Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 10, 2006

Simon & Schuster: Register for Fall Preview!

Bramble: The Stars Are Dying: Special Edition (Nytefall Trilogy #1) by Chloe C Peñaranda

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Charlesbridge Publishing: The Perilous Performance at Milkweed Meadow by Elaine Dimopoulos, Illustrated by Doug Salati

Minotaur Books: The Dark Wives: A Vera Stanhope Novel (Vera Stanhope #11) by Ann Cleeves

Soho Crime: Exposure (A Rita Todacheene Novel) by Ramona Emerson

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao


Notes: Graphic Arts in Chapter 11; Wal-Mart 'Party'

Graphic Arts Center Publishing, one of the largest publishers and distributors in the Pacific Northwest, last Friday filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court in Portland, Ore., according to a source close to the company.

Under the Alaska Northwest Books, WestWinds Press and Graphic Arts Center Publishing imprints, Graphic Arts Center publishes books, calendars and other products, specializing in regional, gardening, photo essay, nature, travel, cooking and children's titles. The company also distributes products for Whitecap Books, Epicenter Press, Wolf Creek Books, the CIRI Foundation, Roundup Press, W.W. West, Alaska Native Heritage Foundation and Stoecklein Publishing.

More information tomorrow.


It sounds like a thriller title: The Da Vinci Verdict.

As has been widely reported, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh did not win their copyright infringement case against Dan Brown's U.K. publisher, Random House UK. The London High Court ruled on Friday that they had not proven that the author of The Da Vinci Code had used ideas from The Holy Blood and Holy Grail as his "central theme." As a result, Baigent and Leigh must pay 85% of Random House's costs, estimated at about $2.3 million.

Still the judge didn't exactly rule in Brown's favor, calling Brown's testimony that he hadn't read the plaintiffs' book before starting his book "extraordinary" and criticized Brown's wife, Blythe, who does much of his research, for not testifying. "I conclude that her absence is explicable only on the basis that she would not support Mr. Brown's assertion as to the use made of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and when that use occurred," the judge wrote.

This apparently didn't faze Brown, who said the verdict "shows that this claim was utterly without merit." Random House UK CEO Gail Rebuck commented, "We are pleased that justice--and common sense--have prevailed."


As part of a campaign against the opening of a Wal-Mart in Ravalli County, Chapter One Bookstore in Hamilton, Mont., is sponsoring a "Bye-Bye Big Box" going-away party for Wal-Mart tomorrow, a day before county commissioners hold a hearing on an emergency zoning resolution that would keep a new Wal-Mart from opening. The party will include "going-away presents" that Wal-Mart can take with it such as unfair labor practices and traffic congestion.

Chapter One's Russ Lawrence said that he helped organize a local group, the Bitterroot Good Neighbors Coalition, and has presented a similar zoning idea to the city, which will have a hearing tomorrow as well. "We're guardedly hopeful," Lawrence wrote Shelf Awareness. "The interim (emergency) resolution would be good for a year, during which time we hope the commissioners could be prevailed upon to make it permanent. They have proven spineless (or worse) in the past, but it is spring, the season of hope."

--- and Biblion Ltd. are working together to "redevelop the current online strategy" of Biblion, the U.K. rare-book bookseller with a store in London that has some 500 dealers offering three million books on its Web site. Biblion's Web site had been shut down for several weeks. offers about 35 million used, rare, out-of-print and hard-to-find titles from 4,900 booksellers around the world.


Napa Book Tree, Napa, Calif., which opened in 2002, is closing on April 27 but will continue to take phone orders and accept gift certificates, the Napa Valley Register reported. Owners Cynthia Crawford and Terry McGowan said that profits and their energy will go to literacy efforts and "getting books into the hands of underprivileged children."


Second Story Books, which has been in the Wallingford Center in Seattle, Wash., since both it and the center opened in 1985, is closing because of a renovation project that has gone on for a year and hurt many businesses in the shopping center, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"I really thought we could make a go of it in that location until this year; then my sales dropped when so many of the other businesses left," owner Carol Santoro told the paper. "I decided that we couldn't hold on for as long as it will take for the center to come back. Foot traffic at the center has been decreasing for three years."

Santoro's other bookstore, Santoro's Books in Greenwood, had been subsidizing the Wallingford store, she said.


The Baltimore Sun has a cheery story about the opening of a new public library in Lansdowne, Md., 13 years after budget cuts forced the closing of the old library. Now instead of a bookmobile, residents will be able to rely on a building "with 7,000 items, including books, periodicals, DVDs and CDs, and books on cassettes and CDs," the paper wrote. "Visitors will also have access to the World Wide Web via 10 public computers or wireless Internet, usable throughout the library; a large community meeting room; and a reference desk."


