Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 3, 2013

Amulet Books: Nightbane (the Lightlark Saga Book 2) by Alex Aster

Amulet Books: Nightbane (the Lightlark Saga Book 2) by Alex Aster

Forge: Deep Freeze (Revival #1) by Michael C. Grumley

Shadow Mountain: Janitors School of Garbage: Volume 1 by Tyler Whitesides

Graphix: Rise of the Shadowfire: A Graphic Novel (City of Dragons #2) by Jaimal Yogis, illustrated by Vivian Truong

Mit Kids Press: Masked Hero: How Wu Lien-Teh Invented the Mask That Ended an Epidemic by Shan Woo Liu, illustrated by Lisa Wee

St. Martin's Press: My Side of the River: A Memoir by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez


Obituary Note: Tom Clancy

photo: David Burnett

Tom Clancy, who arguably created the genre of military-techno thriller, died yesterday. He was 66 and was being treated in a Baltimore hospital for an undisclosed illness.

In the early 1980s, Clancy was an insurance agent in rural Maryland who wrote his first blockbuster, The Hunt for Red October, in his spare time. The manuscript was rejected by major publishers, which led him to approach the Naval Institute Press, in Annapolis, which had never published a novel. The Press took a chance with the book--and it was an immediate hit, helped in part by favorable comments from President Reagan, who hosted Clancy at the White House.

Berkley published the paperback of Hunt for Red October, and Clancy moved to Putnam for all his subsequent books. Clancy churned out blockbusters regularly, many of which featured CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who first surfaced in Hunt for Red October. Some of his titles also became blockbuster movies, including Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Clancy also set up a video game company and became a part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles. More than 100 million copies of his books are in print. Command Authority, another Clancy novel starring Jack Ryan, written with Mark Greanery, is scheduled to be published December 3.

Deborah Grosvenor, the editor who bought Hunt for Red October, told the New York Times that she had difficulty at first convincing her boss to publish the book because the author was unknown and Naval Institute Press had never published fiction.

She recalled: "I said, 'I think we have a potential best seller here, and if we don't grab this thing, somebody else would.' " Clancy, she said, "had this innate storytelling ability, and his characters had this very witty dialogue. The gift of the Irish or whatever it was, the man could tell a story."

The Day recalled Clancy's loyalty to the Booksmith, the New London, Conn., bookstore that closed in 2000 and was the first store to host an event by the unknown author. The late owner, Judy Reed, got a galley of The Hunt for Red October from a Naval Institute Press rep at the ABA convention in Dallas in 1984. "She and her husband [Frank Diener] stayed up, reading it that night," the Day wrote. "The next day, she told the publisher they wanted the author in their store--they knew they could sell this submarine-focused techno-thriller in southeastern Connecticut, home of the Naval Submarine Base and Electric Boat."

Clancy was so happy with his first event--at which he sold about 75 copies of his book--that he returned for signings of every new book, Rich Swanson, who was a manager and then owner of the Booksmith, recalled. One year, Clancy held signings only at the Booksmith and West Point. By the time of his last signing at the store before it closed, he signed some 1,500 books. "On one level, I kind of owe it to them, and on another level, I come here for luck," Clancy told the Day in 1996.

Soho Crime: Union Station (John Russell WWII Spy Thriller) by David Downing

Grand Opening: Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati

This Friday and Saturday, October 4-5, the Booksellers on Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, celebrates its grand opening with a 20% discount off everything in the store, free coffee, free cupcakes for children and a $300 gift card raffle. In addition, there will be signings and discussions by Heinrich Tolzmann, author of The Over the Rhine Tour Guide and Christian Moerlein: The Man and his Brewery; Jim LaBarbara, author of Jim LaBarbara: The Music Professor; Randy McNutt, author of Ghosts: Ohio's Haunted Landscapes and Lost Ohio: More Travels into Haunted Landscapes, Ghost Towns, and Forgotten Lives; and Robert Webster, author of The Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire.

The 6,500-square-foot store has a café and offers books, games, Rookwood Pottery, Spartina bags and scarves, Thymes Fragrances, Lilly Pullitzer, Jonathan Adler, Crane Stationery, Charlie Harper gift items, Natural Life, Baggallini, Cincy T-shirts, gifts, toys and more.

