Also published on this date: Thursday, June 29, 2017: Kids' Maximum Shelf: The Wonderling

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, June 29, 2017


Houghton Mifflin: The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too! by Bryant Johnson

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

HarperCollins: Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

Other Press: What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home by Mark Mazower

Chronicle Books: This Book Is a Planetarium: And Other Extraordinary Pop-Up Contraptions by Kelli Anderson

Editors' Note

Now We Are Twelve!

Today Shelf Awareness marks the 12th anniversary of our first issue with a cool milestone: this month is the one-year anniversary of ABA's Indie Next List e-mail newsletter program (powered by Shelf Awareness!). The June mailing included 105 stores in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and went to 416,000 store customers. See an example here from Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

This month also marks the addition of the Kids' Next List e-mail newsletter to the Indie Next e-mail newsletter program. The inaugural mailing included 101 stores and went to 350,000 store customers. See an example here from Toadstool Bookshops, with stores in Keene, Milford and Peterborough, N.H.

And, as we strive to improve Shelf Awareness, today we're introducing a mobile-friendly interface that will make Pro easier to read on cell phones. Fingers crossed!

Shelf Awareness for Readers, our twice-weekly consumer newsletter, has more than 400,000 subscribers, and the daily Shelf Awareness Pro, now 12 years old, has 39,000 subscribers. Altogether last year, we sent 60 million copies of our e-newsletters. As we try to comprehend this, the long weekend ahead is most welcome.

As always, we thank you, our many readers from throughout the business. We also thank our many bookseller and publisher partners. And last but not least, we thank our hardworking, dedicated staff and contributors!

By the way, you can send us birthday wishes by clicking on the comment button below.

38 Comments

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  • wes romansky July 1, 2017 11:43 AM

    Even tho I am now retired from 40 years in the bk biz, I still look forward every weekday to reading Shelf. I want to see you reach 25. Congrats!

  • Marina Cramer June 30, 2017 12:26 PM

    And many more! Shelf Awareness is one part of my morning mail routine I look forward to - always informative, frequently entertaining, consistently professional. Congrats to all, and thanks for doing what you do.

  • David Goldberg June 30, 2017 11:47 AM

    Thanks to all you great people for all the work you do supporting our communities and indies (and the readers and publishers who love them)!

  • Mitchell Kaplan June 30, 2017 10:22 AM

    Congratulations! Thanks for all you do and have done all these years. Shelf means so much to so many of us...

  • Lauren Peugh June 29, 2017 19:25 PM

    Happy birthday! I've been reading your newsletter for most of my bookselling career and I love it :)

  • Victoria Irwin June 29, 2017 19:21 PM

    Happy birthday! And many thanks for every year that you've been with us! Keep up the good work!

  • Jana Nyman June 29, 2017 18:02 PM

    A very happy birthday to you! Thank you all for your hard work in keeping us pros updated every day with news from the bookselling world.

  • Richard Lang June 29, 2017 15:59 PM

    Congrats , It is the first thing in morning I look for. You keep me up to date on the Bookstore doings and I thank you.

  • Sandy Scott June 29, 2017 14:32 PM

    Happy Birthday! Reading Shelf Awareness is always a pleasure.Thank you, and keep up the excellent work.

  • Kelly Justice June 29, 2017 13:36 PM

    Happy Birthday, Y'all! Never miss an issue.

  • Lara Starr June 29, 2017 12:43 PM

    Mazel Tov!

  • Wanda Rawlings June 29, 2017 12:39 PM

    Happy 12th!!

  • Elayna Trucker June 29, 2017 11:38 AM

    Happy birthday! I read your newsletters religiously, they're always so helpful for buying and a great source for news about the industry.

