Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dutton Books: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (The Carls #2) by Hank Green

HP Piazza: Regain Control of Your Publishing Content - Register Now

Post Hill Press: Personality Wins: Who Will Take the White House and How We Know by Merrick Rosenberg and Richard Ellis

Walrus Publishing: I Will Be Okay by Bill Elenbark

Parson Weems Publisher Services - Click Here!

Quotation of the Day

The Wind in the Willows 'Always Welcomes You Back'

"There are certain books that become a permanent part of your life, like an old tree that stands at the bend of a favorite path. You may not notice them, but if they were taken away, the world would be less mysterious, less friendly, less itself. The Wind in the Willows, published 100 years ago this year, is one of those books. I first read Kenneth Grahame's classic when I was 14, and I have been going back to it ever since. I just read it again, and its wonders seem greater than ever, its colors more glowing, its language more miraculous. Although it is uniquely mixed in style and matter, moving effortlessly from deadpan observation to piercing lyricism to raucous comedy to incantatory mysticism, it is a complete world. And like the old friend that it is, it always welcomes you back."--Gary Kamiya in Salon.


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


Notes: Borders Extends Deadlines; Crafts Sales Build Steam

Borders Group and Pershing Square Capital Management, the bookseller's largest shareholder, are extending by a month the expiration date of Borders's option to sell its U.K. Paperchase gifts and stationery business to Pershing Square for $65 million. The option will now expire next February 16 instead of January 15.

At the same time, the deadline for Borders to repay Pershing Square's $42.5 million senior secured term loan has been moved to February 16 from January 15. However, the approximately $1 million loan repayment premium that Borders is required to pay Pershing upon repayment of the $42.5 million loan remains due no later than January 15.

The loan and sales option are part of the deals Borders announced earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, March 20, 2008) when it put itself and various international operations up for sale. Borders has since sold most of the international operations and has taken itself off the market.

In after-hours trading, Borders's shares fell 9.6% to 48 cents a share, according to Dow Jones.


Because some shoppers "are saving money this year by making their own presents or--for those who lack the time or talent--buying handmade gifts from others," a bright spot in retail sales this season is crafts, the New York Times reported. Chains such as Michaels Stores and indies report sales and traffic gains recently. A spokesperson for the Craft & Hobby Association said, "Across the country, people are crafting more. With the recession, people are looking for ways to save money, and doctors are recommending it as a major form of stress relief."

Michaels has responded  by creating a marketing campaign called "Endless Creativity, Endless Savings" and setting up a website with how-to videos and weekly in-store workshops.

Jeanne Nevin, owner of Stampingly Yours, Clifton, N.J., told that paper that she has gained many new customers in the last few months. "It's because nobody has money" and because making a scrapbook is the kind of gift "they can keep forever."


Although the Man Group has some $360 million invested with Bernard Madoff--and has presumably lost it all--the company plans to continue sponsoring the Man Booker Prize, Bloomberg News reported. For Man Group, a hedge fund, the amount represents about 0.5% of assets managed.


The Taqwacores, a novel about "imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo" by Michael Muhammad Knight that was originally self-published five years ago and is now published by Autonomedia, has become a Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims in the U.S. and helped create a subculture of Muslim punk, the New York Times reported.

One 14-year-old reader told the paper, "This book helped me create my identity."

An indie movie based on The Taqwacores has been filmed and will be released next year.


Cool Idea of the Day: The San Francisco Chronicle has added a feature in its Sunday Book Review called Top Shelf, consisting of recommendations of recent books by booksellers at Bay Area independent indies. The staffs contribute titles on a rotating basis, and each bookstore writes about five fiction and five nonfiction titles.

Working with Chronicle books editor John McMurtrie, who had the idea for the column, the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association has handled dealing with stores, soliciting lists, reviewing lists for duplication and checking on the timeliness of titles.

--- interviewed Dave Allen, who heads a bookbinding company in British Columbia, Canada. Allen practices "a highly skilled craft requiring enormous patience, concentration and knowledge. It is also a profession kept alive by a few dedicated bibliophiles like Allen."


"Locally owned mainstream stores irreplaceable" was the headline for an article in the Waterbury Republican American, which observed that Fran Keilty, owner of the Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, Conn., "is in the local vanguard of a 'shop local first' movement catching on around the country, not just in rural areas, but city neighborhoods as well. Their motto is pragmatic. They know residents may not find everything they need nearby, but at least want them to try."
"Local retailers are your friends and neighbors," said Keilty. "Support them, and they'll support you."


The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that new, independent retailers in the region are experiencing a "tough climate this season" and have concerns about the year ahead.