Owner and resident Neil Van Uum commented: "We're thrilled to officially open our doors to our fellow Cincinnatians this weekend for our grand opening. Our core team members are all veteran booksellers, with an average of 17 years of book experience among us. The Booksellers on Fountain Square is truly a labor of love for all of us, and we can't wait to share our passion for books with our neighbors and friends."

Van Uum is also owner of the Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, Tenn., which was once a Davis-Kidd bookstore and for a time was part of Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Van Uum was the longtime co-owner of Joseph-Beth.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 09.18.23

Bank Square Books Planning Expansion

Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., has signed a lease on the empty storefront next door to its existing store "after a year of perseverance and negotiating," and plans a substantial expansion.

On Facebook and in an e-mail to customers yesterday, co-owners Annie Philbrick and Patience Banister said the two spaces, which are owned by the same landlord, "are connected through an open doorway which will enable us to make this one larger store with a dedicated event space and office upstairs with window views out onto Main Street.
"It is not without hard work and courage that we take this step to expand, but more importantly, this leap is possible because of your support," Philbrick and Banister wrote. "For that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We continue to love what we do. Our commitment to downtown Mystic is stronger than ever and we are humbled that we will be able to occupy a more prominent storefront on Main Street in Mystic.... Here's to the future of locally owned and fiercely independent book selling!"

Bank Square Books is no stranger to construction projects: during Hurricane Sandy last year, it was flooded and had to rebuild and earlier the street outside was torn up for long stretches during a town rebuilding project.

Weiser Books: The Weiser Tarot Journal: Guidance and Practice by Theresa Reed;  The Weiser Tarot: A New Edition of the Classic 1909 Waite-Smith Deck (78-Card Deck with 64-Page Guidebook) by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith;  The Weiser Tarot Card Sticker Book by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith

75th Anniversary: Grapes of Wrath Trek Revisited

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, the National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, Calif., is sponsoring a tour that will retrace the route of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California, beginning tomorrow and ending October 14.

On the tour, a team of artists, including playwright Octavio Solis, visual artist Patricia Wakida and filmmaker P.J. Palmer, will collect oral histories and aims to answer "three critical questions inspired by The Grapes of Wrath: What keeps you going? What do you turn to in hard times? What brings you joy when times are tough?"

At each stop along the route, the Center will also host or participate in public programs, panel discussions and creative workshops about The Grapes of Wrath. At each stop, the Penguin Group will use the Penguin Book Truck and Penguin Pushcart to sell Steinbeck titles.

Among the stops: the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History and the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Ariz.

The official Journey blog is live at The trip can also be followed at,, and

Zondervan: The Weekly Habits Project: A Challenge to Journal, Reflect, and Make Tiny Changes for Big Results by Zondervan

NAIBA Awards: 'The Envelopes, Please'

On the second night of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Fall Conference, NAIBA members gathered in the banquet hall of the DoubleTree hotel in Somerset, N.J., to honor booksellers, authors and publishing representatives at the annual awards dinner.

The night's first award, for Children's Book of the Year, went to Dragons Love Tacos by author Adam Rubin and illustrator Daniel Salmieri (Dial). The duo thanked indie booksellers for the "wonderful part" they play in the book world and pledged to continue buying their books from indie bookstores.

Tom Angleberger's Secret of a Fortune Wookiee: an Origami Yoda Book (Amulet), won Middle Grade Book of the Year. The author said that winning such an award with Judy Blume present made it even more special, and that the success of a middle grade author can be roughly determined by whether Blume is aware of you. Proclaimed Angleberger: "For at least three minutes, she knows who I am!" After Angleberger stepped down from the podium, he and Blume hugged and posed together, to exuberant applause.

Publishing house Europa Editions took home the NAIBA award for Best Original Paperbacks. Michael Reynolds, Europa's editor-in-chief, recalled how a single indie bookseller in Northern California turned Europa's first book published in the U.S. into an indie bestseller and that sales of that 2008 title, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, helped indies during a very difficult year. "Our relationship [with indie bookstores] helps to define what we are as an indie publisher," said Reynolds.

