Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 11, 2014

Grove Press: Brother Alive by Zain Khalid

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo


Artbook @ Swiss Institute to Pop Up Regularly

Artbook @ Swiss Institute, a pop-up bookstore, makes its debut next Tuesday, September 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. during the opening of the Swiss Institute's Annual Design Series in its space at 18 Wooster Street in SoHo in New York City. The pop-up bookstore will open during Swiss Institute events and on special public shopping days. It will also be open Monday through Saturday, November 28 through December 23.

The Swiss Institute is a nonprofit institution dedicated to contemporary art that puts on four exhibitions a year, has many public programs and aims to be a forum for contemporary cultural dialogue between Europe and the U.S.

The Artbook division of D.A.P. runs bookstores at a variety of museums, oversees book selection for other museums and has pop-up stores at art fairs. D.A.P., or Distributed Art Publishers, is a major art book distributor for a range of museums and imprints.

Artbook @ Swiss Institute said the store will be "freshly installed with an entirely new thematic focus, new choice of titles, and eclectic selection of publishers every two months. Browsers and collectors alike will be treated to a library-quality display of new releases, classic titles, museum catalogues, out-of-print and rare books, hard-to-find treasures, indie magazines, and limited editions. Each theme store is conceived in collaboration between Artbook's Skuta Helgason and the Swiss Institute's Simon Castets with input from represented curators and artists."

The first Artbook @ Swiss Institute collection focuses on design books with an emphasis on chair design, to complement architect Andreas Angelidakis's exhibition of 20th-century chair design presented as a curatorial homage to Eugène Ionesco's absurdist play The Chairs.

Harper: We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

Baker Books in Massachusetts to Close

Baker Books, Dartmouth, Mass., is closing after 25 years in business, reported. The store will shut its doors this fall, although owners Deborah and Ben Baker will continue to sell books online.

Deborah, said, "We're both getting on and we want to have more time for ourselves. The book business has changed dramatically."

In 2012, Baker Books downsized to a 1,300-square-foot space from a 4,000-square-foot space and decided to focus on used books and special orders. One-third of its inventory is new books.

Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block

Chodosh Chosen As New Director of NYU Press

Effective September 15, Ellen Chodosh is becoming director of NYU Press. She has been a business and publishing consultant and was earlier v-p and publisher of the trade division of Oxford University Press. She succeeds Steve Maikowski, who retired in May after 13 years as NYU Press director.

"NYU Press is a leader in developing sustainable academic publishing programs in the context of a rapidly changing publishing environment," said Carol A. Mandel, dean of New York University Libraries. "In our search we looked not only for deep expertise but also for the ability to engage with the tough issues of scholarly communication today. NYU Press has great momentum. Ellen Chodosh is ready to step in and continue our forward motion."

Chodosh commented: "It's a privilege to join the Press and to become a part of the vibrant NYU community. I look forward to working with the talented staff at the Press to address the many publishing opportunities and challenges that lie ahead."

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

Pew: Millennials Read, Use Libraries More Than Old Folks

Millennials--Americans aged 16 to 29--are more likely to have read a book in the past year than people 30 and older (88% vs. 79%), and more than a third (37%) read an e-book in the past year, according to a new Pew Research Center study of "Young Americans and Public Libraries."

The study also found that Millennials are as likely as older adults to have used a library in the past year (50% of them did so, compared to 47% of those older) and more likely to have used a library website (36% of Millennials vs. 28% of older people).

Although 98% of Millennials use the Internet, some 62% of them say there is "a lot of useful, important information that is not available on the internet," compared to 53% of older Americans.

The full report is available here.

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Obituary Notes: J.F. Ade Ajayi, Walter Keller

Nigerian historian J.F. Ade Ajayi, a "pioneer in the study of African history who highlighted native perspectives and the complexities of colonial-era change," died August 9. He was 85. The Guardian noted that his "book with Ian Espie, A Thousand Years of West African History (1965), utilized archaeological evidence and early African texts, many written in Arabic, to counter the prevailing narrative at the time, which focused on the perspective of conquerors, missionaries and other foreigners on the continent. It remains in use by teachers and students today." Other books include Christian Missions in Nigeria 1841-91 (1964) and A Patriot to the Core (2001).


