Shelf Awareness for Friday, October 24, 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

Bunch of Grapes Sold, to Reopen in Temporary Spot Next Month

Good news from Martha's Vineyard: Bunch of Grapes bookstore, wrecked by fire on July 4, has been sold and will reopen next month in temporary quarters, the Martha's Vineyard Gazette reported. Jon Nelson had been planning to sell the store before the fire.

The new owner is Vineyard Haven resident Dawn Braasch, described by the paper as having "run a multimillion dollar trucking firm, started a successful catering company, taught preschool in Chilmark and South Carolina, and worked for a year as the events coordinator at the Bunch of Grapes" before the fire.

Braasch has signed a lease with Ann Nelson, Bunch of Grapes's longtime owner, who still owns the building. She said that Nelson is acting as a consultant. They hope to re-open the store in its original building before the summer next year.

The temporary store will have about 650 square feet of space and include what Braasch called "the best of what we had in the main store: bestsellers, Island books, children's books, along with the top categories of what we sold the most of in the main bookstore, and cards, magazines and newspapers."

Braasch promised to maintain the store's breadth and depth of books but may make some changes to the interior so that Bunch of Grapes "will be a place that people will come and browse and stay and relax, with some seating, really comfortable chairs, a sofa, a place people will be proud of."

Braasch thanked many in the industry for their help, including publishers, the ABA, NEIBA and others. She went to the Paz booksellers school recently.

 


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


Notes: Fun Bookselling; Buffett Book Bonanza

Yes, Virginia, there is a Fun Books Bookshop. In response to Robert Gray's most recent column (Shelf Awareness, October 23, 2008) proposing--with tongue planted firmly in cheek--a FunReads Bookshop, Nicki Leone of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance points out "there is a bookstore [and SIBA member] out there that was started just for laughs. Please let me introduce you to A Sense of Humor, Asheville, N.C."

And how did Asheville get A Sense of Humor? According to the owners, "Once upon a time, in the weirdest town in America, a woman had an idea for a shop where she could wear her favorite smart-as . . . um, smart-alecky little tee shirts and funky high-tops. The woman was afraid to take the entrepreneurial plunge, but her husband encouraged, inspired and finally convinced her they could succeed. They figured it would have to be a fun place, and that people would have to have a good sense of humor to come in and enjoy all the alarmingly funny stuff crammed into it.

"That was the 'A-ha! Why not?' moment that gave birth to A Sense of Humor. . . . Oh . . . and just where is the weirdest town in America, you ask? Asheville, N.C., and we can prove it: Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed us the New Freak Capital in America back in 2000. Nothing's changed. And that's what makes opening a store that celebrates having fun at our fellow man's expense so easy. All we have to do is poke our heads out our door and see enough inspiration for a week's worth of blog entries. "

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Jacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times' book blog, reported that last month, members of the Illinois Library Association "held their own version of 'Project Runway,' a fashion show where books were the theme, and sometimes, the materials (as were microfilm and CDs)." See "Style from the Stacks" videos as well as photos of the event.

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The fact that Warren Buffett's name has been invoked constantly during the recent economic meltdown should come as no surprise to the book world. USA Today reported that the financial guru "keeps an army of book writers busy and the publishing industry hungry for more. There are 47 books in print, according to Books in Print, that have Buffett's name in the title. . . . To publishers, the 78-year-old Buffett has been hot for more than 15 years, and is gaining momentum."

Buffett's personal favorite is The Essays of Warren Buffett--edited by Larry Cunningham--which he called "a coherent rearrangement of ideas from my annual report letters."

Buffett was also the subject of a recent biography written with his cooperation, The Snowball by Alice Schroeder (Shelf Awareness, September 29, 2008).

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Hachette Book Group has merged two imprints it created last year--Orbit, the SFF imprint, and Yen Press, the manga and graphic novel imprint--into a new division that will be called Orbit. Tim Holman, who helped set up Orbit, has been appointed v-p and publisher of the new division. Kurt Hassler, publishing director of Yen Press, will continue in that role as well as take on responsiblities shared with co-publishing director Rich Johnson, who is leaving the company. In addition, Alex Lencicki has been appointed marketing and publicity director for the new division.

