Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 10, 2006

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Notes: Babb Dies; New B&T Reps; More Manga

Sanora Babb, who published a novel, memoir and other books, died on December 31 at age 98, according to the AP. Babb may have the dubious distinction of being best known, at least recently, as the author of Whose Names Are Unknown, a novel about the Dust Bowl immigrants to California that Bennett Cerf had planned to publish in 1939. But when John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath appeared, Cerf, co-founder of Random House, shelved the book that he called "exceptionally fine." In 2004, the University of Oklahoma Press published the title to excellent critical reception. Babb had worked for the Farm Security Administration, which helped farmers during the Depression, and based the book on her first-hand knowledge of the travails of the farmers.


Baker & Taylor has appointed Erin Buckner Northeast territory field representative, covering lower New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. She was formerly in the international sales department, where she was an inside rep for South Africa, the U.K., Ireland, France, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.

Before joining B&T, Buckner was event coordinator for Bookworks in Albuquerque, N.M., a sales associate at the Indianapolis Children's Museum gift shop and a sales associate at Borders.

In a related change, Melissa Wood has become inside sales account manager for Buckner's new territory. Wood has worked at B&T as inside sales rep for the Rocky Mountain territory and in the information services department.


Gene Baker is closing his Old Town Books used bookstore in Newhall, Calif., which specializes in cowboy lore and Americana, after new owners of the building raised his rent to $2,500 a month from $1,500, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. He plans to continue selling online.


John Flynn is closing Volume One, Chatham, N.J., which for more than 30 years has specialized in new and mystery books, according to the Chatham Courier. He told the paper that the Internet was more difficult to survive than chain bookstores: "The younger people are buying books off the Internet or simply not reading books."


The Boston Globe profiled four used and antiquarian bookstores in Vermont, including the Country Bookshop, Plainfield, which sells to nearby Goddard College, tourists and on the Internet; the Book Shed, Benson, specializing in work by Anthony Powell; Bulwagga Books, Whiting, owned by John Travis, a former Macmillan college employee, which has mostly scholarly titles; and Tuttle Antiquarian Books, Rutland, in the original home of Charles Tuttle, founder of the eponymous publishing company now located in Boston.


Like the Charlotte Observer (as noted in yesterday's Shelf Awareness) and 26 other newspapers, the Detroit News yesterday began running manga in its comics section and offered a long article to illustrate why it has made the change. Among its points:

  • "Comic books--that great mainstay of American childhood--have been in steep and steady decline for years, despite some recent gains. By contrast, manga in the United States has shot up like a hot biotech stock, jumping from $10 million in sales six years ago to $300 million today."
  • "In Japan, the form is accorded considerable artistic respect, and enthusiasts often read manga or watch anime--its animated cousin on TV or film--well into adulthood."
  • Girls "constitute about 60% of [manga's] American readership. Borders Books and Music stocks more than 2,500 manga titles, and has seen double-digit growth in their sales over the past few years."
  • One 20-year-old fan in Michigan "notes that the stories run the gamut from romantic tales for young girls to dark plotlines about monsters, demons and vampires" and says approvingly that "anyone who's into geeky hobbies watches anime and reads manga."

The Cincinnati Enquirer delved into the complaint filed by Abry Partners, the private equity firm that bought F&W Publications from Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm, for $500 million. Abry charges Providence improvidently cooked the books in the months before the sale last summer. Charging it overpaid more than $100 million, Abry wants to undue the sale or be paid damages.

Abry's complaint quotes e-mails between F&W and Providence expressing concern about meeting June financial goals, which the F&W CEO said "could be a calamity. Any chance of anything that can be done . . . please let me know and see what it would take to get it done." Abry charges F&W and Providence fudged some shipments and discounts and delayed expenses to make the numbers. Providence has argued in response that companies frequently press to make numbers.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

MeJah Books: Helping Uplift Prisoners with Books

Emlyn Q. DeGannes, owner of MeJah Books in Claymont, Del., has an unusual specialty: providing uplifting books to prisoners, according to the Wilmington News Journal. She finds books for family members and friends of prisoners as well and has developed a program to donate books called Behind Bars Book Bank.

The specialty started two years ago, when a customer brought in a list of books, mostly urban fiction, that she wanted to buy for her 18-year-old son in prison. DeGannes substituted "more wholesome material"; the son went on to read more than 100 books during his time in prison.

In the 1990s, DeGannes began selling books in the TriState Mall, where her store is located, from a kiosk. Eventually she opened in a storefront, but closed it and worked at Home Deport for a while. In 2002, she reopened the store, which she said is now profitable. DeGannes also has a small publishing business, A Nu Direction.

The store is located at 333 Naamans Road, Wilmington, Del. 19703; 302-793-3424.

