Archive for January, 2009

Tributes Pour in for Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

The ALSC web site is gathering tributes to Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz, who were killed in a hit-and-run accident on their way to the Denver airport last week. ALSC has also posted a photo of Kathy, taken at MidWinter and one of Kate at ALA in Anaheim. Both the photos and the tributes capture the vibrancy of the two women.

What a loss.

Naruto Gets (Belated) NPR Attention

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Featured this week on Day to Day from NPR News was “Why Is ‘Naruto’ So Popular?” The host admits she’s never heard of the manga character, even though he “may be the most popular character since Pokeman.” 

The Naruto series has appeared regularly on the USA Today bestseller list since 2004 (which is why this is “belated” attention).

During the Buzz session at ALA MidWinter, we learned that a Naruto barrage is about to hit these shores, as VIZ Media releases 11 new volumes in the next three month, to catch up with the Japanese schedule.

February — Volumes 34 through 37


Naruto, Vol. 34; The Reunion
ISBN: 1-4215-2002-8
Feb. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 35; The New Two
ISBN: 1-4215-2003-6
Feb. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 36;  Cell Number Ten
ISBN: 1-4215-2173-3
Feb. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 37; Shikamaru’s Battle
ISBN: 1-4215-2173-3
Feb. 3, 2009

March, volumes 38 through 41


Naruto, Vol. 38; Practice Makes Perfect
ISBN: 1-4215-2174-1
Mar. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 39; On the Move
ISBN: 1-4215-2175-X
Mar. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 40; The Ultimate Art
ISBN: 1-4215-2841-X
Mar. 3, 2009



Naruto, Vol. 41; Jiraiya’s Decision
ISBN: 1-4215-2842-8
Mar. 3, 2009

April — Volumes 42 through 44

Title information not available yet.

First Novel a Hit with Booksellers

Friday, January 30th, 2009

A first novel, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, is getting a wide range of bookseller endorsements. It is the current B&N “Pick of the Week” and “Pennie’s Pick” in the February issue of Costco Connection (p41). It’s also been chosen by independent booksellers as an IndieNext pick for February, as well as being featured on the Amazon Books home page.

Pennie Ianniciello, Costco Book Buyer writes, 

This is an unforgettable debut novel that transports readers effortlessly to 1940s Seattle, where the city’s jazz scene is blossoming and the once compatible Japanese and Chinese communities are now at odds. Examining the complex and timeless struggles of friendships, a father-son relationship and true love, this is a complete novel that will not disappoint.

Costco Connection also includes a profile of the 40-year-old author, Jamie Ford. His mom was “Betty Crocker white” and his father Chinese-American (Ford’s great-grandfather changed his name from Min Chung to Ford). He lives in Montana. 

Ford effectively describes the book in this video:

In a second video, Ford gives a tour of the Seattle sites that are featured in the book:

As part of his book tour, Ford will appear at the City of Torrance (CA) P.L. on March 7th.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Ford, Jamie

  • Hardcover: $24; 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 27, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0345505336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345505330
  • Unabridged Audio: Books on Tape (January 27, 2009)
  • Read by: Feodor Chin
  • 9 CDs: 978-1415962091; 1-41596209X; $80

Pluto Rises

Friday, January 30th, 2009

When Jon Stewart really likes a book, there’s a special sparkle to the author interview. This week, he gave the love to astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Stewart describes him as “the man who killed Pluto.” 

As a result, the book rose on Amazon sales rankings from #174 to #89. Some libraries are showing holds. It’s also available in audio, which few libraries own.





The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet
Tyson, Neil deGrasse

  • Hardcover: $23.95; 224 pages
  • Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co. (January 26, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0393065200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065206


  • Unabridged Audio: Blackstone
  • Read by: Mirron Willis
  • Playaway: 1-4332-5643-1 $54.99 NA
  • 1 MP3CD: 1-4332-4410-0 $19.95 NA
  • 4 CD: 1-4332-4407-0 $50.00

PW, Críticas

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

While I was at Midwinter, I learned the news of the astounding number of layoffs at Publishers Weekly, where I was, until four years ago, the editor-in-chief and a few others at Library Journal, where I was once the editor.