Unable to attend, authors Junot Diaz (This Is How You Lose Her, Adult Fiction Book of the Year), Andrew Soloman (Far from the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, Adult Nonfiction) and David Levithan (Everyday, YA Book of the Year) sent messages of gratitude.

Sales Rep of the Year Kristin Keith (left) with Drabyak Award winner Alicia Michielli.

The Helmuth Sales Rep of the Year award went to Norton representative Kristin Keith, who raised the award--a silver bowl--above her head and cheered as though it were the Stanley Cup. "I leave our meetings even more excited about the books I'm selling," Keith told the audience. "It's such a rush to put the right book in the right person's hand... I share this award with all of you."

Alicia Michielli, assistant manager of Talking Leaves, Buffalo, N.Y., received the Drabyak Handseller of the Year award, named for the late Joe Drabyak, former NAIBA president and bookseller at Chester County Book & Music Company in West Chester, Pa. "There's nothing I love more than talking about books," Michielli said, adding that outside of family gatherings, "this is the one place I could feel I completely belonged."

Jim Davis of the International Association of Crime Writers announced that Howard Owen was the winner of the 2012 Hammett Prize for his crime novel Oregon Hill (Permanent Press). "Nothing in my 25 years as a crime writer has pleased me this much," said Owen, who also thanked NAIBA for its hospitality and kindness. "I'm a lucky man, and especially tonight."

Judy Blume with Suzanna Hermans of Oblong Books.

The night's final prizes, the Legacy and Carla Cohen Free Speech awards, went to Judy Blume for her hugely influential, decades-spanning career and her work with the National Coalition Against Censorship. As she took the podium, Blume received a standing ovation befitting a rock star.

Blume said that she often hears from fans that they plan to give their children copies of her books when they enter adolescence. She suggested that the best way to ensure that is to buy or borrow an edition with a new cover, leave it somewhere around the house, and then, when your son or daughter asks about it, say, "I don't think you're ready."

She also talked about her love of indies and her gratitude to indie booksellers for supporting her while she was still in the early stages of her career. She announced that she hoped to finish her next novel soon, so she can "visit all of your stores." --Alex Mutter

Bramble: Gothikana by RuNyx


Image of the Day: West Hollywood Book Fair

Death and the afterlife was the hot topic of conversation at Sunday's West Hollywood Book Fair, bringing together the Reverend Ed Bacon from All Saints Church in Pasadena (author of The 8 Habits of Love, Grand Central Publishing) and Dr. Elisa Medhus from Houston, Tex. (My Son and the Afterlife, Beyond Words). Photo: Jessica Kubinec

Ezra Goldstein: 'Oracle of Literary Brooklyn Community'

The Jewish Daily Forward profiled "the oracle of literary Brooklyn community," Ezra Goldstein, co-owner of Community Bookstore in the Park Slope section as well as Terrace Books in nearby Windsor Terrace, which he and co-owner Stephanie Valdez bought earlier this year.

A native of Zanesville, Ohio, Goldstein faced a choice between staying in Zanesville and helping run the family electrical shop or "chase the dream of being a writer." He wrote the play Swimming with Sturgeon, a YA novel about a Holocaust survivor, two ghost-written memoirs for Holocaust survivors and many newspaper and magazine articles.

Then in 2011, he and Valdez bought Community Bookstore. The Forward noted, "He's wistful about his former writing life--he has hardly written a word since buying the store--but he's invigorated by an 'all-consuming' job that's changed his life '180 degrees.' … he's become an oracle for readers and most of all a magnet for the hundreds of writers who live within a stickball swing of the Seventh Avenue store."

Kate Lloyd Promoted at Scribner

Kate Lloyd has been promoted to associate director of publicity at Scribner. She was previously assistant director of publicity.

Midpoint Trade Books Adds 11 More Publishers

Midpoint Trade Books has signed distribution deals with the following publishers:

Turn the Page Publishing
Comfort Publishing
Knox Robinson Publishing
Austin Macauley Publishers
Lambert Hill
Expert Subjects
Fine Points NYC
Creative Production Services
Broken Hill
Downstream Publishing
Edda USA

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Dinkins on Tavis Smiley

Tomorrow morning on Morning Joe: Marc Ecko, author of Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out (Touchstone, $30, 9781451685305).


