Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 4, 2014

Dutton: Summer Fridays by Suzanne Rindell

Tor Books: The Daughters' War (Blacktongue) by Christopher Buehlman

Tommy Nelson: Just in Case You Ever Feel Alone (Just in Case) by Max Lucado, Illustrated by Eve Tharlet

Bramble: The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Pixel+ink: The Second Favorite Daughters Club 1: Sister Sabotage by Colleen Oakes

Minotaur Books: The Burning (Kate Burkholder #16) by Linda Castillo


B&N: Liberty Media Reducing Stake; Board Changes

Liberty Media Corporation is selling most of its stake in Barnes & Noble to institutional investors and will retain only about 10% of its initial investment--less than 2% of the company. As a result, Liberty Media will no longer have the right to elect two directors to B&N's board. Greg Maffei, Liberty Media's president and CEO, is leaving the board. Liberty Media's senior v-p Mark Carleton has been re-elected to the board.

"By reducing our preferred position and eliminating some of our related rights, Barnes & Noble will gain greater flexibility to accomplish their strategic objectives," said Maffei.  
B&N CEO Leonard Riggio said Liberty's "decision to retain a portion of its investment and have active involvement on our board underscores Liberty's ongoing commitment to Barnes & Noble," adding that Liberty's reduced ownership gives the company "greater flexibility to pursue various strategic options."

Wall Street did not like the news about Liberty Media's sale: yesterday, B&N closed at $19.12 a share, down 13.5%. John Tinker, an analyst at Maxim Group, told the Wall Street Journal: "Liberty's involvement was a major endorsement. Perhaps they don't see as much upside as they once thought."

In May 2011, Liberty Media offered to buy 70% of B&N for $17 share or about $1.02 billion. At the time, Liberty Media chairman John Malone called the deal "a bit of a flier for us, on whether or not Barnes & Noble can play competitively with the likes of Apple and Amazon in the digital transformation. That's really the bet."

But by August 2011, Liberty Media wound up buying 16.6% of the company, for $204 million, obtaining convertible stock with a 7.75% dividend and the right to name two members to an expanded board: Maffei and Carleton.

Maffei is being replaced by Scott S. Cowen, president of Tulane University in New Orleans. Cowen's academic focus is on strategic financial management systems, corporate governance and leadership. He has consulted with dozens of companies, from startups to Fortune 100 companies and is currently a board member of Newell Rubbermaid and Forest City Enterprises.

Riggio said Cowen "brings a broad range of experience to the board on the educational front as well as substantial experience having served on both public and private company boards."

William Morrow & Company: Lula Dean's Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Rizzoli Bookstore to Close Next Week; Rally Today

Rizzoli Bookstore, which was not able to convince New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission to grant landmark status for the iconic building where is located, will close April 11, according to the New York Times. The store is currently holding a 40% off "Moving Sale" until that date. The company is actively seeking a new space.

The Save Rizzoli movement, which launched a petition in January, will rally today outside the store, where Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and leading preservationists will call upon the LPC to reverse its rejection of landmark status for the building and ask for an immediate consideration of landmark status for other notable buildings on W. 57th between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue.

"All hope is not lost" in the effort to save the bookstore, the International Business Times reported, but noted that "the fight between developers and preservationists on Manhattan's rapidly changing 57th Street is getting dirtier--literally," with Vornado Realty Trust, which co-owns the three properties at the center of the dispute, deploying contractors "to deface the exterior of the buildings in a premeditated effort to derail the landmark-evaluation process."

Harper Celebrate: Why Do We Stay?: How My Toxic Relationship Can Help You Find Freedom by Stephanie Quayle, with Keith W. Campbell

World Book Night U.S.: Publicity Humming

With just under three weeks to go until World Book Night on April 23, national PR about WBN and indie bookseller local outreach are already paying off, according to WBN U.S. director Carl Lennertz.

Following widespread coverage of Amy Poehler's appointment as honorary chairperson, national print preview coverage of the campaign included a half-page item in Costco Connection and an "Aww and Awesome" column mention in this month's Oprah magazine.

