Shelf Awareness for Monday, January 5, 2009


Dutton Books: Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

DC Zoom: Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Le, illustrated by Andie Tong

Workman Publishing: Halloween Titles by Various - Click here for more information!

Jackson University Press: The Papaya King by Adam Pelzman

Carolrhoda Books: Ella McKeen, Kickball Queen by Beth Mills

Little Brown Books For Young Readers: Ping by Ani Castillo

News

Obituary Note: Glenn Goldman

Very sad news: Glenn Goldman, owner and founder of Book Soup, West Hollywood, Calif., died on Saturday. He was 58 and had pancreatic cancer. He has two sons, who are 16 and 10.

The store said in part, "At this tragic hour we remember Glenn's sense of humor, his generosity, and the sacrifices he made to bring books, his passion, to the people. Glenn was a man who lived life to its fullest and accomplished more in his 58 years than most people would in three lifetimes."

In a memorial on the paper's website, David Ulin, book editor of the Los Angeles Times, said that Goldman set Book Soup's "tone, both intellectually--the store reflected his tastes and interests, in art and film and fiction--and in terms of personality. The staff is among the nicest I've encountered: smart and a little bit shy also, enthusiastic about the books. And writers love to read there, even though the space can be a bit unwieldy, because they know that this is a place where they'll be treasured, where their work will be treated not as commodity but as art."

The Times obituary called the store "a Sunset Boulevard landmark known for its tall, teetering stacks and mazes of shelves crammed with titles that attracted entertainment and tourist industry clientele."

Goldman was a former president and board member of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association and a board member of the American Booksellers Association. SCIBA executive director Jennifer Bigelow noted that "even after Glenn's official roles with the associations were over, he was still always there and always available and touched the lives and had relationships with dozens and dozens of booksellers across the country."

Bigelow added, "Every time I talked with him, I learned something new, whether it was about him or an author or a book. One of the best things was to be able to sit by him at presale dinners."

Years ago, Shelf Awareness had the pleasure of having a long, leisurely lunch--and thorough bookstore visit--with Goldman and kept up with him at conferences. He always struck us as a sharp, amusing, nice man who loved to share a laugh.

Founded in 1975, Book Soup remains an ongoing, healthy business under the direction of Adrian Newell of Warwick's Bookstore. The store had been put up for sale shortly before Goldman's death and remains for sale--with proceeds intended to go to Goldman's children.

A memorial service will be held at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City at 1 p.m., this coming Sunday, January 11, and is open to the public. Details may be confirmed on Book Soup's website. In lieu of flowers, friends and colleagues may contribute to the Glenn Goldman Booksellers Scholarship Fund, which benefits the education and development of young booksellers worldwide. Information about the scholarship is on the Book Soup web site.

SCIBA also will collect online tributes and memories about Goldman and pass them on to the store and his family. Write to office@scbabooks.org. Book Soup has a Memorial Book in the store.
 

 


H1: The Big Country by Quinton Peeples, illustrated by Dennis Calero


Notes: Librairie Francaise Fermera; Obama's Local Bookstore

In any language, a jump in rent to $1 million from $360,000 is incroyable. Unfortunately as a result, Librairie Francaise in Rockefeller Center in New York City is closing this coming September, according to the Bookseller. The store opened in 1935 "at the invitation of David Rockefeller, who wanted Europeans to be part of his new office building."

Bookstore owner Emmanuel Molho told AFP that another factor in the decision to close was the composition of Rockefeller Center, which he said "has become a shopping mall," with exclusive boutiques that sell clothes, cosmetics and electronics to tourists.

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In a story that alternates between fluff and substance, the New York Times examines "the new austerity in publishing," stating that book publishers are "clamping down on some of the business's most glittery and cozy traditions." Among them, holiday parties were staged in much more economical ways, and "editors with Four Seasons taste are being asked to scale back on their lunch tabs."

But in a more concrete vein, the paper noted that more sales conferences are being planned via teleconference and the Internet. Advances are expected to fall, and likely fewer books will be acquired. Returns will be reconsidered, travel to meetings and shows may be limited, and advanced galleys might have shorter print runs.

The one bookseller quoted in the story, Vivien Jennings of Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., counseled that publishers become more attuned to the market. "They need to have some sense of what is going on in the country and what the readers are really looking for."

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Montpelier, Vt., the smallest state capital in the U.S., "is home to four independent bookstores whose creaky floors and aisles of books continue to lure devoted customers," the Boston Globe reported in its piece exploring the literary delights of Bear Pond Books, Rivendell Books, the Book Garden and Black Sheep Books.  

