Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 13, 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


To the Editor: Small Death; Thank You, Librarians

Nancy Olson, owner of Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., writes about our piece yesterday about the popularity of A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson (Berkley, $7.99, 0425184234) at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle:

I was glad to read the piece about A Small Death in Lisbon. When President Carter visited our store, he said he needed something to read (he'd finished a whole book between Charlotte and Raleigh). I rattled off some good Southern lit, and he said "Oh no, I want a mystery!" I ran in panic to husband Jim, and he suggested Wilson's book, which we presented to Mr. Carter.  I never heard how he liked it, but I think we did O.K.


Jessica Stockton, who is a bookseller at McNally Robinson NYC bookstore in New York City and writes the blog the Written Nerd, responds to yesterday's letter about odd requests, originally prompted by a comment Stockton made during Sunday's NAIBAhood Gathering in Phoenixville, Pa.:

Librarian Jennifer Yao is right in pointing out that stamps aren't all that strange an example of customer requests. For some reason it was the only one I could think of at the time! It probably wouldn't hurt if bookstores like mine considered stocking these things that customers repeatedly ask for. But even discounting all the requests for directions, restaurant recommendations, and plastic bags for doggie cleanup, we do get some really wild demands. I once had someone ask if I would read out all of the wheat-free recipes in our cookbook section over the phone. The other day a woman insisted that I pull out and bring to her all the books we carry containing "good" love poems. And not a week goes by that someone isn't asking for us to just special order them the "best" book on auto repair, outsider art, the European Union, etc. Actually, when research requests get too complex, we usually recommend that they go to the library to figure out what they need before we order. And that's where the heroic research librarians pick up the weird customer torch. We booksellers appreciate your efforts, and we sympathize!

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


Notes: Library ID Gag Order Ends; WH Smith to Make Bid?

The Library Connection of Windsor, Conn., which had received a national security letter from the FBI demanding patron records and e-mail messages, may now at least identify itself as having receiving the subpoena-like letter after federal prosecutors withdrew their appeal of a lower court order, according to today's New York Times.

It's unclear what effect the change will have on similar cases. In this case, the government had inadvertently identified the library so part of its gag order had been rendered moot. The prosecutors did say that recent changes in the Patriot Act offering some leeway concerning gag orders are leading the Justice Department to reconsider whether recipients of national security letters may say that they have received them.

Ann Beeson, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of the Library Connection, a cooperative of 26 libraries, told the Times: "We are obviously very much looking forward to the day where they can explain how it felt to be under the threat of criminal prosecution for merely identifying themselves. The clients are happy that the fight over this gag is nearing its end."


After WH Smith announced that it would separate its retail operations from its wholesale news distribution division, creating two independent companies, speculation rose that the retail division, which sells books, stationery, toys and other products, would bid for Ottakar's against HMV, the owner of Waterstone's.

One analyst told the Times of London that he is "75% convinced" Smith will make an offer.

Although Smith's retail sales fell 3% in the six months ended February 28, this was a solid result in the context of last year's brutal bookselling season in the U.K. Although CEO Kate Swann wouldn't comment on the bidding rumors, she did note that Smith is extending trials of its own bookstores to three more downtown sites and 10-15 more airport sites "after positive customer reaction to initial openings." In addition, Swann estimated that the Smith could potentially open a "specialist book or stationery store" in as many as 100 towns.


Borders may close its Uptown store in Calhoun Square in Minneapolis, Minn., one of two unionized Borders in the country, because the company has been having difficulty renewing its lease, according to City Pages.

A company lawyer wrote to the union, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789, that the landlord has offered Borders "alternate space which is less attractive."

A Local 789 organizer told the paper he worried that the store's status as a union shop could influence Borders's decision on what to do with the store.


Next Tuesday, April 18, at 7 p.m., Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa, celebrates the 15th anniversary of its hour-long author interview show, Live from Prairie Lights, which is hosted by Julie Englander and broadcast throughout Iowa on AM radio and on the Web.

To be held at the Englert Theater, the two-hour celebration will include Jane Hamilton, Colson Whitehead, Karen Joy Fowler, Lan Samantha Chang and others who have read on the show. There will be clips from previous shows and the authors will speak.

Jim Harris, founder of Prairie Lights, told the Des Moines Register, "The store would never have made it so big without the support of radio." The show especially has helped Prairie Lights maintain a high profile for authors on tour.


The Academy of American Poets, which established National Poetry Month 10 years ago, is celebrating in part by editing and distributing 30,000 free copies of the poetry anthology How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers in New York City, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C., mostly to schools and through America Scores. The book includes a foreword by U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser and 70 poems by, among others, W.S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Kenneth Koch, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes and Thom Gunn.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Consortium Addendum: Eight New Publishers

Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added eight publishers, a mix of startups and established presses, for the fall 2006 season. They are:

