Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"We're not supposed to be friends, you and me.
We're meant to be enemies. Did you know that?"
--Bruno to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
(9780385751537) 8.99
1) BALTIMORE . . . Rebecca Skloot had spent years researching the life of a poor African-American mother of five, Henrietta Lacks. She also spent years gaining the confidence of Ms. Lacks' family, including her granddaughter Deborah, who had one day dreamed of becoming a scientist. Unknown to Deborah, her dead grandmother was already involved in the big business of science. When Henrietta died of an aggressive cancer at the age of 30, the doctor, without her or her family's consent, had extracted cell tissues from her body. These cells, called HeLa cells, not only survived in the labratory, but actually thrived. They would become the initial building blocks for the cure to several diseases, including polio. This remarkable story is told in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (9781400052172) 26.00. Not only is this one starting to get some press, but it's also beginning to creep up the bestseller lists. Check your stock . . .

2) PROVIDENCE . . . Another title that has been a sleeper is David Dosa's Making the Rounds with Oscar (9781401323233) 23.99. Originally, I thought this title had something to do with movie OscarsTM. Of course, as usual, I couldn't have been more wrong. Oscar is actually a cat who lives at The Steere House, a home for the terminally ill. Apparently the nurses in the facility had noticed that Oscar only chose to comfort the patients who were near death. This title was written by Dr. Dosa, who was not only skeptical, but had a strong aversion to cats. He sought to disprove Oscar's abilities but, instead, became one of the converted. It could be this year's Dewey (9780446407410) 19.99.

3) FRANKLIN . . . I would hazard a guess that Kathryn Stockett's The Help (9780399155345) 24.95 was the sleeper hit of last year (and it is still going strong). To me, it's beginning to appear that Sarah Blake's The Postmistress (9780399156199) 25.95 is shaping up to be this year's sleeper. Set against the backdrop of World War II, this title traces the lives of three women whose stories are loosely intertwined. Much like The Help tackled big questions like racism, Blake's book investigates truth and truth-telling in a time of war. As Aeschylus once said, "In war, truth is the first casualty."

4) ZOMBIELAND . . . I really enjoyed the movie Zombieland, and most of the people I've talked to have felt the same way. So when Teresa from Tuesday Books showed me the title How to Speak Zombie (9780811874885) 14.95, I was immediately hooked. It won't be a bestseller, but it promises a lot of fun . . .

In Memoriam

We were saddened to learn that Susan Lowry, the wife of Tom Lowry, passed away yesterday. Tom is the owner of Lowry's Books in Three Rivers, and our long-time friend and customer. Donations in her memory can be made to these Three Rivers charities: The Carnegie Centre for the Arts, Three Rivers Mentoring, and The Domestic Assault Centre. Donations should be sent to the Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold Street, Three Rivers, MI, 49093-9572. I have had the pleasure of sharing a lunch with the Lowry clan at the GLiBA luncheon, and I know from personal experience that Susan was a sweet and wonderful woman. Our thoughts are with you, Tom . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"Take my rings and trinkets bright,
But leave my eyes which give me light,
My tongue which gives me leave to speak,
The rest is yours and welcome . . ."
--Dave Cousins, The Life Auction

Behold the golden light! Streetlights play upon the pristine folds of gossamer white -- flickering -- the earth softly blanketed beneath crystalline ice. 'I hope it snows all night.' Layer upon layer of snowy flakes falls upon silent houses, trees, and fields. We wake up. 'Yes! It's a snow day! No school!'

The snow continues and children love snow more than anyone else. And admittedly, my choices for kid's snow books were really, really weak in the last Partners Page. Fortunately, Julie, our incredibly gifted children's book expert has come up with some better titles. I should have remembered Jan Brett's The Three Snow Bears (9780399247927) 16.99, which features some of the most intricate and beautiful illustrations that you will ever stumble across (and stumble I did). Snow (9780152053031) 17.00 by Cynthia Rylant was one I hadn't seen before. The story is wonderful and Lauren Stringer's artwork is very stylistic. Finally, the illustrations for Carolyn Fisher's The Snow Show with Chef Kelvin (9780152060190) 17.00 are just plain silly, but hey, I like silly . . .

