Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Yearling Books: Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns

Ballantine Books: Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

Central Avenue Publishing: Pickle's Progress by Marcia Butler

Bitter Lemon Press: Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Delacorte Press: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Little Simon: Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! (Mia Mayhem #1) by Kara West, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez

News

Notes: Harvard Book Store for Sale; Booksellers on NPR

Frank Kramer, who has owned Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass., since 1962, is putting the store up for sale. In an announcement, Kramer, who is 66, said that he would like to move "into a new phase of his life" and plans "to stay connected to Harvard Square and books." He hopes to find a buyer "of like mind who loves books, who appreciates the iconic institution that he and two generations of dedicated staff members have built and who will continue the traditions and values that HBS represents to its many thousands of committed customers."

Kramer has no urgency about selling, saying, "It's all about finding the right person." The store is "healthy and vibrant," he emphasized, and is mainly run by general manager Carole Horne. Kramer has hired Walter Huskins of Ridge Hill Partners, a "boutique mergers and acquisition intermediary firm" in Needham, Mass., to represent the store. Huskins may be reached at 617-965-6177 or whuskins@ridgehillpartners.com.

Some 46 years ago, Kramer took over the store in his senior year at college, when his father, Mark Kramer, who had founded the store in 1932, died. Kramer decided to take the helm, he remembered, for "at least for a few years until I figured out what to do with my life."

As co-founder and co-chair of Cambridge Local First, he will continue to spend at least some time helping locally owned businesses grow and help Cambridge become a greener city.

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"Novelist Henry James said the two most beautiful words in the English language were 'summer afternoon,' and what better way to spend a summer afternoon than with a good book," noted NPR's Morning Edition in its  introduction to "Booksellers' Selections for Summer Afternoons," featuring picks by Rona Brinlee, The Bookmark, Atlantic Beach, Fla., Steve Shapiro, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, Kan., and Lucia Silva, Portrait of a Bookstore, Los Angeles, Calif.

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Archie Kutz "thought running a bookstore in his hometown of Brockport was worth a try" in 1972, according to the Democrat & Chronicle, which profiled Lift Bridge Book Shop, Brockport, N.Y. Thirty-six years later, Archie and his wife, Pat, are still going strong.

The paper wrote, "In a time when big box bookstores have crushed many independent sellers, Lift Bridge continues to survive, the Kutzes say, partly because of the State University College at Brockport."

"Our major leap was when we started doing (text)books for the college," said Archie. And Pat added, "Being located in a college town . . . means people read and buy books."

As to their basic survival strategy, Pat summed it up succinctly: "Book sellers are very inventive and enterprising."

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In its profile of the Globe Corner Bookstore, Cambridge, Mass., the Boston Globe reported that as summer nears, "the aisles of the landmark seller of maps, guidebooks, and other aids for the traveler fill up with would-be adventurers planning for summer voyages to faraway lands. What they may not realize, however, is that the staff that so helpfully answers their questions is also busy gearing up for an annual migration of its own."

Travel experience is a "key hiring criterion" at the bookstore. The paper noted that booksellers Lisa Peterson and Simone Kearney, both experienced travelers, have big plans on tap this year as well.

"I travel, come back, save up money, then travel again," said Peterson, who fell in love with Croatia in 2004, has returned five times and will spend July there.

Kearney "plans to drop in on Ireland, France, and maybe a couple of new countries before touching down in New York City to start graduate school in the fall."

"We view our staff's travel as a huge benefit," said co-owner Harriet Carrier. "How can we say that we want all this travel and then not let them go?"

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For the first time, the United Nations International Day of Peace, which was originated in 1981 by Pathways to Peace in conjunction with the United Nations, will be included on many 2009 calendars.

"The International Day of Peace has been around for 27 years; there are already thousands of events worldwide involving millions of people," according to Melvin Weiner, director of sales and marketing, Sellers Publishing, who initiated the idea of getting September 21 recognized by calendar publishers. "By adding this day to calendars worldwide and engaging the business world and media, we have a chance to really make a difference."

