Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

Quotation of the Day

'People Need & Appreciate a Good Bookstore'

"The Internet, Amazon, e-books. Who needs a bookstore these days? At least once a week people walk into the Regulator and tell us how surprised (and usually how pleased) they are to see that a shop like ours is still in business. But as the long time co-owner of Durham's independent bookstore, I'm not all that surprised that bookstores like ours are still doing well. In part that's because I am privileged to see, on a daily basis, the many ways that people need and appreciate a good bookstore."

--Tom Campbell, co-owner of the Regulator Bookshop, in his Durham News piece offering an insightful look at "a few of the folks that still seem to need a bookstore."

Minotaur Books: A World of Curiosities (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel #18) by Louise Penny


New Mexico Censorship Battle over Gaiman's Neverwhere

Last week the Alamogordo, N.M., Public School system "temporarily removed" Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere from its English curriculum because of what one parent called "inappropriate content." The Alamogordo Daily News reported "a particular passage on page 86" of the book, which has been used in the local high school's 10th-grade English curriculum since 2004, "grabbed the attention of Nancy Wilmott, whose teenage daughter at Alamogordo High School was reading the book as part of an assignment."

School Superintendent Dr. George Straface said the book had been "temporarily removed from usage" until it could be reviewed, a process that was scheduled to begin this week.

Yesterday, the Kids' Right to Read Project sent a letter urging the school district to return Neverwhere to the classrooms, noting that "while parents are free to request an alternative assignment for their children, they have no right to impose their views on others or to demand that otherwise educationally worthy materials be removed, merely because they consider them objectionable, offensive or inappropriate. To go further and remove the book potentially violates the constitutional rights of other students and parents. What's more, the practical effect of acceding to any parent's request to censor materials will be to invite more challenges, and to leave school officials vulnerable to multiple, possibly conflicting demands."

KRRP coordinator Acacia O'Connor said, "Getting teens to enjoy reading is a notoriously challenging task for teachers and librarians. Neil Gaiman's work is famous for both its literary merit and mass appeal to teen readers, especially boys. This book has been taught successfully and without incident to hundreds of Alamogordo students; there's no grounds to ban it now."

"I'm faintly baffled by this," Gaiman told NPR. "Neverwhere's a book that's been taught in schools for years: it's an adult novel that kids love (and won the YALSA award as an adult book that Young Adults enjoy). It's an adventure, with themes of social responsibility. I've not seen it described as 'R rated' before, and mostly worry that anyone who buys it thinking they are in for lashings of sex and violence will be extremely disappointed."

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati

Harper Lee Sues Monroe County Heritage Museum

Just weeks after settling one lawsuit, Harper Lee is heading to court again, alleging that the Monroe County Heritage Museum in her Alabama hometown is exploiting her trademark and personality rights, the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

According to the complaint, "the town's desire to capitalize upon the fame of To Kill a Mockingbird is unmistakable: Monroeville's town logo features an image of a mockingbird and the cupola of the Old County Courthouse, which was the setting for the dramatic trial in To Kill a Mockingbird." The museum is reported to have generated more than $500,000 in revenue in 2011, and Lee objects to claims made in IRS documents that its mission is "historical," THR reported.

"Its actual work does not touch upon history," the lawsuit states. "Rather, its primary mission is to trade upon the fictional story, settings and characters that Harper Lee created in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Harper Lee's own renown as one of the nation's most celebrated authors.... Historical facts belong to the world, but fiction and trademarks are protected by law."

"I have not read it and not been served," said Stephanie Rogers, the museum's executive director. "The museum has been doing what we always have done. We honor her here. We don't sell anything with her name. We sell memorabilia to those who come to see a production of To Kill a Mockingbird that we secure dramatic rights to. Everything we do is above board. I'm shocked by this."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Letterpress Books to Open Next Week in Maine

Letterpress Books, a new family-owned indie, will have its soft opening this Monday at the Northgate Plaza in the North Deering section of Portland, Maine. The business is owned by John Paul and Karen Bakshoian. Their daughter Katherine Osborne, who has 24 years of experience in southern Maine bookstores, is the manager and buyer.

