kronor (US$1.4 million) and be honored at an awards ceremony scheduled for December 10 in Stockholm.

The New York Times called Le Clézio an author "whose work reflects a seemingly insatiable restlessness and sense of wonder about other places and other cultures," adding that "Le Clézio’s work defies easy characterization, but in more than 40 essays, novels and children’s books, he has written of exile and self-discovery, of cultural dislocation and globalization, of the clash between modern civilization and traditional cultures. Having lived and taught in many parts of the world, he writes as fluently about North African immigrants in France, native Indians in Mexico and islanders in the Indian Ocean as he does about his own past."

"I am very happy, and I am also very moved because I wasn't expecting this at all," said Le Clézio. "Many other names were mentioned, names of people for whom I have a lot of esteem. I was in good company. Luck or destiny, or maybe other reasons, other motives, had it so that I got it. But it could have been someone else."

The Times also reported that "David R. Godine, one of a handful of publishers that have released Mr. Le Clézio’s works in English, plans to issue a paperback edition of The Prospector (translated from Le Chercheur d’Or in French) and plans to publish Désert in English."

Curbstone Press published Le Clézio's Wandering Star (translated by C. Dickson) in 2004, and described the book as "a deeply moving novel about a two young girls caught up in the turmoil of the Middle East, who aspire for peace--Esther, a Jewish girl who takes part in the founding of Israel, and Nejma, a Palestinian girl who becomes a refugee." Curbstone is distributed by Consortium.

The choice of Le Clézio may have been a surprise to some, but the Guardian, ever with its eye on the bookmakers, reported that "the odds on the French author winning had originally been 14/1, but Ladbrokes said that following a sustained gamble, they fell through 10/1, 8/1, 4/1 and 2/1 before Le Clézio closed as the odds-on 1/2 favourite. "It's the result we feared," said spokesman Nick Weinberg. 'Punters were convinced that Le Clézio's time had come and they were spot on.'"


Shelf Sample: A Cure for Night

Justin Peacock's debut novel, A Cure for Night, is a stunner (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385525800, September 2008)--a gritty and serious thriller about our legal system, our drug culture and our racism. Joel Deveraux is a rookie public defender in New York City attempting to redeem himself, or at least pay the rent, after leaving a corporate law firm in a cocaine scandal. He's assigned to be second chair in a case involving a black pot dealer from the projects accused of killing a white college student. He finds truth to be elusive in this somber story told with more substance than most in this genre. Peacock laces his prose with a dash of cynical humor; when a friend is surprised that a client would confess to a murder he didn't commit, Joel replies, "It happens more often than you'd think. Fourteen hours in the box with homicide cops isn't exactly a Socratic dialogue. Actually it sort of is a Socratic dialogue, only with threats taking the place of dialectic, and prison taking the place of enlightenment."

When Myra, the senior lawyer, and Joel unwind at a Park Slope bar after a trip to Rikers Island to see their client, Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" is playing on the jukebox. She says it's a great New York song and couldn't have been written about anywhere else. Joel replies:

"I think of it as less about a place than about a time of day. It's a four-in-the-morning song."

"That's true. Fitting for us, I guess, seeing as we have a four-in-the-morning job."

"A four a.m. job?" I said. "You mean because if our clients just went to bed at a reasonable hour, a lot of them wouldn't be in trouble?"

"That's what the criminal law is: it's how the day tries to correct the night's mistakes. Most of my cases, people have done something they never would've dreamed of doing in broad daylight."

"What does that make us?" I said. "The night's janitors?"

"We're absolutely that," Myra said, sipping her cosmo. "What else do we do but clean up after it? That's why we'll never run out of work. Not unless someone invents a cure for night."--Marilyn Dahl


Book Brahmins: Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig was born in Montana in 1939 and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. A recipient of a lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, he is the author of eight previous novels, most recently The Whistling Season, and three works of nonfiction, including This House of Sky. His latest book is The Eleventh Man, to be published October 18 by Harcourt. He lives in Seattle.

On your nightstand now:  

The King's English by Betsy Burton. Adventures in bookselling by Salt Lake City's La Pasionara of literature.

Favorite book when you were a child:  

Comic books. When we would come to town from ranch work on Saturday night, my dad would empty all the dimes and nickels out of his pocket, and I would race to the drugstore to buy "funny books." Funny or outlandish ("Amazing!" usually blood-red on the cover), they lit my imagination in the total absence of children's classics in our tumbleweed way of life. And I can still tell when a comic-strip cartoonist is vamping it and when the drawn lines thrum with blood from the heart.

Your top five authors:

William Faulkner, for the unvanquished audacity of his language and characterizations. Isak Dinesan: her delicately sly handling of magic and romance brings out the fabulous in human fables. Ismail Kadare, who outlasted the Iron Curtain nightmare that was Albania to give us such profoundly universal novels as Chronicle in Stone, The Palace of Dreams and The Three-Arched Bridge. Pablo Neruda, poet of Chile and the world, for showing us what an infinite prism is metaphor. Linda Bierds, blessed poet not of self but of selves, with an uncanny ability to rove history in bell-clear tones.

