Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Margaret K. McElderry Books: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Berkley Books: The Comeback Summer by Ali Brady

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

Zonderkidz: The Smallest Spot of a Dot: The Little Ways We're Different, the Big Ways We're the Same by Linsey Davis, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Quotation of the Day

Simon Michael Bessie: Missing Lolita

"One reads under different circumstances. I have now reread Lolita several times since then, and I cannot reconstruct the S. M. Bessie who sat there in a hotel in Paris and turned that book down! But I did."--Simon Michael Bessie talking with Archipelago in 1997 (via today's New York Times) about having rejected the opportunity to publish Vladimir Nabokov's classic work. Bessie, co-founder and president of Atheneum and co-head of the Cornelia and Michael Bessie Books imprint at Harper, among other positions, died Monday at the age of 92.


Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: Welcome to the World by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury


Notes: Tasty Tomes; Store Award; Orange Judge Out

Cool (or yummy) idea of the day: During the second annual Edible Book fundraising event at the Lilly Library, Florence, Mass., visitors could taste 16 dishes inspired by books. reported that the delectable tomes ranged from "a cake based on The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman to a platter of horse shaped cookies inspired by Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses."

The "Best in Show" award went to John Riley, owner of Gabrielle's Books, Northampton, who made Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics, a fictional book in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose.

"I love old books and I love food, so I thought this would be a fun event to enter," he said. "I used baklava for the pages because if you leave the edges exposed it looks just like old pages. For the cover I used lavash flat bread covered in espresso and the labels on the book were made with marzipan and licorice."


Milestone Books, Vestavia Hills, Ala., has received a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to the Birmingham Business Journal. "The award recognized excellence in financial performance, business history, staff training and motivation, community involvement, customer service and business planning."


Describing Controversial Bookstore, San Diego, Calif., as "still as quirky as when it started in 1963," the University of California, San Diego, Guardian added that the bookshop is "an uncensored literary experience worth trying" and "ideal for anyone seeking spiritual guidance and enlightenment."


Lily Allen was "never the most obvious pick to judge a major literary prize," according to the Guardian, which reported that the pop singer has now withdrawn from the Orange Broadband prize judging panel due to "ill-health."


Clavis, the 30-year-old Belgian children's book publisher, is publishing its first English-language list this spring, which will include 10 titles, and will put out another 17 in the fall. The company will be distributed here by Independent Publishers Group; Samara Klein, who formerly sold to the trade, subsidiary and foreign markets for Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, will act as liaison between Clavis and IPG, support sales and promote titles. She will work in the company's new New York City office.

Clavis publishes books for toddlers that use a key specifying the appropriate age for each book and the concept the book addresses. It also publishes entertaining and literary middle grade and young adult fiction as well as picture books by authors and illustrators from around the world, many of whom have already been published in the U.S.

For more information contact Samara Q. Klein, senior manager, Clavis Publishing, 275 Madison Ave., Suite 403, New York, N.Y. 10016; office: 212-880-1505; cell: 646-492-2316; e-mail:;


SUNY Press has become, it says, the first university press in the country to offer both e-book and hardcover versions of its frontlist titles simultaneously. Under the DirectText initiative, readers will be able to download and print PDF editions from the press's website,, for $20.

There are 20 DirectText titles available now; by the end of June about 50 titles will be in e-stock, and another 60 will come online by the end of the year.

The press noted that an important market for the program is graduate and upper-level undergraduate students. "DT encourages professors to assign monographs to their classes the moment they are published at a fraction of the hardcover price," Gary Dunham, SUNY Press director, said in a statement.

SUNY Press also says it was "the first publisher to launch the Google co-branded full-text search function on its Web site, allowing visitors to do a full-text search across a 4,000 title list and read the complete first chapter of many titles."


Tom Roberge has joined Penguin Books as publishing coordinator, focusing on backlist and movie tie-ins. He'll also help the publishing process for Penguin Classics and Penguin Originals. He was formerly managing editor at A Public Space, the literary journal. Before that, he was events coordinator at McNally Robinson NYC in New York City and was a bookseller at Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H. 