Our favorite local bookstore has been honored by New Jersey Monthly magazine as the Best Book Store in New Jersey. The magazine wrote: "Watchung Booksellers [in Montclair] serves as a refreshing change in a Barnes & Noble world, with weekly readings by local authors, poetry readings and book clubs for aficionados of every genre. The warm and inviting space reminds us of the best of small-town life."


Speaking of commendations, here is an item in its entirety from the Green Bay Press Gazette:

"Barbara Wilson, owner of Butterfly Books and Literacy Center in De Pere, received a congratulatory letter from Wisconsin first lady Jessica Doyle for the store's innovative 'book leaving' program. Doyle wrote, 'Your practical and accessible program is a fabulous way to share a love of reading.'

"According to Wilson, the program makes good use of books sent to the store for review. The books are put on a special shelf and are available free for anyone to enjoy. The idea is for the reader, when finished with the book, to pass it on.

"Wilson says the books can be left anywhere--airports, clinics, dental offices, coffee shops--where anyone might pick them up to read. The readers then can go to the store's Web site at and write a review of the book."


Barnes & Noble is taking a 31,000-sq.-ft., two story space in the Carolina Place mall, a 180,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle center that is expanding in Charlotte, N.C., according to the Charlotte Business Journal. When the new store opens, B&N will close its store in the Centrum on Highway 51.


Bibliophile alert. offers an interview with Allan Stypeck, who runs three Second Story used bookstores in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland and is a broadcaster on the Book Guys NPR radio show. Here he focuses on his career as a leading appraiser of rare books. Among some works he has valued: John Adams' family bible inscribed to his granddaughter Abigail Smith Adams; Ronald Reagan's personal college yearbook; and General George Patton's World War I diaries.


A fifth-grade student-run bookstore celebrated its grand opening in the library of Davis Street Magnet School in New Haven, Conn., on Friday, according to the New Haven Independent. The store opened with the help of a Schoolwide, Inc., grant that library media specialist Lucia Rafala won, allowing the purchase of a cash register and a starter bundle of books. Most of the books sell for $1 or $2.

"This gives fifth-grade students a chance to be involved with something that's social and builds responsibility," Rafala told the paper. "Children feed off each other when they're with books."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Four Weekends and a Funeral by Ellie Palmer

Astronaut-Bookseller Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson, whose Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., is on the edge of the continent, could soon be at the edge of the atmosphere: he has won Quirk Books's "Win a Trip to Space" sweepstakes for bookseller announced last summer (Shelf Awareness, August 26).

Sponsored by Quirk and Space Adventures, a space travel agency, the "zero-gravity" flight is the closest anyone can come to flying in space without a rocket. A zero-g jet aircraft flies to the edge of the earth's atmosphere in a parabolic flight pattern at which point passengers feel weightlessness and can spin and tumble like astronauts in space. The flight lasts several hours; a couple days of training is needed. Travel must be completed by December 31, 2007.

"I am looking forward to it," Robinson wrote Shelf Awareness about his almost-out-of-this-world flight. "In fact, I'm pretty excited about it." He added that he plans to take the trip next January or February and never imagined such a thing. "But I never imagined meeting four U.S. presidents and a multitude of other famous folks. It is pretty amazing where bookselling has taken me."

This couldn't happen to a nicer person.

The contest was held to promote the publication last fall of The Space Tourist's Handbook by Eric Anderson, president and CEO of Space Adventures, and Joshua Piven,  co-author of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (Quirk, $15.95, 1594740666). (Piven's co-author, Dave Borgenicht, founded Quirk.)

Quirk is also sponsoring a space flight for consumers through June 30.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Extraordinary Paul Rusesabagina

This morning on the Today Show, Michael Weishan plants a publicity seed for his new book, The Victory Garden (HarperResource, $29.95, 0060599774).


Today on Oprah: Karrine Steffans, author of Confessions of a Video Vixen (Amistad Press, $24.95, 0060842423), and Ariel Levy, author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Free Press, $25, 0743249895).


Today NPR's Talk of the Nation talks with Paul Rusesabagina, the man who saved more than 1,200 people in the Rwandan genocide and author of An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography (Viking, $23.95, 0670037524). (For more coverage of this unusual man, see our March 7 issue.)

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1

Appearing on Tuesday, April 18:

Blue Shoes and Happiness: The New Novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series
by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $21.95, 0375422722). Seventh in the bestselling series starring the wise, amusing, clever Precious Ramotswe of Botswana.


The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes (Miramax, $23.95, 1401352448). Sykes follows up her 2004 debut, Bergdorf Blondes.


The Elements of Style: A Novel by Wendy Wasserstein (Knopf, $23.95, 1400042313). The late playwright's first novel is set in a glitzy, post-September 11 New York City milieu.


Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger (Crown, $23, 0307336689). Another first novel set in New York City.


Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid
by Joe Klein (Doubleday, $23.95, 0385510276). From the author of Primary Colors, a broadside against political pollsters and political consultants.


The Political Zoo
by Michael Savage (Nelson Current, $25.99, 1595550429). The talk radio host savages his usual suspects.


The Ride of Our Lives: Roadside Lessons of an American Family by Mike Leonard (Ballantine, $24.95, 0345481488). The Today Show columnist takes a trip with his parents, who are in their 80s. Includes a DVD.

Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


In a Paris Moment by Meredith Mullins (M. Publishing, $29.50, 0977358402). "If you can't spend April in Paris, this book may provide your next best option. The dramatic black-and-white photographs capture the essence and soul of Paris, and the beautifully written short essays are both personal and universal. But, be warned, you may quickly find yourself phoning your travel agent."--Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, Wash.


Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe
by Sam Walker (Viking, $25.95, 0670034282). "Sam Walker spends a season in fantasy baseball and takes the reader on a wild ride through this realm of obsession. The visceral reactions he experiences will be familiar to many, but, in the end, the book mirrors the game itself: It is filled with pathos, humor, sorrow, tragedy, and triumph."--Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.

L'America by Martha McPhee (Harcourt, $25, 0151011710). "This story of an American and an Italian who meet on a small Aegean island is a novel rich for the senses. The love at the center of the book is so powerful that you feel as if it was your own great love."--Jeni Harris, Carpe Librum Booksellers, Knoxville, Tenn.

For Teen Readers

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass (Little, Brown, $6.99, 0316058254). "I was completely enthralled by this story and the condition it introduces readers to. Combining an engaging main character, a medical mystery, and a special pet make this novel a must-read for all who are sure their life is stranger than anyone else's."--Faith Dickerson, The Corner Shelf, Omak, Wash.

Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer (Gulliver, $17, 0152051163). "This is a fictionalized recounting of the life of the 14-year-old girl who was the model for Edgar Degas' sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. The book explores the life of Marie van Goethem and her poor Parisian family. This is a touching and beautifully written story that all dancers will treasure."--Janet Bibeau, Storybook Cove, Hanover, Mass.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

Book Review

Mandahla: Unembedded Reviewed

Unembedded: Four Independent Photojournalists on the War in Iraq by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, $50.00 Hardcover, 9781931498951, October 2005)

The first image I saw when I opened Unembedded was of a weeping woman in Rashad Psychiatric Hospital, pleading to go home. Another woman, Ranya, has been there for over two years because she won't sign papers to turn her property over to her brothers. Then there is the heartrending photograph of a crying woman who, according to a nurse, is suffering from a broken heart. These are pictures that embedded, official photographers probably won't be taking or publishing, per their contracts with the military. Fortunately, there are some photographers who color outside the lines and whose "irrefutable images pose difficulties for those in power who work on the principle that you can indeed fool most of the people most of the time." Four of these independent photojournalists have teamed with independent publisher Chelsea Green to create an un-sanitized record of the war in Iraq.
Many of the pictures were taken during the siege of Najaf in 2004--families trapped by fighting near the front lines, burned buildings, smoldering cars, ruined markets; a father raising his arm to snipers as he carries his terrified child cross the frontline between U.S. forces and Mahdi fighters. Most of the photos are terrible and distressing, like a makeshift operating room in Baghdad, its floor covered with fresh blood, a mop moving in from the left like a macabre cleaning commercial; an eight-year-old girl being washed for burial, no marks on her porcelain skin; temporary graves with mere scraps of paper to identify the dead. Some of the photos are luminous: boys swimming in the Euphrates; young men leaping at a wedding dance; domino players on the banks of the Tigris; smoke from burning oil trenches over the Euphrates. The absolute devastation of Iraqi cities is overwhelming--people going about their daily life as cars burn in the street, people crouching and stooped as they continually run for cover, the almost total debris and rubble.
is an important witness to truth with its searing images and its apolitical stance. As Phillip Robertson says in his introduction, "We crossed the lines because we believe it is more important to humanize a conflict that it is to trade in rhetorical truths, or to reinforce easy notions of enemy and friend, which are mere propaganda. Instead, we wanted to document honestly what we witnessed in the war because this is the sole duty of journalists, regardless of their nationality and religion. . . . If our journeys behind the lines were acts of faith, they were also proof that often when one man is confronted with the humanity of another, he will not raise his rifle and pull the trigger. This is not disloyalty to one's country. It is the thing that brings an end to war."
Chelsea Green has created two videos (12- and 2-minute versions) of the photographs, with the photographers' voiceovers, that are compelling and immediate.--Marilyn Dahl

AuthorBuzz: St. Martin's Press: The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center
Powered by: Xtenit