Shelf Awareness for Monday, June 30, 2008

Sourcebooks Landmark: Long After We Are Gone by Terah Shelton Harris

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Editors' Note

Happy Birthday to Us--And Many Thanks!

Yesterday marked the third anniversary of our first issue. In the past year, we've continued to grow, to the point that we can safely say we have a real staff and Jenn and John are able to catch breaths--occasionally!

Melissa Mueller joined Shelf Awareness late last summer fulltime in the Seattle office and is the key person for booking ads. Perhaps more important, she helps her boss, Jenn Risko, keep track of and act on the many thousands of little details that comprise the business. We thank her for adding some calm and order.

In addition to contributing his enlightening weekly column, Robert Gray now regularly writes many of the news items and BookTV listings and occasionally puts together whole issues and sends them out, giving John Mutter much-appreciated breaks. We thank him as ever for his witty, elegant commentary.

Jennifer M. Brown continues to cover children's books--in addition to writing a children's book review once a week. She will be contributing even more in the coming year and is as cheerful as ever.

Shannon McKenna Schmidt writes on a variety of bookselling issues--and her first book, co-authored with Joni Rendon, Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West (National Geographic), came out last month and was excerpted here. Congratulations!

Our CFO, Richard Jobes, has taken on ever more business and financial duties and continues to provide wise financial counsel. Graphic designer Alex Baker is as creative as ever, especially in coming up with theme Viks (such as the one at the top of today's issue). And Braden Vinroe explains the unexplainable--he gives us all kinds of indispensable computer and technical advice.

We've added four book reviewers, and now reviews of books on a wide range of subjects appear in almost every issue of Shelf Awareness. Many thanks to Nick DiMartino, Debra Ginsberg, Harvey Freedenberg and John McFarland, who have done excellent work and are ably managed by Marilyn Dahl. Marilyn still writes her own stylish reviews and also edits the wildly popular Book Brahmin feature.

Booksellers Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Susan L. Weis continue to write from time to time about titles and issues in graphic novels and New Age, respectively. We're looking for other booksellers or librarians to cover certain areas, including sci-fi, audio, mystery and gay and lesbian.

Our readership has increased to 15,000, up 5,000 in the past year--and continues to grow.

We launched the Drop-In Title database, which has proven to be an effective a tool for booksellers and librarians to learn about crash titles.

During our fourth year, we plan to continue creating more tools to help booksellers and librarians do their jobs better and have some fun while doing it, particularly at a time when the book world becomes more challenging. Like many readers, we are distressed that some well-known bookstores have closed in the past year. But many new ones have opened and established ones have expanded. We don't want to contribute to a perception that more indies are closing--perhaps those situations stick out because we tend to run a series of stories about their travails as well as many remembrances while the new stores are unknown and usually are covered once. And, of course, many of us know and love the departing stores, while the new ones are little known. (See Notes below for examples of both situations.) Still, as many of our readers know, the book business offers a lot of opportunities and much to celebrate. Here's to a healthy second half of 2008 for all of us.


Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Roswell Johnson Saves the World! (Roswell Johnson #1) by Chris Colfer

Quotation of the Day

Great Bookshops 'Set Up a Trade in Books and Passions'

"Great bookshops are the heart of every literary culture, the chambers where life-giving material is exchanged and where writers and readers deposit and find their secrets. . . . The greatest bookshops set up a trade in books and passions, in the interplay of inquiring minds and the search for values. And so, the best bookshops in the world become centres of a way of life . . . because there is so little else around now that is like them. Independence is their creed but also their character: they seek to know what they are selling and to sell it with feeling."--Andrew O'Hagan describing "the perfect bookshop" in the Guardian.


Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman


Notes: Olsson's to File Chapter 11; Morris Book Shop Opens

"Pressed by creditors who have filed claims against the company's inventories and by rising overhead costs," as the Washington Post put it, Olsson's Books and Records, Washington, D.C., plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Saying they were owed $386,000, three publishers last week petitioned bankruptcy court to put Olsson's in involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which would force it to close. Chapter 11 allows the company to reorganize and continue in business.

Olsson's, which closed its Penn Quarter store on June 27 (Shelf Awareness, June 17, 2008), "will evaluate its ability to operate its remaining five properties," Richard H. Gins, an attorney for the company, told the Post.

"The book business is getting a little soft. It's not selling as much as it used to," founder John Olsson said. "Our music sales went from 50 percent of our business to maybe 15. We lost a lot of revenue, and at the same time rents went up and real estate taxes went up. I don't know what we would have done differently. It's a killer."

"It's hard to compete against megastores like Barnes and Noble," Gins added. "We're looking at it positively, and we're hoping to come out of it. It depends on how many stores we can have."


Morris Book Shop, Lexington, Ky., will hold its grand opening Saturday, July 12. The Herald-Leader reported the new bookstore, owned by Wyn Morris and Hap Houlihan, "is already operating" and offered the following irresistible introduction to this "compact, neighborhood-friendly book browser's heaven":

"Imagine that you had a library--not the one you've got, with books stacked randomly, and three Ian McEwan titles but no Atonement--but something tastefully chosen and artfully arranged, with a couple of attentive guides to point out intriguing stuff you might have missed."

Natives of Lexington, Morris and Houlihan previously worked for University Press of Kentucky and Joseph-Beth Booksellers. For more on the background of the store, see our feature from earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, February 14, 2008).


