Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 20, 2008

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: The Night Is for Darkness by Jonathon Stutzman, illustrated by Joseph Kuefler and Greenwillow Books: Lone Wolf by Sarah Kurpiel

Forge: Lionhearts (Nottingham, 2) by Nathan Makaryk

Zonderkidz: Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Suicide House (A Rory Moore/Lane Phillips Novel #2) by Charlie Donlea

Del Rey Books: Malorie: A Bird Box Novel by Josh Malerman


Notes: Biblioburro, a Kick-Ass Mobile Library

The New York Times profiled Luis Soriano, the Colombian teacher whose weekend mobile library, Biblioburro, consists of Soriano, two donkeys named "Alfa" and "Beto" and about 4,800 books (many stored at his home). Soriano commented: "This began as a necessity; then it became an obligation; and after that a custom. Now it is an institution."


"Our main machinery is our hands. Technology can't do what we do," 74-year-old John Mankin, co-owner of Western Bookbinding Co., San Diego, Calif., told the Union-Tribune.

As book doctors, John and his wife, Ardis, repair thousands of tomes each year "as varied as torn children's books and generations-old Bibles that are so ragged, they're basically a mess of pages. They also bind new books as well as college dissertations, legal documents and family histories, among other requests."

"It's an art," John said. "I don't think you can come in and learn it tomorrow."


For a preview of and the ability to comment on the redesign of, click here. The bookseller is sharing its new design on Facebook and its "old" website.


Responding to our "best books that never existed" assignment (Shelf Awareness, October 16, 2008), reader Kim Pettit suggested Tom Riddle's diary, from the Harry Potter series, while Russ Harvey, formerly of Cody's Books, wrote, "Oh, the number of times I had to explain this! The Princess Bride is a novel by William Goldman. There is no S. Morgenstern. You can't read the full version because it doesn't exist. No, really . . ."

Peter Glassman of Books of Wonder children's bookstore, New York, N.Y., agreed: "The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern is the most sought after book that never was but is in literature that we've had requested over the years. You have no idea how difficult it is to convince people that it doesn't really exist! (In the category of titles and authors confused, the winner would be A Giraffe and a Half by Dr. Seuss--people will argue with us that they don't want the Shel Silverstein title, but rather the one by Dr. Seuss, even after we've explained that Dr. Seuss never wrote such a book!)."

Glassman's list of books that never also included The Red Book of Westmarch by Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee (from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien), Inkheart by Fenoglio (from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke), The Book of Three (from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Cycle) and Imaginarium Geographica (from Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owens).

And Glassman wondered about "books that one assumes aren't real, only to discover they are! In second grade, I fell in love with reading when I discovered Half Magic and the six other magic adventure books by Edward Eager. In each, the children in the book profess their love of books by the author E. Nesbit. I just assumed at the time that Eager had made her up. I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement when in fifth grade I discovered she was real when I came upon a copy of Five Children and It in my public library. And Eager (through the opinions of his characters) was right--she was, and is, a great writer!"


What began in the early 1990s as "a mission to find all the horror things we could and put them in one spot" became the genesis of Dark Delicacies Bookstore, Burbank, Calif., according to owner Del Howison, who was interviewed by Blogcritics Magazine.

Asked to compare horror books produced by the large publishers versus small presses, Howison said, "Good writing is good writing. Just because something has money behind it and is popular doesn't make it bad any more than some book from a small artsy press makes it worth reading. Horror thrives by all of these places producing--and the cream rising to the top."


The Rome, Ga., News-Tribune profiled Dogwood Books & Antiques and the shop's owner, Kenneth Studdard, who said, "I love books. I love the smell of a bookstore. . . . I look forward to coming to work every day. It's very peaceful."


Effective January 2, PGW will distribute Kalmbach Publishing Co., Waukesha, Wis., which publishes do-it-yourself bead and craft books, including jewelry-making, paper-craft and needle-art titles. In addition to the 35 books Kalmbach publishes annually, it has more than 200 backlist books, publishes 15 hobby magazines, including Art Jewelry, Bead&Button and BeadStyle, offers a variety of special-interest publications and hosts nearly 30 Web sites. It also puts on events and has TV partnerships.

In a statement, Linda Franzblau, Kalmbach's books marketing and trade sales manager, said, "Because PGW's core business is distributing books to the trade, we're confident they'll offer us new ideas and introduce us to opportunities that will help grow our bead and craft book line."

PGW has signed the following publishers, too:

  • Owlkids, a Toronto children's book publisher.
  • The Urantia Foundation, publisher of the bestselling Urantia Book.
  • Augustus Publishing, an urban fiction publisher best known for its Ghetto Girls series.
  • Already Done, which publishes cookbooks by Lucy "Lulu" Buffett, owner of LuLu's at Homeport Marina in Alabama and sister of Jimmy Buffett.



