Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 16, 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

Editors' Note

See You Next Monday (If Not in Washington)!

Because of BEA, this is the last issue of Shelf Awareness for this week. We wish everyone going to the show a great time! We'll see you again on Monday, May 22--after the Da Vinci Code makes its debut.


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


News

Notes: Kunitz Dead; Globe Corner Reopens; e-Future

Stanley Kunitz, named the U.S. poet laureate at age 95 and winner of Pulitzer, National Book Award and Bollingen prizes, died on Sunday at the age of 100. The Washington Post has an excellent, entertaining appreciation.

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By 2016, e-commerce will probably account for 15% of all retail sales, up from 2% now, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos predicted, in a speech covered by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. But bricks-and-mortar stores are "not going to go away," Bezos continued. "We are physical creatures and we like to move around in our environment. We are not going to ever get to this sort of shut-in stage that some people were worried about."

Bezos added that online and bricks-and-mortar retailers will make one another better. "That kind of inherent competition will keep driving up the standards," he said.

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Advanced Marketing Services has appointed longtime Baker & Taylor executive Gary M. Rautenstrauch its new president and CEO, effective immediately. Rautenstrauch spent 22 years at B&T and was president and CEO from 2001 to 2003, when Willis Stein bought the company. (Coincidentally the private equity company announced last week it is selling B&T.) From August 2005 until this month Rautenstrauch was CEO of Blackwell's Book Services. He has a B.A. in accounting and an MBA in finance.

Earlier this month, Bruce C. Myers, who had been president and CEO since late 2004, resigned abruptly. AMS, which for several years has been dealing with a serious accounting scandal, supplies books to warehouse clubs and owns PGW, among its main businesses.

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The Globe Corner bookstore in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass., which closed last summer (Shelf Awareness, July 10), has reopened at 90 Mt. Auburn St. in the ground floor of the Harvard University Libraries building. "It's a great spot," Harriet Carrier, who owns Globe Corner with her husband, Patrick Carrier, told the Crimson. "It's better for our business overall."

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In a story in today's New York Times about authors holding readings in offices, Scribner publicity director Suzanne Balaban explained her company's interest in such events by saying, "It is easier to get people through the eye of a needle into the kingdom of heaven than it is to get people into a bookstore at 7 o'clock at night."

In an indication of how popular the approach is, Kim Ricketts, former events and programs coordinator at Seattle's University Book Store, now coordinates 20 or 30 author readings at companies and nonprofit groups a month and splits book sales with the publishers.

Speaking for booksellers, Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Seattle told the paper: "The publisher who decides to do that kind of event in lieu of a bookstore event is being very short-sighted in terms of their future in this business. You get the illusion of breaking out into a new market, but ultimately you are only selling one book."

But apparently at least one event cited by the Times--Simon Schama speaking at a Google office in New York City--included participation by a bookstore.

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Anne Pierson Wiese has won the 2006 Walt Whitman Award for her first book-length collection of poems, Floating City, which will be published in spring 2007 by Louisiana State University Press. The winning manuscript was chosen by Kay Ryan from more than 1,250 entries. The Academy of American Poets, which sponsors the award, will give Wiese a $5,000 cash prize and buy copies of her book for its members. She will also receive a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. The runner-up was Kevin McFadden for his manuscript Hardscrabble.

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Sales at Varsity Group in the first quarter dropped slightly to $2.2 million from $2.3 million and the net loss was $1.2 million as opposed to a net loss of $500,000. The revenue drop was attributed mainly to a bookstore management agreement that was not renewed, which was partly offset by revenue from Campus Outfitters, which Varsity bought last year.

New president and CEO Mark Thimmig said he plans "to build Varsity into a more profitable, dynamic business with $500 million in annual revenues in the next five years." The company began business selling textbooks online but now focuses on managing online stores for educational institutions and supplying uniforms to them as well as businesses.

