Shelf Awareness for Monday, May 12, 2008

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

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

Chronicle Chroma: Bob Willoughby: A Cinematic Life by Bob Willoughby

Charlesbridge Publishing: Forever Cousins by Laurel Goodluck, illustrated by Jonathan Nelson

Tor Teen: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

Quotation of the Day

Lithgow, Like 'One of Those Magical Librarians Telling a Story'

"I suddenly flashed on sitting in a library in Michigan with a lot of other kindergartners watching one of those magical librarians telling a story, reading and turning the pages without looking at the book. I thought that was the most magical thing I ever saw."--Jack O'Brien, director of the one-man show John Lithgow: Stories by Heart, telling the New York Times about his experience hearing the actor read P. G. Wodehouse's "Uncle Fred Flits By." 


Scribe Us: Our Members Be Unlimited: A Comic about Workers and Their Unions by Sam Wallman


Notes: Harvard's Good Turn; Gary Hunt R.I.P.; Hay House

Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., won over an Amazon customer last week when the store "paid ransom" for two books stolen from the customer's apartment house lobby, as reported on WCVB (we highly recommend the video version, but there is an old-fashioned "print" account).

Realizing the two obscure anthropology books might be sold as used to a bookstore, the grad student-customer alerted local stores, including Harvard Book Store, which indeed was offered the two books. Harvard quoted a "lowball" price and got the books. As with all such used book sales, the store took information about the customer, which it forwarded to the police.

The customer was delighted and said he will shop at the store now. Harvard Book Store manager Mark Lamphier commented: "Internet sales are what's driving independent book stores out of business, but here the local independent bookstore saved the day in the end."


We're sorry to report that Gary Hunt, co-owner of Iconoclast Books, Ketchum, Idaho, died in a car accident last Friday night, according to SunValleyOnline, which encouraged people "to share their memories of Gary on the blog Gary Hunt Remembrances."


A week late but the story's aged well: the May 4 Sunday New York Times Magazine profiled Louise Hays, author of You Can Heal Your Life and founder in 1987 of Hay House, Carlsbad, Calif.

"Today the company turns out books, CDs, calendars and card decks by many of the titans of the large world that booksellers are now calling 'Mind/Body/Spirit,' a category that includes the literature of psychics/intuitives, angel therapy, positive thinking, New Thought, water therapy and motivational speaking. Wayne Dyer, Suze Orman, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Sylvia Browne and Doreen Virtue are all Hay House clients. Last year, Hay House--which is owned jointly by Louise Hay and the company president, Reid Tracy, 45--sold 6.3 million products, taking in $100 million, 8 percent of which was profit."

The long feature emphasizes the importance of Hay House's "platform" for authors, which includes huge events such as the recent four-day I Can Do It! meeting in Las Vegas that drew 7,200 people to hear 30 Hay House authors. Another part of the platform: Hay House Radio, an Internet radio station with 30 hours of programming a week.

Nancy Levin, Hay House's event director, commented: "The old book-tour model, with authors stopping at 10 Barnes & Nobles, that's all these other publishers know how to do. I often think: When are they going to catch on?"


What would Karl Rove read? Glad you asked because the Wall Street Journal listed five books recommended by the "political sage," who "casts his vote for these books about presidential campaigns."

Of The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 by Mark Halperin and John F. Harris, Rove suggested that the authors "explain it all. Take notes and you may have a head start on your winning strategy for 2012." But he cautioned that "much of what they write about me is exaggerated and misleading."


Doris Lessing said winning the Nobel Prize has been a "bloody disaster" because of the increased media attention, according to the BBC. The author has said she "would probably now be giving up writing novels altogether."

"All I do is give interviews and spend time being photographed," Lessing said, adding she "also recalled that, in the 1960s, she had been informed that the Nobel Academy's judges did not like her and she would never win."


"I'm a slow, deep browser in book stores," suspense author John Sandford told the Birmingham News, "so I get books that are recent but might not be absolutely current and available." In the interview, Sandford shared some of his favorites.



