Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 6, 2005


Grove Atlantic: The Yellow House: A Memoir by Sarah M. Broom

Feiwel & Friends: A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus

New Directions: Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet

Workman Publishing: Real Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation (Second Edition, Revised) by Sharon Salzberg

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Jim Rugg

Clarion Books: The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford

Editors' Note

The Katrina Catastrophe--and Kepler's

We're happy to be back but deeply saddened by the destruction Hurricane Katrina caused. Our hearts go out to the many people who lost loved ones, friends and family and to the hundreds of thousands whose lives and work have been so disrupted. We mourn the loss of and severe damage to countless bookstores and libraries. We hope that rescue and evacuation efforts continue to improve and that rebuilding begins soon. We're glad that the book world is showing its usual generosity and compassion for those affected by disaster.

We also are saddened--and surprised--by the closing of Kepler's Books and Magazines in Menlo Park, Calif., a bookstore that was a cultural and political center and served Peninsula readers so well for 50 years. Amazingly a glimmer of hope exists: as indicated below, a serious campaign is underway to bring Kepler's back by addressing some of its problems, including its lease.

It seems in character for owner Clark Kepler, a thoughtful, considerate man, to have shouldered quietly what had to be a considerable burden. We wish him the best and hope he can continue to run his magnificent bookstore.

Ingram: Congratulations 2019 National Book Award Winners - Learn More>


News

In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: Bookstores

Many bookstores and libraries suffered severe damage during Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed it. Herewith reports from associations and news media:

Bookends Bookstore in Bay St. Louis, Miss., and Pass Christian Books in Pass Christian, Miss., both on the shore, were totally destroyed. In addition, Afro-American Book Stop in New Orleans is ruined.

Bookends owner Susan Daigre told Bookselling This Week, "We're out of the book business. I can't even think of rebuilding it. . . . We have no home, no jobs . . . but we have great family, great friends and good insurance."

New Orleans booksellers, including Mary Price Dunbar of Beaucoup Books, Michele Lewis of Afro-American Book Stop and Octavia Books co-owner Tom Lowenburg, are all safe. Lowenburg wrote ABA that a neighbor reported that "our store building is in good shape and has remained above water" although he worried that the water might have risen since the neighbor's observation.

The ABA has contacted member stores in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, offering to talk with suppliers about extending credit terms and being resupplied, among other issues. It has also contacted some major publishers and wholesalers.

ABA CEO Avin Domnitz commented: "Our hearts go out to all those devastated by Katrina, and we want to do whatever we can to help. We know many in the book industry feel the same way, and are looking for ways to offer assistance."

ABA has set up a Bookseller Relief Fund to assist independent bookstores affected by the hurricane. Checks should be made payable to ABA/Bookseller Relief Fund and sent to the ABA at 200 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, N.Y. 10591; please write "Bookseller Relief" on the envelope.

Any affected members needing business advice should contact Domnitz at 800-637-0037, ext. 6610, or avin@bookweb.org or David Walker, ABA's director of special projects at ext. 6612 or davidw@bookweb.org.

Several stores around the country have said they would house and /or employ booksellers whose stores cannot reopen soon. Anyone wanting to offer such help should contact Walker.

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As of last Thursday, Barnes & Noble had apparently heard from only about 10% of its booksellers in affected areas and was making extensive efforts to contact them. It was also offering those booksellers financial assistance and housing information at any B&N or Dalton in the country.

Borders and Books-A-Million also have stores that are damaged and closed.

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The National Association of College Stores's CM Bulletin reported that some 50 Follett stores in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky have been hurt, although the company isn't sure because it hasn't been able to communicate with all of them. "Some stores may be damaged beyond repair," Cliff Ewert, v-p of campus and public relations, told the newsletter. "Our prayers here are with all of the people affected down there."

The Louisiana Association of College Stores has canceled its annual meeting and is donating money earmarked for that to the Red Cross.

NACS is "actively looking into ways to help all of those unfortunate people hurt by this devastating storm, including our members in this region," CEO Brian Cartier said. "We view this as a long-term commitment."

Likewise NACS president Debbie Harvie said, "We want to provide support for the long haul because we understand that this can't simply be just a donation."

Soho Press: The Seep by Chana Porter


In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: Libraries

Scores of libraries have been heavily damaged by the hurricane and flooding, according to the ALA, which has a section of its Web site devoted to news about the disaster. Many libraries in parts of the country near the disaster area have been working overtime providing photocopying services (often for FEMA applications) as well as supplying reading material to the displaced. Some are offering library cards on a temporary basis.

Among the many reports from the hardest-hit areas:

The main branch of the New Orleans Public Library has water up to the first floor, which "likely destroyed all archives." The Martin Luther King Jr. branch is "devastated." The Milton H. Latter branch may be minimally damaged.

(Ironically the New Orleans Public Library's choice for its One Book, One New Orleans read this year was Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry (S&S, $16, 0684840022). Published in 1997, the title has risen into the top 20 on Amazon; S&S is printing another 10,000 copies, according to the AP.)

In Mississippi, the libraries in Long Beach and Biloxi are gone. While the buildings of the Gulfport and Hancock County Library System in Bay St. Louis remain standing, their collections are likely lost.

In Louisiana, the Buras Library in Plaquemines Parish had as much as 20 feet of water, although the building is still standing. The Port Sulphur branch may have been flooded by as much as 10 feet of water.

In the Lafourche Parish system, only the Golden Meadow branch had severe damage: its roof blew off. Late last week, the staff transported material in that building to a building that the library had purchased last month for a planned move. Only some "old books and things stored in closet areas" were damaged, director Beverly Arabie wrote.

