Shelf Awareness for Monday, September 19, 2005

Inkyard Press: Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros

Chronicle Prism: Men in Blazers Present Gods of Soccer: The Pantheon of the 100 Greatest Soccer Players (According to Us) by Roger Bennett, Michael Davies, and Miranda Davis; illustrated by Nate Kitch

Neal Porter Books: I Don't Care by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal

Tor Nightfire: The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Candlewick Press (MA): Build a House by Rhiannon Giddens, illustrated by Monica Mikai

Popular Book Company (Usa): Complete Curriculum Success Series, Math Success Series, English Success Series, 365 Fun Days

Yen on: Fox Tales by Tomihiko Morimi, translated by Winifred Bird

Editors' Note

Welcome, Marilyn!

We are very pleased to announce that our friend and most respected colleague Marilyn Dahl is joining the staff of Shelf Awareness as a reviewer. Marilyn started her book career at University Book Store in Seattle, Wash., when ladies wore hose but smoking was allowed, moved to Pacific Pipeline after one Christmas returns week too many, then landed at for a few years. After thinking she was done with the book business, she came to her senses (after being plied with a few glasses of wine on Jenn's deck) and realized that she is hooked on books.

Our book review philosophy is this: Shelf Awareness wants to provide practical pieces that give booksellers useful information about books. For example: "This first novel will be hand-sold like crazy. There is a perfect sentence on every page." Or "The latest in this espionage series is short on story, long on politics." Or "Great recipes, no photographs." Marilyn's first review appears below.

Marilyn's areas of interest are mystery/suspense and all subgenres, including romantic and vampire, as well as "outstanding" fiction, as she puts it, and offbeat nonfiction. Her e-mail is Feel free to contact her with questions, recommendations or funny stories. Please continue to send materials and books to John and Jenn, too.

We also are interested in hearing from booksellers, reps and librarians about their recent discoveries, backlist sleepers and handselling favorites. If you are or know a bookseller or librarian who has a particular talent for picking good books and can write an impassioned, fun and coherent review of it, please let us know.

Tiny Reparations Books: Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams


Bookselling Notes: Synergy, New Age Energy

A series of letters in today's New York Times in reaction to an op-ed piece last week touches on a variety of textbook pricing issues. One note of consensus: no one seems to think a textbook maintenance organization modeled on HMOs would help solve pricing problems.


Another story about the purchase of Village Books, Roslindale, Mass., by sisters Jean Connelly and Lorie Spencer appeared yesterday, this time in the Boston Globe. The pair bought the store from Annie Bauman, who started Village Books three years ago but has been busier since giving birth to twins last year. (Excuses, excuses. . .)

The sisters plan to maintain the store's "homey feel" but expand the children's book section.


Susan Avery, co-owner of Ariel Booksellers, New Paltz, N.Y., which plans to close later this year, wrote to us to say that contrary to the Poughkeepsie Journal's account, the Averys' leasing of space in their building to a Starbucks five years ago had been a synergistic help. "In fact," she said, "if it wasn't for synergy of Starbucks, we probably would have closed three years ago."


Concerning Charles Taylor's August 21 New York Times Book Review essay "Hell Is Other Customers," Bob Curry, who describes himself as "a former owner of a good-sized independent bookstore" and a current manager of a large chain bookstore, wrote to the Review: "There is, indeed, a fine line between offering your customers a relaxed, noninvasive shopping atmosphere and allowing what sometimes resembles a cross between a grade school cafeteria and a college dorm room.

"But there is another side to the 'cavernous . . . chain bookstores.' If browsing has become a little less comfortable, it may be because the chains have opened up the joys of reading to a much wider audience, as well as taken a little of the elitism out of the book-buying experience. And this has not been at all 'bad business sense.'

"Thousands of people of all ages pass through a bookstore's doors every single day, and I cannot think that is bad for our community. I recall the words of the great philosopher Yogi Berra: 'Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.' "


This past Saturday marked the annual New Age Fair at Tatnuck Booksellers, Worcester, Mass., which the MetroWestDaily News cheerily called "psychic Saturday." According to the paper, Tatnuck owner Larry Abramoff traces his interest in the field to his college days, when living in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, he and friends had their fortunes read by psychics. ("Someday you will honor us by having an annual New Age show.") The Fair featured some 30 practitioners of tarot, tai chi, crystal healing, astrology, palm reading, yoga, reiki, acupuncture and tea leaf reading at both the Worcester and Westborough stores.


Barnes & Noble has given itself permission to buy another $200 million worth of its stock, which may be done via the market or in private transactions. The company had already authorized stock purchases of $200 million in March; about $50 million of that program remains.


For its part, Borders is rewarding shareholders by declaring a quarterly dividend of nine cents a share, payable on October 27 for shareholders of record at the end of the day October 6.


Late last week Advanced Marketing Services appointed Jack Dollard executive vp and chief operating officer. Dollard had been head of his own consulting company and earlier worked in executive positions at Gateway and Qualcomm.

Among its main businesses, AMS supplies books to warehouse clubs and owns PGW. A year ago, the SEC brought charges concerning the wholesaler's past advertising accounting practices.

GLOW: Disney-Hyperion: Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

NCIBA: Show by the Bay

The Northern California Independent Booksellers Association meets Friday-Sunday, October 7-9, in Oakland, Calif. The trade show takes place all day Saturday and Sunday.

