Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 6, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Launch a Reading Star With Ready to Read Campaign

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

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Waiting in the Wings by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, Illustrated by Eg Keller

Webtoon Unscrolled: Boyfriends. Volume Two: A Webtoon Unscrolled Graphic Novel by Refrainbow

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

Quotation of the Day

Couric's Backup If CBS Doesn't Work Out

"I'm thinking about opening a second-hand bookstore in Montana."--Katie Couric, joking while announcing yesterday morning that she is leaving the Today Show to become anchor of the CBS Evening News and a 60 Minutes correspondent.

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


Notes: Library View; Buy Local in Cambridge

More than 135 million adults visited American public libraries last year, and students made 1.5 billion visits to school libraries during the school year, according to the first-ever "State of America's Libraries" report from the ALA, released during National Library Week.

Among other findings: Almost 90% of Americans surveyed in a poll report are satisfied with their public libraries. Some 62% of adult Americans have library cards, and circulation of public library materials has climbed every year since 1990. At certain times of the day, demand for computer access in public libraries exceeds supply.

Libraries in some sections of the country have faced budget cuts that are having a dramatic negative impact on library service. The report also outlines "the 65% solution" state initiative that would improve classroom instruction at the expense of school libraries.


Because of a difficult economy, increased competition and a new location, Dan and Kathryn Hutson have closed Newsstand International, which sold books and some 5,000 magazines, newspapers and foreign periodicals, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The Hutsons moved the store five months ago (Shelf Awareness, August 1), but sales dropped dramatically in its new site.


The Cambridge Chronicle in Cambridge, Mass., chronicles the activities of Cambridge Local First, which was founded last fall and has 80 members. One of the group's founders, Frank Kramer of the Harvard Book Store, told the paper, "It's not like we have to change the shopping habits of the world." The Chronicle explained: "In the book trade, Kramer said, customers claim to buy four out of 10 books at independent book stores. Bumping that figure up to six out of 10 books could ensure many more birthday parties for the Harvard Book Store, which turns 75 next year."


And in a related note, the Hometown Advantage has the full text of the Nantucket, Mass., warrant article that would limit large chain stores, a measure that passed the Town Meeting on Monday. (See yesterday's issue of Shelf Awareness.)


The Oregonian outlines the daily adventures of Mindventures Toys and Books, a children's store in Tualatin, Ore., owned by Peggy James, a former schoolteacher and school administrator.

Besides having a knowledgeable staff that provides good customer service, a key strategy for the store is "finding the right products. James and her staff make the selections together while asking the same questions of each potential product: What else can the book or toy do? How creative a device can it be? How long-lasting will its engagement be? By the time products arrive for display in the 2,500-sq.-ft. store, James and her staff have written and posted a synopsis of every book, a key aid for customers."


In a well-timed story about a well-timed book given the particular craziness of this year's college acceptance ritual (felt acutely in one Shelf Awareness household!), today's New York Times profiles Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard sophomore whose first novel is How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life (Little, Brown, $21.95, 0316059889), a "chick-lit-meets-admissions-frenzy novel."

The author herself is a product of admissions frenzy: her parents paid at least $10,000 to a college applications counseling service. But this paid off in several ways: Viswanathan is at Harvard and, admiring the future author's writing, the head of the service "put her in touch" with the William Morris Agency, which sold the novel to Little, Brown.


The Publishing Triangle Awards ceremony to be held May 11 in New York City will include the presentation of a special Leadership Award to the Oscar Wilde Bookshop in Manhattan. The group said that "for almost 40 years, the store has served the needs of the gay and lesbian community. It is a 'destination' location for international gay and lesbian travelers, and under the leadership of former manager and new owner Kim Brinster, it plans to continue to stock it shelves with the finest lesbian and gay books for many years to come."

In addition, Karla Jay, a professor at Pace University, editor, translator and writer whose most recent book is Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation, will be presented the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. For information about the other awards to be presented and past winners, click here.


Sales of electronic textbooks at the U-Store at Princeton University have lagged, according to the Daily Princetonian. But while admitting they have not been bestsellers, store director of marketing Virginia France told the paper, "We think that as it goes on, the students will probably choose digital texts more often. With digital texts, you don't have to lug a book around."

The store is encouraging reps to urge faculty members to request texts in e-book form, too.


Left Bank Books, a seven-year-old used bookstore in Hanover, N.H., is searching for a buyer, the Dartmouth reported. Owner Corlan Johnson said that the store's poor location, competition and a lack of faculty support have hurt sales.

Florida Bookstore for Sale: Email

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Julia Child's Grandnephew/Editor

This morning Good Morning America serves up Alex Prud'Homme, the grandnephew of Julia Child and editor of her memoir, My Life in France (Knopf, $25.95, 1400043468), about the late chef's first years in France.


Today on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Bruce Ackerman whose new book is Before the Next Attack: Preserving Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism (Yale University Press, $26, 0300112890).


Today on the Bookworm: Kurt Vonnegut, whose most recent book is A Man Without a Country (Seven Stories, $23.95, 158322713X). As the program describes the show: "In his eighties, Kurt Vonnegut is still the magnificent satirist, critic, dreamer and grouch who has been astonishing us from the nineteen-sixties on. Here, he speaks as a socialist disappointed by human behavior, our country and our times. He 'wants to go home.' "


Tonight Nightline hears from James D. Tabor, author of The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity (S&S, $27, 0743287231).


