Shelf Awareness for Monday, December 8, 2008

Little Brown and Company: Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris


Notes: 'Local First' in Vermont; New Indie Bookshops in St. Louis

"We're trying to remind people to think twice and support their local, independent retailers or they may not be there next year," Chris Morrow, general manager of the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., told the Rutland Herald. Morrow is one of the founders of Local First Vermont, "a non-profit organization committed to preserving the character and prosperity of Vermont's economy, community networks and natural landscape."

"The message is simple: support your locally owned independent business," said Morrow. "Where you spend your money has a tremendous impact on what happens in our community. Decisions are made locally by people who are on your volunteer boards, running your Little League--it's not corporate headquarters somewhere closing a store so x number of people lose their jobs and there's a big vacant building. Since the economic collapse, people are seeing how important it is to build local resilience."

"People are getting the message," added Steve Eddy, owner of Book King, Rutland, "but I'm so enthusiastic about it, I explain it to them whether they want to hear it or not."


Harry Potter and the Revised Lexicon. Steven Vander Ark, whose Harry Potter Lexicon was barred from publication by a federal judge in September, said RDR Books will publish the unauthorized guide to J.K. Rowling's seven novels on January 12. The Associated Press (via USA Today) reported that Vander Ark claims "the revised version meets specifications for such a book laid out in the judge's ruling."


With the opening of two new indie bookshops in the city, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that "the quaint neighborhood bookstore, believed by many to be extinct, seems to be trying for a comeback. Despite the grim economy, Pudd'nhead Books opened this fall in a quintessential middle-America town--Webster Groves. A second Left Bank Books will open Wednesday downtown. Other stores dot the region, staffed by solitary book lovers whose passion for stories clearly exceeds their desire for profits."

"I just couldn't imagine doing anything else," said Nikki Furrer, Pudd'nhead's owner.

"If we continue to be smart about how we do stuff, we should be able to make it work," said Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books.


Dubbing it "a McDonald's you'll actually miss," SF Weekly reported that the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation plans to evict McDonald's Bookshop, a San Francisco "Booklovers' 'Institution,'" over a disagreement about unpaid rent.

Owner Itzhak Volansky, who must vacate the property by December 18, told SF Weekly he has a theory about the eviction: "He says TNDC is trying to get him out of the picture so it can pursue redevelopment plans for the entire block."


"People come in and say, 'Oh, you're the doctor playing in the bookstore,'" said Dr. Roni Devlin, owner of Literary Life Bookstore and More, Grand Rapids, Mich.--and an infectious disease specialist at Mercy Health Partners, Muskegon--in a recent Grand Rapids Press interview.

"I can't do medicine full time and stay healthy and sane," she said. "But I don't want to give it up completely. I like the patients, I like the cognitive challenge, but there's customer interaction here that's just as meaningful to me. You hear people's stories, you pick out a book you think is perfect for them, and they come back and say, 'That book was awesome.' It's almost like treating a patient and then they come back and say, 'I'm cured--that was awesome.'"

Although the bookstore was robbed last month (Shelf Awareness, November 18, 2008), Devlin's mother, Jeri, praised her daughter's resilience: "He's lucky she didn't chase him down the street. She was outraged. She's so protective of that store. But she bounces back."

Devlin has established firm roots in the community with Literary Life. "Books are available everywhere," she said. "You can buy them at the gas station. I had to go into this knowing there's something beyond selling books that's important. A neighborhood being revitalized that needs a place like this. A building falling apart that has architecture worth saving. Exposing books to people that they might not have seen before. Making a place where people can browse and meet and be comfortable. If people are willing to grasp that concept, then there's value in doing this, maybe it will succeed enough to at least pay for itself. . . . I love that I'm part of something here. That's what was missing for me before. I hadn't found my space or my place. Now I have."


Cool idea of the day: Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cleveland, Ohio, is one of several retailers participating in a "Guy's Night Out" promotion at Legacy Village, December 10 and December 17, according to the Sun News.


Glenn and Carol Dromgoole, owners of Texas Star Trading Co., Abilene Tex., have announced their annual Top 10 Texas Books of the Year list. In addition to posting the list on the bookstore's website, it also appeared in the weekly column Glenn writes about Texas books that runs in nine newspapers across the state.

Rok and Jan Williams, who are retiring after a 30-year stint as owners of Northside Book Market, Iowa City, Iowa, were profiled Press-Citizen, which cited the couple's "30-year legacy of providing local book lovers with the rare and hard to find books and of building long-lasting relationships with their dedicated customers." The bookstore will continue under the ownership of Nialle Sylvan, who also owns the Haunted Bookshop.