1) PART OF THE UNION . . . Usually, political tell-all books have a life expectancy of about two weeks at best, but there are exceptions to the rule. Andrew Young's The Politician (9780312640651) 24.99 seems to be one of those exceptions. Not only are we anticipating more stock tomorrow, but Oprah will be featuring Andrew Young and his wife on her show early next week. So, as much as I wish that this whole sordid story would just simply go away, his book will actually get another boost. Yeah!

2) DOWN BY THE SEA . . . I have been intrigued by Martin Scorsese's take on Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island (9780061807404) 14.99 ever since it was initially announced for release last year. The movie trailers look really good. Also, Dennis Lehane's Mystic River (9780380731855) 7.99 was one of the most disturbing and thought-provoking movies I had seen in a long, long time. Whatever your personal feelings about Sean Penn and/or Tim Robbins, those were a couple of the most powerful performances I've ever seen in a movie. And the cast for Shutter Island appears to be just as comparable. Besides, I think they should use Jay Ferguson's Thunder Island as the theme song: "Chasing psychos out on Shutter Island. Do-do-do. Do-do-do. Do-do-do-do-doo . . ."

Odds & Sods

It looks like our friends over at Sleeping Bear Press have come up with a new scheme. They have put together cute little boardbooks for each state. The first three are:
Little Michigan  (9781585364794) 9.95
Little New York (9781585364916) 9.95
Little Maine (9781585364978) 9.95
Pretty cool . . .

Also, I received a copy of Michael Shoulders' Goodnight Baby Bear (9781585364718) 15.95 and the artwork by Teri Weidner is adorable. This title emphasizes the importance of reading in a child's life. I believe that's something we can all get behind.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*
"Wear black for Johnny on February 26th, you will help celebrate what would have been
Johnny Cash's 78th birthday and the release of his last album, American IV: Ain't No Grave.
For a fact, I know Bill Cusimano from Nicola's Books will be attired appropriately . . ."

I believe that just about everyone reading this missive has had a bunch of snow dumped on them in the past week and probably wishes they were curled up on the couch reading a book with a cup of hot cocoa right now. Instead, as I dug out my driveway from the snow plow this morning so I could get to work, I kept myself mentally entertained by listing different snow-oriented books. A normal person would have tabulated tropical themed titles, but then I've never been accused of being normal. The first one was written by Orhan Pamuk, my favourite Turkish author, and it's appropriately entitled Snow (9780375706868) 14.95. A major snowstorm cuts the town of Ipek off from the rest of the country during an attempted coup. Mr. Pamuk does not write a bad book, and this title brought him to the attention of readers outside of Turkey.

The snow is so white that it reminds me of the cover of Gil Adamson's The Outlander (9780061491344) 14.99, which is on my girlfriend's wish list. I haven't read it, but I have yet to see a bad review. It is the wintry odyssey of nineteen-year-old Mary Boulton as she flees from the law across Idaho and Montana. Also, the original cover of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five (9780440180296) 7.99 had a chilling, wintry motif. I don't have any cedars in my front yard, but who can forget David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars (9780679764021) 14.95. This one is also set in the Northwest and it is still a favourite of book clubs.

If you're looking for some light reading, there are a couple of Stephen King titles that come to mind. The Shining (9780743424424) 7.99 is a cautionary tale. Don't get stranded in a snowstorm at a haunted hotel, especially if your husband is fighting the demons of alcoholism and insanity. Also, in a similar vein, I wouldn't recommend sliding off an isolated snowy road and being rescued by your #1 fan. Or you may just end up like Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's book Misery (9780451169525) 7.99, kidnapped with a couple of busted legs. Both books are guaranteed to raise goosebumps.

