Shelf Awareness for Monday, February 25, 2008

Red Lightning Books: Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas about Our Planet by Donald R Prothero

St. Martin's Press: The Awakening: The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1 (Dragon Heart Legacy, 1)

Houghton Mifflin: Igniting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology) by Robin Lafevers

Clarion Books: Speak Up by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Ebony Glenn


Notes: No Country for Old Men Nabs Four Oscars

The single-biggest winner at the Oscars last night was No Country for Old Men, based on the Cormac McCarthy book, which won best picture, best director (Ethan and Joel Coen), best supporting actor (Javier Bardem) and best adapted screenplay (the Coen brothers again).

The other big book-to-movie winner was The Bourne Ultimatum, based on the Robert Ludlum book. The thriller starring Matt Damon won best sound editing, best sound mixing and best film editing.

Among other films based on books, There Will Be Blood, which pumped Upton Sinclair's novel Oil! for ideas, won best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and best cinematography. Atonement, based on Ian McEwan's novel, won for best original score.


A historic hotel in Boonsboro, Md., being renovated by author Nora Roberts and her husband, Bruce Wilder, who runs the nearby Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe, burned to the ground on Friday morning, according to the Herald-Mail. The fire severely damaged three other buildings and was so hot it caused exterior paint to peel on buildings across the street. Turn the Page was not affected by the fire, which started when construction workers in the hotel accidentally knocked over a 100-gallon liquid propane tank.

Wilder told the paper that renovations were "pretty far along" and that they had planned to open the hotel as a B&B in June. The inn was to have rooms with themes from books.


In October, Barnes & Noble will open a new store in North Tampa, Fla., in the Shops at Wiregrass at the intersection of Bruce B Downs Boulevard and SR-56.


"With so many bookstores having closed their doors on Main Streets in Westchester, the passing of Good Yarns means the western side of the county will have no independently owned comprehensive village bookstore between Bronxville and Chappaqua," the New York Times reported in a eulogy for Good Yarns Bookshop, Hasting on Hudson, N.Y., which is holding a going-out-of-business sale.

The closure is inevitable unless someone emerges willing to rescue the bookshop; or, as store manager William Tester put it, "some maniac who is not interested in making a living." The Times noted that, according to Tester, "a half-dozen people have been intrigued by the idea of taking over the bookstore. But there has been no firm offer, and the landlord can't leave the space empty very long."


Rebirth of a bookstore. The Wichita Eagle reported that Roy "Bam" Gilmore and Gibran Rounds, "grandsons of the late community activist and black elder Jihad Muqtasid are hoping to continue his legacy by reopening his bookstore." Their grandfather's shop, Iqraa International African American Books and Gifts, operated from 1989-1998.

Before his death in 2006, Jihad Muqtasid "came to me about putting the bookstore back in there," Gilmore said. "We had everything that had to do with us as a people. . . . There's a lot of people who've been wanting this store back open. I'm letting them know I'm in the process of getting this going." Gilmore and Rounds plan to call the bookshop Jihad Muqtasid African American Bookstore and Cultural Center.


Shades of Larry Portzline's Bookstore Tourism:

"Today, Greenwich Village is a gift from God for BookLovers," writes columnist Lauren Daley in a recent piece for the Standard-Times. Westport, Mass., bibilophiles Alan and Helene Korolenko "have organized a one-day bus trip to Greenwich Village on April 26 and are inviting all BookLovers reading this column to come along."

"There are over 20 independent book stores in a one-mile area," said Alan. "The variety of book stores is remarkable--stores that carry new books, used books, cookbooks, children's books. The Strand claims 18 miles of books. Books of Wonder is the best children's bookstore I've ever been to."

The trip will be sponsored by Baker Books, Dartmouth, Mass. According to Korolenko, "Essentially it's a bookstore taking people to other bookstores. But (owner) Deb Baker said it's a benefit to Baker's, as well, because people will be introduced to her store through this."


Forget the Oscars. We now have the much-anticipated shortlist for this year's Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. In announcing this year's list, the Bookseller magazine noted that "Horace Bent, the Bookseller diarist and custodian of the Diagram Prize, said: 'I confess: I have been anxious that as publishing becomes ever more corporate, the trade's quirky charms are being squeezed out. Lists are pruned, targets are set, authors are culled. But happily my fears have been proved unfounded: oddity lives on.'"

And now, the list:

  • I Was Tortured by the Pygmy Love Queen
  • How to Write a How to Write Book
  • Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
  • Cheese Problems Solved
  • If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
  • People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood

The winner will be announced March 28.