Andrea Ross has been promoted to senior v-p, special markets, at HarperCollins. She joined the company five years ago as senior director, special sales, for children's books, then also general books, and in 2005 was named v-p, special markets. Earlier she worked at Random House and Workman.

HarperCollins president of sales Josh Marwell said that the special markets department has had "record sales" under Ross. Recent achievements include custom projects with Saks Fifth Avenue and Radio City Music Hall.


William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

Borders Revises Financing Terms

Borders Group has revised its related deals with Pershing Square Capital Management, announced two and a half weeks ago (Shelf Awareness, March 20, 2008), gaining somewhat more advantageous terms.
  • The $42.5 million senior secured term loan will have a 9.8% interest rate rather than the original 12.5%.
  • The backup purchase offer for Borders operations in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, its interest in the U.K. and Ireland Borders stores and PaperChase has been raised by $10 million to $135 million. The company believes that the business is worth more than this amount and has the right to continue exploring other alternatives.
  • The number of warrants allowing Pershing Square to buy Borders stock at $7 a share has been reduced to 9.55 million from 14.7 million and the term has been reduced to 6.5 years from 7.5. However, if Borders does take advantage of the backup purchase offer or "a definitive agreement relating to a change-of-control of the company is not signed by October 1, 2008," or the company terminates the strategic alternatives process, Borders must issue another 5.15 million warrants to Pershing Square.

The new arrangements were approved by the board and by Borders's revolving credit facility lenders.


Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

Rock On: Bookstore Power Ballad Winner

Congratulations to Patrick Coleman of Laguna Beach Books, Laguna Beach, Calif., whose ballad "Remaindered Love" has won the Grand Prize in the bookstore power ballad contest sponsored by Algonquin and Shelf Awareness in honor of Rock On: An Office Power Ballad by Dan Kennedy. Coleman wins an authentic Gary Baseman "Lil Copy Cat" vinyl toy (as featured on the book jacket), Rock On T-shirts for him and the Laguna Beach Books staff and a plaque featuring the winning lyrics. To hear the winning ballad, which is hilarious, go to:

In no particular order, the runners up, who receive a Rock On T-shirt and signed copy of Rock On, are:

  • Carole Schneck of Schuler's Books for "Nonfiction Novel"
  • David Henkes of University Bookstore for "Second Home"
  • Suzanne Ledford of Fireside Books for "Baby Got Brain"
  • Kevin Ryan of Green Apple Books for "A Remainder Man"
  • Joe Drabyak of Chester County Books & Music for "Oprah"

Rock On author and chief judge Dan Kennedy commented: "I've spent the week in Los Angeles going over Rock On power ballad contest entries with television's Dick Van Patten (Eight Is Enough, Eight Is Enough: The Reunion) and legendary record producer Steve "Gonzo" Gonzalez (mostly audiobooks, but also worked on demos for Quarterflash comeback in nineties). I can't tell you how hard this was for us. Mostly because of the time difference. Dick was used to it because he lives just east of Burbank. But Steve is from Seattle and I came in from New York, so believe me--the time thing was really disorienting. We've been in a closed session playing these power ballad jams in a stripped down trio to see if they stood on their own. And the winners shined on like a crazy piece of shiny steel. Enough of my talking about it. We've had an awesome week here in the studio jamming, and you've been waiting for the list. So here you go, America."

Thank you to all the contestants!


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Politics, Cooking, Babies, Acting, Sickness

Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Marya Hornbacher, author of Madness: A Bipolar Life (Houghton Mifflin, $25, 9780618754458/0618754458).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Cokie Roberts, author of Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation (Morrow, $26.95, 9780060782344/006078234X).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lynda Fassa, author of Green Babies, Sage Moms: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Your Organic Baby (NAL, $14, 9780451222893/045122289X).


