Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

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

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

News

Notes: Stephen King Calling; Brokeback Mountain Sweep

Today's Wall Street Journal dials into the major marketing campaign for Stephen King's Cell (see below), which appears next week. Tomorrow publisher Scribner plans to send 100,000 text messages about the book to "a specific demographic group--18 to 54 years old, 55% male--that is seen as likely buyers of the group." That group will be invited to join the Stephen King VIP Club online; fans can also buy ring tones featuring King saying such things as "Beware. The next call you take may be your last," and "It's okay. It's a normie calling."

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Although this year they clearly favored smaller, independent movies, the Golden Globes are considered a harbinger of the Oscars. Last night many award winners were movies based on books, most notably Brokeback Mountain, which won best dramatic film, best director, best screenplay and best song. In addition, Philip Seymour Hoffman won best actor in a dramatic role for Capote; George Clooney won best supporting actor in a dramatic role for Syriana; and Rachel Weisz won best supporting actress for The Constant Gardener.

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Here's another Barnes & Noble milestone. After closing its first superstore--which opened in 1990 in Roseville, Minn.--at the end of last year (Shelf Awareness, December 5), the company is now closing the first store it opened outside the New York City area.

According to the Boston Herald, B&N will shut its 30-year-old store in Downtown Crossing in June, when the lease is up. B&N said it is looking at other locations in the area.

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The New York Times checked out the Bronx Library Center, which opens today and replaces the Fordham Library Center, the New York Public Library's main library in the Bronx, and aims to serve the borough's diverse population. The $50 million library is state of the art and includes such innovations as wi-fi throughout the building and laptops that patrons can borrow while in the Center. Flatscreen TVs and "zippers" will announce events and programs. The building includes an auditorium, gallery area and a Latin and Puerto Rican Cultural Collection, among many other things.

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Winners of other awards have won places on the short list for the National Book Critics Circle annual awards. Among them: National Book Award winners Joan Didion for The Year of Magical Thinking and William Vollmann for Europe Central; Orange Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro for Never Let Me Go; and Whitbread winner Andrea Levy for Small Island. Most notably, the NBCC nominated Orhan Pamuk for his memoir, Istanbul. Pamuk is now on trial in his native Turkey for remarks about the country's treatment of Armenians and Kurds.

For the full list, go to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's version of the AP story.

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In Sunday's Observer, Robert McCrum cast a nervous eye on electronic future. A key point: "The future might already be here. Microchips have transformed the music business (iTunes) and film and TV (DVDs). 'It's only a matter of time,' says Paul Carr, editor in chief of web-to-print publishing house the Friday Project, 'before this same type of functionality comes to the book world. The moment someone invents a portable electronic reader that looks [and reads] like paper and that allows books to be downloaded on to it, there will be an explosion of e-books.' "


University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


Census Bureau: Bookstore Sales Inch Up in November

November bookstore sales rose 2% to $1.065 from $1.044 billion in the same period in 2004, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked only the fourth month in which sales last year rose over sales in the same month a year earlier. (By comparison, as noted here on Friday, the AAP estimated that sales in November rose 0.6% to $979.4 million over November 2004.)

In other positive news, the Census Bureau raised its figure for sales in October from the preliminary estimate $979 million to $988 million.

For 2005 through November, bookstore sales were $13.833 billion, down 2.1% from $14.335 billion in the first 11 months of 2004. Throughout the latter part of the year, the gap between 2005 and 2004's sales has been lessening.

Total retail sales in November rose 6.7% to $319.588 billion.

Note: Under Census Bureau definitions, bookstore sales do not include "electronic home shopping, mail-order, or direct sale" or used book sales.


GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud


Oy Frey: Author's Note on the Way

The latest chapter in the Frey saga came late last week, when Random House announced that future editions of A Million Little Pieces will contain an author's note. Random did not say what the note would contain.

Disappointingly the principals in this case--Frey, Random House and Oprah--and a significant number of people and groups in the industry continue to shrug off what is a clear case of playing with important facts in a book of nonfiction. (You know something's deeply wrong when people start putting truth in quotation marks and using adjectives like essential or emotional to modify the word.) Some of the apologia goes so far as to blame readers and the public for a seeming addiction to Frey's kind of story. The argument seems to be: if you buy a bogus story, it's a bad reflection on you.

In any case, several of our favorite recent commentaries on the book and controversy take a slightly different tack.

One bookseller wrote to Shelf Awareness that she decided not to sell the book before it was published, based on two things: the cover, which "gave me such a negative visceral reaction I could not have it in the store"; and the opinion of a colleague, "a former heroin addict," who called the story, simply, "bullshit." The bookseller continued: "I stood firm through all the Oprah hoopla--the beauty of being an independent bookseller is that one may remain independent of trends and fads if one chooses to lose that momentary profit." Since the book's publication, she had only one copy of it in the store--because a customer special-ordered it.

In the Chicago Tribune, Julia Keller wrote, "Memoirists like to talk about 'their' reality as opposed to 'the' reality, claiming that fact and fiction aren't separate entities dwelling behind high walls of demarcation. Rubbish. Both fact and fiction are better served by the rigorous distinctions between them. And that's why apparent fabulists such as Frey are dangerous: Not only because they besmirch fact--which they undoubtedly do--but also because they besmirch fiction."

Saying that "it's been downhill for confessional writing" since St. Augustine in the fifth century, Paul Mulshine, a columnist in the Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.), stated reading Frey's book, "you discern that he was a nice suburban boy whose primary offense was that he used a lot of swear words around his nice, suburban parents. Other than that, he seems to have combined booze, sex and drugs in the same manner as millions of other American males who went to college. . . .

