Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 13, 2007


Simon Pulse: Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Workman Publishing: Click to see full Holiday Quick Pick catalog!

Bunim & Bannigan Ltd: David Lazar by Robert Kalich

Magination Press: Bee Heartful: Spread Loving-Kindness by Frank J Sileo, illustrated by Claire Keay

Dundurn Group: Never Forget: A Victor Lessard Thriller (A Victor Lessard Thriller #1) by Martin Michaud

Flatiron Books: Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

Quotation of the Day

Free Web Content to Book

"I think books are still things, thank goodness, that people want to own. The package of the book and the way it feels is something apart and separate from being able to read it online."--Michael Jacobs, CEO of Abrams, in a New York Times story today about the sales in book form of material that first appeared for free online.

 


Quirk Books: Spark and the League of Ursus by Robert Repino


News

Notes: Oz Agency Delays Borders Decision; 'Non' to Amazon

For the second time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has delayed a decision on the purchase of Borders Group's Australian stores by Pacific Equity Partners, the private equity firm that owns Angus & Robertson and Whitcoulls Group, Reuters reported. The ACCC, which had expressed concern about a takeover resulting in reduced consumer discounts and increased prices, originally said it would announce a decision December 19. The new date is January 30. An analyst told Reuters, "They probably need extra time to review submissions and concerns from competitors or other industry players."

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The high court in Versailles ruled that Amazon.com has 10 days to begin charging for the delivery of books in France.

According to the New York Times, "The action, brought in January 2004 by the French Booksellers' Union (Syndicat de la librairie francaise), accused Amazon of offering illegal discounts on books and even of selling some books below cost."

The Times noted that retail prices are tightly regulated in France, and the use of  "'loss-leaders,' or selling products below cost to attract customers, is illegal. Other restrictions apply to books . . . retailers must not offer discounts of more than 5 percent on the publisher's recommended price. Many independent booksellers choose to offer this discount in the form of a loyalty bonus based on previous purchases. Larger booksellers simply slash the sticker price of books. But the free delivery offered by Amazon exceeded the legal limit in the case of cheaper books, the union charged."

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The old Barnes & Noble felt so much like a library that--

The Rockford Public Library in Rockford, Ill., has bought a former B&N and is moving its Northeast branch into the 23,000-sq.-ft. space, which is nearly three times as large as its current location, the Rockford Register Star reported. Renovations will include phone and data wiring, remodeling the bathrooms and creating three rooms. No word on whether the old library is being converted to a bookstore.

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In another case of a college bookstore being moved off campus to revitalize a commercial area, the bookstore serving Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Tex., is being relocated to a former restaurant in a quiet shopping district across from the school, according to TV station WFAA. As the station observed, "The strategy is that once students come off campus to shop at the bookstore, they will also shop at other businesses that might move in."

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Rowan University, Glassboro, N.J., has approved a plan similar to that of TWU, the Gloucester County Times reported. Under the plan, Rowan will lease its bookstore to Barnes & Noble, which will open a store in a project between the campus and downtown that will include retail outlets, a hotel and student and other housing.

University president Donald Farish commented, "To move the store into Glassboro helps create the notion that we're part of the borough. We think it makes sense financially and we think it makes sense in terms of service."

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Among the most popular calendars this season are President Bush countdown calendars, the Boston Globe reported. Sales of Bush calendars are up 30% at Borders and among the top sellers at Barnes & Noble. At the Downtown Crossing Borders in Boston, a "Countdown to Victory" sign hangs over Bush countdown calendars as well as calendars promoting Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Barack Obama, all of which are given prominent aisle space.

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The independent booksellers of Montana's Flathead County "hang on through changing times," according to a Flathead Beacon piece that chronicled the owners' enduring beliefs that "there will always be enough people who want the whole reading experience" and "there will always be enough people who want to shop local."

"I doubt if any of us are doing well," said Cheryl Watkins, owner of Bookworks, Whitefish. "But we do have a really good bunch of people that keep us going."

Jim Handcock, owner of Blacktail Mountain Books, Kalispell, said, "You got to like the books and the people more than the dollars. Mostly I'm a book addict and I deal with book addicts. I'm like an alcoholic bartender. Whatever comes in my kitchen I go after."

At Bad Rock Books, Columbia Falls, owner Carol Rocks observed: "If you get your knowledge through a video screen or a computer screen, then I guess that's okay. A lot of people who buy books and read books don't necessarily always want that. They want to be able to have it in their hot little hands."

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A tempting recipe for Bookstore Café Apricot Squares was featured in the Washington Post. Marcy Goldman, baker and author of A Passion for Baking, "named them 'Bookstore Café' because she thinks they're befitting a cozy book shop that serves dessert."

