Shelf Awareness for Thursday, January 8, 2009

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Notes: B&N Comps Fall 7.7%; Rebellion in Lexington

Sales at Barnes & Noble fell 5.2% to $1.1 billion in the nine weeks ended January 3 and sales at stores open at least a year fell 7.7%. At Barnes& sales fell 11% during the period.

B&N said that traffic was "diminished" because of "the unprecedented fall-off of retail shopping during the last quarter of the year." Still, after a slow start to the holiday season, "store performance improved and we were able to post comparable store sales increases during the last two weeks of the season."

In its announcement this morning about holiday sales, B&N emphasized that it has "approximately $275 million of cash on hand and no borrowings under its $850 million Revolving Credit facility. The company's inventory levels are appropriate given the current sales environment and, as a result, the company expects to end the year with no debt and a strong balance sheet."


On Tuesday, local police arrested a woman who between 2006 and 2008 was a bookkeeper at Page and Palette bookstore, Fairhope, Ala., and charged her with embezzling about $50,000 from the store, the Press-Register reported. The former bookkeeper, Theresa Canavan Lyda, allegedly wrote a series of checks to pay for personal expenses.

Owner Karin Wilson told the paper that she and others on staff had noticed unexplained and misleadingly recorded expenditures. Wilson then notified Fairhope police, who investigated.

Only last month (Shelf Awareness, December 21, 2008), a former bookkeeper for Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C., was arrested and charged with embezzling almost $350,000 from that store over a longer period than Lyda's activities.


Customers of the Waldenbooks in Lexington, Mass., are protesting its January 24 closing and have begun a letter-writing campaign to Borders headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., the Taunton Daily Gazette reported.

"It is a centerpiece of [Lexington] Center," Patricia Manhard told the paper. "This isn't a restaurant--this is an intellectual center in town."

Borders, which has closed many Walden outlets in recent years and whose top executives were replaced this week, says the decision is final.


Nebraska Book Company, which operates some 270 college bookstores, sells textbooks to 2,500 college bookstores and offers technology platforms and e-commerce websites, is seeking to extend its revolving credit facility for 15 months beyond its current expiration date of March 4. In a related change, the company's majority equity holder, Weston Presidio, is investing about $10 million in the company.

If the changes in the credit line are made, the company's maximum borrowing level under the facility will be reduced to $65 million, there will be greater limitations on buying more bookstores, interest rates will increase and the company will have to pay additional fees.

Nebraska Book Company said that it uses the credit line to fund "peak working capital requirements of its business, including additional working capital investments for its expanding chain of retail college bookstores across the country."

In a statement, CEO Mark Oppegard added, "We have a long history of executing on our business model and it's important to note that we remain optimistic about the college bookstore business--but we also recognize that the historic disruption of the credit markets and the general economic slowdown means that we need to look hard at everything we do. While the proposed changes will increase our interest costs, it will also provide us the necessary flexibility and working capital to continue to operate our business in a manner that is conducive to the goals of long-term revenue and EBITDA growth." 


Sign of the times. The Tattered Cover, which has three stores in and around Denver, Colo., has laid off more than 10 employees although some were seasonal workers, the Denver Post reported. Owner Joyce Meskis said the cause was "a disappointing holiday season" and hopes to rehire some of the people eventually.

To preserve jobs, Meskis moved some bookstore workers to the stores' coffee shops and "made other shifts." Before Christmas, Tattered Cover had about 180 employees.

--- profiled the Bookworm, Bernardsville, N.J., owned for 23 years by Mary Ann Donaghy, who emphasizes customer service. The staff, she said, are "avid readers who go out of their way to help customers find something for themselves, or as a gift."


Independent Booksellers of New York City has added a listing to its website of the latest news about city booksellers, which can viewed here. IBNYC is also posting monthly video spotlights from local bookstores. The first is an amusing farewell to the holidays from Freebird Books in Brooklyn. The group is also planning to run a listing of literary events at IBNYC stores.


HarperOne, which specializes in religion, spirituality and personal growth titles, has launched a blog called Good Books in Bad Times, which aims to be "a resource of consumer information and inspiration for these tough times." Associate marketing director Laina Adler, who created the blog, said that Good Books in Bad Times will "offer information and links to books from other publishers, authors, and recommendations from booksellers."