  • cindy heidemann June 29, 2017 10:58 AM

    Happy Birthday! You are approaching puberty. I am sure you will handle it with grace and style! XO Cindy Heidemann PGW/PD/Ingram

  • Stacey Lewis June 29, 2017 10:49 AM

    Happy happy & thank you for showing off all the vibrant people in the indie book world. With gratitude, Stacey Lewis City Lights

  • Abby Travis June 29, 2017 10:45 AM

    Happy happy birthday to Shelf Awareness and the wonderful humans who make it all possible from the staff of Milkweed Editions & Milkweed Books. You're our favorite way to start every morning!

  • Samuel Dorrance June 29, 2017 10:33 AM

    Wishing the terrific team at Shelf Awareness happy anniversary! Every issue is essential reading at Rising Tide Literary Agency!

  • Laura Di Giovine June 29, 2017 10:21 AM

    Happy anniversary from the Trafalgar Square Publishing publicity team!

  • Catherine Healey June 29, 2017 10:10 AM

    Happy anniversary and many more! Thanks for a lively and informative newsletter. Reading it is a highlight of the day for this book loving librarian and blogger.

  • Tom Bentley June 29, 2017 10:04 AM

    Shelfers, I get both the industry and reader newsletters, and both give me useful, fun and thoughtful information. Go for another 12! Thanks for your good work.

  • Nancy Pate June 29, 2017 10:02 AM

    Love starting the day with Shelf Awareness! Happy birthday!

  • Keith Pruitt June 29, 2017 09:49 AM

    Congratulations on the anniversary. Your newsletter has become such an important part of our daily life as we prepare to open our bookstore. Keith Pruitt, Words of Wisdom Bookstore, Hermitage, TN.

  • Davida Breier June 29, 2017 09:41 AM

    Happiest of birthdays to everyone at Shelf Awareness!

  • Neil Strandberg June 29, 2017 09:17 AM

    woo!

  • Patrick Ewing June 29, 2017 09:16 AM

    Happy birthday, and congratulations! You guys are the best. Thank you.

  • Beth Parker June 29, 2017 09:14 AM

    Happy Birthday, Shelf Awareness!!!

  • Paul Harrington June 29, 2017 09:06 AM

    Here's to 12 more, please!

  • Joe Durepos June 29, 2017 09:03 AM

    Dear Shelf Awareness, at first I didn't want to tell anybody about you, or our intimate relationship, didn't want to share you. But over the years it's become clear to me that I've been selfish. But learning today, on your 12th birthday that you have over 400,000 other admirers, well I don't know what to say. I guess we're not a secret anymore. So happy birthday, and I won't let on that I'm your favorite reader, I wouldn't want to break the hearts of the other 400,000+ readers who don't understand our relationship. Now stay there for a minute, don't go away, while I get another cup of coffee.

  • Jim DiMiero June 29, 2017 08:40 AM

    Oh, that awkward year between childhood and the teenager. You guys must take a bow wherever you are today! Keep up the good work!

  • Gee Gee Rosell June 29, 2017 08:39 AM

    HBD SA! I depend on you. Gee Gee, Buxton Village Books

  • John Bohman June 29, 2017 08:38 AM

    Happy 12, Jenn, John and team!

  • VALINDA MILLER June 29, 2017 08:26 AM

    Happy Blessed 12th Birthday and hope you have many more Awesome Years To Come!!! VaLinda Miller - The Booksmith

  • Caryn Strean June 29, 2017 08:23 AM

    Happy anniversary! I appreciate all you do! Your newsletter is what I look forward to most when I wake up.

  • Vicki Erwin June 29, 2017 08:23 AM

    Happy Anniversary! I read SA first thing every morning. Thanks for keeping us in the know.

  • bill hoar June 29, 2017 08:22 AM

    Well done folks! Congratulations Bill Hoar

  • Vivian Taylor June 29, 2017 08:20 AM

    Happy 12th Birthday, I wish you many more. Thanks for all of the wonderful bookish news.

  • Karen Ruelle June 29, 2017 08:18 AM

    Congrats and happy birthday to Shelf Awareness!

  • Liz Szabla June 29, 2017 08:11 AM

    Happy birthday, Shelf A! Here's to many more!