Despite relocating last April to a larger space, Diane Capriola, co-owner of Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga., said, "I feel very good about the rest of this month. I don't know if we'd be doing well if we were somewhere else. Now I'm thinking ahead to January and February--looking beyond this, and not knowing.”


"It's never too late to come up with a literary stocking stuffer, at least as long as your neighborhood bookstore is open on Christmas Eve," noted the New York Observer as it recommended the offerings available at Melville House Publishing's bookshop in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Effective January 1, Eleanor Gore, better known as Elly, is retiring as children's book buyer at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, Milwaukee, Wis., where she has worked since the early 1970s. Carol Grossmeyer, owner and president of Schwartz, said that with "Elly's knowledgeable guidance and boundless enthusiasm for children's literature, our children's book departments have grown to become one of the most vital areas of the shops. She has predicted the book award winners, worked with the publishers to plan in-store as well as out-of-store events and she has brought some of the country's best children's book authors to Milwaukee. Elly has strong personal and professional ties to the publishing world and is one of the most well respected children’s buyers in the industry."

Elly Gore may be reached via e-mail.


Mark Bide has been appointed executive director of EDItEUR, the international standards organization for books and serials, replacing Brian Green, who has managed EDItEUR since its founding in 1991. Green will now concentrate on his role as executive director of the International ISBN Agency, which will continue to be managed by EDItEUR.

Bide has worked in publishing for more than 35 years and is a director of Rightscom and will continue to work part time as a senior consultant to Rightscom.

Friedemann Weigel, managing partner at Harrassowitz subscription agents and chair of EDItEUR, said that Bide "will ensure that EDItEUR continues to be the focal point for enabling standards in both the digital and traditional environments." He also thanked Green for "taking a lead role in developing, maintaining and promoting standards such as the ONIX family that are now central to the operation of the supply chain."


GLOW: Inkyard Press: Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home edited by Adi Alsaid

Image of the Day: Backlist Book Bash

In a kind of picture to the editor in response to David Didriksen's letter yesterday, "Time for Publishers and Booksellers to Get Back to Basics," Sean Stewart, owner of Babylon Falling, the San Francisco, Calif., bookstore, sent photos of an event last Thursday for photographer Shawn Mortensen. At the opening reception of an exhibit of photography from his 2007 book Out of Mind (published by Harry N. Abrams), Mortensen gave a talk and signed books for a crowd of about 50.

Stewart wrote: "What prompted me to pass this on is that it speaks to the importance of bricks-and-mortar stores carrying and promoting backlist but also that we independent stores can put on successful events on backlist where a big chain would never even consider it."


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

Holiday Hum: Capitol Book & News Company Marks a Milestone

A surprise bestseller at Capitol Book & News Company in Montgomery, Ala., is the memoir Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan. "It has been our greatest unexpected success this year," said Thomas Upchurch, who owns and operates the store with his wife, Cheryl.

A Capitol Book employee read Heart in the Right Place and gave it a favorable review on the website The author spotted the review and called the store to say thank you, which led to a reading and signing there in September. Since then word of mouth has helped sustain sales, including interest from book clubs, and to date the store has sold about 500 copies.

After cutbacks at a local newspaper earlier this year led to the cancellation of a twice-monthly book recommendation column the Upchurches had written for more than a decade, they sought to expand the store's visibility with online marketing. In addition to joining Goodreads, they created a page on and started a blog. This holiday season, for the first time, customers can purchase select titles through the store's website.

In another change this year, the store bought more remaindered books to appeal to cost-conscious holiday consumers, a decision made in October when it became apparent tough economic times were coming. The Various Haunts of Men and Pure at Heart, two mysteries by British scribe and store favorite Susan Hill, are remaindered in hardcover and striking a chord with customers. "I can't believe how many we've sold of those," said Upchurch. "I hope she catches on because she's really, really good."

One of Upchurch's handsells is the thriller Serena by North Carolina author Ron Rash, which he recommends for fans of Dennis Lehane--whose latest novel, The Given Day, is selling well at the store. Young readers, meanwhile, will be unwrapping copies of staff suggestions The Big Bell and the Little Bell, a new edition of a 1950s picture book that comes with an audio CD, and Lemony Snicket's The Lump of Coal.

Regional titles are top sellers for the store, and two in particular are proving to be great gift choices--The Long Shadow of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant by Dr. E. Gaylon McCollough, a biography of the former University of Alabama football coach, and Birmingham restaurateur Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita: A Southern Chef's Love Affair with Italian Food. Another is Nobody But the People: The Life and Times of Alabama's Youngest Governor by Warren Trest, the first authorized biography of former Alabama governor John Patterson. Both Patterson and Trest recently appeared at Capitol Book, as did McCollough and Stitt.

Some generous shoppers have opted to sign up recipients for the store's book-a-month program, which was launched when a customer asked to have a book sent to her grandchild each month. In addition to kids, the program is popular with people looking for a gift for elderly parents.

