Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 24, 2014


Del Rey Books: Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Beach Lane Books: The Antlered Ship by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Disney-Hyperion: It's Shoe Time! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!) by Bryan Collier and Mo Willems

Tarcherperigee: Total Cat Mojo: The Ultimate Guide to Life with Your Cat by Jackson Galaxy

Soho Press: Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Quotation of the Day

Author Resolves to 'Stop Buying from Amazon'

Brian Castner"Convenience had been king but last week fears of the future finally won out, fears of being a company-man creating 'demand-weighted units' rather than a writer that told stories, and so I resolved to figure out how to trade cost for peace of mind while maintaining convenience: could I go online, buy a book, know it came from an independent bookstore, and make sure that Amazon was not involved at all?

"This is both harder and easier than it sounds. It is hard to go online and just buy a book from 'an independent bookstore'.... But avoiding Amazon is easier than I make out to be as well.... The bottom line is, I have no excuse, and neither do you."

--Brian Castner, author of The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows, in a post on his blog headlined "How I Resolved to Stop Buying from Amazon, and What I Discovered After."

Columbia Global Reports: Another Fine Mess by Helen C. Epstein / Nollywood by Emily Witt / Pipe Dreams by Erin Banco


News

Black Bear Books Finds New Life in Mall Kiosk

Black Bear Books, Boone, kioskA bookstore that was closing for good has found new life on its doorstep: when Karen and Chris Walker, owners of Black Bear Books, Boone, N.C., closed their store in the Boone Mall earlier this month, they set up shop in a kiosk "a few feet" from their old space, according to the Mountain Times.

"The good thing about being where we are at is people who normally wouldn't stop by do," Karen Walker told the paper. "This feels feel like an open-air market. I really like it."

Her husband added, "We had so many more books in the store, but we still have 90% of what people are looking for; the rest is just filler."

The Walkers bought Black Bear Books in 2009. At the time, it was in a freestanding location. In 2011, they moved into the mall but were burdened by high overhead, particularly rent.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 07.24.17


Talent Agency Launches Pop-Up Bookstore

The WME agency has launched Gimme Books, a pop-up bookstore to sell WME and IMG clients' books at "all WME and IMG events," according to the Hollywood Reporter. (WME bought IMG two months ago.) Because the agencies specialize in sports, fashion and music, the events will include, for example, Fashion Week and Wimbledon.

Gimme Books walked down the runway last weekend at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami, where, Hollywood Reporter said, "Maria Menounos met fans and signed copies of her New York Times bestseller The EveryGirl's Guide to Diet and Fitness along with fellow clients, stylist Gretta Monahan (Style and the Successful Girl) and chef Candice Kumai (Clean Green Drinks)."


Running Press Book Publishers: 36 Questions That Changed My Mind about You by Vicki Grant


DIESEL and Hedge Fund Landlords

John Evans, DIESEL Books
John Evans, DIESEL Books

Last week, John Evans, co-owner of DIESEL: A Bookstore, which has locations in Oakland, Larkspur, Brentwood and Malibu, Calif., spoke before the Malibu City Council about the reasons why DIESEL is shutting its Malibu store--and why Malibu needs to do more to help local retailers in the face of real estate investors who are trying to force out longtime tenants. The Malibu Times reprinted his comments, in which he recounted that in 2008, "the hedge fund D.E. Shaw and others" purchased the shopping center, now called Malibu Village in the Civic Center, where DIESEL had been located. (In 2011, it moved to its current location, which is shutting down soon.) After the 2008 purchase, Evans said, "some tenants were bought out of their leases; others 'encouraged' to leave by the goons put in charge of managing the property to make way for larger rents, so that the investment property could be flipped for profit. This 'flipping' routine has happened twice since. This speculation drastically jacks up rents and property taxes (passed through to the tenants) throughout the Civic Center....

DIESEL Malibu bookstore
DIESEL's Malibu store, which will close this fall.