Flyaway Books: The Coat by Séverine Vidal, illustrated by Louis Thomas

BEA in Los Angeles: Emerging Leaders Party

BookExpo America, the American Booksellers Association and the Emerging Leaders Council are inviting young booksellers to a party Wednesday, May 28, 7-9 p.m., at the Woods, 1533 N. La Brea, Hollywood (323-876-6612;

Several authors will be in attendance: Scott McCloud (Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, HarperCollins, July); Cylin Busby (The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir, Bloomsbury, August); Curtis Sittenfeld (American Wife, Random House, September); Diana Spechler (Who By Fire, HarperCollins, September); Tony O'Neill (Down and Out on Murder Mile, HarperCollins, October); and Jonathan Evison (All About Lulu, Soft Skull, July).

Space is limited, and party goers must RSVP by May 21 at

Wonder if you qualify? The Emerging Leaders organization is "tailored, but not restricted, to people 40 or under, who plan on sticking with the industry for the next 20 years and demonstrate a passion for bookselling."


PNBA Holiday Catalog 2022

Image of the Day: river's end Hits 10, Keeps Going

Congratulations to the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y., which celebrates its 10th birthday this coming Sunday, May 18, with a range of events. Owned by Bill and Mindy Ostrow (shown left in the store's "Hideout"), the river's end estimates it has held nearly 140 author events in the past decade. Besides new hardcover and paperbook books, the store offers magazines, newspapers, audiobooks, greeting cards, journals, music CDs, coffee and free wi-fi.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Frey Returns

This morning on the Early Show: Charles Osgood, author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the White House: Humor, Blunders and Other Oddities from the Presidential Campaign Trail (Hyperion, $23.95, 9781401322298/1401322298).


This morning on Good Morning America: Mario Lopez, author of Mario Lopez's Knockout Fitness (Rodale, $26.95, 9781594868849/1594868840). Lopez appears tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly.


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Jill Price, author of The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science--A Memoir (Free Press, $26, 9781416561767/1416561765).


Today on Oprah: Nancy Yi Fan, author of Sword Quest (Harper, $15.99, 9780061243356/0061243353).


Tonight on Larry King Live: Barbara Walters, author of Audition: A Memoir (Knopf, $29.95, 9780307266460/030726646X). Tomorrow Walters, a regular on the View, is interviewed by her View colleagues about the book.


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Matt Taibbi, author of The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire (Spiegel & Grau, $24, 9780385520348/0385520344).


Tonight on Late Night with Conan O'Brien: William Shatner, author of Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin's, $25.95, 9780312372651/0312372655). Tomorrow Shatner treks to Good Morning America and the View.


Tonight on Charlie Rose: John Harwood, co-author of Pennsylvania Avenue: Profiles in Backroom Power (Random House, $26, 9781400065547/1400065542).


Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Jimmy Buffett, author of Swine Not?: A Novel (Little, Brown, $21.99, 9780316114028/0316114022). He also appears on the Today Show.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show (besides Jimmy Buffett):
  • James Frey, author of Bright Shiny Morning (Harper, $26.95, 9780061573132/0061573132)
  • Masaharu Morimoto, author of Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking (DK Publishing, $40, 9780756631239/0756631238)


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Roger Lowenstein, author of While America Aged: How Pension Debts Ruined General Motors, Stopped the NYC Subways, Bankrupted San Diego, and Loom as the Next Financial Crisis (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594201677/1594201676).


Tomorrow on Oprah: Brian L. Weiss, author of Many Lives, Many Masters (Fireside, $14, 9780671657864/0671657860).


Tomorrow on CNN's Glen Beck Show: Ted Bell, author of Nick of Time (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.95, 9780312380687/0312380682).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Bill Moyers, author of Moyers on Democracy (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385523806/0385523807).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Jennifer Hooper McCarty, author of What Really Sank the Titanic: New Forensic Discoveries (Citadel, $22.95, 9780806528953/0806528958).


