Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Atlantic Monthly Press: Every Drop of Blood: Hatred and Healing at Lincoln's Second Inauguration by Edward Achorn

Houghton Mifflin: The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey

Dressed for a Dance in the Snow: Women's Voices from the Gulag by Monika Zgustova, translated by Julie Jones

Running Press Adult: Very Modern Mantras: Daily Affirmations for Daily Aggravations by Dan Zevin

St. Martin's Press: A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky

Quotation of the Day

Bookselling Sometimes 'More Like Therapy Than Retail'

"Small, independent stores play a vital role in the intellectual life of a community. It's very much a one-to-one, personal interaction. What booksellers have always tried to do is get to know people and be able to make specific personal recommendations. Somebody once said that what we do here is a lot more like therapy than it is like retail. Somebody will walk in and say, 'Boy, I've had a tough week. I've been dealing with this and I've been dealing with that. I'm interested in finding out more about this other thing.' And the bookseller will say, 'Well, why don't you try this?' as if we're writing prescriptions."--Jim Huang, owner of the Mystery Company Bookstore, Carmel, Ind., in an interview with the Indy.com.

 


Berkley Books: The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes


News

What Happened with What Happened

Because of BEA and not publishing most of last week, we missed the sudden explosion of media interest and reader demand for What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception by Scott McClellan (PublicAffairs, $27.95, 9781586485566/1586485563). Originally scheduled to go on sale this week, the book by the former Bush White House press secretary became a hot political story late Tuesday when Politico.com, which said it had bought a copy at a bookstore, posted an item about What Happened with the headline "McClellan whacks Bush, White House."

Speaking from the green room of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where McClellan made an appearance last night, PublicAffairs publisher Susan Weinberg told Shelf Awareness that as the story spread through the media, "We were faced with a tough decision. It would be hard to make people wait to sell the book, and it would be hard to say to go ahead. But we realized we couldn't ask booksellers to wait until now to sell the book. Overall this was better, we thought." So the book went on sale immediately even though some stores had copies ready to sell and others did not.

What Happened had a first printing of 65,000 and now has 125,000 "coming off the press at various stages this week," Weinberg continued. "We're working very hard with everyone in the supply chain--printers, delivery and accounts--to get the books out there in front of customers."

She called demand "very strong" and hard to measure because retailers keep running out.

 


Berkley Books: Beach Read by Emily Henry


Notes: Interweave's Arts Addition; Sedaris's Sideline

Interweave, which has specialized in crafts magazines and books, has acquired four art magazine from Nielsen Business Media and will follow the same model of publishing books by editors of its magazines. The magazines are American Artist, Drawing, Watercolor and Workshop. With the purchase, Interweave, Loveland, Colo., has reorganized the bead, gem and jewelry division into the art and jewelry division. The division is headed by David Pyle, v-p and publisher, who joined Interweave in April after serving as group publisher of the Artist's Magazine at F+W Publications. Interweave already owns Fiberarts and Jewelry Artist, magazines for fiber and jewelry artists.

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The cover of this week's New Yorker depicts something IndieBound hopes to make, well, less likely a subject for magazine covers: as a UPS man delivers an Amazon.com package to a woman on her front step, she and a man opening up a bookstore next door exchange glances.

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Ex-Cahns in the news: on the Jacket Copy blog of the Los Angeles Times, former Publishers Weekly editor Bridget Kinsella was photographed after the editors' buzz panel at BEA. In her post-PW life, she is working on a newsletter that will be unveiled soon. Many thanks to former PW editor-in-chief Nora Rawlinson, who spotted Bridget in the photo and has her own new website, earlyword.com--more about it soon! (This item written by former PW editor John Mutter.)

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Concerning the query yesterday about the pronunciation of Andre Dubus III's last name, our own Marilyn Dahl pointed out a website that tells how to say the names of hundreds of public figures, including many writers: http://www.loc.gov/nls/other/sayhow.html.

