Shelf Awareness for Monday, October 13, 2008

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Notes: Cody's Events Legacy; B&N's After-tax Charge

Noting that "one of the many sad things about the closure of Cody's Books in Berkeley last summer was the sudden, precipitous halt to the steady parade of author events and booksignings," the Contra Costa Times reported that Melissa Mytinger, former events coordinator at Cody's, has launched Berkeley Arts & Letters, "a new series at First Congregational Church of Berkeley."

Mytinger, who worked at Cody's for 21 years, has teamed up with Praveen Madan, co-owner of the Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., and together they "have structured their new series along the lines of the large-scale events Cody's had mounted at FCCB in the past. Books will be available for sale and for author signings at the readings, and a $10 suggested donation will be taken at the door to offset the church's costs, with no one turned away for lack of funds."

Although several events have already been scheduled, Mytinger said "it was too late to put on a full program for fall. I think the full launch will come in January. We'd like to do between six and 10 events a month, both at FCCP and at the Berkeley City Club."


The closing of the Whistle Stop Book Shop, Stratford, Conn., after 18 years is "not a tragic ending," according to the Connecticut Post: "It's not the economy. It's not the Internet or the big chains, either. It's just time for the story . . . to end" because co-owners Bonnie Lee and Pam Robertson are retiring from the bookselling business.

While the tough economy may not have been the cause of the shop's closing, the Post reported "it has affected the chances the Whistle Stop will be bought. [Robertson] said the store's two or three potential buyers are having difficulty securing credit to buy the business."

The article also included a list of other independent bookshops in the region, along with a succinct note of optimism from Susan Shaw, owner of the two Collected Stories Bookstores in Milford: "People need books."


Barnes & Noble has taken an after-tax charge of about $1.8 million related to the resignation in August of B& CEO Marie J. Toulantis, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.

Toulantis had worked at B&N since 1997 and continues as a consultant (Shelf Awareness, August 19, 2008).


The New York Times offered "a historical tour of a more spiritual nature" in a travel piece headlined, "In Buddha’s Path on the Streets of San Francisco." Spiritual tourists are advised that in their search for the wellsprings of American interest in Buddhism, "as unlikely as it sounds, it started at a cluttered little independent bookshop that itself seems like a throwback to another era."

"I made a beeline to City Lights as soon as I moved to San Francisco in the 1960s,” said Wes Nisker, a Bay Area FM radio commentator who teaches and writes about Buddhism. "It was the epicenter for a radical new kind of Buddhism that was beginning to flower in America. As a budding Buddhist myself, I had to make it the first stop for my own personal pilgrimage."


"To satisfy the public's craving for financial advice," Borders has created front-of-store displays in all its superstores that feature finance and personal-finance titles and Barnes & Noble has sent a list of appropriate titles to its superstore managers, suggesting they set up displays where appropriate, the Wall Street Journal said.

The five titles of most interest to consumers, according to Michael D'Agostini, business book buyer at Borders:

  • The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles Morris
  • The World Is Curved by David Smick
  • The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros
  • Bad Money by Kevin Phillips
  • Crash Proof by Peter Schiff


Author Scott Turow will announce the 20 finalists for the 2008 National Book Awards from the stage of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater on Wednesday. According to the National Book Foundation, the announcement will be transmitted by videolink and be available at the Foundation's website at 12 p.m. EST. Bookstores, libraries and bloggers are invited to link to the event. The NBF still has a limited supply of posters and bookmarks available. Interested bookstores and libraries can e-mail Sherrie Y. Young, NBF's director of marketing and special projects, at for more information.


"What's with all those summer reading lists?" asked the Boston Globe in offering a fall reading list alternative: "You'd think no one ever picked up a book at any other time of year. Well, summer is gone in a blink around these parts and, besides, this isn't exactly a beach-read kind of town. So here's a radical idea--why not a list of great fall reads? Why not some books filled with spice and substance for curling up with on these first chilly days? Maybe even one to last until the first snowed-in day."


Goodnight, money. Slate posed an inter-generational question for our time: "Mom, What's a Credit Default Swap?" Answer: Books to read your children during a financial crisis.


More on titles by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature last week.

Another publisher of his work in the U.S. is the University of Nebraska Press, which published Onitsha in 1997 and The Round and Other Cold Hard Facts in 2003. By the way, Nebraska says it has nearly 200 titles translated from other languages in print, making it "one of the largest, most active American publishers of translated works." reported that at the end of last week, Le Clézio was "the No.1 search term," and the site sold "significant" numbers of his books. As of Friday, there were fewer than 1,500 copies of his titles on available in English, but that number may increase.