"We're really honored she wants to do this," Rok said. "We'll feel happy, rather than sad, when we walk past."


Jacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times' book blog, lived up to its name literally when it reported that the Book Design Review "has posted its selected covers of 2008. The highly subjective, visually luxurious list is about equal parts strong visual statements and trompe l'oeil."


Carl Lennertz of Harper Collins tipped us off to the burgeoning music career of Bob Alunni of Scranton, Pa., one of the company's telesales reps whose debut album, Thinking of Flight, has just been released.

"Book people, a lot of times, are music people as well," Alunni told the Weekender. "Those are the kind of people I want to market it to. I think [the album] might go over better with a middle-aged audience actually, but it's pretty fun, too, so young people might like it." You can find out more about Alunni at his MySpace page or the record label’s site.


Full contact book clubs? In a piece headlined "Fought Over Any Good Books Lately?" the New York Times reported dissension in the ranks of reading groups, noting that, "Yes, it's a nice, high-minded idea to join a book group, a way to make friends and read books that might otherwise sit untouched. But what happens when you wind up hating all the literary selections--or the other members? Breaking up isn't so hard to do when it means freedom from inane critical commentary, political maneuvering, hurt feelings, bad chick lit and even worse chardonnay."


The Washington Post's Holiday Gift Guide showcased reviewers' picks for best books of 2008.


Kensington Publishing Corporation: Such a Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood

Holiday Hum: Shoppers Buy Into RiverRun's Recommendations

At RiverRun (from l. to r.): Random House's Ron Koltnow, owner Tom Holbrook (talking in front of the counter), Random House's Lesley Vasilio and Simon & Schuster's Katie McGarry.


More than 50 people turned out at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., last Wednesday night to hear about holiday gift ideas. Sales reps from Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster joined store owner Tom Holbrook in sharing their picks for the season.

"The reps were very entertaining and had a lot of terrific suggestions," said Michele Filgate, RiverRun's events coordinator. "Our customers loved it." Highlights of the evening included Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, Annie Leibovitz at Work, National Geographic: The Photographs and Robert Sabuda's newest pop-up creation, Peter Pan. Also going over well as stocking stuffers were HarperCollins's Olive Editions of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Everything Is Illuminated and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The small-format paperbacks retail for $10.

Holbrook touted RiverRun's collection of signed books, among them The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich, who appeared in Portsmouth earlier this year as part of the store-sponsored series, Writers on a New England Stage. The first shopper of the evening who purchased a signed edition of Champlain's Dream by David Hackett Fischer received a signed, complimentary copy of Dennis Lehane's The Given Day.

Enthusiastic audience members asked questions during the 90-minute presentation, enjoyed holiday cupcakes, mingled with other attendees and were eligible for giveaways of cards, journals and signed copies of Francine Prose's novel Goldengrove. They received handouts with a list and descriptions of the featured titles. Those who couldn't make up their minds that night or who needed additional gifts could return to RiverRun yesterday for the store's annual Customer Appreciation Sale.

Last spring RiverRun held an event similar to Wednesday's gathering with recommended reads for book clubs. Both events came about at the suggestion of Random House rep Lesley Vasilio--a service that she and her colleagues across the country are offering bookstores as part of Random's Books=Gifts campaign (Shelf Awareness, November 12, 2008). "If we can work with our bookstores and market directly to their customers in this tough economy, why not?" said Vasilio. "It's so much fun and there is such energy. To actually be able to stand there and watch people walk out with stacks of books is the best part."

In addition to the RiverRun event, Vasilio and fellow Random rep Ron Koltnow presented gift suggestions at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass., last week and will be at Andover Bookstore in Andover, Mass., on December 14. Book club gatherings are held throughout the year. Before events, Vasilio sends an outline of tips and advice for making it successful and garnering a good turnout--such as requiring participants to R.S.V.P.

Filgate promoted RiverRun's holiday gathering by announcing it in the store's e-newsletter, which has 1,200 subscribers, distributing a press release to local media, hanging posters around town and sending e-mail invitations to the people who signed up for the book group event.

