Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tor Nightfire: Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Big Picture Press: Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols

Callaway Arts & Entertainment: The Beatles: Get Back by The Beatles, photographed by Linda McCartney

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Candlewick Press: Hello, Little Fish!: A Mirror Book by Lucy Cousins

Merriam-Webster Kids: Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day: 366 Elevating Utterances to Stretch Your Cranium and Tickle Your Humerus by Merriam-Webster


Notes: Friedman BEA Keynote Speaker; Karibu Update

Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist and author of The World Is Flat, From Beirut to Jerusalem and other titles, will be the conference keynote speaker at BookExpo America on Friday, May 30, in Los Angeles, Calif. When he begins speaking at 11 a.m., all other convention programming except for the exhibit hall will close.

Friedman will focus on the topic of his next book, Green Is the New Red, White and Blue, which FSG is publishing on August 19, in which he proposes a national strategy he calls Geo-Greenism to address global warming and make the U.S. "healthier, more innovative, more productive and more secure."

In a statement, Lance Fensterman, v-p and event director for BEA, said that Friedman's "message not only dovetails nicely with our own programming, but it promises to be a definitive 'call to arms' for how we manage our environment in the future. His appearance certainly provides depth and substance for discussion at BEA."


More on the imminent closing of Karibu Books, noted here yesterday:

Yesterday afternoon on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, the NPR station in Washington, D.C., Brother Simba Sana, co-owner of Karibu, said that the company's stores were doing well and that the cause of their closing is a "destructive" dissolution of its partnership.

Incidentally Shelf Awareness's very own John Mutter was also on the show.


Agence France-Presse (via today's New York Times) reported that J. K. Rowling "blocked the Finnish publication of her latest Harry Potter novel on paper from Finland because it lacked the ecologically friendly certification she favors."


Yesterday we missed several Oscar nominations of movies based on books, including strangely one of our favorites:

Persepolis, based on the graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, was nominated for best animated film.

Also Beaufort, based on the book by Ron Leshem, translated by Evan Fallenberg (Delacorte, $24, 9780553806823/0553806823), was nominated for best foreign language film.


In an article on the "shop local" focus for businesses in the Vashon, Wash., area, Jenny Wilke, the new owner of Books by the Way, told the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber that "she met all the sales benchmarks the business’ previous owner had set out for November and December."

"It was my first time, and I thought sales went really well," she said. "We’re very thankful for all the people that bought locally."

Karen Barringer, co-owner of Vashon Bookshop, said her bookstore "had a phenomenal year; it was the best year we’ve ever had. It was exhausting and it was wonderful. This community is so supportive of its book store."


Salander-O'Reilly Galleries plans to sell its collection of 35,000 art books and catalogs. The New York art dealer filed for bankruptcy protection last November, according to, which added that "Joseph Sarachek, the gallery's court-approved chief restructuring officer, said proprietor Lawrence Salander spent more than $4 million amassing the collection."


With more women in the comics industry, "kick-ass heroines are taking over," according to the Guardian, and comics conventions  are one of the venues where the change is apparent.

"It used to be that there might be girls tagging along with their boyfriends or fathers, pretty miserable," said comics writer Gail Simone. Now "they are actively there with their girlfriends, or they've dragged their boyfriend along. They really want to know how to get into the industry, how to be a writer, or an artist. Or you find out that they're already writing books about women and comics, or writing about the subject online. It's amazing!" 


Passionate handselling and insightful blogging are now a popular combination for indie booksellers, and newly published titles aren't the only ones being showcased online. Pamela Grath of Dog Ears Books, Northport, Mich., has just written a two-part post at her Books in Northport blog about Ulrich Straus's The Anguish of Surrender: Japanese POWs of World War II (University of Washington Press, $24.95, 9780295985084/0295985089), first published in 2004.

"Straus is a friend and neighbor here in northern Michigan," Grath explained. "With torture of prisoners now being debated (rather than rejected) by people in our government, Straus's book is taking on new life, as more and more diplomatic and military personnel find in it a case to be made against torture. This makes it an important and relevant book for our times, deserving of the highest visibility."

Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Tasty Blend: Two Stores, One Book Club

On tap last Friday evening at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo, Wash.: the inaugural gathering of the Books and Brew over 21 Book Club. After discussing Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, a dozen participants continued their discourse at a nearby watering hole. The club is co-sponsored by Eagle Harbor Book Co. on Bainbridge Island, some 15 miles from Poulsbo, and monthly meetings will alternate between the two store locations.