In the process, RBI has also shut down Críticas, “The English-Speaker’s Guide to the Latest Spanish-Language Titles.” I was involved in the launch of Críticas, one of my most cherished projects, since it clearly filled a need. Libraries and booksellers needed help in figuring out how to buy Spanish-language titles and publishers needed a way to reach the market. Críticas served those functions.

We managed to hire a sparkling, talented young staff that put their hearts and considerable intelligence into making the magazine a success. 

So, I am particularly sad to see Críticas go. Hearteningly, Group Publisher Ron Shank, in an interview in Publishers Lunch about the layoffs, said “the most response I have received personally is from librarians and others around the country who lament the suspension of Críticas…we do have plans to continue review coverage and feature coverage of Spanish-language publishing.”

Adriana Lopez, former editor of Críticas, who has been blogging on the Críticas site, encourages librarians in her latest post to email Ron, to ask him to reconsider closing Críticas, or a least to ensure this area gets the coverage it needs in the other magazine.

It’s also painful to see beloved former colleagues let go. When long-time staff leave voluntarily, their accomplishments are publicly lauded. Unfortunately, when they are laid off, celebrations are few.

Among those laid off, is Daisy Maryles who was at PW for over four decades. Many in the book business can’t imagine PW without her; certainly I can’t. Always an enthusiast for books, she has a keen eye for titles that could take off with a little nudge and she was there to provide the right nudge.

She recognized the rise in interest in religion books many years ago and developed PW‘s outstanding coverage. In the process, she helped general trade bookstores, who were afraid to touch that area, become comfortable with titles that generated profits for them. You couldn’t help but get a kick out of seeing this observant Jewish woman navigating her way around the Christian Booksellers Show where she was much beloved.  

Daisy is the bestseller maven, with an amazing mental book database. After years of doing the PW bestseller list, she was always able to look at it in new ways and her annual roundups were an assessment of both popular culture and the shape of the business. She’s a prodigious worker, who never passed on an interesting opportunity because she was “too busy.” She’s also a great skeptic. I felt I had won the Pulitzer Prize when she reacted to one of my ideas with, “I’m not so sure that’s not a good idea.” 

This isn’t the first hit the staff of the three magazines have taken. According to RBI they are laying off 7% of their total employees, and that comes on top of earlier rounds of eviscerations.

Obviously, with this much-reduced staff, it will be necessary to reinvent PW. A community needs a newspaper, whether it’s in print or electronic, to bring it together. There’s still plenty of talent at PW; I know you can find a way to regain that role for the book community.

USA Today, 1/29 (Sales thru 1/25)

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

On the new USA Today bestseller list, the latest installment of Diary of a Wimpy Kid continues in the #1 spot after two weeks, pushing the Twilight series to the the number 2 through 5 spots. The fact that the first title in the Twilight series continues to be in the top five indicates that, amazingly after its long run, new readers are still flocking to the series. Earlier titles in the Wimpy Kid series are on the rise, indicating that series is also garnering new readers.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid — now at #30; was at #98 two weeks ago
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules — now at #36; was at #91 two weeks ago 


‘Middle Place’ Continues to Climb

In adult, Kelly Corrigan’s The Middle Place is doing much better in trade paperback than it did in hardcover. It’s now at #47 from #80, after 2 weeks on the list. As we reported earlier (“A Viral Hit” ), many are crediting a video of Corrigan reading from the book for the renewed interest. Libraries are showing strong reserve activity for both the book and the audio.


The Middle Place Corrigan, Kelly 

  • Paperback: $14.95; 288 pages
  • Publisher: Voice (Hyperion);  December 23, 2008
  • ISBN-10: 1401340938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401340933
  • Audio Publisher: Blackstone
  • 6 tapes: $54.95; 1-433212710
  • 1 MP3CD: $29.95; 1-433212758
  • 6 CD’s: $63; 1-433212727
  • OverDrive: available as both eBook and eAudio

Obama Bump

This list reflects sales from the week of the Inauguration, so many Obama titles moved up the list; Obama’s own books are back in the top ten. Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, which many read as a blueprint for how Obama will lead, rose to #22 from #89.