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


News

Duluth's Zenith Bookstore to Open on Saturday

photo: Charlie Smith/Arrowhead Shores Photography

Zenith Bookstore is opening this Saturday, July 1, in Duluth, Minn., and will host a grand opening celebration on September 16. The store, which will sell mostly used and some new books, features a life-sized literary mural on the front wall that highlights a selection of classic and contemporary literature in the form of stacks of hardcovers resembling an oversized bookshelf.

Artist Tom Napoli will be attend the store's opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday to celebrate "literature, art and the Duluth community."

"We couldn't be more pleased with the mural," Zenith Bookstore owners Bob and Angel Dobrow said. "It's a stunning advertisement for books and for reading. All day long, people stop and marvel, take pictures in front of it, and want to talk to us about it. Tom did an amazing job!"


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


Philly's Black and Nobel Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Black and Nobel, an African American bookstore in Philadelphia, Pa., has launched a GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $250,000 to keep the store from closing and to expand the business. Funds will go toward paying overdue rent, possibly purchasing a new space, and buying a tour bus to allow Black and Nobel to run community outreach events in other neighborhoods and at schools, owner Hakim Hopkins told Philly.com.

"We're not raising funds just to keep these doors open," Hopkins said, adding that the idea to start a crowdfunding campaign came from the younger patrons who spend time at the store and view it as a community hub. "We want to go out and touch the rest of the world."

Though Black and Nobel's bricks-and-mortar location opened in 2009, the business is closer to 15 years old, with Hopkins initially selling books at a single vendor table. Today, the store sells books and merchandise and hosts community-focused lectures; runs open mic showcases for up-and-coming artists; ships books to prisons; and organizes charitable activities, including delivering clean water to people in Flint, Mich.

Since its launch on June 22, the campaign has raised more than $5,600. Unlike Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaigns, GoFundMe campaigns do not have deadlines or goal requirements.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.18.17


Crown Creates New Currency

Crown Publishing Group is creating Currency, a nonfiction imprint dedicated to publishing "narrative-driven and practical books by thought leaders across a range of creative disciplines to help us navigate and succeed in an uncertain and rapidly evolving world." The editorial focus will include business, with an emphasis on innovative practice and entrepreneurship; economics and finance; and individual, organizational and societal transformation and growth. Currency's mission is "to provide a platform for relevant, inspiring voices who challenge established boundaries and orthodoxies, inspire conversation, and offer new perspectives on building lives with meaning and purpose."

Among authors Currency will publish are Eric Ries, whose The Startup Way will appear this fall; Beth Comstock, vice chair of General Electric; LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman; organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich; and Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani.

Currency will build on and expand Crown's business book imprint, Crown Business. Books currently in the Crown Business development pipeline will be issued under the Currency imprint, with future reprints of backlist titles in Crown Business's extensive catalogue also being issued as Currency titles. The Crown Business name and logo will be retired over time.

Currency will be headed by Tina Constable, whose new title is senior v-p, publisher, Currency, Forum, Convergent, Waterbrook Multnomah. Staff includes Campbell Wharton, associate publisher; Roger Scholl, v-p, executive editor; and Talia Krohn, executive editor. Mary Reynics, executive editor, and Derek Reed, editor, both will acquire titles for Currency in addition to maintaining their existing and parallel editorial roles for the Crown Forum and Convergent imprints. Megan Perritt, publicity director, and Ayelet Gruenspecht, marketing director, will continue to lead their respective support teams, working across the Currency, Forum, and Convergent lists.

In a memo announcing Currency, Crown Publishing Group president and publisher Maya Mavjee observed: "Those among us with long memories of our publishing history may recall that Currency previously was the name of a well-regarded business books imprint for Doubleday and Broadway, which we retired early last decade. It is not only an apt name for this program; it is also the right time to bring it back."


