Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Forge: Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury

imon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Becoming Rbg: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Journey to Justice by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Whitney Gardner

St. Martin's Press: Cilka's Journey: A Novel by Heather Morris

Park Row: The Ventriloquists (Original) by E.R. Ramzipoor

Henry Holt & Company: Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "the Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman

Other Press: Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson

Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia

Quotation of the Day

The 'Real, Urgent Need to Connect' with Young Readers

"Books and reading were integral parts of my life growing up and it's that same love of books I've been able to share with my children. The real, urgent need to connect with children by age nine and turn them onto reading with a good book is underestimated. That's why it's so crucial to support independent booksellers who are able to host author events, donate prizes for silent auctions, and support the community around us."--Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time Book Store, Montrose, Calif., in the American Chronicle.

 


Amulet Books: Minor Prophets by Jimmy Cajoleas


Letters

Bookstore Burglary Lessons: Back Up, Back Up, Back Up

Roni K. Devlin, president of Literary Life Bookstore & More, Grand Rapids, Mich., whose store was burglarized last week (Shelf Awareness, November 13, 2008), offers several painfully earned lessons from the burglary, which consisted of "a solo thief [who] smashed through our front door window and foyer door window with a rock, jumped through the shattered windows, and snatched our store computer, some accessory computer fixtures, and an iPod."

She stated that the store still doesn't have a full system up running again and that "three things that are worth noting in retrospect:

"1) my computer system (an iMac with a 17" screen) was easily seen through the store windows, even at night. We'll be hiding the new system in the future, and we're putting up curtains, cameras, and lights in the store after-hours now;

"2) about a week before the break-in, we noticed two black ink marks on our front door window (the same window which was smashed during the robbery), vaguely in the shape of an 'x' or a 'y'. The ink marks were permanent, and we were unable to remove them with any of our cleaners in the store. Maybe coincidence, maybe we were marked. If you see any such ink on your windows, I'd think twice about what it might mean;

"3) we used the store computer for everything (cash register, inventory of over 7,000 items, advertising design, photo storage, etc.), and were not vigilant about regular back-up. We will never recover our store's history, and that loss is more devastating than either the windows or the hardware. I saved the rock that we found inside the store after the robbery, and have named it the Back-Up Rock--it sits on our shelf as a reminder to save everything, as you never know what might happen in the dead of the night."

 


One ELM Books: Trevor Lee and the Big Uh Oh! by Wiley Blevins, illustrated by Marta Kissi


News

Notes: Two Bookseller Profiles; Obama Recommends . . .

The Bi-College News, serving Haverford and Bryn Mawr colleges, profiles one of our favorite college booksellers, Julie Summerfield, who has managed the Haverford College Bookstore, Haverford, Pa., since 1982. "On first impression," the paper writes, "she is a spitfire who will tell it to you straight, with a few expletives mixed in if you’re lucky. [Editor's note: that is an accurate impression.] Summerfield is a Pennsylvanian for life, a lover of all things starch, and perhaps the coolest woman I have ever met."

And as we've seen recently in person, the store is indeed "a magical place, filled with novel after novel, textbook after textbook, Julie Summerfield, and her cat."

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And the Portsmouth Herald News profiles Michele Filgate, events coordinator at RiverRun bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H. After working for CBS, most recently on the Evening News with Katie Couric, the paper wrote, a year and a half ago, "Filgate opted for personal authenticity over cultural norm" and the kind of work that is focused on local community, returning to New Hampshire and to RiverRun, where she had worked during college. She is also writing. She said she envisions owning a bookstore someday: "Maybe I'll be a partner in a bookstore AND be a published writer."

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As expected, President-elect Obama is mentioning books. Under the headline, "For Books, Is Obama New Oprah?" today's New York Times notes that during his interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Obama said he had read "a new book out about FDR's first 100 days."

