Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 8, 2006

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

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

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

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

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Starbucks Adds Mitch Albom to the Menu

Starbucks has chosen Mitch Albom's next book, For One More Day, as the first book in the program it announced earlier this year to promote books and movies as it has music, according to a variety of news reports this morning.

By the author of the longtime bestsellers Tuesdays With Morrie and Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day will be published by Hyperion on September 26, will begin appearing in Starbucks stores October 3 and be sold through the end of the year. Starbucks will sell the book at a discount. The book is about a man's relationship with his late mother.

Albom will do readings at Starbucks in eight cities and be featured in video conversations on Starbucks's Web site. On October 26, the company will organize book discussions at 25 stores across the country and will contribute at least $50,000 to Jumpstart, an early-education and literacy program.

Starbucks has hired the William Morris Agency to find suitable movies and books for the program, which it made public this spring (Shelf Awareness, May 1). Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, told several papers that the company will be selective about choosing media to sell in stores. As he put it to the Seattle Times, "Our customers will never walk into their favorite Starbucks and feel it's been converted into a music store or a video store or, in this case, a bookstore."

Starbucks has regularly sold music CDs. In 2004, it had its biggest success with the Ray Charles album Genius Loves Company, which sold 775,000 copies. Starbucks has sold books but not for some time although the AP said that the company has been "quietly selling the children's classic The Little Engine That Could."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

AMS's Civil Settlements: $6.3 Mill and 75K in Stock

Advanced Marketing Services, which has dealt with the repercussions of an accounting scandal for the last two and a half years, has been given preliminary approval for the settlement of two suits and the dismissal of another suit, all filed in early 2004, that would resolve all civil litigation against AMS concerning the issue.

A class action suit filed in U.S. District Court in California would be settled for $6 million in cash, which will be paid with insurance proceeds. A state court derivative action would be settled for $300,000 in cash and the issuance of 75,000 AMS shares to the attorneys in the case and the attorneys in a federal derivative action, which would be officially dismissed. The cash part of this settlement would also be paid with insurance money.

As part of the settlements, the company has, it said, "agreed to implement and maintain certain corporate governance policies and procedures."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Publishers' Sales in June Swoon

Net sales of books in June were down by 2.3% although year-to-date sales remained up slightly, 0.8%, according to Association of American Publishers figures.

Categories with gains:

  • E-books, with sales of $1.4 million, rose 40.3%, and are up 26.3% for the year to date.
  • Professional and scholarly books, with sales of $63.4 million, rose 14.4% and are up 6.6% for the year.
  • University press paperbacks, with sales of $4.2 million, were up 7.4% and are up 6.1% for the year.
  • Higher education, with sales of $223.4 million, rose 7% while sales are up 6.1% for the year.
  • Mass market, with sales of $56.8 million, was up 3% and sales for the year to date are up 8.5%.

Categories with losses:

  • El-hi basal and supplemental K-12, with sales of $645.1 million, fell 0.9% and are down 1.1% for the year.
  • Adult paperbacks, with sales of $87.4 million, were down 0.9% but are up 17% for the year to date.
  • Religion books, with sales of $14.3 million, fell 4.7% and are down 19.8% for the year.
  • Adult hardcovers, with sales of $73.5 million, fell 12.5% and are down 12% for the year.
  • University press hardcovers, with sales of $5.5 million, were down 12.9% and are down 3.6% for the year.
  • Children's/YA paperbacks, with sales of $29.2 million, were down 21.2% and have fallen 4.2% for the year.
  • Children's/YA hardcovers, with sales of $25.2 million, fell 24.5% and are down 11% for the year.
  • Audiobooks, with sales of $10 million, fell 31.1% while sales are down 9.6% for the year.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Notes: Store to Be Sold Over Tax Dispute; Big B&N at USM

Books on the Square, Providence, R.I., is for sale, following a long dispute with the city over tax bills that with interest amount to more than $350,000, according to the Providence Journal. The store is in state receivership; the receiver told the paper that a sale could come fairly soon and that owner Sarah Zacks had not submitted an offer. He also said, the paper wrote, that "potential buyers have suggested they would keep up a bookstore in the space."