New to the list, at #25 is Barack Obama: 44th President Collector’s Vault by Avery Krut, (Whitman, $49.95), described as “scrapbook,” from Whitman, a company that produces such books for college teams (this is their first non-sports book). It includes loose items like campaign buttons and a copy of Obama’s birth certificate, making it inappropriate for circulation, so libraries have not ordered it. 


At #96 is President Obama Election 2008The Poynter Institute, (Andrews McMeel, $14.99), a collection of election-day newspaper front pages from around the world, including international, campus, and ethnic newspapers. According to WorldCat, very few public libraries have bought it.

Recently, the San Francisco Chronicle listed new books about Obama, including this forthcoming title, which is getting press coverage. According to WorldCat, it’s on order in just two libraries:


Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids’ Letters to President ObamaJory John (Editor)  

  • Paperback: $12; 144 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney’s (February 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1934781576
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934781579

New Hardcover Fiction


#55 AgincourtBernard Cornwell,  Harper, $27.99 “A British outlaw receives royal command to join the army and fight the French.” 

New Hardcover Nonfiction


#81 High Voltage TattooKat Von D, Collins Design, $29.95

You might not guess it from my demure exterior, but I am a huge fan of Kat Von D’s reality show set in her tattoo shop, L.A. Ink, on the Learning Channel. According to World Cat, just a few libraries own this title. Is it because of what the publisher describes as “a knockout ten-page full-body spread of Kat—clad in a yellow bikini and seven-inch, rhinestone-studded red stilettos—that catalogs in detail all her personal tattoos,” or because the book was not reviewed prepub?


#141 The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in HistoryHarry S. Dent, Free Press, $27.00

Original Paperbacks

Still the top original mass market paperback on the list, despite moving from #15 to #24 is Star Bright, by Catherine Anderson, (Signet, $7.99), after 4 weeks. Anderson’s next title is coming in June:


Comanche Heart Anderson, Catherine

  • Paperback: $7.99; 448 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (June 2, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0451226739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451226730

Titles new to the list:


#28 Kiss of a Demon King, (Immortals After Dark Series #6),  Kresley Cole, Pocket, $7.99

“An entrapped demon king makes his enchantress captor his own captive.”


#146 Kitty and the Dead Man’s HandCarrie Vaughn,  Grand Central,  $6.99

“Werewolf couple find trouble when they elope to Las Vegas.”

Movie tie-in


#18 Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sophie Kinsella,  Dell, $7.99

The movie opens 2/13.


Chidren’s Valentine’s Day books are back on the list (get those display out, if you haven’t already!):

#147 Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine, Barbara Park, art by Denise Brunkus, Random House, Children, $3.99

#150 Dora Loves Boots, Alison Inches, art by Zina Saunders, Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon, $3.99

Two children’s titles also benefit from the Obama bump:


#84 Barack Obama, Roberta Edwards, Ken Call, Grosset & Dunlap, $4.99 — second week on list, up from #127 last week.


#142 BarackJonah Winter, AG Ford, Collins, $17.99 — on list for two weeks (non-consecutive). It debuted on the list at #115.

The following is new to the list:


#111 Bone: Crown of HornsJeff Smith,  Scholastic,  $9.99

Obituary Note: Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

We are sad and stunned to report the deaths of two beloved children’s librarians whose cab was struck by a hit and run driver on their way to the Denver airport after ALA midwinter. 

A story in the Greenwich Time gives more details as well as a testament to their importance to the community.

Heavy Reserve Alert — ‘Survivors Club’

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

I usually ignore flight attendants’ suggestions that I read the safety brochure in the seat pocket in front of me. However, on my way to MidWinter, I found myself studying the brochure carefully as we flew over the Hudson River, where a plane had made an emergency landing just a week before. 

In the midst of our heightened awareness that it’s good to know what you’re doing in an emergency, comes the new book, The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life.

An adaptation of the book is featured in this week’s Newsweek (the opening scenario is about a librarian who accidentally stabs herself in the heart with a knitting needle and survives because she did the right things). 

