Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 6, 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: Newspaper Bestsellers; Graphic Novels Website

Good news for the embattled newspaper industry (for one day, at least). The Washington Post reported that "in this twittering, pod casting, screen-viewing, digital age, the morning after America's historic presidential election found hundreds of people clamoring for something a bit more old-fashioned and tangible: extra copies of the morning paper."

The Post, which had printed 30% more copies and sold out within hours, also noted that "shortly after they opened the bookstore, employees at the Dupont Circle bookstore Kramerbooks & Afterwords styled hats that said, 'Yes, we are out of the Post and NYT!'"

In Colorado, the Associated Press (via the Examiner) reported that Tattered Cover Book Store manager Ernie Garrison "ordered hundreds of extra copies of the New York Times to meet demand. Some of his customers had been driving around looking in vain for newspapers at grocery stores and convenience stores. He says demand for actual printed news hadn't been this strong since the Sept. 11 attacks."


The Book Report Network, whose flagship website is, plans to launch later this month. The new website will be edited by John Hogan, former editor of Pages magazine and a lifetime fan of comics and graphic novels. will feature reviews, interviews, news, opinions, blogs, bestseller and "Best of" lists as well as Books Into Movies and Books Into Movies on DVD features. Because the audience for this market is diverse, the site will include content for adults, kids and teens. In addition, reviews and features targeting teens and kids will be posted simultaneously on and

In a statement, the company noted that the new site "will give readers of graphic novels what they've been waiting for--a fresh, in-depth look at these books and their creators. It's a website designed for those who love the many genres within the format--and those who are curious as to what the excitement of these titles is all about."

"We have been following the phenomenal growth in this market for the past year and are excited and energized by the opportunity to showcase these titles and creators to our readers," said Carol Fitzgerald, president of the Book Report Network. "We have been impressed by the market's double digit growth--and the commitment from librarians and educators who are embracing graphic novels in record numbers, as well as interest from booksellers. The site will deliver content that attracts and engages those already devoted to the format as well as those who are new to this exciting medium."


As the country settled into a state of post-election reflection, the Associated Press wondered about publishers' interest in a book by George W. Bush. The consensus advice for the soon-to-be former U.S. president: "Take your time."

"If I were advising President Bush, given how the public feels about him right now, I think patience would probably be something that I would encourage," said Paul Bogaards, executive director of publicity for Knopf.

"Certainly the longer he waits, the better," agreed Marji Ross, president and publisher of Regnery Publishing.

"I think any success will depend to a very large extent on the book," added Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs. "Ronald Reagan was a very popular president, but his memoir was a breathtakingly boring book. It reflected nothing of the kind of charm and intelligence and wit Reagan showed in public. If George Bush wrote a book that was in any significant way revealing, it could be very interesting."
Author Curtis Sittenfeld, whose novel American Wife was inspired by First Lady Laura Bush, observed, "Personally, I would find a memoir by President Bush resistible."


Yesterday sold a signed first edition of The Audacity of Hope for $2,495 and seven other signed Barack Obama books for $1,000 or more.'s Richard Davies reported that the President-elect's "signed books have been highly priced for a long time now, but people have not been put off by four-figure price tags."


"Bookspotting," a regular feature of the New Yorker's Book Bench blog, involves street observations of the city's more biblio-minded folks. Tuesday's Bookspotting: Election Day Special showcased New York City booklovers at the polls and was later updated with contributions from readers nationwide to "help us build an electoral map of books across the country."


In other presidential news, the Guardian's pop quiz asked, "How much do you know about White House residents in literature?"


Flame Tree Publishing: Detective Mysteries Short Stories by Various Authors

AAP Book Sales: Declines for September, Year-to-Date

In September, net sales decreased 2% to $1.062 billion for 80 publishers that reported to the Association of American Publishers. Net sales for the year through September have fallen 1.5% to $7.718 billion.