Walter Keller, former co-owner of D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers), died September 1 in Zurich, Switzerland. He was 61.

Keller was a publisher, editor, bookseller, consultant and curator. Sharon Helgason Gallagher remembered him as "a great publisher and complex man" who, as head of Scalo, "conceived each book as a precisely targeted tactical missile that would explode the ideological scaffolding of a conventional way of seeing, of sentimentality, of 'good taste....'

"Brusque and prickly, Walter was the master of the tactical barb. He loved to argue and was at his best in an intellectual joust; and that is where he and I settled on our unique way of collaborating together during the early years of D.A.P., when he, Daniel Power and I were partners. Although our ways parted, we shared a vision of waking the publishing world up to the intellectual and political power of contemporary imagery and visual culture."

Vintage: Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin

Fall Shows: PNBA and NEIBA


The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association's 2014 Tradeshow takes place Fri.-Sun., Sept. 26-28, at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Wash. Registration opens 7:45 a.m. on Friday, followed by a morning of educational sessions, panels and workshops for booksellers, librarians, small press publishers and authors (booksellers, for example, can learn about the Art and Science of Gift Buying or Fostering Creativity for Better Store Ambience). The Celebration of Authors lunch, from noon to 1, gives 10 newer Northwest authors five minutes each to discuss their latest titles. Panels pick up again at 2:30 (highlights for booksellers: Maximizing the Benefit of Indies First Small Business Saturday and Nuts and Bolts of Bookstore Finance) and run until PNBA's Annual Membership Meeting from 5:30 to 6:30. King's Books in downtown Tacoma hosts dinner at the King's Table, a free buffet with 10 Northwest authors whose books are about food, plants or drinks. Nineteen more authors will attend the Nightcapper from 8:30 to 10, near the hotel bar.

Saturday kicks off with the Book and Author breakfast from 8 to 9:30 a.m., featuring Marie Lu (whose latest books is Young Elites), Nikki McClure (May the Stars Drip Down), Azar Nafisi (The Republic of Imagination) and Garth Stein (A Sudden Light). The exhibit hall opens at 9:30 with a buffet lunch and meetings of the book award committee and education committee at noon. Exhibits close and a party hosted by Seattle7Writers begins at 4:30 p.m. Twenty authors will circulate among dining booksellers and librarians at the 6 p.m. Feast of Authors; 20 more authors will attend PNBA's first ever Sweet and Greet, a dessert party, from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

Sunday's 8 a.m. author breakfast features Bonny Becker (A Library Book for Bear), T.C. Boyle (The Harder They Come), Molly Gloss (Falling from Horses) and Mac Barnett and Jory John (The Terrible Two). Exhibits open from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Hold On, I'm Coming Lunch at 11:30 has David Joy (Where All Light Tends to Go), Michael Buckley (Undertow), Sara Blaedel (The Forgotten Girls), Tim Johnston (Descent) and Gayle Forman (I Was Here) and raffle prize announcements at 1 p.m. The show ends at 2:30.


The New England Independent Booksellers Association's 2014 Fall Conference takes place Tue.-Thu., Sept. 30-Oct. 2, at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, R.I. Registration opens at 10 a.m., followed by an hour-long Conversation with Publishers panel at 11. A Publisher's Pick-Nic Lunch for booksellers, wholesalers and reps runs from 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Educational sessions from 2:30 to 5:15 cover a range of topics, from bookstore finances to social media and frontline bookselling. Some 25 authors will attend the Author Cocktail Reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Rotunda.

Wednesday kicks off with a Children's Author and Illustrator Breakfast at 8:30 a.m., featuring Alice Hoffman (whose latest book is Nightbird), Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon) and Andrea Davis Pinkney (The Red Pencil). Trade show exhibits are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with raffles at 3 p.m. The Awards Banquet, emceed by Joe Donahue of WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s Roundtable, will be hosted at the Omni Hotel from 6 to 9:30 p.m. The New England Book Award recipients are Lily King (Euphoria) for fiction, Roz Chast (Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?) for nonfiction, and Paul Janeczko and Melissa Sweet (Firefly July) for children's. Also to be presented: the Saul Gilman Award to Debra Woodward of Candlewick; BPRNE's Independent Spirit Award to Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H.; and the President's Award to Sy Montgomery. The ceremony will also honor retiring colleagues Carol Chittenden, Betsey Detwiler, Linda Ramsdell, Ron Koltnow, Adena Siegel and Ann Wachur.