"These developers--this hedge fund--tried to force us to leave, resulting in legal battles. By the fall of 2010, after endless legal shenanigans--each one of which we won in the court's eyes--we were losing out on the financial side. (Really, who were we to go against money and power?) But the challenges continued. You all know most of this already. A trench was dug in front of our store just before Thanksgiving 2010 through Christmas of that year, crippling any chance of doing business. We closed that location a month later in February 2011, extinguishing the store and the legal wrangling, leaving us in continuing debt."

Speaking with Shelf Awareness, Evans gave one measure for the kinds of pressures brought on tenants in commercial real estate in places like Malibu: in 1989, the Malibu Village in the Civic Center sold for $6 million. Earlier this year, it sold for $120 million.

Evans ruefully noted that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos worked at D.E. Shaw & Co. before founding the online shopping giant. But he was happy to report that the City Council put an initiative addressing commercial real estate pressures on the ballot for November.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones


Dan Reynolds Appointed CEO of Workman Publishing

Dan Reynolds has been appointed CEO of Workman Publishing and will relocate to New York City full-time on October 1. He has been CEO of Workman's Storey Publishing and Timber Press imprints, and has been part of Workman since John and Martha Storey sold Storey Publishing to the Peter Workman, who died in April 2013.

Reynolds commented: "Early in my career I admired Workman's energy and uniqueness in the marketplace. Since 2001, I've had the good fortune to work side by side with Peter Workman and the rest of his talented team. Storey and Timber blossomed due to this partnership. Now I have a wonderful opportunity to lead this innovative company, to collaborate daily with some of the most creative people in publishing today, and to continue the tradition Peter Workman built. I'm excited to take on this new role where I will be able to work in playing fields that are both niche and highly commercial and to make each idea as big as it can be."

Carolan R. Workman continues as executive chair of the Board and president, and Katie Workman is named v-p of strategic marketing and business development for Workman Publishing.

Some related changes have been made. Katie Workman, COO Glenn D'Agnes, chief sales and marketing officer Walter Weintz and the five imprint publishers report to Reynolds. Susan Bolotin has been appointed publisher and editorial director of the Workman imprint, and Andrew Beckman, formerly editorial director, is promoted to publisher of Timber Press. Deborah Balmuth continues as publisher of Storey Publishing; Elisabeth Scharlatt as publisher of Algonquin Books; and Ann Bramson as publisher of Artisan Books.


Albert Whitman & Company: Pepe & Millie Series by Yayo Kawamura


Rizzoli International Publications Buys Welcome Books

Rizzoli International Publications is acquiring the assets of Welcome Books, the publishing imprint of Welcome Enterprises.

Founded in 1995, Welcome Books is a publisher of illustrated books in the fields of art, photography, food and wine, parenting, history, travel, pets and social and popular culture. Titles include the Little Big Book Series, photographic series, the Oxford Project, culinary books such as Afield, Cooking With Italian Grandmothers and Primal Cuts; and art books such as Artists in Love and China. Nearly 80 titles are included in the sale.

All titles will continue to be sold and distributed domestically by Random House and internationally by Rizzoli. Rizzoli associate publisher Jim Muschett will manage the acquired assets, revising and re-launching key titles, and publishing new books into the Welcome imprint, as a part of the Rizzoli and Universe programs.

Marco Ausenda, president and CEO of Rizzoli and managing director of the international illustrated books division at RCS Libri said, "This is an excellent fit for us. We believe there is great potential for increased exposure and sales for the list particularly overseas. We expect the imprint to develop further and grow under our direction."

Welcome publisher Lena Tabori said that she and her partners are "thrilled. Welcome Books is now part of a renowned publishing house with an outstanding tradition and the resources to provide new opportunities to help these books reach additional markets."


Amazon: Criticizing Authors, Sorting Center; London Office Space

While Amazon and Hachette continue to negotiate, Russ Grandinetti, Amazon v-p of Kindle Content, has offered to pay Hachette authors standard royalties on e-books and return to stocking of all the publisher's titles so long as Amazon and Hachette would give all their earnings from the sale of e-book titles to a literacy charity, Publishers Weekly reported.