Weiner noted in a statement that participating publishers now include Mead (Landmark, Day Dreams, Amcal, At-A-Glance and Day Runner), Andrews McMeel, BrownTrout, Workman, Dateworks (American Greetings), Lang, Avalanche, Turner, Graphique de France, Barnes & Noble, Pomegranate, Abrams, Blue Mountain Arts, Willow Creek Press, Time Factory, Innovative Arts (formerly Portal), African American Expressions, Tide-Mark, Impact, Brush Dance, Amber Lotus, NMR, Zebra, Gladstone, Shearson, Trends and Sellers Publishing.

"Having the International Day of Peace on everyone's calendar means that its observance will now be a much more universal and mainstream activity," he added.

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Mary Ellen Aria, who is seeking a buyer for Aria Booksellers, Howell, Mich., "wants a storybook ending for her six-year-old business. But she's waiting for someone to come forward for the lead role," reported the Livingston Community News.

"I used to think I was Wonder Woman, but I've learned that I'm not," she said. "I just can't fight the fight by myself anymore. . . . I have good memories. This is a great place to be, or I wouldn't have come to work as much as I did."

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Jimmy Durante singing "I'll never forget the day I read a book" opened TodayShow.com's "Summer Page-turners" segment on 10 recommended summer reads from John Searles, the book editor at Cosmopolitan.

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Karen Cooper has been named publisher, Adams Media. She was formerly group marketing director for parent company F+W Publications's U.S. book division, where she managed trade and specialty marketing for North Light Books, Writer's Digest, Krause Publications. Book division president Sara Domville said that Cooper in part would work with Chad Phelps, v-p, digital media, in launching Everything.com.

Cooper earlier was a marketer at SchoolCash.com, once part of Pearson, was managing director of Element Children's Books, where she launched its U.S. program, and worked in the children's group at Penguin Putnam. She is also the author of two nonfiction YA books, What a Girl Wants and DIY Style, published by Chicken House and distributed in the U.S. by Scholastic.

 


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years by Cathy Guisewite


Borders.com 3.0: Borders Launches Revamped Website

After a seven-year hiatus during which it outsourced online retailing to Amazon.com, Borders is again selling online beginning today. A major element of the company's turnaround effort, the new Borders.com aims to convey online "the warmth, inspiration and sense of discovery people have in our bookstores," as senior v-p of e-business Kevin Ertell put it. "We want people to feel surrounded by books." (Ertell gave Shelf Awareness a preview of the new Borders.com earlier this month.)

Among other things, the revamped site offers more than two million book, music and DVD titles, fulfilled by Baker & Taylor; sells used books, music and DVDs on Borders Marketplace through a partnership with Alibris that offers more than 60 million titles; consolidates some online promotional initiatives like Borders Media, now allowing users to buy the books featured; ties in with Borders Rewards, the company's 26-million member loyalty program; and is linked with the Borders Search in-store kiosks.

To aim to "re-create the experience of our bookstores," the front page of Borders.com features the "Magic Shelf," which Ertell called "a metaphor for the book tables and displays in-store that people like to see and browse." An important reason for the approach: more than half of customers coming into Borders stores "don't know what they want to buy," Ertell said.

The Magic Shelf includes new fiction, music and other categories as well as a shelf for staff picks from one Borders store, including information about the store, a display that rotates weekly. "Every website has faceouts," Ertell said. "But many crowd the page with so much text. We lay out just covers. To get the text, you hover over the cover. You can get to it when you want, but it doesn't muck up the experience."

As on other sites, readers can browse via category, format, large print, price, bestsellers, new and upcoming releases, and more. The Magic Shelf also offers music and DVDs and can be customized based on a customer's preferences.