The idea for the dual venture came after Liberty Bay Books owner Suzanne Droppert attended a session on reading groups at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show last fall. After hearing about the success Queen Anne Books in Seattle has had with the books-and-bars combination, Droppert decided to give it a try and enlisted a 20-something employee to helm the gatherings at Liberty Bay. "We thought it would be a great way to go after the younger set," Droppert said. Participants in the book club must be under the age of 40.

Teaming up with Eagle Harbor was a natural choice, noted Droppert. Staff members already have a close working relationship, often referring patrons to the other locale if a book is not in stock, attending trade shows together and meeting jointly with publishers' sales reps. The retailers also are part of a consortium of independent bookstores and libraries that stages West Sound Reads, a program that sponsors author appearances to promote reading in the community. Lisa See and Jane Smiley are slated to appear as part of West Sound Reads on March 25 and April 16, respectively.

The next joint endeavor for Liberty Bay and Eagle Harbor is co-hosting a fête in February for Bainbridge Island resident Kristin Hannah, whose latest novel is Firefly Lane (on sale February 5). "She's so good to both of our stores that we thought it would be fun to do it together," said Mary Gleysteen, events coordinator at Eagle Harbor. "Kristin appeals to both our readerships," she added, and the soiree--which will be held at a local restaurant--is expected to draw women's fiction and romance readers who shop at one or both stores.

The pubs and wine bars the group visits for après discussion drinks will vary each month. The club is being promoted with signage in both store locations, and staffers are talking it up to appropriate customers. It also received a write-up in a local newspaper, in part because of its name. The club's moniker "has piqued people's interest," said bookseller Andrew Maiers, who will host the club when it convenes at Eagle Harbor.

Droppert selected Into the Wild as the club's first read because of its appeal to both men and women. Choosing a book that had been turned into a movie was a suggestion that was made at the PNBA workshop. "That way if somebody didn't have a chance to read the book but saw the movie, they could still attend and take part in the discussion," Maiers said. The next pick is Atonement by Ian McEwan.

This month Liberty Bay Books is launching another second initiative. The store is collaborating with the Resort at Port Ludlow, which will be the site of a monthly Writers Series. An $85 admission price includes a Saturday evening reception, a five-course dinner, presentations by regional writers and signed copies of their books. The first event took place this past weekend with Dr. Pepper Schwartz, the author of Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years, and Linda Costello and Wendy Edelson, the paper engineer and illustrator of Lighthouses: A Pop-Up Gallery of America's Most Beloved Beacons.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Four Treasures of the Sky
by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui ZhangDaiyu, named after a tragic heroine, is the young protagonist of Jenny Tinghui Zhang's stunning debut novel, Four Treasures of the Sky, a work of historical fiction set in the 1880s. Daiyu happily follows a stranger when he promises her a full belly, but instead of feeding her noodles, he smuggles her from China to California, where she begins a dizzying journey that fuses folklore and history with a masterful eloquence. "There's still a strong bias toward thinking of the lone cowboy as the quintessential symbol of the West," says Flatiron senior editor Caroline Bleeke, who quickly fought to preempt the book after reading an early manuscript. "But that elides the experiences of everyone else, particularly women and POC." A book to sit alongside Yaa Gyasi's Homecoming and Anna North's Outlawed, this is a powerful tale of reclamation, spun with soul by a remarkable new talent. --Lauren Puckett

(Flatiron Books, $27.99 hardcover, 9781250811783, April 5, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Revisiting Jane Austen & Stephen Crane

Today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Jason Elam, author of Monday Night Jihad (Tyndale House, $19.99, 9781414317304/1414317301).


WETA's Author, Author! features a conversation with Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Dutton, $14, 9780452289727/0452289726).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Michael Shnayerson, author of Coal River (FSG, $25, 9780374125141/0374125147).


Today on KCRW's Bookworm: Edmund White, whose new book is Hotel de Dream: A New York Novel (Ecco, $23.95, 9780060852259/0060852252). As the show put it: "Here's a literary historical enigma: Did Stephen Crane attempt to write a gay companion piece to his Maggie: A Girl of the Streets? Literary rumor says he tried. At any rate, now Edmund White has written it for him. It's Edmund White on Hotel de Dream and the "underground" history of classic American fiction."


Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Anahad O'Connor, author of Never Shower in a Thunderstorm: Surprising Facts and Misleading Myths About Our Health and the World We Live In (Times, $14, 9780805083125/080508312X).


Today on the Ellen Degeneres Show: Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of Change Your Thoughts--Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao (Hay House, $26.95, 9781401911843/1401911846).


Tonight on Charlie Rose: Orhan Pamuk, author of Other Colors: Essays and a Story (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307266750/0307266753.


