Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Scholastic Press: Beastly Beauty by Jennifer Donnelly

St. Martin's Essentials: Build Like a Woman: The Blueprint for Creating a Business and Life You Love by Kathleen Griffith

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Bramble: Pen Pal Special Edition by J.T. Geissinger

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Soho Crime: Broiler by Eli Cranor

Berkley Books: We Love the Nightlife by Rachel Koller Croft

News

Notes: National Book Warehouse to Close; B&N Bounce

National Book Warehouse is closing after efforts to merge with another company or recover from bankruptcy on its own failed, according to an open letter by CEO David Hinkle, as reported in Bargain Book News. The company will liquidate and go out of business by February.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, May 15). At the time, it sold remainder, overstock, returns and promotional books at about 100 Book Warehouse and Foozles bookstores. It had dramatically cut back its temporary bookstores, Book Market, to just a handful.

The merger talks halted "just prior to our deadline of filing our plans with the Bankruptcy Court earlier this month," Hinkle indicated. The plan to continue as "a stand-alone business were greatly hindered by several major issues related to our banking situation."

Hinkle predicted that "many of our current associates will take the path of some that were here before them and go out and start their own businesses. They are talented and have unique skill sets developed through the years."

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After a Goldman, Sachs analyst upgraded Barnes & Noble to neutral from sell yesterday, the bookseller's shares closed at $38.32, up 4.5%, on double the usual trading volume.

Matthew J. Fassle predicted B&N will beat third quarter estimates and said, the AP reported, that "a new release schedule is also aiding visibility and evens out risk associated with an investigation of the company's stock option granting practices."

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Bertelsmann, owner of Random House, is considering buying Thalia bookstores, according to Handelsblatt, as reported by Bloomberg. Owned by Douglas Holding, best known as a perfume retailer, Thalia has more than 100 bookstores in Germany.

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Congratulations to our longtime friend David Nudo, who has left the New York Times and becomes publisher of Publishers Weekly next week!

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James Penfield has been named v-p of sales for Penton Overseas. He was formerly national accounts manager at National Book Network for 10 years, calling on AMS, Amazon.com, Costco and others. He earlier worked at AMS and Macmillan.

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Penguin Classics and Amazon.com are launching the Penguin Classics Reading Group @ Amazon.com, a discussion group that will focus on four books a year and whose first book is Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, the first of his Deptford Trilogy.

The groups will be moderated by Kathryn Gursky, a librarian who reaped national publicity for buying all the Penguin Classics from Amazon.com after her personal library was lost in a wildfire (Shelf Awareness, November 14, 2005). Penguin will support Gursky with guest blogs drawing on the resources of its editorial experts, writers, translators and others.

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Sourcebooks, which released Poetry Speaks to Children, its first children's book, last fall, has been so cheered by the experience that it is creating a children's imprint. Called Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, the line is aimed at girls aged 7-9 and will make its debut next spring. The company will expand its poetry offering and add YA, picture and board books. Bethany Brown, acquisitions editor at Sourcebooks, will launch and oversee the new imprint, along with associate editor Lyron Bennett.

"Our belief in the marriage of education and entertainment, of finding that special place where children can grow and have fun led us to take the name of Lewis Carroll's enigmatic poem, which teaches important lessons with nonsense words," publisher Dominique Raccah said in a statement.

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Peter Laufer, author of Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say NO to the War in Iraq (Chelsea Green, $14, 1933392045), will testify on Capitol Hill tomorrow at the invitation of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D.-Calif.). His book profiles men and women serving in Iraq who refused to return.
 


University of California Press: May Contain Lies: How Stories, Statistics, and Studies Exploit Our Biases--And What We Can Do about It by Alex Edmans


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Maurice Sendak

This morning on the Today Show: Michael Stadther, author of Secrets of the Alchemist Dar: A Fantasy for Everyone! (Treasure Trove, $21.99, 0976061880).

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Popping up this morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Maurice Sendak, whose first pop-up book, written with Arthur Yorinks and Matthew Reinhart, Mommy? (Michael di Capua Books/Scholastic, $24.95, 0439880505), is being published today. 