Local coverage for the hundreds of bookstore and library giver receptions due to take place the week of April 14 has hit the Malibu Times, thanks to Diesel, and the Chicago Tribune, thanks to Anderson's.

Lennertz commented: "This is well ahead of the last two years, and there's more to come. The Costco mention is a thoughtful gesture on their part; they are not carrying the WBN picks. And along with all the giver receptions generating local press, we have just finalized the 23-author launch event schedule for April 14-22. I've also heard of some stores--City Lit in Chicago and Greenlight in Brooklyn--planning to have authors in for the giver receptions!"

University of Texas Press: Loose of Earth: A Memoir by Kathleen Dorothy Blackburn

Jarrett Krosoczka to Host BEA Children's Art Auction

Bestselling author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka will host this year's Children's Book Art Auction and Reception at BookExpo America. The auction, which is co-sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the ABC Children's Group at the American Booksellers Association, will be held on May 28 at the Javits Center. Proceeds support ABFFE's defense of the free speech rights of young readers.

Krosoczka said that "every single piece of artwork will help create an atmosphere in which our children have the right, and the freedom, to read." He has written a letter urging artists and illustrators to donate to the auction.

ABFFE president Chris Finan said Krosoczka "has been advocating for kids' access to art for years. We couldn't think of a better host."

Following the Javits event, ABFFE will launch an online auction featuring art donated exclusively for that event as well as pieces that do not sell at BEA. It will run from May 29 to June 5.

Porter Square Books Putting Patterson Grant $ to Work

Later this month, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., will host its first events using funds from the grants awarded to indies by James Patterson this year.
On April 8, the bookstore will present Julie Freyermuth and Virginia Freyermuth, author and illustrator of Norbert: What Can Little Me Do?--a picture book inspired by a real three-pound registered therapy dog, published by Polly Parker Press--to 99 first graders at the Dr. Albert F. Argenziano School in Somerville and 37 first graders at the Tobin Montessori School in Cambridge.

On April 17, Porter Square will host a presentation in the store for kindergarten classes from the nearby Kennedy School, followed by another event at the King Open School in East Cambridge.

The presentations include an interactive book reading, followed by a q&a with the author, as well as a brief talk by the illustrator about artist journaling. The finale will be meeting Norbert as he shows children a few cool tricks before giving a book to every child. The bookstore noted that the Patterson grant "will ensure that every student who attends, whether they can afford it or not, will receive a copy of the book."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
We Are Definitely Human
by X. Fang
GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

When Mr. Li investigates a crash outside his house, he finds three strangers with very big eyes and very blue skin, along with their broken, um, "car...." But Mr. Li doesn't worry because his guests affirm they "are DEFINITELY human." X. Fang's out-of-this-world picture book, We Are Definitely Human, features hilariously deadpan text and charming, though (maybe?) clueless, protagonists. Tundra Books v-p and publisher Tara Walker (a "UFO engineer" since childhood) says she's "always looking for books that surprise me as a reader--that make me laugh and have heart as well. And this book delivers on all fronts!" Fang wisely, gracefully, and humorously reminds readers of the importance of offering help where help is needed. --Lynn Becker

(Tundra Books, $18.99 hardcover, ages 4-8, 9781774882023,
August 6, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Orphan Train Express

Watchung Booksellers owner Margot Sage-EL (l.) celebrates with Christina Baker Kline.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the publication of Christina Baker Kline's novel Orphan Train--and its bestselling status--her local bookstore, Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., hosted a party. Publisher William Morrow sent the cake and champagne as a thank you to the bookstore for its support.

Happy Fifth Birthday, Boswell Book Company!

In anticipation of the fifth anniversary celebration April 28 for Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis., the Boswellians blog highlighted the store's new window display, noting that "Boswellian Mel put together a display window for the Fifth Anniversary Celebration of Boswell and it's finally finished! Here's the pic. It looks really neat at night, or as one Boswellian put it: 'It looks like birthday threw up all over the window, which is exactly what you'd want in a birthday display.' Mel says there are fives hidden throughout the window."

