Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Scribner Book Company: Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

Flatiron Books: Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Atheneum Books for Young Readers: You Matter by Christian Robinson

St. Martin's Press: Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman's Journey Into the Heart of Africa by Brad Ricca

Quirk Books: This Is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books: When I Draw a Panda by Amy June Bates

Random House: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

Quotation of the Day

'What I Learned from James Patterson'

"What I learned from [James Patterson] is that you can't be self-indulgent. Even the most literary book has to be a page turner. You're not accomplishing anything by writing something that's hard to read."--Peter de Jonge, who co-wrote several books with Patterson and whose first solo novel, Shadows Still Remain (Harper, $25.99, 9780061373541/0061373540), was just published, in the New York Times.

 


Anansi International: This Lovely City by Louise Hare


News

Notes: New Kindle Goes to School; Promoter-in-Chief

At a press briefing tomorrow morning, Amazon.com is expected to introduce a new version of the Kindle with a larger screen that is designed to appeal to textbook, newspaper and magazine publishers and users.

In a bit of news, the Wall Street Journal reported that in connection with the text emphasis, Amazon has arranged with several textbook publishers to have material available on the e-reader and is working with six universities on a test that involves students being given Kindles with texts on them. At least one school, Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, plans to compare the experiences of students with Kindles and those with traditional textbooks.

The new Kindle also features a "more fully functional Web browser," the Journal wrote.

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This is just what college booksellers need.

In a story about the requirement of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, passed last year, that college-owned and -operated bookstores disseminate ISBNs and retail prices for course materials as of July 2010, Inside Higher Education noted that this "poses new challenges for colleges, college stores, and the firms that operate college stores (and the store Web sites) under contract."

Already, Inside Higher Education wrote, "Student Monitor's fall 2008 survey of full-time undergraduates reveals that 16 percent of undergraduates 'bought most of their textbooks online,' up from 12 percent in fall 2007. Additionally, Student Monitor reports that 'the share of students who purchase most of their textbooks from their on-campus bookstore continues to trend down: fewer than six in ten students (57 percent) purchased most of their textbooks at their on campus book store,' compared to 64 percent in fall 2006 and down from 72 percent in fall 2005."

And online booksellers are becoming more sophisticated: "Apple's student-oriented iPhone ad broadcast during the NCAA men's basketball championship game on April 6 highlighted SnapTell, an iPhone app that supports 'photo commerce': take a picture of a book (including college textbooks) and the SnapTell app will link you to multiple Web sites that sell the book. On the institutional side, Verba Software, a Cambridge, Mass., firm launched by some recent Harvard grads, offers an application that links course lists to IBSNs and then searches the Web for the best prices for new and used textbooks and course tomes."

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With a share price that has been above $1 for the past 30 days--and yesterday hit $3.25, its highest level since early November last year--Borders Group has been advised by the New York Stock Exchange that it is again in compliance with the Exchange's requirement that all listed companies have share prices of at least $1. In addition, the company's capitalization of nearly $200 million is also above the Exchange's current minimum standard of $15 million, which recently was reduced from its former minimum of $25 million.

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President Obama continues to have an effect on Netherland by Joseph O'Neill, whose sales shot up 40% in the week following the Sunday New York Times Magazine's mention that he was reading the book (Shelf Awareness, April 29, 2009). Now Vintage Books has moved up the publication date of the trade paperback edition to this coming Thursday, May 7, from June 2, and has gone back to press for a second printing, resulting in 70,000 copies in print. Pantheon has sold some 95,000 hardcovers of the PEN/Faulkner Award winner.

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A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts (Harper, $26.99, 9780061791642/0061791644) entered the bookselling game yesterday. Scouting reports are mixed, and it's hard to tell how much opinion of the book by the Sports Illustrated writer is colored by team and player loyalties.

Still in Newsday, Wallace Matthews had a jaded take: "All the good, juicy stuff came out in February, when A-Rod kinda sorta acknowledged having used steroids for at least a three-year period of his career. What's left over is the equivalent of discovering a felon also has some overdue library books.

"I mean, all of us who have covered his Yankees tenure already knew he was an egotistic, insecure narcissist, which didn't particularly make him stand out in any room of highly paid professional athletes.

"So he's a lousy tipper of money, an (allegedly) accomplished tipper of signs, and too pampered to be bothered loading his own toothbrush. As Peggy Lee once memorably sang, 'Is that all there is?' "

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Better late
Than never,
We hope
(Our bad).