The comment aroused hope among authors and publishers of likely titles--and led apparently to increased sales of some Roosevelt tomes. Later Obama's staff said that he was actually referring to two books, both published in the past several years, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter (Simon & Schuster) and FDR by Jean Edward Smith (Random House).

Even though he didn't refer to them, two other titles about President Roosevelt got a nice bit of publicity: FDR: The First Hundred Days by Anthony J. Badger (Hill & Wang) and the forthcoming Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America by Adam Cohen (Penguin Press).

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The New England Independent Booksellers Association has awarded several more NEIBA Grants, which are intended "to help independent booksellers' efforts in their own communities to shift consumer awareness toward supporting locally owned businesses."

Pioneer Valley Local First, Northampton, Mass., received a grant of $2,500 to fund a project manager and graphic designer in order to produce a business directory for Pioneer Valley First. Bookstore members of the organization include Broadside Bookshop, Food for Thought Books and the Odyssey Bookshop.

Shop Sandwich First, on Cape Cod, Mass., also received a grant of $2,500, which will be used towards the design, distribution and marketing of the Shop Sandwich First booklet and help defray hotel room costs for one of its members, Vicky Uminowicz of Titcomb's BookShop, to attend the Winter Institute in January in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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In an "uncertain economic climate, it's a good idea to cut back on non-essential entertainment expenses," advised Express Night Out, offering the sage counsel that "one old-fashioned possibility to consider is reading. It makes you smarter, it's a major time-killer and it can be done on the cheap."

How cheap? Four D.C. bookstores--Idle Time Books, Bartleby's Books, Books for America and Second Story Books--were explored "to see what they had to offer for $10 or less."

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Another sign of tough economic times? The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette examined the "Tricks of the trade-in" by profiling several bookshops in the Indiana city regarding their used book buy-back policies.

"A customer just came in here and asked if we bought books," said Art Tomsing, owner of Book Rack. "A lot of people are trying to get gas money, to be honest."

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In Russia, Moskva bookstore, "which has survived censorship, the economic woes of the 1990s and the fact that no more than two people can ever walk past its tightly packed shelves at the same time," is celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Moscow Times reported.

Half a century ago, "books were a deficit product--customers were restricted to buying one book when the shop opened--and there was a great thirst for reading," the Times added.

"To subscribe to [an author's] collected works, people would stand all night," said Marina Kamenev, the director of the store. "We, the store's staff, could hold the deficit books which we dreamed about in our hands, but we couldn't even look at them, let alone buy them. Everything was very strict."

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Charlie English, author of The Snow Tourist, picked his "top 10 books that include snow, or are about snow," for the Guardian.

 

 


Ecco Press: Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha


Third Quarter: Hastings Sales Fall 6.5%; Books Up 1%

Revenues at Hastings Entertainment in the third quarter ended October 31 fell 6.5% to $114.3 million and the net loss was $3.7 million compared to net income of $100,000 in the same period in 2007.

During the quarter, sales of books at stores open at least a year rose 1% compared to a gain of 2.5% in the same period last year. By comparison third quarter comp-store sales of electronics rose 12.7%, cafe sales rose 7.9%, movies dropped 5%, video games were down 14.8% and music fell 19.5%. The modest gain for books was "due to strong sales of new trade paperback as well as used trade paperback and used hardbacks, partially offset by lower sales of periodicals."

In a statement, CEO John Marmaduke said, "Beginning with September, changes in consumer spending have created the most difficult retail environment we have ever seen. Obviously we are concerned about the fourth quarter in light of the current economic climate. However, we believe consumers will entertain themselves with books, videos, video games and trend products, and we strongly believe that the unique value proposition of our store model [buying, selling, trading and renting products at relatively low price points] gives us a competitive advantage in the gift giving season and beyond."

And in a sign of the times, Marmaduke emphasized that Hastings has "an excellent credit facility with Bank of America in the amount of $100 million, which does not expire until August 2011 and provides us with sufficient working capital for the foreseeable future."

