Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen

News

Notes: Rosa Parks; Laguna Store; Mall Award

Rosa Parks, who bravely would not give up her bus seat in 1955 and inspired the beginnings of the modern civil rights movement, died yesterday at age 92. Among the many books she wrote were Rosa Parks: My Story (Dial, $17.99, 0803706731), Quiet Strength (Zondervan, $9.99, 0310235871) and I Am Rosa Parks (Puffin, $3.99, 0141307102).

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Laguna Beach Books will open sometime next spring in Laguna Beach, Calif. The store will be in the old Pottery Shack, a landmark on the Pacific Coast Highway, and will include a restaurant. Lisa Kaplan will manage the store. Irma Wolfson, who does buying for the Reading Room at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, Nev., is acting as a consultant to Laguna Beach Books and will do buying for it, too.

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The South Park Mall, San Antonio, Tex., won a 2005 International Council of Shopping Centers merit award for business-to-business marketing for its "Books for the Barrio" campaign. The campaign helped land Waldenbooks as a tenant last year--the first bookstore in years on San Antonio's south side.

"We were honored for something in which we gave back to the community--that was an honor in itself," South Park Mall general manager Cesar Rodriguez told the San Antonio Business Journal. He said the effort to lure booksellers to the area continues. "Now, we have to help this Waldenbooks excel, and bring more bookstores to the South Side."

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Effective January 1, Virgin Books will be sold and distributed in the U.S. by Holtzbrinck Publishers. Virgin has had some distribution in the U.S. via CDS. The company publishes more than 200 titles a year and has a backlist of more than 400 titles. Areas of concentration include health, biography, music, sport, travel literature, cult writing, film and erotica.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Al Franken (with Jokes)

At first light on the Early Show today is Nicholas Sparks, author of At First Sight (Warner, $24.95, 0446532428).

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Today on the Today Show:

  • Al Franken, author of The Truth (with Jokes) (Dutton, $25.95, 0525949062).
  • George Weigel, author of God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church (HarperCollins, $26.95, 0066213312).
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (S&S, $35, 0684824906).

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Today WAMU's Diane Rehm Show interacts with John Marzluff, co-author with Tony Angell of In the Company of Crows and Ravens (Yale, $30, 0300100760).

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Today WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show hears a debriefing from Janis Karpinski, commanding general of the Abu Ghraib prison when Americans tortured some prisoners and author of One Woman's Army (Miramax, $24.95, 1401352472).

Also Lopate raps with Voletta Wallace, author of Biggie: Voletta Wallace Remembers Her Son, Christopher Wallace, aka Notorious B.I.G. (Atria, $29.95, 0743470206).

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Oprah goes one on one today with Michael Jordan, author of Driven From Within (Atria, $35, 0743284003).

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Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Al Franken, author of The Truth (with Jokes) (Dutton, $25.95, 0525949062).

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Yesterday NPR's Morning Edition added to the oral histories, talking with Studs Terkel, author of And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey (New Press, $25.95, 1595580034).

Morning Edition also spoke with Salman Rushdie, whose latest book is Shalimar the Clown (Random House, $25.95, 0679463356).

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Yesterday NPR's Fresh Air talked broken dreams with Barbara Ehrenreich, whose new book is Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (Metropolitan, $24, 0805076069).

Fresh Air also spoke with Peter Manseau, whose book Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son (Free Press, $25, 0743249070) is about his family.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore


Movie Tie-in: The Legend of Zorro

The Legend of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and directed by Martin Campbell, opens this coming Friday, October 28. The novelization, called The Legend of Zorro, is by Scott Ciencin (HarperEntertainment, $6.99, 0060833041).

Legend has it that Isabel Allende, whose Zorro: A Novel (HarperCollins, $25.95, 0060778970) appeared in May and who has expressed a fondness for Banderas, will help promote the film.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Next Week, Vol. 2

Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter (S&S, $25, 0743284577) goes on sale Tuesday, November 1. The former president on disturbing trends as religion and politics become intertwined.

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Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (Knopf, $25.95, 0375412018) also goes on sale on November 1. A novel about the childhood of Jesus from the vampire novelist.