Was the fix in for Nobel lit prize gamblers? The Associated Press (via USA Today) reported that the Nobel Prize literary jury suspects an insider may have leaked winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio 's name because "an unusual number of bets were made predicting he would win."   

"I have a strong suspicion that there has been a leak in the system this time," said Horace Engdahl, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy. "I don't want to say more."

After the award was announced last week (Shelf Awareness, October 10, 2008), Nick Weinberg, a spokesman for Ladbrokes, said the sudden drop in Le Clézio's odds--from 14-1 to 1-2--had caused the bookmaker to suspend betting: "It's the result we feared. Punters were convinced that Le Clézio's time had come and they were spot on."


Another publisher is donating proceeds to a presidential campaign--but not for the same team that Patriot Press is supporting (Shelf Awareness, October 10, 2008).

During October, Small Beer Press, Easthampton, Mass., is running a sale on all of its books and is donating 20% of the proceeds of that sale to the Obama-Biden campaign. Publisher Gavin J. Grant says, "Our books are all great, and slightly weird. But nothing weirder than what's happening in the world. Who can believe George W. Bush managed to get elected once, never mind twice? Or that Sarah Palin's candidacy for vice president is taken seriously?"

Speaking of the Governor of Alaska, in just nine days an idea at a Collins editorial brainstorming meeting became a book. The heavily illustrated Terminatrix: The Sarah Palin Chronicles is by the editors of the Wasilla Iron Dog Gazette, aka Adam Bellow and Bruce Nichols, and features pictures from "a private collection of family photos . . . some of them annotated in the Governor's own hand" ($9.95, 9780061778728/0061778729). The book goes on sale officially tomorrow.


Dan Koenig has been promoted to director of sales planning and operations at Macmillan. He was formerly marketing and supply chain manager in the distribution sales and marketing department and earlier was customer promotions manager and marketing manager for Rodale in the distribution sales and marketing department.



Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Media and Movies

Media Heat: O's Big Book of Happiness

This morning on Good Morning America: Liza Mundy, author of Michelle: A Biography (S&S, $25, 9781416599432/1416599436).

Also on GMA: Oprah Magazine will present its new publication: O's Big Book of Happiness: The Best of O, The Oprah Magazine: Wisdom, Wit, Advice, Interviews, and Inspiration (Oxmoor House, $29.95, 9780848732332/0848732332).


This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Cherie Blair, author of Speaking For Myself: My Life from Liverpool to Downing Street (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316031455/0316031453).


Today on NPR's As It Happens: Jennet Conant, author of The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington (S&S, $27.95, 9780743294584/0743294580).


Today on All Things Considered: Nikki Giovanni, author of the new children's book, Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $19.99 includes CD, 9781402210488/1402210485).


Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: David Boyle, author of Toward the Setting Sun: Columbus, Cabot, Vespucci, and the Race for America (Walker, $27.99, 9780802716514/0802716512).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (Harper Perennial, $15.95, 9780060936426/0060936428).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Victoria Osteen, author of Love Your Life: Living Happy Healthy, and Whole (Free Press, $25, 9780743296939/0743296931). She will also appear tomorrow night on Larry King Live.


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: David S. Kidder, author of The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture (Rodale, $24, 9781594867453/1594867453).

Also on Today: Maureen McCormick, author of Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice (Morrow, $25.95, 9780061490149/0061490148).


Tomorrow on Live with Regis and Kelly: Nobu Matsuhisa, co-author of Nobu Miami: The Party Cookbook (Kodansha International, $39.95, 9784770030801/4770030800).


Tomorrow on the View: Paula Deen, author of Paula Deen's My First Cookbook (S&S, $21.99, 9781416950332/1416950338). She will also appear tomorrow on Fox & Friends.


Tomorrow on NPR's Fresh Air: James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385521321/0385521324). He will also appear tomorrow morning on Good Morning America.


Tomorrow on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Jon Katz, author of Izzy & Lenore: Two Dogs, an Unexpected Journey, and Me (Villard, $24, 9781400066308/1400066301).


Tomorrow night on the Charlie Rose Show: Martin Wolf, author of Fixing Global Finance (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9780801890482/0801890489).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Amy Sedaris, author of I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (Grand Central, $15.99, 9780446696777/0446696773), out this month in paperback.