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In an Oregon City News profile of Lighthouse Books, Clackamas, Ore., owner Dee Bedsole cited the best thing about her new life as a bookseller: "I just get to meet all kinds of really nice people. They come back every week, so now we are old friends. The wonderful people who read books are a treasure trove."

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More book gift lists:

The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va., got a plug in Richmond.com's holiday gift list: "The perfect place to start is Fountain Bookstore in Shockoe Slip. The salesfolk there know how to party, and are holding holiday events all through the month of December."

USA Today touted a deep roster for holiday sports books.

Playing a home game, the New Yorker's list included "Books from our Pages."

And cookbooks galore:

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Sadly Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's, as he stated online yesterday. He added: "We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet :o)"

Incidentally, Barbara Mertz, our Book Brahmin today (see below), is a big fan as shown by her answer to the question "book you are an evangelist for."

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DailyLit, a service that allows readers to read books via e-mail and RSS installments, has agreed with Harlequin Enterprises to deliver in digital serialization format 100 Harlequin backlist titles as well as 20 frontlist titles each month. Most titles will be priced under $5 and be delivered in daily e-mail installments with others on demand.

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We heard from many individuals yesterday that the British word "tosser" means more than just "idiot." Delicately put (well maybe not), it also means masturbator. So let's put our hands together to thank our many observant readers for the information--and let's hope that the tosser issue in Shelf Awareness has spent itself.

 


Soho Teen: Me and Mr. Cigar by Gibby Haynes


Scholastic: New Roles in Marketing, Publicity and More

Effective with the New Year, Suzanne Murphy is being promoted to v-p and publisher, trade publishing and marketing, for Scholastic's trade publishing division. She has been v-p of marketing, Scholastic trade, and in her new position succeeds Ellie Berger, who was made president of trade publishing at Scholastic in October. Murphy joined the company in 2005.

In related moves, David Saylor is being promoted to the newly created position of v-p, associate publisher and creative director, hardcover books. He was formerly creative director of Scholastic's trade publishing division.

Leslie Garych has become v-p of trade marketing in the trade marketing department. A 10-year veteran of the company, Garych was most recently executive director of marketing, creative services and marketing/sales operations for Scholastic trade. Earlier she worked at S&S and Disney/Hyperion and was a children's book buyer at Barnes & Noble.

Tracy van Straaten has been named v-p of publicity and education/library marketing in the trade marketing department. Before joining the company in 2006 as v-p of publicity for Scholastic Trade, van Straaten held children’s book publicity positions at S&S, Morrow, HarperCollins and Little, Brown.

David Levithan has been promoted to executive editorial director, Scholastic Press fiction, multimedia publishing and the PUSH imprint. He joined the company 15 years ago as an editorial intern, founded PUSH in 2002 and became editorial director of Scholastic Press last year.

 


New World Library: We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life by Laura McKowen


Media and Movies

Media Heat: The Kite Runner, the Movie

This morning on the Today Show: Frank McCourt, author of Angela and the Baby Jesus (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781416937890/1416937897).

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This morning on Good Morning America: Sandra Lee, author of Made From Scratch (Meredith Books, $24.95, 9780696239199/0696239191).

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WETA's Author, Author! features two booksellers talking about their holiday gift book recommendations: Barbara Meade, co-owner of Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., and Alexis Akre, a buyer for Olsson's, which has stores in and around the capital.

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Schorr, author of Come to Think of It: Notes on the Turn of the Millennium (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018734/ 0670018732).

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Today on NPR's the Story: Jane Bernstein, author of Rachel in the World (University of Illinois Press, $24.95, 9780252032530/0252032535), a book reviewed in the September 5 Shelf Awareness.

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Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville (Europa Editions, $14.95, 9781933372396/1933372397). As the show put it: "This breakthrough novel is about the The Movies--not the movie business, not the wheels and deals--but The Movies themselves. Here, we explore the idea that there is a secret subject that binds All The Movies together. Try and guess what it is."

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Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Peter Brown, author of The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder (Little, Brown Young Readers, $15.99, 9780316011792/0316011797).

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Today the Writer's Roundtable, which covers the art, craft and business of writing and can be heard on the new San Diego Union Tribune radio station and at signonradio.com, features screenwriter Warren Lewis, best known for his work on Black Rain and The 13th Warrior. He will talk about breaking into screenwriting; the differences between writing novels and screenplays; writing novels that translate easily to the screen; making a living as a screenwriter; getting your screenplay read by Hollywood; and getting your novel noticed by Hollywood. The host is Antoinette Kurtz.

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Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show, a discussion about the movie The Kite Runner, including director Marc Forster, star Khalid Abdalla and the book's author, Khaled Hosseini. The movie goes into limited release tomorrow.