So far, the blog features The Green Bible, the original "good book in bad times"; The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, "the perennial seeker's guide"; The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones; Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living from the Inside Out; and the upcoming paperback edition of It's Not About the Money by Brent Kessel, which includes information on how to make personal finances recession-proof.

HarperOne invites booksellers, other publishers and readers to submit their most inspirational titles for today's challenges, whether financial, spiritual or personal.


David Streitfeld's piece on December 27 in the New York Times about buying used books online called "Bargain Hunting for Books and Being Confused About It" caused a lot of unconfused comment among booksellers. On his blog, Tom Campbell of the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C., offered an interesting critique of Streitfeld's numbers and thinking.


In case anyone missed it, last Sunday's New York Times included a hilarious "statement" from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., crafted with the help of Julian Gough, author of Jude: Level 1. For flavor, here is the first paragraph:

"As we all know, lax writing practices earlier this decade led to irresponsible writing and irresponsible reading. This simply put too many families into books they could not finish. We are seeing the impact on readers and neighborhoods, with five million Americans now behind on their reading. Some are just walking away from novels they should never have been reading in the first place. What began as a subprime reading problem has spread to other, less-risky readers and contributed to excess inventories."

Thanks to Joyce Ripp of the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association for the reminder!


On Get Rich Slowly, guest poster Ann Zerkle offers an excellent "defense of buying books," which includes a comparison of books and other entertainment options at their "financial cost per hour." A $15 book, averaging six hours of entertainment, works out to $2.50 an hour, which, among others, beats a movie ($3.50 per hour), a concert ($25 an hour) and a night out ($12.50 per hour).

Thanks to Richard Nash of Soft Skull Press for an entertaining mention of this.


Chronicle Books and Knock Knock, the gift and stationery company whose motto is "We put the fun in functional," have created a new calendar line that will feature "two classic Daily Calendars and two new formats--the Daily Notepad Calendar and the Paper Mousepad Calendar."


Quick Publishing has acquired VanderWyk & Burnham, which will now be distributed Partners Book Distributors, Holt, Mich. VanderWyk & Burnham was formerly distributed by NBN.


Nicholas Brealey Publishing North America has bought the Davies-Black book division from CPP and will keep the division as a separate line.

In a statement, Nicholas Brealey v-p and associate publisher Chuck Dresner said, "Davies-Black has built up an excellent publishing program and a recognized brand in some of the same categories, especially coaching, business and leadership titles. It was clear to us that adding their list to ours would strengthen both and help us become a leader in those areas. We are very excited about the possibilities, particularly coming off a year in which our sales improved and we added to our editorial team."

Both companies are distributed by NBN.


James Gray has been named chief strategy officer of the content group at Ingram Content Companies. He was most recently president and CEO of Ingram Digital.

Mike Lovett, former CEO of Ingram Book Group and most recently senior v-p of Ingram Digital, has become the new CEO of Ingram Digital, replacing Gray.

In a statement, chairman John Ingram commented: "Ingram today is the only service provider in the content industry with state-of-the-art physical and digital capabilities under one roof. While digital has been James' primary focus, he has shown great fluidity in moving between both the physical and the digital sides of the business, as most discussions with industry partners these days move dynamically back and forth between the two domains. Ingram is now poised to take advantage of the fact that our organization can marshal unique competencies to make it easier for our partners to sell more content in both formats, and I expect James will help our partners take advantage of opportunities in compelling, new ways."


Terri Reden has joined Lerner Publishing Group as v-p, marketing. She was formerly v-p of marketing at PLATO Learning and earlier worked at Net Perceptions, TEKsystems and Johns Hopkins University.

Among other changes at Lerner:

  • Lois Wallentine has been promoted to director of product development and market research from director of marketing and product development.
  • David Wexler has been named executive v-p, sales. He has been with the company for 12 years.
  • Margaret Wunderlich has been promoted to executive v-p, CFO, from v-p, CFO.
  • Joni Sussman has been promoted to publisher of Kar-Ben Publishing from director of the imprint.

