Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Disney-Hyperion: Cold Hearted (Villains) by Serena Valentino

Shadow Mountain: Raised in the Kitchen: Making Memories from Scratch One Recipe at a Time by Carrian Cheney

St. Martin's Press: A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

Amulet Books: Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Gallery/Scout Press: Together We Will Go by J Michael Straczynski

Insight Editions: Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend by Joshua Greene

Henry Holt & Company: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Abrams Books for Young Readers: Beyoncé (the First Names Series) by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl, illustrated by Tammy Taylor

Custom House: Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

Flatiron Books: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

News

Notes: Congratulations; Halo 3 Guide a Hit, Too

Congratulations to Stacey's Bookstore, San Francisco, Calif., which turns 84 today. To celebrate, the store is holding drawings for $84 gift cards and will have a birthday cake.

Ingrid Nystrom, marketing and events manager at Stacey's, noted that the store had a big 80th anniversary party and will have another major one next year. "But last year we decided that once you're over 80, every year is a gift and needs some recognition. . . . Like many 80+ year olds, we're not as healthy as we once were, but the mind is sharp and 'old reliable Stacey's' is still, as one long-time customer described, 'an oasis of culture in the soul-numbing Financial District.' "

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And congratulations to Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade, owners of Politics and Prose bookstore, Washington, D.C., who in the October issue of Washingtonian magazine are listed among the 150 most powerful people in the capital. "Nationally known and locally beloved, the Politics and Prose founders prove that independent bookstores still matter," the magazine said. The pair appear in the "culture" section, just above Placido Domingo. Barbara wrote that she believes the placement was a matter of alphabetical order. We think otherwise.

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On Friday, October 5, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif., celebrates the re-opening of its Marina district store at 2251 Chestnut Street, which has been remodeled. The company commented: "Gone are the outdated fixtures, swiped from a Tucson dumpster in the winter of '98." At the evening reception, Ursula Hegi will discuss her new book, The Worst Thing I've Done

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In March 2008, Barnes & Noble will open a bookstore in Winter Garden, Fla., near Orlando. The site is in the Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves at Highway 535 and Highway 417.

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Wordsmiths Books, Decatur, Ga., has been named one of the "Hottest 100 Things in Atlanta for 2007" by the Sunday Paper, which wrote, "this newly opened independent bookstore shows that passion for the written word isn't a thing of the past. In addition to handling book sales for events sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book, the Wordsmiths crew is also bringing a wide variety of authors to its appealing shop in downtown Decatur and offering plenty of reading-related advice on its book blog."

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More than 1.7 million people ordered in advance Halo 3, the new video game from Microsoft, which went on sale yesterday at midnight and was celebrated at many Harry Potter-like events.

The game's guide, Halo 3: The Official Strategy Guide (Prima Games, $19.99, 9780761556992/0761556990), is selling handily, too, and was No. 30 on Amazon.com this morning.

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Wall Street Journal today has a story--on the front page--about mobile novels--novels written and read on cell phones. [Pause.] Established novelists groan. Young people, especially women, love them, love them deeply. [Pause.] Novels have simple language, usually unpolished. Lots of space in text. Themes are love and friendship. Huge fan base likens them to comics and graphic novels. [Pause.] Some have appeared as books. One title sold 440,000 copies. Genre even has its own awards. Ahhh what a happy tale!

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Ed Thorp's Beat the Market: A Scientific Stock Market System, published in 1967, was named one of the most sought-after out-of-print books of the past year by BookFinder.com, Business Week noted. In addition to being an investor and mathematician, Thorp gained notoriety as a "crack blackjack player whose winning system got him expelled from Reno casinos in the 1960s."

Why the interest in a 40-year-old investment book? "Perhaps it's rising interest in the relation between gambling and investing. Thorp also gets mentions in recent books, including Nassim Nicholas Taleb's best-seller on probability, The Black Swan."

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Using a new proprietary online application called AuthorAssistant, HarperCollins has launched an author network that will allow authors to post information, images, links and more for their fans. Some 40 Avon authors are participating in a pilot program. To test drive it, go to harpercollinsauthors.com.

