Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Del Rey Books: The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

Jy: Enemies (Berrybrook Middle School #5) by Svetlana Chmakova

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Press: The Matchmaker's Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman

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

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers


Notes: Happy Bloomsday!; Another Bookstore in an Old Schwartz Spot?

In honor of Bloomsday, Classics Rock! has compiled a list of songs that relate to James Joyce and Ulysses from Jefferson Airplane, Kate Bush, Van Morrison and more.


The site of the former Harry W. Schwartz bookstore in Shorewood, Wis., might be a bookstore again if a group of community activists have their way.

The group is "working together to open a co-operatively-owned bookstore," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The store would be called the Open Book, and would open this fall, according to the plan. The group doesn't have a location nailed down, but is hoping to rent the former Harry W. Schwartz store on N. Oakland Ave."

The Greater Milwaukee Business Journal reported that Lisa Zupke, who previously managed the N. Oakland Ave. Schwartz store, will be the manager and "the store will be run by a limited liability corporation on a cooperative model like the Outpost Natural Foods stores or REI. Cooperative members will help provide start-up capital and operating funding with their memberships. The group said nearly 400 people in Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and other North Shore communities have expressed an interest in joining the cooperative."


Fight city hall? How about working with it?

The Galesburg, Ill., city council has approved giving a $15,000 loan to Ben Stomberg to help him open a bookstore downtown, according to the Galesburg Register-Mail. He is also receiving a $10,000 business innovation grant from the city.

Stomberg has a $40,100 business plan to set up Stone Alley Books & Collectables, which will stock new and used books. He hopes to open in August.


ABCD Books, Camden, Me., is closing in early September, and its inventory of books, mostly rare and collectible, has been bought by Craig and Melissa Olson, co-owners of Artisan Books & Bindery on Islesboro, according to the Village Soup network.

Artisan Books intends to expand its business to include antiquarian book fairs.

Barrie Pribyl has owned ABCD Books since 1993. He told the service: "I am delighted that the books will stay in Maine, and that Craig and Melissa will build on the tradition of this venerable business. This business is just moving up the coast. It was started in the basement of Rockland’s Thorndike Hotel in 1962 by Lillian Berliawsky, its legendary founder, before moving to its present Bay View Street location in Camden Street a few years later."

ABCD Books manager Melissa Graham is moving to Sherman's Books.


The New York Times covered a Sunday celebration/rally/protest by more than 100 people (mostly "in their 20s and 30s, including some graduate students") in the Union Square Barnes & Noble, a gathering "organized without the knowledge or permission" of the bookstore. The group was honoring The Coming Insurrection, published in English by Semiotext(e) and featuring an anonymous author; the book predicts "the imminent collapse of capitalist culture."

The event was "intended partly as a show of solidarity with nine young people--including one suspected of writing The Coming Insurrection--whom in November the French police accused of forming a dangerous 'ultraleftist' group and sabotaging trains," the Times wrote.

After one person spoke for a few minutes, store employees asked the group to disperse, which they did after police were called. They then wandered around the neighborhood, chanting "all power to the communes" inside a Sephora shop and a Starbucks.


Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa, shares his literally hand-picked summer reading recommendations in this entertaining video.


In what might be called a case of bookreporternomics, the New York Times surveyed the shocking phenomenon of "publishers trying to knock off" catchy titles of successful books. Examples include Freakonomics, which has spawned Obamanomics and Slackonomics; History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which led to a rise in "decline and fall" titles during the centuries following its publication in 1776; the seemingly related End of History and the Last Man; as well as "things that change the world."


New York Newsday reported on an author event hosted by Book Revue bookstore, Huntington, N.Y., at which MSNBC Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski discussed Scarborough's new book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise.


Cool idea of the day: Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., will host Lydie, a bookseller in Rwanda, from August 19-24. On her blog, Kleindienst wrote that the opportunity arose when she received "an unexpected e-mail from a customer and sister business owner, Lisa Hollenbeck, co-owner of the Alpine Shop. The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) had put out a call for women in business to act as mentors for businesswomen in Afghanistan and Rwanda and were desperate to fill a couple of slots; most notably, they were in need of a bookstore."