"Here in Portland, the shelves are stocked with new books and with games & crafts for all ages," Karen said. "The spinracks are full of Young Readers, cards and lush Moleskine journals. We passed the fire safety inspection with official okay to open.... So many people have been peeking in as we work, to give a 'thumb's up' welcome and say how excited they are to have a new bookstore opening in their neighborhood."

"We are ready for the hoards of book shoppers," she added. "One local man stopped in to ask for flyers. He works at the L.L. Bean Call Center down the street and wants to alert all of their team to our opening. That's an example of the welcome we are getting from the community. Certainly gives a warm glow and balances all the hard work it takes to get a bookstore up and running."

Letterpress Books is located at 91 Auburn St., Portland, Maine 04103; 207-747-4232;; also on Facebook and Twitter (@letterpressbks).

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

Kepler's State-of-the-Union Gathering

Kepler's Books has scheduled its first annual state-of-the-union gathering on October 21 to update the local community on progress made toward creating the sustainable bookstore of the future. The event will be open to the public.

"We're pleased to be able to report significant progress toward our goals for the new Kepler's and the nonprofit Arts & Lectures Series," said Praveen Madan, CEO of Kepler's. "Because of the extraordinary support we've received from the community, we want to continue to keep everyone apprised of and engaged with our ongoing efforts. We also want to be able to answer questions from members of the community, and this open event is the perfect venue to do so."

Attendees will receive a high-level overview of the new legal, financial and organizational structures in place, as well as feedback from a panel of book industry experts. The Kepler's team will then provide a more detailed update on Kepler's Books store changes, growth in inventory and the new team. The Arts & Lectures nonprofit organization will update attendees on programs, attendance, revenues, and children's programming. Madan will wrap up with a report on challenges, growth areas and new initiatives. Audience members will be able to ask questions following the presentations.

OR Books Teams with Restaurant for Pop-Up Bookstore

Publisher OR Books and Manhattan restaurant Alexandra will collaborate on a pop-up bookstore October 18-25. During that week, Alexandra's diners can browse the OR list, with paperbacks available for purchase and a free e-book served with every meal. OR authors will be dining at the West Village eatery throughout the week. Events and author appearances will be announced through the week via the pop-up website, and on Twitter using the hashtag #restORant.


Image of the Day: The Rosie Project Serves Lobster

Simon & Schuster celebrated the release of The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion by commandeering Luke's Lobster's NautiMobile during the lunch rush in midtown Manhattan to give away free lobster rolls and a copy of the book to the first 100 patrons. Simsion, just in from his native Australia, signed each copy and chatted with readers (and eaters). His novel stars a brilliant yet socially inept and lovelorn professor whose life is a model of scientific efficiency that is so calibrated that he eats the same meal, at the same place, on the same day every week. Tuesday, fittingly, is lobster day.

Attention Muggles: Harry Potter Festival in Philadelphia

This weekend's Harry Potter Festival in Philadelphia begins tomorrow, transforming the Chestnut Hill neighborhood into Diagon Alley for an enchanting weekend that includes a neighborhood-wide costume party, Harry Potter Pub Crawl, Dumbledore's Powers Maze at the Woodmere Art Museum, Quidditch Tournament, Hunt for the Horcrux scavenger hunt, Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, sorting hat demonstrations, fortune tellers, specialty food and drink, and more.