Some libraries are showing heavy reserves. The book is also available in large type and audio; most libraries have not ordered it in those formats yet.


The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science That Could Save Your Life

Sherwood, Ben

  • Hardcover: $25.99; 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 26, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0446580244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446580243
  • Large Type, Hardcover: $27.99; 576 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 26, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0446541230
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446541237
  • Audio CD: Unabridged edition, $34.98
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio;  (January 26, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 160024145X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600241451

In Case You Missed It…

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Here’s the Newbery and Caldecott winners on the Today Show, along with Deborah Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library (Coretta Scott King Award Chair, 2008).

Gaiman announces on the show that Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) will direct a movie of The Graveyard Book.

Who’s on First?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

         35066185        34521431

Two sports books in the headlines this week are predicted to be losers:

Who has it right? It looks like NPR is the best predictor; Amazon shows the just-released Radomski book at #952, while the Torre book is at #6 even though it isn’t available yet.

Library hold patterns in four large library systems also back up NPR:

  • Torre — total of 46 copies on order, with 144 holds
  • Radomski — total of 46 copies on order, with 9 holds

(Yes, that’s right, the total copies add up to exactly the same number, even though the individual libraries ordered different quantities of each title.)

RIP, Washington Post Book World

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Sadly, the rumors that the Washington Post will no longer publish the stand-alone Book World section have been confirmed by the NYT Arts Beat blog. The reviews will be moved into the Sunday newspaper. According to Book World staff, the Feb. 15th issue will be the final one. 

The National Book Critics Circle mounted a campaign last week to save the section, to no avail.

There are now only two stand-alone sections, The New York Times Book Review and the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review. The LA Times section was closed in ’07

Readers Make Their Updike Tribute

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Among the many tributes to John Updike, the best may be the act of reading his books. It’s encouraging to see that many people are planning to do so; his titles are climbing the Amazon sales rankings, lead by the Everyman Library edition of the Rabbit books.

#41 (from #60,162)


Rabbit Angstrom:

The Four Novels: Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest

  • Hardcover: $32; 1552 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman’s Library (October 17, 1995)
  • ISBN-10: 0679444599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679444596


#193 (was 7,437)


Rabbit, Run

  • Paperback: $14.95; 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 27, 1996)
  • ISBN-10: 0449911659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911655


#224 (was 61,338)



  • Paperback: $14.95; 480 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 27, 1996)
  • ISBN-10: 044991190X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911907


#256 (was 375,763)


In the Beauty of the Lillies

  • Paperback: $15.95; 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 21, 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0449911217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911211


#284 (was 13,712)


Widows of Eastwick

  • Hardcover: $24.95: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (October 21, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0307269604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307269607

Bestselling Book Wins the Newbery!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

The Newbery and Caldecott Awards are known for making best sellers, but this year’s Newbery winner achieved that status months before the award. Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, went to #1 on the NYT Children’s Hardcover list in September and, as of the 2/1 list, is at #7 after 16 weeks.

Nonetheless, the Newbery announcement caused an immediate jump in sales rankings for the book, lifting it from #222 to #15, the book’s best ranking on Amazon to date.

Even though he’s already a bestselling author, Gaiman was hardly blasé about the win (cue Meryl Streep at the SAG Awards), as reflected on his blog.

If you haven’t already read The Graveyard Book, you don’t want to fight your customers for it, so check out Gaiman’s wonderful reading of the entire book on his Web site. 

The Graveyard Book
Gaiman, Neil 
  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: $17.99; 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 30, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0060530928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060530921
  • eBook Download: OverDrive
  • Audio: $29.95; Unabridged, 7 CDs
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ISBN-13: 9780061551895


On the other hand, the Caldecott winner, The House in the Night, was at a lowly #56,289 on Amazon before the announcement and rose to #31 immediately after. It was well-reviewed prepub (SLJ said, presciently, “It…has all the hallmarks of a classic that will be loved for generations to come”) and is owned in modest quantities (2 copies per largest branches) in large library systems. Many libraries are ordering additional copies.