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


Penguin Shutting Down Blue Rider Press

Penguin is shutting down Blue Rider Press as a standalone imprint, moving its books and those of sister imprint Plume under the Dutton publishing program. As a result, David Rosenthal, president and publisher of Blue Rider/Plume, and Aileen Boyle, v-p and associate publisher of Blue Rider/Plume, are leaving the company in the next few months.

In a memo, Penguin Publishing Group president Madeline McIntosh called it a "difficult" decision. Despite many successes, Blue Rider, she continued, has "faced the particular challenges of being a small start-up in a hypercompetitive market, with results that have not been as consistent as we need them to be."

She added that existing and upcoming Blue Rider titles will be a good fit at Dutton, particularly considering that much of Plume's backlist originated at Dutton. The question of whether new paperback originals will carry the Plume or Dutton name hasn't been decided yet.

Rosenthal joined Penguin and established Blue Rider in 2011; Boyle joined him later that year. The press's bestselling authors include Jeff Bridges, James Carville, Elvis Costello, Jim Cramer, R.A. Dickey, Damien Echols, Delia Ephron, Carrie Fisher, Michael Hastings, Jewel, Patrick Kennedy, Chuck Klosterman, Mark Leibovich, Mike Love, Stephanie Madoff Mack, Bill Maher, Stuart Scott, Marisa Silver, Lesley Stahl, Mike Tyson, Neil Young and the pseudonymous Ann Droyd, creator of Goodnight, IPad.


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Obituary Note: Michael Bond

British author Michael Bond, creator of beloved character Paddington Bear, "the polite, good-natured but disaster-prone little hero of children's novels, picture and activity books, television series and films," died June 27, the New York Times reported. He was 91. Bond's books have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into at least 40 languages. A movie, featuring live actors and a computer-animated bear voiced by Ben Whishaw, was released in 2015, with a sequel expected this year.

Although Bond did not limit his work to Paddington or to print, "animals did dominate his work," the Times noted. In 1968, he created The Herbs, an animated British television series. He also wrote a series of books about Olga da Polga, a guinea pig, and novels for adult readers about Monsieur Pamplemousse, a culinary detective with a dog named Pommes Frites.

Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said: "I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond's publisher--he was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers. He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffle coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations. My thoughts and love are with his wife, Sue, and his children Karen and Anthony."

HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne observed: "Michael Bond was one of the great children's writers and at HarperCollins we are immensely fortunate to have published him and to have known him. He was a wonderful man and leaves behind one of the great literary legacies of our time."

On Twitter, author/actor Stephen Fry wrote: "So sorry to hear that Michael Bond has departed. He was as kindly, dignified, charming & lovable as the immortal Paddington Bear he gave us." And Waterstones tweeted: " 'Please look after this bear.' So sad to hear of the passing of Michael Bond, creator of Paddington. Marmalade on toast tonight, we think."


Owlkids: Letters to a Prisoner by Jacques Goldstyn



Notes

Image of the Day: Launching Gentleman's Guide

Mackenzi Lee celebrated the launch of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), with actor Christian Coulson, who narrated the audiobook version, at Books of Wonder in New York City.  (For more about the book and author/bookseller, see our story from earlier this year.) Photo: Alana Whitman.


Brisbane's Avid Reader Fends Off Anti-Feminist Trolls

Avid Reader Bookshop and Cafe in Brisbane, Australia, became the target of a brigade of anti-feminist Internet trolls earlier this week when the store shared a Facebook post from Australian feminist writer Clementine Ford celebrating a contract to write a book on toxic masculinity, the Guardian reported. Chris Currie, the store's social media manager, began noticing a flood of one-star reviews on Avid Reader's Facebook page, along with nasty comments about Ford, the store and her supporters, on Monday night.

But rather than simply watch the abuse happen, supporters of both Ford and Avid Reader teamed up. In less than a day, positive comments and reviews had outweighed the trolling reviews by nearly 3,000 to less than 250. Benjamin Law and Michelle Law, two writers who had previously worked at Avid Reader, prompted the online outpouring of support.