Those who attended on Wednesday were treated to a surprise: 20% off featured books they purchased that evening. The event "certainly boosted sales, and people were buying piles of books that were recommended," Filgate said. RiverRun is planning to reprise the event next year. "It's a great thing for independent bookstores to do for the holiday season," she continued. "It emphasizes that books really are on people's minds as the perfect gifts since they're affordable. It's also a nice way to get everyone in the holiday spirit."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Raising Bookworms

This morning on the Today Show: Tila Tequila, author of Hooking Up with Tila Tequila: A Guide to Love, Fame, Happiness, Success, and Being the Life of the Party (Scribner, $26, 9781439101537/1439101531). She will also appear today on the View.


Today on the Leonard Lopate Show: Carlos Moore, author of Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro's Cuba: A Memoir (Lawrence Hill Books/Chicago Review Press, $26.95, 9781556527678/1556527675).


Today on the Diane Rehm Show: Emma Walton Hamilton, author of Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment (Beech Tree Books, $14.95, 9780981583303/098158330X).


Today on Talk of the Nation: Israeli politician Avraham Burg, author of The Holocaust Is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes (Palgrave Macmillan, $26.95, 9780230607521/0230607527).


Tonight on Larry King Live: Victoria Osteen, author of Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole (Free Press, $25, 9780743296939/0743296931).


Tonight on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Matthew Alexander, author of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq (Free Press, $26, 9781416573159/1416573151).


Tonight on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Paula Deen, author of Paula Deen's Kitchen Wisdom and Recipe Journal (Simon & Schuster, $18.95, 9781416597025/1416597026).


Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Amy Silverstein, author of Sick Girl (Grove Press, $14, 9780802143877/0802143873).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Michael Phelps, author of No Limits: The Will to Succeed (Free Press, $26, 9781439130728/1439130728).


Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Daniel Barenboim, author of Music Quickens Time (Verso, $24.95, 9781844672875/1844672875).


Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: Terry Fator, America's Got Talent winner and author of Who's the Dummy Now? (New Holland, distributed by Tuttle, $16.95, 9781741107289/1741107288). He also appears on ABC News Now.


Tomorrow on the View: Don Rickles, author of Rickles' Letters (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416596639/1416596631).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: former Governor Mike Huckabee, author of Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America (Sentinel, $25.95, 9781595230546/1595230548).


Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Toni Morrison, author of A Mercy (Knopf, $23.95, 9780307264237/0307264238).


MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

Movies: Translating The Reader

The multifaceted challenge of adapting The Reader, Bernard Schlink's novel exploring German Holocaust guilt, was the focus of a New York Times piece that noted the adaptation "by the British director Stephen Daldry and screenwriter David Hare, and backed by some heavy American movie muscle--required a series of increasingly complex translations over the course of more than a decade: from German to English, from a book to a film, from Europe to America, from a solitary meditation to something that could fill theaters, and from its original cultural context to something international--ultimately to return it home, the same, and yet changed."

The Times added that the "film’s last act of translation is its most paradoxical and, in a way, its most difficult. In February the filmmakers will return to Germany and present the film there--a version of national history as told by international filmmakers, using German actors filmed in English, reconstructing as fiction events that many in the audience will remember from real life."


Books & Authors

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Grammy Spoken Word Nominees

An ex-Vice President, two comedians and two Academy Award-winners lead the list of Spoken Word Album Grammy hopefuls. The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 8, in Los Angeles.
Best Spoken Word Nominees:

  • An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore, read by Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon and Blair Underwood (Simon & Schuster Audio)
  • Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (Simon & Schuster Audio)
  • I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert (and Various Artists) (Hachette Audio)
  • Life Beyond Measure by Sidney Poitier (HarperAudio)
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris (Hachette Audio)
Steve Martin is a three-time Grammy Award winner, most recently in 2001 for Best Country Instrumental Performance in collaboration with 10 other performers in Foggy Mountain Breakdown. He also won Best Comedy Performance in 1978 for A Wild and Crazy Guy and in 1977 for Let's Get Small.

Sidney Poitier won a Best Spoken Word Album Grammy in 2000 for The Measure of a Man, his "spiritual autobiography," a follow-up to his first memoir, The Life. He fashioned Life Beyond Measure, his third memoir, as letters to his granddaughter imparting advice and inspirational stories.