The Hattiesburg American strolls around the new two-story, 35,000-sq.-ft. Barnes & Noble bookstore that is part of the Thad Cochran Center at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The store, which opens officially August 16, is B&N's second-largest college store in the Southeast, according to the paper, and is three times larger that it was before.

The paper continued: "The children's area features Curious George en route to Hattiesburg, since the university's de Grummond children's literature collection includes a wealth of archival Curious George material. An upstairs wall demonstrates the evolution of Seymour, the Southern Miss mascot, through the years. Campus scenes are woven in to wall displays. And escalator riders pass underneath a large display of the familiar campus battle cry--'Southern Miss to the top!' "

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

Media and Movies

Media Heat: William Rhoden Braves Colbert

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Morning Edition's Juan Williams, whose new book is Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure that Are Undermining Black America--And What We Can Do About It (Crown, $25, 0307338231).


Today on NPR's Fresh Air; Rory Stewart, author of Prince of the Marshes: A Year of Governing in Iraq (Harcourt, $25, 0151012350).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: William Rhoden, author of Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete (Crown, $23.95, 0609601202).

Books & Authors

Attainment: Carl Lennertz's Cursed by a Happy Childhood

Congratulations to Carl Lennertz, whose book, Cursed by a Happy Childhood: Letters from a Dad to a Daughter, appears today in paperback (Three Rivers Press, $12.95, 0307336212)!

Originally published by Harmony in May 2004, the book has undergone a few subtle changes in its paperback incarnation. For one, its subtitle has been changed from "Tales of Growing Up, Then and Now." The "new" subtitle was actually the original subtitle that Carl proposed. He's also added a group to the dedication: public school teachers. In addition, the jacket image was changed to a girl from a boy. As Carl commented, "As much as I loved the hardcover image, I love the paperback jacket more."

For parents, Cursed by a Happy Childhood recollects, as the publisher puts it, "early experiences to which we can all relate: friendships and cliques, first job and first love, and having lots of time to do nothing at all. Ultimately, these reflections--some that will make you laugh out loud and some that will surely make you cringe--are about what we have in common with our children and what we know they have yet to learn . . . hopefully the easy way, which is to say lovingly, from us."

Three Rivers calls Cursed by a Happy Childhood "warm, funny, big-hearted," which is how we think of the author, too.

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

On sale Tuesday, August 15:

Triptych by Karin Slaughter (Delacorte, $25, 0385339461). The author departs from her Grant County series to deliver her first stand-alone novel of suspense and her first novel set in her hometown of Atlanta. Slaugher's previous Grant County thriller, Faithless, is just out (Dell, $ 24.95, 0060567139).

Spy: A Thriller by Ted Bell (Atria, $25.95, 0743277236) begins as a war erupts on America's southern border. MI-6 intelligence officer Alex Hawke sails down the Amazon and discovers unimaginable weapons about to be unleashed in the conflict.

Ricochet by Sandra Brown (S&S, $25.95, 0743289331) follow Savannah homicide cop Det. Sgt. Duncan Hatcher as he pursues a judge's mysterious wife.

Mask Market: A Burke Novel by Andrew H. Vachss (Pantheon Books, $24.95 0375424229) chronicles new crime adventures of the New York P.I.

Simply Love by Mary Balogh (Delacorte, $22, 038533883X) is a love story about a teacher at a girl's school and the reclusive steward for the Duke of Bewcastle.

Into the Storm by Suzanne Brockmann (Ballantine, $21.95, 0345480147) follows a team of ex-police and ex-SEAL officers as they track down a serial killer in New England.
Overcoming Life's Disappointments by Harold S. Kushner (Knopf, $21.95, 1400040574) continues the rabbi's series of self-help books with advice on overcoming obstacles.

Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission
by Thomas H. Kean (Knopf, $25.95, 0307263770). The chairman of the 9/11 Commission chronicles the political intrigue surrounding the commission's work, particularly concerning getting access to secret documents and hearing official testimony.

On sale on August 17:

The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan after the Taliban by Sarah Chayes (Penguin Press, $25.95, 1594200963). The former NPR correspondent who has worked in Afghanistan for several years criticizes strategy in the U.S.'s "other war."

