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04 Jun

When Is a Literary Debut Not a Debut?

With its enthusiastic jacket endorsement from Jonathan Franzen ("Alive with intelligence, comedy, and inside dope ... sure-handedly captures the uncertainties of our times") and its choice as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, Mark Costello's Big If (Norton) would seem to be the promising debut of a terrific new American writer.

But, as it happens, Big If is in fact the second novel by Mark Costello -- though only the first to bear his name.

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23 May

Free Speech Advocate Opens the Book on Alfred E. Smith

By 1936, two New Yorkers were touted as the greatest political leaders of the century -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Alfred Emanuel Smith Jr. While every American can recall some accomplishments of FDR, only those who lived through the 1920s and 1930s will likely even remember who Smith was.

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15 May

Gracefully Insane, The Biography of an Institution

In Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital (PublicAffairs), a Book Sense 76 May/June title, Alex Beam tells the story of McLean Hospital, refuge of the rich, famous, and deeply troubled for almost two centuries. McLean is a mental hospital-cum-luxurious estate set in acres of rolling New England parkland just outside Boston. The picturesque asylum also looms large in the American imagination.

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15 May

Debut Novel Combines Strong Writing With Page-Turning Suspense

On the surface, Marcus Stevens’s new novel, The Curve of the World (Algonquin), is an adventure novel. A New York businessman is stranded in the Congolese rainforest, desperately running from a rogue militia, all the while trying to survive a cruel and unknown environment. But dig deeper, and Stevens’s first novel is about the human mind, and how our own perceptions can create or remake the world in which we live.

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09 May

Say it Ain't So, Jo!

The millions of fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books might not be able to return to Hogwarts for new adventures until 2003. Rowling spokesperson Rebecca Salt told A.P. on May 9 that the author is unlikely to finish the manuscript of the fifth Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, until the end of the year. "It could be this year and it could be next year," she said.

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09 May

Finding a New Definition for Crossover in Gay and Lesbian Publishing at BEA

Gay and lesbian publishing has come a long way in recent years. Now, more then ever, referring to a title as a gay and/or lesbian book is often an inadequate description, just as someone’s gay or lesbian identity doesn’t fully define who he or she is. Consider what Dan Cullinane, marketing manager of Alyson Publications, had to say at this year’s BookExpo America at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City: "What we’re aiming for are books that have gay and lesbian content, but aren’t limited in any way, shape, or form to that market.

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09 May

New Paperback Original from a Life-Long Bookseller

Shelley Jackson's debut story collection, The Melancholy of Anatomy (an Anchor Books trade paper original), boldly turns the human body inside out, as the visceral becomes visible and takes on a life of its own through her fantastical tales.

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08 May

Independent Presses Showcase a Full Spectrum of Titles at BEA

In the competitive world of publishing, independent presses, as always, face a number of challenges. At this year’s BookExpo America, held May 1-5 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, many indies acknowledged this reality, yet were quick to point out the benefits of being independent. Sporting a cheery yellow shirt and tie, and a smile to match, Ten Speed Press CEO Philip Wood noted, "It’s a difficult time, but also a good time, to start and have an independent press. The new technology has democratized the business….

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03 May

Day 2 at BookExpo America -- Book Sense Round the Clock

And the Winners Are….

At this year's Celebration of Bookselling at BookExpo America, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River (Atlantic Monthly) won the Book Sense Book of the Year award as best adult fiction title.

The winner for adult nonfiction was Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House), and the winner of the rediscovery award -- presented for the first time this year -- was given to My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (Random House).

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29 Apr

Nothing Left Over Chronicles a Life Well Lived

After almost four decades in publishing working to serve writers, Toinette Lippe discovered that a friend’s challenge had turned the tables on her.

In April 1999, when Lippe told Joel Fotinos, publisher of the Jeremy P. Tarcher imprint at Penguin Putnam, over dinner at Manhattan’s Sarabeth's Kitchen, that she had decided to leave her full-time job at Random House, "his response was immediate, ‘Then you can write a book for me,’" Lippe recalled in a recent interview with BTW.

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29 Apr

IACP Announces its 2002 Cookbook Award Winners

On April 20, the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) announced the winners of its annual 2002 IACP Cookbook Awards. The awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding food and beverage publication. Winners were chosen in 11 categories.

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25 Apr

The New Yorker Says 76 Selections Are Bound to Please

The May 6 issue of The New Yorker (on newsstands on April 29) will feature the fifth special Book Sense insert, "Bound to Please: Great Gift Ideas From Your Independent Booksellers." This 14-page special feature will showcase a number of independent booksellers, in both text and pictures, and will share their enthusiastic picks for gift-giving from recent Book Sense 76 selections.

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17 Apr

Special Report: Independents Make Up Half of Book Sense Poetry 76 Top Ten List

In a notable achievement, independent presses carved out five of the 10 slots for books nominated by independent booksellers for the Book Sense Poetry 76 Top Ten list, released late February in advance of April's National Poetry Month. The presses include Seven Stories, Holy Cow! Press, BOA Editions, Copper Canyon, and Graywolf.

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11 Apr

A Family's Bittersweet Tale of Love and Loss is a Book Sense Pick

The title of Elisabeth Hyde's new work of fiction from Macadam/Cage, Crazy as Chocolate, was taken from poet Anne Sexton's line, "Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar." Izzy (née Isabel) narrates this tale of her family, alternating past and present.

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