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Tonight the New York Center for Independent Publishing launches the third series of Emerging Voices, highlighting some of New York's smaller, innovative presses and their authors. This evening's focus is Bellevue Literary Press, which began as a magazine in 2000 with offices on the Sixth Floor of Bellevue Hospital. Three years ago, the press expanded into books, and aims "to use illness and the human body as a lens to look at relationships and humanity itself."

Upcoming sessions focus on Europa Editions (June 12), Hanging Loose Press (June 18) and McPherson and Company (June 24). All take place at the Center at the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, 20 W. 44th St., between 5th and 6th Avenues in midtown Manhattan. All events are free. Go to nycip.org for more information.

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At last week's Hay Festival, a controversy erupted over plans to add recommended age ranges to the covers of children's books, "with authors speaking both for and against proposals due to be implemented by a wide group of children's publishers later this year," according to the Guardian.

"If you've got reluctant young readers," said Mal Peet, "they're going to be reluctant to read any book which they consider to be beneath their age range. And there's no point in encouraging able young readers to read above their age range because they're going to do that anyway. . . . Sooner or later this age ranging is going to degenerate into a moral code, which would be terrible."

Rebecca McNally, publishing director of Macmillan's children's division, countered that "loose guidelines" were the goal. "We've written to our authors and had a positive response," she said. "Anyone who's ever seen adults trying to choose books for children thinks this is a positive thing. The whole point is to help adults who often feel completely lost in the children's section of a bookshop."

But author Francesca Simon suggested that it's "about getting rid of bookshops. It's about selling books through supermarkets or over the Internet, without the kind of specialist guidance you can get from a bookseller."

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The Jane Austen Hair Club? The Guardian reported that a locket "containing what is believed to be Jane Austen's hair is expected to reach more than £5,000 (US$9,812) at auction."

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Business Week
's "Reading List for the Poolside MBA" was compiled from suggestions by university professors. Even a few works of fiction could be found among the "business page-turners."

"Whatever the merits of the novel, it does a nice job of introducing the concepts of bottlenecks and variability, both of which are studied in our core Operations & Management Science course," said Wallace Hopp, the Herrick professor of manufacturing and professor of operations and management science at University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, in justifying his use of The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox.

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Last month we reported plans for a Waterstone's charity auction of 13 "storycards" by well-known authors (Shelf Awareness, May 9, 2008). According to the Associated Press (via the New York Times), J.K. Rowling's contribution will be "a short [800-word] prequel to her Harry Potter books."

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David Sedaris, who is about to launch a 30-city book tour promoting When You are Engulfed in Flames, told Newsweek that he likes being on the road and has found ways to make extra money: "For the last book tour, I put a tip jar on my table, because you just have to make it fun," he said. "I didn't even do it every night and I made $4,000."

 

 


Plough Publishing House: Poems to See by: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters


BEA: Notes from the Floor

The jacket of Algonquin Books' American Savior by Roland Merullo (September), a satirical novel about the state of politics in the U.S., will feature an endorsement from Susan Cheever, who rang editor Chuck Adams with words of praise after receiving an advance reading copy. And in true political campaign fashion, the publisher had buttons and bumper stickers promoting the title.

HarperCollins has the distinction of claiming both the last #1 Book Sense Pick for The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (June) and the first #1 Indie Next List selection for The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (July)--part of the ABA's new IndieBound initiative (Shelf Awareness, June 2, 2007).

Newmarket Press featured a dual reading copy with the backlist title Ping: A Frog in Search of a New Pond by Stuart Avery Gold in one half and the parable's sequel, The Way of Ping: Journey to the Great Ocean (December), on the flip side. The company is also hoping to strike it big with $1,000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire (September), the rags-to-riches story of businessman Sam Wyly. Along with his wife, Cheryl, Wyly owns Explore Booksellers and Bistro in Aspen, Colo. (Shelf Awareness, January 30, 2007). Wyly is contributing to Newmarket's $300,000 campaign for the book, which includes ads in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, radio ads, airport promotions and more.

