Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Flatiron Books: White Horse by Erika T. Wurth

Shadow Mountain: To Capture His Heart (Proper Romance Victorian) by Nancy Campbell Allen

Zest Books (Tm): Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, adapted by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt

Henry Holt & Company: Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1) by Tae Keller, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez

Berkley Books: River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

Oxford University Press, USA: The World According to Proust by Joshua Landy


Notes: Open Book As Cultural Magnet; Local Debate

The real estate section of today's New York Times writes about the turnaround in the part of Minneapolis, Minn., where Open Book opened its unusual, 55,000-sq.-ft. facilities in 2000: the once seedy area now is thriving as "a steady flow of arts organizations have followed" Open Book, including the Guthrie Theater, the Mill City Museum, the MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Central Library and small theaters and art galleries. In addition, some 1,000 new residences have been built.

"We know for a fact this was the first real estate home for the literary arts in the nation," Liz Petrangelo, chairwoman of Open Book, told the Times. "We don't know if anything like it has happened since, but we get calls from all over the country asking how we did this."

Open Book is comprised of the Loft Literary Center, which offers writing classes, space for writers and readings; the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, which provides equipment and space for people to work in letterpress printing, hand bookbinding and papermaking; and the offices of Milkweed Editions.


"My first year, it started off slow and then it went very well," Heather Lambert, owner of the Book Attic & Paperback Exchange, Portage, Ind., told the Post-Tribune. "I'm so excited. Having a bookstore has always been my dream--I love being here."


Where is your local bookstore? The Southwest Voice's blogger tgr Jams tackled the "local" issue by recounting his exchange with a customer about an order he almost lost "because they wanted to go with the 'local bookstore.' Now, if you've read my profile, you'd know that I'm with Barnes & Noble, and we've been in Bakersfield now for almost ten years. So, I countered with . . . 'uh . . . aren't we local?' Last I checked, I go to work in Bakersfield."

One reader commented that "the store should be referred to as 'your local Barnes and Noble store.' Every brick and mortar store has a location, so it is local somewhere. But 'local' is not the term which should be at issue here. The term is 'locally owned.'"

Which, naturally, generated further discussion.


Mommy, please play me another story! According to the Associated Press, "Don Katz has a vision for the kids of America: He wants to take the technology that brings the Jonas Brothers to their ears and use it to deliver the Brothers Grimm. . . . In March, the founder launched, where children can download books directly onto their digital audio players."

Said Audio Publishers Association president Michele Cobb: "I hear lots of people talking, saying that when they put their kids to bed, they put them down with an audiobook."

But Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in Our Commercialized World, countered, "In a way, this is another gadget for outsourcing parenting."


Borders will open another new concept store, in July in Tukwila, Wash., near Seattle, one of 14 new concept stores Borders is opening this year. The 26,368-sq.-ft. store will be in the Westfield Southcenter Mall, located at Southcenter Parkway and Strander Boulevard. 


Here's another story of a scam perpetrated on a bookseller, told from the point of view of the author whose name and identity were taken in vain. See the blog on


William W. Warner, who wrote Beautiful Swimmers, a study of crabs and watermen in the Chesapeake Bay that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977, died on April 18. He was 88. The New York Times has a detailed obituary.


Tuttle Publishing is now distributing:

  • The Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Calif., one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted to Asian art. Upcoming books include Power and Glory, from the forthcoming June exhibition of the same name on the art of China's Ming dynasty, and Persian Ceramics, a survey of Persian ceramics from the Museum's collection.
  • Monsoon Books, Singapore, an independent house specializing in literary and commercial fiction, biography, autobiography, true crime, narrative nonfiction, travelogue, humor, sexuality and investigative journalism. Books for the fall include Invisible Trade II, an exposé of sex for sale in Singapore, Love Entrepreneurs, about cross-cultural relationships in Thailand; Pairing Wine with Asian Food; and The Rain Tree, crime fiction set in Thailand.


Grand Central Publishing: Sink: A Memoir by Joseph Earl Thomas

B&N Recommends: Child 44

The eighth selection in the Barnes & Noble Recommends program is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central Publishing), which went on sale yesterday.