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan and author of In the Line of Fire: A Memoir (Fireside, $28, 0743283449).


GLOW: becker&mayer! kids: The Juneteenth Cookbook: Recipes and Activities for Kids and Families to Celebrate by Alliah L. Agostini and Taffy Elrod, illus. by Sawyer Cloud


Books & Authors

Awards: Murakami Wins Frank O'Connor Short Story

Haruki Murakami has won the second Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Knopf, $24.95, 1400044618), a short story collection published here last month. According to the Guardian, the prize, given to the best new collection published in English in the past year, is worth €35,000 (about $44,400) and will be shared with his translators, Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin.

The jury called Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman a "truly wonderful collection" from a "master of prose fiction" and said that "Murakami writes with great integrity, unafraid of dealing with tough and difficult situations between people who constantly misunderstand each other."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Assassins Anonymous by Rob Hart


Presidential Publicity: Part Three

While former president Bill Clinton got a lot of press over the weekend for getting into a testy exchange with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, an interview that aired on Sunday, some accounts omitted the several times he recommended Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (Free Press, $14, 0743260457).

The 2004 book by the counterterrorism expert who worked for Clinton, Reagan and both Bushes rose as high as No. 11 on Amazon.com's bestseller list yesterday.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Summer Romance by Annabel Monaghan


Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1

The following are selected titles whose laydown dates are next week:

Sunday, October 1:

God's Power to Change Your Life by Rick Warren (Zondervan, $16.99, 031027303X) and God's Answers to Life's Toughest Questions by Rick Warren (Zondervan, $16.99, 0310273021. More words of wisdom from the Purpose Driven bestselling author.

Mandela: The Authorized Portrait with a foreword by Bill Clinton and introduction by Desmond Tutu (Andrews McMeel, $50, 0740755722). Includes more than 250 images and material from the archive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Monday, October 2:

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (Norton, $24.95, 039306123X). The author of Moneyball turns his statistical eye on football.

Out of My Mind
by Andrew Rooney (PublicAffairs, $26, 1586484168). The grumpy 60 Minutes commentator grumps some more.

Tuesday, October 3

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton (Berkley, $23.95, 0425212017). The first short story collection from the author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.

Kidnapped by Jan Burke (S&S, $24, 0743273850). The latest in the Irene Kelly series.

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich (HarperCollins, $26.95, 0060584033). Enough said.

Finding Noel by Richard Paul Evans (S&S, $19.95, 0743287037). Another yuletide offering from the author of The Christmas Box.

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (Random House, $26.95, 0375509321). A new epic novel from the author of Cold Mountain.


Mandahla: Two in a Bed; Sleeping Around Reviewed

Two in a Bed: The Social System of Couple Bed Sharing by Paul C. Rosenblatt (State University of New York Press, $23.95 paperback, 0791468305, August 2006)
 
Sleeping Around: The Bed from Antiquity to Now by Annie Carlano and Bobbie Sumberg (Museum of International Folk Art/University of Washington Press, $35 paperback, 0295985984, June 2006)
 
When I worked in a bookstore, the next best thing to finding a gem to handsell was finding the perfect book for a display, and I wished I was still working at a bookstore when I noticed Two in a Bed and Sleeping Around nestled together in a stack of books.  What a swell start to a window--a pillow, a few books about insomnia, a few more about sex, scented candles and wool socks (one has to be practical as well as optimistic).
 
Both Two in a Bed and Sleeping Around look at the commonplace activity in which we spend over a third of our lives, although much of the applied art in Sleeping Around belies our ideas of ordinary. Paul C. Rosenblatt approaches sleep as a complicated and challenging social experiment, noting that almost everything published academically about adult sleep has looked at it as an individual phenomenon. Two in a Bed was written primarily for researchers and practitioners; however, it is quite accessible to general readers, and quite a lot of fun. He says, "Everyday life can seem to lack drama and importance. But in everyday life people find meaning, nourishment, safety, and renewal. . . . The act of sharing a bed is linked to the discomfort of being alone and the awesome power of being closer to another human being." Not to mention the problem of icy feet or temperature wars, when sleeping together becomes "an achievement of coordination on many dimensions."
 