Two of the Penguin Group's highlights are the thriller Fresh Kills by Amazon Breakthrough Award winner Bill Loehfelm (Putnam/August) and Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates (Riverhead/October).

The Random House booth drew long lines for signings by Katherine Neville for her latest novel, The Fire (Ballantine/October), and Andrew Davidson, author of the debut novel The Gargoyle (Doubleday/August). Coming in December is Azar Nafisi's new memoir, Things I've Been Silent About, which will be preceded by a deluxe edition of Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books in November.

Running Press touted two books tying into anniversaries. One is Marlo Thomas' Free to Be . . . You and Me (October), first published 35 years ago. This edition will include new essays by Drew Barrymore and others, a newly designed cover and a foreword by teen star Miley Cyrus. The second title is You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (September), a photo-filled tome celebrating 85 years of the movie studio's history and the companion volume to a PBS series narrated by Clint Eastwood.

Simon & Schuster's flagship imprint spotlighted The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own by David Carr (September). The memoir recounts Carr's self-described "trip from crack-house regular to regular columnist at the Times" (the New York Times, that is).

Storey Publishing is publishing the first memoir in the company's history, 25-year-old web designer and homesteader Jenna Woginrich's Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life.

Show-goers queued up in Workman's Artisan booth for a photo-op promoting Sleeveface (October), Carl Morris and John Rostron's photographic book featuring people striking interesting poses while holding vintage album covers in front of their faces and other parts of the body. The most popular icon among BEA attendees? David Bowie.

Workman author Joshua Jay drew attention to his forthcoming title, Big Book of Magic (November), by entertaining passersby with demonstrations of his craft, and a tux-clad butler served up copies of Christopher Tennant's The Official Filthy Rich Handbook (June) on a silver tray.

One of Weinstein Books' fall titles is We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals that Changed Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee (September), who shares the story of how he and his family moved into an unlikely new home--a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Also in the company's fall line-up is The Journal of Hélène Berr (October), a diary by a young Jewish woman and English literature student at the Sorbonne in Nazi-occupied Paris.--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


Skylight Books: Surviving, Expanding, Writing Its Own Story

Last Thursday, on the eve of BEA, Kerry Slattery, co-owner and general manager of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., gave this commentary on NPR's Marketplace:

"Our little urban neighborhood in Los Angeles is abuzz these days. Passersby are actively curious about the renovation going on at the small storefront next to my bookstore. When I put up a little sign saying it's going to be an expansion, they are incredulous and thrilled. Not another restaurant, not a big chain ice cream parlor, but our very own neighborhood bookshop is doing well enough to grow, even while many independent stores are struggling as consumers flee to big box stores and Amazon!

"I keep thinking that our situation is unique--that the reason we are surviving after 11 1/2 years as an independent bookstore must be due to our offbeat neighborhood. Or that we have a sympathetic landlord. Or that I've just been particularly conservative with how we've handled our expenses. Maybe it's that we're responsive to our neighborhood's needs. After all, we host readings by the local Middle School Writers Club every year, and draw top literary names. Our store cat, Lucy, who passed away recently, had a cult following. Customers even donated funds for her vet bills. But independent stores have always done these little things.

"What's happening now is this: More than any other time in recent years, there is a growing national consumer awareness that big may not be better--both in small towns as well as large cities. I'm seeing customers consider the environmental, personal and community impact of buying from locally-owned neighborhood businesses. They're realizing there's value in keeping their money--as well as taxes that support community services--in their own community. People are starting to look around their neighborhoods a little more, and we want to be there for them when they do.

"Sure, with this expansion comes new risk. But that's the beauty of writing your own story."

 


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Remembering Robert Kennedy

This morning on the Today Show: Stephanie Klein, author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp (Morrow, $24.95, 9780060843298/0060843292).

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Stanley Bing, author of Executricks: Or How to Retire While You're Still Working (Collins, $19.95, 9780061340352/0061340359).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Lynn Spencer, author of Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11 (Free Press, $26, 9781416559252/1416559256).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Day to Day: Pete Hamill, who wrote the essay for A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties, photographs by Bill Eppridge (Abrams, $29.95, 9780810971226/0810971224).