The fifth anniversary party will feature Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (Algonquin), who will read from and sign copies of the book. In addition, owner Daniel Goldin will give a State of the Store talk, and refreshments will be served.

In his Indie Next list recommendation for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry--which explains in part why Zevin makes such a good bookstore anniversary party star--Goldin wrote: "Fikry is a bookseller with a small shop in a sleepy resort island town off the coast of Massachusetts. He's a bit cantankerous, but with good reason; his wife, the people person of the relationship, has just died and his prize possession, a rare copy of Tamerlane, has gone missing. Despite all those losses, there's one strange addition, a baby girl left on his doorstep, with an explicit request for Fikry to take her in. Zevin's novel is one of death and rebirth, held together by the spirit of the bookstore. It's a romantic comedy, a spiritual journey, and if you include the chapter openings, a collection of short story criticism too. In short, it's a celebration of books and the people who read them, write them, and sell them."

Distribution: New Clients for PGW, Ingram Publisher Services

Effective last Tuesday, April 1, Divine Arts is being distributed to the book trade by Publishers Group West.

Divine Arts focuses on books about the mind-body-spirit and consciousness movement. Its backlist includes The Shaman & Ayahuasca by Don Jose Campos and Geraldine Overton-Wiese and Recipes for a Sacred Life by Rivvy Neshama; among upcoming titles are The Divine Art of Dying by Karen Speerstra and a revised edition of Living in Balance by Joel and Michelle Levey.


Ingram Publisher Services has added two new client publishers, handling U.S. and Canadian sales and distribution for:

Clovercroft Publishing, an imprint of Christian Book Services, which emphasizes Christian titles in health and fitness, finance, business, sales and other topics. Clovercroft plans to publish 15 titles in its first season with IPS, including Unbreakable: A Navy SEAL's Way of Life by Thom Shea.

Permuted Platinum, an imprint of Permuted Press, which was reated to provide global distribution of printed content in both trade paperback and hardcover formats of titles published by Permuted Press. Permuted Press is best known for its horror and post-apocalyptic titles and is expanding into fantasy and science fiction; it publishes only digitally.

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At Little, Brown Books for Young Readers:

Melanie Chang has been promoted to the newly created role of v-p, integrated marketing. She was previously v-p, executive director, publicity & communications.
Allegra Green has been promoted to marketing operations coordinator. She was previously marketing assistant.


Hannah Harlow has been promoted to assistant director of marketing for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She has worked more than 10 years at Houghton, Harcourt and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Peter Matthiessen on NPR's Weekend Edition

Today on Fresh Air: Todd Purdum, author of An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Holt, $30, 9780805096729).


Tomorrow on NPR's Weekend Edition: Peter Matthiessen, author of In Paradise (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594633171).

TV: Game of Thrones; The Musketeers

The fourth season of HBO's Game of Thrones premieres Sunday and the media blitz is in full swing. Indiewire offered a "kingdom's worth of new pics plus three featurettes," adding that "even if you haven't watched a single frame of the show, HBO2 has you covered: a marathon of every episode to date, back-to-back, twice, kicks off this Friday at 9 a.m."

"How would you die in Westeros?" asked Vulture to introduce the GoT death generator, noting that Game of Thrones "might be the deadliest show on TV.... If you were to suddenly find yourself in the Seven Kingdoms, how might you meet your maker?"

Word & Film explored the show "on location," noting that the production team has invested a great deal of effort to find "convincing real-world counterparts to the exotic and dangerous locales of the series."

In examining "the science behind the hit series," CBS News reported that "the show's never-ending action might distract fans from the real science that underpins some of the series' pivotal events and characters."


BBC America has already picked up a second season of The Musketeers ahead of its U.S. debut June 22, reported. The series, created by Adrian Hodges (My Week with Marilyn), stars Luke Pasqualino (The Borgias), Tom Burke (Great Expectations), Santiago Cabrera (Heroes), Howard Charles (Royal Shakespeare Company), Peter Capaldi, Maimie McCoy, Tamla Kari and Hugo Speer.