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Michele Filgate, events coordinator of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., and winner of this year's NEIBA Isaac Epstein Scholarship, read the poem "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden from the anthology Essential Pleasures, compiled by Robert Pinsky. The piece was originally on Books on the Nightstand and is available on Poemsoutloud.net, a poetry site that Norton launched this year. During poetry month, Poemsoutloud featured daily blog entries by Robert Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate, and included essays, readings and interviews with various poets. Originally the site was to last only as long as National Poetry Month, but because of the warm reception it received, it will carry on.

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As polls closed yesterday, more than 220,000 children and teens nationwide voted on the 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards, quadruples the total of voters who participated last year, according to the Children's Book Council. Winners in all book categories will be announced at the Children's Choice Book Awards Gala honoring Whoopi Goldberg on Tuesday, May 12, in the Edison Ballroom in New York City. Ambassador Jon Scieszka will emcee the event. For Gala tickets and sponsorships, call 212-677-3173, ext. 240, or e-mail CBC@PaintTheTownRed.net. For a comprehensive list of Children's Book Week events, including storytelling and author autographing, from Manhattan to Chicago to Seattle, click here.

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Nice move: Bookazine has given $1,500 to the Independent Booksellers of New York City, "the first major contribution from a fellow industry independent and NYC-area business" to the year-old organization. IBNYC put the donation into its general account and likely will apply it to its website redesign project and for promotion of NYC Indie Bookstore Week, to be held November 15-21.

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NBC4-TV in Los Angeles featured the "Cute (and Smart) T-Shirt of the Week," otherwise known as the classic "Who says people in L.A. don't read?" tee available from Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif. The shirt, "designed by Anne Edkins of the great Pasadena book emporium," was described as having "a bit of cheek that tickles."

 


University of California Press: The Mating Game: How Gender Still Shapes How We Date by Ellen Lamont


Flintridge Rises from the Wreckage

"The piano got it first," said Peter Wannier, co-owner of Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse, the La Canada, Calif., independent that was plowed into by an 18-wheeler on April Fool's Day (Shelf Awareness, April 4, 2009). But this was no joke--two people were killed and 11 wounded. Despite the tragedy and damage, Wannier said he thinks the store and its community will emerge even stronger than before the accident.

Wannier, a retired astrophysicist, opened the store two years ago with his wife, Lenora, who has a background in antiquarian books. He said that after the crash, the couple engaged in some soul searching conversations before deciding to remodel the store.

"What drove me forward was the outpouring of customer support," Wannier said. "It revealed to me what it means to be a business in a small community. That was motivating."

Since the accident customers have been flooding the store with well-wishing messages, some of which the staff posted on the front door of the closed shop.

"I am sad that a truck crashed into your store," reads a note written by a six-year-old. "I like your store. I will come back when your store is fixed."

Wannier estimated that it will take about four months for the store to be renovated and reopen. In the meantime, the staff has started to set up its temporary home in a double-wide trailer parked behind the store in the parking lot.

"For a temporary home, this is nice," Lenora Wannier said, as the staff busily puts together the kids and YA sections in their new digs. The Wanniers have tried to keep the staff on their regular schedules.

The accident took about two seconds to happen, Peter Wannier said, giving him time for only one thought: "Wow!" It occurred at 5:45 p.m., luckily, when the store was not crowded. No one in the store was hurt, but half the inventory was destroyed.

Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse has occupied a 100-year-old building originally used as a garage for the limousines of the real estate customers of developer (and U.S. Senator) Frank P. Flint. Standing in the nearly empty, truss-ceiling structure Peter Wannier told me to watch out for the motor oil still on the exposed concrete floor as he reflected on the accident.

"It was really interesting, actually, to watch a large truck drive through my store," he continued. Starting with the piano in the corner, the truck wiped out architecture, photography and a newly created spa display.

Pictures of the store before the crash reveal a handsome interior. Will the remade model be equally esthetically pleasing?

"Of course," Wannier responded. "It just takes time."

Publishers have stepped up to help the store, too. Instead of canceling an upcoming event with YA-author Richelle Mead, Penguin assured Flintridge that if the store found another venue, she would appear as scheduled. The event takes place today at a local library. Flintridge has even co-hosted an event across town with Once Upon a Time bookstore.

A local school held a bake sale and raised $300 for the store, which Peter Wannier found especially touching. "Peter--who never gets emotional--got terribly emotional," said Sandy Willardson, the store's marketing director. After all, "he's literally a rocket scientist."

What is the difference between rocket science and bookselling? "People," said Wannier. People make bookselling more challenging and rewarding--and worth reopening a community store so loved by its community.--Bridget Kinsella

 


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 04.06.20


Rep Picks--For Food Near the Javits Center

In response to our item about food spots near the Javits Center in New York (Shelf Awareness, April 17, 2009), we received two impassioned notes, both from sales reps. Independently they both recommended the same deli. You know that when such a thing happens, the place has to be good.

