Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, November 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


Notes: New Store; Late into the Night for Against the Day

This coming Saturday, November 11, Karen Elmore is opening StoryBook Lane Book Shoppe, a children's bookstore, in San Carlos, Calif., about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose. The 1,280-sq.-ft. store will stock children's books for all ages as well as many sideline items and toys. The store is "in a wonderful location on a main street with lots of young families," Elmore indicated. There's also a lot of foot traffic.

Elmore is a former school teacher and K-8 music teacher as well as the director of a children's theater company that has been staging Broadway musicals annually the last 26 years. She called StoryBook Lane Book Shoppe "a lifelong dream come true" and thanked reps, who have been "amazing and so helpful."

StoryBook Lane Book Shoppe is located at 653 Laurel St., San Carlos, Calif. 94070; 650-593-2720; fax 650-593-2717; e-mail


Congratulations to Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont Representative who was the main force behind an unsuccessful bid to change parts of the Patriot Act that applied to bookstores and libraries. After yesterday's elections, he is now Senator-elect Bernie Sanders.


In response to one reader's query, which we mentioned yesterday, yes, there is some excitement about the new Thomas Pynchon novel, Against the Day (Penguin Press, $35, 159420120X), which comes out Tuesday, November 21.

The most striking event: Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., will hold a party on Monday night, November 20, "an event for those of us who think Pynchon deserves a midnight party as much as that Harry Potter guy."

The Los Feliz store will stay open until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, to make available "to the Los Angeles literati the new novel by that greatest of American novelists." People who pay in advance or show up for the party receive 15% discounts on Against the Day.

Incidentally Skylight just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Congratulations! 


The changes in its distribution business that Perseus Books Group will make, as outlined in yesterday's Shelf Awareness, will cost the jobs of about 30 employees at Consortium, the St. Paul, Minn., distributor that Perseus bought this past summer, the New York Times reported. Consortium will retain its sales and marketing staff in St. Paul, but its warehouse, customer service and finance operations are being moved to Perseus's warehouse in Jackson, Tenn., effective March 1.


The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is urging booksellers to post a new statement about free speech and reader privacy. Available for download from ABFFE's Web site in two versions, the statement "explains why booksellers believe it is important to carry a wide diversity of books, including works that some people may find offensive," ABFFE said. "It also promises customers that the bookstore will protect the privacy of their book purchases."

"There are many good reasons for making a clear statement of store policy on First Amendment issues," ABFFE president Chris Finan said in a statement. "It makes the point that one of the most important roles of a bookstore is to protect free speech. It helps build support for the store and for free speech. It also can be useful in dealing with customers who may be offended by a particular book by reminding them that bookstores exist to serve the entire community."

Called "To Our Customers," the statement is an updated version of a statement ABFFE has been distributing since its founding in 1990. The privacy statement was published as part of an ABFFE pamphlet called "Protecting Customer Privacy in Bookstores." To order a copy of the pamphlet, send an e-mail to Caitlin Delohery.

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Media and Movies

Media Heat: An Italian Sojourn with Jamie Oliver

This morning on the Today Show: Rain Pryor, daughter of Richard Pryor and author of the new book, Jokes My Father Never Taught Me (Regan Books, $24.95, 0061195421).


Today on the Early Show: Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Eight Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power (Knopf, $22, 0307264920).

Also on the Early Show: Ron Smith, author of Scambusters!: More than 60 Ways Seniors Get Swindled and How They Can Prevent It (Collins, $14.95, 0061120235).


The Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., will feature three author interviews on today's show, which has the theme "on the move":  

  • Katherine Lanpher, author of Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move (Warner, $23.99, 0821258303)
  • Ken Foster, author of The Dogs Who Found Me: What I've Learned from Pets Who Were Left Behind (Lyons Press, $12.95, 1592287492)
  • Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary (MacAdam/Cage, $26, 193156163X)

The show airs at 8 a.m. Central Time and can be heard live at; the archived edition will be posted this afternoon.


Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Joan Collins offers advice from The Art of Living Well: Looking Good, Feeling Great (Sourcebooks, $24.95, 1402209428).


Today on Fox News Live: John O'Hurley, author of It's Okay to Miss the Bed on the First Jump: And Other Life Lessons I Learned from Dogs (Hudson Street Press, $19.95, 1594630321).


Today on the Tavis Smiley Show: Rajiv Chandrasekaran, author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone (Knopf, $25.95, 1400044871), who will be back on the show for additional appearances Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.


Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman, it's la dolce vita with chef Jamie Oliver, whose latest culinary companion is Jamie's Italy (Hyperion, $34.95, 1401301959).


Tonight on the Colbert Report: PBS anchorman Jim Lehrer, author of the page-turner The Phony Marine (Random House, $23.95, 1400064864).

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

Books & Authors

Awards: Prix Renaudot

Alain Mabanckou, a Congolese who writes in French, blogs in French, lives in Santa Monica, Calif., and teaches at UCLA, has won the Prix Renaudot for Mémoires de porc-épic.

