Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One More Chapter: The Girl Who Survived Auschwitz by Eti Elboim and Sara Leibovits, translated by Esther Frumkin

Andrews McMeel Publishing: The Wheel of the Year: An Illustrated Guide to Nature's Rhythms by Fiona Cook, illustrated by Jessica Roux

Tor Nightfire: What Feasts at Night (Sworn Soldier #2) by T. Kingfisher

Amulet Books: Nightbane (the Lightlark Saga Book 2) by Alex Aster

Forge: Deep Freeze (Revival #1) by Michael C. Grumley

Shadow Mountain: Janitors School of Garbage: Volume 1 by Tyler Whitesides

Quotation of the Day

Reading--'A Prototype of Independence?'

"The reader is also alone, but the N.E.A. reports that readers are more likely than non-readers to play sports, exercise, visit art museums, attend theatre, paint, go to music events, take photographs, and volunteer. Proficient readers are also more likely to vote. Perhaps readers venture so readily outside because what they experience in solitude gives them confidence. Perhaps reading is a prototype of independence. No matter how much one worships an author, Proust wrote, 'all he can do is give us desires.' Reading somehow gives us the boldness to act on them. Such a habit might be quite dangerous for a democracy to lose."--Caleb Crain in his New Yorker essay, Twilight of the books: What will life be like if people stop reading?


Soho Crime: Union Station (John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) by David Downing


Notes: College Stores Off Campus; Dollar and a Dream

The Rowan University board of trustees has approved a resolution allowing Barnes & Noble to take over the campus bookstore next spring and to lease space in a development closer to the center of Glassboro, N.J., where the store will sell both to the campus community and the general public, the Courier Post reported.

In a similar move, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., plans to open a new college bookstore off campus in the Arlington area in 2009, according to Mid-Hudson News. Vassar will renovate the 10,000-sq.-ft. former Juliet movie theater building, which it owns. The new store will be "open longer hours, sell a wider selection of general interest books, merchandise and Vassar clothing and gifts, and include an entertainment space," the paper added.


The Dollar Bookstore in Burbank, Calif., opened on November 9 and business has been "better than what we expected," owner Piccolo Lewis told the Burbank Leader.

Everything in the 11,000-sq.-ft. store costs $1, including CDs and videos. One customer said, "I end up walking to here and then walking out with a lot of books. It's kind of a blessing and a curse."

Lewis has owned bookstores in Long Beach and said he wants to open two more Dollar Bookstores--in Long Beach and on Sunset Boulevard. If he can't find suitable space, he will move to San Francisco, he said. Lewis is renting the Burbank space on a month-by-month basis.


YouTube buy the book:

A Holiday 2007 TV commercial for Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.


More book gift suggestions:

The Seattle Times suggested "gift books for armchair and active travelers."

"Who better to review a children's book this holiday season than a child?" wondered CNN.

New York Newsday harvested "a crop of cook books for the holiday gift season."

The "12 books of Christmas: a roundup of titles to suit anyone on your shopping list" were featured in the Kansas City Star. asked, "Need a Gift? Shy Di Flirts, Naples Bleeds in Our Top Nonfiction."


"100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan" have been chosen by the Nippon Foundation, according to the Daily Yomiuri, which reported that the foundation "plans to complete the catalog in March and send it to the United States in the first year of the project, reaching about 100 institutions, such as public and university libraries and think tanks, and about 500 lawmakers and other opinion leaders there."

Among the titles were Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose by Kenneth Pyle; The Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature: 1945 to the Present edited by Thomas J. Rimer and Van C. Gessel; and The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Ecology and Culture in Japanese Expansion: 1590-1800 by Brett L. Walker.


GLOW: Scribner Book Company: Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford

Book Blues Has Blues, Seeks Community Support

Taking inspiration from the "Save the Shop Around the Corner" campaign launched by Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail, Jacqueline and Todd Wilson, owners of the Book Blues Bookstore, Marine City, Mich., have started a "Save the Book Blues: Shop Locally or There Will Be No Local Shops" campaign.

The Wilsons opened Book Blues in June 2006 and may have to shut its doors in the new year. But instead of abruptly closing, they have decided, as Todd Wilson put it in a statement, "to let our customers and the community know what was going on. This is not a time to be prideful or embarrassed. We felt that if the community really wanted us to stay then we should give them the chance to exhibit that."