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Conversations with Bin Laden; De Gustibus

Tomorrow morning on, the weekly Writer's Roundtable Radio Show, which will feature at 9 a.m. Tracey Price-Thompson, the Desert Storm veteran whose most recent book is Knockin' Boots (One World/Ballantine, $13.95, 0345477235), and at 10 a.m., Anne Rice, whose most recent work is Christ the Lord (Knopf, $25.95, 0375412018).


This morning on Imus in the Morning: James Carville and Paul Begala, authors of Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (S&S, $24, 074327752X).


This morning the Today Show features a spicy mix of guests and subjects:

  • Gail Sheehy, author of Sex and the Seasoned Woman (Random, $25.95, 1400062632).
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., author of Eating, Drinking, Overthinking: The Toxic Triangle of Food, Alcohol, and Depression--and How Women Can Break Free (Holt, $24, 0805077103).
  • Peter L. Bergen, author of The Osama Bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader (Free Press, $26, 0743278917). Bergen also appears tonight on the Charlie Rose Show.


Today Good Morning America squeezes in David L. Katz, author of The Flavor Point Diet (Rodale, $24.95, 1594861625).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Jacques Pepin, Alain Sailhac and Arlene Feltman Sailhac, who sample stories about the De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy's, which is the focus of Feltman Sailhac's Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $40, 1584794593).
  • Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior (Scribner, $25, 0743247698).

Today the View serves up Rocco Dispirito, author of Rocco's 5 Minute Flavor (Scribner, $26.95, 0743273842).


Tonight on Larry King Live: Star Jones, author of Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love (HarperResource, $24.95, 0060824182).


Yesterday Fresh Air spoke with historian Eric Foner, whose new book is Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction (Knopf, $27.50, 0375402594).

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Books & Authors

Who Are These People--Really?

Fraud, scam? Yesterday revelations about two books may make it necessary to reclassify one memoir as fiction and an author of fiction as fiction him- or herself.

The Smoking Gun said that A Million Little Pieces, the James Frey book that Oprah relaunched this fall, is "filled with fabrications, falsehoods, other fakery." The gist: "Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey's book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw 'wanted in three states.' In additon to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students." Read the long, hot expose at the Smoking Gun's Web site.

And then there's the case of novelist JT Leroy, described by the New York Times as "a young truck-stop prostitute who had escaped rural West Virginia for the dismal life of a homeless San Francisco drug addict" and now a writer of three works of fiction "noted for their stark portrayal of child prostitution and drug use." Yesterday's Times said Leroy is actually Laura Albert, a 40-year-old woman who was part of a couple who had supposedly saved Leroy. The person who has been posing in public as Leroy is apparently Savannah Knoop, half sister of Albert's husband, Geoffrey Knoop.

The moral of these tales, if true: be wary of those who ride high and write vividly about having been down and out for so long.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Attainment: Oprah's Pick; New Books Next Week

Next Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King Day, Oprah announces her book club's next pick and the title goes on sale. The trade paperback ISBN is 0374500010, $9; hardcover is 0374399972, $19.95. No word yet on whether this is fiction or nonfiction or fictional nonfiction.


Appearing next Tuesday: Dave Barry's Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar? by Dave Barry (Crown, $24.95, 1400047587). The funniest financial advice book to hit the market.


Also appearing in a week: Rebel-in-Chief: How George W. Bush Is Redefining the Conservative Movement and Transforming America by Fred Barnes (Crown, $23.95, 0307336492). The Weekly Standard editor leads the cheers for the president.

Book Review

Mandahla: A Long Shadow Reviewed

Long Shadow: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery by Charles Todd (William Morrow & Company, $23.95 Hardcover, 9780060786717, January 2006)

The eighth Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery, A Long Shadow does not disappoint. The story begins with the inspector abruptly leaving a New Year's Eve séance in 1919, as his anxiety--and Hamish's--rises in the presence of an inscrutable medium. On the townhouse steps, he spots a metal cylinder that turns out to be an engraved brass cartridge casing from a Maxim machine gun. As he travels from London to Hertford to Dudlington, more engraved cartridges, along with near-miss accidents, follow him. The plot is complex, the people torn by the Great War in different ways, the mood dark. Todd excels at atmosphere--all the Rutledge novels seem to be set in the winter no matter the actual season. The wind is always harsh, the cold always penetrates, and the world seems to have little color: "The sky was a leaden bowl overhead, and the fields were a withered brown. Constable would have found very little of interest to paint on these highlands . . . [The sheep] were the color of dark, rich gravy, and their winter coats were thick and heavy." Murky, irregular shapes haunt the nearby woods. And overlaying everything is the war and the results of war: "What of the hundreds of faceless men on the streets looking for work, trying to pick up the threads of family life, hoping that the dying had made a better Britain, and finding they were lost in it. Faceless men . . . People stepped around them now, ignored the brave boy who'd marched away to glory and now begged on the street because a one-armed man couldn't work."--Marilyn Dahl

Powered by: Xtenit