Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 14, 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

Books: 'Best Value in the World for What They Offer'

"I was going to art school, and working in a bookstore part-time, and I simply got hooked. Since books are about everything, I cannot imagine a career that would be more far-reaching than this one has been. . . . My first break-through moment was about 32 years ago--I had left bookselling to work for a publishing house--when I realized how much I missed being a bookseller. It was all about being greedy for information, and I could not stand only knowing some of the stuff--I wanted access to all of it. . . . The greatest public misconception about books is that they are expensive. To me, they are the best value in the world for what they offer."--Canadian bookseller Pat Joas, manager of University of New Brunswick bookstore, St. John, in an interview with the Telegraph-Journal.


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


Notes: Indies are Green & Serene; Rowling Testifies in NYC

Lori Peters, co-owner of Wild About Books, Clearlake, Calif., and executive director of the Clearlake Chamber of Commerce, made articulate arguments in the Lake County Record Bee for shopping locally. On the green angle, she wrote, "Locally owned businesses have a reduced environmental impact as well, because they can make more local purchases requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town centers as opposed to developing on fringes or outskirts. That means less sprawl, habitat loss and pollution."


In its profile of Town House Books & Café, St. Charles, Ill., the Courier News noted that the "charm of browsing for books in a 150-year-old structure appeals to many who say an independently owned bookstore is one of few timeless institutions left that offers a serene respite from an ever-changing, fast-paced world,"

Added owner David Hunt: "We're one of the few remaining independent booksellers around. We have a strong business, but certainly there are challenges in the market. With superstores and the Internet, you can get books everywhere now. But we have strong customer service . . . and a unique atmosphere."


Bostonist reported that McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, Cambridge, Mass., "whose wunderkammer of used books was recently exiled from Davis Square (and long ago displaced from Harvard Square)," has reopened in Porter Square. "They describe their stock as 'uncommon titles in interesting subject areas, usually in fields in which it's very hard to be gainfully employed . . ."

And the Boston Globe covered the story by asking, and then answering, a question: "So just how do you box up a bookstore? In five weeks and 1,000 cartons, with a closeout sale, good will, and back pain."


Jenny Cook, a longtime employee of the Book Shop, Sioux Falls, S.D., has purchased the business. The Argus Leader reported that the store will close April 30 and reopen May 7. The Book Shop "will continue to sell used books. It's looking for volunteers to scan and reorganize the inventory."


Harry Potter and the Big Apple--Rowling in court and Radcliffe on stage.

J.K. Rowling will be at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan this week to testify in a trial to determine if Steven Vander Ark's planned Harry Potter Lexicon violates her copyrights. According to the Associated Press, her lawyer "has arranged with the judge to have a private security guard for Rowling in the courtroom and for the author to spend breaks in the seclusion of a jury room--away from any die-hard Potter fans in attendance."

The New York Times reported that the Broadway production of Equus, featuring Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter films, will begin performances September 5 at the Broadhurst Theater, with the official opening scheduled for September 25. The revival of Peter Shaffer's play drew a lot of attention during its successful London run due to the casting of Radcliffe in a role that includes a much-publicized nude scene.


Calling himself "the most published author in the history of the planet," Philip Parker has, as the New York Times put it, "generated" more than 200,000 books. Parker first attracted our attention last year (Shelf Awareness, December 10, 2007) when Business Week spotlighted this digitally prolific scribe.

His collected works "are not conventional books," according to the Times. Parker "has developed computer algorithms that collect publicly available information on a subject--broad or obscure--and, aided by his 60 to 70 computers and six or seven programmers, he turns the results into books in a range of genres, many of them in the range of 150 pages and printed only when a customer buys one."

The article also noted that Parker "is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. 'I've already set it up,' he said. 'There are only so many body parts.'"


Arguing that "awards give retailers an excuse to pile bestsellers even higher," the Guardian followed up its report on the winners of the Galaxy British Book awards (Shelf Awareness, April 10, 2008) with a piece wondering "exactly what the awards are for. They clearly appeal to big booksellers, on and offline: almost all the prizes are sponsored by companies keen to sell you copies of the winners."


Effective May 1, Other Press trade titles will be distributed worldwide by Random House. Random House will also distribute Other Press professional titles everywhere except in the European Union. Eurospan UK remains the EU distributor for Other Press's professional titles.

W.W. Norton will continue to accept all Other Press returns purchased from Norton through October 31.


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

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Gibson on Pope Benedict XVI

This morning on Good Morning America: Herschel Walker, author of Breaking Free: My Life wtih Dissociative Identity Disorder (Touchstone, $24.95, 9781416537489/1416537481). He will also appear tonight on Nightline.


This morning on the Today Show: Farnoosh Torabi, author of You're So Money: Live Rich, Even When You're Not (Three Rivers Press, $14.95, 9780307406194/0307406199).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Cokie Roberts, author of Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation (Morrow, $26.95, 9780060782344/006078234X).