"Ben in particular fearlessly waded into the reviews with the type of stinging retorts you would pay a lot of money to see," Currie told the Guardian. "Michelle encouraged people to buy books from us and write five-star reviews in response (and boy did people do that!). The best comments, really, were from regular customers, who are of course the wittiest people on the planet."

Check out the posts for some examples of refreshingly direct and humorous replies to some nasty comments.


Vt.'s Norwich Bookstore: 'A New Business Every Day'

"It has been said that Liza Bernard is a force of nature," according to Valley News, which noted that "at the very least, she's certainly a force of the local economy." Bernard and Penny McConnel, co-owners of the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vt., have been key players in the "Local First" movement in Vermont and the Upper Valley since they founded the store in 1994.

"When we first opened, people thought we were a little crazy," said Bernard. But their vision was to "create a friendly place in the community centered on customers' desires and a 'curated selection of thoughtfully chosen books for everyone in the family,' " Valley News wrote.

"Books aren't just things; they're holders of great ideas," Bernard added. "We're really excited to share that with people.... I think one of the keys to a business like this is to be very in tune with what the community wants and very flexible to provide it. That's what makes it exciting--it's a new business every day."

After opening the bookstore, Bernard became deeply involved with the formation of Local First Vermont, now run by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility. "Place is really important. To have a village, you need to support the businesses in the village," she said. "Keeping it local is important to the uniqueness of a place. We'll lose that personality if we don't support local businesses.... Everything comes around. The Norwich Bookstore is in a position to support Project Graduation because the school library purchases some of its books from us. Shopping locally helps create a cycle of financial health."

Bernard was a leading force in helping to launch the Upper Valley's Local First Alliance 10 years ago, with businesses in Vermont and New Hampshire bonding together. "I felt like I was leaving out half of my colleagues. I identify with the Upper Valley as a region, and that means crossing the border." A decade later, she observed: "Customers are coming in and telling me how important it is to shop local. That is such a great feeling."


Personnel Changes at Village Books and Paper Dreams

Mary Vermillion

Mary Vermillion has joined Village Books and Paper Dreams, Bellingham and Lynden, Wash., as marketing director. Her professional background includes marketing and writing for businesses, organizations and publications in the fields of tourism, retail, food and farming, and higher education.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Elin Hilderbrand on CBS This Morning

Tomorrow:
CBS This Morning: Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Identicals: A Novel (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316375191).

Tomorrow:
Fox News's the Specialists: Mark R. Levin, author of Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism (Threshold Editions, $27, 9781476773087).

Harry repeat: Tim Tebow, author of Know Who You Are. Live Like It Matters.: A Homeschooler's Interactive Guide to Discovering Your True Identity (WaterBrook, $12.99, 9780735289949).


This Weekend on Book TV: In-Depth with Herb Boyd

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 1
12 p.m. Book TV's "Local Content Vehicles" tour literary and historical sites in Portland, Ore. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

5 p.m. Pete Souza, author of Obama: An Intimate Portrait (Little, Brown, $50, 9780316512589), at BookExpo.

6:45 p.m. Adam Lashinsky, author of Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination (Portfolio, $28, 9780735211391).

8 p.m. Dr. Elizabeth Ford, author of Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward (Regan Arts, $27.95, 9781941393437), at Strand Bookstore in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

9 p.m. Yuanjun Zeng receives the Robert Caro Prize for Literary Excellence in the Writing of History. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

10 p.m. Heath Davis, author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? (NYU Press, $25, 9781479855407). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Henry Olsen, author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism (Broadside, $27.99, 9780062475268). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

Sunday, July 2
12 a.m. Laura Caldwell and Leslie Klinger, editors of Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631490880), at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colo.

12 p.m. Live in-depth q&a with Herb Boyd, author of Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination (Amistad, $27.99, 9780062346629). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

8 p.m. Holger Hoock, author of Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth (Crown, $30, 9780804137287).

10 p.m. John Boles, author of Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty (Basic Books, $35, 9780465094684), at Brazos Books in Houston, Tex.


