Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 9, 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

Quotation of the Day

Le Clézio: Books are 'Practical, Easy to Handle, Economical'

"To provide nearly everyone on the planet with a liquid crystal display is utopian. Are we not, therefore, in the process of creating a new elite, of drawing a new line to divide the world between those who have access to communication and knowledge, and those who are left out? . . . [The book] is practical, easy to handle, economical. It does not require any particular technological prowess, and keeps well in any climate."--J.M.G. Le Clézio. The Guardian observed that Le Clézio, in his Nobel Lecture, "looked to the wider world . . . warning of the dangers of information poverty and calling for publishers to increase their efforts to put books in the hands of people around the world."


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


Notes: Shop the 5th in Virginia; Pulpwood Queens' Favorites

A buy local campaign with political overtones is occurring in Virginia's 5th congressional district. WSLS-TV reported that Representative-elect Tom Perriello "published a directory called 'Shop the Fifth' on his campaign website after Thanksgiving and sent an e-mail to 6,000 supporters, urging them to buy locally this holiday season."

"I have never heard of something like this before," said Carol Truxell, owner of New Dominion Bookshop, Charlottesville. "It's the locally-owned businesses that give a lot back to the community. We are not able to do that unless we are supported by the community."

"This is a time that people are hurting so much, we've just got to get creative," Perriello said. "If we can help encourage people to shop right here at home and keep the money in the community that's a win-win for everybody. . . . Most people know the Barnes & Noble is there, but they may not know the small independent bookstore is nearby."


The winners of this year's Doug Marlette Awards, honoring the late Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and sponsored by Kathy L. Patrick, founder of the Pulpwood Queens' Book Club and owner of Beauty and the Book, Jefferson, Tex. ("The only hair salon/bookstore in the country"), will be presented at Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend, January 15-17, 2009.

And the winners are: The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson (Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection of the Year), Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore (Bonus Book Club Selection of the Year) and The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (Splinters and Pine Cones--teen and pre-teen chapters--Book Club Selection of the Year)


When the holiday edition of the New York Times Style Magazine asked Michael Bruno of to list a few of his favorite things, he chose Books and Books, Coral Gables, Fla., saying, "It’s like a mini-university, with terrific lectures and an amazing cafe."


Shop with a cop. That Bookstore at Mountebanq Place, Conway, Ark., was one of the destinations last weekend when off-duty police officers accompanied about 70 needy children on shopping sprees as part of the Fraternal Order of Police's yearly Shop with a Cop event, according to the Log Cabin Democrat.


Starting in January, Turtle Point Press will organize and host exhibitions of artworks related to the book and the written word at its offices in the landmark Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan. The gallery will be open during the week by appointment. The initial exhibition, Duncan Hannah's "Poems and Poets," opens January 7 with a series of poetry book covers alongside his pencil portraits of poet friends. Artists whose work will be featured in future exhibitions include Alejandro Cesarco, Trevor Winkfield, Gregory Botts, Elaine Equi and Jeff Clark.


Penguin Group (USA) has launched Penguin 2.0, a digital publishing program designed to offer a range of new digital and print-based products and services. Penguin 2.0, which will enable readers to customize, personalize and access the publisher's content in new ways online, will begin with a pair of digital initiatives--Penguin Personalized, where readers can add personal dedication pages to a variety of Penguin titles; and Penguin Mobile, which will allow readers to access Penguin content from their iPhones and other web-enabled mobile devices. Additional features and programs, including social networking and community functionality, will be rolled out over the next 12 months.


Maureen Corrigan, book critic on NPR's Fresh Air, offered a downsized Best Books of 2008 list, noting that "in recognition of the fact that many of us are humming 'We Ain't Got a Barrel of Money' more often than we're singing 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,' almost all the gift books I'm recommending are paperbacks."


Effective December 16, Mary McGrath is joining Simon & Schuster as director of distributor sales and retail marketing (DSRM), children's sales. She previously worked at Random House for 17 years, the past five of which she served as director of sales, adult mass merchandise.


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

Three Southern Bookstores Bid Adieu

Sadly three bookstores in the South have shut or are shutting down their operations, although one is continuing business online. The economy is the main factor in two; in the other case the owners needed to retire.

In the last case, the "poor health and old age" of owners Harold and Virigina Hobson Hicks is leading to the closing of the Book Shop/Books on the Bluff, Townsend, Ga., the store announced. Virginia has been in a nursing home for a year and a half, and Harold is turning 90. He hopes other booksellers might want to buy some of the stock "at almost giveaway prices." He may be reached at or 912-832-6352.

The store has sold new, used and rare books for 40 years.