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John Fagan, v-p, director of marketing, Penguin Books, executive director, academic marketing and sales, and marketing director, eBooks, has also been named marketing director of Plume and Hudson Street Press Books. Before joining Penguin in 2000, he held various sales and marketing positions at Random House for 13 years. He began his book career as a bookseller at the University of Pittsburgh.

Liz Keenan has been named publicity director of Plume and Hudson Street Press Books. She was formerly associate director of publicity for both imprints. She worked at the Free Press before joining Penguin in 2005.

 


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


Obituary Notes: Patricia Tegtmeier, John Hughes

Sadly we learned from the Anchorage Daily News that Patricia Tegtmeier, owner of A Novel View bookstore, Anchorage, Alaska, died yesterday. The store will be closed indefinitely, her husband, Matt, indicated.

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John Hughes, longtime owner of Pic-A-Book and the City News Agency, Spartanburg, S.C., died on Wednesday, according to the Spartanburg Herald Journal, which has a detailed, personal obituary. He was 87.

 


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


Legacy Books Launches in the Longhorn State

Customers will be spoilt for choice when Legacy Books opens tomorrow in Plano, Tex., a suburb of Dallas. Approximately 100,000 titles line the shelves in this 24,000-sq. ft., two-level store located in the Shops at Legacy. Next to the retail complex is a business park with 40,000 employees, and 3,500 residents occupy neighboring apartments and townhouses.

Legacy Books, in the making for a year and a half, was built from the ground up. Among its highlights are a café and patio, a demonstration kitchen, a children's section with its own events and reading space, a mezzanine devoted to genre fiction and a business section with a wi-fi bar. "It's a beautiful store," said managing partner Teri Tanner, "but the most critical thing I would like people to notice is our service and our selection."

Undertaking such a huge venture during an economic downturn isn't dampening Tanner's enthusiasm. In fact, she said, as many people become wary of corporate America, "It's a great time to open a local, independent business. There's such heightened awareness on keeping your dollars within your community and on how companies are run."

A Texas native, Tanner began her retail career in specialty apparel but found her niche in books. The main difference between the two businesses "is the ability to connect with a customer on a much more personal level--buying a white T-shirt or a red sweater versus buying a book that will help you teach your child how to read," she said. Prior to opening Legacy Books, Tanner worked in various roles at Borders Group, including regional director and director of human resources for stores. She has also been a general manager and district manager for Barnes & Noble.

Local scribes are headlining Legacy Books' nine days of grand opening festivities, which begin November 7, including Dallas resident Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic's Daughter, and Grady Spears, a North Texas restaurateur and author of The Texas Cowboy Kitchen. A preview event is taking place on October 29 with designer Isaac Mizrahi, who will promote his new book, How to Have Style.

A minimum of three events per week will be held at the store, including some with cookbook authors, who can use the 300-sq.-ft. demonstration kitchen to show off their culinary skills. In addition, cooking classes will begin in January, occasionally led by a staffer who is a pastry chef. Tanner also plans to host a jazz brunch on Sundays.

Asked how long she has been working on developing Legacy Books, Tanner said, "I would say probably 25 years, watching and listening to customers and booksellers." That research has led her to keep the focus on books and not carry higher-end gift items. "We'll carry some very nice things that complement books," said Tanner, such as reading glasses, under-$20 travel bags and recipe holders. "Our goal is to be able to have a product that is better than anyone else's and a staff that can talk to you about it no matter what subject you're looking for," she added. "In my 20-something years of retail experience, when you take your eye off of what your specialty is and get too far away from your core business, you almost always tend to see companies struggle a little bit."

Customers will soon be taking stock of Legacy Books and its offerings, perusing its bountiful shelves and sipping glasses of wine in the café. "I'm so excited," said Tanner, who seemed remarkably composed mere days before the store's opening. "This should probably be the most stressful time, but we still laugh at the end of every day. That's when you know you're in the right business and you're around the right people."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Charlesbridge Publishing: Sumokitty by David Biedrzycki


SoCal Booksellers Revel in Book Awards and Author Feast

From the beginning of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association one-day trade show and author feast last weekend it was obvious that the booksellers, librarians, teachers and other publishing types who came to the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles were ready to leave economic worries behind, learn a few things, enjoy each other's company and rub elbows with a plethora of authors.