Thursday's 8:30 a.m. author breakfast features Richard Blanco (The Prince of Los Cucuyos), Anita Diamant (The Boston Girl), Jill Lepore (Secret History of Wonder Woman) and Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Magic Tree House: Survival Guide). More education sessions run from 10:15 until the NEIBA annual meeting at 11:30. A bookseller luncheon and keynote with Azar Nafisi (The Republic of the Imagination: America in Three Books and Reading Lolita in Tehran) wraps up the show at 12:30 p.m.

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley


Image of the Day: Skeleton Takes the Cake


Bestsellers Cafe in Medford, Mass., hosted a book birthday party for Leigh Perry's The Skeleton Takes a Bow (Berkley Prime Crime mystery). The book features an ambulatory skeleton as a character, which explains the bone motif on the cake (and the skeleton holding the knife).

Chamber of Commerce Honors [words] Bookstore in N.J.

The Maplewood (N.J.) Chamber of Commerce will honor Jonah and Ellen Zimiles, owners of [words] Bookstore, at its Annual Distinguished Service Award Dinner on Friday, September 19, Village Green N.J. reported.

Part of the Chamber's citation reads: "Opened in 2009, [words] Bookstore has had over 70 individuals with autism work in its vocational training program. In 2011, Springboard Consulting named [words] Bookstore as the recipient of its Small Business National 'Disability Matters' Award. New Jersey Monthly Magazine listed [words] Bookstore as Best Independent Bookstore in New Jersey for three consecutive years in their readers' poll. Autism Speaks has presented [words] as one of 15 model Small Business employers of individuals with autism."

Road Trip: Singapore's Indie Bookselling Scene

BooksActually, located in Singapore's Tiong Bahru estate, "is the model of a fiercely independent neighborhood bookshop," the Malay Mail reported in its profile of owner Kenny Leck, who founded the bookshop in 2005, and also established Math Paper Press to support local writing.

"Running a small business is never easy but Leck is as passionate as ever," the Mail noted, adding: "Omnipresent store manager Renée Ting isn't only responsible for the smooth operations of BooksActually; she is also Kenny Leck's girlfriend." Leck observed that "the bookstore is our life, and this will go on until we eventually pass on. Of course, we have not taken a proper off day for at least four years, and I think it would stay the same until at least 2015."

BooksActually was also highlighted as one of the six "best independent bookstores in Singapore that you ought to be patronizing" by, which described Leck's shop as "an independent bookstore that's been drawing in the cool kids like bees to honey since 2005. Cult status aside, this bookstore truly supports and nurtures local literary talents.... I like its liberal approach to book retail, something made evident through its blatant display and sale of And Tango Makes Three, a children's book that was almost pulped by the National Library Board in Singapore for advocating a gay lifestyle."

Cool Idea of the Day: 'Bookselling Residencies'

Wigtown, Scotland's national book town, "is offering members of the public the chance to experience the lifestyle of a bookseller in a series of residencies that will begin at this year's Wigtown Book Festival... and continue for the next 12 months," the Bookseller reported. The Open Book project "will invite interested parties to apply to live in and run a local bookshop, renamed the Open Book, for a period of up to six weeks.... Participants will be given a crash course in bookselling and will be asked to contribute to a blog outlining their experiences, as well as keeping the shop open for a set number of hours a week."
Adrian Turpin, director of the Wigtown Festival Company, said, "For many booklovers, the idea of running a bookshop is a dream. But it can be a tough lifestyle and one that demands dedication and inventiveness, as the many bookshops in Scotland's Book Town show.... The Internet has had a huge effect on booksellers. The Open Book project is intended as an original way to examine some of the issues facing bookshops in the age of Amazon. It will also bring exciting new creative energy to the town."
Part of the inspiration for the project came from American author Jessica Fox, whose Three Things You Need to Know About Rockets chronicled her life-altering decision to leave a job at NASA and move to Scotland to live in a used bookshop. Six years later, she is still there.

