Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 24, 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

Quotation of the Day

The Bookstore as 'Part of Town'

"We see ourselves as a business, obviously, but we also see ourselves as part of the community. We want people to feel this is as much a part of town as the schools, the courthouse."--Sean Curran, events coordinator at the Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa., in a short Philadelphia Inquirer profile.

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


Mark of Independents: MPBA Morphs into MPIBA

Joining the ranks of three other regional booksellers associations that have added the word independent to their names, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association has officially become the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. Lisa Knudsen, executive director of MPIBA, commented: "We have been 'living the life' for many years. It was time for our name to reflect our convictions."

In other MPIBA news, the association, which has about 240 bookseller members and is growing, has added about 25 new members from Texas and Oklahoma, areas that were served by the Mid-South Independent Booksellers Association, which disbanded last year, and is seeking more. "We've identified about 70 potential stores in the area that are either ABA members or were MSIBA members," Knudsen said.

In New York several weeks ago, Knudsen and MPIBA president Catherine Weller of Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, Salt Lake City, Utah, said they noticed a strengthening in the newer independents. As Weller put it, "for a time, many new stores would close in a year a half. For the last four years, the stores that have opened have done their homework and understand the market."

The association, Knudsen continued, is trying to help booksellers, particularly those in small stores, "with the technical aspect of things. Some of them are resistant but need the most help technically to help learn shortcuts, maximize efficiencies and work smarter." She lauded Above the Treeline as one piece of the technical puzzle.

As part of its effort to make the annual fall trade show even more effective as a place for booksellers and publishers to engage in dialogue and to help nurture a new generation in the book world, the association is also developing programming connected to the Emerging Leader Project that will focus on both emerging leader publishers and booksellers. MPIBA will likely have several such events.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.22.24

Notes: Opal Borrowings; Waterstone Bids for Waterstone's

Say it ain't so, Kaavya. Here we go again.

The Harvard Crimson reported that several passages in Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan's new novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life (Little, Brown, $21.95, 0316059889), are "strikingly similar" to parts of two novels by former Cosmopolitan editor Megan F. McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, published by Three Rivers in 2001 and 2003, respectively.

While still in high school, Viswanathan received a $500,000 deal from Little, Brown and has sold movie rights to DreamWorks.

The Crimson said that when it called Viswanathan, she stated, "No comment. I have no idea what you are talking about." She also did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

McCafferty and Random House told the paper that they are aware of the problem.


Tim Waterstone and an investor group including Anthony Forbes Watson, former head of Penguin, are bidding 280 million pounds for the Waterstone's division of HMV but only if HMV abandons its effort to buy Ottakar's, Forbes reports.

In a statement, Waterstone said, "This is a very fully priced offer for a business which faces major challenges to recapture the market share and operating margin that have been lost."

For his part, Forbes Watson said, "We believe it would be a mistake for HMV to acquire Ottakar's. Recovery at Waterstone's is the priority and the acquisition of Ottakar's would present a perilous distraction from this objective."


The Albany Times Union profiles Page-One Bookstore, Albany, N.Y., a year-old store owned by Marcus Barnes and David "Rahtiek" Miller, who specialize in urban, hip hop and chick lit titles as well as offer "a small selection of lotions, soaps and oils targeted to African-American women."

Barnes, who has been in jail for selling cocaine but has a clean record since being released in 1994, has "street cred as a purveyor of gangsta lit in the neighborhood," the paper said. Many of the store's best customers are state prisoners who use Page-One's mail order catalogues. The owners plan to open a second store, in Syracuse, soon.

One customer, Kiki Ford, a school bus driver and city parking-enforcement officer, said, "I come in here all the time to see what's new." She praised the owners for their selection of African-American literature and for encouraging neighborhood children to read and play chess in the store.

Page-One Bookstore is located at 121 Central Ave., Albany, N.Y. 12206; 518-436-1470.


Mattel's American Girl is opening its third store in the U.S., in the outdoor mall the Grove in Los Angeles, where it will sell the American Girl multiracial and historical dolls and related books, clothes and accessories. The other two American Girl Places are in New York and Chicago.

The company, which sells mainly via catalogues and the Internet, is "cautious about growing too fast" and has no targets for future store openings, v-p of retail Wade Opland told Reuters.


