Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 1, 2016


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

Quotation of the Day

Indies: 'Where You Take the Pulse of a Community'

Margot Harrison

"Independent bookstores are where you take the pulse of a community. I moved fairly often as a child, and each time we resettled, the first place we visited was the local bookstore. As long as there was an indie bookstore, we knew we'd feel welcomed and at home. Because of my job--I work for a newspaper, also locally owned--I got to know my town's booksellers long before I became an author. I know they make a huge effort to get and keep local books on the shelves, to host authors, to serve a broad community of readers. Those same booksellers have been amazingly supportive of my book; my launch at Phoenix Books Burlington was the high point of this whole experience. Seeing my book on the shelf, I feel at home in indie bookstores in a whole new way."

--Margot Harrison, author of The Killer in Me, in an Indies Introduce q&a with Bookselling This Week

William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


News

Chicago Indies Decry Amazon Books

In response to the news last week that Amazon is opening an Amazon Books store in Chicago, in the Lakeview neighborhood, a group of 16 area independent bookstores and the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association have issued a joint statement that highlights the contributions of indie bricks-and-mortar stores in both concrete financial terms--collecting and paying taxes to local governments, creating local jobs, contributing to and helping local schools, organizations, and more--and in connecting readers with books, helping create a sustainable community and sustainable bookselling and publishing world and much more.

While "Amazon's initial choice to sell books was largely for the purpose of collecting customer data," the statement says, "independent bookstores pride themselves on serving customers who read voraciously and eclectically and on using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities. Booksellers get to know their customers so that they are able to make personal recommendations that enrich and sometimes change people's lives."

The statement extensively quotes the Civic Economics-ABA study Amazon and Empty Storefronts that was unveiled at the Winter Institute in January and includes statistics about Amazon's negative effect on Illinois retail businesses.

Among the many bookstores quoted, Anderson's Bookshops of Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, said in part, "Independent bookshops all over Chicagoland and the country are deeply rooted in their communities, building relationships and creating lifelong readers. We know what our towns and cities want to read, and we do this face to face and by reading books we know will engage our friends and neighbors--we don't use algorithms and formulas to tell someone what they should read... We are the heart and soul of our neighborhoods because we are a place of ideas, a place to meet the authors behind the books, and most of all a place to converse with like-minded people about the books we love. We are the brick and mortar of our communities. No Amazon store can do that."

And Women & Children First commented in part, "I choose to think of this as the ultimate compliment, though--that a profit-driven corporation like Amazon is trying to copy our business model. I know they can't copy our commitment to community building, sustainable local economies, social activism, and free speech and the free exchange of ideas, so I'm confident we’ll come out even stronger in the end."

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The full statement:

Chicago-area Independent Booksellers Respond to Announcement of Amazon Store in Chicago

CHICAGO – August 31, 2016 - In response to news that Amazon will open a brick-and-mortar store in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago next year, the independent bookstores of Chicago and the Chicago area unite to issue the following joint statement.

The Amazon announcement represents an opportunity to expand the conversations indie booksellers have been having for years with customers about sustainable publishing, bookselling, and retailing, as well as sustainable communities. Sarah Hollenbeck, co-owner of Women & Children First in Andersonville, explains that "Chicago's independent bookstore community works hard to bring authors to Chicago, as well as to highlight local authors and work with local businesses. Events held in our stores strengthen community bonds, as well as provide safe spaces where people can meet, share ideas, and debate issues."

Whereas Amazon's initial choice to sell books was largely for the purpose of collecting customer data, independent bookstores pride themselves on serving customers who read voraciously and eclectically and on using books to create a conversation with customers and their communities. Booksellers get to know their customers so that they are able to make personal recommendations that enrich and sometimes change people's lives. In addition, independent bookstores collect--and have always collected--full sales taxes as required by law, thereby supporting schools, fire and police departments, and state and local governments generally. Amazon has also begun collecting and paying sales taxes, after being forced to by lawsuits and negative public opinion.

Industry experts speculate that the purpose of brick-and-mortar Amazon stores is to continue to collect information that would aid Amazon in future non-book sales endeavors. To Chicago's independent bookstores, customers are not just instruments for data collection to enable future sales; rather, customer support is the lifeblood that helps sustain both the stores and the vital communities those stores create.

Booksellers also cite the recent study "Amazon and Empty Storefronts," a report issued in January 2016 that quantified, for the first time, how billions of dollars' worth of Amazon sales are rapidly imperiling the future of brick-and-mortar downtowns and viable shopping districts, along with the property taxes, employment opportunities, social engagement, and the sense of "place" that small businesses provide in their communities.