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Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, Chicago, Ill., and general manager Jack Cella were profiled by the Los Angeles Times, which noted that last year there was "a distinct upgrade in the store's cultural cachet" when the media discovered that the legendary Hyde Park bookshop was one of Barack Obama's favorite destinations.

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Calling Village Books, Pacific Palisades, Calif., "the neighborhood book store," Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, who recently signed DVDs and book sets related to his films at the shop, told the Palisadian-Post, "I've been buying my books here for years."

Hanks said he had asked owner Katie O'Laughlin how he might help during tough economic times, and "so I sat down with my people and we looked at the calendar and chose the coldest, rainiest, windiest day of the year to hold this signing on."

"I've kidded him that he wants to reverse the 'bad' his character did in You've Got Mail,'' said O'Laughlin.

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In a Home & Garden section article headlined "The Yoknapatawpha Salon and Inn," the New York Times showcased Lisa and Richard Howorth, owners of Square Books, Oxford, Miss., and noted that, "being naturally hospitable people, they often invite visiting authors to stay at their five-bedroom house instead of in a hotel."

"When you go to a bookstore, you think of it as a lonely outpost, but this is the opposite of a lonely outpost,” said Roy Blount, Jr., who wears a Square Books cap in the author photo on the jacket of his recent book, Alphabet Juice.

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Death did not take a holiday in the world of books this year.

Playwright and Nobel laureate Harold Pinter died Christmas Eve. He was 78. The New York Times praised Pinter's "gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence" and called him "the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation."

Donald E. Westlake died on New Year's Eve. He was 75. As the author of more than 100 novels, Westlake was "considered one of the most successful and versatile mystery writers in the United States," the Times observed.

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Amazon offers its Best Books of 2008, including both the top 100 editors' picks and top 100 customers' picks. The top top editors' pick--the best book of the year--was The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher (Knopf), which the company described as "brilliantly imagined," a novel that "took us inside the ordinary and extraordinary lives of two families in Sheffield, England, a place we knew little about but now feel we know intimately."

 


Abrams Books for Young Readers: Sofia Valdez, Future Prez (Questioneers) by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts


Bah Humbug: General Retail's Holiday Slip

With some exceptions, news about general holiday sales was grim, all for obvious reasons: the economy, bad weather, the economy, heavy discounting, the economy.

Holiday sales fell 2.3%, according to ShopperTrak, and S&P Equity Research predicted December sales would be down 2.7%. The International Council of Shopping Centers expects December sales at stores open at least a year to decline at least 1% and some types of stores to have double-digit drops. The Council called this "the weakest holiday season since at least 1970" in terms of sales growth.

Despite heavy discounts and free shipping offers, online holiday sales fell 3% from the same period last year, the first drop since comScore began tracking online sales in 2001. eBay had 3.9% fewer visitors than a year ago.

Sales of apparel, luxury goods, furniture and electronics and appliances fell by double digits, according to SpendingPulse.

Wal-Mart is expected to be one of the few bright spots while Amazon claimed the holiday season was its "best ever." Visitors to its site did grow 7.4%, but otherwise statistics were sketchy. The company said that more than 6.3 million items were ordered worldwide on its peak day, December 15, and that "top sellers in books" included The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. (Amazon "sold enough Breaking Dawn books that stacked end to end they would reach the summit of Mt. Everest eight times.")

In another bright spot, a few booksellers with whom Shelf Awareness has spoken have expressed satisfaction with holiday sales. Starting today (see following story), we have some in-depth reports from booksellers about the season, following up on their comments from late last year.

 


MPIBA Booksellers! Click now and sign up for your free holiday gift guides>


Post-Holiday Hum: Wild Weather and 2009 Strategies

Record snowfalls, including several storms during the week leading up to Christmas, dampened holiday sales at Wide World Books & Maps, Seattle, Wash. (Shelf Awareness, December 18, 2008). Store owner Simone Andrus called the general retail situation and snow "a double whammy," adding, "We had the worst Christmas in a decade. However, we are still profitable."

Wide World Books & Maps' two holiday bestsellers are both about France--The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn, who recounts her experiences at a Parisian cooking school, and Rick Steves' Paris 2009. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson followed in the travel literature category, while the runner-up guidebook was Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed by Andrew Doughty.

Sales from Christmas Day to New Year's Day were on par with those during the same period last year, "which is a good sign," Andrus said. The store will continue to remain open seven days a week but with shorter operating hours "to reflect what is expected to be both a grim retail situation and a grim travel situation for the next several months. We've been through this before in 2001 and 2002, and we're doing the same things we did before." That includes keeping a close watch on inventory, Andrus added, to "make sure our ordering doesn't get ahead of our cash flow."