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott, Miles Franklin Longlists

The longlist has been announced for the £10,000 (about US$16,625) Desmond Elliott Prize, which honors a first novel published in the U.K. The shortlist will be released May 26 and a winner named July 3 in London. This year's Desmond Elliott longlist:

The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison
Idiopathy by Sam Byers
Meeting the English by Kate Clanchy
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
Sedition by Katharine Grant
The Dynamite Room by Jason Hewitt
A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera
Ballistics by D. W. Wilson


This year's longlist has been announced for the $60,000 (about US$64,884) Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's prestigious prize honoring a novel "of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian life in any of its phases." The shortlist will be announced May 15 and the winner named June 26. The 2013 Miles Franklin longlisted titles are:

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt by Tracy Farr
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay
Mullumbimby by Melissa Lucashenko
The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane
Belomor by Nicolas Rothwell
Game by Trevor Shearston
My Beautiful Enemy by Cory Taylor
Eyrie by Tim Winton
The Swan Book by Alexis Wright
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Above: A Novel by Isla Morley (Gallery Books, $24.99, 9781476731520). "Blythe can't imagine anything worse than the 17 years she has been held captive in an abandoned underground missile silo until she escapes with her teenage son. The book begins as the compelling story of a teenager who has to endure her abduction by a mad survivalist who was convinced that the world was coming to an end, but it ends as a riveting, heart-stopping tale of determination, love, and hope for the future." --Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

Runner by Patrick Lee (Minotaur, $24.99, 9781250030733). "All I can say about this thriller is wow! When Sam Dryden decides to solve his insomnia by going for a run near the beach, he almost runs over a young girl who is also running, but definitely not for fun. She is being chased by what seems to be an army, and Sam--ex-military himself--can't help but come to her rescue. What follows is an exciting story of brainwashing and psychic manipulations all done for the wrong reasons. Sam and his young friend must always stay one step ahead of the folks who want to get her, but then Lee throws in an interesting twist to make readers question the identity of the real bad guys. An amazing book that will keep you up until you finish!" --Barbara Kelly, Portland Bookstore, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Me.

Her: A Memoir by Christa Parravani (Picador, $16, 9781250044396). "Whether you are a fan of memoirs, a fiction reader, or just plain love great writing, this true story of twin sisters separated first by violence and then by tragedy is a must-read. Parravani offers a deep look inside the inner life of twins and shows how addiction can tear at the very heart of a family. A mesmerizing read." --Laura Hansen, Bookin' It, Little Falls, Minn.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald (Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99, 9780062216144). "Take one 12-year-old girl with insatiable curiosity and a talent for getting into trouble, give her a mysterious box from an estranged aunt that will only open in one location, throw in a couple of mismatched boy cousins, and stir. Ringwald's The Secret Box gives the middle school set their own smart and snazzy intellectual mystery series. With spot-on characters who are very much of this world--and are at times downright funny--and a story that threatens to transcend accepted reality, The Secret Box is an exciting and engaging read." --Susan Petrone, Loganberry Books, Cleveland, Ohio

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Brahmin: Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett lives in Cambridge, England, and has worked as a social worker and is now a university lecturer in social work. He has published three novels, two short story collections and many short stories in magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic. He won the Edge Hill Short Fiction Award in 2009 for his story collection The Turing Test. His novel Dark Eden, first published in the U.K, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2013. It's just been released here by Broadway Books.

On your nightstand now:

Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I've only ever read American Gods by him before.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Box of Delights by John Masefield. The box itself is a little thing the size of a matchbox. If you open it up, there is a book inside it with wonderfully vivid pictures that come to life as you look at them, until you can actually step into them and enter their world. But if you keep it closed and move the catch, you can "go small" and become as tiny as a mouse, or, if you prefer, "go quickly" and find yourself wherever you want to be in no time at all. Written by a former poet laureate, the book is packed with detail, history, legend, humour and invention. I've still got it, but the spine is broken and the cover fell off long ago, so often did I reread it.

Your top five authors:

Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Doris Lessing, Kazuo Ishiguro, Leo Tolstoy. (But it might be a different five another day.)