Book you've always meant to finish reading:  

Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer. This epic of political involvement during the apartheid era in South Africa is intricate at all levels and at its most intense and Dostoevskian, I tend to put the book down like something glowing mysteriously and vow to come back to it when it and I have cooled.

Book you're an evangelist for:  

The All of It by Jeannette Haien. It's a pocket miracle, partly an Irish A River Runs Through It, partly a love story of the most heart-aching sort, and thoroughly stunning in its command of language.

Book you've bought for the cover:  

Wind, Sand and Stars. The Paul Bacon Studio's 1967 paperback artwork for Antoine de Saint Exupery's meditations on flying, a lone small biplane in the center of the cover with a swatch of the Andes emerging above, still seems to be perfect. No way could I have guessed that Paul later would become part of American consciousness with a very different piece of art, that ever-rising shark on the cover of Jaws, and that starting with my first book, This House of Sky, his inimitable inventiveness would grace five of my covers.

Book that changed your life:  

Solitude by Anthony Storr. One of the oddest aspects of being a writer is having to sit around in your own head all the time, watching things flit through the twilight of the mind as you try to figure out--was that a bat that just flew past? Or the whispering ghost of Shakespeare? This Oxford clinical psychologist's validation of creative aloneness, "a valuable integrating process which, like meditation or prayer, has little to do with other people," brought me the relief and understanding that the lonesome work of writing is itself a legitimate companion.

Favorite line from a book:  

So many, so many. I'll stick with the opening line of A Farewell to Arms, perhaps not even Ernest Hemingway's best, but rhythmically sinuous enough that I always use it for a microphone check: "In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain towards the mountains."

Book that makes you sit up and ask, "Where did this come from?"

All the King's Men
by Robert Penn Warren. Grandee of Yale, prize-winning poet, Southern gentleman of letters, Warren used his witnessing of the Huey Long political regime in Louisiana to go on a spree of prose that anticipates Jack Kerouac, a decade ahead of On the Road. As a novel, King's Men tries to tell too many stories at once--it stops and broods at the drop of a vote, plotwise it's pretty much a mess--but on almost any given page, it makes you pop your eyelids and think, whoa, this is what writing can do?

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

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle. Maximally raunchy as it is, Doyle's tale of young Dublin layabouts tuning themselves up into a Motown-style band is a tour de force of dialogue. Beyond that, he brings off the terrific aural stunt of getting the sounds of the the Commitments and their female backup singers, the Commitmentettes, onto the page, music by way of the eye to ear. ("The horns:--DUUH—DU DUHH—DUUH DU DUHH—") Rapid magic, Brother Doyle.



Odd Dean or Fun Book Doppelgaenger?

Sharp-eyed reader Gretchen Wade caught the mistaken reference to "Stephen Koontz" in Robert Gray's column about "fun books" yesterday, but imaginative reader Mick Dolinski offered an alternative theory: "You may be on to something. You never do see Dean Koontz and Stephen King in the same room."


The Bestsellers

Mystery Booksellers' Top Titles in September

The following were the bestselling titles at member bookstores of the Independent Mystery Booksellers' Association during September:


1. The Given Day by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
2. Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs (Scribner)
3. The Laughter of Dead Kings by Elizabeth Peters (Morrow)
4. Blood Alone by James R. Benn (Soho)
5. Red Knife by William Kent Krueger (Atria)
5. Night Kills by Ann Littlewood (Poisoned Pen Press)
7. Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke (Harper)
7. Black Ship by Carola Dunn (St. Martin's)
7. Exit Music by Ian Rankin (Little, Brown)
7. The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer (Grand Central)

Trade Paperbacks

1. Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Plume)
2. Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder by Gyles Brandreth (Touchstone)
3. Voices by Arnaldur Indridson (Picador)
4. A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch (St. Martin's)
5. In the Woods by Tana French (Viking)
5. The Night Villa by Carol Goodman (Ballantine)
7. End Game by Michael Dibdin (Vintage)
7. The Chicago Way by Michael Harvey (Vintage)
7. The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird (Rue Morgue)
7. The Art Thief by Noah Charney (Washington Square)
7. The Last Refuge by Chris Knopf (Permanent Press)
Mass Market Paperbacks

1. Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
2. Sweet Revenge by Diane Mott Davidson (Harper)
3. The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin (Little, Brown)
3. Sorrow on Sunday by Ann Purser (Berkley)
5. Friends in High Places by Donna Leon (Penguin)
5. Night Work by Steve Hamilton (St. Martin's)
7. A Catered Christmas by Iris Crawford (Kensington)
7. Midnight Rambler by James Swain (Ballantine)
7. South of Hell by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
7. The Dead Place by Rebecca Drake (Pinnacle)
7. Furious Old Women by Leo Bruce (Academy of Chicago)

[Many thanks to IMBA!]


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