'17 Things I Love About Independent Bookstores'

On her blog Books, the Universe and Everything, Emily Wilson paid tribute "to the things I love about independent bookstores":

"There are many noble reasons to shop at independent bookstores. Supporting local businesses, good for the economy, etc. etc. etc. But the main reason I buy all of my books at indie bookstores is a very selfish reason: I love being in bookstores. Indie bookstores are some of my favorite places on the planet. I love walking into a bookstore and wondering what new interest or author I'll discover. I love being able to pop into BookCourt on my walk home from work and quickly grab a book from a favorite author the very day it's released. I love browsing the four floors of Strand for hours on a Saturday afternoon, emerging with a giant stack of books. I love visiting local bookstores in the places I travel. I love being surrounded by people who love books and reading as much as I do. If I don't help support them, how can I expect them to stay open for me to come in and wander around?

"I wrote this post as a celebration of the many things I love about independent bookstores and to salute some of my favorites. So, here's a list of 17 things I love about independent bookstores. There are many more than 17 things to appreciate, but these are the things that matter most to me."

Calendar: Tattooed Librarians of the Ocean State

The Rhode Island Library Association "is challenging people to check their preconceived library notions at the door," the Huffington Post reported, adding that RILA's fall fundraising plans include the launch of a Tattooed Librarians of the Ocean State 2014 calendar, "which features twelve librarians and library workers representing the many working professionals who are proud of their career, their ink, and the stories they tell."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Billy Crystal on Fresh Air

Today on Fresh Air: Billy Crystal, author of Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? (Holt, $28, 9780805098204).


Tomorrow morning on Fox & Friends: Maajid Nawaz, author of Radical: My Journey Out of Islamist Extremism (Lyons Press, $26.95, 9780762791361).


Tomorrow on ABC's the Chew: Kevin O'Leary, author of The Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them (Gallery, $26, 9781476734422).


Tomorrow on the Rachael Ray Show: Clinton Kelly, author of Freakin' Fabulous on a Budget (Gallery, $26, 9781476715520).


Tomorrow night on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight: Jessica Seinfeld, author of The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified! (Atria, $27.99, 9781451662252).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with David Letterman: Steve Young, co-author of Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals (Blast Books, $39.95, 9780922233441).

This Weekend on Book TV: Jesmyn Ward

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 19
8 a.m. James L. Swanson, author of The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy (Scholastic Press, $18.99, 9780545490078).

11 a.m. Najla Said, author of Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594487088).

12 p.m. Book TV visits Erie, Pa., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:45 a.m.)

4:45 p.m. Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way (S&S, $28, 9781451654424). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 a.m.)

7 p.m. Molly Knight Raskin, author of No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780306821660). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Mark Lee Gardner, author of Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid and the Wild West's Greatest Escape (Morrow, $27.99, 9780061989476).

9 p.m. Jesmyn Ward, author of Men We Reaped: A Memoir (Bloomsbury USA, $26, 9781608195213), at Square Books, Oxford, Miss.  

10 p.m. After Words. Sally Quinn, co-creator of the Washington Post blog "On Faith," interviews Richard Dawkins, author of An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062225795). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. & 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. John Lott, author of Dumbing Down the Courts: How Politics Keeps the Smartest Judges Off the Bench (Bascom Hill Publishing, $17.95, 9781626522497). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:45 p.m.)

Sunday, October 20
12:15 a.m. Sasha Abramsky, author of The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (Nation Books, $26.99, 9781568587264).

8 a.m. Keel Hunt, author of Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal (Vanderbilt University Press, $27.50, 9780826519320). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

1 p.m. Jim Rogers, author of Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets (Crown Business, $26, 9780307986078). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

7:45 p.m. Randall Kennedy, author of For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780307907370), at the Concord Bookshop, Concord, Mass.     

10 p.m. Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists & Progressive Politics During World War II (Basic Civitas Books, $26.99, 9780465018758).