Grandinetti made the offer to Douglas Preston, who last month wrote an open letter about the Amazon-Hachette dispute that was signed by nearly 1,000 authors, who have formed a group called Authors United. Members include Paul Auster, David Baldacci, Tracy Chevalier, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Mark Haddon, Sophie Hannah, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, James Patterson, Philip Pullman and Donna Tartt.

Grandinetti's offer was the second of its kind. Earlier this month, Amazon proposed publicly that Hachette authors would get all revenue from e-book sales, and Amazon and Hachette would forgo all revenue and profit from e-book sales until an agreement was reached.

In both cases, Amazon has used the same rationale: that giving away earnings would be an incentive to both companies to come to a deal. Amazon claims that Hachette hasn't wanted to negotiate while Hachette has said it has made several major proposals that Amazon has rejected.

Hachette supporters pointed out that Amazon's proposals would hurt Hachette more than Amazon because Hachette's share of the revenue is larger. Amazon has argued that Hachette isn't dependent on the money because it's part of Lagardère, which, by the way, has revenues of nearly $10 billion a year compared to Amazon's $80 billion.

Concerning the latest offer, an Amazon spokesperson told PW, referring to Hachette: "They can afford it, and should stop using their authors as human shields." And Grandinetti complained to Preston that "every time [the authors] make a statement, it makes Hachette less willing to compromise."

Commenting on Amazon's attempts to have authors turn on Hachette, Preston told PW, "First of all, I've been with Hachette for 25 years. I have a six-book contract with Hachette. The thing about Amazon, they think it's all about money. It's not [all] about money."

---

Amazon will expand its Nashville, Tenn., operations with a new sorting center. The Tennessean reported the online retailer has leased a 214,000-square-foot warehouse at 50 Airways Blvd. and "roughly $3.25 million in renovations and upgrades are underway at the building." The sorting center will create 100 new jobs. Amazon currently has more than 2,000 Nashville-area employees and more than 5,000 statewide, including those at warehouses in Lebanon and Murfreesboro.

Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey said the retailer hasn't announced when the sorting center will open, "but expects to move quickly," the Tennessean wrote.  

---

Brookfield Asset Management is "close to an agreement" for Amazon to rent about 400,000 square feet of office space "near the London technology hub known as Silicon Roundabout," Bloomberg News reported. Amazon would occupy more than two-thirds of Brookfield's Principal Place development, "near the northern edge of London's main financial district, also known as 'Tech City.' "


Obituary Note: Canh Tang

Canh Tang, the Vietnamese photographer and creator of Timeless Vietnam (Red Rock Press), died on Saturday in Hue, Vietnam, in a motorcycle crash. Two days earlier he had returned from a trip to the U.S. publicizing the book, his first trip outside of Southeast Asia. As part of the trip, he attended the American Library Association meeting in Las Vegas, where he was accompanied by his son, Dat Nguyen, who served as his translator.

Canh was born in Hue in 1959. Although some of his photographs had won awards in Vietnam, Italy and Japan, Timeless Vietnam was the first time his images were collected and published in book form.

Red Rock said, "His was a most promising new talent on the world photography scene, and he will be especially missed by Peter Yarrow, who wrote the book's introduction, and all those at Red Rock Press who worked with him on Timeless Vietnam."



Notes

Image of the Day: Verse, Chapter, Verse

Town Hall, Seattle, Verse Chapter Verse series, The Stranger, Bryan Lee O'MalleySeattle's Town Hall and the Stranger, in partnership with University Book Store, put together a show as part of the Verse, Chapter, Verse series, which pairs a local band with a touring writer. Last Saturday, Seattle band Tacocat opened the evening, then Paul Constant, books editor at the Stranger, interviewed Bryan Lee O'Malley, Nathan Fairbairn and Jason Fischer about their new book, Seconds (Ballantine). Then Tacocat played a final set during the book signing. Pictured, clockwise from the far left: Bryan Lee O'Malley (in black T-shirt), Nathan Fairbairn, Eric Randall, Bree McKenna, Lelah Maupin, Emily Nokes, and Jason Fischer (in red check).