  • Editions Intervalles, Paris, France, which publishes photojournalism dedicated to promoting cross-cultural and political views. The press's first book, Idols + Believers by Jocelyn Bain Hogg, explores the obsession with celebrities and the nature of fame in the 21st century.
  • Enigma Books, New York, N.Y., was founded in 1999 and publishes both new titles and reprints with a focus on 19th and 20th century history, World War II and espionage history.
  • Five Ties Publishing, Brooklyn, N.Y., produces books on photography, fine art, architecture, film and graphic design in collaboration with emerging and internationally renowned artists and writers.
  • The Gryphon Press, Minneapolis, Minn., founded by Emilie Buchwald, the longtime publisher of Milkweed Editions, publishes children's picture books focused on animals and animal-welfare issues.
  • Insomniac Press, Toronto, Canada, founded in 1992 as a small press publishing poetry chapbooks is now a medium-size press specializing in nonfiction, fiction and poetry. Particular niches include black studies, gay and lesbian, personal finance and mysteries.
  • The Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada, a not-for-profit publishing house that specializes in helping galleries promote Canadian artists internationally with books and exhibitions.
  • New Internationalist, Oxford, England, reports on world poverty and inequality and campaigns "for the radical changes necessary to meet the basic material and spiritual needs of all." The press also publishes titles on cooking, current affairs and environmental studies.
  • Saqi Books, London, England, was founded in 1984 to bridge the divide between Middle Eastern and Western cultures and has expanded its network to include writers from the Balkans, Afghanistan, Pakistan and France as well as the U.K. Telegram is Saqi's "younger sister publisher," is putting out its first list of original, international works by new and established writers.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Higgins Clarks

This morning Imus in the Morning feaetures the Clark mother-and-daughter thriller writers: Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark. Mom's new book is Two Little Girls in Blue (S&S, $25.95, 0743264908), while Carol's is Hitched: A Regan Reilly Mystery (Scribner, $24, 0743289420). The pair regularly collaborate on a Christmas thriller.


This morning on Good Morning America, James M. Robinson does some proselytizing for his The Secrets of Judas: The Story of the Misunderstood Disciple and His Lost Gospel (HarperSanFrancisco, $19.95, 00611703631).


Today WAMU's Diane Rehm Show hears from Susan Miller, voice coach for Rehm and other media and music people and author of Be Heard the First Time: The Woman's Guide to Powerful Speaking (Capital Books, $18.95, 1933102152).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show: Gabriel Weimann, whose new book is Terror on the Internet: The New Arena, the New Challenges (United States Institute of Peace Press, $24.95, 1929223714).

Today on the View: Tyler Perry, author of Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life (Riverhead, $23.95, 1594489211). She also keeps her earrings on tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman.


Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Elliot Perlman, author of The Reasons I Won't Be Coming (Riverhead, $24.95, 1573223212). As the show describes it: "An unusual interview in which Elliot Perlman (author of an impressive novel, Seven Types of Ambiguity) is asked to be as articulate and impressive as his work. The reticent Perlman accepts the challenge and speaks of the kinds of personal integrity and vision that are important to him as an artist."

This Weekend on Book TV: John Tayman

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 15

6 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment originally aired in 1993 (also probably around this time of year), Charles Adams talked about his book on the history of taxation, For Good & Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization (Madison Books, $18.95, 1568332351). Adams is an adjunct scholar at both the Ludwig von Mises Institute at Auburn University and the Cato Institute.

9 p.m. After Words. Rep. Ed Case (D.-Hawaii) interviews John Tayman about his book The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai (Scribner, $27.50, 074323300X), on the leper settlement on Molokai, a sensitive subject for many Hawaiians. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

Sunday, April 16

8:10 p.m. In an event that took place at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C., Larry L. King, author of In Search of Willie Morris: The Mercurial Life of a Legendary Writer and Editor (PublicAffairs, $26.95 1586483846), talks about his friend, the man who became the youngest editor-in-chief of Harper's magazine and who influenced writers such as William Styron and James Jones.

Books & Authors

Happy 100th to Samuel Beckett

Today, on the centenary of Samuel Beckett's birth, his original U.S. publisher and agent, Barney Rosset, reminisces with the New York Times. The owner of Grove Press until the mid-1980s remembers first meeting Beckett--for drinks in Paris. "He said he had only a few minutes, but we didn't get out of there until four in the morning." Rosset paid him a $150 advance against a 2.5% royalty for Waiting for Godot.

Rosset preferred Beckett's writing in English and his English translations of the works he wrote originally in French. "French is a cold language," he told the Times. "It damped him down; it controlled his emotions, and he knew it. . . . His English is warm and rich. You know, his mother spoke fluent Gaelic."

By the way, Grove is releasing its four-volume Centenary Edition of Beckett's works today. The boxed set retails for $100.

Why Kim Wong Keltner Reads

Many thanks to Carl Lennertz and his blog for highlighting this great commentary by author Kim Wong Keltner on Why I Read, which appeared originally in the newsletter of San Francisco's Green Apple Books.

When I was younger, I read because no one wanted to talk to me about the things I wanted to know about. I read because there was no place in the real world for a freak like me, but through books I learned the world is filled with a lot of people even more freaky. Roald Dahl, anyone? I read to avoid homework, get turned on, and find out about sex. Now I read to avoid doing housework and avoid talking to people. The quietest place is in your own head if you can just get yourself to shut up. I read because the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the only thing that keeps my spirits up is fluffy pink bunnies. I read to my daughter so she doesn't become a TV zombie. If the book has pictures, when reading aloud, I sometimes change the words if I feel like it. With all re-spek to Richard Scarry, sometimes I tell Lucy that Huckle Cat has pooped his pants. Mr. Frumble comes to the door so early because he's selling Amway and he needs to reach the "Emerald" level if he's ever gonna succeed with pyramid schemes. He chases his hat so fervently because he keeps his weed in there. And for god's sake, Lowly Worm is a mooch. I read to go back in time and feel what it's like to live in old San Francisco. It's great because with words in books, there's no nineteenth century stench. I read to help me get to sleep at night, and also while I drink coffee and eat toast. I read cuz reading is living, and the living's good.

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