You're promoted! If anyone wonders why Universal Beauty: The Miss Universe Guide to Beauty (Rutledge Hill, $29.99, 1401602290) is showing a significant publicity profile, it has something to do with the fact that Donald Trump (along with NBC) owns the Miss Universe organization. Trump has hired Howard Rubenstein's PR company and held a party at the Trump Tower in New York for the book.

In a major surprise, today's New York Times reports that the party highlighted Trump, his company and his foreword to the book. "Even the invitation buried any reference to the writer," Cara Birnbaum. Apparently Birnbaum's father introduced himself to Trump as "the author's dad." Trump was taken aback before he said, "Oh, the author. Right. Congrats."


The first winners of the annual Short Story Contest founded by Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops and Shepherd Express, the Milwaukee weekly, last year (Shelf Awareness, December 3), have been announced:

  • First place: John Wallace of Milwaukee for "Teddy"
  • Second place: Vicki Conte of Waukesha for "Salesman of the Decade"
  • Third place: Karen McQuestion of Hartland for "Saturday Night Fever"
  • Honorable Mention: Rachel Kartz of Shorewood for "How to Please Your Lover and Yourself"

The winners will be honored at a reception and public reading this Thursday, April 27, at 7 p.m. at the Schwartz store on Downer Ave. The first place winner receives a $200 Schwartz gift certificate and publication in the April 27 Shepherd Express. Second and third place prizes are $100 and $50, respectively, and publication on Shepherd Express's Web site.

Proceeds from the contest entry fees will be donated to Milwaukee's Next Door Foundation, which promotes life skills preparation, literacy enhancement and goal setting. More than 200 people entered the contest.


Robert B. Wegman, the longtime head of Wegmans Food Markets, died on Thursday at the age of 87. Wegmans has some 70 stores in five states in the Middle Atlantic region and has been a pioneer in grocery store customer service, employee satisfaction, adapting new technology and selling books--to the point of having author signings and other book-related events. For more on Wegman and his accomplishments, see the Washington Post's obituary.


George C. Minden, who for most of its existence ran an unusual CIA-funded program to distribute books in Eastern Europe--one of the oddest and most profitable special market efforts ever--died on April 9, the New York Times reported. He was 85.

Under the program, which lasted from 1956 until 1993 and for much of the time was called the International Literary Center, more than 10 million books and magazines were sent to Communist Party members, intellectuals and professionals who thought the books were being donated or "exchanged" by publishers and cultural organizations. Most of the publishers were real; some of the cultural organizations were CIA fronts. About 1,000 people in publishing knew of the program. The material ranged from "dictionaries, medical texts and novels by Joyce and Nabokov to art museum catalogs and Parisian fashion magazines," the paper said.

Minden was born in Romania into a wealthy, cosmopolitan family. He fled the country in 1946, when his property was expropriated.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Deep Throat's Co-Writer; Mossad Man

Today Good Morning America gets the scoop from John O'Connor, the co-author with Mark Felt, better known as Deep Throat, on his autobiography, A G-Man's Life: The FBI, Being 'Deep Throat,' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington (PublicAffairs, $26.95, 1586483773). According to the Washington Post, Felt, who is 92 and has dementia, says in the book that he resented that Woodward wrote about him, even anonymously, in All the President's Men and that he didn't like the nickname Deep Throat.


Today on the Today Show: Harlan Coben, whose new book is Promise Me (Dutton, $26.95, 0525949496). The Innocent (Signet, $9.99, 045121577X) is now out in paperback.


Today on the Early Show: Peter Richmond, author of Fever: The Life and Music of Miss Peggy Lee (Holt, $30, 0805073833).


Tonight in the spotlight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Efraim Halvey, former director of Israel's Mossad and author of Man in the Shadows: Inside the Middle East Crisis with a Man Who Led the Mossad (St. Martin's, $24.95, 031233771X).

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1

With the exception of the first title, which has a May Day pub date, the following new fiction titles have laydown dates of Tuesday, May 2:

Beach Road by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge (Little, Brown, $27.95, 0316159786). Another summer thriller set in the Hamptons.


Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris (Ace, $23.95, 0441014003). The latest in the author's Southern Vampire mystery series starring Sookie Stackhouse


Shanks For Nothing by Rick Reilly (Doubleday, $24.95, 0385501110). Another golf thriller from Reilly.


Full of Grace by Dorothea Benton Frank (Morrow, $24.95, 0060892358). What the? A transplanted Jersey family has trouble adapting to South Carolina.