Shoppers looking to save on their 2009 travel reading can sign up for the Buyers Bonus program. Participants earn a $10 coupon for every $100 they spend at the store. Another draw is the store's Tuesday evening event series, which resumes tomorrow after a holiday hiatus. Despite a dreary December, said Andrus, "we're grateful to our core customers who make our travel store their travel store."

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At M Is for Mystery . . . and More in San Mateo, Calif. (Shelf Awareness, December 11, 2008), revenue for December was approximately the same as December last year. In-store sales slowed down after Christmas, when there were no events to bring in customers, but online business remained steady, noted owner Ed Kaufman.

The store's lead holiday title was Show No Fear by Perri O'Shaughnessy. Sales of the book received a boost when Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy, the sister writing duo behind the pen name, appeared at the store in December.

Author events--and subsequent sales of signed books--contribute heavily to M Is for Mystery's bottom line. Kaufman kicked off 2009 with two events this past weekend--Scott Sigler (Contagious) on Saturday and Carol O'Connell (Bone by Bone) yesterday. More than 10 other scribes are lined up for January appearances, ranging from bestsellers like Jan Burke and Richard North Patterson to debut author Elle Newmark--whose novel The Book of Unholy Mischief is set in Venice, Italy, where Kaufman will be visiting in April. The store has already received many advance orders for The Rules of the Game by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post, who will appear at the Belmont Library on January 30 for a joint event co-sponsored by M Is for Mystery.

"We have as good a schedule of authors coming into the store as we've ever had, but I'm very wary of the economy," Kaufman said. "Barack Obama can't just wave a magic wand and all of a sudden the economy is booming. My guess is that 2009 will not be better than 2008. But who knows?"--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


Amulet Books: In the Hall with the Knife: A Clue Mystery, Book One by Diana Peterfreund


Yucaipa Buys Piece of B&N

Ron Burkle, who made a fortune in supermarkets and heads Yucaipa American Management, has bought nearly 4.6 million shares of Barnes & Noble and owns about 8% of the company. In an SEC filing, Yucaipa said it made the purchases because the company's shares are "undervalued." Yucaipa added that it is holding the shares for investment purposes but will "closely monitor the company's performance" and may modify its plans in the future.

B&N closed on Friday at $15.32 a share, well below its high of more than $46 a share three years ago, and its lowest price since 1996. With more than 16.6 million shares, chairman Len Riggio is the single-largest shareholder of the company.

Speaking of Wall Street and booksellers, Borders closed last week at 45 cents a share, making its market capitalization $27.2 million. To put that in perspective, the market values the company at such a low level that theoretically one could buy one of the company's superstores (all specialty stores aside) for a little more than $50,000. Going private would be an inexpensive move.

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Good Food, Less Food, Letting Go, Taking New Paths

This morning on Good Morning America: Teri Gault, author of Shop Smart, Save More: Learn The Grocery Game and Save Hundreds of Dollars a Month (Avon, $12.99, 9780061720994/0061720992).

Also on GMA: Michael F. Roizen, co-author of YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty (Free Press, $26.99, 9781416572343/1416572341).

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This morning on the Today Show:

  • Shmuel Boteach, author of The Kosher Sutra: Eight Sacred Secrets for Reigniting Desire and Restoring Passion for Life (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780061668357/0061668354).
  • Arielle Ford, author of Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction (HarperOne, $23.99, 9780061692376/0061692379).
  • Joy Bauer, author of Joy's LIFE Diet: Four Steps to Thin Forever (Collins Living, $25.99, 9780061665745/0061665746). Bauer is also on the View tomorrow.

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Today on NPR's Fresh Air: James Fallows, author of Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307456243/0307456242).

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Today on NPR's On Point: Jeffrey Meyers, author of Samuel Johnson: The Struggle (Basic Books, $35, 9780465045716/0465045715).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Azar Nafisi, author of Things I've Been Silent About: Memories (Random House, $27, 9781400063611/1400063612).

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Today on Oprah: Bob Greene, author of The Best Life Diet Revised and Updated (Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781416590231/1416590234). Greene is on Larry King Live tomorrow.

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Ali Velshi, CNN chief business correspondent and author of Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis (Sterling & Ross, $12.95, 9780981453569/0981453562).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author of Moments of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addiction and Recovery (Morrow, $25.99, 9780061456213/0061456217).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Jeff Henderson, author of Chef Jeff Cooks: In the Kitchen with America's Inspirational New Culinary Star (Scribner, $30, 9781416577102/1416577106).