In October, Tammy R. Lynn closed the Book Basket in Wetumpka, Ala., citing "rising debt and lowering sales" as well as the absence of an Indian casino and hotel that was supposed to be built not long after the bookstore opened six years ago. (Now the casino and hotel are being built far from the town.) "Had the hotel materialized here, we would be looking at a thriving downtown with a string of tourists coming to town daily," Lynn wrote. "Now, downtown is folding up. It's really sad." The store also would likely be affected soon by "a huge new shopping complex" that includes a large Books-A-Million.

Lynn has started a business called Book and Author Services, which aims to work with the store's "commercial customers," including schools, libraries, book clubs and others, to handle books and events. She is also planning on writing again. The business may be contacted at 2155 Weoka Road, Wetumpka, Ala. 36092; 334-514-3453.


Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., is closing December 14 after 16 years in business. Elisabeth Grant-Gibson, who owns the store with Pat Grant, wrote that between the economy, old debt and poor results--sales dropped 50% in January and leveled out to down 30% for the year--"we just couldn't keep any semblance of decent cash flow happening."

Grant-Gibson is becoming a health coach with Take Shape for Life, a company that has helped her lose a lot of weight. "As a former English prof and bookseller, it's nice to find something I enjoy that lets me feel every day as if I'm saving lives (including my own), and that is lucrative--quite a novelty." Gibson plans to read.

Among other achievements, in 2005 the store founded the Book Report, a weekly syndicated radio show that focused on books and authors and had a Southern accent.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 06.01.20

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Wishful Drinking

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Carrie Fisher, author of Wishful Drinking (Simon & Schuster, $21, 9781439102251/1439102252).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Morgan Atkinson, co-editor of Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton (Liturgical Press, $19.95, 9780814618738/0814618731)


Tomorrow on the Tavis Smiley: Michael Phelps, author of No Limits: The Will to Succeed (Free Press, $26, 9781439130728/1439130728). He will also appear tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.


Tomorrow on Oprah: C. Vivian Stringer, the Rutgers women's basketball coach and author of Standing Tall: A Memoir of Tragedy and Triumph (Crown, $24.95, 9780307406095/0307406091).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Don Rickles, author of Rickles' Letters (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416596639/1416596631).


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

Movie: The Reader

The Reader, based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink, opens tomorrow, December 10. Stephen Daldry directs this adaption of a former Oprah Book Club selection in which a man (Ralph Fiennes) obsesses over an older woman (Kate Winslet). The movie tie-in edition is available from Vintage ($13.95, 9780307454898/0307454894).


Book Review

Mandahla: Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee

New Exercises by Franck Andre Jamme (Wave Books, $14.00 Paperback, 9781933517360, December 2008)

James Tate, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, published a collection of quirky short stories a few years ago, 44 in all. Now Wave Books has reprinted the stories in a newly designed paperback, Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee. Tate's writing is fanciful, hallucinatory and absurd. Poet and critic Dana Gioia, writing about Tate's early poems, says that he had domesticated surrealism; he had "made it sound not just native but utterly down-home." It's true; in "Robes," the tallest nun in the world brings a touch of magic to a young boy, and possibly a new life to his single mother, in a blend of the strange and the quotidian. A couple--homeless? crazy? both?--in "Running for Your Life" consider their next move after a hard rain, while "the horses were practicing their flamenco on a rock nearby [and] a family of bobcats stepped gingerly over [their] heads."

A young mother recovering from a hospital stay discovers the joy of her outdoors neighborhood--wrens and rabbits, pink and lavender skies--causing her husband to consider her mind a bit fragile. An overweight boy and his mother look for food at an arts and crafts fair: "It was really some kind of collection of humanity that is better left undescribed, backwoods mall-people with unhygienic habits, people with barely lawful fetishes, aggressive hats, and overweight children. Still, arts and crafts an be elevating." At the Ritz, Mimosa-sipping Valerie reminisces about her life: "When I lived in Nubia, I had a pet cricket named Owen. He was such a comfort to me, and I miss him to this day. He was still living when I was forced to flee. He always slept on a petal of a cowslip. We had a fresh one flown in weekly. I only hope he died peacefully. I simply couldn't bear it if some ghastly sergeant stomped on him out of boredom or irritation from an imagined insult from some starving servant." In "What It Is," the narrator says: "I was going to cry so I left the room and hid myself. A butterfly had let itself into the house and was breathing all the air fit to breathe. Janis was knitting me a sweater so I wouldn't freeze. Polly had just dismembered her anatomically correct doll. The dog was thinking about last summer, alternately bitter and amused."

Bitterness, amusement, bemusement--you know things will end badly with this beginning: "She had placed the turkey in the garage two days before Thanksgiving, just as she had for years without any untoward consequence." The consequences of decisions made by and about Tate's characters are unexpected, often sad, sometimes sweet, always engaging.--Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: A captivating collection of short short stories by poet James Tate--absurdist, bittersweet, and amusing, written with a poet's gift for the surreal.


