Shelf Awareness for Monday, November 3, 2008
Quotation of the Day
Notes: In Praise of Bookstores
I Love a Mystery, Mission, Kan., has won best bookseller in the Best of Kansas City A List. The citation read: "At I Love A Mystery, the decor is 'Victorian library' with a twist. Visitors are greeted at the door by a gargoyle, while the coffee bar is guarded by a life-size skeleton. Daggers, skulls and poison bottles may be tucked into nooks and crannies, but the atmosphere is cozy, with overstuffed chairs inviting customers to settle in for a read or a nap. The store . . . is home to about 20,000 used and 3,000 new mystery books, including a large selection of signed first editions. I Love A Mystery is known for its extensive selection of Sherlockiana."
The Southern Voice celebrated November anniversaries for Atlanta, Ga., bookshops Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse (15 years) and Charis Books & More (34 years) with an article headlined "Gay book nooks."
Outwrite owner Philip Rafshoon recalled that in 1993, he thought creating "a bookstore and place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to meet and congregate during the daytime was an idea that 'felt like a right fit.' . . . We've gone from being a small store in a shopping center to a major presence on a corner. I love what I do, I love the community, I love the people who work here and I love being able to change people's lives by giving them the right book."
The Southern Voice added that Charis Books "has suffered financially in the past, but ongoing events--from book writing workshops for queer teens to feminist author talks--at its store in Little Five Points continue to make it a viable option for those seeking something more from a bookstore."
More on two newly opened northern Texas bookstores run by people described by public radio station KERA, Dallas, Tex., as "not your typical booksellers."
Legacy Books in Plano (Shelf Awareness,
October 23, 2008) is owned by Teri Tanner, who told the station, "I've been
building this store in my head for 25 years because you listen to a
bookseller or a cashier or the cleaning crew that says, 'I just wish
this' or 'I just wish that'--and that's what we've tried to do here."
The other new store is Dicho's Books in Oak Cliff in Dallas, the second store opened by Jorge Alvarez and Gilbert Barrola (Shelf Awareness, October 28, 2008). According to Alvarez, "One of our goals is to make our store feel comfortable and home-like. . . . There's no general bookstore that services the community. So we definitely found a niche where we feel that people are eager to have a bookstore."
A memorial service will be held for Dan Harvey, formerly senior v-p, director of marketing for the Trident Media Group and longtime Putnam executive, on Thursday, November 20, at 6 p.m. at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, entrance at 111 Amsterdam Avenue and 65th Street.
Publisher Buys (Formerly) Independent Rep Group
Workman Publishing has bought Como Sales, the Northeast commission group founded by the late Henry Hirsch more than 40 years ago and associated with the growth of Workman, according to the Call Report, the newsletter of the National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives. Judy Hirsch, the daughter of Henry Hirsch, confirmed the sale.
Steven Pace, national trade sales director of Workman, is now directing Como Sales, which, the Call Report said, has become "the East Coast sales organization for Workman and its subsidiaries" and may add other clients. All the members of Como Sales except for Judy Hirsch will remain with the group. In addition, the Dixie Group, formed two years ago to serve Workman and Norton in the South, has changed: Norton has withdrawn from the group and has apparently let go its independent commission reps from secondary accounts in the Southeast and Mid-South.
NAIPR called Workman's purchase of Como Sales "one of the most interesting and unorthodox developments to emerge recently that serves to blur the lines of demarcation between house reps and independent commission publishers' representatives."
Obituary Note: Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel, radio interviewer and author of many bestselling oral histories that starred the "non-celebrated," died last Friday. He was 96.
Among his best-known works were The Good War, Hard Times and Working. His most recent memoir, P.S.: Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening, is being published today by the New Press ($16.95, 9781595584236/1595584234).
To see the Chicago Tribune's obituary, which emphasizes Turkel's deep roots in the Windy City, one of many touching remembrances, click here.
Media and Movies
Media Heat: Dr. Laura Berman's Real Sex for Real Women
This morning on Good Morning America: Paula Deen, author of Paula Deen's Kitchen Wisdom and Recipe Journal (Simon & Schuster, $18.95, 9781416597025/1416597026). She will also be on Live with Regis & Kelly tomorrow.
This morning on the Today Show: Katie Brown, author of Katie Brown Celebrates: Simple and Spectacular Parties All Year Round (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316118187/0316118184).
Today on Talk of the Nation: Don Tapscott, author of Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World (McGraw-Hill, $27.95, 9780071508636/0071508635).
Today on Oprah: Dr. Laura Berman, author of Real Sex for Real Women (DK, $25, 9780756639808/0756639808).
Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals (Simon & Schuster, $21, 9780743270755/0743270754).
Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Deborah Sharp, whose debut novel is Mama Does Time (Midnight Ink, $13.95, 9780738713298/0738713295).
Books & Authors
Awards: Books for a Better Life Finalists
To see the finalists for the 2009 Books for a Better Life Awards, sponsored by the New York City Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, click here. Winners will be announced February 23 in New York City.
