Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lenny: Providence by Caroline Kepnes

Amulet Books: The Girl with More Than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass

Thomas Nelson: The Heart Between Us: Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List by Lindsay Harrel

Workman Publishing: Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World by Deborah Reber

Clarion Books: I Got It! by David Wiesner

Workman Publishing: Turn This Book Into a Beehive!: And 19 Other Experiments and Activities That Explore the Amazing World of Bees by Lynn Brunelle


Notes: Random Buys Watson-Guptill; Norman Consults

Random House has bought Watson-Guptill Publications, the art instruction, craft, photography and reference book publisher, from Nielsen Business Media. Watson-Guptill will become an imprint in Random's Crown Publishing Group. Staff will relocated to Random House headquarters in New York City later this month. Sales and distribution for Watson-Guptill will continue to be provided by Macmillan "for the foreseeable future."

In a statement, Crown president and publisher Jenny Frost said, "With a solid and successful backlist of more than a thousand titles as well as a robust frontlist publishing program, Watson-Guptill is a wonderful addition to our publishing program." 


In June 2009, Barnes & Noble plans to open a store in Kentwood, Mich., near Grand Rapids. The store will be located in the Woodlands Mall. The day before the new store opens, B&N will close its store at 3670 28th Street Southeast in Kentwood.


Marla Norman is joining HarperCollins as a Spanish-language publishing consultant, advising in marketing, publicity and sales in an effort "to round out and maximize Rayo's awarding winner publishing program," Brian Murray, group president of HarperCollins, said in a statement.

Norman has been sales director at Planeta U.S., where she has worked for 12 years. Planeta and Rayo have had a co-publishing agreement since late 2006. Planeta, with headquarters in Spain, recently closed its U.S. office in Miami, Fla., and moved its functions to Mexico City. Norman will continue to live in Miami, "the center of Spanish-language media, where her proximity to key media outlets will help expand Rayo's publicity and marketing efforts," Murray said.

He added that Norman's "skill and knowledge of the Spanish-language market will reinforce Rayo's more recent exciting ventures, such as our launch of the Ecensiales and Adelante series, and support a list which publishes many premiere authors from around the world."


"Lemons to lemonade is nothing. Try turning a manure storage tank into a castle full of books." That was how we introduced a news note about Happy Tales Bookshop, Markesan, Wis., last year (Shelf Awareness, September 10, 2007).

This past weekend, CBS Sunday Morning's Bill Geist headed "down County Road K in Markesan" to interview the bookstore's owners, Lloyd and Leonore Dickmann, who tell their "tale from their very unique and very remote bookstore."


As news, this may fall under the category of dog-bites-man, but researchers have determined that "reading to young children stimulates their development and gives them a head start when they reach school," the Guardian reported.

"You can imagine if someone technologically came up with a widget that would stimulate all aspects of a two-year-old's development, everyone would want to buy it," said Boston University School of Medicine professor Barry Zuckerman, who led the study.


Do readers have enough time to read? USA Today reported the results of a Harris Interactive survey conducted in March that sought to discover, "compared with five years ago, [the] amount of time people who read at least a book a year have for book reading." The good and bad news:

  • Less--45%
  • Same--33%
  • More--22%

Feel free to take your time getting around to reading Slate's recommendation list, "Procrastination Lit: Great novels about wasting time."


"Novels don't like to be tied down by heavy moralizing,'' Ian McEwan said in an interview with Bloomberg. "Novels don't like virtuous novelists telling people what to do.''

McEwan is in the early stages of writing his next book, and the subject will be global warming. "A morally disastrous choice,'' he said, "because who would be for it? And how morally boring to be against it.''


Bloomsbury: The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I by Carolyn Mackler

Image of the Day: Brian May's Universe

Last week Book Soup, Los Angeles, Calif., featured an appearance by Queen guitarist Brian May, who instead of signing CDs or guitars, signed copies of Bang! The Complete History of the Universe (Johns Hopkins University Press, $29.95, 9780801889851/0801889855), which he co-wrote with astronomer Patrick Moore and astrophysicist Chris Lintott. Proud owner of Ph.D. in astrophysics, May met perhaps more Queen than Universe fans, although several apparently came in from far ends of the country, if not universe.




GLOW: Arsenal Pulp Press: Sketchtasy by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Media and Movies

Media Heat: 'Lucky' Lincoln Hall

This morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features an interview with Elise Blackwell, author of The Unnatural History of Cypress Parish (Unbridled Books, $14.95, 9781932961515/1932961518) and Hunger (Unbridled Books, $11.95, 9781932961508/193296150X).