Today on the Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Ken Dornstein, author of The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky: A True Story (Random House, $23.95, 0375503595), on how his life changed after his older brother died on Pan Am Flight 103.
  • Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell (Ballantine, $23.95, 0345476387).
  • Cal Ripken, Jr., who beat Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played, whose new book is Parenting Young Athletes the Cal Ripken Way: Ensuring the Best Experience for Your Kids in Any Sport (Gotham, $25, 1592401813).


Tonight the Charlie Rose Show's guest host Brian Williams, anchor of NBC Nightly News, talks with Jon Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek and author of American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation (Random House, $23.95, 1400065550).


Tonight's Late Show with David Letterman is a repeat of a show from several weeks ago featuring Diablo Cody, author of Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper (Gotham, $24, 1592401821).

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

Book TV: The Elephant Mobster in the Room

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, April 8

8 a.m. After Words. In The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, $24.95, 1403968985), Phyllis Chesler recounts being held hostage in Afghanistan, details what she views as the overlooked issue of dehumanization of Muslim women in the Middle East and criticizes many feminists. The event was hosted by Barnes & Noble Booksellers in New York City.

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. H.W. Crocker, executive editor of Regnery Publishing and consulting editor for Eagle Book Clubs, talks about his book Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision (Three Rivers Press, $14.95, 0761525548).

10 p.m. History on Book TV. James Jacobs, a law professor at New York University and author of Mobsters, Unions, and Feds: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement (New York University Press, $32.95, 0814742734), argues that while the power of organized crime in U.S. labor is a well-known open secret, it is ignored by scholars who write about government and power. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

11:30 p.m. Public Lives. Hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Harriet McBryde Johnson, a lawyer and author of Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life (Holt, $23, 0805075941), who was born with congenital neuromuscular disease, talks about her memoir.

Sunday, April 9

1 p.m. General Assignment. Taped at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, this segment features New York University media studies professor Mark Crispin Miller, author of Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election and Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop Them) (Basic Books, $24.95, 0465045790). (Re-airs at 11 p.m.)

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Books & Authors

Crash Campaign for Crashing the Gate

The first campaign of the pivotal election year of 2006 is underway and includes more than 100 events in 21 states. It's a maverick grassroots effort using old and new media and led by an experienced political campaign manager and several politically savvy young turks. Its message is about change and electing progressives in November and using the tools and opportunities of the Internet age to spread a populist message. Already it's getting good press, both in print and online, and tonight its leading spokespeople appear on the Colbert Report.

The focus isn't a candidate. Rather it's a book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics by Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (Chelsea Green, $25, 1931498997).

"It's been an unusual book from the beginning," Chelsea Green publisher Margo Baldwin told Shelf Awareness. "Hopefully it will help take the House back for the Democrats, energize people at the local level and bring the grassroots into the political process. It was only logical that we should run this like a real democratic campaign. We're trying to put into action what the book talks about."

The authors are best known for their popular political blogs. Armstrong set up one of the first political blogs,, in 2001 and was an architect of the netroots strategy that used blogs and meetups for Howard Dean's 2004 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Through his company,, he works as an Internet strategist for advocacy organizations and political campaigns.

An army veteran with a law degree and tech industry experience, Zuniga started the highly regarded in 2002.

"They had no idea of what they were getting into writing a book," Baldwin said. "We thought it would be easy because of their blogging experience. But it turned out not to be." Chelsea Green provided a "great editor who worked hand in glove with them all the way through." Because everyone involved wanted to get the book out as early in the political season as possible, Crashing the Gate was crash published. "We had the final manuscript at the end of December and got it out by the end of February," Baldwin said.

For the tour, Chelsea Green hired "a real political campaign manager" from Texas. "He had never done a book tour," Baldwin continued. "We had never done a political campaign. We are all figuring it out as we go along."

As soon as the preliminary schedule was publicized, "we got a huge response from people around the country, volunteering to do things," Baldwin said. Event organizers include Democratic Party officials, college students, individuals and representatives of various grass roots and national liberal groups. The more than 100 events scheduled so far include fundraisers and political meetings. Independent booksellers have provided "a lot of support," Baldwin added. Armstrong and Zuniga are appearing at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., and Powell's Books, Portland, Ore., for example. In some cases, bookstores are selling the book at political events.

The authors will likely do a second tour in fall "right before the elections" with a focus on college campus appearances.

Calling the book tour/campaign "definitely a work in progress," Baldwin said that if successful, it might be a template for how "the blogosphere and progressive groups can play a role in promoting progressive writers."

Befitting its message, Crashing the Gate has already won both traditional and nontraditional media victories, ranging from a March 26 New York Times Book Review review to the appearance of the authors tonight on the Colbert Report, a kind of fake news show supplying at least some real news that, like political blogs and meetups, no one could have imagined as recently as the 2000 election.


Encyclopedia Prehistorica Erratum

In yesterday's mention of Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters (Candlewick, $27.99, 076362229X), which appears next Tuesday, we inadvertently neglected to mention Robert Sabuda's partner on the book (and in life), Matthew Reinhart. Our apologies!

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