Road Trip: Beautiful Bookstores 'Worth Traveling For'

"Bookstores aren't just literary gathering spots--they’re often beautiful, fascinating destinations in their own right," Condé Nast Traveler wrote in featuring "12 beautiful bookstores that are worth traveling for." Included are U.S. destinations City Lights Books, San Francisco, Calif.; Powell’s Books, Portland, Ore.; Strand Book Store, New York, N.Y.; Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., and Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa.


Personnel Changes at Taylor & Francis

Graham Kerr has joined the Taylor & Francis special sales department as an associate. He reports to sales manager Sean Concannon, former Parson Weems partner of the new hire's father, Chris Kerr. Congratulations all around!


Simon & Schuster to Distribute Regan Arts Worldwide

Under a new agreement, Simon & Schuster is handling worldwide sales and distribution for all print and e-book titles of Regan Arts, the publishing imprint and multimedia imprint founded by Judith Regan, longtime publisher, talk show host and television producer. The first titles from Regan Arts, a Phaidon Global company, should appear this fall.

"Having started my publishing career at Simon & Schuster, I have first-hand knowledge of their powerful and wide-ranging sales and distribution operation," Regan said. "They leave no stone unturned searching for every possible sale on behalf of their authors. And we are thrilled that our new partners share our endless passion for great stories, great authors, and great successes!"

Michael Selleck, executive vice president, sales & marketing for Simon & Schuster, commented: "Judith Regan has an undisputed and well-proven ability to acquire and publish, with audacity and flair, books that are cutting edge, that perfectly capture their moment in time, or are just plain fascinating reading."


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Madness, Memory and Manhood

Tomorrow on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports: Lynn Sherr, author of Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476725765).

Also on Andrea Mitchell Reports: Zelda la Grange, author of Good Morning, Mr. Mandela: A Memoir (Viking, $28.95, 9780525428282).

---

Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: Stanley B. Prusiner, author of Madness and Memory: The Discovery of Prions--A New Biological Principle of Disease (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300191141).

Also on Tavis Smiley: Terry Crews, author of Manhood: How to Be a Better Man--or Just Live with One (Zinc Ink, $25, 9780804178051).


This Weekend on Book TV: Chris Tomlinson, Edward J. Larson

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, July 26
12 p.m. Author events at the 2014 Eagle Forum Collegians Leadership Summit in Washington, DC.

4:30 p.m. Angela Hawken, author of Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, $16.95, 9780199913732). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

7 p.m. Joshua Muravchik, author of Making David into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel (Encounter Books, $25.99, 9781594037351).

8 p.m. Webb Hubbell, author of When Men Betray (Beaufort Books, $24.95, 9780825307294).

9:15 p.m. Dan Hampton, author of Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16 (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062262011), at Tattered Cover Book Store in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

10 p.m. Chris Tomlinson, author of Tomlinson Hill: The Remarkable Story of Two Families who Share the Tomlinson Name--One White, One Black (Thomas Dunne, $26.99, 9781250005472). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Katie Pavlich, author of Assault and Flattery: The Truth About the Left and Their War on Women (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781476749600). (Re-airs Monday at 4:45 a.m.)


Sunday, July 27
1:25 p.m. Edward J. Larson, author of An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science (Yale University Press, $16, 9780300188219).

2 p.m. More author events at the 2014 Eagle Forum Collegians Leadership Summit.

4:30 p.m. Gregory Zuckerman, author of The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters (Portfolio, $29.95, 9781591846451).

7:30 p.m. Hassan Abbas, author of The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier (Yale University Press, $30, 9780300178845).

10 p.m. Ben Shapiro, author of The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781476765136).

