Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 10, 2007


Orchard Books: Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Atlantic Monthly Press: The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow

Balzer & Bray/Harperteen: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

Grove Press: Afterglow (a Dog Memoir) by Eileen Myles

Flatiron Books: The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family's Search for the American Dream by Bryan Mealer

News

Notes: Potter Publishing; Smaller Big Boxes; Flying Pig

The publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows July 21 is inspiring a burst of Potter-related publishing that aims to take advantage of the last big opportunity to tie into a new Potter title, today's Wall Street Journal writes. Many of the books are "works of nonfiction fueled by online Harry Potter communities." On July 21, titles that speculate on the series's ending will be "worm food in the landfill," according to John Granger, author of Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader.

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Some big-box retailers are becoming smaller-box retailers, at least in smaller markets, today's Journal reported. Best Buy and Circuit City "need smaller structures [usually at least a third smaller] to penetrate fast-growing suburbs, rural areas and gaps between their larger stores--places that can't support one of their superstores." The companies are also reacting to investor pressure on "U.S. retailers to focus on wringing the greatest returns out of their operations rather than relentlessly expanding." Other factors that apply to consumer electronics at least: less space is needed for products that are getting smaller and consumers are buying more music and movies online.

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How can you open a chain store if there's no place to park? In Tuesday's Shelf we reported that residents of Banff, Alberta--including Banff Book and Art Den owners Neil and Gabi Wedin--were concerned about plans for an Indigo Books & Music store coming to town. Now the Banff Crag & Canyon has weighed in on the issue with an interesting look at how other Canadian towns have managed retail growth through various "creative zoning" options.

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The First Unity Church has moved its Wings Bookstore to a new, larger and busier location, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Rev. Temple Hayes said the bookstore's goal is to be a "window for our community to see the full body of our campus and what we have to offer. . . . There are so many people who love Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Ramdas--and certainly The Secret is part of that--but are not aware that there's a church right here in St. Petersburg that teaches and offers all these ancient spiritual teachings."

She added that making customers feel welcome was a key part of the move: "We wanted people to feel comfortable here, no matter what they believe or think. This is a place for anybody to come in. . . . I don't want it to look like we are evangelists or missionaries. Unity is about accepting people exactly as they are."

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Pigs are flying in Vermont. Josie Leavitt and Elizabeth Bluemle, owners of the Flying Pig children's bookstore, told Seven Days that their recent move to the former Shelburne Inn in Shelburne from Charlotte has allowed them to be more competitive in a challenging Burlington-area bookselling market. In addition to expanding the bookstore's inventory to include more adult books ("partly for the customers and partly for ourselves” said Leavitt), they have also been able to increase the number and quality of author events.

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Dolphin Tales bookstore, Virginia Beach, Va., will close May 26 after 18 years in business. Describing it as "a religious bookstore and ecumenical crossroads," the Virginian-Pilot reported that owners Renee E. and Tim McCarthy "traced Dolphin Tales' shrinking clientele to competition from Internet-based booksellers and religious supply companies."

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Can we rise above it all? An editorial in Salt Lake City Weekly suggested that a proposed "skybridge" over what the writer called the "LoMain" district of the city would in fact "keep people off the sidewalks" in an area that needs pedestrians for "a few brave holdouts," including Sam Weller's Bookstore. According to the editorial, "after downtown rises, LoMain may be the last place you'll see an accurate portrayal of city life. . . . We'll keep a light on for you."

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The Jenkins Group and Independent Publisher Online are launching the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards "to honor the year's best children's books, authors and illustrators." The awards will have 23 categories. The first awards program will be for books with 2006 or 2007 copyrights or were released in 2006 or 2007. The books should be written in English and intended for the North American market. Entries should be sent by August 1. For more information, go to moonbeamawards.com

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My word! Our profile of WORD, the new Brooklyn, N.Y., bookstore, in yesterday's issue listed the wrong phone number. The correct number is 718-383-0096.

 


AuthorBuzz: Indie Bookstore Readers


BEA NYC: Loopy Mango's Straightforward Welcome

Waejong Kim and Anna Pulvermakher, owners of Loopy Mango, the clothing and jewelry boutique in the Dumbo district in Brooklyn, N.Y., are also authors of the forthcoming Crochet Jewelry: 40 Beautiful and Unique Designs (Interweave Press, September 2007). To celebrate the book and BEA, the pair are offering BEA attendees a 10% discount during BEA.

Kim and Pulvermakher will also be at the Interweave booth (#2721) on Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m., where they will talk about crocheting, present a trunk show of crochet accessories from their book and do a free drawing/giveway of crochet earrings from their store.

In January, the New York Times wrote: "If one store best represents Front Street in Dumbo, it is Loopy Mango, a transplant from the East Village that opened in September. The store, a glossy gallery of a space, sells vintage clothes and antiques alongside smart, new fashion and jewelry from designers like Tufi Duek, Tocca, Rachel Roy and Tracy Reese . . . One of the founders of Loopy Mango, Waejong Kim, is a crochet artist, and the store has become something of a destination for crochet fetishists . . . the Loopy Mango crocheted products are unlike any crochet work you have seen."