Red Lightning Books: The Legend of Bigfoot: Leaving His Mark on the World by T.S Mart, Mel Cabre

Dutton's Brentwood to Close

Sad news from Los Angeles: Dutton's Brentwood Books is closing on April 30.

The past few years have been difficult for Dutton's, which at the end of 2006 closed its two-year-old Beverly Hills store and whose new landlord had announced plans to redevelop the store's building. In a statement, owner Doug Dutton said that "the multiple uncertainties of the bookstore's future, combined with the encumbrances associated with the closure of the Beverly Hills store have crippled the store's ability to provide the kind of immediate service and depth of inventory that our customers have come to rightly expect."

The store was founded in 1961 by Dutton's parents and has been beloved by customers and authors alike.

Dutton continued: "Every effort has been made to try to sensibly and rationally save this enterprise. Those efforts continued up until last week. It is the uncertainty that has, more than any other factor, led us to this painful decision. It has arrested improvement to the physical property, impacted inventory, and made it impossible for our extraordinary staff to provide the level of service that they are accustomed to giving."

Dutton noted that landlord "Charles Munger has committed to a significant amount of financial support for the difficult process of closing the store, and we appreciate his generosity."

Dutton left the door slightly open to the idea of reopening, saying, "We have been asked if the store will reopen in the proposed new development or at another site in the area. At present, any plans to reopen or relocate will have to await a real offer in a real situation, combined with a sober assessment of the realities of the book world. That said, we have not said 'no' to any future possibility."


University of Pittsburgh Press: The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories by Caroline Kim

Book Fool Looks to Retool, Open Bookstore

For aspiring bookstore owner Kris Lange, the best source of knowledge has been those in the business. A visit to the Winter Institute last month yielded more than enough contacts and enthusiasm to keep him moving toward his goal of opening a retail outlet in Nashville, Tenn., next year. "My wife and I talk almost daily about how much we enjoyed it and how much information we got," Lange said. "We couldn't believe the willingness of bookstore owners and employees to help. It was incredible."

Lange, 26, is no stranger to the book trade, having launched the website while in college. He began selling rare and antiquarian tomes but traded that for the more lucrative market of newer scholarly titles and textbooks. He left the business behind, though, after graduating from the University of Mississippi with a graduate degree in accountancy.

Lange then headed to Nashville to work for accounting giant Ernst & Young, but a little over a year later he left the corporate world to return to the book business. "I decided to take the shot because I hadn't gotten too comfortable in life," he said. "I think if you really start making money in a professional career it's hard to get away from that. I'd only been working for a year, so it was a good time to leave and take the risk."

Entrepreneurship runs in the family. Lange's mother owns a vintage linens store and apron museum in Iuka, Miss., and is considering opening a bookstore as well. "It has always been my sense that I would do something entrepreneurial," said Lange, "especially once I started selling books in college." Although he was undecided about the exact nature of the post-college retail business he would one day own, books proved to be a powerful allure. "My mom is a collector," he added, "and I grew up in a household where we had a lot of books. A bookstore has a collector's atmosphere to it, when you have a lot of something, and I enjoy that." And during the year he spent at Ernst & Young, said Lange, he "felt a longing to be back with books and an urge to start the business anew."

Lange re-launched in early 2007, and is in the process of developing the website, which serves as a search engine for comparing book prices and is an online hub for the textbook buyback program. Now his sights are set on his next venture: opening a general interest bookstore in Nashville next year. Lange is leaning toward using the Book Fool as its moniker, and there will be a focus, he explained, "on being a click-and-mortar store and emphasizing the '.com' in the name."

Besides attending the Winter Institute, Lange gleaned insight into the bookselling world from The King's English: Adventures of an Independent Bookseller by Betsy Burton, proprietor of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah. One of Burton's points that particularly resonated with him is that "a bookstore owner doesn't just sell books--they are primarily a manager and business operator," he noted, "and my studies were mainly in numbers and not words." In addition to his skill with numbers, Lange has another asset to bring to his chosen profession. "I have a passion for books," he remarked. "My wife would say that we wouldn't even have a TV if it weren't for her."

When not spending his time reading, Lange is making plans to visit bookstores in Chicago--as well as a trip to Portland, Ore., to peruse Powell's City of Books--and finalizing his business plan. He'll soon begin searching for a location in "a neighborhood that values independent businesses," he said. As Davis-Kidd Booksellers has done in the Green Hills area of Nashville, Lange hopes to build a store that will become "a community hub," he remarked. "That's what I'm looking forward to."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Kris Lange can be reached at or 615-495-0117. We'll be checking in with him from time to time to see how his bookstore plans are shaping up.