Capitol Book typically does not carry sideline items, but an exception was made for an item Upchurch heard about and found intriguing--the word game Bananagrams, which is "selling like hotcakes." (Last week the store's newsletter included a link to two YouTube videos about Bananagrams: How to Play and Funny Anagrams.) "At $14.95 it's cheap enough to be a stocking stuffer," said Upchurch. "They're going to pay the rent this month."

In fact, paying rent is something the Upchurches will no longer be doing. Last week they purchased the building in which Capitol Book is located--a fitting way to mark a milestone year. Cheryl Upchurch purchased the business three decades ago in 1978. "We've seen good and bad times over the years, and we were very concerned about what was going to happen this year. We have a loyal clientele but still, people lost a lot of money in the market," said Upchurch. "Our ace in the hole is that we are geographically removed from the big box stores in town."

Traffic in the store has been steady for the holidays, and this past Saturday was the biggest day yet. "I'm happy with the way it has gone. We've been much busier than we thought we would be," said Upchurch. Ultimately, whatever the final sales tally for the year, he's optimistic about what lies ahead. "We think there's a future in the book business, and we're committed to it."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Christopher Plummer, In Spite of Himself

Today on Talk of the Nation: Anne Roiphe, author of Epilogue (Harper, $24.95, 9780061254628/0061254622).


For three nights in a row, Charlie Rose has conversations about three movies based on books that are just out or just about to be released. Tomorrow night the focus is on The Reader, on Christmas it's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and on Friday night the conversation heads down Revolutionary Road.


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


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Christopher Plummer, author of In Spite of Myself: A Memoir (Knopf, $29.95, 9780679421627/0679421629).


On Christmas morning on Good Morning America: Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman (Simon Spotlight, $17.95, 9781416940661/1416940669).


On Christmas on Oprah, in a repeat: Craig Kielburger, author of Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World (Fireside, $14, 9780743294515/0743294513).


On Christmas on Tavis Smiley, in a repeat: Michael Phelps, author of No Limits: The Will to Succeed (Free Press, $26, 9781439130728/1439130728).


On Friday night on CBS Dateline: Don Van Ryn, author of Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope (Howard Books, $21.99, 9781416567356/1416567356).



Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, December 30:

The Book of Unholy Mischief: A Novel by Elle Newmark (Atria, $26, 9781416590545/1416590544) follows a chef's apprentice in 15th-century Venice.

Black Ops by W.E.B. Griffin (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399155178/0399155171) finds Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel Charley Castillo in the midst of a mysterious international killing spree.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet: A Novel
by Colleen McCullough (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416596486/1416596488) examines the fate of Mary Bennet in an imagined sequel to Pride and Prejudice.

The Best Life Diet Cookbook: More than 175 Delicious, Convenient, Family-Friendly Recipes by Bob Greene (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416588337/1416588337) emphasizes healthy foods that still taste good.

New in paperback:

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan by Suze Orman (Spiegel & Grau, $9.99, 9780385530934/0385530935).


Book Brahmins: Stephanie Kallos

Stephanie Kallos spent 20 years in the theater as an actress and teacher before coming out of the closet as a writer. In 1996, she was commissioned by the Seattle Children's Theatre to adapt Pinocchio; her published short fiction has received a Raymond Carver Short Story Award and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Her first novel, Broken For You, won the Washington State Book Award, the PNBA award and was chosen by Sue Monk Kidd as a Today Show book club selection in December 2004. Her second novel, Sing Them Home, will be released this coming January 6 by Atlantic Monthly Press. Stephanie lives with her family in North Seattle and pulled herself away from the library that is her nightstand to answer a few questions:

On your nightstand now:

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne; The Fasting Girl by Michelle Stacey; Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet; Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss; Autism and the God Connection by William Stillman; Journey of Souls by Michael Newton; Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa by Joan Jacbos Brumberg; and two books on writing: Robert Olen Butler's From Where You Dream and Naming the World edited by Bret Anthony Johnston. I always have many knitting projects on the needles and many books on my nightstand--both of which drive my husband crazy.

Favorite books when you were a child:

Pretty traditional stuff, I'm afraid: A Wrinkle in Time and Little Women for fiction--although I could never get past Beth's death. I also read a great deal of nonfiction as a kid--biographies of noble achievers that left me feeling very inadequate and laid the foundation for my predisposition for guilt and shame. And there was a series of books by a man whose name I believe was Frank Edwards. I'm sure they're out of print now, but I'd love to find them again. They had titles like Strange But True and recounted supernatural/inexplicable events like spontaneous human combustion and frog downpours. I loved that stuff. Still do.