11 p.m. Claudio Saunt, author of West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 (Norton, $26.95, 9780393240207).


Books & Authors

National Medal of Arts & National Humanities Medal Honorees

On July 28, President Obama will award the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal to 21 recipients, including the following people from the book world:

National Medal of Arts
Julia Alvarez, author, for her extraordinary storytelling.
Maxine Hong Kingston, author, for her contributions as a writer.

National Humanities Medal
M.H. Abrams, critic, for expanding our perceptions of the Romantic tradition and broadening the study of literature.
David Brion Davis, historian, for reshaping our understanding of history.
Darlene Clark Hine, historian, for enriching our understanding of the African American experience.
Anne Firor Scott, historian, for pioneering the study of Southern women.
William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar, for broadening our understanding of the world.
Diane Rehm, radio host, for illuminating the people and stories behind the headlines.
Krista Tippett, radio host and author, for thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.
American Antiquarian Society for safeguarding the American story.


Awards: Dylan Thomas Prize Longlist

The longlist has been announced for the £30,000 (about US$51,145) Dylan Thomas Prize, which "celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence across all genres and is open to novels, short stories, poetry and drama. It is open to writers of 39 years old and under. The shortlist will be announced September 4 at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, as part of 'Dylan Unchained', the Dylan Thomas centenary conference being hosted by Swansea University. The winner will be unveiled in November. This year's longlisted titles are:

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Pass by John Donnelly
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
The Gypsy Goddess by Meena Kandasamy
A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Snow in May by Kseniya Melnik
The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion by Kei Miller
The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed
Mametz by Owen Sheers
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 29:

The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It by John W. Dean (Viking, $35, 9780670025367) is the former White House Counsel's exploration of Nixon's involvement in Watergate.

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972 by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780544274150) explores previously untranscribed Nixon Oval Office recordings.

Lucky Us: A Novel by Amy Bloom (Random House, $26, 9781400067244) follows two women journeying through 1940s America.

Fast Track by Julie Garwood (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525954453) continues a romantic suspense series.

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (Harlequin Teen, $17.99, 9780373211241) follows a group of traveling teens.

Silver Shadows: A Bloodlines Novel by Richelle Mead (Razorbill, $18.99, 9781595143211) is book five of the YA supernatural Bloodlines series.

Sgt. Reckless: America's War Horse by Robin Hutton (Regnery History, $27.99, 9781621572633) is the story of a Marine Corps horse. (Appears July 28.)


Now in paperback:

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Before 25): Change Your Developing Mind for Real World Success by Jesse Payne and Daniel Amen (Harlequin, $16.95, 9780373892921).

Since You've Been Gone by Anouska Knight (Harlequin, $14.95, 9780373779284).

The Hexed by Heather Graham (Harlequin, $7.99, 9780778316374).


Movie Tie-in

Child of God, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy (Vintage, $15, 9780679728740), has a limited release August 1. The film was written, directed by and stars James Franco.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcovers
The Girls from Corona Del Mar: A Novel by Rufi Thorpe (Knopf, $24.95, 9780385351966). "I have not read such a stinging portrayal of female friendship since Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye. The relationship between Mia and Lorrie Ann is a wonderful example of how things are never as they appear on the surface and of the secrets and truths we hide from both others and ourselves. Mia and Lorrie Ann's journey will leave you heartbroken in the best way." --Liberty Hardy, RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.

Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544101579). "Did you know there were such things as floating trash islands? A professor of social geography, Bonnett explores the meaning of place in our lives while taking readers to some spaces that are lost, hidden, or ephemeral. He also looks at our need to have 'a world that is not totally known and that has the capacity to surprise us.' The book's format makes it very easy to digest in either small bits or from cover to cover. Unruly Places provides a fun, vicarious way to explore, as well as a means for reflection." --Valerie Welbourn, the Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, N.C.