11:15 p.m. Richard Moe, author of Roosevelt's Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War (Oxford University Press USA, $29.95, 9780199981915), at Politics & Prose, Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Foundation named finalists for this year's National Book Awards. The winners will be named November 20. This year's shortlisted titles are:

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner (Scribner)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (Riverhead)
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Penguin)
Tenth of December by George Saunders (Random House)

The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore (Knopf)
Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer (FSG)
The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (Norton)
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Knopf)

Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart (FSG)
Stay, Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido (Knopf)
The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka (Penguin Poets)
Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen (Louisiana State University Press)
Incarnadine by Mary Szybist (Graywolf Press)

Young People's Literature
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Knopf)
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (Putnam)
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang (First Second/Macmillan)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing Tuesday, October 22:

Sycamore Row by John Grisham (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385537131) returns to the setting of A Time to Kill.

We Are Water: A Novel by Wally Lamb (Harper, $29.99, 9780061941023) explores a family as the divorced wife and mother is about to wed her art dealer, a woman.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316055437) follows a boy whose memento of his late mother is a stolen painting.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books, $19.99, 9780062024060) concludes the Divergent trilogy.

Book Review

Review: Purgatory

Purgatory by Ken Bruen (Mysterious Press, $24 hardcover, 9780802126078, November 4, 2013)

Ken Bruen is an Irish treasure, holding his own in a line of literary giants including Joyce, Yeats, Wilde and Beckett. His noir protagonist Jack Taylor is an ex-cop from the Galway Guard wrestling with a host of addictions. Among his few friends are Stewart, a drug dealer turned Zen master, and Ridge, a tough, gay sergeant of the Guard. Over the years, in Bruen's nine previous Taylor novels, Jack's been around, been jacked up and beaten down, but has remained "always the hard arse" and "a cocktail of self interest, self-doubt, and of course self-harm." As he says, "That doesn't make me bad so much as Irish."

In Purgatory, Oscar Wilde provides the pseudonym for the cryptic notes of a serial vigilante killer teasing Taylor to join in eliminating Galway's unpunished criminals freed by shady defense lawyers. But Taylor doesn't bite. Instead, he takes on a simple investigation into a church statuary theft and reluctantly accepts a lucrative assignment from Reardon, an expat American dot-com billionaire who's out to buy all the city's depression-priced property and suspects an employee of selling information to his competition. On the wagon, but with frequent lapses, Taylor lets Stewart pursue the vigilante's clues while he pursues Reardon's attractive, smart-mouthed American assistant, Kelly. But violence won't leave Taylor alone: Ridge is beaten nearly to death and Stewart pushes his vigilante hunch one shotgun blast too far. And Kelly... well, she turns out to have a psychopathic past and an obsession with Oscar Wilde.

Set against the Irish economic collapse, Purgatory may be the best of the Jack Taylor series. Bruen's dazzling Irish storytelling voice has its roots in the descriptive wit of Robert Parker and the lowlife dialogue of George V. Higgins. Taylor's modern Galway has become so Americanized that ubiquitous T-shirts now reflect the pop philosophy and music of the wearers. Even young mogul Reardon wears "beat-up 501s [and] a white worn T that proclaimed Grateful Dead, SA, 1977." Reardon and his entourage bring more than just bad American street fashion to Galway, however: they also bring American vigilantism, "honed in the States, an equal killer land of opportunity. Get a car and a sound track of Hank Williams and you were good to go." In Purgatory, Ken Bruen brings his A game. Taste it and you'll fall off the wagon too... at least long enough to go back to read the previous Taylor novels. --Bruce Jacobs

Shelf Talker: In perhaps the best novel of his Jack Taylor series, Bruen pits the troubled Galway private investigator against an American billionaire and his entourage.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Cast No Stones by Kevin Machell
2. Louisiana Longshot (A Miss Fortune Mystery) by Jana DeLeon
3. BBW Romance Boxed Set by Various
4. Out of Line by Jen McLaughlin
5. Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland
6. Carter Reed by Tijan
7. Rockstar Romance Boxed Set by Various
8. My Alpha Billionaire Volume 1 by Tawny Taylor
9. Her Billionaires: Boxed Set by Julia Kent
10. Convicted (Consequences) by Aleatha Romig

[Many thanks to!]

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