Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 18, 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

Quotation of the Day

New Beginnings as 'Favorite Job' Ends

"I've worked here six years. It's my favorite job that I have ever had. The customers seem bummed. There is a lot of bookstore loyalty."--Lindsay Connel, assistant manager at a Waldenbooks in Napa, Calif., that is closing, as reported by the Napa Valley Register. Incidentally Connel told the paper she will soon be working for Copperfield's Books in Napa.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland


Notes: Where Are Readers? What Do They Want?

Cool idea of the day: the Friends of the Wetumpka Library, Wetumpka, Ala., is hosting a luncheon featuring 21 mystery authors called Murder on the Menu: A Moveable Feast of Authors, on February 5. The fundraiser costs $35; tickets are available through the library or the Book Basket in Wetumpka. For a list of authors, check out the library's Web site.


The theme of the AAP's annual meeting, to be held in New York City on March 14, is Where Have All the Readers Gone? And How Can We Find New Ones? Among speakers who will try to answer the questions are Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association, dean of library services at the Henry Madden Library, California State University Fresno, and Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, go to the AAP's Web site.


The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators holds its 7th Annual Winter Conference at the Hilton New York Hotel February 4-5. A highlight: a panel on the state of children's publishing featuring Chip Gibson, Doug Whiteman, Lisa Holton and Rick Richter, children's division presidents at Random House, Penguin, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster, respectively. Keynote speakers will be novelist David Almond, author-illustrator Marc Brown, poet Nikki Giovanni and Francine Pascal. The program includes seminars, workshops and the New York Showcase, an art exhibition and auction. For more information, go to SCBWI's Web site.


A range of residents of Wichita, Kan., want the public library to have extended branch operating hours and check-out times; updated book, CD, video and DVD collections; more computer services, including online check-out and wi-fi connections; and cafes or coffee shops in the libraries, the Wichita Eagle reported.

The results came from a survey of 500 people, including frequent users and nonusers, as well as four focus groups.

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

Dial-A-Book Dials into Huge Market

Xinhua China, China's largest and only nationally licensed book distributor, has demonstrated a new book portal called Chapter One China that offers 7,000 excerpts of U.S. books, drawn from Dial-A-Book's Chapter One database. Late last year (Shelf Awareness, November 18), Dial-A-Book president Stanley R. Greenfield signed an agreement to provide many of the company's 72,000 book excerpts to Xinhua China, whose dealer network reaches 12,800 bookstores that sell more than three billion books a year. The portal also will reach more than 70,000 independent bookstores. Xinhua China aims to have more than 30,000 U.S. book excerpts in its database by June.

Xinhua China president and CEO Xianping Wang noted the immense size of the market for English-language titles in China. More than 120 million students in China study English, and fluency in English is required for entry in undergraduate programs at all universities in the country.

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

Media and Movies

The War That Made America 250 Years Later

Tonight NPR airs the first half of the four-hour "dramatic documentary" The War That Made America, an account of the French and Indian War narrated by Graham Greene, an Oneida Indian whose ancestors fought in the war. The concluding segment airs next Wednesday.

The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War by Fred Anderson (Viking, $25.95, 0670034541) is the companion book for the series. A University of Colorado history professor, Anderson is also the author of Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (Vintage, $21, 0375706364), a scholarly treatment of the same material that served as the basis for the PBS production. Published in 2000, Crucible of War won the Francis Parkman Prize for best book on American history.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Media Heat: Dave Barry's Financial Advice

This morning on the Today Show, Dave Barry unveils new book, Dave Barry's Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar? (Crown, $24.95, 1400047587). (By the way, the answer to the subtitle might be: Because the government's watching you!) He will also appear on NPR's Talk of the Nation later today.


This morning on the Early Show, Sue Shellenbarger talks about her new book, The Breaking Point: How Today's Women Are Navigating Midlife Crisis (Owl, $15, 0805080317).


Today on Imus in the Morning, Democratic political consultant James Carville outlines the weaknesses of his party and a plan to restore democracy to the country in his new book, co-written by Paul Begala, Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future (S&S, $24, 074327752X).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show, the Readers Review segment focuses on Snow by Orhan Pamuk. (Pamuk is the Turkish writer on trial for remarks about the country's treatment of Armenians and Kurds.)