Sales of selected categories:
E-books jumped 77.8% to $5.1 million.
Children's/YA hardcover increased 41.9% to $119.8 million.
Higher education rose 18.4% to $338.2 million.
Professional and scholarly edged up 6.8% to $60.5 million.
University press paperbacks gained 4.4% to $6.5 million.
Adult hardcover fell 29.8% to $173.3 million.
Children's/YA paperback declined 19.1% to $51.5 million.
El-Hi dropped 17.6% to $325.1 million.
Audiobooks decreased 12.3% to $18.7 million.
Religious books fell 11.8% to $76.8 million.
Adult paperback decreased 8.6% to $134.7 million.
Adult mass market dropped 8.3% to $67.4 million.
University press hardcovers slid 3.6% to $6.3 million.

BINC - Double Your Impact

Obituary Note: Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton, author of many bestselling novels, including Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain, died Tuesday. He was 66.

In the New York Times, Charles McGrath described Crichton as "a kind of cyborg, tirelessly turning out novels that were intricately engineered entertainment systems. No one--except possibly Mr. Crichton himself--ever confused them with great literature, but very few readers who started a Crichton novel ever put it down."

Crichton was working on another novel during his illness, but Variety reported, "HarperCollins’ Jonathan Burnham said that it was unknown whether the book could be published posthumously, since the writer never discussed his work before it was completed. 'He was truly a unique talent,' Burnham said. 'A visionary thinker, a writer whose range of intellectual passion and curiosity was vast and a great and generous entertainer.'"


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

'Is Obama Good for Books?'

As our addictive reading of,, and abates and we can finally start to relax a bit, it's time to consider a question posed last night at a delightful party celebrating the relaunch of Collins at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In conversation, Hillel Italie, the books correspondent of the AP, wondered, "Is Obama good for books?"

Happily the immediate answer seems to be yes. For one, the President-elect is the author of two bestselling titles, which are again in great demand (see news items above). As the subject of books, Obama hasn't churned much in the way of sales except for the highly negative biography by Jerome Corsi. Surely he'll generate a lot more ink over time. Further, Barack Obama and his entourage seem to be readers so that perhaps in the Clinton mode, there will be a lot of title name dropping that sparks interest in specific books. Obama should be expected to support budget initiatives that help library collections and textbooks as well as more general policies that promote books--even at a time when the budget is busted. And books should take a major role in the ongoing debates that are expected about the many issues confronting the country, from the economy and health care to the environment and how to deal with the rest of the world, among others.

Perhaps the election results make us too starry-eyed, but this all seems especially, um, hopeful at a time when some publishers are trimming staff, retailers of all kinds are worried about the holiday season and it's widely rumored that the bookselling chains are cutting orders across the board by half.

By the way, we met and heard from some interesting Collins authors, including appropriately dapper Roger Moore, whose new memoir, My Word Is My Bond, is just appearing; Robert Sullivan, author of The Thoreau You Don't Know, which made us want to know more; Tori Murden McClure, author of I Had to Row Across the Ocean, who looked fit enough to do that rowing quickly; Joy Bauer ("Bauer as in Jack"), whose Joy's Life Diet appears next spring and seemed a live and lively advertisement for the efficacy of healthy eating; and identical twins Logan and Noah Miller, whose upcoming book recounts the film they made about their late father that starred Ed Harris--who was also at the party.--John Mutter


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Too Fat to Fish

Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Artie Lange, author of Too Fat to Fish (Spiegel & Grau, $24.95, 9780385526562/0385526563).


On NPR's Weekend Edition: Christopher Buckley, author of Supreme Courtship (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446579827/0446579823).


On Sunday on 60 Minutes: Ted Turner, author of Call Me Ted (Grand Central, $30, 9780446581899/0446581895).


This Weekend on Book TV: Author Barack Obama Redux

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, November 8

8 a.m. Michael Crichton, who died Tuesday, spoke about science policy during a 2005 talk hosted by the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. His fictional account of the politics behind global warming studies, State of Fear (Avon, $7.99, 9780061015731/0061015733), had recently been published. (Re-airs Saturday at 11 p.m.)
2 p.m. Nena Baker, author of The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being (North Point Press, $24, 9780865477070/0865477078), contends that the chemical make-up of many products may be responsible for serious health problems.