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Joseph Stiglitz, co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (Norton, $15.95, 9780393334173/0393334171).


Movies: Ridley Scott to Direct The Forever War

Fox 2000 has acquired rights to the 1974 novel The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, and "Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with Blade Runner and Alien," Variety reported. "Scott intended to follow those films with The Forever War, but rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades."

"I first pursued Forever War 25 years ago, and the book has only grown more timely and relevant since," said Scott. "It's a science-fiction epic, a bit of The Odyssey by way of Blade Runner, built upon a brilliant, disorienting premise."


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:


The Toss of a Lemon: A Novel by Padma Viswanathan (Harcourt, $26, 9780151015337/0151015333). "This book so wonderfully captures the life of one Indian woman and her family living through all the changes India undergoes in the first half of the 20th century. Padma Viswanathan has created characters you will care about, and gives fantastic descriptions of the food. Plan to eat Indian during your reading of this highly recommended book."--Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, Ark.

Blue Genes: A Memoir of Loss and Survival
by Christopher Lukas (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385525206/0385525206). "Christopher Lukas's account of his family history of mental illness, bipolar disorder, suicide, and alcoholism is a compassionate and literate examination of nature, nurture, and self-determination. While it could have been a litany of woes, it is a surprisingly upbeat narrative of survival and perseverance."--Karen Ore, Llama Llama Books, Bozeman, Mont.


Suzy, Led Zeppelin, and Me by Martin Millar (Soft Skull Press, $13.95, 9781593762001/1593762003). "This brilliant, playful, and poignant faux-autobiographical novel tells a tale of raging hormones, as a 15-year-old boy awaits a concert by his rock heroes in 1970s Glasgow. Millar remembers the painful earnestness of being a teenager and conveys the highs and lows of 15 with great charm and wit."--Rich Rennicks, Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, N.C.

For Teen Readers

Impossible by Nancy Werlin (Dial, $17.99, 9780803730021/0803730020). "This lyrical novel, inspired by the ballad 'Scarborough Fair,' tells of an unbreakable curse passed from mother to daughter over generations. A story of family and hope, it conjures indelible images as it spins a tale of love conquering all else, and the impossible made possible."--Beth Simpson, Cornerstone Books, Salem, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Mandahla: The Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (Farrar Straus Giroux, $24.00 Hardcover, 9780374264260, September 2008)

Pat Peoples' mother has brought him home from the "neural health facility" where he's been staying during "apart time" from his wife, Nikki. Pat doesn't know why they are separated, believes their reunion is inevitable and thinks he's been gone a few months; in reality it's been four years. He tries to stay upbeat: "I don't want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings . . . but I am also afraid the people from my old life will not be as enthusiastic as I am now trying to be."

His mother sets him up with a therapist, Dr. Patel. The first hint at a reason for apart time appears in the doctor's waiting room, when Pat hears "Songbird" by Kenny G, and the "evil bright soprano saxophone" sends him into a rage, screaming, flipping over chairs, yelling at the receptionist. But Pat likes Dr. Patel, who turns out to be a major Philadelphia Eagles fan--he goes to tailgate parties in a bus labeled "Asian Invasion" with a portrait of Brian Dawkins painted on the hood.

Being an Eagles fan is important to Pat, whose father's moods revolve around the team. He also witnesses his mother's pain, as she waits to see what temper her husband will be in based on a game's outcome. His father's mania is not unusual in Philadelphia, where Eagles fandom is a blood sport, something Pat gets caught up in at a tailgate party, when he attacks a Giants fan while defending his brother Jake.

Soon after his move back home, Pat is befriended in an odd and cautious way by Tiffany, who silently waits for Pat when he comes out to run (he works out 10 hours a day), and follows him at a distance. They begin a wary alliance, and she tells him she's scouting his work ethic, his endurance and his ability to persevere, but won't tell him why.

Friendship, family, connection and discovery intertwine in a marvelous way in this appealing novel. Pat thinks that just when a movie's main character believes all is lost, something surprising happens, leading to a happy ending, so he continues to hope that he'll be reunited with Nikki, that God will not let him down. As Pat doggedly practices being kind rather than right, grace enters his life in unexpected ways ("Miracles happen on Christmas, Pat. Everybody knows that shit."), and he realizes that life is not a movie. In refusing to be defeated by pessimism, Pat learns about true silver linings, not pretty happy endings.--Marilyn Dahl

Shelf Talker: An engaging, poignant and sweetly funny novel about a man's search for happiness after heartbreak.


Powered by: Xtenit