Paperback
The Never List: A Novel by Koethi Zan (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143125587). "Koethi Zan's debut is a doozy! Part thriller, part mystery, all spell-binding, The Never List leads the reader into a world of kidnapping, hostages, dank cellars, BDSM, and many wicked characters. Set in the present day, The Never List chronicles Sarah's attempt to locate Jennifer who disappeared shortly after their abduction and three-year captivity in a cellar of torture and abuse. Zan keeps the narrative lively with terse dialog, top-notch character development, an occasional red herring, and edge-of-your-seat confrontations. This engrossing book has Hollywood movie written all over it. Treat yourself: read this book!" --Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, Iowa

For Ages 4 to 8
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann, translated by Suzanne Levesque (NorthSouth, $19.95, 9780735841673). "If there's any justice, Lindbergh will garner awards and the brilliant mouse will be crowned a most ingenious, brave, and endearing character. Kuhlmann's beautiful watercolor illustrations possess an enticing, three-dimensional depth that draws the reader into the story, heightens the suspense, and establishes a powerful sense of place and time. The book's coda, 'A Short History of Aviation,' provides a wonderful timeline about early aviators and historical context for the journey of the heroic mouse. Absolutely extraordinary!" --Yvonne Brooks, McNally Jackson Books, New York, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, trans. by Philip Gabriel (Knopf, $25.95 hardcover, 9780385352109, August 12, 2014)

The first U.S. release from Haruki Murakami (1Q84; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) in three years delivers more of the trademark style that has earned him so many fans around the globe. In a multilayered tale vaguely reminiscent of his novel Norwegian Wood, Murakami explores themes of innocence lost and the inability to perceive one's own nature objectively.

Tsukuru Tazaki has always thought of himself as somewhat bland. In high school, his four best friends' surnames each contained a color. Each of his friends also excelled naturally in some way or had a sparkling personality. In comparison, Tsukuru felt his colorless name, quiet manner and dedication to his studies made him an odd man out, although his friends accepted him gladly into their remarkably "harmonious community." The five of them believed their bond would never change, continuing to spend time together on holiday breaks even after Tsukuru went to university in Tokyo while the other four remained in their hometown of Nagoya. However, during their sophomore year in college, all four of his colorful friends expressed a firm, almost angry desire to cut all ties with Tsukuru without giving any explanation; Tsukuru accepted their decision unquestioningly, too shocked to protest. Although their rejection left him nearly suicidal for a time, he ultimately rallied and continued with his life.

Now a 36-year-old man who works at his dream job, designing and remodeling train stations, Tsukuru feels ready to commit to a stable relationship. However, his sophisticated girlfriend thinks he is holding back a part of himself. When she learns of his long-ago expulsion from his social circle and how few friendships he has had since, she insists he solve the mystery of this earlier rejection before their romance can move forward. One by one, Tsukuru speaks with his former friends, and although they give him some answers, he learns that the truth can be subjective.

Neither Murakami's narrative nor his protagonist proves colorless. As Tsukuru meets each of his old friends in turn, he begins to learn his true worth. Murakami makes customary digressions through flashbacks to introduce a flare of the mystical, a sliver of philosophy, placed as deliberately as a painter's brushstrokes. Readers will discover the beauty of loving something as unglamorous yet essential as a Japanese train station but will also join Tsukuru in wondering whether his friends' abrupt rebuff could mean he's slid into an alternate universe. By turns otherworldly and grounded in the essence of human experience, Murakami's look at becoming who you already are feels both new and timelessly essential. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Murakami explores self-perception through the melancholic but hopeful story of a man who has never understood his own worth.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Hudson by Laurelin Paige
2. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse by J.J. Smith
3. Where I Belong by J. Daniels
4. The Promise by Kristen Ashley
5. Rhett by J.S. Cooper
6. Little Black Book by Tabatha Vargo and Melissa Andrea
7. The Dare by Rachel Van Dyken
8. Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
9. Sweet Addiction by J. Daniels
10. Tempting Tatum by Kaylee Ryan

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


Aladdin Paperbacks: Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee
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