 


NCIBA & SCIBA: Holiday Catalog


Linda Jones to Retire from Borders

Linda Jones, senior v-p of merchandising for the children's, multimedia (music and movies), newsstand, calendar and game categories at Borders, is retiring from the company, effective December 19.

Jones, who is 56, joined Borders in 1995 as a merchandising director for Waldenbooks, was in charge of several product categories and was promoted to v-p of non-book merchandising in 1997. She took responsibility for the children's and newsstand categories in 2002 and multimedia in 2006.

In a statement, Rob Gruen, executive v-p of merchandising and marketing, commented: "Under Linda's leadership, Borders has developed strong businesses in key categories. In addition to growing these businesses, she has developed a strong team of leaders within our organization who remain in place and will move forward with our strategic business plans."

 


Starscape Books: Freeing Finch by Ginny Rorby



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Michael Lewis and Panic

Yesterday's notice about appearances by American Idol judge Randy Jackson on behalf of his Body with Soul: Slash Sugar, Cut Cholesterol, and Get a Jump on Your Best Health Ever (Hudson Street Press, $24.95, 9781594630507/159463050X) was premature. The book won't be published until December 2, and Jackson appears on the Today Show and the View on December 1.

Also, Thomas M. 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 on the Today Show on this coming Friday, not yesterday morning.

Our apologies!

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Maureen McCormick, author of Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061490149/0061490148).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Lisa Sharkey, author of Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire (Clarkson Potter, $50, 9780307395481/0307395480).

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Tomorrow on Fox News Morning Show with Mike and Juliet: Shane O'Flaherty, president and CEO of Mobil Travel Guide, who will discuss five-star travel on a one-star budget and America's Best Hotels, Restaurants and Spas (Mobil Travel Guide, $12.95, 9780841607262/0841607265).

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Tomorrow morning on Imus in the Morning: Denis Leary, author of Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid (Viking, $26.95, 9780670031603/0670031607). He also appears on the View tomorrow.

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: H. W. Brands, author of Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Doubleday, $35, 9780385519588/0385519583).

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Tomorrow on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric: Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316017923/0316017922).

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (Random House, $30, 9781400063253/1400063256).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Michael Lewis, author of Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity (Norton, $27.95, 9780393065145/0393065146).

 


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, November 25:

Crossroads by Belva Plain (Delacorte, $26, 9780385336840/0385336845) follows two women of different social classes whose lives repeatedly intersect.

The Lady & Sons, Too!: A Whole New Batch of Recipes from Savannah
by Paula Deen (Random House, $20, 9781400068241/140006824X) features more Southern cuisine from a Food Network icon.

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399155833/039915583X) is the sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club.

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz (Bantam, $27, 9780553807134/0553807137) tells the story of a heart transplant recipient who is stalked by a woman identical to the donor.

Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme
by Calvin Trillin (Random House, $14, 9781400068289/1400068282) pokes fun at the election's participants. ("On Russia's being not too far away/ She sounded eerily like Tina Fey.")

Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399155291/0399155295) is the 20th novel featuring adventurer Dirk Pitt.

People: Paul Newman by the editors of People Magazine (People, $19.95, 9781603200691/160320069X) chronicles the late movie star's legendary career.

Night Shadow: A Novel by Cherry Adair (Ballantine, $23, 9780345499738/0345499735) concludes the paranormal crime fighting trilogy that includes Night Fall and Night Secrets.

Now in paperback:

Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell (Tor, $14.95, 9780765315700/076531570X).

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $16, 9781594483851/159448385X).

Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T: 400 Facts About the Baddest Dudes in the History of Ever by Ian Spector, illustrated by Angelo Vildasol and John Petersen (Gotham, $12, 9781592404650/1592404650).