Kleindienst added that Lydie "is looking to work to establish libraries for schools and hospitals, that the program we are to be a part of is called Peace Through Business, is in its second year, was created by the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women and also has something to do with Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Tex. They build democracy by enabling women to contribute to the GNP of their countries."


Bloomsbury Publishing denied allegations that J.K. Rowling had copied "substantial parts" of The Adventures of Willy the Wizard--No 1 Livid Land, written by Adrian Jacobs in 1987, for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Reuters reported.

In a statement, Bloomsbury, Rowling's British publisher, called the allegations of plagiarism made by Jacobs's estate "unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue. This claim is without merit and will be defended vigorously." The estate has begun proceedings at London's High Court, charging copyright infringement.

According to Reuters, Bloomsbury said that Rowling "had never heard of Adrian Jacobs nor seen, read or heard of his book Willy the Wizard until this claim was first made in 2004, almost seven years after the publication of the first book in the highly publicized Harry Potter series."

Entangled Publishing: Stealing Infinity by Alyson Noël

Hail to the Chief: Rich Freese Returns to NBN

Effective July 6, Rich Freese becomes president of National Book Network, where for nine years until 2001, he was senior v-p of sales at NBN. He left NBN to join MotorBooks International as president. He then became president of PGW and most recently has been president of BookMasters Distribution Services.

Jed Lyons, president of NBN since its founding in 1986, is stepping down as president and will focus on the book publishing activities of NBN's parent company, the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

Lyons praised Freese as "the most knowledgeable, thoughtful, and creative person I know in the book distribution business. He has an uncanny knack for understanding how to help independent publishers become more successful. His encyclopedic knowledge of every bookselling channel from the chains to the wholesalers, from the clubs to the independents, and from specialty retail to international, will offer every NBN client a new energetic, empathetic, and experienced leader."


GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Image of the Day: Coming Full Circle at Square Books

For the recent launch and signing of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir by Neil White (Morrow), which took place at Square Books, Oxford, Miss.: (l. to r.) Stella Connell of the Connell Agency, HarperCollins's Jaime Brickhouse, Laurie Chittenden of Morrow, Neil White, Tavia Kowalchuk of Morrow, Ben Bruton of Morrow and Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books.


MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide

BEA Panel: Book Club Brainstorming

At the Book Club Brainstorming session at BookExpo America, booksellers heard from three colleagues: Karen Corvello of R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., Becky Anderson of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., and Jennifer Laughran of Books Inc., with headquarters in San Francisco, Calif. The panel was moderated by Carol Fitzgerald, president of the Book Report Network and founder of Audience members also shared ideas and stories about what has worked for them. Here are some of their tips, suggestions and other brainstorms:

* Register book clubs as a way to make them loyal to your store. Have one person designated as the group contact to avoid confusion; obtain the e-mail addresses of everyone in the group to send announcements about events and contests; offer a discount and consider having a minimum purchase (at R.J. Julia it's five copies). As an incentive for groups to register, make them eligible for free galleys and exclusive meetings with authors.

* Reach out to reading groups. Corvello noted that Roxanne Coady, owner of R.J. Julia, meets with book club leaders at luncheons, for which there is a charge, to talk about new books.

* Give local book clubs the chance to mingle. Fitzgerald cited a recent, extensive survey (7,700 respondents answered 62 questions) that found that book clubs are interested in connecting with other groups. All three panelists acknowledged that their stores host mixers for local reading groups and those looking for a club to join. R.J. Julia hosts a Book Club Bonanza Event several times a year; participants' badges include the title of their favorite book as a conversation starter. Anderson noted that she sometimes has an author attend or asks a publisher rep to present books. A store staff member could also present reading selections.

* Have a book club display in a prominent place in the bookstore and include selections by local reading groups. Each month at R.J. Julia, a different book club is featured along with members' blurbs about four of their recent discussion picks.