Today on the Leonard Lopate Show:
  • L. Paul Bremer III talks about his new book, My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope (S&S, $27, 0743273893).
  • Andrew Delbanco discusses Herman Melville, the subject of his book Melville: His World and Work (Knopf, $30, 0375403140).
  • Nora Guthrie sings praises of her father's artistic legacy as recounted in Woody Guthrie Artworks (Rizzoli, $45, 0847827380).

Tonight on PBS: the last of the three-part series Walking the Bible (Shelf Awareness, January 3).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show, Paul Auster discusses his new book, The Brooklyn Follies (Holt, $24, 0805077146), about a retired life insurance salesman dealing with his estranged family, cancer recovery and a borough with more than he expected to find.


Yesterday Fresh Air featured Thulani Davis, author of My Confederate Kinfolk: A Twenty-First Century Freedwoman Discovers Her Roots (Basic Civitas Books, $25, 0465015557), which explores the relationship between her great-grandparents, one a former slave, the other a former slaveholder.

Book Review

Mandahla: Mademoiselle Benoir Reviewed

Mademoiselle Benoir by Christine Conrad (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $20.00 Hardcover, 9780618574797, January 2006)

Written in the form of letters and diary entries, Mademoiselle Benoir is a charming fantasy about love that grows unexpectedly in the French countryside. Tim Reinhart is a thirty-something assistant professor of mathematics who moves to a village in the region of Quercy, a place with 64 official inhabitants, including M. Meyrac's three goats. He wants to restore a farmhouse and find out if he can make a living as an artist, to get off the American treadmill of success and think of himself as "something more than an open mouth with a credit card." Catherine Benoir is a late-fifties Frenchwoman who lives in a neighboring chateau, which has been "abandoned to deteriorate at its own pace. You can almost hear crumbling bits falling to the ground in the night." They upset almost everyone in their families as well as the countryside, not when they fall in love, but when they decide to marry. Catherine's family would prefer her to be unhappy rather than inappropriate. Tim's family is worried about the generational and cultural differences. He thinks he understands the French, and their hostility to American incursions, which have "nothing especially positive to offer [except] the complete destruction of their society . . . for the French, tradition is an anchor. Change without an underpinning, without good soil beneath it, is just scorched earth." He discovers that he has no idea of just how little he understands.
The supporting cast is appealing: diabolical sister Pauline, who writes to her bishop and the pope to stop the marriage; aging Count de Poisson in his dusty, fading chateau; a silent sheepherder with a penchant for lawsuits; the chicken lady with a crush on Tim; and a sympathetic and wise abbé. Toss in a few pen-and-ink sketches, a hidden tunnel used by the resistance, marvelous descriptions of food and wine, and a miracle by the Virgin Mary and the result is a delightful concoction that will have you Googling "Quercy" and planning that next vacation.--Marilyn Dahl

The Zeitgeist

Retail a Decade From Now: Motley Fool's View

Two weeks after the new year, the Motley Fool's Alyce Lomax tried to discern what retail will be like in 2016. Among her points:
  • She predicted "a new emphasis on individualistic, experiential shopping with a socially aware bent. . . . There is an increasing number of highly educated capitalists who apply more than just a smidge of liberal, countercultural leanings when it comes to the way they live their lives and spend their cash."
  • "A decidedly non-corporate, non-traditional, community-driven flair is increasingly in vogue. Look at Wikipedia, Trader Joe's, and Craigslist, all of which are private entities not necessarily seen as corporate and gained ground through grass-roots means."
  • The future of the mall may be "those 'fancy lifestyle' centers that are just beginning to crop up."
  • Another important trend is "New Urbanism," which aims "to create 'livable, sustainable communities.' You have probably run across a few such communities in urban and suburban environments, considering that this is an idea that has been fermenting for a while. These are areas that merge residences, shops, and green areas; they tout a neighborhood feel, hidden/underground parking lots, and an emphasis on walking instead of driving."

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