Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Carolrhoda Books: The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project by Lenore Appelhans

Grove Press: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Tor Teen: Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Blizzard Entertainment: How to Reach 100 Million Fans!

News

Notes: Bookstore Educational Competition 101

Borders Group is increasing its discount to educators, including teachers, home schoolers and librarians, for books, music CDs, toys and games for classroom use to 25% from 20%. In addition, during educator appreciation week--September 29-October 7--the discount increases to 30% and can be for personal use too.

The company has also established Teaching Zone sections in its superstores, which feature educational workbooks, curriculum development books, inspirational narratives as well as many non-book items such as stickers and classroom decor products. The sections are next to the children's departments.

At the same time, Barnes & Noble has added B&N@school, a new section that provides access to educational tools for parents, teachers and librarians at B&N stores and at Barnes & Noble.com. The educator discount program, which gives 20% discounts, now applies at B&N.com, too.

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The film Julie & Julia continues to fire up book sales nationally. The Tri-City Herald reported that Richland, Wash., bookstores Adventures Underground and Hastings Books Music Video & Coffee prepared for the reaction, but are still working hard to keep pace with demand.

"We realized that once the movie came out, we would have to stock up," said Amanda Divine of Adventures Underground. According to the Herald, "both Hastings and Adventures Underground placed book orders anticipating the movie to boost sales, but when Divine received her shipment Thursday, she only received two copies of Child's My Life in France and Powell's book."

"Everything else is on back order," she said.

[Editor's note: the in-house chief editorial critic says readers MUST go see this, if only to watch Meryl Streep play Julia Child. Best viewed preceding a tasty repast.]

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The not-so-serious-movie-news update: A new film adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov "concludes at the precise moment most readers give up on the classic Russian novel," according to the Onion, which noted that "the 83-minute film, which is based on the first 142 or so pages of Fyodor Dostoevsky's acclaimed work, has already garnered attention for its stunning climax, in which the end credits suddenly appear midway through Katerina's tearful speech about an unpaid debt."

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The Booksource has named Benjamin Conn executive v-p for sales, marketing and purchasing, responsible for the daily operations of the school books division. He was formerly owner and president of Knowledge Industries, which Booksource purchased late last year and moved to Booksource's headquarters in St. Louis, Mo. Knowledge Industries provides teachers and school districts with books and other educational materials targeted to specific reading goals and standards. One of the Booksource's main businesses is trade book sales to K-12 schools.

 


Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book: The Crown Lord by William Sirls


Second Quarter: Hastings Sales Fall 6.7%, Books Off 1.7%

In the first report of results during the second quarter by publicly owned book retailers or retailers with significant book operations, Hastings Entertainment presented a sober picture.

Total revenues in the quarter ended July 31 fell 6.7% to $117.2 million and the net loss was $396,000 compared to net income of $660,000 in the same period last year.

Sales of books at stores open at least a year fell 1.7%, "primarily as a result of lower sales of new hardbacks, new trade paperbacks, and magazines, partially offset by strong sales of used and value books."

The only category with significant comp-store improvements was Hastings's cafe operations, which rose 17.2%.

In a statement, CEO and chairman John Marmaduke commented, "The recession continued to negatively impact consumer spending through the second quarter. Our core customer base remains stable; however, customer purchase behavior has shifted toward value priced merchandise. We have been very active in partnering with our key vendors to bring exceptional values while maintaining or improving our merchandise margin rates."


Graywolf Press: Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays by Eula Biss


Cool Idea of the Day: Twitter Book Tour

Today is the release date for Joseph Finder's Vanished, and the author has added an alternative venue to his promotional tour schedule. According to Finder's website, "Joe is trying something quite new--a Twitter 'Tour.' For every day of the tour, Joe (@joefinder) will be on Twitter for a designated hour and will answer questions from readers."
 
The Book Studio's Bethanne Patrick (@thebookmaven) will serve as moderator for the discussions, which will use the hashtag #josephfinder. Specific instructions are offered at the author's website. Joseph Finder's Twitter Tour is scheduled for August 18, 3-4 p.m.; August 19, 9-10 p.m. and August 20, 2-3 p.m. 

 


GLOW: Henry Holt & Company: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi


Image of the Day: Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It

Karen Solomon, author of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It (Ten Speed Press), with Tyler Florence, owner of the Tyler Florence Shop, Mill Valley, Calif., where last Saturday Solomon gave a talk and demo, drawing 60 people who heard it, watched it and loved it.

 


Bloomsbury: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Born Round

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Joe Drape, author of Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains with the Smith Center Redmen (Times Books, $25, 9780805088908/0805088903).

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Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Brad Kessler, author of Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese (Scribner, $24, 9781416560999/1416560998).

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Tomorrow on the Diane Rehm Show: Maxwell J. Mehlman, author of The Price of Perfection: Individualism and Society in the Era of Biomedical Enhancement (Johns Hopkins University Press, $25, 9780801892639/0801892635).

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Tomorrow on E!'s Chelsea Lately: Marlee Matlin, author of I'll Scream Later (Simon Spotlight, $26, 9781439102855/1439102856).

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Tomorrow night on Nightline: Frank Bruni, author of Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202315/1594202311).