Loopy Mango is located at 117 Front St. (between Adams and Washington Streets) in Brooklyn; 718-858-5930, www.loopymango.com.


Zondervan: To Wager Her Heart (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Consumer Culture Woes and Contributing to a Healthier Planet

This morning on the Today Show, Ann Curry interviews Karen Stabiner, editor of and contributor to the new anthology, The Empty Nest: 31 Parents Tell the Truth About Relationships, Love, and Freedom After the Kids Fly the Coop (Voice, $23.95, 9781401302573/1401302572).

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Today on Good Morning America, Kim McKay shares tips from True Green: 100 Everyday Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Planet (National Geographic Society, $19.95, 9781426201134/1426201133).

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This morning the Early Show cashes in with an appearance by Susan Gregory Thomas, author of Buy, Buy Baby: How Consumer Culture Manipulates Parents and Harms Young Minds (Houghton Mifflin, $25, 9780618463510/0618463518).

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Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Brian Selznick, author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic Press, $22.99, 9780439813785/0439813786). As the show put it: "The design and composition of this five hundred page picture book took Brian Selznick many years' work. Here, we talk about the influence of movies, especially French movies, especially the work of pioneer Georges Méliès. The talk about Méliès leads us to the spiritual mentors that haunt Selznick's vivid imagination."

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Cullen Murphy, author of Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (Houghton Mifflin, $24, 9780618742226/0618742220).

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Today on Ellen: Kanye West introduces his mother, Dr. Donda West, author of Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar (Pocket, $24.95, 9781416544708/1416544704).

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Today on Hannity & Colmes: Brian Kilmeade, author of It's How You Play the Game: The Powerful Sports Moments That Taught Lasting Values to America's Finest (HC, $25.95, 9780061237263/0061237264).

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Reza Aslan, author of No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam (Random House, $14.95, 9780812971897/0812971892).

 


Trinity University Press: Self-Portrait with Dogwood by Christopher Merrill


This Weekend on Book TV: Not on Our Watch

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, May 12

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first aired in 2004, Charles Ogletree discussed his book, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education (Norton, $15.95, 9780393326864 /0393326861) at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.

7 p.m. General Assignment. Don Cheadle and John Prendergast, co-authors of Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond (Hyperion, $14.95, 9781401303358/1401303358), describe the genocide in Darfur--which has killed hundreds of thousands of people and left millions on the verge of starvation--and present strategies for improving the desperate situation there. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:15 a.m.)

8 p.m. General Assignment. Stephen Prothero, author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 9780060846701/0060846704), advocates teaching religion in public schools to help Americans more capably address domestic and foreign challenges.  (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m.)

9 p.m. After Words. Former Congressman and NFL quarterback Jack Kemp interviews Robert McGovern, author of All American: Why I Believe in Football, God, and the War in Iraq (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061227851/0061227854). McGovern is a judge advocate general in the U.S. Army's 18th Airborne Corps. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

10:30 p.m. History on Book TV. Journalist and medical ethicist Harriet Washington, author of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385509930/0385509936), contends that medical research like the infamous "Tuskegee Syphilis Study" influenced the way African Americans relate to today's medical industry. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 p.m.)

 


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan



Books & Authors

Awards: Ruth Lilly Poetry and James Beard's Foodie Heaven

Lucille Clifton has won the 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. The $100,000 award was established in 1986 and is presented by the Poetry Foundation. The prize will be given at a ceremony at the Arts Club of Chicago on May 23.

Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and chair of the selection committee, commented: "Lucille Clifton is a powerful presence and voice in American poetry. Her poems are at once outraged and tender, small and explosive, sassy and devout. She sounds like no one else, and her achievement looks larger with each passing year."

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The James Beard Foundation/KitchenAid Book Awards have gone to:

  • Asian Cooking: Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland (Norton)
  • Baking and Dessert: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Cookbook Hall of Fame: Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (Ten Speed Press)
  • Cookbook of the Year: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee (Norton)
  • Cooking from a Professional Point of View: Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries by Alain Ducasse and Frédéric Robert (Les Éditions d'Alain Ducasse)
  • Entertaining: The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison (HarperCollins)
  • Food of the Americas: The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee (Norton)
  • General: Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day by Roy Finamore (Houghton Mifflin)
  • Healthy Focus: Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass (Clarkson Potter)
  • International: The Soul of a New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson (Wiley)
  • Photography: Michael Mina, photographed by Karl Petzke (Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown)
  • Reference: What to Eat by Marion Nestle (North Point/FSG)
  • Single Subject: The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg (Hyperion)
  • Wine and Spirits: Romancing the Vine by Alan Tardi (St. Martin's)
  • Writing on Food: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Penguin Press)


Book Review

Children's Review: Lizard People

Lizard People by Charlie Price (Roaring Brook Press, $16.95 Hardcover, 9781596431904, August 2007)



In this slightly confusing but ultimately redemptive novel (for both the hero and readers!), high school junior Ben Mander has his work cut out for him. His father, who abuses alcohol, left during one of Ben's mother's battles with schizophrenia. After Ben's mother nearly assaults a secretary at his school, claiming the woman "is a Lizard," Ben and the police accompany her to a psychiatric hospital. In the waiting room, Ben meets Marco Lasalle, a magnetic "18- or 19-year-old" whose mother has also been committed, and Ben can't stop thinking about him. Ben tries to keep up his grades while also watching over his mother, who refuses to take her prescribed medication and buys street drugs from an ex-con. Later, when he meets up with Marco again at the hospital, they strike up a tentative friendship. Marco confides to Ben that he has traveled to the year 4000, a time when mental illness has been cured. Ben narrates the novel as an extended flashback; from the very beginning Ben voices his fear that, if he repeats Marco's story, "They might . . . believe I'm crazy, too."