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Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life by Bill Richardson with Michael Ruby (Putnam, $25.95, 0399153241) goes on sale on Thursday, November 3. The New Mexico governor and possible presidential candidate talks about his multicultural heritage and the American dream.


Book Review

Mandahla: Jesus Land Reviewed

Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres (Counterpoint LLC, $23.00 Hardcover, 9781582433387, September 2005)

is the story of a brother and sister trying to survive in hostile lands: their own home, rural Indiana and a fundamentalist Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic. David, an African American, was adopted at the age of three, when Julia was also three. They became best friends, siblings who loved and tried to protect each other, and whose bonds were tested by racial pressures and made stronger by the pain they endured. They were raised by a mother who looked forward to the day her children had all left home, saying that God would be her family then. Her enthusiasm for missionaries and the medical mission trips she and their father go on have priority in her life: "I used to wish she'd show the same enthusiasm for us, pin our family photographs to her bulletin board."

Their father, a physician, beat her two adopted brothers with belts and 2 x 4's: "Both boys' backs are riddled with welts, the fresh ones red, the old ones mottled gray, the deeper ones hardened into jagged scars . . . seeing their bare backs always makes my throat thicken, makes it hard to breathe." One December, angry that his older brother Jerome had been banished from the house, "David kicked the door shut . . .  'Just wait until your father gets home.' When his screams rise from the basement a few hours later, I wrap my head in a pillow and scream along with him. Christmas, Pat Boone on the stereo."

In 1985, when Julia and David were 15, the family moved to rural Indiana, and they attended a large public school, where David and Jerome were the only African Americans. Being so close to David, Julia thought of themselves as a unit, and would say that they were insulted with racial taunts because "they" were black. But in the new school, fissures appeared in their unity. She wanted to be someone other that "the black boys' sister."

The parents deem David a recalcitrant teenager and send him to Escuela Caribe to straighten him out. Julia follows not much later, after becoming a wayward child herself. When she arrives in the Dominican Republic on the way to the school, she is told that she can't see her brother. She starts to protest, but the teacher "lifts a hand to the dashboard and shoves a tape into the cassette player, and Sandi Patti's 'Lord Oh Lord, How Majestic Is Thy Name' bursts from the speakers and ricochets off the van's metal walls. It's the same tape Mother used to play to block us out in her van." Happy to be reunited with David, she soon discovers that his letters have been heavily censored and she has arrived in hell. "As Jay [the economics teacher] vomits evil at my brother, I stand and bear witness . . . when Jay slams his fist into my brother's stomach, my own breath is punched from me . . . I hold David's eyes for as long as I can and promise him that someday, we'll be free. Free and happy. Free together."

Called "filthy little sinners" by "the Pastor" (Gordon Blossom, who founded New Horizons Youth Ministries in 1971), they are crushed and punished until they are seen to have internalized the Program's values. The staff is made up of brutal people, perverting the name of God, who lie to themselves about what they are doing and why. They glory in constantly humiliating the students through derision, physical labor, corporal punishment. Julia quickly reached the point where anger was the only emotion she allowed herself. She went through the program "like a circus tiger, obeying commands . . . knowing that someday, my fangs and claws shall be useful once more."

Often the heartbreak is presented in a straightforward, dryly humorous way: "Maybe God's punishing me for not praying regularly. I used to pray all the time, but cut back when I didn't see results. Jerome didn't stop bothering me, Mother didn't get any happier, and my chest is still flat." At one point she realizes she needs a weapon in her bedroom, and finds a letter opener with a sharp tip, inscribed "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Much of the power in her story comes from the gradual unfolding of circumstances, told in a plainspoken way that blindsides you with the reality of Julia and David's lives.

In Jesus Land, Julia Scheeres has written an intense, courageous memoir with brilliance and wit. It is filled with love for David, who clung to the ideal of a loving family in the face of beatings and abandonment. Julia was his family, and has created a memorial to him and to the finding of "small joys even in the bleakest of circumstances." This is a book that will hurt your heart but make it sing. It's a book that you will persuade people to buy, and will get much satisfaction out of selling.--Marilyn Dahl

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