The House in the Night
Swanson, Susan Marie

Illustrator —  Krommes, Beth

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: $17; 40 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; (May 5, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0618862447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618862443


The Printz winner, Jellicoe Road, experienced an even more dramatic jump, from from #157,589 to #209 on Amazon. The prepub reviews were admiring, but a common theme is that it will not appeal to all YA’s. SLJ says it’s for “patient, thoughtful” teens; VOYA for “sophisticated teens.” Booklist thinks it might be “offputting to younger teens” and Kirkus fears it may leave many “dizzy and disoriented.” 

Significantly, the only unequivocal recommendation comes from the Best Teen Fiction for Adults, by Angelina Benedetti, in Library Journal, (Benedetti also recommended The Graveyard Book in the same story).

Jellicoe Road
Marchetta, Melina 
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: $17.99; 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (August 26, 2008)
  • ISBN-10: 0061431834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061431838
A full list of all the winners and honorees is available at the ALSC Web site.
The awards will be featured on the Today Show tomorrow morning.

‘Edgar Sawtelle,’ the Movie

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Variety announces that Universal Pictures has acquired The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.  It’s being produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman of Playtone Pictures and Harpo Films partners Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte. Much is being made of the fact that this is the first teaming of Oprah and Hanks.

Don’t hold your breath; it can be a long road from acquisition to completion. We’re still wondering what happened to Friday Night Knitting Club, starring Julia Roberts and a series of other titles lost in production.

So, who would you like to see as Edgar?

‘Bright Young People’

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Today’s New York Times coverage of Bright Young People by D.J. Taylor, adds to a growing number of enthusiastic reviews. Library ordering is light and so are reserves. This is a title to consider buying extra copies for your readers advisors.

NPR, in its “Books We Like” column, describes the book as being about the “Young, Idle And Terribly Jaded In The Jazz Age.”  Add “British” to that string of adjectives and you have to wonder why this would appeal to Americans facing what is nicely termed “the current economic downturn.” The NYT Book Review tries to answer the question by saying it “…may be the ideal escapist fantasy for these sober economic times.” And the Wall Street Journal, after dithering that we should care because many of the Bright Young People,

…came from the aristocracy and families prominent in government …[and] they were part of what decades later would come to be termed the “establishment.”

finally admits, “It is simply interesting to know what they were getting up to.”

Carolyn See, who is generally able to zero in on a book’s appeal, in her review in the Washington Post, comes up with as good a readers advisory line as any by saying it’s,

Jampacked and delicious, crammed with a cast of selfish, feckless, darling, talented, almost terminally eccentric, good-looking men and women.

Not all the reviews are completely positive, however. The NYT BR reviewer, while cleary captivated by the book, carps,

Taylor, a novelist and the respected biographer of Thackeray and Orwell, is so intent on his “morality play” that he nearly loses sight of why his characters were a source of fascinated delight and sniping in the first place….[but] His moralizing tone is lightened by the book’s beautiful design, laced with mordant period quotations and delicious satiric cartoons from newspapers and magazines.

The book offers an opportunity to recommend some older classics. Every review mentions Evelyn Waugh’s “hysterical” 1930 novel, Vile Bodies, which is based closely on actual Bright Young People (Waugh was one of them). The WSJ also mentions that,

V.S. Naipaul lived for some time at Wilsford, the estate of the effete Stephen Tennant, one of the last surviving bright young people, who is portrayed in Mr. Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival.

Anthony Powell’s twelve volume, Dance to the Music of Time also portrays the period.



Bright Young People: The Lost Generation of London’s Jazz Age

Taylor, D.J.
  • Hardcover: $27; 384 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; (January 6, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0374116830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374116835



Vile Bodies Waugh, Evelyn 

  • Paperback: $14.99; 336 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 1999)
  • ISBN-10: 0316926116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316926119



The Enigma of Arrival, Naipaul, V.S. 

  • Paperback: $15.95; 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 12, 1988)
  • ISBN-10: 0394757602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394757605

The twelve volumes of Dance to the Music of Time have been collected into four. Below is the bibliograpic information on the first volume.


A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Powell, Anthony 

  • Paperback: $24; 732 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 31, 1995)
  • ISBN-10: 0226677141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226677149