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ABA Announces the 2007 Book Sense Book awards

abstract:The American Book Sellers Association is comprised of independent bookstore owners across America. Each month their internet arm, Book Sense tallies book sales in various categories to let consumers know what has been popular. Here are the books we shoppers purchased most in all categories in 2007.


April 04, 2007
Product image for ASIN: 1565124995Adult Fiction:  Sara Gruen's, Water for Elephants: A Novel With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen's romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. — Publishers Weekly

Product image for ASIN: 0307264556Adult Nonfiction:  Nora Ephron's, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman The honest truth is that it's sad to be over sixty," concludes Nora Ephron in her sparkling new book about aging. With 15 essays in 160 pages, this collection is short, a thoughtful concession to pre- and post-menopausal women (who else is there?), like herself, who "can't read a word on the pill bottle," follow a thought to a conclusion, or remember the thought after not being able to read the pill bottle. Ephron drives the truth home like a nail in your soon-to-be-bought coffin: "Plus, you can't wear a bikini." But just as despair sets in, she admits to using "quite a lot of bath oil... I'm as smooth as silk." Yes, she is. This is aging lite—but that might be the answer.      —Valerie Ryan, Amazon 

Product image for ASIN: 0375831002Children's Literature: Markus Zusak's, The Book Thief Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA

Product image for ASIN: 0439829739Children's Illustrated book: Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship, by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff, Dr. Paul Kahumbu and photos by Peter Greste. When the six-year-old contributor to this book saw the photograph documenting the extraordinary friendship between a baby hippo (Owen) and a 130-year-old giant tortoise (Mzee), she persuaded her father to help tell their story. Originally an e-book, the hardcover version begins with images of the duo, whetting readers' appetite and providing reassurance as the potentially disturbing plot unfolds. After a scene depicting a pod of hippos near the Sabuki River in Kenya, the text describes the 600-pound baby's displacement and separation from the group during the 2004 tsunami. Children witness the challenging rescue and meet the knowledgeable staff at an animal sanctuary. From Owen's first approach for protection to Mzee's unexpected tolerance, the photographs, mostly by BBC photojournalist Greste, capture the pair eating, swimming, snuggling, and playing together. Their contentment and peace are palpable. Because it is sensitively structured, with careful choices about what is emphasized and illustrated, the situation does not overwhelm readers. The text and the back matter are brimming with information about the animals, their caregivers, and the locale. This touching story of the power of a surprising friendship to mitigate the experience of loss is full of heart and hope. A worthy complement is Ann Morris and Heidi Larson's glimpse at a human family's loss and recovery in Tsunami: Helping Each Other (Millbrook, 2005). Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

Honarary Awards

The prestigious award, which is voted on by the owners and staff of ABA member bookstores, honors those books that independent booksellers enjoyed selling most during the year. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 31st at the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, NY and is open to all attendants of the BookExpo America Trade Show. Levenger, Inc. is the provider of this year's prizes.

According to the ABA website, CEO Avin Mark Domnitz had this to say: "Yet again, this year's group of winners perfectly represents the kind of unique and thought-provoking titles hand-sold in independent bookstores around the country."

The 2007 Book Sense Book Honor Books are:

Adult Fiction Honor Books:

  • Kevin Brockmeier's "The Brief History of the Dead: A Novel "
  • Kiran Desai's "The Inheritance of Loss"
  • Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"
  • Irene Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise"

Adult Nonfiction Honor Books:

  • Bill Bryson's "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir"
  • Nathaniel Philbrick's "Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War"
  • Erik Larson's "Thunderstruck"
  • Timothy Egan's "The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl"

Children's Literature Honor Books:

  • M.T. Anderson's "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Volume One: The Pox Party"
  • Lynne Truss's "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas

AHN Global News for the digital world, Richelle Putnam 



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