Book you've faked reading:

I can't remember ever faking reading a book, but I could compile quite a long list of books I gave up halfway through.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson--a beautiful short novel for adults steeped in the darkness of a Scandinavian winter, by the brilliant author/illustrator of the Moomintroll books.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Jack Glass by Adam Roberts--beautiful cover. The contents aren't too bad, either.

Book that changed your life:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I read this aged 12 at school. I think it was the first time I realized that a novel could really be about stuff. Its influence can still be seen in Dark Eden, written the better part of four decades later.

Favorite line from a book:

" 'Dial 888,' Rick said as the set warmed. 'The desire to watch TV, no matter what's on it.' " --From the darkly funny opening scene of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and Cyril M. Kornbluth. Utterly brilliant satirical SF about a capitalist dystopia, written the early '50s and still fresh, relevant and very funny. Some of the subtleties were a bit wasted on me when I first read it at 14.

Book Review

Review: The Frangipani Hotel

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith (Spiegel & Grau, $25 hardcover, 9780812993318, April 1, 2014)

Based on traditional Vietnamese folktales, the nine stories in Violet Kupersmith's The Frangipani Hotel take the reader through matters fantastic, chilling and ghostly. There are many hauntings recounted in the stories, most particularly the haunting hangover of the Vietnam War and the ways it has affected so many people.

In "Boat Story," a young girl wants her grandmother to tell her about escaping in an open boat for a school assignment. The girl wants the hard facts, the rigors of the crossing, maybe a storm at sea--and her grandmother weaves a tale of a man walking on water (a dead man at that) and how she and her husband got away from him. Her granddaughter says: "But I want the real story! Why can't you tell me how you escaped?" Grandmother's response sets the tone for the rest of the stories: "It's simple, child: Did we ever really escape?"

In "Turning Back," an aimless Vietnamese-American girl, Phuong, finds an old Vietnamese man, stark naked, behind the convenience store where she works as a clerk in Houston. She further discovers, to her horror, that he can turn into a giant python, then back into a man--over and over again. Naked or scaly, he recounts to Phuong bits and pieces of what it's like to be a snake: "How to taste smell, how to taste heat, seeing the world in motion, not in colors. The feeling of coiling, of lengthening, of squeezing."

"Descending Dragon" finds Ms. Nguyen having her daily phone conversation with her daughter when she hallucinates a tank in her bedroom, the same tank she saw 40 years ago, when it was real. When her daughter, Lam, talks again, the tank disappears. Ms. Nguyen has begun her litany of complaints, as usual; in the middle of her recitation, her daughter interrupts, saying, "I can't fly down for Lunar New Year as we planned." Ms. Nguyen responds: "Did you know, my feet are always cold now?" Lam tells her that she should wear the wool socks she sent, and Ms. Nguyen says that they are very slippery. This perfect foreshadowing sets up an ending that is just as Ms. Nguyen would wish it to be.

Each of the stories is replete with characters both fabulous and ordinary, stories out of this world and firmly rooted in it. Each is meticulously told by a storyteller talented and wise beyond her years. --Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: Violet Kupersmith's stories contain clashes between the real world and the spirit world, with a cast of diverse characters, many fantastical.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Home Opener

As you read this, Nan Sorensen, administrative coordinator at the New England Independent Booksellers Association, is either preparing to head over to Boston's Fenway Park or is already there, psyched for the home opener of her beloved World Champion Red Sox. Nan is one of the most passionate Sox fans in the book business and I wondered about her game prep because baseball is, after all, a sport of rituals.

"I always wear a Red Sox T-shirt, but most important is I will have a soft ice cream before I enter Fenway," she said. "Regardless of temperature, I always do. Usually I wear shorts and a Fenway Park (I love Fenway as much as I love the Red Sox) T-shirt, but in the heat of the summer I sometimes get brave and wear my pink Dustin Pedroia T-shirt." Would she dare bring a book to a game? "No book. I buy a program at my first game of year. There is always too much going on at Fenway to have a book."