Co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Association and the research firm Civic Economics, the report was designed to provide policymakers and consumers with a better understanding of the effect at the state and local levels of the growth of online retail as a substitute for storefront purchases. At the national level, its findings are staggering:

*In 2014, Amazon sold $44.1 billion worth of retail goods nationwide, all while avoiding $625 million in state and local sales taxes.

*That is the equivalent of 31,000 retail storefronts, 107 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $420 million in property taxes.

*A total of more than $1 billion in revenue lost to state and local governments, $8.48 for every household in America.

*Amazon also operated 65 million square feet of distribution space, employing roughly 30,000 full-time workers and 104,000 part-time and seasonal workers.

*Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs.

According to an earlier Civic Economics study called "Local Works!", dollars spent in locally owned businesses continue to circulate locally and enrich that community. For every $100 spent in a locally owned business, $68 stays in that community; but for every $100 spent in non-local businesses, only $43 stays in the community. Over a period of years, that $25 difference can mean millions of dollars siphoned away from local communities to corporate headquarters.

Amazon is known for its low prices and convenience. However, as booksellers at Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston point out, "What's largely invisible is the price we're really paying for that kind of convenience, if we ignore the likely consequences of Amazon's snowballing monopolistic practices." In Illinois alone, the numbers are shocking. The study estimates that in 2014, Amazon sold more than$1.8 billion worth of retail goods in Illinois. That is the equivalent of 1,289 retail storefronts, 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $23.6 million in property taxes and more than $59.8 million in revenue lost to state and local governments. Even counting all the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Civic Economics finds that Amazon sales produced a net loss of 7,802 retail jobs in Illinois.

The list of Chicago and Chicago-area stores, as well as our regional booksellers' association, endorsing this statement, along with their individual comments and contact information for follow-up, follow:

57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., Chicago
Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc., 824 W. Superior St., Ste. 100, Chicago
Anderson's Book Shop, Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange
The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, 811 Elm St., Winnetka
The Book Table, 1045 Lake Street, Oak Park
Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Ave., Rear 1, Evanston
City Lit Books, 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd., Chicago
Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, 2113 Roosevelt, Ypsilanti, MI
Lake Forest Bookstore, 662 N. Western Ave.,
Lake Forest
RoscoeBooks, 2142 W. Roscoe St., Chicago
Sandmeyer's Bookstore, 714 S. Dearborn St., Chicago
Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago
Unabridged Books, 3251 N. Broadway, Chicago
Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. / 826CHI, 1276 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., Chicago

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Anderson's of Naperville, Downers Grove, and La Grange: "Independent bookshops all over Chicagoland and the country are deeply rooted in their communities, building relationships and creating lifelong readers. We know what our towns and cities want to read, and we do this face to face and by reading books we know will engage our friends and neighbors--we don't use algorithms and formulas to tell someone what they should read. Chicagoland indie bookstores have collected sales tax for decades and property taxes are paid for the buildings we have occupied for many years. Amazon has avoided paying these for years. Chicagoland independent stores give back in countless ways to local organizations, not-for-profits, and schools. Amazon does not. We are the heart and soul of our neighborhoods because we are a place of ideas, a place to meet the authors behind the books, and most of all a place to converse with like-minded people about the books we love. We are the brick and mortar of our communities. No Amazon store can do that." Contact: Becky Anderson, becky@andersonsbookshop.net, 630-768-5725

Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston: "There's a kind of retail 'climate change' going on right now that's not obvious to most consumers, who focus on Amazon's convenience and price-slashing," the booksellers said. "What's largely invisible is the price we're really paying for that kind of convenience, if we ignore the likely consequences of Amazon's snowballing monopolistic practices." Contact: Nina Barrett, nina@bookendsandbeginnings.com, 224-999-7722

City Lit, Chicago: "City Lit has developed a strong, local community in four years. People are coming together here around book clubs, author events, story times, and great spontaneous discussions about obscure books. The independent bookstore will survive because people are looking for such opportunities that cannot be found in a business based on algorithms."  Contact: Teresa Kirschbraun, teresa@citylitbooks.com, 773-235-2523

Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, Ypsilanti, Mich.:  "Booksellers in Chicagoland are more than just merchants. Their stores provide a "Third Place"--somewhere that isn't home and isn't work, but rather a place where we can just be ourselves--a place for the exchange of ideas; a place where the customer isn't part of a logarithm but is instead a friend and neighbor; a place where the selection is tailored to those customers and friends. If you are looking for a place where you are more than just a data point, check out one (or many) of the stores listed here. They will be glad to see you!" Contact: Deb Leonard, deb@gliba.org, 734-340-6397

RoscoeBooks, Roscoe Village: "Though we are disappointed on many levels to hear that Amazon is opening a brick-and-mortar store in our area, we will continue to strive to build connection and better our community through our love of books. We love being a part of this community and appreciate every single one of our customers as friends and fellow booklovers." Contact: Erika VanDam, roscoebooks@gmail.com, 773-857-2676

Women & Children First, Andersonville: "This time it feels personal. Just when indie bookstores are regaining the business they'd lost to two predatory national chains oversaturating the market, when sales are up for the first time in 10 years, along comes Amazon to take another bite out of our business. I choose to think of this as the ultimate compliment, though--that a profit-driven corporation like Amazon is trying to copy our business model. I know they can't copy our commitment to community building, sustainable local economies, social activism, and free speech and the free exchange of ideas, so I'm confident we'll come out even stronger in the end." Contact: Lynn Mooney, co-owner, wcflynn@gmail.com, 773-575-3365 or 773-769-9299


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


Counterpoint Merging with Catapult

Counterpoint Press, which includes Soft Skull Press, is merging with Catapult, which was founded by Elizabeth Koch and Andy Hunter and is led editorially by Pat Strachan.

Charlie Winton

With the merger, Counterpoint will "continue to publish the critically acclaimed literary fiction and nonfiction it is known for," the company said, under the editorial leadership of Jack Shoemaker and Dan Smetanka. Megan Fishman will continue as director of marketing and publicity for Counterpoint. Counterpoint CEO Charlie Winton will retire from day-to-day operations while continuing as an editor-at-large. Soft Skull Press will return to New York City to be led editorially by Yuka Igarashi.

Catapult publisher Andy Hunter will become publisher at Counterpoint, which will be managed by Catapult associate publisher Jennifer Abel Kovitz. Catapult will continue to publish books under the Catapult and Black Balloon imprints. All will be distributed by Publishers Group West.

"Counterpoint is one of the most important independent publishers in the United States, with an incredible list of literary fiction, incisive political nonfiction, and a countercultural ethos that makes it urgent and necessary," Andy Hunter said. "Our goal is to support and continue the legacy Charlie Winton and his team have built, while innovating in our marketing and digital initiatives to make Counterpoint books an increasingly important part of our cultural conversation."

"I'm extremely pleased with what we have been able to accomplish over the last 10 years and I feel that we have really helped both Counterpoint and Soft Skull consolidate their position in the literary landscape," Winton commented. "The merger with Catapult is an ideal transition and it will allow Counterpoint and Soft Skull to remain independent and vital. I believe Catapult and its team will contribute energy and passion, which will allow them to build on our formidable foundation and our commitment to developing strong and lasting relationships with our authors. On a personal level I have a very positive feeling about this transition. My 40 years in publishing have been filled with extraordinary books, incredible adventures, and amazing people."


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


Roundabout Books Plans October Debut in Bend, Ore.

Roundabout Books, a general interest bookstore and café, will open in Bend, Ore., in early October. Bookselling This Week reported that former high school science teacher Cassie Clemans said the 1,500-square-foot store will sell new books and will feature "a very thorough children's section."

Roundabout is currently "planned out, and all café equipment and fixtures will be delivered in mid-September. However, the building on Mount Washington Road is brand-new construction and Clemans is still working with the city on permits," BTW noted.

"The building itself is finally permitted and the restaurant next to me is open. Now the focus is on my store space, but it's taking some time and some revision," she said. "The building will be at full occupancy by the first week of September, and I hope to open the store the first week of October. I'm working with the city and the building owners so we can wrap this thing up."

She added: "I've always been a lifelong booklover. I'm opening the bookstore simply because I love books and bookstores, and sharing stories with my friends. It's something that I really want in our community, and I'm trusting that others do, too."


Grand Opening for Book World Store in DeKalb

Book World hosted a grand opening Wednesday for its new location in the Junction Shopping Center, 858 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Ill. The Daily Chronicle reported that the company, which operates 45 stores in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, "fielded several requests from people in the area for locating one of its stores in DeKalb and visited the area several times to see whether the Junction location would work."