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at; the archived edition will be posted this afternoon.


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Ted Sorensen, author of Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History (Harper, $27.95, 9780060798710/0060798718).


Today on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Barbara Walters, author of Audition: A Memoir (Knopf, $29.95, 978-0307266460/030726646X)


Today on Fresh Air: Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing (S&S, $27, 9780743282246/0743282248).


Tomorrow on Good Morning America: James Van Praagh, author of Ghosts Among Us: Uncovering the Truth About the Other Side (HarperOne, $24.95, 9780061553394/0061553395). He will also appear tomorrow on Dr. Phil.


Tomorrow on the Today Show: Lincoln Hall, author of Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest (Tarcher, $24.95, 9781585426461/1585426466). He will also appear tomorrow night on Dateline and is the subject of a feature documentary on the National Geographic Channel on next Tuesday, May 20, entitled Left For Dead: Miracle on Everest.


Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Rita Rudner, author of I Still Have It . . . I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It: Confessions of a Fiftysomething (Harmony, $23, 9780307394590/030739459X). She will also appear tomorrow on the Today Show.


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: David Shields, author of The thing about life is that one day you’ll be dead (Knopf, $23.95, 9780307268044/0307268047). As the show put it: "David Shields wrote this book to relieve his terrible fear of death. He compares this fear with his ninety-something-year-old father's vigor and confidence. Although the book is full of facts about aging and death, it has the odd effect of making you feel thrilled to be alive."


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: John Harwood and Gerald Seib, authors of Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power (Random House, $26, 9781400065547/1400065542).


Owlkids: What Happens Next by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Carey Sookocheff

Books & Authors

Awards: Children's Choice Book Awards

Winners of the first annual Children's Choice Book Awards--a new component of Children's Book Week--were announced by the Children's Book Council (CBC), in association with the CBC Foundation.

Ian Falconer won the Illustrator of the year award for Olivia Helps with Christmas (S&S) and J.K. Rowling was named author of the year for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Scholastic).

Award-winning titles included Frankie Stein by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Kevan Atteberry (Marshall Cavendish Corporation) in the kindergarten-second grade category; Big Cats by Elaine Landau (Enslow Publishers) for third-fourth grade; and Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee (Scholastic) for fifth-sixth grade.

Children nationwide cast nearly 55,000 votes at bookstores, school libraries and at The awards ceremony was held in New York and hosted by Jon Scieszka, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.


Charlesbridge Publishing: Like Vanessa by Tami Charles

BEA in Los Angeles: Literary Things to Do

Here Shelf Awareness offers another set of tips from Rough Guides about how to navigate and explore Southern California during BookExpo America, which starts May 30 in Los Angeles.



"And you may tell yourself . . . My god! . . . what have I done?"

We know, we know! Your BEA dance card is nearly full! Who has time!? The sales dinners! The author breakfasts! The time spent curled up in a fetal position on your hotel room floor wondering why you didn't major in finance! But just in case you find a few moments to explore the world outside the Convention Center walls, here are a few literary-themed things to do in and around L.A.

Take a Bus Tour!

No, not the kind where you try to peer over a wall of shrubs to catch a glimpse of Brangelina's nanny taking out the trash. These are more out-of-the-ordinary tours, including true crime bus tours (Black Dahlia) and explorations of literary L.A. (Charles Bukowski, Raymond Chandler, John Fante, James M. Cain). There's even a special tour for BookExpo.


Have a drink!

We recommend the drink thing a lot, don't we? Oh well, in this case it's a deep, foamy draught of literary history at one of Hollywood's oldest bars, Musso & Frank Grill. This 1919 classic, loaded with authentic atmosphere, was a favorite of Orson Wells, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Nathanael West, and Dorothy Parker.

Musso & Frank Grill
667 Hollywood Boulevard
Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

Catch a Show!

Recession got you down? Cheer up with a little literary perspective, as Steinbeck's tragic tale of two migrant workers during the Great Depression is brought to life on stage.

Of Mice and Men
Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena

For more things to do and see in L.A., check out your official BEA travel guide, The Rough Guide to Los Angeles, or visit Also, access Rough Guides from your iPhone at

Next Week: You Can't Have Just One! A look at the L.A.'s indie bookstore scene


Disney-Hyperion: We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Midwest Connections: Two Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association: two recent Midwest Connections picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt (Holt, $25, 9780805079081/0805079084), which is recommended by two booksellers.