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 House at Riverton by Kate Morton (Atria, $24.95, 9781416550518/1416550518). "Grace Bradley, now 98, recalls her time as a young maid working at Riverton Manor at the dawn of WWI. She is witness to an incident during a summer party, the suicide of a famous poet. What happened that night between the poet and the beautiful young sisters of the manor down by the pond? As Grace tells her story, Kate Morton slowly reveals all the mysteries of decades past. A wonderful, evocative novel."--Karen Vail, Armchair Bookstore, Dennis, Mass.

Comfort by Ann Hood (Norton, $19.95, 9780393064568/0393064565). "This is Ann Hood's moving testament to her daughter Grace, who died suddenly from a virulent form of strep. A truly moving testament to Grace, Comfort is also a testament to life. It takes us on a journey through grief and a struggle with faith, then back into a life full of hope and love. An extraordinarily eloquent memoir, this is a book to share with others who have suffered a great loss."--Judy Crosby, Island Books, Middletown, R.I.


Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil
by John Ghazvinian (Harvest, $15, 9780156033725/0156033720). "Ghazvinian's harrowing, eye-opening look at the changing face of Africa in the wake of the newest oil boom will make you think twice every time you grumble at the pump."--Alex Green, Back Pages Books, Waltham, Mass.

Middle Readers

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Scholastic, $16.99, 9780439680134/0439680131). "This work of historical fiction from Newbery Honor winner Bartoletti is based on real-life experiences of Helmuth Huebner, who, as a teenager, had the courage to stand up to the Nazi regime--with tragic consequences. The author does an outstanding job of depicting the realities of the Holocaust through the eyes of young people."--Mary Reilly-Kliss, Fireside Books and Gifts, West Bend, Wis.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

Book Review

Book Review: Rupert Murdoch's China Adventures

Rupert Murdoch's China Adventures: How the World's Most Powerful Media Mogul Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife by Bruce Dover (Tuttle Publishing, $18.95 Paperback, 9780804839945, April 2008)

Bruce Dover's book is vastly informative about the challenges Western corporations face in doing business with China. Dover, who worked on Rupert Murdoch's China projects during the 1990s, has learned much, often the hard way, and writes with authority. His experience taught him that trusted relationships must be built slowly, stability is highly valued and efforts to save face are essential. And he slowly grew to understand that when a bureaucrat ominously utters, "Giants who seek to walk in China need to learn to tread lightly," it is wise to appreciate the nuances of the statement.

These hard-earned lessons were often wasted on Murdoch as he fought for a foothold in the billion-customer Chinese television market. Buying STAR TV from Richard Li in 1993, he expected to penetrate the mainland market using his usual hardball capitalist methods. Dover reminds us that "no tycoon has been more aggressive or more successful in expanding an empire across multinational boundaries," and Murdoch had no reason to doubt he would succeed once more. In China, however, even Murdoch had to alter aspects of his standard approach if he hoped to have a prayer at success: he violated his golden rule ("Never own anything you don't control"); and, he also rolled over and showed his belly when Chinese politicians asked him to pledge efforts for a "positive and constructive relationship."

Despite Murdoch's money, self-assurance and persistence, none of the concessions he made to Chinese bureaucrats worked, and his expensive China strategy collapsed. The disastrous end to Murdoch's China Adventure is a case study in how not to enter a market as complex as China and, for Murdoch's many detractors, will provide the guilty pleasure of Schadenfreude.

Dover offers other guilty pleasures. He has the distinction of having introduced a young intern at STAR TV, Wendi Deng, to Murdoch on July 1, 1997. By June 25, 1999, Wendi was the new Mrs. Murdoch, and Dover saw his influence dwindle. Whether or not wounded pride plays a role, Dover has a passive-aggressive field day with unflattering anecdotes about his ex-boss. The short version is that Murdoch, like most fallen idols, has feet of clay; the longer version is that Murdoch's blunders in China, according to Dover, stem from his cultural ineptness, arrogance, impudence and impetuousness. It's a good thing for Dover that Murdoch, so he claims, never reads about himself.--John McFarland


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