Rick Riordan Presents: Tristan Strong Destroys the World (a Tristan Strong Novel, Book 2) by Kwame Mbalia

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
How I Built This
by Guy Raz

Houghton Mifflin: How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy RazAward-winning podcast host Guy Raz has written the definitive guide for aspiring entrepreneurs eager to transform their business idea into a successful enterprise. How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths of Success from the World's Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs, named after Raz's popular podcast, features stories of start-up adventures and valuable insider tips from the founders of Headspace, Bumble and Slack, among many others. It belongs "on the start-up bookshelf next to such classics as The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries," says Rick Wolff, senior executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, where in-house support for the book was universal. At a time when the world needs dynamic innovation more than ever, Raz's phenomenal storytelling skills will ignite in readers a desire to chase their own entrepreneurial dreams. --Shahina Piyarali

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 hardcover, 9780358216766,
September 15, 2020)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Valerie Bertinelli on Losing It on Oprah

This morning on the Today Show: Dee Dee Myers, author of Why Women Should Rule the World (Harper, $24.95, 9780061140402/0061140406).


Today on the Martha Stewart Show: Miyako Kanamori, author of Sock and Glove: Creating Charming Softy Friends from Cast-Off Socks and Gloves (HP Trade, $12.95, 9781557885166/1557885168).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Antonio Skarmeta, author of The Dancer and the Thief translated by Katherine Silver (Norton, $24.95, 9780393064940/0393064948).


Today on WNYC's Leonard Leopate Show: John Marks, author of Reasons to Believe: One Man's Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind (Ecco, $26.95, 9780060832766/0060832762).


Today on Oprah: Valerie Bertinelli, author of Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (Free Press, $26, 9781416568186/1416568182). Bertinelli will also be on Larry King Live tomorrow evening.


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a repeat: Lee Siegel, author of Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob (Spiegel & Grau, $22.95, 9780385522656/0385522657).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Padma Lakshmi, author of Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day (Weinstein Books, $34.95, 9781602860063/1602860068).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Molly Caldwell Crosby, author of The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History (Berkley, $24.95, 9780425212028/0425212025).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Binka Le Breton, author of The Greatest Gift: The Courageous Life and Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang (Doubleday, $21.95, 9780385522182/0385522185).


Tomorrow night on the Charlie Rose Show: Garry Wills, author of What the Gospels Meant (Viking, $24.95, 9780670018710/0670018716).

Movie: The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl, starring Eric Bana, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, opens this coming Friday, February 29. It is based on the novel by Philippa Gregory, in which two sisters--Anne and Mary Boleyn--compete for the affection of King Henry VIII. The movie tie-in edition is now available (Touchstone, $16, 9781416560609/1416560602).


Books & Authors

Image of the Day: A Book Signing Goes Swimmingly

Lynne Cox, author of Grayson and Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer, happily stands on dry land with two young fans during a recent appearance at Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.




Book Sense: May We Recommend

From last week's Book Sense bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Book Sense Picks:


All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well
by Tod Wodicka (Pantheon, $21.95, 9780375424731/0375424733). "While it would be tempting to view Tod Wodicka as Berlin's answer to Michael Chabon and Tom Perrotta, it is better to call him a new and distinct voice in his own right. His novel All Shall Be Well . . . is one of the most moving and inventive debuts that I have read in some time. This marks an auspicious beginning of a promising career."--Kester Smith, Book People, Austin, Tex.

I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Broadway, $23.95, 9780767921749/0767921747). "Jenny Boylan's follow-up memoir to the critically acclaimed She's Not There is destined for as much, if not more, praise as its predecessor. Bouncing through time, I'm Looking Through You explores the many ways one can be haunted. Introduce yourself to this wonderful literary voice."--Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.


Five Days in Autumn by Langston Keane (White Elk Press, $11.95, 9780977723720/0977723720). "This novel about a hard-driving corporate executive and his encounter with his dying grandfather's journals is a delightfully moving story of loves past and present that provided insight on how the decisions we make in our lives affect us. Set primarily in the beautiful mountains of eastern Tennessee, Five Days in Autumn is much more than a love story--it will touch you deeply."--Pam White, Skyland Books, West Jefferson, N.C.

For Ages 9-12

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World by E. L. Konigsburg (Ginee Seo Books, $16.99, 9781416949725/1416949720). "Amadeo is the new kid in a small Florida town where no one cares that he misses New York City's art world. Then, he is swept into an adventure involving a sketch, an old man's memoirs, and a secret dating back to the Nazi occupation of Holland. This intriguing story of unlikely friendships and the power of truth is a must-read for Konigsburg fans."--Kris Vreeland, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


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