Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 5, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Register for Fall Preview!

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao


Tudor to End Reign in Clarks Summit, Pa.

Sadly we have yet another major bookstore closing story this week--but like Davis-Kidd and Tatnuck Bookseller, the company will continue to operate in at least one other location.

The Tudor Book Shop and Café in Clarks Summit, Pa., is closing. Co-owner and founder Barbara Shaffer told the Citizens' Voice that "a drop in sales and an increase in expenses" forced the move. She also noted increased competition from the Internet, Borders and Wegmans, a grocery store chain that sells books and hosts author appearances.

The Tudor store in Kingston will remain open. That store was founded in 1976; the Clarks Summit store opened in 1987.


In related news, with business "losing money at such a rapid clip," Tatnuck Bookseller owner Larry Abramoff didn't know until this week which of his two stores he would close, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. In the end, as noted Tuesday, he decided to keep his Westborough store and shut the 30-year-old Worcester store.

At least a dozen employees of Tatnuck's restaurant have been hired by Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Spirits, a 300-store chain with headquarters in Seattle that will open later this month in nearby Millbury.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Notes: People Changes, Additions and Pauses

Cool idea of the day: The Ossining (N.Y.) Public Library has begun an online literary magazine, The Ossining Review of Books. The first issue includes a list of Ben Cheever's five favorite books set in Westchester County, N.Y. (Only one of the handful is by his father, John, who lived in Ossining for many years.) Check it out at


Carl Lennertz, the man who has written some of the most entertaining newsletters in the industry both at Random House and now at HarperCollins--not to mention his sparkling Book Sense comments--is entering the blogosphere, as he put it. He has a site of his own, sponsored by Harper, where he can keep us all informed and amused on a range of topics, particularly the dynamics of word of mouth for books as well as for music, movies, theater and art. Catch Carl online at


Another of our favorite people in the industry, Tina Jordan, is joining the Association of American Publishers as vice-president. She had been director of public relations and special events at BookExpo America, where she has worked since Reed Exhibitions took full control of the show in 1997.

She replaces Kathryn Blough, who is becoming a teacher. Jordan will be responsible for, among other things, the trade executive committee, the Smaller and Independent Publishers Group, the Get Caught Reading campaign, the industry statistics program and educational programs.


Yet another good friend, Larry Portzline, who has been working fulltime on bookstore tourism (in addition to his fulltime day job with the Pennsylvania legislature), is showing he's human. After three years, he will take a sabbatical from bookstore tourism for at least three months--if not more--although he will continue to work on starting up the National Council on Bookstore Tourism, planning a few bookstore trips in the Harrisburg area and putting together a panel at BEA.

We wish Larry a good rest but hope he comes back soon.


This coming Sunday, January 8, and again on January 22, Striper Wars by Dick Russell (Island Press, $26.95, 159720908) will appear as bedside reading on the hit TV show Grey's Anatomy. According to a very happy Kathleen DeBoer, director of sales and marketing at Island Press, the show's set design shopper saw the book at a bookstore and liked the cover. She read the jacket and thought it perfect for the show character Derek, aka Dr. McDreamy.


British citizens are visiting public libraries more but taking out fewer books, which "appears to suggest that visitors are using their local libraries for research or for multimedia facilities rather than for their traditional purpose of book lending," yesterday's Guardian reported. Visits to U.K. public libraries rose last year for the third year in a row.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Holiday Hum: More Good Cheer

Betsy Burton, co-owner of the King's English bookstore, Salt Lake City, Utah, reported that sales were up 10% for the year,  "thanks in no small part to E.L. Doctorow and Jimmy Carter," and up 20% in November largely because of the area's Buy Local First week campaign (Shelf Awareness, December 13).


Koen-Levy Book Wholesalers was "pleasantly pleased" by sales during its first holiday season, according to senior sales and marketing manager Jim DiMiero. A "good majority" of former Koen Book Distributors customers are working with the company. DiMiero added that the company expects to be near former Koen stock levels "by mid-spring."