Deeper Understanding

A Celebration of Studs Terkel

On Sunday afternoon in the Great Hall of Cooper Union, a number of luminaries gathered to honor Studs Terkel, who died October 31 at the age of 96.
Terkel was born in New York but made his name and his home in Chicago, with a daily broadcast on WFMT for 45 years (from 1952 to1997), and before that he hosted a short-lived television show called Stud's Place. NBC, which had planned to air it nationwide, canceled the show in 1950 at the height of McCarthyism because of Terkel's proclivity for signing left-leaning petitions. His son, Dan Terkell (who altered the spelling of his surname), said that his father "never met a petition he didn't like" and that his mother, Ida Goldberg Terkel, "never met a demonstration she didn't like." A number of years ago, his parents got hold of their FBI files. "Ida's FBI file was larger than Studs'," he continued. "I don't think Dad ever got over it."
Laura Flanders, bestselling author and host of GritTV, observed that not only would Terkel have loved witnessing the election of his hometown hopeful Barack Obama, but also the ongoing sit-in of the workers who took control of Chicago's Republic Windows and Doors last Thursday. As historian and activist Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, noted, "Studs saw the double nature of things. He was fond of quoting Bertolt Brecht: 'When they were building the Great Wall of China, where did the masons go for lunch?' He wanted to know."  Zinn continued, "With [his book] Working, [Terkel] said that to write about work is to write about violence, both to the body and to the spirit--the striving for something better."
With his oral histories, Terkel brought human beings back into the pages of history, Zinn pointed out. "Having read a few history books," Zinn said to laughter from the audience, "I can tell you that they are cluttered with presidents and military heroes. [Terkel] brought people back-- their anguish, their joys. He was always concerned with what he called 'the et ceteras.'"
"When Studs Terkel listens, everybody talks," began Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of the Nation and director of the George Delacorte Center for Magazine Journalism at Columbia, quoting the late Charles Kuralt. Navasky first met Terkel at WFMT to discuss his own book, Kennedy Justice, after its 1971 publication. Navasky said that Terkel opened a heavily marked-up copy, pointing out how well a passage on page 37 set up the revelation on page 182--"And Studs credits you with making that connection!" Commenting on a November 3 article by Edward Rothstein in the New York Times ("He Gave Voice to Many, Among Them Himself"), Navasky said with a wink, "You would have thought [Studs] was a secret communist!" And, quoting from the article, continued, "He even wore something red every day to affirm his attachment to the working class!" When the laughter subsided, Navasky added, "Blacklisted when he was alive. Redbaited after death. Too good to be true!"
André Schiffrin, former publisher and editor at Pantheon Books who started the New Press, edited Terkel for 40 years--together they created 14 books. Schiffrin said that when he approached Terkel in the 1960s about producing the American equivalent of Jan Myrdal's Report from a Chinese Village (interviews with Chinese citizens living under Mao Zedong), Terkel was "amused that a New Yorker would come all the way to Chicago to seek the lives of ordinary people." (The project became Division Street.) Schiffrin pointed out that Terkel had interviewed the man who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and a member of the KKK: "He could go to those with whom he did not agree because he had a respect for the people he interviewed." Schiffrin added, "He wanted to know how they felt even if they didn't know."
Gary Younge, columnist and feature writer for the Guardian, called Terkel "a voice for the voiceless." Younge related a story Terkel once told him about two yuppies he was standing with while waiting for the 146 bus in Chicago. They ignored Terkel: " 'Labor Day's coming,' [Terkel] said. That was the wrong thing to say, I thought. 'We despise unions,' said the yuppies. I thought, 'Ooooo, I'm the Ancient Mariner.' 'How many hours a day do you work?' I asked [the yuppies]. 'Eight hours.' 'Why not 18 like your grandfather? I'll tell you why: the May Day Strike of 1886.'"
In the Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent at Chicago State University, "Studs is the only white man," said author Walter Mosley, who met Terkel in 1998 for an interview on WFMT. What Mosley remembered most were the thousands of tapes that lined Terkel's office, and the ones that were meaningful to Mosley--including Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Muhammad Ali, Ralph Ellison and Mahalia Jackson. Moseley recalled a story Terkel told him during their interview: "One night while sitting alone in my house in the dark, a burglar broke in," Terkel said. "He was good-looking, well-built; he came in expecting the house to be empty. He turned on a light [Terkel was 86 at the time] and the burglar was more scared than I was. I gave him my wallet, then said, 'You know I'm broke now.' The burglar gave me $20."
As the audience prepared to depart, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer sang "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan--another Terkel interview subject ("May you always do for others and let others do for you.").
"I tape, therefore I am," Katrin vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, said Terkel once told her. He continued, "Only one other man has used a tape recorder with as much fervor as I: Richard Nixon."--Jennifer M. Brown


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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