"Struggling with ghosts, past and present, the Davidsen family embarks on a journey of self-discovery when their father dies. Hustvedt draws on her own deceased father's journals to show how secrets revealed in death can change the meaning of our lives. Set in NYC and Hustvedt's childhood home of Minnesota, the drama of this novel is not the stuff of soap operas, but rather, the revelation that what may seem extraordinary upon discovery becomes, in the end, an ordinary life."--Beth Golay, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan.
"In The Sorrows of an American, Siri Hustvedt deals with our lives when they are jolted by death. The mysteries that are uncovered sometimes are without answers, the people we thought we knew in life turn out to be different, and the impact of others' lives on our own is unpredictable.  There are two major deaths in the book, of a parent and a spouse, but she also examines other deaths, those of relationships and ideals.

"Hustvedt creates characters of varied ages and both genders who are all struggling with perceptions and realities. The reader is drawn into their world from the first page. This is not a bleak novel, however. Throughout we are inspired by not only the frailties of human nature, but the overwhelming resilience of spirit. Ultimately this is a story of heroes both dead and living."--Sue Zumberge, Common Good Books, Saint Paul, Minn.
The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir
by Kao Kalia Yang (Coffee House Press, $14.95, 9781566892087/1566892082)
"My grandparents emigrated to the United States from Poland when they were 12 and 17, and I grew up hearing stories about their early life in this country. My dad told of poverty, of entering school without being able to speak English, and of his parents' attempts to retain their culture while working towards citizenship.
"Kao Kalia Yang relates similar stories in The Latehomecomer. It's good to be reminded that the heritage as immigrants that many of us share has common themes, regardless of ethnic group or country of origin.
"However, most immigrants, including my grandparents, had an 'old country.' Hmong immigrants such as Yang and her family left no old country behind. As an ethnic minority, they have a history of moving from place to place, never really belonging. When they came to the United States after fighting on the side of the United States in the secret war in Indo-China, they were looking for a place to call home.
"In The Latehomecomer, Yang relates the story of their journey. Her beautifully written account--sometimes humorous, often touching--gives important insights into the Hmong experience."--Sally Wizik Wills, Sister Wolf Books, Dorset, Minn.


Book Review

Book Review: The Nonverbal Advantage

The Nonverbal Advantage: Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work by Carol Kinsey Goman (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $21.95 Paperback, 9781576754924, May 2008)

Studies show that the impact of a business presentation depends heavily on the speaker's facial expression, hand gestures, body position and other nonverbal communication, with a mere 7% of the impact coming from the actual words in the presentation. If your body language isn't congruent with your message, Carol Kinsey Goman points out in this practical and highly useful primer, your message doesn't stand a chance of coming across as intended. "The foundation of effective body language has to be honesty," she calmly advises while no doubt putting the fear of God into scheming prevaricators who hope to win us over with their artfully chosen words.

Goman presents a complex subject deftly by isolating particularly eloquent areas of the body for in-depth discussion: the face (especially the eyes), the hands, arms and feet. Photographs and illustrations (with a judicious selection of very telling cartoons) reinforce visually what she describes in her text. Even if you already have the meanings of darting eyes and patently fake smiles down cold, her coverage of asymmetrical facial expressions and inclusive (vs. exclusionary) foot positions will add to your arsenal of communication and interpretation skills.

Readers pressed for time and eager to put theory into practice will welcome Goman's Plug-and-Play sections on "Seven Seconds to Make a Positive First Impressions," "The Silent Language of Leadership" and "The Body Language of Charisma." Those who try out a few of the many exercises to increase insight and perception, however, will reap the greatest benefit. "With everyone you encounter, visualize them as a traffic signal," is one proposed exercise; if that strikes you too much like Barbara Walters in her "If you were a tree . . . "  mode, suspend your disbelief and see if it improves your ability to identify people who are open to ideas and those who obstruct communication.

Goman's comment that "people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them" led me to a quick refresher course in the importance of the handshake (and the right kinds). Goman's discussion of the "Personal Gaze" vs. the "Business Gaze" will also answer why we sometimes wonder, "Is this person flirting with me or do they really mean business?" And for those simply interested in learning to spot a lie or to tell a real smile from a fake one, this handy book delivers the goods.--John McFarland


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