 


Mandahla: And More Gift Books

Library of Dust photographed by David Maisel (Chronicle Books, $80, 9780811863339/0811863336, September 2008)

This is definitely a big gift book, measuring almost 18" x 14", which is a display challenge, but worth it. In 1913, Oregon State Hospital in Salem, a psychiatric hospital, began cremating the remains of deceased patients not claimed by next of kin. This practice remained until 1971, and David Maisel received permission to photograph the copper canisters containing the ashes of these patients. He also documented the building: paint peeling off the walls in Room 3, Hallway 2, Ward 66, J Building; a fragile sepia-toned letter from Ward 66; a 16-point star cut from a newspaper; tubs and plumbing pipes, cold and grim; a gurney with wide hanging straps. The canisters are extraordinary, having undergone chemical reactions with the ashes and the atmosphere, resulting in a harsh beauty. Burnished copper with green-blue corrosion and white rime. Malachite greens with a lichen-like patina on bent, dented and numbered containers. There are Rorschachs in mineral salts--a bed, an island, a Munchian scream. Or the world from an astronaut's vantage, frost-like against vibrant blue. They form geographies of the soul, of lives lost to madness and neglect limned in magenta and rose. The urns were available to be photographed only because they were unclaimed--what dramatic or commonplace stories are held in these cans? "The minerals did form . . . rather quickly--is if forsaken souls could hardly wait to pass into another realm."

The Art of Kung Fu Panda by Tracey Miller-Zarneke (Welcome Books/Insight Editions, $45, 9781933784571/1933784571, May 2008)

There are myriad Kung-Fu Panda spin-offs, like a poster kit, a Paws of Power activity book, even a Kung-Fu Panda Mad Libs. For adults (and older children) who may have reluctantly gone to see the movie and ended up being enthralled, here is a lovely book that gives more depth to the film. The thought that goes into the characters is one aspect of the content's richness. Master Tigress, one of the Furious Five, is chasing approval from Shifu, and the "unanswered need in [her] leaves her conflicted, which is outwardly visible in her posture: her upper body angles forward in an aggressive stance, while her lower body carries her weight mainly in her back leg, in a defensive position." It was decided that the villagers of the Valley of Peace would be the cutest, most defenseless creatures imaginable, thus most needing the protection of the kung fu masters (rabbits, pigs and geese), which are also animals considered honorable in Chinese culture. The technical aspects are fascinating: the seductive Master Viper is the first fully articulated CG snake in an animated film. That may be a meaningless distinction to most viewers, but the result--a fluid and poetic snake--is not. The surfacing department had to make fur look thick and lush while keeping it short so the animals could be clothed. The text and gorgeous artwork make this book a treat for fans of the movie and art lovers alike.

Colcord Home by Bret Parsons (Angel City Press, $40, 9781883318888/1883318882, September 2008)

Between 1924 and 1984, Hollywood architect Gerard Colcord created more than 400 homes in a variety of styles, from Tudor to Spanish Hacienda to Country Colonial. With washed brick, fieldstone, half-timbered beams and hand-painted tiles, his houses were sought for their warmth and intimacy. In archival and present-day photographs, his artistry is well presented in Colcord Home. Many of the interiors bring to mind the lush films of Douglas Sirk--it's easy to imagine Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson flinging accusations and highballs across a chintz-filled living room. But mostly the rooms suggest a coziness (albeit a coziness with servants' quarters) that evokes nostalgia for the imagined past. The heavy beams, the huge fireplaces, the sunlit loggias, the bright breakfast rooms with lace curtains all create a feeling of stability and graciousness, although Colcord could also do "grand." His baronial English Tudor, Harris House (the location for Dean Martin's third wedding), has a French rococo staircase and a six-foot tall marble fireplace. One house, a Pennsylvania Dutch-style estate owned by Connie Wald, was decorated in the early '50s and little has been changed. It looks both classic and contemporary, a testament to "the Colcord magic of loving and lasting design."--Marilyn Dahl

 


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