In Price's debut novel, Dead Connection, he let readers into the minds of each of his characters, no matter how small their role. Here, the author keeps many of them at a distance, perhaps to underscore the fact that no one can truly know another's mind--sick or well. Ben's father and mother remain shadowy figures, and Marco is an enigma. But this distance also forces readers to entertain the same questions that haunt Ben: Did Marco travel through time? Are the people he met in the year 4000 the Lizard People to which Ben's mother referred? Much remains a mystery. What Price does make clear is the persuasive power of the mentally ill while in the throes of their disease. They are so convinced themselves by the reality they describe, that they succeed in planting a seed in Ben. And the novel's fascinating outcome makes one wonder if it even matters whether or not time travel or the Lizard People ever existed. Ben has found his calling, shaped by his compassion for the plight of both his mother and Marco.--Jennifer M. Brown


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Looking Backward at BEA NYC

The printing department . . . is bound to print all that is offered it, but prints it only on condition that the author defray the first cost out of his credit. He must pay for the privilege of the public ear, and if he has any message worth hearing we consider that he will be glad to do it.

In Edward Bellamy's classic utopian novel, Looking Backward: 2000-1887, Julian West wakes up from a 113-year snooze to discover that the future of books is POD self-publishing for the masses:

In art, for example, as in literature, the people are the sole judges.

From the 19th century, Bellamy couldn't envision BookExpo America, which reminds us every spring that a promising future always trumps a muddled present. But the future is more than just idle speculation in our business; it is the water in which we swim. We routinely read in the future--manuscripts, catalogs, ARCs--and at BookExpo, the full utopian vision is on display. Books that will be published next fall have not failed yet; first-time authors are always promising; any book might grow up to be a bestseller.

The past is largely absent from BookExpo, except in the shadows of the remainder pavilion. History matters, however, so I've decided to wander back a bit and see what the future looked like in 2002 and 2005, the last two times BookExpo hit "the city."

In the April 29, 2002 edition of the New York Times, David Kirkpatrick wrote of the "noisy literary circus where scores of publishers and hundreds of authors desperately compete for attention" in "the Super Bowl of book promotion, where publishers battle to influence what stores promote and what customers ultimately read." Kirkpatrick flogged the circus analogy once more, if justifiably this time, in highlighting book promotional appearances by tightrope walker Phillippe Petit and magician David Blaine.

A bittersweet note (the past is often less forgiving than the future) was sounded in sharp comments from the late Roger Straus, legendary head of FSG, who spoke of the subtle art of "earnest and repeated testimonials" for a new book. "Your jaw aches after a while, like smiling when it is not funny," he said, and wondered aloud if Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides would repeat the success of FSG's previous hit, The Corrections: "How many novels about hermaphrodites do you see every day?"

Flash forward three years. Edward Wyatt opened his article for the June 2, 2005 edition of the Times by addressing time travel directly: "The publishing industry is notoriously gloomy when it comes to looking into the future: business is perpetually in decline, a result of huge author advances and shrinking numbers of readers."

He then countered his opening by acknowledging that optimism was present at BEA, as it always has been, even if the reasons change from year to year. "Sales of general-interest books are thriving, in sharp contrast to recent downturns in other communications and media businesses," he wrote. Reasons for the upturn included the success of "religious-themed books like The Purpose-Driven Life and the 'Left Behind' series of novels, as well as a new breed of mega-best-selling novels, some with religious overtones, like The Da Vinci Code and The Five People You Meet in Heaven."

The primary voice of optimism in the article belonged to Barnes & Noble's Steve Riggio, who found positive signs in increased sales for mass-market outlets. "If you look at the book business over the last decade, you don't really see years of double-digit growth, but you don't see years of significant decline, either," he said. "It's a steady, stable business."

On June 6, Wyatt wrote of Oprah Winfrey's announcement during the show that three William Faulkner novels would be her summer book club selection. Richard Howorth, Oxford, Miss., mayor and owner of Square Books, expressed considerable pessimism: "The good news is more people are going to be reading Faulkner. The bad news is more people are going to be buying condos in Oxford."

Edward Bellamy predicted a 21st century publishing industry that had freed itself from the shackles of hype, greed and uncertainty, writing that "the universally high level of education nowadays gives the popular verdict a conclusiveness on the real merit of literary work which in your day it was as far as possible from having. . . . Every author has precisely the same facilities for bringing his work before the popular tribunal."

Now what fun would that be? Let the circus begin.--Robert Gray (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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