In paperback on August 15:

The 2006 Booker-winner, The Sea by John Banville (Vintage, $12.95, 1400097029).

Book Review

Mandahla: Miss American Pie: A Diary Reviewed

Miss American Pie by Margaret Sartor (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $19.95 Hardcover, 9781596912007, June 2006)

Lately, the best American memoirs of a certain youngish age seem to share most of the same components: the South, fundamental Christianity, a gay friend or protagonist, alcohol and skipping school. Miss American Pie has all the above in spades, along with confusion and ambivalence about sex ("it's not what I want in my life right now"), a number of high-school marriage proposals, friendship dramas and a horse to whom she tells everything, "Because it was in the woods with my horse and my dog where the searching began and where the question of God first rose in my body as easy as breath." Margaret Sartor's diary begins in 1972, "in the commonly acknowledged worst year of life, the seventh grade," and ends with her leaving her family to start college. Her five years of writing gives us a generous glimpse into a life of typical adolescent angst and often un-typical introspection and sensibility.

She grew up in a town on the Ouachita River in Louisiana, "[not] a very small town, but it's small enough. In the 1970s, [it] was entirely typical of its time and place, more confused than reactionary, a sort of stronghold of befuddlement." During this time, the schools were integrated, church attendance was close to 100%, and a double bourbon could be ordered at 18. Her strategy for making sense of life was to write things down on anything with a margin--church bulletins, grocery lists, diaries--about what she "thought, saw, dreamed of, overheard, worried over, and obsessed upon: God, sex, and the whole messy endeavor of trying to hold [her] own and create [her] own identity." When her life got too dismal, she wrote directly to Jesus, explaining, "I think only God can fill the dark holes of who we are." Along the way, she developed a strong sense of self--"I will not change myself to suit someone else"--and was scared to think she might be ordinary. Early diary entries are predictably brief, although not lacking significance, as in these 1972 notes: March 6--"Didn't make the 8 finalists for cheerleader but Pam and Mary Ann did. Came home and made cookies." March 7--"Four girls were elected cheerleader. Everyone thinks they only picked four to keep Mary Ann off the squad because she's black." Later entries are more thoughtful, dealing with numerous beaus, her parents and her growing depression as she sees a psychiatrist she calls Dr. Coldfish, while she still frets about new Levi's and drill team tryouts.

Margaret's best friend Tommy ("more than a friend . . . my reflection") is a constant, the only person she trusts with her emotions: "I started crying today just in fear that I would lose him." When we read the entry for December 13, 1975--"Tommy & I sat on his patio and talked for an hour or so tonight. I had the feeling a couple of times that he wanted to tell me something but he didn't"--we know what's coming. Complicating their friendship is his friend Jackson, future minister and Margaret's on-again, off-again boyfriend:

February 10, 1975: "Seeing Jackson's car in Tommy's driveway is like seeing a padlock on Tommy's back door."

March 7: "I think I'm going to have to dynamite Jackson's car. It's the only way I can figure out to keep from having to see it parked in Tommy's driveway all the time."

Margaret's diary passages are earnest and passionate, but her teenage Sturm und Drang is leavened with a wry humor:

November 2, 1976: "Jimmy Carter was elected president and Daddy said he won because it was such a beautiful day all over the South. This would seem to suggest a connection between the presidency of the United States and the frizziness of my hair."

December 6, 1976: "Finished Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I think it changed my life, but it didn't exactly improve my mood."

January 4, 1977: "Jackson and I went for a walk. It was drizzly and my hair was flying and crazy and he was loving it. Problem: Jackson loves me to look wild and be tame. Mitch wants me to look tame and be wild. Conclusion: I will never be good at math."

Miss American Pie is revealing and heartfelt, often displaying a wisdom that is rare in many adults. After Jackson spurns Tommy when he comes out, she says, "My heart tells me not to be angry. My heart tells me Jackson has lost more than I know." Sartor has not annotated her diary, but does provide a graceful introduction and epilogue, concluding, "In my youth, in so many ways, I failed, and the world failed me. But I also loved mightily, and was so loved in return. . . . I still pray, only now I mostly listen. And though some of what I hear is sad, some of it is lovely. Some of it became this book." And for that, we are the richer.--Marilyn Dahl

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