Sales at Books-A-Million in the nine weeks ended December 31 rose 8.9% to $123.9 million. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 4.1% during the period.

By comparison, in the first 11 months of the fiscal year sales rose 6.3% to $467 million and comp-store sales were up 3.3%.

Sandra B. Cochran, president and CEO, attributed the solid results to "our merchandise and marketing strategies, combined with solid execution in the stores." Among the sold sellers: cookbooks from Rachael Ray and Paula Deen, titles related to The Chronicles of Narnia, the game book category "fueled by the Sudoku phenomenon" and the continued growth of the religious and inspirational books.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Overweight, Undercover, in Debt

This morning the Today Show covers two hot new year's resolution topics:

  • Steven Pratt, author of SuperFoods HealthStyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Health (Morrow, $24.95, 0060755474).
  • Jane Bryant Quinn, author of Smart and Simple Financial Strategies for Busy People (S&S, $26, 0743269942).


And for those who barely survived family visits during the holidays, this morning the Early Show features Dr. Laura Schlessinger, author of Bad Childhood--Good Life: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of an Unhappy Childhood (HarperCollins, $24.95, 006057786X).


Today on the View: Lindsay Moran comes clean about her book Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy (Berkley, $14, 0425205622).

Also on the View, Elizabeth Somer talks about her book 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet (McGraw-Hill, $16.95, 0071462287).


Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Ted Thompson, Jonathan Safran Foer and Kelly Link, editor and contributors to Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs and Some Other Things . . .  (McSweeney's, $22, 1932416358). As the show puts it: "McSweeney's has assembled a sublimely playful anthology of stories for YAs (young adults as they're called in the booksellers' trade). Here, we'll talk to editor Ted Thompson and some of the writers (Jonathan Safran Foer and Kelly Link) about how the stories were chosen, who the target audience is, and how it feels to be associated with the very hip folks at McSweeney's."

This Weekend on Book TV: Ron Powers in Depth

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 Web site.

Saturday, January 7

9 a.m. In Depth: Ron Powers, author of Mark Twain: A Life (Free Press, $35, 0743248996) and many other books. A three-hour live conversation. Viewers can call in during the show or send questions via e-mail to

7 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment first broadcast in 1999, David Atkinson discusses his book Leaving the Bench: Supreme Court Justices at the End (University Press of Kansas, $29.95, 0700609466), in which he argues that Supreme Court justices should retire while they are still in good health.

8 p.m. After Words. David Kipen, director of literature for the National Endowment for the Arts and a former book critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, interviews journalist Nicholas Basbanes, a columnist for Fine Books & Collections magazine, on his latest study of literary culture, Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World (HarperCollins, $29.95, 0060593237). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

5 p.m. Public Lives. In a session moderated by James Srodes, author of Franklin: The Essential Founding Father, some of the contributors to Page Talbott's Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World (Yale University Press, $40, 0300107994) join her to discuss Franklin's legacy.

Monday, January 9

12 a.m. History on Book TV. Steven Usdin, senior editor at BioCentury Publications, talks about his book, Engineering Communism: How Two Americans Spied for Stalin and Founded the Soviet Silicon Valley (Yale University Press, $40, 0300108745), which documents the lives of Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant.

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Nonfiction Next Week

Among new nonfiction titles appearing next Tuesday:

Tent by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $18, 0385516681), a collection of fictional essays that includes illustrations by the author. The publisher calls this "prescient and personal, delectable and tart, vintage Atwood."


Sex and the Seasoned Woman by Gail Sheehy (Random, $25.95, 1400062632), which explores what the author calls "a hidden cultural phenomenon: increased vitality in women's sex and love lives after 50."


My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope by L. Paul Bremer III with Malcolm McConnell (S&S, $27, 0743273893). Recollections from the first post-war U.S. ambassador to Iraq.


On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon, $20, 0375423265). The New York Times critic gazes at Jacko.