In a statement, Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins, commented: "Our AuthorAssistant tool, and these stunning new Author Pages, demonstrate how we are harnessing our power and scale as a publisher to add value for authors, while connecting them with fans who want more from them."

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Yale University Press has bought the Anchor Bible Series, a collection of more than 115 volumes of biblical scholarship, from Doubleday. Yale will publish all backlist and new volumes in the series, which will be renamed Anchor Yale Bible. The series includes the Anchor Bible Commentary Series, the Anchor Bible Dictionary and the Anchor Bible Reference Library.

Yale aims to develop the series "with new interdisciplinary ways of studying the bible while taking advantage of the new technologies within digital platforms." As for its religion publishing, Doubleday intends to focus on general religious titles for the trade market.

Founded in 1956 by William Foxwell Albright and led by general editor David Noel Freedman for 50 years, the series has more than three million copies in print. All current inventory and open orders are being transferred to Yale.

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"Is it time to change the way books are marketed in Kenya?" asked the Nairobi Business Daily on the 10th anniversary of the Nairobi International Book Fair. Although publishers and authors garnered their share of criticism in the piece, booksellers were scolded as well for doing "little to market local books despite receiving the lion's share of revenues (35-40 per cent of the cover price). . . . staff in bookshops require training in customer care skills to help entice customers and assist in finding relevant books. But a bigger problem is presentation of books in stores which does little to encourage people to browse."

Poet Betty Wamalwa said, "In the United States bookshops are a pleasure for the eyes and double up as a social place. There are couches, poetry corners, it's a place you can linger, where people who love books can go and enjoy being with books."

 


Big City Press: America Volume 1 by Mike Bond


Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Sixties in 2007

This morning on the Today Show: Jessica Seinfeld, author of Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food (Collins, $24.95, 9780061251344/0061251348).

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This morning on Good Morning America: Dancing with the Stars: Jive, Samba, and Tango Your Way into the Best Shape of Your Life (Collins, $19.95, 9780061435256/0061435252).

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This morning's Book Report, the weekly AM radio book-related show organized by Windows a bookshop, Monroe, La., features two interviews:
  • Elise Blackwell, author of Grub (Toby Press, $24.95, 9781592641994/1592641997)
  • Valerie Martin, author of Trespass (Nan A. Talese, $25, 9780385515450/0385515456)

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

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Ann Packer, author of Songs Without Words (Knopf, $24.95, 9780375412813/0375412816).

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Today on NPR's News and Notes: Robert Altman, former staff photographer for Rolling Stone whose new collection of pictures of many of the iconic people and events of the 1960s is The Sixties (Santa Monica Press, $39.95, 9781595800244/1595800247).

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Today on NPR's Fresh Air: Edwidge Danticat, whose new memoir is Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf, $23.95, 9781400041152/1400041155).

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Tonight on Larry King Live: Jenny McCarthy, author of Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism (Dutton, $23.95, 9780525950110/0525950117).

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Tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman: Ken Burns, co-author of The War: An Intimate History, 1941-1945 (Knopf, $50, 9780307262837/0307262839).


Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.: The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook


Books & Authors

Awards: The FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year

The shortlist for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year consists of:
  • Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future by Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran (Twelve)
  • The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Freres & Co. by William D. Cohan (Doubleday)
  • The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan (Penguin Press)
  • Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them by Philippe Legrain (Princeton University Press)
  • The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House)
  • Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams (Portfolio)
The winning author will receive £30,000 (US$60,000), and the other five shortlisted authors will each receive £5,000 ($10,000). The winner will be announced in London on October 25.


Gallery/Scout Press: Together We Will Go by J Michael Straczynski



Book Review

Book Review: Unfeeling

Unfeeling by Ian Holding (Key Porter Books, $22.95 Hardcover, 9781552639177, September 2007)



Unfeeling is not a problem in this harrowing novel. You'll be feeling quite a bit, thanks--in your nightmares. It's a book I couldn't put down until the last screaming detail and whiplash surprise. It's ridiculously well-written, and such a complete, double-sided vision of Africa it practically sings its passionate love while documenting horrors I hope I can forget someday. For a reader who wants to understand Africa, the real, complex Africa, this book has it all. And that's just one of its pluses--as a first novel, this is a terrifying joy.