7 p.m. At an October 2006 event at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Mass., Bob Herbert of the New York Times interviewed Senator (and now President-elect) Barack Obama about his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Three Rivers Press, $14.95, 9780307237705/0307237702), as well as his possible run for the presidency.
8 p.m. Joseph Galloway and Harold Moore, co-authors of We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam (Harper, $24.95, 9780061147760/0061147761), talk about accompanying 10 veterans on their return to Vietnam to meet some of the former Viet Cong soldiers they fought. (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Geoffrey Canada, president and CEO of the Harlem's Children's Zone, interviews Marian Wright Edelman, author of The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation (Hyperion, $19.95, 9781401323332/1401323332). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Monday at 12 a.m.)

Sunday, November 9

8:30 p.m. Howard Blum, author of American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century (Crown, $24.95, 9780307346940/0307346943), recounts the bombing of the Los Angeles Times building on October 1, 1910.

10 p.m. For an interview taped in 2004, then Senator-elect Barack Obama discussed his memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (Three Rivers Press, $14.95, 9781400082773/1400082773), and the challenges he expected to face when he took his Senate seat in January 2005.


Books & Authors

Children's Book Review: Alan's War

Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope by Emmanuel Guibert, translated from the French by Kathryn Pulver (Roaring Brook/First Second, $16.95 paper, 9781596430966/1596430966, 336 pp., ages 14-up, November 2008)

Relating the experiences of Alan Cope as a graphic novel memoir, Guibert (Sardine in Outer Space) adopts a conversational tone that makes readers feel as if they are overhearing the G.I.'s memories of World War II, both humorous and poignant. Guibert met Alan Cope "by chance" in 1994, when the former G.I. was 69 and Guibert was 30, and Cope began to relate his experiences to the graphic novelist. We watch Alan grow up on the page just after he is drafted in 1943 at the tender age of 18. Having only ever ridden a bicycle, the first thing Alan learns to drive is an army tank. Elements of the book may remind older readers of Catch 22, as when Alan's crew must wait two months after their arrival in Europe because the army has "misplaced" their weapons and vehicles.
Guibert uses this format to great effect, emulating the soldier's feelings of claustrophobia, for instance, when a 300-pound fellow soldier is sleeping above him. And when Alan attempts to descend from a barn's hayloft and discovers too late that there's no ladder to support him, Guibert divides the panels and employs the page turn to build optimal suspense leading up to the soldier's fall. The artist also evokes the awe-inspiring views for this young American seeing Europe for the first time ("We don't have villages like that where I come from. They were charming--tree-lined streets, fields, farms . . . everything was different and fascinated me, you know?") and, having returned safely home, viewing General Sherman, the largest tree in Sequoia National Park ("You know, you can't begin to imagine that tree until you've seen it, and you can't quite grasp it when you do. You just feel it, that's all"). Guibert leaves the tree's trunk colorless, allowing the audience to use their imaginations, with Alan's words as the launch point. Graphic novel fans will also appreciate the ease with which Guibert shifts between Alan's flashbacks and foreshadowing. The narrator comes across as a laid-back fellow who gets along with even some of the tougher members of his unit, and he accepts the homosexuality he detects among several of his fellow soldiers. His placid temperament helps to explain how easily he makes friends with Germans after the Yalta accords, especially his influential friendship with German composer Gerhart Muench and his American-born wife, Vera, a poet. This friendship becomes a kind of measuring stick for Alan's growth. Gerhart, being older and more worldly, attempts to guide Alan (on his "calling" as a minister and his choice for a wife), and although they have rifts, they overcome them. Much of the memoir reaches into Alan's post-war life, but what will be of most interest to older teens is Alan's candid view of his military training, the war itself and what he discovers about human beings' commonality more than their differences.--Jennifer M. Brown


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