Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Simon & Schuster: Fall Cooking With Simon Element

Ace Books: Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Millicent Quibb School of Etiquette for Young Ladies of Mad Science by Kate McKinnon

Annick Press: Bog Myrtle by Sid Sharp

Minotaur Books: Betrayal at Blackthorn Park: A Mystery (Evelyne Redfern #2) by Julia Kelly

Tor Books: Blood of the Old Kings by Sung-Il Kim, Translated by Anton Hur

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville


Preparing for Potter, Part 2

At least two bookstores in the U.S. are getting aboard the Harry Potter express in a literal way: by running their own versions of the Hogwarts Express.

Valley Booksellers in Stillwater, Minn., has teamed with Minnesota Zephyr, a dinner train, to offer train rides with a Harry Potter theme. The 40-minute rides through the St. Croix Valley include beer and a light meal. While waiting for the train, participants may shop in the store's version of Diagon Alley. Of course, boarding is at platform 9 3/4.

Trains run at 11:30 Friday night and four times a day on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $19.95.

Reportedly CNN will be on hand to film.


The most extravagant event among extravagant events may be the Harry Potter Fest planned in Peninsula, Ohio, where the area will be transformed into "an Enchanted Village and the World of Harry Potter." Blue Heron Bookstore will become Flourish & Blotts, and many other stores will morph into other Potter emporia and hold contests and activities, offer special menus and feature characters in costume.

The Potter Fest will include lectures on Harry Potter at the Ministry of Magic given by a Kent State University professor; a Moonlight Hike in the Forbidden Forest (otherwise known as the Cuyahoga Valley National Park); a Feast in the Great Hall (Happy Days Visitor Center); a Start of the Term Ball that will last until midnight on Friday; a Quidditch Match on Saturday; and last but not least, rides on the Wizard Express (in less magical times this is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad).


In addition, in Duluth, Minn., Northern Lights Books will hold a Harry Potter party at the city's train depot, where a train will roll in and deliver books to fans.

G.P. Putnam's Sons: William by Mason Coile

NAIBA to Open Trunk Show in Central New York

For booksellers in central New York State who don't usually see reps, the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is holding a Trunk Show, on Tuesday, July 26, in Syracuse, N.Y.

"The show is to be conducted like a frontlist appointment, but it's a group frontlist appointment," NAIBA executive director Eileen Dengler told Shelf Awareness.

Time Warner, Holtzbrinck, Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins and Wiley will make formal presentations of their frontlists and talk about publicity, marketing, promotions and author tours. Another 14 publishers, wholesalers and rep groups will have tables for appointments and drop-in meetings. Some of the participants are sending reps; some are sending telephone reps. Booksellers will receive catalogues in advance.

So far, 20 bookstores have signed up for the event. "It's nice for the reps to see that many booksellers in one day," Dengler said.

The association has held workshops in the area that have drawn "a good crowd of booksellers" who expressed interest in this kind of event. If it's successful, Dengler added, NAIBA may unpack Trunk Shows next year in northern New Jersey and Maryland.

The show is free for booksellers, begins at 9 a.m. and will be held at the Holiday Inn Carrier Circle in East Syracuse. For more information, contact NAIBA at 877-866-2422 or via fax at 516-333-0689 or via e-mail at

Harpervia: The Alaska Sanders Affair by Joël Dicker, Translated by Robert Bononno

Media and Movies

Secret Man Stays Secret

The Secret Man, Bob Woodward's account of Deep Throat, aka W. Mark Felt, has left several reviewers wanting to know more. In today's New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called the book "an intriguing if not fully satisfying portrait of the real-life relationship between Mr. Woodward and Mr. Felt." The chief problem: "While Deep Throat's name has been revealed, the mystery of his identity--his personality, the competing claims of pride and guilt on his conscience--remain."

In the Los Angeles Times, Ronald Brownstein wrote that were Woodward a journalism student, his professor would have handed this book back "as incomplete." Stating that this account lacks "the energy and freshness" of All the President's Men, he did note "occasional charms" such as the author's account of the "prickly" relationship the pair had in the early 1970s.

Both reviewers noted the importance of confidential sources to the story--all the more striking at a time when Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time face jail because of their refusal to testify about sources to a grand jury investigating the outing of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

As Brownstein put it: "Though imperfect as memoir, The Secret Man still reminds that anonymous sources, with all their impenetrable and complex motivations, are sometimes the only way for the public to learn truths the government and other powerful institutions would hide."