 


Dutton Books: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare


This Weekend on Book TV: Day of Reckoning

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, December 15

3:30 p.m. Encore Booknotes. In a segment that first aired in 2002, Richard Lingeman, author of Sinclair Lewis: Rebel From Main Street (Borealis, $24.95, 9780873515412/0873515412), discussed the private and professional life of the novelist.

7 p.m. Public Lives. A panel discussion of Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir (Touchstone, $16  9781416544494/1416544496) by the late Stanley Tookie Williams, co-founder of the Crips who became an anti-gang activist. Panelists include Melvin Hardy, Tom Hayden, Mike Farrell and Barbara Becnel. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 p.m. and Monday at 6 a.m.).

9 p.m. After Words. Washington Times columnist Diana West interviews Patrick Buchanan, author of Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart (Thomas Dunne, $25.95, 9780312376963/0312376960). Buchanan says that America is facing a crisis it may not survive. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m, Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.).

10 p.m. Eric Muller, author of American Inquisition: The Hunt for Japanese American Disloyalty in World War II (University of North Carolina Press, $27.50, 9780807831731/0807831735), examines the U.S. government's decision to force 70,000 American citizens into internment camps during World War II.

Sunday, December 16

10.30 a.m. Elizabeth Samet, author of Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point (FSG, $23, 9780374180638/0374180636), talks about her experience teaching literature to students who are going to war. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.).

 



Books & Authors

Book Brahmins: Barbara Mertz

Barbara Mertz received her doctorate in Egyptology from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago at the age of 23. Since then, she has written more than 60 novels of mystery and suspense and three works of nonfiction. Her books about Egypt--Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs and Red Land, Black Land--have been in print for 30 years and are considered basic works for beginning students. Completely revised and updated editions are being published by Morrow. Mertz is better known in some circles as Elizabeth Peters, author of more than 30 mystery novels, many of which make use of her academic training. As Barbara Michaels, Mertz is the author of more than two dozen novels of romantic suspense, several of which have been New York Times bestsellers.

She lives in an old farmhouse in the Maryland countryside, and her two children are grown and married, with children of their own. In her spare time, she collects vintage clothing, cats in all forms and a variety of other objects. Her hobbies include gardening, reading, music, embroidery and long conversations with fellow mystery writers.


On your nightstand now:

Law in Action by Macauley, Friedman, & Mertz (Okay, I'm reading it because my daughter is one of the editors); The Bronte Encyclopedia by Louise and Robert Barnard; Lord Peter by Dorothy Sayers; and The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

Favorite book when you were a child:


Probably Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Your top seven authors:

Dickens, Austen, Twain, Renault, Isak Dinesen, Tolkien, Loren Eiseley

Book you've faked reading:

Mark Twain by Ron Powers. I love Twain and it's a great book, but for some reason I ran out of steam about halfway through.


Book you are an evangelist for:

Anything by Terry Pratchett


Book you've bought for the cover:

None. What am I, illiterate?

Book that changed your life:

Three. History of Egypt by J. H. Breasted pulled me into Egyptology, which has been a life-long obsession; The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan; and Dracula by Bram Stoker (I didn't realize until years later that it was the godfather of Barbara Michaels).


Favorite line from a book:

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."--The Book of Matthew

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

 


Book Review

Children's Review: Will Sheila Share?

Will Sheila Share? by Elivia Savadier (Roaring Brook Press, $14.95 Hardcover, 9781596432895, March 2008)



Books like this make a layperson believe that anyone can write a picture book. Savadier (Time to Get Dressed!) mindmelds with the toddler mentality so convincingly that she makes capturing the core experiences of early childhood look easy. The text itself would be more succinct than this review, but merely to recite it would be to disregard the punch that the illustrations deliver. The book opens with the image of a mild-mannered, curly-haired toddler happily intent on a full bag of multicolored marble-size candies. "Will Sheila share?" the text tantalizes. With the turn of a page, two older children stand back against the left margin of a completely white spread, as if withdrawn in fear; only the baby at their feet dares to reach out with a grabby hand. The heroine, on the far right of the spread (in a pose featured on the book's cover), clutches the candy in a posture of off-kilter rage and fear, like a middle-aged woman protecting the last bottle of water in a drought: "She will not share!" The pages that follow reinforce Sheila's resolve, with key words printed in bold to point out the proper stresses ("Not her bunny,/ or her ball"). She will share one "o" from a cereal box or green beans with her scruffy dog. But not until Nana models the true spirit of sharing does Sheila (looking very much the adorable toddler once again) give freely. The heroine's inner struggle is hard-won, which makes her victory all the more credible to the toddler in all of us.--Jennifer M. Brown

 


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