* Invite authors to communicate with book clubs via Skype. Host the event in-store and open it up to all area reading groups. It's most successful when it's author-driven, advised audience member Debra Linn of Books & Books in Coral Gables, Fla., so choose scribes who are lively and will keep the conversation flowing.

* Encourage book club philanthropy. A bookseller in the audience noted that a customer uses the purchase of her club's reading selections as a fundraiser. Members pay full price for the books, and the difference between that and the store's book club discount is donated to charity.

* Use social media. Anderson's has a page on for customers to share reading suggestions. They print out comments and use them on shelf talkers.

* Combine book discussions with food and drink, recommended two audience members. One store puts on a happy hour discussion that rotates among area restaurants. Participants, who must reserve a spot, purchase the book and receive a coupon for the event. For the second store's soiree, a local chef prepares a meal that corresponds with the theme of the spotlighted title. After the cooking demonstration, participants enjoy dinner and talk about the book. The $55 cover price includes the book, cooking demonstration and dinner.

* Build anticipation for upcoming titles that would appeal to book clubs, suggested Fitzgerald, who noted that the film industry successfully markets movies well in advance of the release date. Even video stores typically have a "coming soon" board to promote forthcoming DVDs. According to the survey, some book clubs select titles for the entire year in January. That means stores might want to consider promoting to reading groups in November and December.

* Consider having people pay to attend an event. Even if it's $1 or $5, customers who have paid in advance and received a ticket are more likely to show up.

* Publishers should reconsider sending out printed promotional materials, which often do not get used. Instead have book club resources available online where booksellers can direct customers. A burst on the cover with information on where to access materials is also effective, Anderson said.

* Contests are key. When booksellers send e-mails to their lists of reading group members, the ones that get opened most frequently are those promoting contests. Random House's Take Your Book Group to Guernsey promotion was cited as a good example of this.

* To encourage participants of in-store reading groups to come to the meetings, a bookseller said she solicits questions members want to ask the author, gets them answered and shares those responses at the gathering.

* Where are all the men? Anderson noted that her stores have not been able to sustain men's book clubs and asked the audience for suggestions. Advice included focusing on historical titles and novels driven by male characters. Fitzgerald suggested a different approach: serve beer. [Editor's note: We'll drink to that.]

--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Never Make the Same Mistake Twice

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Nene Leakes, author of Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439167304/1439167303).


Tomorrow on PBS's Tavis Smiley: Rick Steves, author of Travel as a Political Act (Nation Books, $16.95, 9781568584355/1568584350).


Tomorrow on Live with Regis & Kelly: Tamar Geller, author of The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior (Simon Spotlight, $14, 9781416593980/1416593985).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Emeril Lagasse, author of Emeril at the Grill: A Cookbook for All Seasons (HarperStudio, $24.99, 9780061742743/0061742740).


Tomorrow night on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Peter Laufer, author of The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists (Lyons Press, $24.95, 9781599215556/1599215551).


Books & Authors

Attainment: New Books Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing on Tuesday, June 23:

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich (St. Martin's, $27.95, 9780312383282/0312383282) is the 15th novel featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Catastrophe by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann (Harper, $26.99, 9780061771040/006177104X) argues that President Obama's stimulus plan is a socialist conspiracy.

The State of Jones by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer (Doubleday, $27.50, 9780385525930/03855259310) tells the story of a Mississippi farmer who rebelled against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock and How It Changed a Generatio
n by Pete Fornatale (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781416591191/1416591192) explores the iconic 1969 concert through interviews with performers, organizers and fans.

The Doomsday Key: A Novel by James Rollins (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061231407/0061231401) plunges Gray Pierce and Sigma Force into a another deadly mystery.

Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne
by James Gavin (Atria, $27, 9780743271431/0743271432) chronicles the life of a pioneering African American singer and movie star.

Making an Elephant: Writing from Within by Graham Swift (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307270993/0307270998) is a memoir with observations of the writing process.

