Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, March 29, 2006


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

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

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Quotation of the Day

Striking Sudoku Sales Measure

"Consider this: The sale of pencils in England went up 700% in the past six months. That's a number commonly attributed to the rise of sudoku."--From a Seattle Times article on the first Sudoku Smackdown, held last week.


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer


News

Notes: Ottakar's Problems; Final Four T-Shirts

Ottakar's, the U.K. bookstore chain that may be bought HMV, owner of Waterstone's, had a dismal beginning of the year: sales in the eight weeks ended March 25 were down 3.8% and sales at stores open at least a year dropped 8.1%. Comp-store sales for the full fiscal year that ended January 28 were down almost 3%. The company blamed competition from discounters and the Internet.

The Telegraph said that Ottakar's indicated it would be "moving into online bookselling in parallel with its stores."

Forbes.com reported a rumor that W.H. Smith "may consider" a bid for Ottakar's as Smith tries to move from a "generalist strategy and refocus on tradition high-performance product categories such as books."

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Following George Mason University's upset victory over the University of Connecticut and entry into the NCAA Tournament's Final Four, George Mason's bookstore has some hot new products:

According to the San Jose Mercury News students lined up at the bookstore for hours in advance of the first shipment of Final Four T-shirts. "Last week, we probably made about $150,000 on Sweet 16 shirts," store manager Tim Randolph said. "We'll make more than that this week. We have 10,000 shirts coming in and we'll sell them all."

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The message about the medium in today's Wall Street Journal is that Sylvia Browne is, like the title of one of her 13 bestsellers, a phenomenon. The psychic is so popular that unusually in adult publishing, she has two publishers, Dutton and Hay House. Jules Herbert, a Barnes & Noble buyer, calls her that chain's "leading psychic author."

Montel Williams, who has Browne as a guest every Wednesday on his syndicated TV show, explains her appeal this way: "We're in a time of incredible national depression. People are looking for answers and something different." B&N's Herbert adds that many of her readers are "fascinated by life's mysteries and feel that organized religion doesn't offer all the answers."

Of course, some people debunk Browne's abilities. She responds: "You are only as good as your last reading."

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Here's a contest many of us could win in a walk.

Biblio.com is creating the first Collegiate Book Collecting Championship, which will honor winners of the three dozen colleges and universities that for some time have held separate book collecting contests for their students. The contests are intended to encourage young book collectors to become booksellers, librarians and "accomplished bibliophiles."

The three top winners of Biblio.com's contest will receive cash and the company will make donations to their libraries in their names. Next year Bilbio.com will expand the prize to include students whose institutions do not already have such contests.

Biblio said that "the principal criteria for judging will be the intelligence and originality of the collection and the potential for the entrant to develop a fine private library or book collection in the future. The creativity, thoughtfulness, and dedication evident in the collection are the primary criteria. The monetary value of the collection will not be a factor in the judging."

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In 2003, the FBI conducted surveillance of some antiwar demonstrators who met at Breakdown Books in Denver, Colo., a store that has since shut down, according to the AP via the Jackson Hole Star Tribune. The information was uncovered in a suit by the Colorado ACLU, which wondered if the FBI too readily equated public dissent with political terrorism.

An FBI spokesman said, "Our interest is not in the First Amendment activities the group is involved in. It's only when those individuals that may be in that meeting who may be involved in planning, or are actively involved in, violent criminal activity."

According to the AP, one FBI document "says a two-hour surveillance of the bookstore showed that at least 40 people 'appeared to be involved' in the Revolutionary Anti-War Response demonstration planned later that day in Colorado Springs. It does not say what led to that conclusion, but it says some of the group 'wore all black clothing, including sweat shirts or jackets with hoods. It says FBI agents saw several pink and black flags and banners but doesn't list what the banners said."

In New York, the suspicious people would not be wearing black.

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The New York Times notes the popularity among American students of Indian editions of U.S. textbooks. The books, which are licensed and supposed to be sold only in India, cost as little as 10% of their U.S. equivalents and are often sold by middlemen on the Internet. Students here may buy them legally, but sales are illegal. The AAP and the Publishers Association in the U.K. have asked the Indian government to crack down on the middlemen. Pearson Education has filed suit against several distributors; it estimates "damage to the industry might be in the tens of million of dollars." Tom Frey of the University Bookstore at Purdue said he doesn't think the problem will end until publishers deal with the high cost of textbooks here.