Tomorrow on the View: Trisha Yearwood, author of Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen: Recipes from My Family to Yours (Clarkson Potter, $29.95, 9780307381378/0307381374).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: William Esper, author of The Actor's Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique (Anchor, $13.95, 9780307279262/030727926X).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Elizabeth Lesser, author of The Seeker's Guide (Villard, $15.95, 9780679783596/0679783598).


Tomorrow on an ABC Special Diane Sawyer discusses The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Hyperion, $21.95, 9781401323257/1401323251).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Steve Coll, author of The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century (Penguin Press, $35, 9781594201646/1594201641).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Robin Wright, author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East (Penguin Press, $26.95, 9781594201110/1594201110).



Books & Authors

Awards: The Pulitzers

Book-related winners of the Pulitzer Prizes, announced yesterday, are:

  • Fiction: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)
  • Drama: August: Osage County by Tracy Letts (Theatre Communications Group)
  • History: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press)
  • Biography: Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson (Norton)
  • Poetry: Time and Materials by Robert Hass (Ecco) and Failure by Philip Schultz (Harcourt)
  • General Nonfiction: The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedlander (HarperCollins)

In addition, Steve Fainaru of the Washington Post, who won the international reporting category for his "heavily reported series on private security contractors in Iraq that operate outside most of the laws governing American forces," has written a book called Big Boy Rules: In the Company of America's Mercenaries Fighting in Iraq that will be published by Da Capo Press in November.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected titles appearing next Tuesday, April 15:

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525950608/0525950605) examines teenager and parent relationships during a serial killer's sadistic spree in a suburban New Jersey town.

The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation by Elizabeth Berg (Random House, $23, 9781400065097/1400065097) is a collection of inspirational stories about women.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $22.95, 9780375424489/0375424482) is the newest installment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

Breaking Free: My Life wtih Dissociative Identity Disorder
by Herschel Walker (Touchstone, $24.95, 9781416537489/1416537481) tells the story of a former NFL running back with dissociative identity disorder, once known as multiple personality disorder.

Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism by Kevin Phillips (Viking, $25.95, 9780670019076/0670019070) examines the bleak future of the U.S. economy.

Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question. Little Book. Answer Within. by Maria Shriver (Hyperion, $14.95, 9781401323189/1401323189) says that how who you are is more important than what you do.


Midwest Connections Pick: Charlatan

From the Midwest Booksellers Association: a Midwest Connections pick, a handselling favorite with a strong Midwest regional appeal, which the association and member stores are promoting through the marketing program:

Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock (Crown, $24.95, 9780307339881/0307339882).

MBA wrote: "In 1917, having no medical training aside from years of selling worthless patent cures, 'Dr.' John Brinkley opens a medical practice in the tiny town of Milford, Kansas. Fifteen years later, he's become America's most famous surgeon, having pioneered an outlandish and highly dangerous method for restoring male virility.

"It's pure flimflam, of course, but this is the Age of Flimflam, when toxic snake-oil tonics sell under hundreds of brand names and traveling minstrel shows hawk bizarre machines that supposedly cure everything from cancer to the common cold.

"Chicago firebrand intellectual Morris Fishbein, editor of a little-read publication called the Journal of the American Medical Association, has done more than anyone else in fighting this tidal wave of charlatanism, and he makes it his life's mission to bring Brinkley down. Assisted by such luminaries as H. L. Mencken and Sinclair Lewis, Fishbein launches offensive after offensive. Yet each time Fishbein closes a door, Brinkley opens a window, eventually becoming America's most popular broadcaster so that he can plug his services on the radio. While murdering dozens of patients, he runs for governor of Kansas and nearly wins. Finally, his decades-long cat-and-mouse game with Fishbein culminates in a spellbinding trial."

Sarah Bagby of Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan., called Charlatan "an amazing story, incredibly told. Writer Pope Brock--actor; feature journalist for GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Life; and author of Indiana Gothic--is uniquely equipped to tell the story of one of the most bizarre and colorful characters to come out of Kansas. Meet John Brinkley, huckster extraordinary, the man who directly or indirectly helped bring both border radio and the AMA into existence."


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