Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 13, 2007

Legacy Lit: Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum by Antonia Hylton

Berkley Books: Daughters of Shandong by Eve J. Chung

Berkley Books: Bergman Brothers series by Chloe Liese

Wednesday Books: Hope Ablaze by Sarah Mughal Rana

Little, Brown Ink: K Is in Trouble (a Graphic Novel) (K Is in Trouble #1) by Gary Clement

Fly Paper Products: Literary Gifts

William Morrow & Company: The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

Editors' Note

Welcome, Melissa Mueller!

Welcome to Melissa Mueller, who today joins Shelf Awareness as a full-time sales and marketing assistant in our Seattle office. For the past two and a half years, she has worked at the University Book Store in Seattle, most recently hosting and publicizing author events as public relations lead, events. Earlier she was a publicity assistant at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and a publicity and marketing intern at Sasquatch Books. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in English Literature and is also a graduate of New York University's Summer Publishing Institute.

At Shelf Awareness, Melissa will help manage ad traffic, assist subscribers, prepare and send out marketing and ad materials, field customer inquiries and more. In short, she'll do just about everything that will help make publisher Jenn Risko's life a bit less chaotic and will act as Jenn's backup.

Melissa may be reached at; 206-274-8144; and Shelf Awareness, 89 Yesler Way, Mezzanine Level, Seattle, Wash. 98104.

Atria Books: The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard


Notes: A Bookseller's Education; Celebrating Jane Yolen

The About New York column in Saturday's New York Times told the story of bookseller Kurt Thometz, who bought a brownstone in Harlem from a rare book dealer--a man who liked him so much he gave him a second mortgage--and now lives there with his wife and son and runs Jumel Terrace Books. The store specializes in local history and African and African-American literature and is "open by invitation, appointment, or serendipity," as the sign in the window elegantly says.

Thometz came to New York from Minnesota in 1972. Instead of going to college, "I went to Book Row," he said, arguably getting a better education than he might have otherwise. He worked at the Strand, University Place Bookstore and the Madison Avenue Bookshop, then was the private librarian to Brooke Astor, Diana Vreeland, Leonard Lauder, Felix Rohatyn and some members of the Newhouse family, among others. 


In an unusual event, the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate--the decorative arts museum on the du Pont estate in Wilmington, Del.--is celebrating children's author Jane Yolen's body of work in an exhibition that opens September 15 and runs until mid-July 2008. More than 50 of Yolen's nearly 300 books will be highlighted, including Owl Moon, which won the Caldecott Medal 20 years ago, and each month the museum will recommend and highlight one of Yolen's titles. Events in conjunction with the exhibition, called K Is for Kids, will have literacy as a theme and include oral storytelling, theater presentations and performances, workshops for teachers and librarians and information about the history of children's books and reading. Yolen will serve as honorary ambassador for the exhibition. The museum will host Yolen for a weekend of events April 18-20, 2008.

The exhibit is the first of its kind put on by the Winterthur Museum and will include materials from the museum's collection.


The remainder book show held in Atlanta, Ga., over the weekend has a name: the Great American Bargain Book Show, or GABBS, Bargain Book News reported. Larry May, who owns the show with his wife, Valerie, and also puts on the Spring Book Show, in Atlanta, too, said that the show's slogan will be "GABBS: talk it up!"

The winner of the show-naming contest was Shayne Hix of Bluegrass Books in Bowling Green, Ky. He won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Atlanta.

GABBS is the former Onboard Show, which the Mays bought and moved to Atlanta from Nashville, Tenn.


In a continuing effort to diversify, bargain book company Daedalus Books & Music, Columbia, Md., recently added DVDs to its playlist, and now offers books, CDs and DVDs wholesale and retail, online, via catalogues and in two retail sites, the Baltimore Examiner reported.

"On its mailing list, the store maintains 600,000 subscribers while shipping out about 9 million catalogs a year," the Examiner wrote. "Conversely, about 30 percent of Daedalus’ total business is conducted on the wholesale side, a number that [v-p and co-founder Helaine] Harris expects to grow. Annually, the company sells about 5 million books, 7 million CDs and an increasing number of DVDs." Daedalus also has two retail outlets, one at its headquarters in Columbia and the other at Belvedere Square in Baltimore, both with about 10,000 square feet of space.


Here's one way to get your books into bookstores. 

Operating on the theory that surreptitiously planting 300 copies of a free book on the shelves of London bookshops is "almost the opposite of shoplifting," Steve Lowe, director of publisher Aquarium, told the Times that copies of The Idiocy of Idears by an unnamed author now rest "in the fiction, poetry, art, philosophy and travel sections of Waterstones, Borders, Foyles and Blackwells in Central London."


The Barnes & Noble at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa., is considering expanding as part of Drexel's master plan, the Triangle reported. The master plan aims, among other things, to add retail and food operations on campus, so that students will "finally be able to buy everything from groceries to art supplies, without having to take a hike to 40th Street or Center City."