The new website is being linked closely with the kiosks in Borders stores that have mainly been used by customers to find inventory in the store. As of today, those in-store customers can find and order books online, view all the information on the site, including reviews and videos, check and add to gift registries and wish lists. "Now people can come into the store and leave happy one way or another," Ertell commented.

Customers can also do online reserves, and in another kind of website-store interaction, they pick up books bought online at stores. This could be a popular option because deliveries to stores are free, and in many cities, "people don't want to have packages left on doorsteps," Ertell said.

The new Borders.com is also hosting Borders Media. This includes a range of programming developed over the past several years that now has a purchase option. Among the "shows": Live at 01, which offers videos of authors and musicians appearing at Borders's Ann Arbor, Mich., store; Borders Kitchen, which features cooking lessons and book club style discussions with chefs such as Nigella Lawson, Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali; Borders Open Door Poetry, which includes discussions and readings by such poets as Mark Strand and Robert Pinsky.

In addition, the new site links with the Borders Rewards loyalty program. "We've definitely heard that members would like to use the program online," Ertell said. Now they can make redemptions and earn rewards online.

The new site will also promote customer reviews of books, which have been "difficult to have in store." Now they will have a home that is permanent and searchable. In the same vein, Borders.com will highlight staff reviews, which are among the most popular sections in the store. Currently such recommendations "exist in one store for 30 days and then are gone," Ertell said. Now Borders's 30,000 employees can write reviews on the site and "they will exist in all stores and online forever." The site also has "designated experts," a group of some 30 especially knowledgeable employees whose reviews will be highlighted so customers can follow them.

Borders buyers will be responsible for online selection as well as in-store sales. "They are the voice of who we are and what we stand for," Ertell said.--John Mutter

 


Korero Press: The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia's Hidden Tiki Temples by Kelly Reilly and Tom Morgan


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Your Government Failed You

This morning on Good Morning America: Richard A. Clarke, author of Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters (Ecco, $25.95, 9780061474620/0061474622).

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This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Carlos Acosta, author of No Way Home: A Dancer's Journey from the Streets of Havana to the Stages of the World (Scribner, $27.50, 9781416566298/1416566295).

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Today on the Diane Rehm Show:

  • Senator James Webb, author of A Time to Fight: Reclaiming a Fair and Just America (Broadway, $24.95, 9780767928359/0767928350).
  • Michael Paul Mason, author of Head Cases: Stories of Brain Injury and its Aftermath (FSG, $25, 9780374134525/0374134529).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Marwan Muasher, author of The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation (Yale, $30, 9780300123005/0300123000).

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Tomorrow on Ellen: Laura Bush and her daughter Jenna Hager discuss their new children's book, Read All About It! (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780061560750/0061560758).

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Tomorrow on the View: actor Kirk Cameron, whose autobiography is Still Growing (Regal Books, $22.99, 9780830744510/0830744517).

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Tomorrow on 48 Hours: Elissa Wall, author of Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061628016/0061628018).

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Tomorrow on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Doug Fine, author of Farewell, My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living (Villard, $24, 9781400066445/1400066441).

 


Soho Teen: The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason - Request It!


Books & Authors

Rough Guides on BEA: The B Word . . . Books

Free books, everywhere!
Complimentary totes fill
And split with more ARCS . . .

Did you enjoy that original haiku? We figured it was about the right speed for those of you sandwiched between the long holiday weekend and the long decidedly NON-holiday weekend coming up.

Books! If BEA doesn't have enough for you, maybe you should check out one of Los Angeles's many fine bookstores. Even with the sad passing of Dutton's Brentwood, Los Angeles has a ton of great indie bookshops--too many to mention properly in this brief, so we figured we'd feature a few that are especially near and dear to our hearts: the travel bookstores. Here are a few Rough Guides favorites:

California Map and Travel Center
3312 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica
310-396-6277
 
You'll find atlases, maps and books about outdoor activities--including hiking and biking--and other adventures at this bookshop on the eastern edge of Santa Monica.