Although Mabanckou is not well represented in the U.S. in translation, that will begin to change next year. In February, Soft Skull Press will publish the author's African Psycho, translated by Christine Schwartz Hartley ($13.95, 1933368500). In the book, Grégoire Nakobomayo, a neurotic would-be serial killer relates a litany of incompetent criminal acts as he plans what is to be his culminating crime, the murder of his girlfriend--and explores the spiritual relationship he has developed with his phantom mentor, a far more accomplished serial killer, Angoualima.

Soft Skull publisher Richard Nash noted that Mabanckou was named by Lire, the French publishing magazine, as one of the 50 writers to watch out for in the 21st century.

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

Deeper Understanding

Dixie Cash on Tour: 'Dear Diary' Part 2

Dixie Cash (aka sisters Pam'la Cumbie and Jeffery McClanahan) has written her third Domestic Equalizers novel, I Gave You My Heart, But You Sold It Online (Morrow, $21.95, 0060829710), which is just out. In the book, the Equalizers--Salt Lick, Tex., beauty shop owners Debbie Sue Overstreet and Edwina Perkins-Martin--try to solve a mystery involving a rodeo superstar whose ex-girlfriend is running up a tab on his credit card, a Texas Ranger and "the murky world of Internet dating and mating." Cash has been touring for 10 days and here Pam'la offers the second entries in an ongoing journal:

Dear Diary,

Thursday, November 2

The Oklahoma leg of the Dixie Cash Road Tour began several hours late and minus one Dixie. Dixie 2 came down rather seriously ill and couldn't travel. With undaunted can-do spirit, Dixie 1 carried on, but with a change in plans. I recruited my husband to drive and away we went, headed for Tulsa to promote I Gave You My Heart, But You Sold It Online.

My husband and I live in a small town. Sometimes one of us has to drive into Fort Worth for something. He never drives in Dallas. I haven't driven in Dallas since I was in the retail business some years back when I occasionally went to the gift market.

We left Dixie 2's house in Arlington around 3 p.m., plunging headlong into the jaws of the beast, more commonly known as Dallas rush-hour traffic, with DH driving and me navigating. It was a hair-raising experience. Like a moth to a flame, we seem to be drawn to every freeway that is under construction and the worst of the traffic in the whole state of Texas. Along with backhoes, road graders and dump trucks, we valiantly battled thousands of cars and 18-wheelers.  

I'll never know how, but eventually we came out alive on the north end of all of that, just in time to cross the Red River. For those who don't know the area, the Dallas and Fort Worth bedroom communities to the north have just damn near crawled into Oklahoma. It wasn't that long ago that everything north of the Metroplex was cowboy country.

Oklahoma is full of toll roads. "Take the toll road to Tulsa," I told my husband. (If that doesn't sound like a good title for a song, I never heard one.) My thinking was that we could go faster and avoid construction. Ha! Was I wrong! A good part of the toll road was under construction and the speed was restricted to 45 mph. And they still charged the same toll! We managed to turn a four-hour drive into one that took sevens hours.

We did arrive in one piece, but at the wrong hotel. We must have looked as harried as we felt because the hotel staff took pity on us and offered us two warm chocolate-chip cookies. Because we hadn't eaten since an early lunch, they tasted like filet mignon.  Fortified, we finally found the right hotel, where we stuffed ourselves and collapsed.

Friday, November 3

Rested and rejuvenated, we were picked up (thank God) early by a local librarian and whisked away to KTUL-TV 8, Tulsa's ABC affiliate, to make a short appearance on the local morning talk show. It was fabulous. The interviewer, whose name was D.C., was great. Friendly and fun, she made me feel relaxed enough to avoid stumbling over my tongue too much and we had as many laughs as three minutes will allow.  

Then we were back in our pickup truck headed to Oklahoma City. There we were picked up by a lovely lady named Julia and driven to a signing at Full Circle Book Store.

Saturday, November 4

Julia picked us up again and we returned to Tulsa. Since neither my DH nor I was driving, we didn't notice the construction nearly as much. In Tulsa, we went to a busy Barnes & Noble managed by a very friendly and accommodating guy. Can't say enough about his enthusiasm.

All in all, Dear Diary, I signed a lot of books.

Sunday, November 5

We started back to Texas headed the wrong direction on I-35. We were well past Edmond, Okla., before we realized our error. Although my DH was behind the wheel and is a typical macho guy who won't ask directions, we did stop at a convenience store, where two nice ladies put us on the right path. At least we didn't get clear to Kansas before turning around.

Heading south again, things went well until I-35 came to almost a dead stop somewhere considerably north of Fort Worth. Why? Because it was race day. Traffic to the NASCAR speedway always ties up traffic for hours on several major roads. After some creative maneuvering through the back country, we made it back to Arlington in time to watch the Dallas Cowboy football game with Dixie 2, who was feeling better.  