B&N described the protagonist of the book, set in the Soviet Union under Stalin, this way: "A decorated war hero driven by dedication to his country and faith in the superiority of Communist ideals, Leo Demidov has built a successful career in the Soviet security network. When a fellow officer's son is killed, Leo is ordered to stop the family from spreading the notion that their child was murdered. In a society that's officially paradise, it's a crime against the state to suggest a murderer might exist. Meanwhile, Leo's involvement in another case, that of the 'traitor' Anatoly Brodsky, casts doubts on the cause he had served so devotedly, setting in motion a chain of events that changes his understanding of everything he had previously believed."

In a statement, B&N CEO Steve Riggio wrote: "Child 44 unfolds at a breathless pace, exposing the culture of fear that turns friends into foes and forces families to hide devastating secrets. Tom Rob Smith's remarkable debut thriller dramatizes the human cost of loyalty, integrity, and love in the face of totalitarian terror that is at this story's heart."

B&N will support Child 44 with reading group discussions in its stores, author appearances, discussions in the online book club, a reading group guide and more.


Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Cool Idea and Image of the Day: Author Tour Video Blog

Laura Duksta, author of I Love You More (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, 9781402211263/ 140221126), illustrated by Karen Keelser, is running a blog of the I Love You More bookstore tour on MySpace that includes videos. Part of the tour included an appearance last weekend at breathe books, Baltimore, Md., where Duksta (l.) posed with owner Susan L. Weis, an occasional contributor to Shelf Awareness.


PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Joanna Cotler Bids Farewell

After 21 years at HarperCollins Children's Books and 13 years as publisher of her own imprint, Joanna Cotler has decided to leave her position as senior v-p and publisher, Joanna Cotler Books. She would like to have more time for her own work as a painter, according to a statement from children's book division head Susan Katz. Cotler's last day in the office will be May 16, but said Katz, "I am delighted she will continue her relationship with HarperCollins as editor-at-large."

With more than 50 national bestsellers and many awards and accolades to her credit, Cotler leaves behind a list of author and artist luminaries, including Clive Barker, Harry Bliss, Francesca Lia Block, Laura Cornell, Sharon Creech, Doreen Cronin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kate DiCamillo, Patricia MacLachlan, Kate and Jim McMullan, Françoise Mouly, Barbara Robinson, Art Spiegelman, Jerry Spinelli and William Steig.

In the statement, Cotler thanked Jane Friedman, Susan Katz, her Harper colleagues and the agents, teachers, librarians, booksellers and other publishing colleagues who have nourished her imprint. "I am most deeply honored by the authors and artists who chose to work with me," Cotler said. "I have been privileged to publish their books."

On a personal note, as one who served as Joanna's assistant when she first arrived at HarperCollins, this reporter feels it must be said that Joanna leaves Harper a warmer, richer place for her time there. All best wishes.--Jennifer M. Brown


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bear Grylis Chews the Fat

Today on Fresh Air: Major Steve Beck and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jim Sheeler, whose new book, Finale Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594201653/159420165X), is about Beck and the families he had to notify who had lost a loved one.


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Robert Schlesinger, author of White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters (S&S, $30, 9780743291699/0743291697).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America:

  • Sidney Poitier, author of Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter (HarperOne, $25.95, 9780061496189/0061496189).
  • Bear Grylls, author of Man vs. Wild: Survival Techniques from the Most Dangerous Places on Earth (Hyperion, $25.95, 9781401322939/140132293X). He also appears tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman.
  • Editors from O will discuss O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook (Hyperion, $29.95, 9781401322601/1401322603).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Lisa Lillien, author of Hungry Girl: Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.95, 9780312377427/0312377428).

Also on the Today Show: John La Puma, author of ChefMD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine: A Food Lover's Road Map to Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Getting Really Healthy (Crown, $24.95, 9780307394620/030739462X).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, authors of The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories, and Opinions from Public Radio's Award-Winning Food Show (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780307346711/0307346714)


Tomorrow on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Jennifer Sey, author of Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics' Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympic Dreams (Morrow, $24.95, 9780061351464/0061351466).