In related news, Varsity has acquired IQ Digital Studios, a boutique ad agency that specializes in educational branding, communications, marketing and e-learning content design and development, particularly on the Web, from White Hat Ventures. The company also appointed James M. Craig CFO, replacing Jack M. Benson, who has been appointed CIO, senior v-p, business development.


Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


BEA on the Horizon: More Fodor's Tips

If you're interested in visiting a few bookstores, Fodor's makes it easy by highlighting all of the bookshops within and around D.C.

Luckily for convention-goers, just a short walk south from the Convention Center is the Mall. It's impossible to see all of the Mall's attractions in a day much less a few spare hours, but even those on a tight schedule can discover several of the capital's highlights. Fodor's recommends five sights for your sightseeing shortlist.

Whether you're arriving at the airport, train station, or by car, Fodor's has transportation tips to help you easily navigate the city--including metro maps and fares, phone numbers for taxi companies, the DC Circulator bus, and a map of Washington, D.C., center. For details and more exclusive BEA coverage of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in Washington, D.C., visit www.Fodors.com/BEA.

[Many thanks to Fodor's!]


Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen


The Book Report Takes to the Air

Tomorrow morning at 8, the Book Report, "a new take on talk radio," as co-founder Elisabeth Grant-Gibson put it, makes its debut on KMLB 1440 Talk Radio in Monroe, La. The weekly hour-long show features books and authors and will promote independent booksellers. Grant-Gibson, who founded the show with Pat Grant (the two have owned Windows a bookshop in Monroe since 1993), hopes that other stores and stations in the South will air the show as well--and that it will eventually go national.

The shows will include segments such as Book Buzz, which focuses on book news, new books coming out, discussions of what's on the Book Sense and regional bestseller lists; Book Biz, about technology, bookselling trends, etc.; Old and Rare, for used booksellers; forgotten classics; poetry, which could include the recitation of a poem; information about author tours, and references to the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's Authors 'Round the South site; readings; author interviews; book reviews, many of which will be by other booksellers; and a call-in segment. The first show each month will focus on children's books.

Having authors and other booksellers on the Book Report is a key element, Grant-Gibson said. "We want it to sound the way it does when we're talking to someone in the shop and want to put books in their hands. We want to drive people to buy local, and especially from their local independent booksellers."

Other booksellers and affiliates that carry the show will have six minutes out of the hour to fill with local ads or store promotions or both. The Book Report is selling some national ads, and the show's hour also allots six minutes to local news. Already reaction from many SIBA booksellers has been great, Grant-Gibson said, and "Book Sense people are interested and intrigued." Some booksellers are talking about paying to run the show on local stations, but many stations are interested on their own.

Grant-Gibson emphasized that the show is airing on AM because some AM stations are "looking for transitional programming. There is a sense that really loud, really extremist material is not doing it. They want to widen programming." The move to talk radio is good for the book world, she continued, because "we're not preaching to the choir. Maybe some AM listeners buy only one or two books. Maybe we can boost that to five. And if they buy five, maybe we can push that to a dozen."

Besides streaming and downloading functions, the show's Web site, thebookreport.net (which may not be up and running until tomorrow morning), will allow people to buy books. When a visitor clicks on the "buy a book" button, it will respond, "Have you tried your local bookseller?" and link with SIBA and Book Sense information on stores. Users may also buy from Windows.

The first show will focus on New Orleans and include interviews with Douglas Brinkley, whose new book is The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Tony Dunbar, whose latest Tubby Dubonnet mystery is Tubby Meets Katrina.

The second show will focus on one community, one book reads and likely have an interview with Nancy Pearl and talk about Rising Tide, the 2004 New Orleans choice.

The third show will dig into food, focusing on My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme and probably include an interview with Nathalie Dupree, whose new book is Nathalie Dupree's Shrimp and Grits Cookbook.

Not surprisingly, Grant and Grant-Gibson have been very busy as they put the show together, Grant-Gibson indicated, but she sounded very enthusiastic. "This is a completely new venture for us," she said. "We're rolling the dice--after all this is Louisiana. Besides, our state needs a little lift and everything helps."