The luncheon speakers set the upbeat tone of the show. Loren Long confessed that he never thought himself a smart kid and spoke about how he went from being a children's book illustrator (working with the likes of Madonna) to creating his own story in Drummer Boy (Philomel), his first as author/illustrator.

Then Dorothea Benton Frank, known for Sullivan's Island and about to publish her 10th book in 10 years, confessed that she didn't start writing until she was 43. Her latest, The Christmas Pearl (Morrow), grew out of a fantasy about how the matriarch of her Southern family would deal with her New Jersey husband's family's descent on their home every holiday.

Brandon Sanderson, author of Alcatraz Verses the Scrivener's Bones (Scholastic), said that he told a junior high school teacher he didn't like to read books about kids his age because "they're all about boys with dogs and then the dogs die." The teacher told him to "go to the card catalogue and look up dragons and you'll be all right." He was.

"I can't remember a half hour I have enjoyed more," effused Jamie Lee Curtis, rounding out the luncheon program. "Why isn't there a creativity channel?" she asked. Curtis confessed that she was never a good student and was supposed just to look cute in a bathing suit, make people laugh and certainly not be an author. "You're the gatekeepers, and you let me in?"

Then, after first making sure that the one child in attendance--SCIBA executive director Jennifer Bigelow's 13-year-old daughter--had left for a soccer game, the actress belted out: "How the fuck did I get here?" (Apparently the author of Big Words for Little People knows that some little words are not for little people.)

Curtis, who did look cute in a simple, but elegant sleeveless gray dress, made everyone laugh as she talked about an unplanned life that happened to include a husband and children and a comment made by her then four-year-old daughter that became When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth. Ever since then, Curtis has kept a red notebook--which she held up--to jot down ideas for her books. In summation, Curtis echoed the other speakers who thanked the independent booksellers, librarians and teachers, who do the most important work of placing books in children's hands.

The table-top trade show bustled all afternoon, with reps picks and author signings (hey, that's Dean Koontz in the back of the room), followed by a cocktail reception on the floor, the author's feast and SCIBA Book Awards.

Paul Cimusz, retail territory manager at Baker & Taylor, emceed the awards. Winners: for children's picture book, The Pout Pout Fish by Dan Hanna (FSG); children's novel, Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey (HarperCollins); nonfiction, Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes, a cookbook by Jeanne Kelley (Running Press); and fiction, City of Thieves by David Benioff (Viking). Last year the SCIBA renamed its mystery award after T. Jefferson Parker--who has won the award many times--and the native son was on hand to present the award to Joseph Wambaugh for Hollywood Crows (Little, Brown).

The winners kept their remarks brief. Kelley thanked her 10th grade English teacher, who happened to be in the room, and pointed to Sedlen Edwards, a featured feast author of The Little Book (Dutton). Benioff, who is also known for his screenwriting work (Troy, The Kite Runner), commented that his 10th grade English teacher was not there mostly because he was "a prick." Benioff, who published another novel before City of Thieves, thanked the independent booksellers for handselling his books and then announced: "Let's drink."

That is exactly how SCIBA always ends, with booksellers--Vroman's and Book Soup staffers were out in force--mingling in the hotel bar with authors. True to his word, Benioff stuck around and casually mentioned having become a new father (he didn't mention that his wife is Amanda Peet). Benioff was seen drinking with featured feast authors Stewart O'Nan, author of Songs for the Missing (Viking), and Jordan Mechner, author of Prince of Persia (a graphic novel from First Second Books). What were the three men discussing so intently? "Screenwriting," said Mechner.

This is, after all, Tinseltown.--Bridget Kinsella

 


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


Media and Movies

Movies: The Road Hits the Road to 2009

The Road, adapted from Cormac McCarthy's bestselling novel, will not premiere November 14 as originally scheduled, but will be moved to next year instead. According to Variety, the film's producers, Marc Butan and Nick Wechsler, released a statement saying that "the film simply won't be ready in time to release in 2008. Depicting McCarthy's post-apocalyptic tale involves an incredible amount of visual effects and we want to make sure to give this beautiful movie the time it needs to be perfected."
 
Variety suggested that "DreamWorks and Paramount Vantage are likely breathing a big sigh of relief, since they have Revolutionary Road [based on the Richard Yates novel] opening on Dec. 26. Can you imagine the confusion?"