The narrative technique is that same one Garcia Marquez employs in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. We know the ending. That's the first sentence. Then we begin circling the horror that we know, and finding out more every chapter, but in reverse order, until we find out the beginning wasn't what we thought.

The reader beginning this novel knows a mind-stretching atrocity has happened at Edenfields, the most glorious Dutch farm of them all, huge and prosperous and thriving, in a country that looks and feels a lot like Zimbabwe. In an early scene, the reader knows the eight farm dogs are discovered mutilated and dead and dying. The dogs being put out of their misery is a wrenching scene. A couple chapters later we have a scene in which those same frolicksome, delightful dogs get a good, soapy bath. This reader came unglued.

This is the story of Davey Baker, a good-looking, 16-year-old farmboy who alone survives an attack in which he loses his parents under hellish circumstances that deepen and darken the farther you wade into the tale. Part One sets up what's happened and what he's done. It gets him into the care of Aunt Marsha, one of the book's joys. Part Two is Davey's solitary, brutal journey across country to reclaim his farm--a visionary road trip, and go ahead and hope, but you won't be spared anything. Anything. This is Cormac McCarthy country--expect the worst--it's just much better written than McCarthy and has women characters who ring true. Part Three is the local farmers' night mission of revenge. The value of farming is the one thing these at-risk men have believed in all their lives, and the government has taken their farms and "redistributed" them to rich cronies. It's pure horror story as they go back to the creepy place of death.

Author Holding is a 29-year-old schoolteacher in Harare, Zimbabwe, and I would be fearful for my life if I'd written his brave, beautiful book. He's a fire for us all.--Nick DiMartino


KidsBuzz for the Week of 03.01.21


The Bestsellers

Harvard Book Store Bestsellers--And Why

When authors make an appearance at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., customers take notice. "Our hardcover list is event driven," said head buyer Megan Sullivan, while the paperback list tends to be less transient--distinctions that are evident in the store's bestseller rankings for the week ending Sunday, September 23.

Nine of the fifteen hardcover bestsellers are by scribes who spoke at store-sponsored events in the last two weeks, and Jonathan Kozol's Letters to a Young Teacher leads the line-up. In his most recent book, the educator and Massachusetts native shares his correspondence with a Boston inner-city elementary school teacher.

"We're a general bookstore with an academic bent," said Sullivan, and the retailer's proximity to Harvard University yields results for authors associated with the school. University professor Steven Pinker, author of The Stuff of Thought (#5), and lecturer Nicola Denzey, author of The Bone Gatherers (#8), earned bestseller status after speaking to Harvard Book Store audiences. Denzey appeared as part of the store's Friday Forum scholarly series.

Although they did not delight the store's clientele in person, a Harvard connection has benefited university alumni Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, whose armchair philosophy guide, Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar, is at #12.

Philip Roth is the sole fiction writer on the hardcover list who did not make an appearance, and his latest offering, Exit Ghost, is the #11 seller. Patrons did hear from Edmund White, who despite teaching at rival school Princeton University has garnered a following among Harvard Book Store readers. His novel Hotel de Dream shows up at #6, while Amy Bloom's Away is at #14.

An author who has achieved bestsellerdom in advance of his appearance (on October 10) is Jeffrey Toobin, whose inside look at the Supreme Court, The Nine, is in the #10 spot. "Writers for the New Yorker are popular in Cambridge," Sullivan said.

A title that has outpaced expectations is The Age of Turbulence, the #3 seller. "I bought conservatively on this book," said Sullivan, "because a general memoir by Alan Greenspan didn't quite seem like a huge Cambridge topic." Until, that is, the weekend before the book's release when Greenspan's publicity began. The former Federal Reserve Bank chairman took aim at the Bush administration, and when The Age of Turbulence went on sale, noted Sullivan, it began selling swiftly.

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman might owe its presence on the list at #15 to more than the author's Cambridge visit. Sullivan endorsed the book as a staff recommendation, earning it a place on a display in a heavily-trafficked area of the store. Shelf talkers with commentary accompany employee picks, which "sell like crazy," said Sullivan, who likened the experience to browsing in a wine store. "I always go for the handwritten tag because I figure someone who works there likes [the wine] enough to write something about it," she said. "The same concept goes for bookstores."