Books & Authors

Awards: IPA Prix Voltaire Shortlist

Gui Minhai, "the Hong Kong publisher and bookseller who was kidnapped by Chinese agents in October 2015, and still in detention in China, features on this year's shortlist" for the CHF10,000 (about $10,415) International Publishers Association's Prix Voltaire, the Bookseller reported. The award honors "exemplary courage in upholding the freedom to publish and in enabling others to exercise their right to freedom of expression" A winner will be announced September 29 at the Gothenberg Book Fair in Sweden.

Also shortlisted are North Korean novelist Kim Jeoing-ae; Turhan Gunay of Turkey, who is editor of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement; Iranian e-publisher Azadeh Parsapour, who lives in London; and Burmese publisher and writer Moe Way. The shortlist was chosen by nine publishing professionals from Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 4:

Wired by Julie Garwood (Berkley, $27, 9780525954460) is romantic suspense about a hacker and an FBI agent.

Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 9781484775042) is the third middle grade installment of the Serafina series in which a brave and unusual young girl must save her home from a mysterious threat.

Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly Dipucchio, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781481459600) is a picture book that shows readers how even regular people (and raccoons) can be superheroes.


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: An Indies Introduce Title
The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy (Norton, $26.95, 9780393608717). "This memoir of a life spent driving trucks full of strangers' personal belongings across the country is the book I didn't know I needed. Finn Murphy writes engaging slice-of-life stories about his time as a long-haul truck driver while also showing the changes in the trucking industry and American life in the decades he's spent pulling thousands of pounds up mountains, through storms, and across plains. Trucking is a solitary life, but Murphy grabbed me like a friend and took me with him on his journey." --Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, Ill.

Hardcover
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Atria, $26, 9781501139239). "Steeped in the glory of Hollywood when marriages were made for reasons other than love and could be slipped on and off like a fine dinner jacket, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo reveals the behind-the-scenes stories of lives full of hunger, self-pity, jealousy, and rage, as well as lost love. This is a story that could have been pulled from the pages of fan magazines of the '50s. It's so entertainingly real that you will be wondering why you can't remember the great star Evelyn Hugo and the movies she made famous. Read for pure pleasure, and you'll be tempted to play the game of, 'Who is this about, really?' What fun!" --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.

Paperback
Mercury: A Novel by Margot Livesey (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062437518). "This riveting psychological novel delves into the lives of Donald and Vivian, a married couple whose stability is threatened and ultimately undermined when Vivian, whose former life as an aspiring equestrian was cut short, meets Mercury, a magnificent horse with a tragic history. What unfolds may seem like destiny to Vivian, but to Donald, a staid and deliberate ophthalmologist still mourning the death of his beloved father, it tests everything he's ever known, including his faculty for navigating the world. A truly remarkable study of human nature and the blindspots that hinder us all." --Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, Mass.

For Ages 4 to 8
Colette's Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault (Random House, $17.99, 9780553536591). "Colette's Lost Pet is whimsical, funny, and quietly beautiful. Arsenault's picture books are among my favorites; her illustrations always hold such a tender sweetness. When Colette is tasked with making friends in her new neighborhood, she is a bit shy. To make herself feel better, she creates an elaborate lie about a lost parakeet named Marie Antoinette. All of the neighbor children help her search for this enormous bird that can surf, speak, and otherwise dazzle. Arsenault's artwork, done largely in black and white with sudden bursts of color, is as magical as the lie Colette creates--stunningly vibrant yet interspersed with the mundane shades of everyday life. Lovely." --Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781681193434). "Have your hot chocolate ready before you start reading this book, because I guarantee you won't want to stop reading to make a cup once you've begun this delightful (and delicious) tale of friendship and growing up. Aventurine is a young dragon whose scales aren't hard enough to protect her yet, but, tired of being stuck at home, she runs away. When she tries to eat a human, the delicious smell of cooking chocolate reaches her nostrils first and she drinks his hot chocolate instead. It is the most wonderful thing she has tasted, but it turns out it was enchanted and now Aventurine is a human girl. Feeling like she has failed her family, Aventurine travels to the closest city in search of more chocolate. With the help of a new friend and a chocolatier boss, she finds so much more than that." --Lindsey Pattavina, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, Conn.