"Hi, I'd like to buy a ticket for The Road."
"You mean Revolutionary Road?"
"I guess."

This follows last week's announcement that The Soloist--from the book by Steve Lopez--would be rescheduled to March 2009 (Shelf Awareness, October 21, 2008).

 


Media Heat: Kerwin Swint's Mudslingers

This morning on the Today Show, for a segment on pet medications: Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author of The Well-Adjusted Dog (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780618833788/0618833781).

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Today on Martha Stewart: Matthew Van Fleet, author of Alphabet (S&S/Wiseman, $19.99, 9781416955658/1416955658) and Dog (S&S/Wiseman, $14.99, 9781416941378/1416941371).

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Today on the View, in a segment on dirty campaigns: Kerwin Swint, author of Mudslingers: The Twenty-Five Dirtiest Political Campaigns of All Time (Union Square Press, $12.95, 9781402757365/1402757360).

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Today on Oprah: David Wroblewski, author of the current book club pick, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (Ecco, $25.95, 9780061768064/0061768065).

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Scott McClellan, author of What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485566/1586485563). On Saturday, McClellan is also on the debut broadcast of CNN's D.L Hughley Breaks the News. (Already the show announced that during the taping the former Bush White House press secretary said he would vote for Obama.)

 


Books & Authors

Al Roker's Final Kids Pick for 2008: The Tale of Despereaux

On Wednesday, Al Roker announced his latest and final pick of 2008 on the Today Show Book Club for Kids, The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering (Candlewick, hardcover, $17.99, 9780763617226/0763617229; paperback, $7.99, 9780763625290/0763625299). DiCamillo's middle-grade novel, which won the 2004 Newbery Medal, stars a mouse who, unlike his furry kin, prefers reading books to eating them, and winds up in a once-upon-a-tale adventure of his own. The feature film inspired by the novel releases for Christmas on December 19.
 
DiCamillo's live interview to discuss the book on the Today Show is tentatively scheduled for Friday, December 12. To find out more, click here.

 


Book Brahmin: Mark Barrowcliffe

Mark Barrowcliffe grew up in Coventry, England, and worked as a stand-up comedian before writing his first novel, Girlfriend 44. He has written two other comic novels, Lucky Dog and Infidelity for First-Time Fathers. His new book, The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange, will be published next month by Soho Press. Learn more about this memoir about a D&D addicted youth at elfishgene.com. Barrowcliffe lives in Brighton, England, with his wife.

On your nightstand now:

The poetic Edda translated by Henry Adams Bellows. This is a collection of old Norse poems recounting the Viking myths. I'm reading it because I'm writing a fantasy novel at the moment and it forms the basis of that. If it was good enough for Tolkien, it's good enough for me. Also I have various distracting books on physical fitness and fencing theory, which I read in the hope they will transform me into a potential Olympian. It might work; when I was a child, I read a story about a kid who had a pair of magic soccer boots. I wonder if they do them in my size.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Very young it would be Binkle and Flip, a tale of two bad bunnies by Enid Blyton, and Brer Rabbit. I found both very funny. When I was around 10, I was lucky enough to discover P.G. Wodehouse--my mum had a copy of The Code of the Woosters. I can still recall the pain of my first reading to this day. On a number of occasions I had to throw the book behind the sofa because I honestly feared I would die laughing if I read another word. Marvel comics had a huge impact on me, particularly Spidey, Thor and Dr. Strange.

Your top five authors:

P.G. Wodehouse, Jane Austen, Martin Amis--when he sticks to the romantic comedy knitting--Damon Runyon, Raymond Chandler, Alan Bennett. Runyon and Chandler will have to count as one, which is ridiculous, but I want six!

Chandler went to the same school as P.G. Wodehouse in London. A low chance of the annual short story prize for the other pupils, clearly. It would have been possible to be at that school, be a hugely talented author and come away with the idea that you were rubbish if you had those two sitting next to you.

Book you've faked reading:

Most of Shakespeare and nearly all of Dickens. I never seem to get round to it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Dirty Tricks by Michael Dibdin. I never liked his detective stuff as it was too downbeat for me. This, however, was a real scream, really funny about someone who accidentally murders his way to the top.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Too many, but The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing stands out. I bought it when I was 11, under the impression it was a fantasy novel. How I formed that impression, I do not know. I can't believe I even read the blurb on the back. "Golden Notebook, must be about wizards," was roughly how my thinking went. I still have it, and I still haven't read this feminist classic over 30 years later.