Today on the Tavis Smiley Show: Chris Hedges, author of I Don't Believe in Atheists (Free Press, $25, 9781416567950/141656795X).

Also on Tavis Smiley: Bill Press, author of Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (Wiley, $24.95, 9780470182406/0470182407).


Tonight on Larry King Live: the one and only Stephen Colbert, whose latest book is I Am America (And So Can You!) (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446580502/0446580503), on the truthiness of political campaigns.


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Lisa Williams, author of Life Among the Dead (Simon Spotlight, $24, 9781416954156/1416954155).


Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: David Gibson, author of The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World (HarperOne, $14.95, 9780061161223/0061161225).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Marilu Henner, author of Wear Your Life Well: Use What You Have to Get What You Want (Collins, $24.95, 9780060393656/0060393653).


Tomorrow on NPR's Here and Now: Nancy Carlsson-Paig, author of Taking Back Childhood: Helping Your Kids Thrive in a Fast-Paced, Media-Saturated, Violence-Filled World (Hudson Street Press, $23.95, 9781594630439/1594630437).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Jim Lehrer, author of Mack to the Rescue (University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95, 9780806139159/0806139153).


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

Books & Authors

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:


The Disagreement
by Nick Taylor (S&S, $24.95, 9781416550655/1416550658). "This intriguing look at the Civil War from a fresh perspective is a fine historical novel and a very good read."--Donna Plante, Bookin' It, Little Falls, Minn.

From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her Island
by Lorna Goodison (Amistad, $24.95, 9780061337550/0061337552). "In this memoir, Lorna Goodison tells stories as if she comes from a long line of storytellers. And what a pleasure it is to be carried off to Jamaica to hear about her mother's life on the Harvey River and in Kingston."--Julie Leonard, Troubadour Books, Boulder, Colo.


1,000 Ways to Be a Slightly Better Woman by Pamela Redmond Satran (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $12.95, 9781584796718/1584796715). "This will make a fun gift for the women in your life--especially if that woman is you. If you think that basically you're O.K. but you're open, as the author says to 'a little tweaking,' this book contains just enough inspiration to encourage without overwhelming you. It's just right."--Keri Holmes, The Kaleidoscope: Our Focus Is You, Hampton, Iowa

For Teen Readers

Primavera by Mary Jane Beaufrand (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316016445/0316016446). "Primavera, by bookseller Mary Jane Beaufrand, is an exciting, brutal look at the Medici and Pazzi families during the Italian Renaissance. She has truly captured the time period in this absolutely riveting book. Flora, a Pazzi daughter, tells the story of how power, corruption, art, and desire left her family in ruins, even as she found her own way through destruction and death."--Rene Kirkpatrick, All For Kids Books & Music, Seattle, Wash.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]


Shelf Sample: The Well and the Mine

Hawthorne Books and Literary Arts publishes some fine books--American literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, although they say "we won't turn down a good international title if we find one.'' Additionally, the books are beautiful: trade paperbacks with acid-free paper, sewn bindings and French flaps. Of course, all this matters not a whit unless the books are good, and they are. One of the latest is The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips ($15.95, 9780976631170/0976631172, February 2008), a novel set in 1931, in a small Alabama coal mining town. The story begins with nine-year-old Tess seeing a woman remove the cover off her family's back porch well and drop a baby inside. At first, no one believes her, but then they look, aren't particularly surprised, and Phillips makes us understand why. She writes about life in the mines, racism, poverty and backbreaking work with grittiness, but there is beauty and love, too, and her spare, graceful prose shines when she writes about the tenderness between Tess' parents, or the simple fact of coffee:
I pulled his coffee cup from the cabinet and poured over the sink, with the heat from the cup warming my fingers as the brew rose to the top. Just a ground or two floating. Black as night, so hard looking it didn't seem right that a spoon could move through it.

"Must taste like coal," I said under my breath, stopping up the pot's spout with a bit of cloth and setting it back on the stove to keep warm.

"Coffee?" He took a sip, smiled, and closed his eyes as he leaned back. "No, ma'am. Tastes like daylight."

--Marilyn Dahl


The Bestsellers

The IMBA March Bestsellers

The following were the bestselling titles at member stores of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association during March:


1. The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
2. Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
3. Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman
4. Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson
5. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen
6. Black Widow by Randy Wayne White
7. An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear
8. Murder Melts in Your Mouth by Nancy Martin
9. The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black
10. Shanghai Tunnel by Sharan Newman
10. Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris
10. Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein


1. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
2. Calumet City by Charlie Newton
3. Damsels in Distress by Joan Hess
4. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
4. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
6. A Vicky Hill Exclusive! by Hannah Dennison
6. The Mezzo Wore Mink by Mark Schweizer
6. Christine Falls by Benjamin Black
9. Dragonwell Dead by Laura Childs
10. Through a Glass, Deadly by Sarah Ashwell

[Many thanks to IMBA!]


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