President and publisher Adam Lerner said that with the changes, the company is "laying the ground work for the changes ahead of us in 2009. With Terri's expertise in marketing, brand management, and electronic content and the experience that Lois, David, Margaret, and Joni bring to the company, we are ready to meet the difficult challenges that the publishing industry faces today."


PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Post-Holiday Hum: Snowstorms Boost Sales at Seattle Store

The severe winter weather that hindered sales at many retail outlets in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere across the country benefited Santoro's Books in Seattle, Wash. After a series of snowstorms blanketed the area in December, neighborhood residents "turned out in droves to shop locally because driving was so difficult," said store owner Carol Santoro. "Before the snow we were running about 30% down from last year. Once the storms hit, we caught up in the next two weeks." Overall, December sales were down 2% from last year. "I was expecting at least a 15% drop, so I'm happy," added Santoro.

Fittingly one of the store's bestsellers for the month was The Weather of the Pacific Northwest by Cliff Mass, a public radio commentator and professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. The book sold out the first week of December, and because of low publisher inventory it couldn't be re-stocked until December 26. But demand for The Weather of the Pacific Northwest didn't diminish. The store amassed a sizeable waiting list, and shoppers came in to up pick up their copies after the holidays.

A downside of the severe weather was that some shipments didn't make it to the store in time for pre-Christmas shopping. As with The Weather of the Pacific Northwest, though, customers "were willing to write IOUs" for their recipients, noted Santoro. Partners/West Book Distributors, located in a Seattle suburb, managed to make deliveries in the area, and Santoro's husband even ventured to the company's warehouse to pick up a large order the week before Christmas.
The store did exceptionally well with books for YA and middle grade readers. "Those two sections were our bread and butter," said Santoro. Top sellers included The Tales of Beedle the Bard, titles in the Twilight series, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by local author Sherman Alexie and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. A staff favorite is Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers. "The writing style is a lot like J.K. Rowling, but the protagonist is a girl," Santoro said.

Paperback literary fiction titles are consistently among the store's bestsellers, and favorite gift selections included Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz and The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Leading the way in hardcover fiction was A Mercy by Toni Morrison.

During the last several months the store's rental library of hardcover editions and audio books has become more popular. "Even though it's not a big money maker, it's a nice way to draw people into the store," said Santoro, who plans to promote the rental library more extensively this year. The store is also stocking more remainder titles to "meet people's budgetary needs."

Looking ahead, Santoro said, "I do feel that we're going to have a tough first quarter. After that I think things should level out and we'll be doing all right again." Whatever the New Year brings, this holiday season--the store's first in its new space after a rent increase necessitated a move from its prior location two blocks away--is certainly one to remember. Santoro said, "It was a nice way to end an otherwise challenging year."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt


Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

ABFFE: Judge Soft on Oregon Minors' Access Law

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, one of the plaintiffs in a case challenging an Oregon law that could restrict the sale of books, magazine and other materials to minors, has expressed "concern" about a federal judge's decision last month upholding the law.

The plaintiffs, which include the Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation and six Oregon booksellers, argued that the law lacks the procedural safeguards common in such laws that have been outlined by Supreme Court decisions.

Judge Mosman acknowledged that the law does not require that the work be patently offensive or appeal to prurient interest or that it be considered as a whole. There is also no protection for material that has serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

But in his opinion, Mosman wrote that the law contains an exception for "material the sexually explicit portions of which form merely an incidental part of an otherwise non-offending whole and serve some purpose other than titillation." Combined with other portions of Oregon law, the judge held that this exception provides protections that are equivalent to the Supreme Court test.

"We disagree with Judge Mosman," ABFFE president Chris Finan said in a statement. "We believe that the Oregon law does not provide the explicit guidelines that booksellers and others need in determining whether they may be committing an illegal act."


Media and Movies

Olivia to Debut on Nickelodeon

Fans of the porcine heroine who burst onto the scene in 2000 and whose star turn earned a Caldecott Honor for New Yorker cover artist and debut picture-book creator Ian Falconer, may now welcome Olivia into their living rooms, beginning Monday, January 26, at 11:30 a.m. on Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is presenting the half-hour series in conjunction with Chorion. Animated by Brown Bag films (using CG animation), the show "invites children into the life--both real and fantasy--of an adventurous, can-do 6 3/4-year-old girl named Olivia." Her daily activities center on friends, family and school, but her imagination carries her to Egypt, outer space and a concert hall, among other destinations, the company said.