Also on Today: Jodi Lipper, author of How to Love Like a Hot Chick (Collins Living, $14.99, 9780061706448/0061706442).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Michael Davis, author of Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street (Viking, $27.95, 9780670019960/0670019968).

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Tomorrow on Ellen: Deepak Chopra, author of Jesus (HarperOne, $24.95, 9780061448737/0061448737).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Michael Wolff, author of The Man Who Owns the News: Inside the Secret World of Rupert Murdoch (Random House, $29.95, 9780385526128/0385526121).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Matt Miller, author of The Tyranny of Dead Ideas: Letting Go of the Old Ways of Thinking to Unleash a New Prosperity (Times Books, $25, 9780805087871/0805087877).

 


Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:

Hardcover

Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah (Soho, $25, 9781569475218/1569475210). "Second in the series, this well-written British police procedural features a female detective out of Sex and the City and a serial rapist who is systematically raping professional women for fun, and in front of an audience for profit. This gritty tale builds slowly, but it is well worth the time."--Mary Jane Weber, Town Book Store, Westfield, N.J.

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling by David Wolman (Collins, $24.95, 9780061369254/006136925X). "An informative and humorous look at how we ended up with our English orthography. This is a book for many of us who find that English words never look quite right--even when correctly spelled. A wonderful weekend read!"--Fran Wilson, Colorado State University Bookstore, Fort Collins, Colo.

Paperback

November 22, 1963 by Adam Braver (Tin House, $14.95, 9780980243628/0980243629). "This blend of facts and Braver's wonderful sense of imagination is an intimate look into the thoughts and feelings of Jackie Kennedy as she deals with the tragic events of November 22 as First Lady, and also as a wife who is devastated by the sudden loss of her husband. This book has a haunting effect and you will want to read it over and over again."--Sue Woodman, A Novel Idea, Bristol, R.I.

For Ages 4 to 8

Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry With a Beat edited by Nikki Giovanni (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $19.99, 9781402210488/1402210485). "This collection--with an accompanying CD--truly has the potential to change the way young children see poetry, as the intrinsic relationship between words and rhythm is amplified in a new groove. We can't wait to share this with our neighborhood educators."--Angela Sherrill, 57th Street Books, Chicago, Ill.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 


Shelf Sample: Beat the Reaper

This is the way to start the new year--read an outrageous, shocking, darkly humorous thriller, with footnotes, no less. Ever so much better than starting a diet and workout program. And Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (Little, Brown, $24.99, 9780316032223/0316032220, January 7, 2009) is just the book. Peter Brown is an ER doctor at Manhattan Catholic Hospital, perhaps not the situation one would expect for a guy in the Witness Protection Program. However, hiding out in plain sight from the New Jersey mob, where he used to be a hit man (aka "the Bearclaw"), has worked until the day his past and his present meet in a terminally ill patient. His morning starts like this:

So I'm on my way to work and I stop to watch a pigeon fight a rat in the snow, and some f***head tries to mug me! Naturally there's a gun. He comes up behind me and sticks it into the base of my skull. It's cold, and it actually feels sort of good, in an acupressure kind of way. "Take it easy, Doc," he says.

Which explains that, at least. Even at five in the morning, I'm not the kind of guy you mug. I look like an Easter Island sculpture of a longshoreman. But the f***head can see the blue scrub pants under my overcoat, and the ventilated plastic green clogs, so he thinks I've got drugs and money on me. And maybe that I've taken some kind of oath not to kick his f***head ass for trying to mug me.

I barely have enough drugs and money to get me through the day. And the only oath I took, as I recall, was to first do no harm. I'm thinking we're way past that point.

"Okay," I say, raising my hands.

The rat and the pigeon run away. Chickenshits.

I turn around. It rolls the gun off my skull and leaves my raised right hand above the f***head's arm. I wrap his elbow and jerk upward, causing the ligaments to pop like champagne corks.
After he rearranges the thug's anatomy, he shoulders him to take him to the ER. As he does so, a gun falls onto the ground.
I should throw it out. Bend the barrel and drop it down a storm drain.

Instead, I slip it into the back pocket of my scrub pants.

Old habits die harder than that.
And then his day really goes downhill. --selected by Marilyn Dahl

 

 


Book Awards: New Mexico Book Awards

The overall winner of the 2008 New Mexico Book Awards--and winner in the biography category--is Into the Devil's Den: How an FBI Informant Got Inside the Aryan Nations and a Special Agent Got Him Out Alive by Dave Hall and Tim Burkey (Ballantine). To see other winners, click here.

 



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