At the event, Gayle King, editor-at-large of O, the Oprah Magazine, will present an award to Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen, co-authors the You series. They will able be inducted into the group's Hall of Fame.
Bob Miller, founder of Hyperion and head of HarperStudio, will also be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites
From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next picks:
Goldengrove by Francine Prose (HarperCollins, $24.95, 9780066214115/0066214114). "What might have been a mournful story about a young girl's isolation and grief after the death of her sister becomes an uplifting portrait of love, survival, and coming of age. Prose's gorgeous writing and plotting make this an affecting and memorable novel."--Jeanne Regentin, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, Mich.
Titanic's Last Secrets by Brad Matsen (Twelve, $27.99, 9780446582056/0446582050). "Titanic's Last Secrets is mesmerizing. Author Matsen, working with divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, gives a fascinating, thorough history of the people and companies involved in British/Irish shipbuilding and the shipping industry--carefully detailing all the events of the tragedy. Fascinating!"--Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.
Razor-Wire Dharma: A Buddhist Life in Prison by Calvin Malone (Wisdom, $16.95, 9780861715633/0861715632). "Calvin Malone's compelling, beautifully written memoir goes beyond his experiences as someone whose life in prison was transformed by Buddhism. With vivid descriptions of his life and practice behind bars, he show us that anyone, in any circumstances, can make a positive change in his or her own life and in the lives of those around them."--Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, Mich.
For Teen Readers
The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.95, 9780374360870/0374360871). "Antonia Lucia Labella, who lives with her family over their deli in Providence, Rhode Island, regularly writes to the Pope with petitions for new saints: the Patron Saint of the Kiss, the Patron Saint of Figs, and more. In each letter, she volunteers herself to become the first living saint in Catholic history. Clever and highly entertaining."--Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]
Mandahla: The Economist Book of Obituaries
Economist Book of Obituaries by Keith Colquhoun (Bloomberg Press, $29.95 Hardcover, 9781576603260, November 2008)
The Economist Book of Obituaries is a marvelous collection of 200 lives, from the prominent (Hunter S. Thompson, doctor of gonzo journalism: "Explosions were his specialty. Indeed, writing and shooting were much the same." Or George Harrison: "This may prove to be a long goodbye."), to the relatively obscure (Marie Smith, the last speaker of the Eyak language, for whom "the death of Eyak meant the not-to-be-imagined disappearance of the world." Or Yasser Talal al-Zahrani, a prisoner in Guantánamo: "He had sheets and clothes from which, thread by thread, he could make a rope."). A further sampling:
Anthony Dymoke Powell, English satirist, died on March 28, 2000, aged 94:
He grumbled about the "really terrible rubbish written about people", including himself. He would have hated his obituaries, picking over his life. Even this kindly article? Probably.
Paul Neal ("Red") Adair, firefighter, died on August 7, 2004, aged 89:
Although he anticipated Heaven, he rather hoped for a sighting of Hell.
Alex the African Grey, science's best-known parrot, died on September 6, 2007, aged 31:
There are still a few researchers who think Alex's skills were the result of rote learning rather than abstract thought. Alex, though, convinced most in the field that birds as well as mammals can evolve complex and sophisticated cognition, and communicate the results to others. A shame, then, that he is now, in the words of Monty Python, an exparrot.
Claudia Alta (Lady Bird) Johnson, first lady and environmentalist, died on July 11, 2007, aged 94:
She found beauty, too, in a marriage to Lyndon Baines Johnson that seemed to friends, at least for its first 20 years, to be a sojourn in hell. She knew he was a handful at first sight . . . But he gave her "a queer sort of moth-and-flame feeling", so she followed . . . At the end of her life, almost blind, she saw what she could: the "mighty big" clouds above Texas, or single blooms through a magnifying glass. Failing this, she would listen to the birds. Before that beauty, the years of chaos at the heart of American politics would recede like some extraordinary dream.
Princess Margaret Rose died on February 9, 2002, aged 71:
Margaret became the princess who did not live happily ever after, which may or may not have been true. Royal despair may be different from the ordinary sort. For Margaret it was sitting next to a bore at a state dinner.
Robert Rich, inventor of frozen non-dairy topping, died on February 15, 2006, aged 92:
To top it all, in wartime, heavy whipping cream was a banned substance . . . To dream of an éclair or a cream puff, even of a modest dollop nestling a cherry or topping off a sundae, was close to a traitorous act . . . Mr Rich, however, dreamed often of whipped cream . . . thick, indulgent, faintly golden and utterly unwarlike.
Started in 1995 by Keith Colquhoun, whose pen was "smooth as silk but in fact as sharp as a stiletto," the obit column was taken over by Ann Wroe in 2003. He told her it was important to keep down the number of Americans, "give a fair whack to the Asians, and to try [her] damnedest to get more women in." They both have succeeded in writing interesting, touching, funny and even poetic obituaries.--Marilyn Dahl
Shelf Talker: The Economist Book of Obituaries is a surprising, delightful and often witty collection of lives, razor-sharp and insightful.