Starting Friday, January 16, fans can take a two-minute "sneak peak" on (via Nick Jr. Video, Nick Jr.'s broadband video service) and also on various wireless carriers; additional premiere episodes will be simulcast on Nickelodeon Mobile.


This Weekend on Book TV: Palestine Inside and Out

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, January 10

12 p.m. Photographer Reza talks about and displays work from War + Peace: A Photographer's Journey (Focal Point, $75, 9781426203268/1426203268), a 30-year retrospective of his photography from Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, China, South Africa and elsewhere. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

2 p.m. The Washington Journal Series on Presidents presents Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House (Random House, $30, 9781400063253/1400063256). (Re-airs Sunday at 5 a.m.)
3 p.m. The Washington Journal Series on Presidents presents William Leuchtenburg, author of Herbert Hoover (Times Books, $22, 9780805069587/0805069585). (Re-airs Sunday at 6 a.m.)

8 p.m. For an event hosted by Busboys and Poets restaurant and bookstore, Washington, D.C., seven-term congresswoman Barbara Lee, author of Renegade for Peace & Justice: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Speaks for Me (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95, 9780742558434/0742558436), discusses her memoir. (Re-airs Sunday at 2 a.m. and 4 p.m.)
10 p.m. After Words. Jed Babbin interviews Christopher Horner, author of Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud and Deception to Keep You Misinformed (Regnery, $27.95, 9781596985384/1596985380). Horner contends that, with a new administration, the global warming lobby will force through new legislation that further weakens the U.S. economy. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., and Sunday, January 18, at 12 p.m.)

11 p.m. Edward Djerejian, author of Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador's Journey Through the Middle East (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781416554936/1416554939), appears on the TV program Viewpoint with James Zogby to discuss his book and take calls from viewers around the world. (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m., Monday at 6 a.m. and Sunday, January 25, at 11 p.m.)
Sunday, January 11

8:15 a.m. Saree Makdisi, author of Palestine Inside and Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton, $24.95, 9780393066067/0393066061), talks about life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the impact of the partitian wall separating Israel and its settlements inside the occupied territory from the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (Re-airs Sunday, January 25, at 1 p.m.)


Books & Authors

Awards: Sydney Taylor Book Awards

The top winners of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards, which honor "new books for children and teens that exemplify the highest literary standards while authentically portraying the Jewish experience," are:

  • Young Readers: Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, author and illustrator of As Good As Anybody: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom.
  • Older Readers: Karen Hesse, author of Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Teen Readers: Valerie Zenatti, author of A Bottle in the Gaza Sea.

The winners will receive their awards at the Association of Jewish Libraries convention in Chicago this July. For more information and lists of honor and notable winners, click here.


Children's Book Review: Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Levine/Scholastic, $19.99, 9780545055888/0545055881, 96 pp., ages 12-up, February 2009)

Tan, who brilliantly and wordlessly illuminated the immigrant experience in The Arrival, invites readers to consider the perils of suburban life and its numbing of the senses in these 15 stories and strips. A water buffalo stands like a wise totem in a vacant lot, wordlessly and "literally point[ing] us in the right direction"--until the neighbors' problems become "urgent," they stop visiting, and he goes away. A foreign exchange student who resembles a walking leaf (and whose name is difficult to pronounce, so the narrator calls him "Eric") silently poses questions to his hosts about what makes a stamp adhere to a letter or why a drain is shaped like a flower; then Eric leaves suddenly but with a parting gift of tiny plants that grow in the dark cupboard where he had stayed. The related images of Eric all appear in black-and-white except for these brightly colored tendrils and petals that spring from castoff caps, peanut shells and pencil sharpeners. The tale "Broken Toys" reveals deep emotion and kindness behind a seemingly cruel neighbor the narrator nicknames "Mrs. Bad News." In each tale, Tan seems to suggest that the children remain open to the small gifts life brings, while the adults grow immune to them. In "Undertow," a "mysterious, gently breathing creature" suddenly appears on the lawn of a home where the sounds of slamming doors and crashing objects are the norm; a neighbor boy identifies the creature as a dugong, a mammal that lives in the Indian Ocean. After a rescue truck takes the dugong away, the homeowners go back to screaming and slamming doors. Only the boy steals back in the night to lie on the grass matted down by the miraculous visitor, soaking up the magic of the event.