The Fixer Upper: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews (Harper, $25.99, 9780060837389/0060837381) follows a wrongfully disgraced lobbyist returning to Georgia to help her father repair a house.

Now in paperback:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Vintage, $14.95, 9780307454546/0307454541).

Novel Destinations: Literary Landmarks from Jane Austen's Bath to Ernest Hemingway's Key West
by Joni Rendon and Shelf Awareness contributor Shannon McKenna Schmidt (National Geographic Books, $13.95, 9781426204548). (Incidentally the Chicago Tribune called this "a fun read whether for armchair travelers or actual literary pilgrims.")


Father's Day High: Halfway to Heaven

With Father's Day in mind, we talked with Mark Obmascik, who has written a perfect gift book for men (and many women)--a true adventure with mountains, thrills and chills, and humor. Halfway to Heaven (Free Press, $26, 9781416566991/1416566996, May 2009) is his account of a crazy idea: out-of-shape man in his 40s decides to climb all of Colorado's Fourteeners, 54 peaks over 14,000 feet. Every year more than 500,000 people try to climb a Fourteener, but fewer than 1,300 have ever climbed them all. The Fourteeners have killed more climbers than Mt. Everest, but Obmascik was game, due to a request from one of his sons to climb a peak together and the memory of a lifetime ago when he summited six of the mountains: "Standing on the roof of the Rockies, high above the trees and the clouds and the everyday worries, always made me feel like I was halfway to heaven. Now I'm forty-four, and my life is halfway there too."

So he climbed with his 12-year-old, wondering why he thought he could do it, since his toughest exercise lately had been to clean-and-jerk his three-year-old into a car seat. He didn't summit that first peak, and after brooding about it for too long, his wife said enough already, try again. So he picked Mount of the Holy Cross, summited, and was well and truly hooked. He started climbing once a week, cold and lonely, a little scared, but rejuvenated each time. One hitch--his solo climbing was worrying his wife, so he acceded to her demand that he always climb with someone. But who? Much of the book is devoted to Obmascik's trolling for climbing partners--calling friends, networking, using the Internet--and his quest to climb the rest of the Fourteeners in a single summer.

Did he think he would make it? Everyday he wondered, "This is crazy. Can I do this?" but was determined. We asked what the most difficult piece was, and he said that at times he wanted to quit because of performance anxiety--he always seemed to be behind whomever he climbed with, and "It's hard to ride caboose all the time. I didn't want to ruin someone else's trip." He had no technical experience and also worried about exposure, particularly during a storm, when lightning is a great danger. And even with a GPS device, he got lost. On the plus side, heights didn't bother him, and he was able to concentrate on where he was when in a tight spot--"The bigger the drop the smaller your world." This was helpful when he was on narrow ledges with his toes touching rock and his heels dangling over several hundred feet of thin air.

His previous book, The Big Year, was about three birding fanatics in competition for the most sightings in one year. What draws him to extreme situations? He's interested in people "with the brakes off," like the climber in Halfway to Heaven nicknamed Talus Monkey. And tackling the Fourteeners or counting birds--both are lists, which he's drawn to because lists help him focus and meet a goal. With climbing, he either summited or he didn't. It was hard work that could be measured, it was satisfying, and there was no ambivalence. Testing one's limits emotionally and physically is important--"The fears were life-affirming."

He still climbs with some of his new friends. He said that when you are climbing, you are filled with adrenalin, worry and edginess, but at the top, along with the exhilaration (or relief), the adrenalin drops, nervous energy is spent, and it's easier to have accidents on the way down. Climbers talk more on the descent, and he says that his experience had been that men usually don't have heart-to-heart conversations without alcohol, but this was different--the climbing, and the trust and respect it engenders, cuts through the fog to the essentials and results in deep conversation and often new friendships.

Halfway to Heaven
is a compulsive read--just as Mark Obmascik is drawn to climb the Fourteeners, you will be drawn to follow him. And while you are reading, check out, where you can see photos of each of the peaks and imagine yourself with him, but without the lightning, bears and getting up at o'dark 30.--Marilyn Dahl


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