Rosenblatt delves into the minutiae of sharing a bed: the size of the bed, territoriality in the bed, the purchase of bedding, the making of the bed (who, when and if), who sleeps on which side. Who knew there was so much to be said about a mattress? There are surprises about what constitutes a strong difference of opinion; for instance, some people disagreed strongly about what can be done on a bed that has been made. If the bed is considered to be an esthetic display to remain undisturbed until bedtime, where is one to pull on socks and shoes? Take a nap? And don't get folks started on the rearrangement of decorative pillows.
 
Sometimes Two in a Bed seems rather casual for an academic work ("I forgot to ask a few couples how big their bed was"), and sometimes the author states the obvious ("women are more invested than men in making a cozy and attractive nest"), but the anecdotes are interesting, and his conclusions are wise. All of the learning that couples go through concerning sleep--which side of the bed to sleep on, how many blankets to use, when to talk or not, when to touch or not, and who lets that danged dog out at 3 a.m.--never ends because new demands are made with changes like illness or a baby. This necessitates compatibility, and many couples have learned that humor and laughter are constructive when dealing with bed-sharing problems, especially with differences normally resistant to problem solving. Thus affection and acceptance of human imperfections are necessary for both a good night's sleep and a good relationship. "If one part of learning to sleep comfortably together is a process of complaint and correction, another part is to learn to accept and live with things as they are without being annoyed, upset, or even awakened." (But the eternal question remains: "How can you sleep when I'm wide awake?")
 
In Sleeping Around, Annie Carlano and Bobbie Sumberg approach sleep from a more romantic slant, saying that people are "at their most innocent, intimate and sensual in bed." Beds are places of comfort, refuge and allegory, and this book is a correspondingly rich compilation of painting, poetry, textiles and furniture, with an informative and fascinating history of beds and sleeping customs. The chapters cover sleeping low, from servants of the Middle Ages to Ottoman sultans; sleeping high, and the exchange and hybridization of bed styles between West and East; sleeping in the closet, with the lits clos of Brittany an example of beds that "shielded one from the chaos and burdens of life outside the cloistered environment of the cupboard bed" and kept sleepers safe from domestic animals, livestock and wolves; sleeping on the road, sleeping on the move, sleeping in the modern world, sleeping small and, finally, sleeping forever.
 
Myriad facts and theories fill the book, and they are so well-presented that you'll get hooked on any page. Porcelain pillows, or neck rests, were filled with hot water in winter, cool water in summer. In Japan, the 16th century importation and cultivation of cotton meant that even the poorest villagers were able to sleep on mattresses, and the fabric's dye-ability created a new world of design and pattern. Ancient Greek and Roman beds were taller than Egyptian beds because their surface served as a dining table as well as a sleeping place. The canopy beds of China and Egypt, in addition to protecting from cold and insects, lent privacy at a time when people had no specific room for sleeping. In 12th century France, beds were as long as thirteen feet and as wide as eleven, requiring servants to use long sticks (bâtons de lit) to smooth out the sheets and bedcovers. The Neapolitan family bed, a stunning confection of iron and brass with painted inserts, has a mysterious history shrouded in legend. With the proliferation of mega-houses, it's surprising that an architect hasn't paid attention to Thomas Jefferson's bed in Monticello, where he adapted the basic French platform on legs, with layers of mattresses, by placing it in the space created by a pierced wall, so it could be entered from either of two rooms. It's lovely and serene, a closet bed for the claustrophobic.
 
The authors end, "From antiquity to the present, most people have died in a bed . . . most people are conceived and born in a bed. . . . Some of our most pleasurable moments and some of our most painful take place while lying in a bed: moments of profound connection with a lover or the extreme dislocation of a nightmare, the bliss of a hard-earned sleep or the torment of elusive slumber, the ultimate comfort and security of a warm bed to come home to or the narrowing of the world to a room with a bed filled with physical or psychic pain. The bed is essential to life and to death."--Marilyn Dahl



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