"The sole debate concerning the book has been about its veracity. Its immense stupidity and sappiness seems to have gone unnoticed. Is there a rehab center for bad writers? If so, Frey should have plenty of company."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart


Sex and the Single Zillionaire

The main story on the cover of Saturday's Wall Street Journal is the stuff of a romance thriller, stuff that not even James Frey could make up: at age 73, a multimillionaire venture capitalist publishes his first novel with a few push-button words in the title--"sex" and "zillionaire"-- and is encouraged by two friends, one the multimillionaire--maybe even billionaire--owner of a publishing company, and the other the venture capitalist's ex-wife, herself the multimillionaire author of nearly 70 romance novels.

Here's the "truth." The author is Tom Perkins, a founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (which, among many other ventures, backed Amazon.com before it went public). The book is Sex and the Single Zillionaire (Regan Books, $24.95, 0060851678), which comes out February 1. The friend: Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns HarperCollins. The ex-wife: Danielle Steel, who urged Perkins to flesh out, as it were, his idea of a zillionaire starring in a Bachelor-like reality show.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Taylor Branch on Martin Luther King

During the long weekend, Taylor Branch made many appearances, including on the Today Show, Fresh Air, the Leonard Lopate Show, Meet the Press and Weekend Edition, to talk about the third and final volume of his biography of Martin Luther King, At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968 (S&S, $35, 068485712X).

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Today on Imus in the Morning, Linda Fairstein, whose latest Alexandra Cooper mystery is Death Dance (Scribner, $26, 0743254899).

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Today on the View, Dr. Steven G. Pratt talks lean and green with his new book, written with Kathy Matthews, SuperFoods HealthStyle: Proven Strategies for Lifelong Health (Morrow, $24.95, 0060755474). He also appeared yesterday on the Today Show.

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, L. Paul Bremer III negotiates passages from his new book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (S&S, $27, 0743273893). Bremer also appears on the Diane Rehm Show today.

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Tonight the Late Show with David Letterman takes a spin with Jeff MacGregor, author of Sunday Money: Speed! Lust! Madness! Death!: A Hot Lap Around America with NASCAR (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060094710).


Books & Authors

Oprah's New Pick: Night by Elie Wiesel

Let's hope this goes better than the last one.

Yesterday Oprah Winfrey announced her next book club pick: Night by Elie Wiesel (FSG paperback, $9, 0374500010; hardcover $19.95, 0374399972), an account of his time as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Night was first published in English in 1960; this edition, with a reported combined printined of one million, is a new translation by the author's wife, Marion, said to be more true to the original than the earlier translation. Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.


Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Several major new books appear next Tuesday, January 24:

New York City police lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in the new book by J. D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), Memory in Death (Putnam, $24.95, 0399153284). Trudy Lombard, the cruel foster mom who mistreated Eve as a child, blackmails Eve for murdering her abusive father. When Trudy is found dead, Eve must prove her innocence against overwhelming evidence.

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John Lescroart's new novel, The Hunt Club (Dutton Adult, $26.95, 0525949143), introduces a San Francisco private investigator, Wyatt Hunt, and homicide detective Devin Juhle, who both investigate the murder of a federal judge and his girlfriend. The case turns personal when Hunt's love interest, connected with the judge, goes missing.

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Stephen King's new novel, Cell (Scribner, $26.95, 0743292332), begins with the end of the world. A mysterious pulse is sent simultaneously through every cell phone, turning those it touches on a terrifying, zombie-like rampage for blood. The survivors, including Clayton Riddell, an illustrator from Maine visiting Boston, band together for protection. The story follows Riddell as he attempts to return to his family, who may or may not have fallen victim to the pulse.

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In her new You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation (Random House, $24.95, 1400062586), Deborah Tannen continues her study of communication through conversation and particularly how mothers interact with teenage and older daughters.


Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, recommended titles:

Hardcover

A Little History of the World
by E.H. Gombrich (Yale University, $25, 0300108834). "The most charming narrative history I have ever come across. This is the perfect book for an entire family to share, or for anyone who wants to understand how we got where we are without slogging other more weighty tomes."--Lisa Wright, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, N.Y.

The People's Act of Love by James Meek (Canongate, $24, 1841957305). "An isolated Siberian hamlet in 1919 is the setting for this amazing novel. A mysterious escapee from a Russian prison camp; a beautiful widow who has inexplicably decamped to this remote and harsh place; Czech soldiers; and a religious cult are the connected cast of characters that make this an unforgettable and spellbinding read."--Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, Colo. Also available as a Recorded Books Audio (unabridged CD, 1419365487).

Paperback

The Thinker's Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words by Peter E. Meltzer (Marion Street, $16.95, 0972993797). "This unique volume will bring out the sophisticate in you with its collection of big-money alternatives to the dime-store stalwarts found in your everyday Roget's. It's a gamesome synonymicon for the philologist and verbomaniac. Easy to use, easy to understand, and not a bit intimidating."--Herman Fong, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

For Children 9 to 12

The Breezes of Inspire by Nick Ruth (Imaginator Press, $16.95, 0974560332). "This sequel to The Dark Dreamweaver is many things: a wonderful midgrade fantasy, a science teaching tool for symbiosis, and a really good read. This time, protagonist David includes his cousins and all have many adventures and become wizards of magic in their own way."--Bob Spear, The Book Barn, Bend, Ore.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow, $16.99, 0060092726). "Nothing ever happens, or so Debbie thinks. Little does she realize that a cosmic sequence of events has been set in motion by a mere broken necklace clasp. Debbie and her friends are about to discover wonders in the mundane. Their stories are fraught with the inept charm of growing up and will renew your belief in love, chance, and, possibly, chocolate milk."--Kari Pearson, Wild Rumpus, Minneapolis, Minn.

[Many thanks to Book Sense!]



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