Book that changed your life:

Three, but part of a set--Men and Magic, Monsters and Treasure and The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. That was the original White Box D&D. That's when I realized that reality really didn't have what I was looking for. Eldritch Wizardry, Supplement III as well. All my friends wanted to be Psionics but I wanted to be a Druid. I realized how very different we were.

Favorite line from a book:

"[Aunt Agatha's] demeanor was now rather like that of one who, picking daisies on the railway, has just caught the down express in the small of the back."--P.G. Wodehouse in The Inimitable Jeeves.

Closely followed by "Face it Tiger . . .You just hit the jackpot!"--Said by Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spiderman 42.

And, of course: "It was the morning of my eighty first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the Archbishop had come to see me."--Anthony Burgess in Earthly Powers. Now that is how to start a novel.

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

Herman Hesse's The Glass Bead Game. That way I can stop on page one and not force my way through the whole thing again. It would have been easier to have eaten a glass bead game than to have read it.

Favorite fantasy novel:

A tough one because my tastes have changed since I was a kid. Then I would have said The Lord of the Rings, no contest. Now I'm looking for something a bit spookier and stranger, but I haven't seen anything exactly like I'd want to read and so I'm writing one.

If I had to pick one, I'd say A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. Knocks Harry Potter into a cocked conical hat. I'd like to pick The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, but that's not really fantasy. You gotta have at least a vampire or a werewolf for fantasy and, let's be honest, preferably a wizard and a couple of dragons.

 



Book Review

Mandahla: The Love We All Wait For

The Love We All Wait for by Lee Doyle (Komenar Publishing, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780981727103, September 2008)



Lee Doyle has written an engaging, and sometimes dark, coming-of-age story set in the Salinas Valley in 1975. Sheila O'Connor is 17, still mourning the death of her father six years ago, and her mother is about to remarry, to Sheila's dismay. Her little sister, Annie, loves her mother's fiancé, her older brother, Josh, has joined the Marines, and her relationship with best friend, Ingrid, has hit a rocky patch. Classic situations, and in Doyle's confident prose, fresh and unsentimental.

When Josh enlists, Sheila feels that her only ally has deserted her, and she clings to memories of her father, a teacher and a hard drinker who lost a bet with a train late one night. She is drifting away from Ingrid, whose mother, Betty Rodriquez, is continually praying for her daughter, suspicious about her social life, i.e., promiscuity; Ing's father is the police chief and tells Sheila that he counts on her to be a good influence. Sheila allows him the small comfort of agreeing, but knows that she can do nothing to stop her friend's behavior.

Sheila's life takes a sudden twist when she meets Buck Hanson, a good-looking young drifter and Vietnam vet, who takes a job working at the local produce farm owned by George Fratti, her new stepfather. Sensing trouble, George and the police chief run Buck out of town, "ruining" Shelia's life. The real turning point, however, is not her father's death, her mother's remarriage or Buck's leaving; when it happens, her decision is 17-year-old predictable: "I'd drive to Mexico, through Central and South America. I'd find a job. I'd save up and take a boat to Africa, then Australia. I'd learn the languages and break a few hearts. Daddy and Buck would have nothing on me."

Lee Doyle has a way with characters and an equally deft way of describing the Valley landscape, where it's hot and dry, and eyes are always squinting against the sun and the wind. "The soles of my flip-flops seemed soft when they made contact with the pavement. The air was dense, resistant to movement." Later the wind would blow through the valley to wash away the dust, the metallic odor of pesticides and the "shivering smell" of the steer ranch in the foothills. When Josh leaves town, the quiet of the Sunday morning "was like an ache I couldn't quite locate. It was in the haggard slump of buildings. In the stark, lonely quality of the light."

Sheila thinks she can make her way through the world while taking care of her loved ones, but she finds she can't change people. Instead, she learns how to deal with abandonment, how to survive pain and how to grow from her experiences, finding joy in the midst of sorrow.--Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: Lee Doyle has written a lovely, affecting coming-of-age novel of one girl's transformation in the face of sadness and loss.

 


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