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Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Barbara Walters, author of Audition: A Memoir (Knopf, $29.95, 9780307266460/030726646X).

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Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Jeff Foxworthy, whose latest book is How to Really Stink at Golf (Villard, $16, 9780345502780/0345502787).

 



Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected major titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, June 9 and 10:

Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan (Little, Brown, $27.99, 9780316018708/0316018708) follows a dysfunctional family on a sailing trip gone horribly wrong.

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi (Grand Central, $25.99, 9780446581196/0446581194) chronicles the search for an infamous Italian murderer.

Not in the Flesh: A Wexford Novel
by Ruth Rendell (Crown, $25.95, 9780307406811/0307406814) is the tale of Chief Inspector Wexford's investigation of a decade-old murder.

How to Be Single: A Novel
by Liz Tuccillo (Atria, $24.95, 9781416534129/1416534121) explores the lives of single women worldwide through a young traveler.

The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel
by Jeffery Deaver (S&S, $26.95, 9781416549970/1416549978) follows the investigation of a serial killer using identity theft techniques to frame others.

Married Lovers by Jackie Collins (St. Martin's, $26.95, 9780312341817/0312341814) tells the story of a personal trainer who leaves her husband for a new life in Los Angeles.

New in paperback:

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $13.95, 9780307386175/0307386171).

Hellboy Volume 8: Darkness Calls by Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo and Dave Stewart (Dark Horse Comics, $19.95, 9781593078966/159307896X).

 


Book Review

Book Review: Hospital

Hospital: Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity, Plus Red Tape, Bad Behavior, Money, God and Diversity on Steroids by Julie Salamon (Penguin Press, $25.95 Hardcover, 9781594201714, June 2008)


 
Like distant generals, our presidential candidates plot their health care strategies while war rages in the trenches of America's hospitals and clinics. Julie Salamon's Hospital is an urgent, unsentimental dispatch from one of those urban battlefields.

Granted extraordinary access by its administration, Salamon spent a year at Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park, Brooklyn, N.Y., shortly after the opening of a state-of-the-art cancer center. Maimonides is as diverse as the United Nations and equally contentious. The polyglot nature of the community (translators for 67 languages are on site) adds daunting complexity to the challenge of delivering high-quality health care.
 
Salamon expertly chronicles the struggles of the Maimonides physicians and staff confronting the crushing pressures of the insurance system and the constant need to get patients out of the hospital to replace them with new ones, reminiscent of the way a restaurant must "turn over" each table multiple times in the course of an evening to make a profit.
 
Hospital is much more than a catalogue of the failures and successes of our health care system. Salamon presents a strikingly diverse assortment of characters whose work and lives she reveals on these pages. Among the more intriguing are Alan Astrow, a medical oncologist dedicated to exploring the connection between medicine and spirituality, and Pam Brier, Maimonides' politically astute and yet occasionally self-doubting president. Even the professionals who populate Salamon's story are themselves touched by disease and death: Sam Kopel, the hospital's medical director and a moving force behind the cancer center, loses his wife to ovarian cancer, while Brier struggles with the after effects of a near-fatal automobile accident. Among the daily routine of hospital life there are scenes of great poignancy--a Russian social worker crying with cancer patients and a Chinese resident who serves as a Spanish translator for the family of a young Hispanic woman dying of cancer.
 
While Salamon is a generous and sympathetic observer, she's not shy about exposing the hospital's power struggles, often involving money and the titanic egos of competing doctors. Although some Maimonides physicians earn more than $1 million a year, Salamon places less emphasis on their wealth and more on the constant striving to deliver high-quality health care.
 
Salamon's encounter with Maimonides convinced her that the health care system "wasn't anonymous or abstract; it was the sum of individual human successes and failures, each of which could build or destroy." Her portrait is balanced, not polemical, ably exposing the fault lines in a system beginning to crack under the strain.--Harvey Freedenberg

 


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