Tomorrow on KCRW's Bookworm: Peter Carey, author of His Illegal Self (Knopf, $24.95, 9780307263728/030726372X). As the show put it: "The excitement of Peter Carey's new novel is rendered through a specific stylistic choice: He integrates two wildly different voices into the sentences, creating a vibrant stereo-effect. The result is amazing--the novel's action seems to be taking place about six inches from your face."


Tomorrow night on Nightline: Benjamin Blech, author of The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo's Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican (HarperOne, $26.95, 9780061469046/0061469041).


Books & Authors

Awards: Ruth Lilly Poetry; PubWest Design; Christy Awards

Gary Snyder has won the 2008 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, presented by the Poetry Foundation. The prize carries a $100,000 award.

Snyder's poetry collections include Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems, The Back Country, Regarding Wave, No Nature, Mountains and Rivers Without End and Danger on Peaks. His essays are collected in Earth House Hold, The Real Work, A Place in Space and Back on the Fire. A member of the Beat movement, Snyder lived in Japan and studied formally in a Zen monastery for most of the 1960s.

Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and chair of the selection committee, commented: "Gary Snyder is in essence a contemporary devotional poet, though he is not devoted to any one god or way of being so much as to Being itself. His poetry is a testament to the sacredness of the natural world and our relation to it, and a prophecy of what we stand to lose if we forget that relation."


The Publishers Association of the West has announced the winners of the PubWest Book Design Awards. To see them, go to Winners will be honored at PubWest's national publishing conference November 13-15 in Portland, Ore.


Finalists for the Christy Awards, which honor "excellence in Christian fiction written by contemporary authors and highlighting the breadth and diversity of Christian fiction," may be viewed at Winners will be announced at a dinner July 12 in Orlando, Fla.


The Bestsellers

Maria's Bookshop New Release Bestsellers--And Why

Jim Hightower is the man of the moment at Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colo., where his Swim Against the Current is the top-selling new release nonfiction title for the week ended Sunday, April 27. The national radio commentator appeared at the store on Saturday for a signing before speaking at a Democratic fundraising dinner, where Maria's Bookshop also sold copies of Hightower's tome. "It worked out well considering his plane landed an hour before the signing," said Libby Cowles, staff and community relations manager at Maria's.

Ranking in the two spots below Hightower are the media-driven titles The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. "As at most stores the Oprah pick is hot," noted Cowles of the latter, "but our customers are also really keyed into Book Sense picks." The monthly Book Sense flyer is used as a bag stuffer and available throughout the store, and the organization's bestsellers are displayed in a busy section near the entrance. "We have a pretty informed group of folks who come in and ask for the flyer, or they'll go right over to the Book Sense display to see what's selling at other stores," Cowles said.

Along with the Pausch and Tolle titles, other Book Sense notables among Maria's Bookshop's bestsellers are Maria Shriver's Just Who Will You Be? and Ann Patchett's What Now? Durango's Fort Lewis College held its commencement ceremony this past Saturday, and those two books received a boost as graduation gifts--as did the No. 10 new release nonfiction, The Tassel Is Worth the Hassle edited by Anne Riekenberg. Gift-givers are getting a head start on Father's Day, picking up copies of the store's No. 9 seller, Father Knows Best by David Lyon.

Holding the No. 8 spot on the nonfiction list is Sophie Uliano's Gorgeously Green, which includes a foreword by Julia Roberts. "We've been more proactive lately about displaying green titles," Cowles said. The store currently has two green-themed displays, one for Earth Day and the other for the Penguin Classics/Nature Conservancy partnership. "This is a community that is pretty tuned in to environmental issues, and so those titles do really well for us," Cowles said.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a book that Maria's Bookshop staff members "really got behind and hand sold, and with it just coming out in paperback there's a second wave for it," Cowles said. It's receiving attention from other quarters as well and is a book club favorite. Maria's Bookshop works with some 80 area reading groups and offers clubs registered with the store a 15% discount on their monthly reading selections. Infidel was also a featured title in the store's partnership with the Women's Resource Center (WRC), a non-profit organization in Durango. Each month three titles are chosen around a theme--such as International Women for Infidel--and the books are promoted in the store and in the WRC electronic newsletter.