Tan smoothly varies the pacing, alternating shorter pieces with longer ones, more narrative pieces with more visual ones, the loose pen-and-inks of "Grandpa's Story" with the highly stylized Edward Hopper-esque backdrops of "Stick Figures." One of the loveliest selections, "Distant Rain," is tucked into the middle of the book: "Have you ever wondered what happens to all the poems people write?" the piece begins. Tan fits together into a collage images of the different ways that he imagines people flush away their creative work for fear of others' response, "doomed to join a vast, invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia." But he also pictures "some especially insistent pieces of writing" escaping, gathering force into a kind of snowball until it hovers like a moon, "float[ing] gently above suburban rooftops when everybody is asleep," then bursts, "faded words pressed into accidental verse." This provocative collection, with its recurring images of empty blocks and lonely dogs, suggests that the danger begins when we stop seeing the details and perceive only the sameness. As the narrator and his brother note when they set out to settle a bet on whether a map is accurate or not and wind up at the precipice of a waste dump: "The farther we ventured, the more everything looked the same. . . . Only the names were different." What a powerful message for citizens of all ages, especially teens who are hardwired to question everything around them. Tan suggests that human beings are not meant to accept the status quo; we merely get lulled into it if we do not remain awake and alert.--Jennifer M. Brown


Lincoln Log, Part 2: Books About the 16th President

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, this coming February 12, Shelf Awareness is offering a selected listing of books related to the 16th president. Some are new, some are backlist, and all are recommended either by booksellers, librarians or proud publishers. This is the second part of a three-part feature, compiled with help from Tobias Mutter:

Lincoln Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life by Martin W. Sandler (Walker Books for Young Readers, $19.99, 9780802796660/0802796664).

Macmillan rep and former Dutton's Brentwood bookseller Lise Friedman of Culver City, Calif., wrote: "From the only confirmed existing picture of Lincoln before the historic Gettysburg Address to Lincoln's second inauguration--where John Wilkes Booth is visible in the crowd--this eye-opening, inspiring visual journey provides a fresh take on both Lincoln and photography. A photograph of Lincoln, or from his era, is featured on the right side of most two-page spreads, with a description of why the photograph is significant in Lincoln's life on the left side. I particularly like the photo Lincoln credits with getting him elected because it made him, in his own words, 'look presidential.' " Published in September.


Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman (Sandpiper, $9.95, 9780395518489/0395518482).

Kate Groves called this 1989 book "totally fascinating, succinct, both pictures and the writing are wonderful."


The Cosgrove Report by G. J. A. O'Toole (Grove Press, $14.95, 9780802144072/0802144071).

Meredith Kessler of Grove Atlantic recommended this 1979 book, which the press said "explores the suspicious circumstances surrounding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln."


Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan (Harper, $27.95, 9780060773342/0060773340).

Bob Alunni of HarperCollins wrote: "Fred is a great writer and focuses the book on the literary blossoming of Abe, including his poetic influences growing up and how they shaped him as a person, lawyer, and a speech writer. Definitely a good read PLUS Barack was spotted with this book under his arm in Chicago [a month ago]. It's no surprise that such a well-read president elect would read this book, based on Lincoln's major influence on him as a politician."


Abraham Lincoln: A Life
by Michael Burlingame (Johns Hopkins University Press, $125, 9780801889936/0801889936).

Amazingly this two-volume $125 book, published in December, has gone back to press for a third printing.

Michael Walsh at Johns Hopkins forwarded this comment by Doris Kearns Goodwin: "Lincoln scholars have waited anxiously for this book for decades. Its triumphant publication proves it was well worth the wait. Few scholars have written with greater insight about the psychology of Lincoln. No one in recent history has uncovered more fresh sources than Michael Burlingame. This profound and masterful portrait will be read and studied for years to come."


Abraham Lincoln for Kids: His Life and Times with 21 Activities
by Janis Herbert (Chicago Review Press, $16.95, 9781556526565/1556526563).