Your top five authors:

This is a toughie, because any writer I love and have learned from is a favorite. So I'm going to treat this like a "If you were stranded on a desert island" question: J.D. Salinger, Anne Sexton, John Irving, Shakespeare, Ian McEwan.

Book you've faked reading:

I'm terrible at faking, which is too bad since I'm embarrassingly ill-read. If I were inclined to fake having read something, it would surely be something by one of the Russians. I admit to having nodded my head knowingly when the conversation turns to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Actually, I could start faking an acquaintance with Melville if I wanted to, thanks to my kids: the other day at breakfast my sons shocked the hell out of me by reciting, in chorus, the opening lines of Moby Dick. "How do you know that?" I asked, incredulous. They informed me that one of the characters in the Bone books uses Melville as a reliable soporific. However, since I have very little trouble falling asleep these days, I'll probably never get to it. And now I'm outed.

Book you're an evangelist for:

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver. It's hard to evangelize for a book that is so unflinching and dark, but it's an incredible work, one that faces a hot-button, contemporary issue head-on, in all its complexities. It's the most relentlessly truthful and thought-provoking book I've read in years.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Recently Alice Hoffman's The Fourth Angel and a novel called Salvage by Jane Kotapish.

Books that changed your life:

Ironweed by William Kennedy. I found it astonishing. When I put it down, I felt that one could learn everything one needed to know about writing a novel by reading it.

Atonement by Ian McEwan. I still study that book---and all of McEwan's work--because no one has the ability to dive more completely and fearlessly into the heads of characters than he does, to explode a single moment in a person's life in a way that lends it a profound and enduring significance. Atonement also opened up the potential power of storytelling to me in a way that no other book has ever done. That book was an artistic shock to my system; that's the only way I can describe it.

Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. The second time I acted in that play, I played Paulina. The experience was earth-shattering in terms of what it taught me about Shakespeare's use of language, the physicality of it, the power of sounds in and of themselves. It was that play--and the subsequent gift of getting cast in other Shakespearean roles--that taught me that language is gestural. A physical force. Shakespeare still exerts the biggest influence on my work as a writer--he just did everything right.

Favorite line from a book:

"I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice--not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany."--John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.

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

All of Thoreau; The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand; Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook . . . Really, any of the books I read in my early 20s, because for the most part they were books that weren't mandated by curriculums or given to me by relatives; they were books I found on my own or through friends. These were the books that helped me begin to define myself apart from my parents. I'll also add To Kill a Mockingbird, even though it was required (and controversial) reading at my junior high; every time I read that book it feels like the first time.


Book Review

Book Review: The Power of Four

The Power of Four: Leadership Lessons of Crazy Horse by Joseph M, III Marshall (Sterling, $17.95 Hardcover, 9781402748813, January 2009)

The Power of Four could not arrive at a more opportune time. As the White House changes hands, leadership styles and the effectiveness of our elected chief executives are foremost in our minds. Marshall's analysis of Crazy Horse as a leader of the Lakota tribe is not only interesting in itself but also instructive on such issues as selecting a President and our support of those we have elected.

Crazy Horse's popular image has long been dominated by his role at the Battle of Little Bighorn, but Marshall paints a richer, fuller portrait of the man. He rose to a position of leadership among the Lakota, a tribe in which everyone knew everyone else's history, character, wisdom and bravery; his record of accomplishments was well-known and questions of authenticity never arose. Crazy Horse epitomized all that the Lakota expected in their chief: a leader reflecting the values and the will of the people (not imposing his own) and showing that quiet fortitude can be more powerful than fear.

Full knowledge of the qualities of a prospective leader is one thing the Lakota had that we don't. Another difference is that we conflate leadership with authority/title--Marshall points out that since no word for "authority" exists in the Lakota language, a leader's power derives only from the tribe's trust in his character, experience and effectiveness. With all tribal members retaining free will, individuals could decide, if a current leader was not honoring his role, to stop following him at any time. That realization was a constant reminder to Crazy Horse and others, if they ever needed it.

Marshall reflects on the fact that contemporary election campaigns focus almost entirely on winning the contest, with voters casting ballots based on vague promises. Too often, he states, we are disappointed to find those promises unkept. Marshall joins many others, including Joseph Boyett in Won't Be Fooled Again and John MacArthur in You Can't Be President, in calling for the electorate to take back control of the election process, design a means objectively to authenticate candidates' backgrounds and hold politicians accountable to their constituents. As he says so eloquently here: "Leaders of organizations, companies, and corporations should realize that their basic ethical responsibility is to reflect the values of the people they lead, and hold themselves to a higher standard in regards to value and character."--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A zesty review of the leadership qualities of Crazy Horse, The Power of Four is thought-provoking about the process by which we select our own leaders today.


Powered by: Xtenit