Media and Movies

This Weekend on Book TV: BEA Live

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, May 20

8 a.m.-3 p.m. BEA live, starting with the Book & Author Breakfast at 8 a.m., which includes Senator Barack Obama, Amy Sedaris and John Updike; and noon-2 p.m., the Book & Author Luncheon, with Pat Buchanan, Arianna Huffington, Frank Rich and Andrew Sulllivan. Interviews from the floor, too.

Sunday, May 21

8-9:30 a.m. Book & Author Breakfast live, including Monica Ali, Anderson Cooper and Richard Ford.


In related news, the Book TV Bus will be on the BEA convention floor in booth 709. A state-of-the-art mobile production studio, the bus travels regularly around the country, visiting bookstores, festivals and libraries.


Media Heat: Schedules for the Rest of the Week

Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: John Grogan, author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog (Morrow, $21.95, 0060817089).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Liz Allison, author of The Girl's Guide to NASCAR (Warner Faith, $17.95, 1931722714).

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Tomorrow on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: George Stevens, editor of Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age: At the American Film Institute (Knopf, $35, 140004054X).

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Tomorrow on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Julie Andrews who with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, has written The Great American Mousical (Julie Andrews Collection/HarperCollins Children's, $15.99, 0060579188).

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Tomorrow on the View: Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Baby Sleep Longer (Bantam Dell, $14, 0553381466).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: Leonard Cohen, author of Book of Longing (Ecco, $24.95, 006112558X).

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Tomorrow evening on the Colbert Report: Jonathan Alter, author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (S&S, $29.95, 0743246004).

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On Thursday Willie Nelson begins major publicity for his new book The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart (Gotham, $20, 159240197X), appearing on the Today Show, NPR's Fresh Air and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On Friday he's on Imus in the Morning and CNN American Morning.

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Thursday morning on the Good Morning America: Christine Brennan, author of Best Seat in the House: A Father, A Daughter, A Journey Through Sports (Scribner, $26, 0743254368).

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Thursday on KCRW's Bookworm: Deborah Eisenberg, whose new book is Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories (FSG, $23, 0374299412). As the show puts it: "The amazing Deborah Eisenberg has written some of the most astute and funny stories about American city life. Today, she reveals the motives behind her most-recent, most-powerful collection. She examines the shift in the American sensibility after 9/11 and tries to describe the new kind of prose it requires."

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Thursday on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: June Cross, whose new book is Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away (Viking, $24.95, 067088555X).

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Thursday on the View: Peter Greenberg, author of The Traveler's Diet: Eating Right and Staying Fit on the Road (Villard, $14.95, 0812976126).

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On Friday on the Today Show: Allison Dubois, author of We Are Their Heaven: Why the Dead Never Leave Us (Fireside, $24, 0743291123).

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Friday on Ellen DeGeneres: Teri Hatcher, the Desperate Housewife whose new memoir is Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life (Hyperion, $24.95, 1401302629).

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Friday on WAMU's Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, $24.95, 1400042666).



Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

The following titles have laydown dates of next Tuesday, May 23:

At Risk by Patricia Cornwell (Putnam, $21.95, 0399153624). A Massachusetts D.A. running for governor wants a state investigator to apply cutting-edge DNA technology to a 20-year-old unsolved crime.

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The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl (Random House, $24.95, 1400061032). A lawyer and friend of Edgar Allan Poe tries to learn more about Poe's death in this historical mystery from the author of The Dante Club.

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The Whole World Over by Julia Glass (Pantheon, $25.95, 0375422749). Bookstore owner Fenno McLeod, a central character in the author's Three Junes, appears again in this tale.

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Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival by Anderson Cooper (HarperCollins, $24.95, 0061132381). A memoir from the CNN star--although we liked him best as host of the Mole.

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Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons by Tim Russert (Random House, $22.95, 1400064805). The host of Meet the Press offers reactions from readers to his Big Russ and Me.