Book Sense: May We Recommend

Last week's "May We Recommend" section of Book Sense's bestseller list consisted of the following:


Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge (NAL, $12.95, 0451216431). "As Eleanor Samuels struggles to balance being a caregiver to her beloved uncle with her freelance writing career, Eleanor begins to discover truths about her family's past. This was simply a wonderful book and I can't wait to slip it into the hands of my customers."--Claudia Wohlfeil, Commons Bookstore University of Idaho Bookstore, Moscow, Idaho.


The Guest by Hwang Sok-Yong (Seven Stories, $27.95, 1583226931). "A compelling story of the haunting of two brothers by their experiences during the Korean War. Based on true events, this is a culturally sculpted story that attempts to exorcise the demons of people today who were either involved directly or inherited stories and consequences from events that occurred in North Korea. What a great way to tell a ghost story."--Dawn Sodt, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.

Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West by Clemens P. Work (University of New Mexico Press, $34.95, 0826337740). "Today we face the USA Patriot Act, but in 1918 Montana passed a Sedition Law that became a model for a federal sedition act. Work tells how powerful people used patriotism to control and suppress. This is an important look at free speech."--Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Mont.

For Teen Readers

Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe (HarperCollins, $16.99, 0060781084). "This YA/'chick lit'/amateur sleuth/funny novel kept me glued to the pages to find out what calamity would strike next. Seventeen-year old Jas employs her friends, family, and her ever-expanding wardrobe as she detects her way through clues and the haze of infatuation to find out why a small boy and his cat are being terrorized."--Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, Calif.

Boy Girl Boy by Ron Koertge (Harcourt, $16, 0152053255). "All the drama, humor, and awkwardness of best-friend-maybe-love-teen-angst relationships, told from three points of view. Ron K rocks!"--Jennifer Laughran, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

Book Review

Mandahla: Gentlemen & Players Reviewed

Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris (William Morrow & Company, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780060559144, January 2006)

Gentlemen & Players is set at an upper-class British grammar school, always a fruitful location for a first-class literary thriller. Narrated alternately by two teachers, it tells of the conflict between a young, anonymous instructor and a longtime classics teacher, Roy Straitley. The instructor was named Snyde as a child, but created a new persona during adolescence--Julian Pinchbeck--with which to gain surreptitious entry to the school. After 15 years away, Snyde has returned to St. Oswald's in order to destroy it, having left after a tragedy caused in part by a crush on an upperclassman. Recalling the outsider status that Snyde, whose father was the school porter, had ("There was something cheap about me--a scent, perhaps, a polyester shine"), and the allure that St. Oswald's presented, the narrator feels as if a childhood had been denied, the childhood one deserved, of "old money . . . the world I'd read about in books."
As events at the school begin to unfold, only Roy Straitley seems to understand that its existence is in peril. Even though he realizes "I am old; expensive; inefficient; a worn cog in an outdated mechanism," he must save his beloved school. He longs for one more year to score his Century (one hundred terms taught) in the face of administrators who think of him, and his beloved Latin, as marginal. "That's ninety-nine by my reckoning, smelling of wood and old chalk dust and disinfectant and the incomprehensibly biscuity, hamsterish smell of boys. Ninety-nine terms strung across the years like dusty paper lanterns. Thirty-three years."
Harris' writing is masterful and deceptively simple: "It was windy, too; and the wind, as every schoolteacher knows, makes classes unruly and pupils excitable." Also compelling is the juxtaposition of Straitley's humor, weariness, and feeling for the school with the other narrator's intensity and sense of entitlement. The classics teacher sees St. Oswald's clearly--the machinery that lies at the heart of it is pitiless and unforgiving--yet fights against his opponent's demolition plan out of love and loyalty. The young teacher views St. Oswald's as something that never saw either Snyde or Pinchbeck, and to be seen "is all I ever wanted; to be more than just a fleeting glimpse, a twelfth man in this game of Gentleman and Players."--Marilyn Dahl

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
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