In addition to being featured on a new release table, Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski is highlighted with a bookmark that signifies its status as a staff pick. The laminated bookmarks have booksellers' names on them and are placed in books throughout the store, encouraging customers to seek out the bookseller who made the selection and develop a rapport with one who has similar reading tastes. "We see it as an opportunity for a conversation," said Cowles.

The crooner's biography is also benefiting from the store's dual clientele of locals and tourists, noted Cowles. Located in southwestern Colorado, Durango's main tourist seasons are winter and summer. Outdoor activities like skiing and rafting on the Animas River are popular, and located nearby is Mesa Verde National Park. Another attraction is a historic narrow gauge train that runs through Durango and takes visitors north to Silverton, an old mining town. "We get people coming in here from all parts of the country and all over the world," Cowles said. "And they're often looking for something to read." Two fiction titles popular with both the tourist crowd and locals are the No. 10 new release, Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith, and the No. 3 seller, Winter Study by Nevada Barr.

Handselling accounts for several of the top-selling new release fiction titles, including the staff picks Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch, Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje and You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem. Another is The Man Who Turned into Himself, a reissued Picador title that was brought to the attention of the store's ordering manager because of some clever publisher packaging: a copy of the book arrived in a box emblazoned with the tag line "The Best Book You've Never Read."

"This week we have more of a regional flair," Cowles said of the fiction list. The No. 7 title is Leif Enger's sophomore novel, the western So Brave, Young and Handsome, and the No. 9 spot belongs to Rudolfo Anaya's Zia Summer, a thriller set in the American Southwest. And eagerly awaited by Maria's Bookshop customers is Durango author Jean Campion's Return to Rockytop, the No. 4 bestseller and the sequel to Minta Forever.

The No. 1 seller for new fiction releases is the paperback edition of Yellowcake, the debut novel by Ann Cummins, who appeared at Maria's Bookshop last year to promote the hardcover. Cummins spent part of her childhood in Durango, and the story, which centers on the uranium mining industry in the Southwest, partly uses the town as a backdrop. Said Cowles, "It's a great example of a local girl made good."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Maria's Bookshop bestsellers during the week ended April 27:

New Release Nonfiction Bestsellers

1. Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow by Jim Hightower with Susan DeMarco (Wiley, $25.95, 9780470121511/0470121513)
2. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Hyperion, $21.95, 9781401323257/1401323251)
3. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle (Penguin, $14, 9780452289963/0452289963)
4. What Now? by Ann Patchett (Harper, $14.95, 9780061340659/0061340650)
5. Just Who Will You Be? Big Question, Little Book, Answer Within by Maria Shriver (Hyperion, $14.95, 9781401323189/1401323189)
6. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Free Press, $15, 9780743289696/0743289692)
7. Willie Nelson: An Epic Life by Joe Nick Patoski (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316017787/0316017787)
8. Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life by Sophie Uliano (Collins, $16.95, 9780061575563/0061575569)
9. Father Knows Best: Words That Celebrate the World's Most Wonderful Dads by David Lyon (Lyons Press, $9.95, 9781599212494/1599212498)
10. The Tassel Is Worth the Hassle: Wit and Wisdom for the Graduate edited by Anne Riekenberg (Andrews McMeel, $8.99, 9780740772610/0740772619)

New Release Fiction Bestsellers

1. Yellowcake by Ann Cummins (Mariner Books, $13.95, 9780547053578/0547053576)
2. The Man Who Turned Into Himself by David Ambrose (Picador, $13, 9780312427689/0312427689)
3. Winter Study by Nevada Barr (Putnam, $24.95, 9780399154584/0399154582)
4. Return to Rockytop by Jean Campion (Western Reflections, $15.95, 9781932738537/1932738533)
5. Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch (Little, Brown, $21.99, 9780316002110/0316002119)
6. Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje (Vintage, $13.95, 9780307279323/0307279324)
7. So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24, 9780871139856/0871139855)
8. You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem (Vintage, $13.95, 9781400076826/140007682X)
9. Zia Summer by Rudolfo Anaya (University of New Mexico Press, $17.95, 9780826344878/0826344879)
10. Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, $22.95, 9780375424489/0375424482)


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