GLOW: Graphic Universe: Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Readers' Books: Business of the Year

Congratulations to Lilla and Andy Weinberger, owners of Readers' Books, Sonoma, Calif., which has been named Business of the Year by the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma News reported.

"At a time when independent bookstores are harder and harder to come by, Readers' Books is a testament to the Weinbergers' dedication and success," Chamber executive director Jennifer Yankovich told the paper.

She added that the Chamber "received more than 30 nominations for this honor to be awarded to Readers' Books from community members, nonprofit organizations, school teachers and principals, more than we have ever received for one business since the inception of the award seven years ago. The nominations were filled with appreciation and gratitude for the good works and unique services that Readers' Books brings to our community."

"I want to acknowledge how much staff contributes to our success," Andy Weinberger said. "We've got a wonderful group working with us, eight to 10 of them, depending on who's going off to school and who's coming back. One great aspect of the business is that we get to work with young people."

Among the store's many programs and qualities cited by supporters is one unusual one: at election time, to help customers decide on who to vote for--and how to vote on California's many, sometimes confusing propositions--the store hosts Kathleen and Gerald Hill, political science teachers at Sonoma State University, who discuss the ballot measures.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elizabeth Edwards's Saving Grace

Today on the Today Show: Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards and author of Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers (Broadway, $14.95, 9780767925389/0767925386).


Today on Leonard Lopate: Malcolm MacPherson, author of the Iraq War satire Hocus POTUS (Melville House, $24.95, 9781933633282/193363328X).


Today on the Laura Ingraham Show on Talk Radio Network: Jon Katz, whose new book is Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm (Villard, $23.95, 9781400064045/140006404X).

Books & Authors

Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


How to Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper (Delacorte, $20, 9780385338905/0385338902). "Wallowing in grief and guilt over his wife's accidental death, Doug Parker looks for relief in all the wrong places: with his neighbor's wife, at the bottom of a bottle, and on a long run from family and responsibility--and he takes us along for the tearful, tender, laugh-out-loud ride."--Anne Wagner, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.

High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta by Gerard Helferich (Counterpoint, $25, 9781582433530/1582433534). "This is one of those wonderful nonfiction books in the tradition of John McPhee or Mark Kurlansky. Helferich treats us to one year with a Mississippi Delta cotton farmer. Like the farmers featured in the book, we worry about crop yield and pest control--and inadvertently learn about a fascinating and important part of our economy, too."--Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Ark.


Full Circle by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington, $15, 9780758210586/0758210582). "A great book about old friends and new acquaintances. When Ned Brummel and his childhood best friend Jack Grace went to college, they had a falling-out because they both fell for the same man, Andy. Years later, as Ned travels to a gravely ill Andy's bedside, he embarks on a journey of memory and redemption."--David Deese, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Atlanta, Ga.

For Teen Readers

Billie Standish Was Here by Nancy Crocker (S&S, $16.99, 9781416924234/141692423X). "An amazing, heartfelt coming-of-age story, with characters I came to know and love! Billie Standish meets life head-on, overcoming setbacks (including an assault and its aftermath) with the help of Miss Lydia, a neighbor, good friend, and most unlikely fairy godmother. You'll laugh, rant, and cry as Billie comes to terms with her situation, her neglectful parents, and herself."--Barb Bassett, The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks (Harcourt, $17, 9780152059880/0152059881) "How does a boy genius, at age seven, keep his mind occupied while being ignored by his foster parents? He terrorizes and humiliates everyone because he is smarter and better than they are, until, at 14, he is outsmarted by his real family. A page-turning, nerve-wracking story about growing up in an adult world where the rules of the game are not what they ought to be--and friendship is more important than subterfuge and domination."--Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother, Washington, D.C.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

Book Brahmins: Valerie Block

Valerie Block is the author of three novels, Was It Something I Said? (SoHo Press, 1998), None of Your Business (Ballantine, 2003) and, released last month, Don't Make a Scene (Ballantine, $24.95, 9780345461858/0345461851), a fresh comedy of manners for movie lovers mystified by real life. She lives in Montclair, N.J., with her husband, the writer Alexis Romay. She can be reached at Here she answers questions we occasionally put to people in the industry:

On your nightstand now:

Totally, Tenderly, Tragically: Essays and Criticism from a Lifelong Love Affair with the Movies by Phillip Lopate
Favorite book when you were a child:

Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf

Your top five authors:

Michael Frayn, Nancy Mitford, Philip Roth, David Sedaris, Muriel Spark

Book you've faked reading:

Moby Dick, for 11th grade English. Still haven't read it.

Book you are an evangelist for:

The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan. You should read it!

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Best American Non-required Reading of 2004
Book that changed your life:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa

Favorite line from a book:

"I have lived in the present from time to time, and I can tell you that it is much overrated."--From Against Joie de Vivre by Phillip Lopate

Favorite line from a book that made you choke on your coffee:

"I think most people would rather be processed through the digestive tract of an anaconda than be Celine Dion for a day, once they realized what a brutally unpleasant wasteland her interior universe needed to be in order to host such a deadly amount of the Fame virus."--From A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease by Cintra Wilson

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