For more than 20 years, the Junction Shopping Center was home to the Junction Book Store, which opened in 1969 and closed in 2002, "not long after Borders Books & Music opened in November 2001 and Barnes & Noble announced plans of its own for a bookstore across the street," the Daily Chronicle wrote. B&N closed its store at the end of 2014.


Novelist Michelle Berry to Open Indie Bookstore

Michelle Berry

Another author is entering the bookstore business. Canadian novelist Michelle Berry, who has written nine books, plans to open Hunter Street Books in Peterborough, Ont., in a newly renovated space at 164 Hunter St. W. The Examiner reported that Berry is "not daunted by the idea of opening a bookstore while other bookstores are closing."

"I could tell you a million stories about how bookstores are coming back," she said, noting in particular American novelists/booksellers Ann Patchett, Judy Blume and Louise Erdrich. She added that customers want personal attention from a staff that can recommend good books, and that is what she plans to offer.


Notes

Image of the Day: A Pack of Paper Pachyderms

Last weekend, Tuttle Publishing, North Clarendon, Vt., donated origami paper for a local event designed to help partner Wildlife Conservation Society's effort to break the Guinness world record for the largest display of origami elephants and bring awareness to the plight of elephants in Africa. At the Tuttle event at Rutland Regional Medical Center, some 800 origami elephants were folded (local origami teacher Linda MacFarlane happily shows them off). Tuttle is working with others to fold origami elephants; the Wildlife Conservation Society wants a total of 35,000 origami elephants, representing the number of elephants killed every year in Africa for their ivory. The current record, set by the Whipsnade Zoo in England, of origami elephants is 33,764.


'People Are Still Buying Books at Indie Bookstores'

"Turns out people still really like to go into a bookstore, to touch and enjoy looking through stacks of physical books, to chat with staff about what they like, (or hate), maybe listen to an author do a reading and then take audience questions and sign copies," wrote Caitlin Kelly in a Forbes magazine piece headlined "People Are Still Buying Books at Indie Bookstores."

Her nearest indie is the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, N.Y. "In business since 1972, it's run by Roy and Yvonne Solomon and, while only 1,000 square feet, offers--like all good indies--a carefully chosen selection. They're the store's fifth owners and the store is in its seventh location. His customers--and Pleasantville is a fairly affluent town--choose to shop there to support a local business.

"People have begun to be very conscious that the retail spaces in their community won't be there if they don't shop in them," Roy Solomon said. "There won't be a local shoe store if you only buy from Zappos, or a town hardware store if you only shop at Home Depot.... I want a place where people will talk to me."


University of Texas Press Rep Visiting 30 Bookstores in 7 Days

Gianna LaMorte, assistant director and sales manager of University of Texas Press, is in the middle of a 168-hour (7 days), 30-bookstore tour of the West Coast. The tour began in Los Angeles, Calif., at The Last Bookstore and will conclude in Seattle, Wash. LaMorte's stops have included Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena and Book Soup in L.A., several of the Diesel, A Bookstore locations, and Green Apple Books and City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, Calif., with stops in Oregon and Washington still to come. Along the way, LaMorte has been promoting upcoming University of Texas Press titles, such as the memoir Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt by Kristin Hersh, and posting about her travels on twitter and Instagram. She called City Lights Bookstore the "dream girl" of bookstores: "smart, pretty, and a little bit withholding," and said that Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco had "an incredible selection of cookbooks."

As of yesterday, LaMorte had reached Alexander Book Company in San Francisco, store #20 on her tour.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ross W. Greene on the Maggie Linton Show

Tomorrow:
Sirius XM's Maggie Linton Show: Ross W. Greene, author of Raising Human Beings: Creating a Collaborative Partnership with Your Child (Scribner, $26, 9781476723747).


TV: Get Shorty; The Miniaturist

Epix has announced that Ray Romano and Chris O'Dowd will star in its TV remake of Get Shorty, based on Elmore Leonard's novel that was previously adapted for the 1995 hit film, Indiewire reported. Davey Holmes (In Treatment, Shameless) is both writer and executive producer on Get Shorty, which will have a 10-episode first season. The show is expected to premiere next summer.

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BBC One is moving forward with The Miniaturist, based on the award-winning novel by Jessie Burton, Deadline reported. The three-part adaptation is being written by John Brownlow and produced by the Forge. The Miniaturist was Brown's debut novel, and has sold more than a million copies in 37 countries. The series will air in 2017.


This Weekend on Book TV: In Depth with Dennis Prager

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday 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, September 3
10 p.m. Rosa Brooks, author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon (Simon & Schuster, $29.95, 9781476777863). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m. and 5 p.m.)