Tomorrow on CNN's the Lead with Jake Tapper: Valerie Plame, co-author of Blowback: A Vanessa Pierson Novel (Blue Rider, $26.95, 9780399158209).


Tomorrow on the View: Terrence J, author of The Wealth of My Mother's Wisdom: The Lessons That Made My Life Rich (It, $19.99, 9780062272942).


Tomorrow on Tavis Smiley: David Dinkins, author of A Mayor's Life: Governing New York's Gorgeous Mosaic (PublicAffairs, $29.99, 9781610393010).

This Weekend on Book TV: Rep. John Lewis

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, October 5
12 p.m. Book TV visits Billings, Mont., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

7 p.m. Steve Vogel, author of Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation (Random House, $30, 9781400069132).

7:45 p.m. Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385350884).

10 p.m. After Words. Debbie Dingell, consultant to the American Automobile Policy Council, interviews Bob Lutz, author of Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership (Portfolio, $26.95, 9781591846048). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Book TV offers coverage of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which "recognize books that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures." (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

Sunday, October 6
12:45 a.m. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of The Devil That Never Dies: The Rise and Threat of Global Antisemitism (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316097871). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)

12 p.m. In Depth. Rep. John Lewis (D., Ga.), a major force in the civil rights movement and author most recently of March, Book 1 (Top Shelf Productions, $14.95, 9781603093002), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

4 p.m. Rick Atkinson, author of The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Holt, $40, 9780805062908).

10:45 p.m. Stephen Jimenez, author of The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard (Steerforth, $26, 9781586422141), at Books Inc., San Francisco.

Books & Authors

Barry Lancet Visits Japantown in New Thriller

"The plan was only to stay in Japan for two years," said author Barry Lancet, who moved to Japan in the 1980s to work as an editor for the English-language division of Kodansha, the Japanese publishing house. He has lived there since, and his new thriller, Japantown (Simon & Schuster), draws heavily from his experience of living in Japan as a foreigner. "I wanted to write something about Japan that got behind the scenes, got below the surface," he added. "I couldn't do it in two years. After the 10th year, things kind of came together."

Japantown, which is Lancet's first published book, is told from the perspective of Jim Brodie, an antiques dealer specializing in Japanese art with a background as a private detective. After an enigmatic, unreadable Japanese character is left as the only clue to a brutal murder in San Francisco's Japantown, the police bring Brodie in as a consultant. As he begins researching the character and starts tracking the killer, he realizes that someone is tracking him.

"My job allowed me a lot of inside track into the back rooms of businesses, art studios and shops," said Lancet, who edited nonfiction books pertaining to Asian art and culture. "Because I got behind the scenes, I've seen a lot that other people haven't."

Lancet drew from his experiences both ordinary and unusual, including an intense, three-hour interview with Japanese police. Not long after moving to Japan, he was told to go to the police station for a voluntary interview. "I had no idea what I'd done," recounted Lancet. "It took me six months to even get my visa, so I was walking very carefully." The investigators didn't tell Lancet why he had been summoned. Instead, they questioned him on nearly every aspect of his personal and professional lives. "They asked everything. They asked how much money I had in my bank accounts, whether I had a girlfriend or was seeing anybody."

After hours of questioning, the investigators finally revealed to Lancet that he had been brought in because he had failed to report a change in his visa status to city hall. Although the experience was stressful, Lancet was at least able to use it in his fiction: two characters in Japantown are based on the investigators who interviewed him. "I drew from a lot of incidents like that," said Lancet. "But most were not as unpleasant."

In order to find time to write, Lancet taught himself to write standing up on a commuter train. "When you work for a Japanese company, you're married to the company," Lancet said. "I had very little writing time. I could write during some lunch breaks, but that was it."

It took him two months to get used to writing standing up, with a clipboard, on a crowded, moving train. He added: "The great thing about that was that it kind of taught me how to write anywhere, any time."

Lancet, who still lives in Japan and writes full time, is in the U.S. to do publicity for Japantown. He will attend the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association meeting in South San Francisco later this week and spend much of the month doing signings and making appearances at bookstores and libraries throughout California. In November, he'll participate in the 2013 Men of Mystery Celebration in Irvine.