Friday's educational sessions include a workshop on "how to connect with (and sell to) 18-34 year olds" that is striking for being composed entirely of booksellers in that age group as well as Jessa Crispin, editor of

Another Friday workshop introduces a new organization created largely by booksellers called the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance (SFLOMA). Panelists include several organizers such as Neal Sofman of A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books and Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books who will talk about how SFLOMA was formed and how others can create similar alliances in their communities.

Other workshops consist of roundtable discussions of various aspects of customer service; how to make the bookseller-sales rep relationship more efficient and useful; and how to make loyal customers into proselytizers for stores, a session led by Howard Seidel, whose Seidel Advertising agency created the SFLOMA logo, decal and poster.

Friday's lunch features a winter/spring book pick during which some 15 reps have no more than five minutes each to talk about their house's hottest upcoming titles. The evening welcome reception stars Nuala O'Faolain, who will speak about her new book, The Story of Chicago May.

Saturday begins with an author breakfast featuring Garry Wills, Nancy Pearl and Elizabeth Kostova, and Sunday begins with a children's author breakfast featuring Kate and Sarah Klise, Jacqueline Woodson, Hudson Talbott and Ridley Pearson. On Saturday evening, NCIBA holds its fourth annual moveable feast, which will serve up a dozen succulent authors. On Sunday afternoon on the trade show floor, the annual cookbook celebration dishes out tastings of foods from at least six cookbooks.

For more information, go to NCIBA's Web site.

Harper: Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Tender Bar's Moehringer

First, a major reminder: Oprah makes her next book club selection on Wednesday. The ISBN for the title is 0307276902.


Today on WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show:

  • New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman renders The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa (Penguin Press HC, $24.95, 1594200556).
  • J.R. Moehringer bellies up to the microphone and recalls his unlikely mentors whilst growing up, as described in his new book, Tender Bar: A Memoir (Hyperion, $23.95, 1579548571).
  • Ron Powers tells no tall tales as he chats about his new biography, Mark Twain: A Life (Free Press, $35, 0743248996).

BINC: Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Another Side of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan: No Direction Home, a two-part documentary presented by American Masters, airs on PBS Monday and Tuesday, September 26 and 27, 9 p.m. EDT. Directed by Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Goodfellas), this Dylan experience focuses on the rambling man's life between 1961 and 1966, including the journey from his hometown of Hibbing, Minn., to Greenwich Village in New York City. It features film, tape and stills never before released from the Bob Dylan Archives, along with rare performance footage and interviews. To help bring it all back home, Starbucks is selling on an exclusive basis Live at the Gaslight 1962, a collection of previously unavailable songs.

Released to coincide with the documentary, The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, 1956-1966 (S&S, $45, 0743228286) is a freewheelin' illustrated biography of Dylan's life during the '50s and '60s. Mingled throughout the text are reproductions of memorabilia from photos to handwritten lyrics and more. It also includes an audio CD with more than 60 minutes of interviews and music. Dylan's Chronicles: Volume One (S&S, $14, 0743244583) is now available in paperback. This eccentric yet ultimately illuminating memoir provides insight into previously mysterious parts of his life.

Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 1

The following new titles appear on Tuesday, September 27, including one by Berendt and another by Behrendts:

A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow (Bantam, 0553804367, $25). The follow-up to Hawking's A Brief History of Time, this updated version features new research from the last 17 years, including accessible and fascinating information on dark matter, string theory and other topics on the cutting edge of modern physics.

The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt (Penguin Press, 1594200580, $25.95). A decade after his bestselling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Berendt returns with a look at the eccentric, charming and mysterious city of Venice and its inhabitants. He investigates the burning of the famed Fenice opera house and in the process gets to know some of the city's many strange yet fascinating citizens.

It's Called a Breakup Because It's Broken: The Smart Girl's Break-Up Buddy by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt (Broadway, 0767921852, $19.95). This comprehensive guide on breaking up for women covers such important topics as how to undertake "he-tox" and the process of reentering the dating game.

Book Review

Mandahla: The Highest Tide Reviewed

Highest Tide by Jim Lynch (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, $23.95 Hardcover, 9781582346052, September 2005)

One of the most exciting aspects of the book business is being part of early buzz about a first novel. A few weeks ago, : "Such flat-out good writing that it brings pleasure on every page. The best book I have read in ages." A few days later she made me promise to read the book. I dutifully wrote the title down on the never-ending "to read" list. The next evening a friend, who works for Holtzbrinck, serendipitously brought me a copy. The planets were aligned, and I would not tempt fate. I started The Highest Tide the following day and read it without stopping. My husband picked it up and tried to make it last by reading a chapter a day, but gave up and carried it around the house, the yard and on errands, stopping every so often to rave about it. I have practically frog-marched friends to stores to purchase the book.

Reading The Highest Tide reminded of the excitement I felt when I read Snow Falling on Cedars or Peace Like a River. Lynch's prose compels one to read passages aloud to whomever is within earshot. And I'm surprised at my unexpected desire to be at the shore in the dark, during low tide, headlamp alight, turning over rocks and really looking, like Miles in the story, observing the wonders at hand and underfoot: "I saw a purple ochre sea star, then fifteen more strewn higher on the beach, their five legs similarly cocked, pinwheeling in slow motion back toward the water." I want to see moon snails, who inject a muscle relaxant that liquefies the clams, "Which explains the sudden troves of empty shells with perfectly round holes in the exact same spot, as if someone had tried to string a necklace underground, or as if you'd stumbled onto a crime scene in which an entire clam family had been executed gangland style.

This is a book to keep and to cherish. It is a perfect gift. Along with a flashlight and waders.--Marilyn Dahl

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