The spot is Manganaro's Foods, 488 9th Ave., between 37th and 38th Sts. 212-563-5331. (Note: closed Sunday!) It's an Italian deli that serves a variety of hot and cold foods, particularly sandwiches. Richard McNeace of Faherty & Associates suggested visiting Manganaro's website "and see if you do not salivate." He called the deli "very family. Great cold cuts. Sometimes they're cooking up this or that and will give you a taste. Sassy New York humor. No place else exactly like it. They're good people--go there."

For his part, Sean Concannon of Parson Weems wrote that Manganaro's is "renowned for authentic and tasty subs. One 'manganaro special' will easily feed two."

Both McNeace and Concannon noted that there is another Manganaro's in the area, which split off from this "original" one. They both side with the older Manganaro's in that feud.

Concannon also recommended Manganaro's and several others as ideal for delivery. "The beauty of getting food delivered is that you can get a much better meal than at the cafeteria, for about half the price, and in a fraction of the time," he wrote. "All you have to do is plan ahead. Most of these places take credit cards, too. You just call about an hour or so before lunch, and plan to meet the delivery person at the concierge desk (it's on the lower level, near the shuttle bus dropoff). The delivery person will take your cell phone number and call when they arrive."

His other recommendations for delivery:

Golden City Chinese Restaurant, 423 9th Ave.; 212-736-4004. "If you're manning the booth Sunday, you'll miss out on your weekly dim sum pilgrimage. Golden City will take care of those Chinese food cravings."

Sandwich Planet, 534 9th Ave.; 212-273-9768. (Closed Sunday.)

Stage Door Delicatessen, 461 8th Ave at 33rd St.; 212-868-9655. "Famous diner/deli across from Penn Station. The menu runs to nine pages--if you can't find what you want here, you'll just have to leave the convention center for lunch."

 


Berkley Books: Meet You in the Middle by Devon Daniels


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chris Cleave, Author of Little Bee

This morning on Good Morning America: Whoopi Goldberg, author of Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Toeshoe Trouble (Hyperion, $4.99, 9780786852611/0786852615).

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Today on Fresh Air: Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385527934/0385527934).

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Tomorrow morning on the Early Show: Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee (Simon & Schuster, $24, 9781416589631/1416589635).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Michael J. Fox, author of Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (Hyperion, $25.99, 9781401303389/1401303382).

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Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Adam Perry Lang, author of Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking (Hyperion, $35, 9781401323066/1401323065).

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Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Steve Miller, author of The Turnaround Kid: What I Learned Rescuing America's Most Troubled Companies (Collins Business, $25.95, 9780061251276/0061251275).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It (Little, Brown, $25.99, 9780316118088/0316118087).

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Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Ruth Reichl, author of Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way (Penguin Press, $19.95, 9781594202162/1594202168).

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Tomorrow night on the Colbert Report: Laurie Garrett, author of The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (Penguin, $20, 9780140250916/0140250913).

 


University of California Press: A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein


Movies: The Pale Horseman

Kevin Grevioux, co-creator of  the Underworld movie franchise, will direct the adaptation of his graphic novel, The Pale Horsemen. Variety reported  that "Grevioux and Len Wiseman wrote the original screenplay for the first Underworld pic, which bowed in 2003 and spawned two additional installments. . . . The film rights to several of Grevioux’s other graphic novels have also recently been picked up, including ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction, optioned by Benderspink, and I, Frankenstein, at Death Ray Films."

 


Berkley Books: Hell in the Heartland: Murder, Meth, and the Case of Two Missing Girls by Jax Miller



Books & Authors

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new books appearing next Tuesday, May 12:

Road Dogs: A Novel by Elmore Leonard (Morrow, $26.99, 9780061733147/0061733148) revisits characters from three of the author's previous novels.

Wicked Prey by John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399155673/0399155678) is the 19th novel featuring Lucas Davenport, a security expert who has the task of guarding the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Terror on the Seas: True Tales of Modern-Day Pirates
by Daniel Sekulich (Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95, 9780312375829/0312375824) explores the scourge of modern piracy.

Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Grand Central, $26.99, 9780446580298/0446580295) is the ninth mystery featuring FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast.

Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance
by Wendy Leigh (Simon Spotlight, $24.99, 9781439149973/1439149976) is a bio of the actor, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer.

The Last Child by John Hart (Minotaur Books, $24.95, 9780312359324/0312359322) follows a 12-year-old boy searching for his missing twin sister.

How to Really Stink at Work: A Guide to Making Yourself Fire-Proof While Having the Most Fun Possible
by Jeff Foxworthy and Brian Hartt (Villard, $16, 9780345502803/0345502809) is a comedic guide to professional misbehavior.

Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook by Patrick Neely, Gina Neely, and Paula Disbrowe (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307269942/0307269949) compiles Southern cooking recipes from the hosts of the Food Network's Down Home with the Neelys.

The Stalin Epigram: A Novel
by Robert Littell (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416598640/1416598642) follows a Russian poet who speaks out against Stalin and experiences the worst of Soviet brutality.

Now in paperback:

An Inconvenient Book: Real Solutions to the World's Biggest Problems
by Glenn Beck (Threshold Editions, $19.99, 9781416560449/1416560440).

Whispered Lies
by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love (Pocket, $15, 9781416597421/1416597425).

 


Inaugural NAIBA Notable: Booksellers Find Wanting

The first NAIBA Notable title is Wanting: A Novel by Richard Flanagan (Grove Atlantic, $24, 9780802119001/080211900X), which is on the shortlist for Australia's prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award. Publisher Morgan Entrekin said that Wanting has "similar rhythms and tropes as his masterpiece Gould's Book of Fish, yet may be more approachable for many readers."

On behalf of NAIBA, Lucy Kogler, Talking Leaves, Buffalo, N.Y., wrote in part that "the word wanting is not only the title but is one of the characters in this incredible novel. Having never before read Richard Flanagan I was utterly taken with his imagination, sense of politics and incredible ability to make me think about the title throughout the book."

Under this new New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association program, one book with "a large fan base of booksellers in the region" is chosen a month and promoted to other booksellers, store staff and customers. The NAIBA Notable titles are not necessarily regional "but an outstanding piece of work that booksellers want to sell." NAIBA is emphasizing that "independent bookstores in this region outnumber any other single retailer, and our collective efforts to support fine pieces of writing will be recognized. These great books need our attention."

NAIBA is asking all members to display the books and promote them online and in print. "Each book will come with its own features, some with author appearances, autographed stock, special coop promotions, etc."

 


Book Review

Book Review: Seven Pleasures

Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness by Willard Spiegelman (Farrar Straus Giroux, $23.00 Hardcover, 9780374239305, April 2009)



"Most folks," Abraham Lincoln observed, "are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." By that standard Willard Spiegelman, a professor of English at Southern Methodist University, is an extraordinarily happy man. And we should be equally pleased he's chosen to discourse on the reasons for his happiness in this erudite and spritely collection of essays.

Spiegelman has chosen seven "ordinary pleasures"--reading, walking, looking, dancing, listening, swimming and writing--to illustrate how simple activities serve to bring joy and fulfillment to his life. It's impossible to read this collection without pausing often to reflect on the similar pleasures each of us could add to or substitute on Spiegelman's short list, whether it's cooking, gardening or golfing. And whatever pleasures our catalogue may contain, he suggests, we should turn to them often to "increase a general sense of well-being," confident as he is that "happiness may come through grace or birth, but it may also come through training."

It would be misleading to suggest that Spiegelman's slim book should be consigned to the overcrowded category of slick, self-help tomes. Inspired by eminent muses like Emerson, Wallace Stevens and Auden, he brings to his task an impressive scope of learning, enriched by broad reading and extensive travel and reflecting a deep appreciation of the visual arts and a love of music. He's uniformly at ease discoursing on the delights (and inevitability) of getting lost strolling the alleyways of Venice, deconstructing an Edward Hopper painting or recalling the joys of browsing the aisles of a dusty used bookstore in his home town of Philadelphia. Firmly at home in the relaxed, occasionally discursive tradition of the personal essay, Spiegelman demonstrates an agreeable facility for summoning up an apt quotation or allusion that invests a seemingly modest insight with nuance.

Intermingled with his unabashedly intellectual pursuits, Spiegelman doesn't hesitate to celebrate our physical existence. He's passionate about dancing's contribution to mental health ("Put on your pumps, toss out your Prozac.") and there's wry humor as he describes how he almost squandered the joy he experiences in the swimming pool when he took lessons, striving to perfect his technique.

Willard Spiegelman is frank to acknowledge he's a lucky man--physically and mentally sound at age 65 with many friends and a stimulating profession--although he takes pains not to flaunt those blessings. In Seven Pleasures, he's graciously endeavored to help each of us understand how fortunate we, too, can be if we simply allow ourselves to savor our good fortune. That's the inspiriting message of this elegant, delightful work.--Harvey Freedenberg

Shelf Talker: A scholar's delightful discourse on the simple activities that enrich his life and on the joy we can experience if we seek out the corresponding pleasures in our own.

 


AuthorBuzz: Health Communications: The Pleasure Plan: One Woman's Search for Sexual Healing by Laura Zam
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