Wilson blamed the store's difficulties on "an uncertain economy, especially in a state that is in one of the worst economic positions in the country. Add to that the fact that we are in a small, seasonal, tourist-based town and the future is not looking good." Moreover, the couple is expecting their first child in March. "Having a baby has definitely factored into this decision," Wilson added.

The Wilsons sent an e-mail and distributed a letter to customers and others about the store's problems. Jacqueline Wilson said community support has been overwhelming. "We had customers in the store crying after the letter came out, but I'm cautiously optimistic. If we can keep up this kind of interest and support without it dying down after the hype, then there just might be a chance for us."


Weiser Books: The Weiser Tarot Journal: Guidance and Practice by Theresa Reed;  The Weiser Tarot: A New Edition of the Classic 1909 Waite-Smith Deck (78-Card Deck with 64-Page Guidebook) by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith;  The Weiser Tarot Card Sticker Book by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith

Media and Movies

Movies: A Christmas Quartet

P.S., I Love You, directed by Richard LaGravenese and based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern, opens this coming Friday, December 21. Hilary Swank stars as a widow who discovers 10 steps to start a new life left by her late husband, played by Gerard Butler. The movie tie-in edition is from Hyperion ($13.95, 9781401309169/140130916X).


Persepolis, based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, opens Tuesday, December 25, and tells the story of a young girl who grows up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Directed by Vincent Paronnaud with voices by Chiara Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve. The movie tie-in edition is from Pantheon ($24.95, 9780375714832/0375714839).


Charlie Wilson's War, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, opens on Christmas Day, too. This is the true story of a Texas Congressman and a renegade CIA agent who arrange the delivery of money and weapons to the mujahedin of Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. The movie tie-in edition, Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times by the late George Crile, is from Grove Press ($14.95, 9780802143419/0802143415).


There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, opens Wednesday, December 26. A Texas prospector discovers oil in the early 1900s. Based on the novel Oil! by Upton Sinclair. The movie tie-in edition is from Penguin ($15, 9780143112266/0143112260). (Anderson appears this afternoon on  NPR's Fresh Air.)


Media Heat: Peter Jennings Remembered

This morning on Good Morning America: Dave Isay, author of Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (Penguin Press, $24.95, 9781594201400/1594201404).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show, the readers review focuses on A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (Penguin, $15, 9780143038412/0143038419).


Tonight on the Charlie Rose Show:

Richard Russo, author most recently of Bridge of Sighs (Knopf, $26.95, 9780375414954/0375414959).

A discussion about the life and work of Peter Jennings, featuring, among others:

  • Kayce Freed Jennings, Jennings's widow and author of Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life (Thorndike Press, $31.95, 9781410402714/1410402711).
  • Lynn Sherr, editor with Kayce Freed Jennings and Kate Darnton of Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485177/1586485172).


Books & Authors

Book Brahmins: Roland Merullo

Roland Merullo is the critically acclaimed author of seven novels, including Leaving Losapas; A Russian Requiem, currently optioned for film rights by John Turturro; Revere Beach Boulevard, finalist for the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Prize; In Revere in Those Days, a Booklist Editors' Choice; A Little Love Story; and Golfing With God. His memoir, Revere Beach Elegy, won the 2000 Massachusetts Book Award for Non-Fiction. Breakfast with Buddha: A Novel, was published by Algonquin Books in October. Merullo lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters. Here he answers questions we put to authors:

On your nightstand now:

Unfortunately I tend to read a dozen books at a time, at the pace of a few pages a night, and will pick one off the bedside table depending on my pre-sleep mood. Right now I am mainly reading and admiring Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, and, on other nights, the great yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar's Light on Life.
Favorite book when you were a child:

The Chip Hilton series--sports books for boys: a lot of baseball heroism and drama, good kids and bullies, which was pretty much the story of my youth.

Your top five authors:

Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman.

Book you've faked reading:

A Russian Studies major as an undergrad and a Russian language and lit major in grad school, I never got more than about halfway through War and Peace, though I believe I wrote a pretty good paper on it.