SoBo Book & Bean, South Berwick, Maine, held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony recently, Foster's Daily Herald reported. Owner Marie MacDonald had said last month (Shelf Awareness, May 22, 2008) that she has "been a book person from childhood, but I think one of the things that sets apart an independent bookstore is its role in the community . . . This isn't just selling books or coffee--it's really community-building, and I'm proud to be part of that."


Claire Rose, deputy director of the Peter White Public Library, Marquette, Mich., has won the second annual Spotlight Award for Public Librarians, sponsored by BookPage and recognizing library professionals who "never seek the spotlight but certainly deserve it." Rose was one of 500 librarians nominated for the award by patrons and was cited in the nomination for her "passion for her work and a mission to provide for the good of the community." She was also praised for her grant writing ability, including an application for a $300,000 NEH Challenge Grant that helped the library expand. She has worked for the library 18 years.

The award carries a $2,500 prize for Rose; the library receives $250.


As the Fourth of July approaches, Slate offered an Independent Reading list of "the best books and Web sites about the birth of America."


The Wall Street Journal featured "Investment Page-Turners for the Summer," which may "make you a shrewder money manager without making you feel like you're poring through the Tulsa phone directory."


The St. Clair, Ill., County Journal featured several regional bookshops that are searching for ways to be unique and yet remain competitive with national chain and online retailers. Among the bookshops profiled were the Bookworm, Belleville; Piece of Mind Books, Edwardsville; the Booktrader, Belleville; and Sonshine Unlimited, Granite City.


Spiegel & Grau: Tiananmen Square by Lai Wen

Image of the Day: The Show Goes On

Cody's Books may have closed suddenly 10 days ago, but Bob Calhoun aka Dante, author of the recent punk-wrestling memoir, Beer, Blood and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling (ECW Press, distributed by Independent Publishers Group), plans to hold an event scheduled there for tonight anyway. Calhoun will read on the sidewalk on Shattuck Avenue in front of the shuttered Berkeley, Calif., store at 7 p.m. A Bay Area resident and regular for years with the Bay Area's Incredibly Strange Wrestling tour, Calhoun may draw many fans as he did at BEA, where he gave free headlocks.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fearless Janet Evanovich

This morning on the Early Show: Jen Singer, author of You're a Good Mom . . . And Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either (Sourcebooks, $13.95, 9781402211140/1402211147), who will talk about the book and her sixth annual "Please Take My Children to Work Day," a holiday for part- and full-time stay-at-home mothers.


This morning on Good Morning America: David Gilmour, author of The Film Club: A Memoir (Twelve, $21.99, 9780446199292/044619929X).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Salman Rushdie, author of The Enchantress of Florence: A Novel (Random House, $26, 9780375504334/0375504338). He's also scheduled for the Charlie Rose Show tonight.


Today on CNN's Glenn Beck Show: Brad Thor, author of The Last Patriot (Atria, $26, 9781416543831/141654383X).


Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: William Shatner, author of Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Thomas Dunne Books, $25.95, 9780312372651/0312372655).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Kathryn Harrison, author of While They Slept: An Inquiry into the Murder of a Family (Random House, $25, 9781400065424/1400065429).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Janet Evanovich, author of Fearless Fourteen (St. Martin's, $27.95, 9780312349516/0312349513).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Linda Mills, author of Violent Partners: A Breakthrough Plan for Ending the Cycle of Abuse (Basic Books, $26.95, 9780465045778/0465045774).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, a repeat: David Iglesias, one of the U.S. Attorneys fired for political reasons and author of In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration (Wiley, $25.95, 9780470261972/0470261978). Iglesias also appears tomorrow on Tavis Smiley.


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report, in a repeat: Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, $24.95, 9781594489587/1594489580).


Books & Authors

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:


Gossip of the Starlings by Nina de Gramont (Algonquin, $22.95, 9781565125650/1565125657). "This is a wonderful novel describing the intense friendship of two girls attending a private girls' school in the 1980s. Not a predictable story at all, by the end of the book, I felt as if I was personal friends with the main characters."--Autumn Lynn, River Reader, Lexington, Mo.

The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce, and Obsession by Adam Leith Gollner (Scribner, $25, 9780743296946/074329694X). "Adam Leith Gollner's story of the fruit of the world is one of those books that makes you want to tell everyone about it. I've been spouting fruit facts all over. His writing makes me want to jump a plane and head for the tropics."--Jamie Kornegay, Turnrow Book Co., Greenwood, Miss.


Stone Creek by Victoria Lustbader (Harper, $13.95, 9780061369216/0061369217). "Stone Creek is a book about the highs and lows of life and how, sometimes, if we are lucky, the right people come along to help us through them. This is a love story about all the kinds of different loves we have in our lives and how they make us who we are and help us to be who we want to be."--Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, Colo.

For Ages 9 to 12

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt (Viking, $16.99, 9780670062522/0670062529). "First-time author Susan Runholt delivers a crackingly good mystery, complete with smart and savvy heroines (Kari and Lucas--yes, Lucas), a long-lost Rembrandt painting (or is it?), and enough wonderful background info on great art and art-museum cities to fill a guidebook. I couldn't put it down!"--Barb Bassett, The Red Balloon Bookshop, Saint Paul, Minn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


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