Distant Lands
56 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena
626-449-3220

Well-stocked travel bookstore in Old Pasadena, with some fairly hard-to-find titles, as well as maps and travel gear. Also hosts the occasional public speaker and globe-trotting slide show.

Geographia
4000 Riverside Dr., Burbank
818-848-1414

Solid San Fernando Valley choice for an array of travel items, from the basic guides to detailed maps and other publications.

Nations
500 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach
310-318-9915

A South Bay travel-guide retailer that sells all the familiar publishers at reasonable prices and can book trips through an in-house agency; includes a decent selection of maps, globes and travel accessories.

Thomas Brothers Maps
521 W. Sixth St., Downtown
213-627-4018 or 1-888-277-6277

The well-known mapmakers who produce highly detailed, spiral-bound city maps operate this Downtown store, which also carries a good assortment of local to international maps and travel publications.

Traveler's Bookcase
8375 W. Third St., Mid-Wilshire
323-655-0575

A bookseller overflowing with travel guides, maps and publications, along with a fine array of literary travel stories, wanderlust novels, trip diaries and personal essays.

For more bookstores in L.A., check out your official BEA travel guide, The Rough Guide to Los Angeles, or visit roughguides.com. Also, access Rough Guides from your iPhone at http://iphone.roughguides.com.

We hope you've enjoyed our tips and that you have a safe trip to L.A. and a great BEA! Be sure to stop by the Rough Guides both (#2301) and say hello--we'll have giveaways all weekend long!


Novel Destinations: Jack London's Beauty Ranch

The following is the third of several excerpts Shelf Awareness is running from Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon (National Geographic, 9781426203664), which is now on sale. Click here for information about the book, which includes a foreword by Matthew Pearl, and to visit the authors' literary travel blog, go to noveldestinations.com. A contributing writer to Shelf Awareness, Shannon will sign copies of Novel Destinations at BEA on Saturday, May 31, from 3-4 p.m. in the National Geographic booth (#1324).

In past weeks we've visited the Eudora Welty House in Jackson, Miss., and the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass. Today we venture to a different section of the country, California's Sonoma Valley, home to Jack London's Beauty Ranch.

Beauty Ranch
Jack London State Historic Park
Glen Ellen, Calif.

"I ride over my beautiful ranch. . . . The air is wine. The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. . . . The afternoon sun smolders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive."--Jack London, John Barleycorn

"Next to my wife, the ranch is the dearest thing in the world to me," Jack London confided to his editor in October 1914. Nine years earlier, the then 29-year-old writer had purchased the first parcel of what was to become 1,400 acres of Sonoma Valley ranch land. With monies earned from his bestselling adventure novels, including The Call of the Wild and The Sea-Wolf, the onetime hobo, sailor, itinerant laborer, and world traveler had embarked on a journey of a different kind--the creation of a bucolic Eden. Newly married to his second wife, Charmian, he threw himself into his agrarian dream. With customary gusto, he set out to make Beauty Ranch a shining example of a "ranch of good intentions" by using organic and sustainable agriculture techniques to cultivate vegetables, grains, and livestock.

"I have pledged myself, my manhood, my fortune, my books, and all I possess to this undertaking," he once declared emphatically. And until his untimely demise in 1916, he dedicated himself to Beauty Ranch, "devoting two hours a day to writing and ten to farming." Though he continued to churn out a thousand words a day, the quality of his writing deteriorated and he readily admitted, "I write a book for no other reason than to add . . . to my magnificent estate."

Today the estate is home to several miles of trails for hiking and horseback riding, as well as the writer's cottage, a museum established by Charmian London after her husband's death, and the eerie remains of Wolf House--the Londons' 5,000-square-foot mansion which burned to the ground just days shy of its completion.


Reprinted with permission of the National Geographic Society from the book Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon. Copyright © 2008 Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon.