St. Charles Parish libraries had minor wind damage but no water or structural damage. All the public libraries in St. John the Baptist Parish survived and should be open for business today. In St. Tammany Parish, most branches suffered only wind damage although the Pontchartrain branch in Slidell was flooded.

Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis's home, in Biloxi, Miss., suffered extensive damage, but Davis's papers had been moved upstairs and survived.

The Louisiana Library Association has set up a Disaster Relief Fund to assist school, public and academic library restoration in southeastern Louisiana. Send checks payable to LLA-Disaster Relief to 421 South 4th St., Eunice, LA 70535.

ALA is also "monitoring" the situation as it relates to next year's annual conference, scheduled for June 22-28 in New Orleans. Information will be posted on ALA's home page.

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The publisher most directly affected was Pelican Publishing in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna, on the west bank of the Mississippi. Last week national accounts manager Jan Fehrman said in an e-mail that the company's "facility and inventory may not have experienced great damage but reliable information is hard to come by." In the meantime, Pelican is asking retail customers buying books to contact Ingram, Baker & Taylor and other wholesalers with significant amounts of Pelican inventory and not to return any titles for the moment. The company's Web site is working.

Sadly Pelican has been through this kind of thing before: on New Year's Eve 1997 a fire gutted its old offices and warehouse.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Providence by Max Barry


Kepler's Revival?

As widely reported, Kepler's Books and Magazines suddenly closed last Wednesday. In a statement on its Web site, owner Clark Kepler cited "the economic downturn since 2001," adding "in today's political and social climate I would like to be there with you and for you, providing books and writers with varied ideas and provocative opinions, but the constancy of change will not allow it." Kepler's also was hurt by the dot.com crash and by a long-term lease signed during the dot.com high.

Amazingly this may not be the end. This morning Kepler and the landlord are meeting, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Over the weekend, Kepler told the paper if those talks go well, "I think we have a real good chance of returning."

While some accounts say the landlord--the Tan Group--would not renegotiate the lease, it issued a press release saying that it wants Kepler's to say in business and had met with Kepler on Friday "to determine how we might work together to make this happen. . . . Contrary to the impression given by the media, on several occasions in the past we have worked closely with Clark Kepler in successfully navigating financial challenges."

In another indication of some hope, Kepler, who said that he had become personally insolvent shoring up the store's finances, told the Almanac/Palo Alto Weekly that "miracles started happening late last week" when "qualified investors who are looking at saving Kepler's" approached him.

At 5 p.m. today, a rally will be held at the store, at which Kepler, among others, is expected to speak. After the rally, a work session "to marshal community resources in support of this beloved local institution" will be held at City Hall.

One Kepler's fan has set up a Web site called savekeplers.com. On the site, an e-mail from Menlo Park mayor Mickie Winkler expressed full support for efforts to keep Kepler's in business and said that the city's economic manager "is contacting national and local independent booksellers to find a replacement for Kepler's, should attempts to restore Kepler's fail."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jamie Oliver, Candace Bushnell

Yesterday on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Floyd Abrams spoke freely about his book Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment (Viking Adult, $25.95, 0670033758).
  • John Bailey discussed his book, The Lost German Slave Girl: The Extraordinary True Story of Sally Miller and Her Fight for Freedom in Old New Orleans (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, 0871139219).
  • Tim Guest lamented on growing up with the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in his book, My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru (Harvest Books, $14, 015603106X).
  • Bob Dole revisited his experiences in college, fighting, being gravely injured in World War II, and his arduous rehabilitation as told in his book One Soldier's Story: A Memoir (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060763418).
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Last night on Charlie Rose, Johnny Apple spread the word about his Apple's America: The Discriminating Traveler's Guide to 40 Great Cities in the United States and Canada (North Point Press, $22.50, 0865476853). An associate editor for the New York Times, Apple  wrote a series of articles about his travels across America and Canada, which were updated and expanded in the book.

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This morning  on the Today Show, Christine Hassler discusses her book, 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction (New World Library, $14.95, 157731476X). Also, Stacy London, co-author of Dress Your Best: The Complete Guide to Finding the Style That's Right for Your Body (Three Rivers Press, $18.95, 0307236714), to be published next Tuesday, reveals how less can be more in fashion.

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Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

Michael Schiavo's lawyer, Jon Eisenberg, recalls the right to die controversy and its bioethical implications in his new book, Using Terri: The Religious Right's Conspiracy to Take Away Our Rights (HarperSanFrancisco, $24.95, 0060877324).
The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver, lists ingredients for bringing good food to schools. His most recent cookbook, Jamie's Dinners: The Essential Family Cookbook (Hyperion, $34.95, 1401301940), examines classic family foods like grilled cheese sandwiches and adds easy gourmet touches.
Chris Roberts reveals the hidden meaning behind nursery rhymes in his new book, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind the Rhyme (Gotham, $20, 1592401309).
S.E. Hinton talks about Francis Ford Coppola's new extended and restored film version of her classic teen epic, The Outsiders (Puffin, $7.99, 014038572X).

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On today's View, David Plotz, author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank (Random House, $24.95, 1400061245), discusses his curious book.

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Tomorrow on the Today Show, former boy Michael Gurian speaks about The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life (Jossey-Bass, $24.95, 0787977616). Also, Candace Bushnell, author of Sex and the City, reveals her new book, The Lipstick Jungle (Hyperion, $24.95, 0786868198). 

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Tomorrow on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Daniel Charles evokes Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare (Ecco, $24.95, 0060562722).
  • Tom Robbins quacks about his new collection of short writings, Wild Ducks Flying Backwards (Bantam, $25, 0553804510).
  • George Ayittey brings a controversial and bold plan for Africa's prosperity to the table in his new book, Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future (Palgrave Macmillan, $35, 1403963592).


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