Atheneum Books: Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata, illustrated by Marianna Raskin

Cool Idea of the Day: Booksellers' State by State

In the tradition of Ecco's State by State, HarperCollins is soliciting essays about states from booksellers and will publish the best submissions in paperback next year. Part of the proceeds will go to the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

Essays should be about 2,500 words and be Word documents. The deadline is next February 1. Harper's Carl Lennertz offered this advice: "Take a look at some of the pieces in the book now to see the flavor of what we're looking for, O.K.? Warm up your Corona or # 2s before the holiday season hits.

"As you'll see, some authors once lived in the state they wrote about, or do now, but some were sent to the state for a first, fresh look. I don't think you have time for the latter, but really, anything goes. Include drawings!"

For questions, contact Lennertz at


University of Minnesota Press: Listening: Interviews, 1970-1989 by Jonathon Cott

Obituary Note: Mary Lou Didriksen

We're sad to note that Mary Lou Didriksen, owner with David Didriksen of Willow Books & Cafe, Acton, Mass., died last Thursday after what her family described as "a long and heroic struggle with breast cancer."  She was 55.

Services will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Acton. Because Didriksen loved them, flowers may be sent to the church. She may also be remembered by donations to:

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

BDS and Imagine: New Distributor Signs New Publisher

Rich Freese, former president of PGW, has become head of Atlas Books and BookMasters Distribution Services (BDS), a new division of BookMasters Inc., Ashland, Ohio. The reorganization is aimed at strengthening BMI's sales and distribution for independent publishers. At BookMasters, Matt Wurster will lead digital services, and Ray Sevin will continue as president of manufacturing. Atlas, which distributes smaller, more boutique publishers, will be run separately from BDS, which will focus on medium-sized and larger publishers.

The company sees BDS as "a one-stop shop for printing and binding, digitization, domestic and international sales and fulfillment." In a statement, BookMasters CEO Dave Wurster said: "Over the past 40 years, we have created a strong set of services around book production and distribution, and this new structure will reinforce these core operations. Adding Rich's experience and expertise is an outstanding opportunity for us to enhance our sales and distribution offering through print and digital channels across all market sectors."

In a sign of the times, BookMasters emphasized that it is funding the new division from cash flow and that it is not "a speculative startup."

Freese has begun hiring a sales and marketing staff for BDS that will be led by Jeremy Nurnberg, the new v-p of sales. Nurnberg was formerly v-p of trade and institutional sales at Sterling Publishing, now owned by Barnes & Noble, and will, BookMasters said, "bring his expertise in selling to the chains, independents, special sales and international markets."


BDS's first client publisher is Imagine Publishing, founded by Charles Nurnberg, former CEO of Sterling Publishing.

Imagine will publish titles that "cross over a multitude of subjects, including science and nature, music and art, sports and reference, and the magic of knowledge." Imagine has partnered with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary to form Peter Yarrow Books, whose first book will be The Marvelous Toy based on the song of the same name by Tom Paxton. Future titles will come from Yarrow and "many of his friends throughout the music world." Yarrow and Nurnberg worked together on Puff, the Magic Dragon, the 2007 bestselling book.

Yarrow commented: "It has been my dream to have an imprint of my own to create books and CDs with other singers, where they can find the kind of delight and pleasure I have experienced with Puff, the Magic Dragon. I'm hoping this work will bring music of caring, conscience and imagination to all."

Imagine's fall 2009 children's line will include Micro Mania: A Really Close-Up Look at Bacteria, Bedbugs, and the Zillions of Other Gross Little Creatures That Live In, On, and All Around You, If I Were Raised by a Dinosaur, Jumbo Jigsaw Storybooks (with six jigsaw puzzles included) and The Children's Solar Energy Book Even Grown-Ups Can Understand.

The adult list includes Rock & Roll: . . . and the Beat Goes On, with "Cousin Brucie" Morrow; two titles featuring the work of photographer Pete Oxford, Galapagos: The Other Side of the Coin by Graham Watkins, president of the Darwin Foundation (with a foreword by Prince Philip) and Spirit of the Huaorani: The Lost Tribe of the Amazon (with a foreword by Sting); The Human Genome by Dr. John Quackenbush, which is the first title in the Curiosity Guides series; and Delicious Diabetic Recipes: The Cookbook for a Healthy Life by Dr. Rani Polak.


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: John Grogan's Longest Trip Home

This morning on the Today Show: Amy Sedaris, author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Grand Central, $15.99, 9780446696777/0446696773).


Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Nobu and Thomas Buckley, authors of Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook (Kodansha International, $39.95, 9784770030801/4770030800).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Erin Prophet, author of Prophet's Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant (Lyons Press, $24.95, 9781599214252/1599214253).


Today on Fresh Air: Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (Penguin Press, $21.95, 9781594201455/1594201455).


Today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Vince Flynn, author of Extreme Measures: A Thriller (Atria, $27.95, 9780743270427/0743270428).


Tonight on Larry King Live: Tom Brokaw, author of Boom!: Talking About the Sixties: What Happened, How It Shaped Today, Lessons for Tomorrow (Random House, $18, 9780812975116/0812975111).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Eugene Jarecki, author of The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril (Free Press, $26, 9781416544562/1416544569).


Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in a repeat: Robert Wagner, author of Pieces of My Heart: A Life (HarperEntertainment, $25.95, 9780061373312/0061373311).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: John Grogan, author of The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061713248/0061713244).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey (Viking, $24.95, 9780670020744/0670020745).


Tomorrow on the View: John Lithgow, author of I Got Two Dogs (S&S Children's, $17.99, 9781416958819/1416958819).


Tomorrow on PBS: a special based on Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett (Thomas Dunne Books, $23.95, 9780312385132/0312385137).


Tomorrow night on Nightline: Irene Pepperberg, author of Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process (Collins, $23.95, 9780061672477/0061672475).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Christopher Buckley, author of Supreme Courtship (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446579827/0446579823).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Robert Kagan, author of The Return of History and the End of Dreams (Knopf, $19.95, 9780307269232/030726923X).


Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:


Two Marriages by Phillip Lopate (Other Press, $24.95, 9781590512982/1590512987). "Phillip Lopate has written two wonderful novellas portraying two marriages. Each couple is less than perfect but very real. These are not matches made in heaven, but matches made in reality or something very like it."--Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Ark.

Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba by Tom Gjelten (Viking, $27.95, 9780670019786/067001978X). "Using his journalist's eye and flair, Tome Gjelten tells the story of the Bacardi family, known world-wide for their rum but also key players in the century-long battle for Cuban independence. As the Bacardis developed their distinctly Cuban product, they also carried a strong sense of nationalism and were intimately tied to every revolutionary movement. The tale of this one family becomes a fascinating narrative of Cuba."--Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.


Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond (Harper, $13.95, 9780061568251/0061568252). "Hannah is a sweetheart, middle-aged elephant with bad feet who loves her trainer, doughnuts, her spare tire, and adventure movies. What she needs is to join fellow creatures in an elephant sanctuary, but what the zoo manager wants is to exploit her to make more money. You will fall in love with the many quirky but lovable characters in this wonderful read!"--Leslie Hakala, Best of Times Bookstore, Red Wing, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8

The Doghouse by Jan Thomas (Harcourt, $12.95, 9780152065331/0152065334). "What will Cow, Pig, Duck, and Mouse do when their kickball goes into the dreaded doghouse? They nominate each other to go in and get it! The expressions on the animals' faces alone are well worth the price of the book."--Teresa Huggins, Blue Elephant Book Shop, Decatur, Ga.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: Dark Water

Dark Water: Flood and Redemption in the City of Masterpieces by Robert Clark (Doubleday Books, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780767926485, October 2008)

Dante, Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, geniuses all, called Firenze home (until their fellow Florentines ordered them to leave for one reason or another). Their legacies and work stayed behind, forever glories of the Florence that has been a destination for tourists and art-lovers since the mid-19th century. Robert Clark views Firenze and Florence as two distinct universes occupying the same physical locale--Florentines go about their daily lives and the art pilgrims come, look and depart, while each group pays little or no attention to the other. But on November 4, 1966, the River Arno overflowed its banks to devastate both Firenze and Florence: 33 Florentines died; whole neighborhoods stood under 15 feet of water, mud and debris; and, the city's vast collections of painting, sculpture and books were severely damaged or destroyed.

In interviews with those who lived through the flood and those who arrived to assist the city's recovery, Clark has gathered openhearted accounts that provide the necessary human dimension to the headline-grabbing stories of priceless masterpieces in peril. Overwhelmed by the very idea of the flood, he writes, "They hadn't reckoned with its power, energy or force: the weight of millions of gallons of water at sixty pounds to a mere square foot. Still less had they considered its residuum, its spent remains, the skin it sloughed off as it oozed away--muck, sewage, heating oil, and soil gathered from here to Falterona--which resembled nothing so much as merda, shit."

The heart of the book addresses the enormous amount of time, money and technical expertise required to salvage the treasures of Florence. The sheer number of damaged art works and books (including 321 panel paintings and 6,000 illuminated manuscripts) is mind-boggling. To illustrate the challenges Florence faced, Clark focuses on the 10-year-long restoration of The Crucifix (Crocifisso) by Cimabue (celebrated as "the first page of Italian art" by Giorgio Vasari in The Lives of the Artists) and contrasts it with the fate of Vasari's own The Last Supper. How we regard the choices of what is saved and what is sacrificed is profoundly personal, Clark concludes.

When Clark at last sees the restored Cimabue Crocifisso and Vasari's neglected The Last Supper (just beginning its restoration after 40 years), he is as overwhelmed as he was by the idea of the flood; his sense of devastation and ambivalence in their physical presence surprises him and further humanizes this monumental story of art saved from the grave and the people who were the rescuers.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: Dark Water will bring great pleasure to lovers of Florence, art-conservation buffs and even aficionados of extreme weather.


AuthorBuzz: Revell: An Appalachian Summer by Ann H. Gabhart
AuthorBuzz: Radius Book Group: The 24-Hour Soup Kitchen: Soul-Stirring Lessons in Gastrophilanthropy by Stephen Henderson
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