 


Book Sense: May We Recommend

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

Hardcover

The Conversion by Joseph Olshan (St. Martin's, $24.95, 9780312373917/0312373910). "Joseph Olshan's The Conversion is delicately, yet powerfully, rendered, taking the reader through layers, twists, and turns to a surprise ending in a novel of deep and intricate characterization. Beginning in Paris, the characters travel to an Italian villa that is so carefully and evocatively described that it, too, becomes one of Olshan's beautifully drawn characters. A must read."--Susan Morgan, The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, Vt.

Sundays in America by Suzanne Strempek Shea (Beacon, $25.95, 9780807072240/0807072249). "Imagine visiting a different Christian church nationwide every Sunday morning for a year. Suzanne Strempek Shea's remarkable, insightful, and, often, quite humorous book details her journey from a rousing Baptist service in Harlem to a chapel at Denver International Airport, sharing her own struggles and clearly showing that there are unlimited paths to a single destination."--Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.

Paperback

The Woman's Field Guide to Exceptional Living by Corrie Woods (Morgan James Publishing, $14.95, 9781600373954/160037395X). "Corrie Woods' book is written in chapters that allow the reader to take action and create her own exceptional life. For every woman who loved Eat, Pray, Love, The Woman's Field Guide is waiting for you!"--Betsy Goree, The Book Shelf, Tryon, N.C.

Middle Readers

Tennyson by Lesley M. M. Blume (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 9780375847035/0375847030). "Tennyson Fontaine and her sister Hattie are sent to live with their aunt on the rundown family plantation, Aigredoux, in Depression-era Louisiana. The rich prose and fantastic imagery will delight readers as they learn the history of Aigredoux and discover whether Tennyson will become the author she yearns to be."--Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

[Many thanks to Book Sense and the ABA!]

 



Book Review

Book Review: Moose

Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp by Stephanie Klein (William Morrow & Company, $24.95 Hardcover, 9780060843298, June 2008)



When popular blogger Stephanie Klein became pregnant with twins, her doctor instructed her to gain 50 pounds, sending the now-svelte Klein into terrified flashbacks of her years as an overweight child who spent several summers at "fat camp." She conflates those summers here, augmenting her memories with adolescent journal entries, in a memoir that is often funny and always brutally honest.

Klein's issues with her weight began in earnest at the age of eight when her mother took her to see Fran, a Long Island nutritionist known as "the Fat Doctor of Roslyn Heights." Fran's counseling proved ineffective when it came to shedding pounds; four years later, Klein weighed "156 pounds and change" and was regularly taunted by boys who called her "Moose." Although Klein repeatedly disdains "fatnalysis" (she wants just to lose weight, not figure out why she's gained it), she paints a familial portrait that seems to offer at least a partial psychological explanation. Klein's thin, emotionally distant mother would not hold her daughter's hand or express love without prompting, and her rotund father, who thought the nickname "Moose" hilarious, told Klein that she would never be liked as long as she was fat.  

Once shipped off to Camp Yanisin, Klein found herself surrounded by campers who had all suffered the same shame and stigmatization and was, for the first time, on a socially level playing field. Her journey, however, was not without pitfalls. The admittedly hypersexual Klein was teased relentlessly after being busted for stashing pornographic magazines in her cabin and was not accepted into the camp's cliques. Two weeks before camp ended, Klein was sent home after the camp doctor discovered she had helped a group of girls vomit up their lunches. Klein's narrative achieves its greatest poignancy here, in her descriptions of a brief but frightening dalliance with bulimia that cast long shadows all the way into her adult life.
 
Klein's graphic candor sometimes makes for a rough read, but it is extremely effective in showing the emotional and psychic toll of all those extra pounds. While she has maintained an average weight for more than a decade (pregnancy notwithstanding), Klein has known since her sessions with Fran that "I would be fat for the rest of my life even if I looked thin." Although personal, this is a timely and valuable insight at a time when childhood obesity rates approach 20%--triple what they were when Klein stepped on a scale for the first time.--Debra Ginsberg
 

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