A staff recommendation has kept Case Histories in a prominent position on the paperback bestseller list. Kate Atkinson's novel was #1 last week but has been relegated to the #2 slot by Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, the only new title to appear on this week's list. Written by Harvard University professor Stephen Greenblatt, the nonfiction tome garnered the top spot thanks to being on a course syllabus.

Paperback bestsellers tend to have staying power at the Harvard Book Store, and steady performers include The Emperor's Children (#4) by Cambridge area resident Claire Messud and Istanbul: Memories and the City (#15) by Nobel Prize-winner and customer favorite Orhan Pamuk. (He is scheduled to speak at a Harvard Book Store event on October 12 to promote the recently published Other Colors: Essays and a Story.) Greg Mortenson's memoir Three Cups of Tea (#8) is the 2007 selection of the citywide book club Cambridge READS.

A single author has a title on both the hardcover and paperback bestseller lists: MIT professor Junot Díaz, who spoke at a store event on September 12. Published a decade ago, Diaz's story collection Drown (#12) earned him "an underground following," said Sullivan. "So many people read it and loved it and have been waiting for his novel." Sullivan predicts great things for Diaz's new page turner, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (#9). For the Harvard Book Store, she said, "this is one of the biggest books of the fall."--Shannon McKenna


Harvard Book Store bestsellers during the week ended September 23:

Hardcover

1. Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol (Crown, $19.95, 0307393712/9780307393715)
2. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Metropolitan Books, $28, 0805079831/9780805079838)
3. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan (Penguin Press, $35, 1594201315/9781594201318)
4. What on Earth Have I Done?: Stories, Observations and Affirmations by Robert Fulghum (St. Martin's, $22.95, 0312365497/9780312365493)
5. The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker (Viking, $29.95, 0670063274/9780670063277)
6. Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel by Edmund White (Ecco, $23.95, 0060852259/9780060852252)
7. Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton (Knopf, $24.95, 0307266745/9780307266743)
8. The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women by Nicola Denzey (Beacon Press, $27.95, 0807013080/9780807013083)
9. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (Riverhead, $24.95, 1594489580/9781594489587)
10. The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin (Doubleday, $27.95, 0385516401/9780385516402)
11. Exit Ghost by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin, $26, 0618915478/9780618915477)
12. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein (Abrams Image, $18.95, 081091493X/9780810914933)
13. Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf, $23.95, 1400041155/9781400041152)
14. Away: A Novel by Amy Bloom (Random House, $23.95, 1400063566/9781400063567)
15. The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman (Norton, $24.95, 0393061728/9780393061727)

Paperback

1. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, $14.95, 039332737X/9780393327373)
2. Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (Back Bay, $13.99, 0316010707/978-0316010702)
3. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert (Penguin, $15, 0143038419/9780143038412)
4. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud (Vintage, $14.95, 030727666X/9780307276667)
5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage, $14.95, 0307387895/9780307387899)
6. Suite Française: A Novel by Irene Nemirovsky (Vintage, $14.95, 1400096278/9781400096275)
7. Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen (Algonquin, $13.95, 1565125606/9781565125605)
8. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson (Penguin, $15, 0143038257/9780143038252)
9. A Spot of Bother: A Novel by Mark Haddon (Vintage, $13.95, 0307278867/9780307278869)
10. The Elements of Style Illustrated by Maira Kalman (Penguin, $15, 0143112724/9780143112723)
11. Half of a Yellow Sun: A Novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Anchor, $14.95, 1400095204/9781400095209)
12. Drown by Junot Díaz (Riverhead, $14, 1573226068/9781573226066)
13. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (Vintage, $14.95, 1400077427/9781400077427)
14. The Kite Runner: A Novel by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead, $15, 1594480001/9781594480003)
15. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk (Vintage, $14.95, 1400033888/9781400033881)



Grand Central Publishing: Seven Days in June by Tia Wiliiams


KidsBuzz: Wendy Lamb Books: Hello from Renn Lake by Michele Weber Hurwitz
KidsBuzz: Worthy Kids: 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag by Amanda Davis, illus. by Sally Wern Comport
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