The Red Sox season officially began earlier this week in Baltimore, and even ESPN couldn’t resist a bookish lead in reporting on the game: "No need for Grady Sizemore to embellish his story. It's already just a couple of ticks shy of Roy Hobbs as it is. No need for Jackie Bradley Jr. to embellish his story, either. These days, it seems like Stephen King is ghostwriting it."

Baseball remains the sport that lies closest to our literary souls. Even an impromptu starting lineup card of authors is an all-star team: Roger Angell, W.P. Kinsella, Don DeLillo, Bernard Malamud, George Plimpton, Donald Hall, David Halberstam, Thomas Boswell, Roger Kahn. Creating that list off the top of my head should spark another great baseball tradition: the "rhubarb." What about Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King and David James Duncan and Chad Harbach? Or old school legends like Ring Lardner? Since it's also opening week for Poetry Month, how about Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "Baseball Canto" or John Updike's "Baseball"?

In other words, books and baseball make a good team:

  • The Baltimore Orioles are sporting a patch on their uniforms honoring the late Tom Clancy.  
  • April 23 marks the 100th anniversary of the first professional baseball game at what is now Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. "Only florists and chocolatiers love anniversaries more than book publishers do," the Tribune noted.
  • Derek Jeter, who will have his own imprint at Simon & Schuster by this time next year, began his Yankee career farewell tour in Houston this week.
  • MLB Network unveiled its new opening sequence, which takes "a page straight out of another American tradition: comic books."

For Nan, however, it's all about the Sox. The team was honored this week at the White House by President Obama, who named Mike Napoli to the newly-created (as of April Fool's Day) President's Council on Beards. Even press secretary Jay Carney "bearded up" for the occasion to celebrate the barbigerous champs--as, by the way, had Nan last season (and we have the photographic evidence), putting on her game face when it mattered.

She did confess, however, that when she was growing up in New Jersey, she was a Yankee fan: "I loved Joe Pepitone!" Later, while working for the publisher David R. Godine, "we used to go to Opening Day at Fenway. George Gibson and Andre Dubus II would buy a big block of tickets and we'd take the afternoon off. That was my introduction to the Red Sox. Now I love Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi (David Ortiz) and Shane Victorino."

There are far too many Red Sox fans among NEIBA members to list, but Nan said that "standouts include Mark Lamphier of Harvard Book Store, Cambridge; and Dawn Rennert of the Concord Bookshop." She also gave high marks to Random House district sales manager Lesley Vasilio, "with whom I go to the games, though sadly not for Friday's game." I couldn't resist asking if there are any Yankee fans hiding out among NEIBA members, and she cited Michael Herrmann of Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., adding that "he doesn't hide it."

The columnist psyched up for opening day, Little League edition, circa 1959.

Although I'm not a Red Sox fan, I do have genuine Sox street cred. My parents spent their 1949 honeymoon in Boston and saw a few games. Since I was born almost exactly nine months later, you could say I was conceived in the shadow of Fenway Park. And I certainly spent uncounted hours of my youth consumed with becoming a "real ballplayer," as my father, who worshiped Ted Williams, called the good ones.

There may be some lingering effects, so I completely understand Nan's emotions yesterday, when she told me: "Today is like the day before leaving on vacation. Ready to burst with excitement! Glad the gates open early so I can get out of the house and head over. For the past few years I've gone to all the games with Lesley, but could only manage to get the one ticket for this. Going to feel weird, but I'm sure I'll find a few people to cheer with; and sing 'Sweet Caroline' with--one of my favorite parts of the game!"

And is there a connection between baseball and booksellers? "Baseball players, like booksellers, 'fight' everyday for the good of the 'team,' " she replied. Play ball! --Robert Gray, contributing editor

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in March

The following were the most popular book club books during March based on votes from more than 100,000 book club readers from more than 39,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)
2. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Morrow)
3. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Viking)
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Knopf)
5. The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)
6. Me Before You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes (Penguin)
7. The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. Stedman (Scribner)
8. Divergent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)
9. And the Mountains Echoed: A Novel by Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton)

Rising Stars:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (Emily Bestler Books/Atria)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Simon & Schuster)

[Many thanks to!]

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