Lance Alert: Yellow Jersey After Four Stages

Pedaling for his seventh straight Tour de France win, Lance Armstrong is the leader after four stages. His sterling progress reminds us of a new book out on the master of the Tour: Lance Armstrong's War: One Man's Battle Against Fate, Fame, Love, Death, Scandal, and a Few Other Rivals on the Road to the Tour de France by Daniel Coyle (HarperCollins, $25.95).

In the top 20 on Amazon yesterday, the book by the former Outside magazine editor is a first-hand account of Armstrong's preparation for and competition in last year's Tour de France. Several reviewers and readers have praised the book for presenting Armstrong in a straightforward way and revealing the pressures and complexity of the bicycle racing milieu. As Dan Giesin put it in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Not quite a paean to Armstrong, Coyle's book is more of a revelatory glimpse of the workaday world of professional cycling, 21st century style."

Media Heat: Freak Eater, Freak Economist

Tomorrow morning the Today Show chews the fat with Tucker Shaw, author of Everything I Ate: A Year in the Life of My Mouth (Chronicle, $14.95), an account of, as the title suggests, everything he ate in 2004—with 2,500 photos to digest.

Scheduled for tonight on Charlie Rose are Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors of the freak bestseller, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (Morrow, $25.95). Perhaps for balance, another guest is Francis Fukuyama, a historian whose most recent book is State-Building: Governance and World Order in the 21st Century (Cornell University Press, $21).

Today Diane Rehm chats about a timely topic with Geneva Overholser, professor of journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism and co-editor of The Press (Oxford University Press, $65), part of the Institutions of American Democracy Series.

Today Leonard Lopate interviews:
  • James McWilliams, author of A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America (Columbia University Press, $29.95).
  • Rozanne Gold, whose Low Carb 1-2-3: 225 Simply Great 3-Ingredient Recipes (Rodale, $16.95) should help Americans eat a little better.
  • Judge Robert L. Carter, an instrumental force in the Brown v. Board of Education decision and author of A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights (New Press, $24.95).
  • Adrienne Miller, the literary editor of Esquire whose new novel is The Coast of Akron (FSG, $25).
Yesterday All Things Considered considered the popularity of books with religious themes. Martha Woodruff reported from BEA.


Bookstore, Rep Group Stitch Together Unusual Deal

Talk about reps going to extremes to get a foot in the door.

In a rare pairing, Parson Weems, the northeastern commission rep group headed by Chris Kerr and Sean Concannon, and Good Yarns, a bookstore and onetime knitting supplies shop in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., are uniting. The rep group has bought the assets of Good Yarns from longtime owner Rosemary Edelman, who has retired, and will move its offices to the back of the 2,500-sq.-ft. store. (Parson Weems's main office had been in Hoboken, N.J., but rent was about to double.) The new business entity is known as Rivertown Books, Inc.; the store will continue to be known as Good Yarns.

After closing last week, Kerr told Shelf Awareness that he's been "delighted by the response of customers and the staff." The four staff members are staying on, and "the customers are very enthusiastic and acutely conscious of their commitment to their village store."

More than 30 years old, Good Yarns is "a nice, little community bookstore," Kerr said. "It's not an aggressive store doing a lot of outreach, but it does have a lot of goodwill." In fact, in some ways, the store is out of another era, with no Web site, no computer inventory control system—not even a cash register. Ironically Good Yarns didn't see reps and mainly bought new titles by request.

So if ever a store is ready for rationalization, it's this one. Parson Weems, with its technical knowledge and what Kerr called "our obsession with terms," aims to streamline (or create) systems and help make cost-effective buying decisions. The store recently became an ABA member, is joining Book Sense and and will start using WordStock in two weeks.

Concannon, the president of Rivertown Books and supervisor of buying for the store, is no newcomer to retail. In his spare time, he runs an Internet business selling used, out of print and rare titles and will move that into the store, too. (The 5,000-book collection has an emphasis on art, history, classic fiction and regional titles.) Before joining Parson Weems eight years ago, he opened stores for Tower Books and Records in such far-flung places as Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv and was the buyer and general manager of the Tower store in Philadelphia. Kerr will be the secretary/treasurer and be involved in marketing and advertising.

The new owners are beginning to refixture the store and buy more new titles. Another item on the agenda: a Harry Potter party, a first for Good Yarns. The store will donate money to participating Rivertown libraries for each of their residents who buy a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

"Retail friends think we're barking mad," Kerr continued. "Our publishing friends are delighted and can't wait to come out and help. Our clients say good luck and have fun but not too much fun." Parson Weems hopes to showcase some of those clients, most of whom have done no business at Good Yarns in recent years.

Good Yarns is located at 8 Main St., Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. 10591; 914-478-0014. Web site to come!

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