For Teen Readers
Be True to Me by Adele Griffin (Algonquin, $18.95, 9781616206758). "Adele Griffin knows how to do flawed characters in an authentic way, as she shows with the alternating narrators of Be True to Me--petty, privileged Jean and rough, impulsive Fritz. The young women are spending another summer in Sunken Haven, a place where the elite gather for lazy days, drunken nights, and party traditions. Between them is Gil, a surprise addition to the close-knit community and a handsome, young rising star at his uncle's law firm. If you like stories of summertime, blossoming love, secrets, and betrayal, this is for you. But beware: Adele Griffin's tales come with a darker edge to all the glitter of a perfect private island." --Danielle Borsch, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Dark Net

The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 hardcover, 272p., 9780544750333, August 1, 2017)

Benjamin Percy's distinctive brand of horror fiction, honed in novels such as The Dead Lands and Red Moon, is on full display in The Dark Net. The novel blends aspects of techno-thrillers with supernatural horror for page-turning results. Percy is no stranger to unlikely genre fusions, but The Dark Net's idiosyncratic brew is particularly enticing.

Percy's novel moves at a ruthless pace, introducing seemingly major characters only to have them maimed or killed within a few chapters. The brisk pace necessitates an ensemble cast. The novel begins with 12-year-old Hannah--near blind and rapidly losing her remaining eyesight--being outfitted with the Mirage, "not glasses so much as a silver shield that wrapped your eyes." "It's all very Star Trek," a doctor assures her. The miraculous invention allows her to see, but it comes with an unsettling side effect: some people appear "enveloped in shadow, surrounded by a black shawl."

Hannah's aunt Lela is a hard-charging reporter for the Oregonian (the novel is firmly grounded in its damp Portland setting). She made her name breaking a story about a famous serial killer with occult ties, and she is now investigating a strange new excavation underneath the killer's former building. Her path eventually intersects with that of Mike Juniper, a bear of a man with a complicated past. Mike runs a local homeless shelter that doubles as a base of operations for anti-demonic pursuits.

The Dark Net includes hallmarks of supernatural horror such as demonic possession, hellhounds and something comparable to magic. The novel's central conflict is of the light-versus-dark variety, but Percy's demons have a new vector for attack in the anonymizing subbasement of the Internet referred to in the title. For non-technophilic readers who have never heard of the dark web, Silk Road or TOR, Percy provides brief, entertaining explanations reminiscent of Michael Crichton's paranoiac invocations of popular science. We learn that the Deep Net is "hundreds of times the size of the surface Internet, all the information that is unlisted, unsearchable," and home to "mail-order drugs, weapon trafficking, human smuggling, terrorist communications," etc.

In Percy's novel, the ancient forces of evil have embraced hacking and bleeding-edge tech. Their master plan remains a mystery until well into the story, but it involves hijacking human beings as well as computers, security systems, cell phones--the digital infrastructure we've become so reliant on. One thriller-like sequence has a fleet of cars being hacked to pursue Mike Juniper while another mysterious protagonist uses his power over nature to block the roads.

Along with a frightening vision of technology, Percy delivers the old-school scares and grotesque imagery horror fans crave. His demons are disgusting even after they die: "A slow exhalation comes from him, and with this he appears to deflate and wither, a kind of hurried dry rot setting in.... There is a sound like thousands of termites chewing their way through rotten wood." Insofar as horror is a vehicle for metaphor, The Dark Net warns against our often lackadaisical approach to cybersecurity. More importantly, it's good fun. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Shelf Talker: The Dark Net combines aspects of techno-thrillers and horror fiction, bringing demons into the Internet era and pointing out frightening vulnerabilities in our technology-reliant society.


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