Melville House Publishing: Dead Men's Trousers by Irvine Welsh


Movies: Deep Water; Steve Harvey; Brewster's Millions

Mike Nichols will direct Patricia Highsmith 1957 novel, Deep Water, to be adapted by Joe Penhall (The Road), according to Variety.

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Screen Gems acquired the film rights to Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by comedian Steve Harvey. Variety reported that company president Clint Culpepper said: "Steve has always provided an easily relatable perspective on men, the way they view women and their seemingly complex but surprisingly simple emotional needs."

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There will be a new adaptation of the 1902 novel Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon, which "has proved to be a popular film subject, with this project being the eighth incarnation," according to the Hollywood Reporter. Michael Diliberti and Matthew Sullivan are writing the script for Warner Bros.

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Midwest Booksellers' Choice; Baccante Literary Prize

Winners of the 2009 Midwest Booksellers' Choice Awards, which honor "authors from the Midwest Booksellers Association region and/or books about the region" and are voted on by MBA members, are:

  • Fiction: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (Ecco)
  • Nonfiction: Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting by Michael Perry (HarperCollins)
  • Poetry: Swimming With A Hundred Year Old Snapping Turtle by Freya Manfred (Red Dragonfly Press)
  • Children's Picture Book: Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Harry Bliss (Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins)
  • Children's Literature: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (HarperCollins Children's Books)


Honor recipients: 

  • Fiction: A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (Algonquin)
  • Nonfiction: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter (Grand Central)
  • Poetry: Yellowrocket by Todd Boss (Norton)
  • Children's Picture Book: Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer (Harcourt Children's Books)
  • Children's Literature: Savvy by Ingrid Law (Dial Books for Young Readers)

The winners and honor book recipients will be celebrated at a reception Friday, September 25, during the MBA trade show in St. Paul, Minn.

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Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, has won the 2009 Baccante literary prize and will receive it September 26 during the sixth annual International Women's Fiction Festival, located in Matera, Italy. The prize judges called the book "an amazing journey through the world of publishing, a debut that turned a self-published story into a massive global success. . . . It's the story of a wounded woman, a symbol of women readers everywhere, who seeks to understand and interpret the world around her by delving deep inside herself. . . . The Lace Reader is a richly evocative book guaranteed to sweep the reader along in a headlong rush of events, against the brilliantly-described backdrop of modern-day Salem, Massachussetts and with a fascinating cast of characters, guaranteed to keep readers captivated all the way to the shocking ending."

 


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles coming out in hardcover next Tuesday, August 25:

Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World
by Rafe Esquith (Viking, $24.95, 9780670021086/0670021083) gives parenting advice from an award-winning elementary school teacher.

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons (Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202186/1594202184) sharply criticizes how many in society define the roles of girls and young women.



Book Review

Mandahla: The Third Man Factor

The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible by John Geiger (Weinstein Books, $24.95 Hardcover, 9781602861077, September 2009)



John Geiger opens his book with a terrifying story of the last person to escape the South Tower on 9/11, one of only four from above the 81st floor; he follows it with another horrific story of a mountain climber swept 2,000 feet by an avalanche, who regained consciousness with a broken back, a fractured arm, cracked ribs, torn knee ligaments, internal bleeding, broken nose and teeth and open wounds; then another about a scuba diver lost in a cave. What they have in common is that at the edge of giving up, they felt the presence of a guide who told them not to give up. Not only that, the presence dispensed both encouraging and practical advice: Get up, run through the fire, calm down, follow the white rope, keep going. The same thing happened to Ernest Shackleton and his two companions as they crossed the mountains and glaciers of South Georgia; it happened to Joshua Slocum when he fell ill as he circumnavigated the globe. Charles Lindbergh encountered a presence in his fuselage as he struggled to stay awake on his trans-Atlantic flight. In the words of the author, "This presence offered a sense of protection, relief, guidance, and hope, and left the person convinced he or she was not alone but that there was some other being at his or her side, when by any normal calculation there was none." This phenomenon is called the Third Man Factor, and to some will sound like fantasy or religious belief or simple delusion. It also sounds like a rare happening, but as Geiger shows in this fascinating book, the experience is almost a commonplace occurrence among polar explorers, mountaineers, astronauts, shipwreck survivors--anyone who has been put in a near-death situation.

Some experience the sensed presence as an angel or some other supernatural agency; others see it a something from within, a psychological or physiological mechanism. Attempts to explain this emanation are fascinating. Common triggers are the stresses of boredom, of loss of a companion, of injury, of extreme external conditions. Geiger says there is also an internal psychological variable--he calls it the muse factor, an openness to experience or state of receptiveness. This experience is in no way characteristic of delirium; in fact, many climbers say that Third Man powers compensate for altitude-related mental impairment. Whether the explanation is neurological or divine or both, this period of transcendence over an immediate, dire situation is genuine. Vincent Lam, in his introduction, says, "Certain complex experiences . . . are part of the mystery of being human, the wispy territory in which we exist somewhere between our ambitious science and our daily frailties. [In this mysterious gap], we find that things occur that are not easily explainable, but are no less real for that."--Marilyn Dahl
 
Shelf Talker: A fascinating, thrilling account of people in extreme situations and the Third man, the presence that appears to guide and encourage them.


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