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In another textbook story, a Georgia state bill that is expected to be signed by the governor will make the Bible a textbook in high schools that offer elective classes in the the Bible (those classes are also specified in the bill), the Times reported. Some states offer classes in the Bible, but Georgia would be the first state to make the Bible the core text.

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Together with a development company, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Wash., is putting up an offcampus building called Garfield Commons, that, among other businesses, will house the campus bookstore, in part to help create foot traffic in the area, the Tacoma News Tribune reported.

"We want this to be a community asset," Mark Mulder, director of auxiliary services, told the paper. "We want this to be a catalyst for continued development in the district."

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Barnes & Noble College will begin managing the campus bookstore at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., after the end of the semester, the Joplin Globe reported. Follett has been operating the store and was, with Nebraska Bookstore, among the bidders to lease the store.

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In this week of the debut of the paperback edition of The Da Vinci Code and the appearance of The Jesus Papers, among many other "religion books," comes a refreshing oddity: The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson (Villard, $13.95, 0812976568), which went on sale yesterday.

Henderson, who likes to call himself the Prophet of the Church of the Spaghetti Monster, aims to spoof school boards that require intelligent design be taught with the theory of evolution. In an e-mail to "followers," he described the book this way: "Remember that ours is a small boutique religion, but we have BIG ideas (some, arguably a bit al dente) and we must share this rich booty of ideas with others. Within the pages of The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you will find FSM history, helpful propaganda, scientific evidence of His existence (including the 100% verifiable fact that no one has sued any school boards about us), as well as pictures and illustrations that surely test the limits of copyright law. But as pioneers we're not afraid of a little controversy."

By the way, for a Reuters roundup of recent religion books, click here.


Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


BEA Events: NAIBA Visits; Benefit; Buzz Forum

In a NAIBAly spirit, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is organizing several events for BEA in Washington, D.C., in May:

  • Two bus tours of the capital's monuments and famous buildings. (Tickets are on sale through BEA.)
  • A visit to Politics & Prose on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, for an in-depth view of the store's operations, including receiving and returns, accounting, events, marketing, etc. (In addition, David Maraniss will be featured at a 7 p.m. event for his book on Roberto Clemente.) Sign up with NAIBA for this event at 877-866-2422 or via e-mail.
  • At 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, booksellers are invited to a Politics & Prose event featuring Roger Angell, whose new book is Let Me Finish.
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Bob Newhart will headline and Paula Poundstone will perform the opening act at the Book Industry Foundation benefit, which will be held Saturday, May 20, at the convention center. Tickets cost $25 for one; $45 for two; or $100 for five. The Foundation is comprised of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the Association of American Publishers Get Caught Reading Campaign.

Newhart's new book, titled I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This, with stories from the comedian's life and career, will be published by Hyperion in September. Poundstone's book, There Is Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, "part memoir, part monlogue," is coming from Harmony in December.

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The Editor & Bookseller Buzz Forum at BEA will be held Saturday, May 20, at 4:30 p.m. Editors discussing the top picks of the season are:

  • Bill Thomas, senior v-p and editor-in-chief, Doubleday Broadway Publishing
  • Eric Chinski, executive editor, FSG
  • Jonathan Burnham, senior v-p and publisher, HarperCollins
  • Eamon Dolan, v-p and editor-in-chief, Houghton Mifflin
  • Clive Priddle, executive editor, PublicAffairs
  • Jill Bialosky, v-p and executive editor, Norton

Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, will moderate.


Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Manhunt's James Swanson

This morning Imus in the Morning tracks down James L. Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer (Morrow, $26.95, 0060518499).

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This morning the Today Show talks with Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Morrow, $25.95, 0061124230). Brinkley is also on the Early Show tomorrow morning.

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Today World Talk Radio's Antoinette Kuritz talks with Sam Weller, author of The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury (Morrow, $26.95, 006054581X), and Lisa Scottoline, author of Dirty Blonde (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060742909).

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Readers' Review on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show focuses today on Man Booker Prize-winner The Sea by John Banville (Knopf, $23, 0307263118).

Also today on Diane Rehm: Fernando Henrique Cardoso, author of The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir (PublicAffairs, $26.95, 1586483242).