The Oklahoma trip ends our pickup tour, but not our book signings. The coming weekend, we'll be signing at the Bosque River Books & Ballads festival in Clifton, Texas, followed by a book signing the next weekend at the Texas Star in Abilene, Texas.

Launching I Gave You My Heart, But You Sold It Online has been great fun. Among the many things going on to support the launch is a delicious cross-promotion between HarperCollins and Lone Star Steaks: a sweepstakes drawing with the prize of a very nice box of succulent Texas beef. At the same time, Lone Star Steaks is selling the "Dixie Cash" package on its Web site and giving away a copy of the new book to the first 30 purchasers. Check it out. You can go directly to Lone Star Steak's web site or click on the link on our Web site.  

By the way, Dear Diary, do I need to tell you that I have become a strong proponent of public transportation?

See you next time,

Dixie Cash

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

The Bestsellers

The Book Cellar Bestsellers--and Why

Author events have created many of the bestselling titles at the Book Cellar in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Last week a launch party for Ann C. Logue's Hedge Funds for Dummies was held at the store, and the book now ranks in the #1 spot on the Book Cellar's current weekly bestseller list. Chicago resident Joe Meno appeared at the store two weeks ago, and the Punk Planet magazine columnist's novel The Boy Detective Fails succeeded at #12. The night before Halloween, Dale Kaczmarek and other authors from the Oak Lawn, Ill.'s Ghost Research Society Press shared spine-tingling tales, making Windy City Ghosts II a store bestseller.

Alpana Singh was one of three authors who participated in the Book Cellar's monthly Local Author Night on October 18, which included a wine tasting. Singh is a master sommelier and the host of the local television program Check, Please!, which features restaurant reviews. Her book Alpana Pours: About Being a Woman, Loving Wine, and Having Great Relationships is the Book Cellar's #4 bestseller.

All in-store events are held in the Book Cellar's café, which offers sandwiches, salads, baked goods, beer, wine and other foods and beverages. "It gives me a space that generates business when we're not having events," said owner Susan Takacs, who opened the Book Cellar in June 2004. "It's not just an empty room waiting for an event to happen." Outside groups regularly hold gatherings in the café, ranging from Chicago Women in Publishing to Date and Dash (a speed dating event), and recently the Book Cellar was the last stop on a wine stroll sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce. Even non-book related events are a boon for business. The wine stroll, for example, "was a good way to get new people to the store," she said. Even if they don't make an immediate purchase, "it keeps me on their mind if they need a book or if they need to buy a card, or if they need somewhere to go."

The Book Cellar sponsors one book club, and several others meet in the café each month. The store's reading group selected The Memory Keeper's Daughter as its December pick, something that is likely to continue to keep Kim Edwards' novel on the Book Cellar's bestseller list.

Chicago connections help sell certain titles. Illinois Senator Barack Obama's popular The Audacity of Hope is selling well at the store, as is Erik Larson's Thunderstruck. Larson's latest nonfiction tale owes its bestseller status to his previous book, The Devil in the White City. Although Thunderstruck has no Windy City connection, the author garnered a local following with his story about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. "The Devil in the White City is probably one of our top five books ever," noted Takacs.

An offsite event accounts for superb sales of the Iliad and the Odyssey, along with Derek Collins' Master of the Game, which the Book Cellar was asked to sell at the 17th Annual Chicago Humanities Festival this past weekend. Takacs sells books at offsite events several times a week in conjunction with organizations like the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Tribune Printers Row Book Fair and the Reading Series, as well as at private homes and other venues.

Handselling accounts for two fiction titles on the list. "Haruki Murakami is a favorite of many of the staff," said Takacs, and the Japanese novelist's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (published in 1998) is at # 9. Another bestseller is Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, which Takacs and the Book Cellar staffers have been recommending to customers looking for reading suggestions.

And what are some of the books Takacs will handsell during the holiday season? Alpana Pours, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and the children's book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner.--Shannon McKenna

Book Cellar bestsellers during the week ended November 5:

1. Hedge Funds for Dummies by Ann C. Logue (Wiley, $24.99, 0470049278)  
2. Iliad by Homer (Hackett Publishing, $11.95, 0872203522)
3. Master of the Game: Competition and Performance in Greek Poetry by Derek Collins (Center for Hellenic Studies, $19.95, 0674016440)
4. Alpana Pours: About Being a Woman, Loving Wine, and Having Great Relationships by Alpana Singh (Academy Chicago, $17.95, 0897335465)
5. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama (Crown, $25, 0307237699)
6. Odyssey by Homer (Hackett Publishing, $11.95, 0872204847)
7. Thunderstruck by Erik Larson (Crown, $25.95, 1400080665)
8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Penguin, $15, 0143034901)
9. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $15.95, 0679775439)
10. Windy City Ghosts II by Dale Kaczmarek (Ghost Research Society Press, $14.95, 0976607212)
11. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (Penguin, $14, 0143037145)
12. The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno (Akashic Books, $14.95, 1933354100)

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