In an attempt to challenge myself, I tried to come up with some snowy childrens' books, too. Of course, for the younger crowd, there is Mercer Mayer's wonderful little spinner book, Little Critter: Snowball Soup (978060835439) 3.99. It is a snowman's preferred dish. There's also that old chestnut Snowy Day (9780140501827) 6.99 by Jack Ezra Keats that sells well year after year.

Well, it looks like I'm just about done here. I guess it's time to go inside, get warm in front of the fireplace, and get to work. See ya!

(Sam mentioned that I forgot Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense Of Snow (9780385315142) 15.00 and he would be absolutely correct. Boy, that book was a monster when it was originally released.)

Odds & Sods

A Reliable Wife (9781565129771) 14.95 by Robert Goolrick has provided lots of laughs for me over the past few days. It also has provided a ton of sales, too. This has been our bestselling tradepaper title for the last week or two. Make sure you have stock . . .

Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet (9781605296449) 29.99 has leapt to the head of the class in the diet book category. The diet has obviously worked for her if the picture on the front cover is any indication. She looks almost as svelte as she did in the Aerosmith videos, 'Crying' and 'Crazy' . . .

I never miss an opportunity to highlight Dan Simmons and today is no exception. Dan Simmons has won the Black Quills reader's choice award for Drood (9780316007030) 15.99. It is available in trade.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ye Olde Partners Page

*News From the Glamorous World of Bookselling*

"In guessing the direction of technology,
it is wise to ask who is in the best position to profit . . ."
--Ben H. Bagdikian
Star Wars VII: Darth Amazon Strikes Back

(Camera pans a cloud-covered planet called Dagobah, which appears to be either Class M or N. Suddenly, we plummet through the clouds and down to the surface, which is covered by jungle and swamps, and we arrive at a small shelter. Peeking inside, we see a young human male speaking with a small green humanoid of an indeterminate species.)

Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, I have chosen a new book to read to hone my Jedi skills. It's called Crash Course in Love (9781439177334) 17.99. I saw it advertised on The Today Show.

Yoda: Young Jedi, familiar with The Today Show I am not. Sure I am that your father could have used this book.

Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, it's the #1 morning show on Coruscant.

Yoda: Young Jedi, this I am aware. It may be the #1 show on Coruscant, but Oprah Winfrey #1 galaxy-wide is. Her young disciple, Bob Greene, will be on her show tomorrow to promote his new book, Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes (9781416588382) 26.00 . . .

(Yoda doubles over in pain.)

Luke Skywalker: Master Yoda, what's wrong?!

Yoda: (gasping) I feel a great disturbance in the Force. It's as if millions of KindleTM users have let out a collective groan at the same time. (Yoda shakes his head.) It sounds as if Darth Amazon may be up to his old tricks. Not letting their KindleTM customers download Macmillan titles, they are. Claiming that Macmillan has a monopoly on their authors, yet blind to their own monopoly they are.

Luke Skywalker: But Macmillan is a peaceful planet. They have no weapons. Darth Amazon, can't possibly . . .

Yoda: Young Luke, they can and they will. Afraid I am the KindleTM Wars have begun, they have.

Luke Skywalker: I understand. R2? Fire up the converters!

Odds & Sods

Last week was not a good week for authors. Louis Auchincloss, Howard Zinn, and J.D. Salinger all passed away. We send our sympathies to all their friends and families. Howard Zinn had turned the historical record on its head with his title, The People's History of the United States (9780060838652) 18.95. It was a history that was for the People and by the People.

J.D. Salinger, however, impacted on an entire generation of Americans with his iconic character Holden Caulfield. The Catcher in the Rye (9780316769488) 6.99 will remain one of the great classics of American literature. In these years of over-promotion, it was refreshing to see an author who preferred anonymity to fame . . .