Lancet is hard at work on the next books in the Jim Brodie series, with the second due out next year and the third still being written. The rights to Japantown have already been sold in six countries, and Bad Robot Productions, J.J. Abrams's production company, has optioned it for TV. Lancet said he was still in shock and still surprised--but very happily so. --Alex Mutter

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 8:

The Circle by Dave Eggers (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385351393) follows a new employee at an all-powerful tech company.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316322409).

Solo: A James Bond Novel by William Boyd (Harper, $26.99, 9780062223128) accompanies 007 on a mission in Africa.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing: A Novel by P. D. Viner (Crown, $26, 9780804136822) is a psychological thriller about the unsolved murder of a couple's daughter.

Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780547863382) explores the role of women in perpetrating the Holocaust.

Rose Kennedy's Family Album: From the Fitzgerald Kennedy Private Collection, 1878-1946 by Caroline Kennedy (Grand Central, $45, 9781455544806) shares 300 Kennedy family photos.

Camelot's Court: Inside the Kennedy White House by Robert Dallek (Harper, $32.50, 9780062065841) chronicles Kennedy's cabinet.

Now in paperback:

The Best American Infographics 2013, edited by Gareth Cook, introduction by David Byrne (Mariner, $20, 9780547973371).

Reissued in paperback:

The Death of a President: November 20-November 25, 1963 by William Manchester (Back Bay, $22, 9780316370714).

Book Review

Review: The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown, $30 hardcover, 9780316055437, October 22, 2013)

A terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art turns 14-year-old Theo Decker's life upside-down: his young mother is killed, and the traumatized Theo unthinkingly snatches her favorite painting, The Goldfinch, from the wreckage. On loan to the Met, that painting by Carel Fabritius, who had ties to Rembrandt, becomes Theo's dark secret. The theft, coupled with the derailment of his life caused by his mother's death, plunges Theo into a morass of drug addiction, alcoholism and, later in life, art fraud. By the time Theo is in his 20s and engaged to a beautiful Manhattan socialite, his past has begun to catch up to him--poised to come to a final explosive denouement in Amsterdam.

Though the details are different from her previous novels, fans of Donna Tartt will recognize some of her signature elements in The Goldfinch. Like The Secret History and The Little Friend, The Goldfinch centers on a deeply flawed protagonist who plunges by degrees into increasingly serious levels of wrongdoing. Also like her previous works, the novel's evocative settings are as critical as the plot, from Manhattan's East Village to the tawdry excess of Las Vegas. Through the filter of Theo's grief, depression and substance addiction, these locales take on a melancholy tint.

Colorful characters are a staple of The Goldfinch: there is Theo's father, a degenerate gambler and failed actor, who constructs a life built on luminous lies in Las Vegas; the antiques dealer Hobie, who takes Theo under his wing; Theo's high school friend Boris, a Russian immigrant with a criminal background, whose access to drugs and predilection for violence contribute to the downward spiral of Theo's adult life. And there is the Barbour family, a wealthy Park Avenue family whose elegance serves to remind Theo of all that he doesn't have.

The Goldfinch is also a novel of obsession: at the center of Theo's life is his love for Pippa, a girl he glimpses in the Met just before the explosion and immediately falls for. This aspect of the book is a bit uneven; Pippa and her relationship with Theo are not explored quite enough to justify the intensity of his years-long devotion. But this obsession is ultimately the heart of the novel, because it is Theo's secret--the stolen painting, and his accumulating misdeeds--that keep him forever alienated from the girl he loves. –-Ilana Teitelbaum

Shelf Talker: Tartt's latest echoes her previous novels, featuring a deeply flawed protagonist whose actions drag him increasingly toward disaster.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Out of Line by Jen McLaughlin
2. Children of Dreams by Lorilyn Roberts
3. Reckless (Renegades) by Skye Jordan
4. Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
5. Out of Breath by Rebecca Donovan
6. Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan
7. Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle) by Kristen Proby
8. Nice Girl to Love: The Complete Three-Book Collection by Violet Duke
9. Karma by Nikki Sex
10. Unattainable by Madeline Sheehan

[Many thanks to!]

St. Martin's Press: The Porcelain Maker by Sarah Freethy
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