Best Spoken Word Album For Children
  • Around the Campfire: Cowboy Poetry and Other Nonsense by Buck Howdy With BB (Prairie Dog Entertainment)
  • The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford (Random House Audio/Listening Library)
  • Brown Bear and Friends (includes four books by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle), read by Gwyneth Paltrow (Macmillan Audio)
  • The Cricket in Times Square, a Newbery Honor book by George Selden, illustrated by Garth Williams, read by Tony Shalhoub (Macmillan Audio)
  • Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live by Bill Harley (Round River Records)

Bill Harley won a 2006 Grammy in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children for his work on Blah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates & Dogs.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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


Stray Dog Winter by David Francis (MacAdam/Cage, $24, 9781596923157/1596923156). "David Francis has created a flashback to 1980s Communist Russia filled with suspense, intrigue, and a good deal of sexiness. Stray Dog Winter is a novel of breathless moments, passion, politics, and atmosphere so thick you can feel the cold."--Calvin Crosby, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

The Elfish Gene: Dungeons, Dragons and Growing Up Strange
by Mark Barrowcliffe (Soho, $25, 9781569475225/1569475229). "Mark Barrowcliffe's memoir of his teenage years playing fantasy role-playing games champions the cause of a widely unacknowledged population of geeks, nerds, and dorks. The Elfish Gene is touching, hilarious, and far too familiar."--Bridget Allison, Phoenix Books, Essex, Vt.


A House in Fez: Building a Life in the Ancient Heart of Morocco by Suzanna Clarke (Pocket, $15, 9781416578932/1416578935). "Suzanna Clarke's account of restoring a dilapidated house in Fez is full of wonderful descriptions and characters. She's given us a refreshing change from the way we usually view the Muslim world."--Susan Porter, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, Me.

For Ages 9 to 12

by Philip Reeve (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781599903033/1599903032). "When a rescue mission to Georgium Sidus yields a new foe, the Mumbys must save the Empire from certain peril--again. This thrilling and rewarding conclusion to Reeve's Larklight trilogy is exactly what I wanted from this masterful storyteller."--Krys Tourtois, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, Mich.


[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Book Review: Tokyo Fiancée

Tokyo Fiancee by Amelie Nothomb (Europa Editions, $15.00 Paperback, 9781933372648, December 2008)

What could be better for cold, gloomy January than a sparkling, refreshingly smart new take on cross-cultural romance? Young Belgian superstar Amelie Nothomb's Tokyo Fiancee is fast-paced, light-hearted and frequently hilarious novel. It's the story of 21-year-old Amelie's 1989 return to the Japan of her early childhood, where she decides to teach French in order to learn Japanese. She's promptly hired by Rinri, a student who is a year younger, very polite, very clean-cut, and as a friend has to point out to Amelie, very good-looking. He shows up outside her apartment for each lesson in a white Mercedes, refers to her as Sensei and promptly falls in love with her.

Nothomb is a good-humored young author who genuinely loves Japan, genuinely likes Rinri and fearlessly records her perceptions, from the Japanese fondness for equipment of all kinds to finding out why Japanese tourists always travel in groups and take photos of everything. (Rinri brags that he has never owned a camera!) For such a very short book, it's packed with odd little scenes you've never read before--Amelie's dinner hosting Rinri's 11 male friends (without Rinri), her terrifying night caught alone in a blizzard in a little mountain hut and a particularly disturbing, riotously funny scene with a dead little octopus. Well, sort of dead.

Her youthful energy is occasionally silly. She can be naïve enough to say, "deep within anything that throbs with pain there is sensual delight." When she's seen a little more of life, she'll think twice about that. But more often than not she hits the nail on the head. "Survivors know that no one can ever understand them."

Most unusual is the female role in the love story. She absolutely inverts the feminine stereotype. Amelie has a zest for life unchecked by any man. When Rinri brings her a gift of persimmons, she eats them all without thinking to offer him one. She runs up Mount Fuji rather than wait for her slower boyfriend. And when he asks her to marry him, she stalls him into becoming her fiancé instead.

The resolution of the novel will have you either defending its honesty or attacking its callousness. But the concluding, seven-years-later coda that the story ends on will leave all readers deeply touched by something not quite Belgian and not quite Japanese, but extraordinarily human. Besides, you will never forget the scene with the little octopus. Ever.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A beguiling, smart take on cross-cultural romance, set in Tokyo, from a young Belgian author.


The Bestsellers's Top 10 in November: Obama Sweeps

The following were the bestselling books on during November:
1. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
2. Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
3. Barack Obama in His Own Words by Lisa Rogak
4. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
6. The Shack by William P. Young
7. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
9. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
10. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Top 10 signed books in November:
1. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
2. A Mercy by Toni Morrison
3. The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike
4. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
6. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
7. Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
8. A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre
9. Indignation by Philip Roth
10. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

[Many thanks to!]


Powered by: Xtenit