Malinche by Laura Esquivel (Atria, $22.95, 074329033X). From the author of Like Water for Chocolate, this book focuses on Malinche, Hernando Cortes's Indian interpreter and mistress.


Bad Twin by Gary Troup (Hyperion, $21.95, 1401302769). A title by a man "lost" on Oceanic Flight 815 in 2004; see ABC's Wednesday night programming for more information.


Digging to America by Anne Tyler (Knopf, $24.95, 0307263940). Tyler traces two very different families--one a traditional American family, the other Iranian-American.


I Say A Little Prayer by E. Lynn Harris (Doubleday, $21.95, 0385512724). From the down-low chronicler, the lowdown on tension about gays in black churches.

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:


To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife by Caitlin Flanagan (Little, Brown, $22.95, 0316736872). "This is a book for moms (both stay-at-home and employed outside the home) to read and to discuss at their book groups. Flanagan's trenchant take on the roles of housewife and mother will resonate with every woman!"--Susan Taylor, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, Mass.

Murder in Montmartre by Cara Black (Soho Crime, $23, 1569474109). "Aimee Leduc is a spunky PI in Paris who finds herself running across snow-covered rooftops as she tries to clear her friend from murder charges. This is an exciting addition to the Aimee Leduc series translated from the French."--Mary Jane Weber, The Town Book Store, Westfield, N.J.


A Year in Japan by Kate T. Williamson (Princeton Architectural Press, $19.95, 1568985401). "Lesser-known cultural aspects of Japan are exquisitely depicted in watercolors along with short essays on each subject in A Year in Japan. I never knew there was such a large sock business in Japan--due to the removal of shoes before entering a house! Williamson has crafted a charming book sure to please art and Japan fans alike."--Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

For Teens

New Boy by Julian Houston (Houghton Mifflin, $16, 0618432531). "Billed as a young adult novel, this is a great read for any age. Julian Houston, an associate justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, has written a story that combines normal adolescent concerns with the larger issue of being African American in the 1950s. It's a moving tale and an important reminder of our history and society."--Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

Book Review

Mandahla: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World Reviewed

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World: by Judy Doenges (University of Michigan Press, $24.00 Hardcover, 9780472115617, May 2006)

The Most Beautiful Girl in the World is the riveting story of Robin Simonsen, a girl growing up in the late '60s and early '70s in a Chicago suburb. After her mother dies, she's left to be cared for by her father, a junkman, and her grandmother, a former Las Vegas showgirl. Heath calls himself a salvager, "someone in the business of salvation. But, to Robin's dismay, someone who couldn't keep her mother from slipping away." Goldie ("like a mother with the sound turned up") drinks, entertains men and gives Robin distinctive advice: "There's nothing wrong with wearing a bra that's one size too small." In the midst of this chaos of junk, both salvaged and narcotic, Robin plans and organizes her world. She has perfect school attendance, perfect grades; she cleans out the house, months of scrubbing and hauling, looking for evidence of her mother; she and her best friend Freddie create a six-point plan to lose their virginity together. "If you added up all the evidence, if you thought of your family as a problem, then you could be ready for anything. Begin to be ready."

Robin also works at corralling and understanding desire, first with her family, who didn't order their lives, but were a mess of desires: "You never let desire grow cold, you just made it a silent, red-hot partner in everything you did and said." In her teens, she is overcome with desire for Lynn, the high school beauty and her best friend. She tries to manage this as she manages her family, but is constantly stunned by hope--hope that Lynn would desire her, hope that her father would stop dealing drugs, hope that she could create meaning and cohesion: "It was too much to be the one who knew where everything was, where it all belonged. It was too much to be in charge of people who were always in danger of disappearing."

This adept first novel is a vivid exploration of a girl trying to make sense of life on the edge, of a world filled with hapless crooks, a broken Viet Nam vet, assorted and sordid teenagers looking for a high, and a father who believes in being honest with his daughter: "[What] I'm doing right now is called rolling a joint. . . . It's simple. Just like making a drink for Grandma. Remember when she taught you how to make a Tom Collins?" Judy Doenges' prose shimmers and amazes--"The warm air wore a cold border, like a wool blanket with satin edges."--while always staying true to Robin's rebellion against her world and to her fierce attempts to hold on to her deepest self.

Read this book and you will be handselling it and recommending it to book clubs. To support this, the University of Michigan Press is offering a free advance reading copy of the book to booksellers, librarians and media. Contact Mary Bisbee-Beek,, with your full mailing address and e-mail.--Marilyn Dahl

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