11 p.m. Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies (Harper, $28.99, 9780062439659), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

Sunday, September 4
12 p.m. Live In-Depth q&a with talk radio host Dennis Prager, author, most recently, of The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code (Regnery, $14.99, 9781621574170). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: First Novel; Toronto Book

The Center for Fiction has announced the shortlist for its annual $10,000 First Novel Prize:
 
The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)
The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House)
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
How I Became a North Korean by Krys Lee (Viking)
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin Books)
What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

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Finalists have been announced for the C$10,000 (about US$7,625) Toronto Book Awards, which recognize "titles that speak to the city‚ its people and its heritage," Quillblog reported. The winner will be announced at the Toronto Reference Library October 11. This year's finalists are:

Men of Action by Howard Akler
Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Y.K. Choi
The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto's First Immigrant Neighborhood, edited by John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor
On the Shores of Darkness There Is Light by Cordelia Strube
Heyday by Marnie Woodrow


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 6:

The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency by Kathryn Smith (Touchstone, $28, 9781501114960) is the first biography of Marguerite "Missy" LeHand, FDR's private secretary for 20 years.

His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt by Joseph Lelyveld (Knopf, $30, 9780385350792) chronicles the end of FDR's life.

Dear Mr. M: A Novel by Herman Koch, translated by Sam Garrett (Hogarth, $26, 9781101903322) is a psychological thriller about a writer who found fame with a fictional book based on real-life disappearance.

Manitou Canyon: A Novel by William Kent Krueger (Atria, $24.99, 9781476749266) is the 15th Cork O'Connor mystery.

Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black (Ace, $27, 9781101991442) is sci-fi set 500 years after aliens with seemingly-magical powers invaded Earth.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil (Crown, $26, 9780553418811) explores the algorithms shaping society.

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age by Daniel J. Levitin (Dutton, $28, 9780525955221) looks at how to sort fact from fiction in the modern world.

Lady Cop Makes Trouble by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544409941) is book two in the Kopp Sisters series, a crime-comedy set in early 1900s New Jersey and based on a true story.

The Fortunes: A Novel by Peter Ho Davies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544263703) follows four Chinese-Americans over the course of 100 years.

The Dark Talent: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, illustrated by Hayley Lazo (Starscape, $16.99, 9780765381408) is book five in the children's Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series.

Big Nate: Revenge of the Cream Puffs by Lincoln Pierce (Andrews McMeel/AMP! Comics for Kids, $9.99, 9781449462284) is a comic book in which Nate and his baseball team want to show the world they're not just a bunch of cupcakes.

Jungle: A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen and Kathy Wollard (Workman, $25.95, 9780761189534) is the next Photicular book after Safari, Ocean and Polar.

Paperbacks:
Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson (Sourcebooks, $15.99, 9781492632122) is the memoir of a man who opened an American diner in Paris.

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong (Mariner, $18.95, 9780544859937) is a revised and expanded version of a book originally published in 2004.

Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-based Recipes by Angela Liddon (Avery, $27, 9781583335741).

To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North (Riverhead, $20, 9780735212190).

One-Punch Man, Vol. 8 by ONE and Yusuke Murata (VIZ, $9.99, 9781421586564).

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:

Hardcover
Christodora: A Novel by Tim Murphy (Grove Press, $27, 9780802125286). "Murphy uses Christodora House, an historic apartment building in the East Village of New York City, as the namesake and backdrop of his compelling debut novel. The story follows the lives of several residents over the course of four decades, expertly detailing the intersections of art and ambition, activism and loss, and the consequences of addiction and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic. I can think of no novel in recent memory in which I felt so drawn to its characters and so emotionally invested in the outcome of their lives." --Shawn Donley, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal: Not Exactly a Memoir by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Dutton, $27, 9781101984543). "This is the most fun and unique book I have held in my hands in a long time. It is a 'non-linear memoir' consisting of a quiz, random thoughts, poetry, essays, text message communications, family photos, and the captured moments of any given day. This textbook is an education in seeing the world through Rosenthal's magical viewpoint--necessary for all who want to appreciate life's little gifts." --Kimberly Daniels, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux (Biblioasis, $14.95, 9781771960762). "Intricate and multi-layered, The Party Wall reflects how interconnected the world can be. I don't have the words to do this book justice. Just read it--the ending will deliver; I promise." --Valerie Welbourn, Novels & Novelties Bookstore, Hendersonville, N.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
When Penny Met POTUS by Rachel Ruiz, illustrated by Melissa Manwill (Capstone, $15.95, 9781623707583). "Penny's mom works in the White House and has promised Penny that she could meet POTUS. Penny is not sure what a POTUS is. She imagines that POTUS is a big, furry, blue-horned something. She is just sure that he does all kinds of fun stuff, like going on secret missions. She finally finds out that POTUS is not quite all that she imagined, but is still pretty cool. A clever ending to a funny and sweet story." --Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
Wishing Day by Lauren Myracle (Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99, 9780062342065). "Do wishes come true? Natasha is about to find out when, on the third night of the third month after her 13th birthday, she makes three wishes: one for her first kiss, one for her mother to be alive, and one for her to be 'somebody's favorite.' Natasha is the sensible sister, while Darya is the pretty sister and Ana is the goofy, silly, creative sister. Since her mother disappeared and her father remains buried in grief, Natasha must keep the family together. Wishing Day explores the themes of mental illness, homelessness, and family loss in a coming-of-age story sprinkled with magic. Readers will be anxious for the next installment in a planned trilogy." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Teen Readers: Revisit & Rediscover
Feed by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick, $8.99, 9780763662622). Originally published in 2002. "Feed is dystopic science fiction at its best! In this tale set in a near future of environmental disasters and corporate power, Titus and his friends are never alone and almost everyone has access to everything at the blink of an eye via 'feeds' linked directly to the brain. Nothing can go wrong with this scenario, right? Enter a crazy computer hacker and chaos ensues! This is a fascinating look at how media manipulates and exploits us all." --Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Today Will Be Different

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple (Little, Brown, $27 hardcover, 272p., 9780316403436, October 4, 2016)

What does a restless, middle-aged wife and mother--a graphic artist and renowned animator of a legendary cartoon--have in common with a Catholic-turned-atheist hand surgeon to the stars; a makeup-wearing third grader named Timby, who got his name from an autocorrect spelling of the name Timothy; a frustrated poet who works at Costco; and a dog named Yo-Yo? They are the cast of quirky characters created by Maria Semple in her comic third novel, Today Will Be Different.

A unifying thread found in Semple's offbeat, satirical fiction is misanthropic women suffering varying degrees of cynicism and unhappiness. In This One Is Mine, the rich Hollywood wife of a music producer--a bored mother of a young toddler--breaks the shackles of her loneliness when she falls for a bad-boy bass player in a rock band. In Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, Semple focuses on a once revolutionary architect--an opinionated, agoraphobic wife of a Microsoft workaholic and a misfit mother to a precocious 15-year-old daughter--who goes missing.

Semple sets Today Will Be Different in the supposed "least religious city in America," Seattle, where scatterbrained, middle-aged Eleanor Flood--resettled from New York--narrates her angst. She feels stalled in her life, unfulfilled and failing those she loves: Joe, her unpretentious, compassionate husband, the atheist hand surgeon; her precocious son, Timby; and even herself, as she's eight years late in delivering a graphic memoir about the neglected childhood she shared with her sister after their actress mother died young and they were raised by a largely absent, alcoholic father.

Eleanor wakes one morning and vows, determinedly, to live in the moment and be her "best self." As on any other day, she makes breakfast for Joe and drops Timby off at his progressive, politically correct elementary school before going to her weekly private poetry lesson. But Eleanor's noble quest to reinvigorate her life goes awry when, during the course of one day, she's faced with a string of mishaps--starting with Timby faking a sickness at school--which snowballs when she comes face-to-face with a former employee, an "ingratiating wannabe... sweaty ass-kisser" she fired 10 years earlier, who is now a famous, accomplished artist. Compounding matters is the startling revelation that the personnel at Joe's office believe he is on vacation. The story follows Eleanor as she seeks to uncover what secret her husband of 20 years might be keeping.

Semple leads readers on a madcap, circuitous journey to find the truth. Along the way, she keeps readers slightly off-balance, though all the more engaged, by including illustrations from Eleanor's graphic memoir, reprinted poems and drawings that offer insight into Eleanor's troubled childhood, along with details about her tumultuous relationship with her sister and unresolved familial dramas. With a strong narrative voice, fast pace and her signature wit, Semple cleverly spins another raucously funny story wound around deeper implications about the unexpected ways life teaches us to find meaning. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Shelf Talker: A restless wife and mother tries to reboot her life only to have her quest go awry when she learns that her husband is keeping a secret.


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