Books & Authors

Awards: Kiriyama; Andersen; Laber; American History

Recognizing "outstanding books about the Pacific Rim and South Asia that encourage greater mutual understanding of and among the peoples and nations of this vast and culturally diverse region," the Kiriyama Prize, now in its 10th year, has gone to:

  • Fiction: The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (Little, Brown, $24.95, 0316745464).
  • Nonfiction: The Reindeer People: Living with Animals and Spirits in Siberia by Piers Vitebsky (Houghton Mifflin, $28, 0618211888).

Urrea and Vitebsky will split the $30,000 award.

Urrea was a finalist for a nonfiction Kiriyama Prize last year for The Devil's Highway. When they nominated The Hummingbird's Daughter, the judges said: "Urrea based this richly textured novel on the story of his own great-aunt Teresita, who was an enigmatic spiritual healer known as 'The Saint of Cabora' in Mexico around the turn of the last century. Hummingbird's Daughter truly brings alive that place and time."

Concerning The Reindeer People, the judges wrote: "In this entertaining and enlightening book, anthropologist Piers Vitebsky chronicles his family's fascinating experiences living among the nomadic Eveny people of Siberia, whose 'partnership' with reindeer has shaped their way of life through generations. Drawing on nearly twenty years of field work and presenting a host of colorful characters and anecdotes to illustrate his encounters, Vitebsky shows how the Eveny carve out a life in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth and how their unique way of life is inevitably changing."

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The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, presented every two years by the International Board on Books for Young People, go to an author and an illustrator whose "complete works have made an important and lasting contribution to children's literature." Winners this year are:

Author: Margaret Mahy from New Zealand. Judges described her language as "rich in poetic imagery, magic and supernatural elements."

Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch of Germany.

The prizes will be presented at the 30th IBBY Congress in Beijing, China, on September 20.

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Egyptian publisher Mohamed Hashem has won the Jeri Laber International Freedom to Publish Award, which will be presented at the PEN American Center gala on April 18 in New York City. Sponsored by the AAP's International Freedom to Publish Committee and in memory of the co-founder of Helsinki Watch (which became Human Rights Watch) and a champion of freedom of expression, the Laber Award honors "a book publisher outside the U.S. who has demonstrated courage and fortitude in the face of political persecution and restrictions on freedom of expression."

Owner and managing director of Merit Publishing House in Cairo, Hashem was cited by committee chair Hal Fessenden for having "published books of importance in a repressive economic and political climate. He has consistently resisted government efforts to censor his activities, and as importantly has resisted the pressure to self-censor."

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Doris Kearns Goodwin has won the inaugural $50,000 New-York Historical Society Book Prize for American History for Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (S&S), according to the New York Times. The prize will be awarded annually.



Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 3

Paperback appearances next Tuesday, April 4:


Full Scoop
by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes (St. Martin's, $7.99, 0312934319). A full round of murder, romance and fun.

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My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (Random House, $16.95, 0812975766). The actress's memoir--so far.

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Murder in Vegas: New Crime Tales of Gambling and Desperation by Michael Connelly (Forge, $6.99, 0765353652). The anthology of crime stories set in Vegas rolls out in mass market.

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Grant Comes East by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (St. Martin's, $7.99, 0312987269). Volume two of the alternative history of the Civil War charges into mass market.

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Iron Orchid by Stuart Woods (Signet, $7.99, 0451215761). Featuring Holly Barker.


Book Review

Mandahla: Mostly Bob Reviewed

Mostly Bob by Tom Corwin (New World Library, $12.95 Hardcover, 9781577315254, January 2006)


 
Have a few tissues at hand when you read this appealing little flip book. The story of the life and death of Tom Corwin's beloved golden retriever is one of courage and the possibility of change. Bob started out life as Red, the next-door dog who was dirty, stinky, neglected and distrustful. But when Corwin's dog Bubba died, Bob mysteriously began hanging out at Corwin's house. He'd go "home" for food, then come right back. He spent over a year lying outside whichever door Corwin was nearest--"He stuck as close to me as he could, and all I ever offered him was casual conversation."
 
Eventually Bob relaxed, accepted pats on his head, and finally, a bath. At that point Corwin began to love the retriever and officially adopted him from the neighbor. Bob blossomed and discovered the world: "He evolved into a puddle of love and shared his immense heart and spirit every step of the way." Mostly Bob is completely wise and sweet.--Marilyn Dahl


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