Mary Kravenas of Chicago Review Press recommended this title, which has 100 black-and-white photos and was just named an Honors Award winner in the 2008 National Parenting Publications Awards Children's Products competition. The press said that "Herbert shows young historians and budding public servants how to host a Lincoln-Douglas style debate, survey a piece of land and draw a political cartoon."


My Brother Abe: Sally Lincoln's Story by Harry Mazer (Simon & Schuster Children's, $15.99, 9781416938842/1416938842).

The publisher said that this title "follows the few known facts of the Lincoln family's early life, starting with the Lincolns' move from Kentucky to Indiana. It covers their years living in a log cabin, the death of Sally and Abe's mother when Sally was eleven and her new responsibilities as woman of the cabin, and culminates in the arrival of a stepmother a year later. Although the details of Sally's character are fictional, this novel offers real insight into Abraham Lincoln's childhood, as well as the role of women on the frontier." Thanks to Andrea Kempfer of S&S.


Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes, and Revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies by Harold Holzer (Algonquin, $14.95, 9781565126817/1565126815).

Lindsey McGuirk of Algonquin wrote, "This book is appealing because it strays from the norm with Lincoln texts. The little personal insights of Lincoln--both positive and negative--allow a quick glimpse of who Lincoln truly was: a powerful leader, brilliant orator, bad dresser and raunchy storyteller."


What Would Lincoln Do?: Lincoln's Most Inspired Solutions to Challenging Problems and Difficult Situations
by David Acord (Sourcebooks, $13.99, 9781402217906/1402217900).

The press said that "David Acord grants readers access to President Lincoln's personal correspondence, speeches and personal writings in order to demonstrate the articulate manner in which Lincoln addressed a variety of difficult situations. With each writing sample, Acord discusses the history surrounding the event and then addresses the art of letter writing as not only a political tool, but as an art form meant to elicit a variety of carefully chosen responses from its reader." Thanks to Paul Samuelson of Sourcebooks.


Did Lincoln Own Slaves?: And Other Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham Lincoln by Gerald J. Prokopowicz (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307279293/0307279294).

Jenise Morgan of Pantheon wrote: "For nine years, Prokopowicz served as scholar-in-residence at the Lincoln Museum in Ft. Wayne, Ind. He was asked thousands of questions during his tenure, hundreds a day sometimes, about Lincoln: What kind of law did he practice? Did he have a happy childhood? Did his family own slaves? Why did he start the Civil War?

"The result is an entertaining and insightful 'biography,' told in a question and answer format. Prokopowicz synthesizes the best of Lincoln scholarship with writing that is lively and accessible, supporting his facts with authoritative references and a selected bibliography."

The book was published in hardcover by Pantheon a year ago and is now out in paperback from Vintage.


Erica Corwin of the University of Nebraska Press recommended a range of titles that are reprints of books by people who knew Lincoln:

The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Isaac N. Arnold (Bison Books, $21.95, 9780803259249/0803259247).

"Isaac N. Arnold was an adviser to Lincoln and originally published his biography 20 years after Lincoln's death."

Lincoln in the Telegraph Office: Recollections of the United States Military Telegraph Corps during the Civil War
by David Homer Bates (Kessinger Publishing, $51.95, 9780548994702/0548994706).

"David Homer Bates, one of the first military telegraphers, recollects Lincoln's visits to the war department's telegraph office during the Civil War."

The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House by F. B. Carpenter (University of Nebraska Press, $18, 9780803263659/0803263651).

"F. B. Carpenter, the painter of The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet, recounts his six-month experiences in the White House while he worked on the painting in 1864. The book was originally published in 1866 and was immediately popular due to the public's interest in intimate details about the late president's daily life."

Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1865 by Ward H. Lamon (University of Nebraska Press, $21.95, 9780803279506/0803279507).

"Ward H. Lamon was Lincoln's friend and law partner prior to his presidency, and Lincoln asked Lamon to join him in Washington D.C. Lincoln would later ask him to serve as a bodyguard, send him on missions, and appointed him marshal of the District of Columbia. Lamon's daughter, Dorothy Lamon Teillard, compiled this book based on Lamon's notes and papers, and it was originally published in 1895."


Powered by: Xtenit