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And appearing in paperback next Tuesday, May 23:

The Dark Tower 6: Song of Susannah by Stephen King (Pocket, $9.99, 1416521496). The bestseller now out in paperback.

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Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs (Pocket Star, $9.99, 0743453026). The investigation of the death of an Orthodox Jewish antiquities dealer in Montreal leads forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan to Israel--and to the possible tomb of Jesus and his family.


Book Review

Mandahla: The Grail Reviewed

The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle (Oregon State University Press, $18.95 Paperback, 9780870710933, April 2006)


 
What an idea to pitch to a publisher: the search for the perfect pinot noir in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and, oh yes, much sampling of same. Brian Doyle is just the man for it, a word magician whose enthusiasm for the "poet's grape" takes us on a joyous journey through a year at Lange Winery. In typical Doyle fashion, a two-page sentence opens the book, introducing Don Lange and his son Jesse and the red clay hills of Dundee, where they hope to produce the Holy Grail, the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the World. "It begins here, on this gleaming hill, in the crisp brilliant sun, with the Cascade mountains glittering snowily to the east and the Coast Range mountains rolling greenly to the west, with a hundred tons of purple-black grapes the size of fingernails roaring by like a murky dusty river, and Wally cursing like a drunken sailor."
 
Oregon is considered to be the rival of Burgundy for the best pinot noir, a grape that is thought to have arisen in the Cote d'Or two centuries before Christ; a grape that is also the most touchy and genetically unstable of all grape plants--while a cabernet vine may produce as many as forty different mutations, a pinot noir vine can make more than ten thousand. Or to put it another way, "it's like a wheezing genius hothouse orchid that has to be coddled and nursed like a fading movie star."
 
"The grapes are as thin-skinned as teenagers in a new school . . . the vines are all prissy...they swoon at the slightest stress . . . you might as well go around the vineyard at night and swaddle each vine with a blanket for heavenssake, and rock them gently to sleep, and if a pinot vine even suspects there might b a virus on the same freaking continent it's ready to call it cancer or a brain tumor and give up the ghost, and it's pretty much like they spend all their time huddled moaning by the fireplace, asking you plaintively to go get them hot herb tea and a lozenge and a lurid novel, and sometimes you want to stand at the top of the hill and shout get a grip!" As Jesse regains his equilibrium he says quietly, "Pinot noir can be, what's a polite word--fussy."
 
Brian Doyle calls himself a storyman; his purpose is to "collect and share stories as prayer and salve and gift, to accomplish nothing so much as mercy and tenderness." Dazed and confused by glossy wine magazines the size of halibut and a surfeit of information, he asks Jesse to tell him little stories, and from them crafts a colorful account of winemaking. After asking Jesse about how he knows the right moment for harvest, Doyle starts thinking about "the wild seething scene in the vineyard, the wines fertilizing each other madly when no one is looking, the little tiny bras, the little tiny cigarettes, the recriminations at dawn." He digresses often: Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Welch's Grape Juice and trout and the Yamehelas people of the red clay hills and the wine at the Last Supper and Douglas firs and Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, "wine is bottled poetry." He creates a new vocabulary--"I sat summerstunned in the dirt"--and is his own delightful, delectable, delirious, delovely thesaurus.
 
It's really hard not to start writing like he does with conjunctions and italics and alliteration and adjectives and the terrible trouble with that is that it seems like I'm parodying him and I'm not, really, but it's impossible to resist his rhythms. It's also impossible to resist his passion for wine--"The wine tastes somehow like that wild light and that red dirt and those high hawks . . . sunshine and dust and wasps and basalt and the greatest floods in the history of the world have somehow really and truly been caught and crafted into the bright red music in my glass."--and his passion for people. He has a gift for asking and for listening, and appreciating the subtle craft of winemaking and delighting in the result. Complementing his spirited prose are spare line drawings by his wife, "his subtle assistant," Mary Miller Doyle. Brian Doyle has uncorked a good story, and you'll enjoy savoring it.--Marilyn Dahl


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