Berkley Books: 30 Things I Love about Myself by Radhika Sanghani

This Weekend on Book TV: Homo Politicus

This Weekend on 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, January 26

4 p.m. From the annual Lincoln Forum Symposium in Gettysburg, Pa., Tom Wheeler, author of Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (Collins, $13.95, 9780061129803/0061129801), draws comparisons between Lincoln's skillful and revolutionary use of the telegraph and modern technology such as e-mail.
6 p.m. Encore Book Notes. In a segment first aired in 1995, political commentator Armstrong Williams, author of Beyond Blame: How We Can Succeed by Breaking the Dependency Barrier, urged African Americans to take more responsibility for their lives and the futures of their children.
9 p.m. After Words. Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News and NPR, interviews Dana Milbank, author of Homo Politicus: The Strange and Barbaric Tribes that Run Our Government (Doubleday, $26, 9780385517508/0385517505). Milbank discusses political malfeasance as well as the rituals and customs of the contemporary political landscape. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Monday at 12:00 a.m.)
10 p.m. At an event hosted by Back Pages Books, Waltham, Mass., Noam Chomsky talks about his book Interventions (City Lights, $15.95, 9780872864832/0872864839), U.S. foreign policy and other matters with bookshop owner Alex Green and audience members. (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

Sunday, January 27
7 p.m. Hal Brands, author of From Berlin to Baghdad: America's Search for Purpose in the Post-Cold War World (University Press of Kentucky, $45, 9780813124629/081312462X), analyzes America's foreign policy following the fall of the Soviet Union and prior to September 11. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: Kennedy's Day is Costa Book of the Year

A.L. Kennedy won the £25,000 [US$49,000] Costa Book of the Year award for her novel, Day, "a harrowing story of a Second World War bomber crew," according to the Times. Author and judging panel chairman Joanna Trollope called the book "perfect and beautifully written. 

"She is an extraordinary stylist" Trollope continued. "Her style is arresting. It has got shades of James Joyce and all kinds of greats in it."

The Times also noted that Kennedy "made a special plea to have 'libraries with books in them and bookshops with a wide range of books.' She added afterwards: 'If you genuinely care about books, then defend them. You've got to start with the education system.'"


Image of the Day: Joanne Harris in the Green Room

Before her recent reading at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Wash., Joanne Harris, touring for her first YA novel, Runemarks, chatted with Random House rep Deanna Meyerhoff, Park Place Books' Mary Harris and area school librarians.


Children's Book Review: The Willoughbys

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry (Houghton/Lorraine, $16, 9780618979745/0618979743, 176 pp., ages 9-13, March)

Fans of two-time Newbery Medalist Lowry (Number the Stars; The Giver) will easily detect the fun she's having with this novel about "an old-fashioned type of family." With tongue planted firmly in cheek, her omniscient narrator sends up classic orphan tales such as Heidi and The Secret Garden, and makes a couple of references to one of Dickens' only non-orphan novels, A Christmas Carol (yet points out, "A boy named Tim is not an orphan but behaves like one"). Intermediaries beware: this may be a tricky one to booktalk or handsell. In the first two chapters, the four Willoughby children devise ways to get rid of the parents, even as the "impatient and irascible" father and "indolent and ill-tempered" mother ("Once she read a book but found it distasteful because it contained adjectives") dream up plans to dispense with their progeny. For their part, the quartet of Willoughby offspring also starts off rather unsympathetically; after someone leaves a baby on their doorstep (à la The Bobbsey Twins and Baby May), the children abandon it on the porch of the local millionaire, whose own small son was presumed dead in a train wreck in the Alps six years before. The plot purposefully follows a predictable trajectory, beginning with a kind nanny who redeems the children ("Not one bit like that fly-by-night [Mary Poppins] . . . It almost gives me diabetes just to think of her: all those disgusting spoonfuls of sugar!" says Nanny), and concluding with the parents meeting a tragic end (though not at the hands of their children). Laugh-out-loud scenes feature the 10-year-old twins, both named Barnaby, who must share a sweater because their mother will knit only one, and the children posing as a coat rack or sporting a lampshade (bearing this note, "The electricity in this house is defective and may electrocute you if you turn on a lamp") in order to scare off prospective homebuyers. The bonus: a closing glossary as witty as the text (e.g., "Tycoon means somebody who has amassed great wealth and power in business. Usually a tycoon is a man, for some reason. Maybe Oprah Winfrey is a tycooness"). Avid booklovers will most appreciate Lowry's handiwork, but reluctant readers may well be drawn in by this deliciously irreverent narrator.--Jennifer M. Brown


Powered by: Xtenit