Book you are an evangelist for:

James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I read it for the first time as a 23 year old, and was amazed that it seemed at least as good when I re-read it at 45. How many sophisticated intellectuals can make the invisible poor visible?
Book you've bought for the cover:

Sacred Places of Asia: Where Every Breath Is a Prayer
by Jon Ortner

Book that changed your life:

Hands down, Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. Perfect read for a mixed-up college kid stepping out into the world.

Favorite line from a book:

It comes from Robert Stone's masterful novel, A Flag for Sunrise, where his drunken missionary priest says, of the mandatory daily prayer he refuses to recite, "I consider it wrongly written down."

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

Tie between The Great Gatsby and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Each in itself is a master class in the writing of English prose.

Qualities you look for most in books you read now:

Unusual structure, angle of approach and tone. A writer who can make the plain, everyday world sing without having to add too much forced drama. Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Sebald's Campo Santo and Levi's Christ Stopped at Eboli would be examples.

Book that made you laugh:

Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence


Book Review

Book Review: Helping Me Help Myself

Helping Me Help Myself: One Skeptic, Ten Self-Help Gurus, and a Year on the Brink of the Comfort Zone by Beth Lisick (William Morrow & Company, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780061143960, January 2008)

After waking up sore and bruised on January 1, 2006, Beth Lisick made one resolution: to learn better how to do the splits for her next New Year's Eve party. After a glance at her chaotic house, however, Lisick realized that perhaps she might set her resolution bar a wee bit higher--perhaps organize the basement, exercise or even pay some bills on time. Who better to assist her in reaching these goals, she thought, than the self-help experts? Vowing to keep her mind open, Lisick formed a plan: for each month of the coming year, she'd choose one expert to help her help herself in a specific area of need. The resulting journey, chronicled here, is by turns fulfilling, frustrating, expensive and exhausting for Lisick, but consistently engaging and often hilarious for her readers.
Part of the fun is that Lisick is never truly able to chuck her skepticism while she chugs the Kool-Aid. From her reflection that one of Steven Covey's most "effective" principles may be his ability to command a $699 lecture ticket price to her realization that John Gray's seminar is mostly a live infomercial, Lisick's sharp observations bite through the fluff of self-help-speak to get to the core messages. Once there, she does find something of value in almost every venture and in a couple of cases, is actually surprised by the results.
In one of the book's funniest chapters, for example, she takes a Richard Simmons "Cruise to Lose" and finds herself utterly charmed by the butt-flashing, round-haired diet guru who manages to lavish personal attention on each guest. Later, when she runs into a behavioral roadblock with her young son, an expert's book on discipline (which she'd picked up at an earlier self-help conference) works so well she passes it along to her sister-in-law. Not everything is this magical, of course. While she appreciates finance-guru Suze Orman's basic philosophy, Lisick finds its practical application challenging for someone who is not already wealthy. And despite a Herculean effort to believe, she is repelled by John Gray's reductive--and sexist--approach to relationships.
While she does grow weary of constant affirmations, self-analysis and golf metaphors (every self-help expert seems to have them), Lisick comes to some decidedly un-cynical conclusions about the power of positive thinking as the year draws to a close. Witty, warm, but never mawkish, these final insights are the perfect ending to a very entertaining read.--Debra Ginsberg


The Bestsellers's Most Popular: Knitting, Sex, Sports's most sought-after out-of-print books in 2007 (with BookFinder commentary) are:

1. Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. (1978). Cult classic distance running novel (long-awaited sequel, Again to Carthage, released November).
2. Football Scouting Methods by Steve Belichick (1962). Legendary college football scout's playbook, used by coaches and players.
3. Sex by Madonna (1992). The pop icon's book of erotic photos, a perennial favorite.
4. Promise Me Tomorrow by Nora Roberts (1984). Early novel that the bestselling romance novelist refuses to reprint.
5. The Lion's Paw by Robb White (1946). Enduring children's adventure story.
6. The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt (1988). Ultimate indispensable hand knitting resource.
7. Raven: The Untold Story of the Reverend Jim Jones and his People by Tim Reiterman (1982). Chronicles the inner workings which allowed the People's Temple to flourish.
8. Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore (1997). History and how-to about the Irish technique.
9. One Way Up by John F. Straubel (1964). History of helicopters and vertically rising aircraft.
10. Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell (1959). Novel based on the life of Saint Luke.

[Many thanks to!]


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