Personnel Changes at Grand Central

At Grand Central Publishing:

Brian McLendon has been promoted to v-p, associate publisher/marketing director, from associate publisher of Grand Central Publishing and Twelve. Before joining Hachette in 2011, he was v-p, deputy director of publicity at Ballantine/Bantam/Dell.
Amanda Pritzker has been named to the newly created role of brand director, Nicholas Sparks, and marketing manager, Grand Central Publishing. She was formerly assistant director of publicity of Grand Central Publishing.
Joseph Benincase has joined the company as assistant manager, online marketing. He was formerly marketing and publicity assistant at Blue Rider Press.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Henry Kissinger Talks World Order

Tomorrow on Bloomberg's Taking Stock with Pimm Fox: Tom Sturges, author of Every Idea Is a Good Idea: Be Creative Anytime, Anywhere (Tarcher, $16.95, 9780399166037).


Tomorrow on Bloomberg Surveillance: James K. Galbraith, author of The End of Normal: The Great Crisis and the Future of Growth (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781451644920).


Tomorrow on Fox News Radio's Alan Colmes Show: Henry Kissinger, author of World Order (Penguin Press, $36, 9781594206146).


Tomorrow night on the Late Late Show Show with Craig Ferguson: Peter May, author of The Lewis Man (Quercus, $26.99, 9781623658199).

TV: The Things They Left Behind; Minority Report

CBS has issued a put pilot for The Things They Left Behind, based on Stephen King's short story. reported that the project, produced by Warner Bros. TV and Greg Berlanti's Berlanti Prods., will be adapted by Seth Grahame-Smith, who is executive producing with David Katzenberg through their KatzSmith banner.


Minority Report, the drama project from Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and writer Max Borenstein (Godzilla), "has landed at Fox with a big put pilot commitment," reported. The series, based on Philip K. Dick's short story and the 2002 movie directed by Spielberg, "is envisioned as a sequel to the movie."

Movies: 'Most Intriguing' Adaptations in Development

"As the brain-boggling bombast of summer movie season fades, it's once again time to check in on the most interesting specimens currently squirming in the petri dish of potential Hollywood productions found in the latest adaptation news," Word & Film observed in highlighting "nine of the most intriguing projects in the mix right now."

The projects include Stephen King's The Stand ("Matthew McConaughey has been offered the key role of Randall Flagg"), Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children ("has suddenly landed with actress-turned-filmmaker Lake Bell"), Ted Thompson's The Land of Steady Habits (Nicole Holofcener "may now adapt for Fox Searchlight") and J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them ("film has acquired a trusted hand to direct it: David Yates").

This Weekend on Book TV: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

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, September 13
3 p.m. Sally Satel, author of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience (Basic Books, $26.99, 9780465018772), recorded at the 2014 National Book Festival on August 30.

6 p.m. David Brooks, author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 9780684853789).

7 p.m. Peniel E. Joseph, author of Stokely: A Life (Basic Civitas, $29.99, 9780465013630), at the 2014 National Book Festival.

7:45 p.m. James E. Clyburn, author of Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black (University of South Carolina Press, $34.95, 9781611173376) and Peniel E. Joseph at the 2014 National Book Festival.

8:45 p.m. General Tony Zinni, author of Before the First Shots Are Fired: How America Can Win or Lose Off the Battlefield (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9781137279385), at Barnes & Noble in New York City.

10 p.m. Ken Silverstein, author of The Secret World of Oil (Verso, $25.95, 9781781681374). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, author of Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World (Ballantine, $26, 9780804179072). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 p.m.)

Sunday, September 14
10:30 a.m. Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism (Simon & Schuster, $22, 9781416547877), at the 2014 National Book Festival.

1 p.m. David Hayes-Bautista, author of El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition (University of California Press, $28.95, 9780520272132). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

1:25 p.m. Edward Walker, author of Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy (Cambridge University Press, $32.99, 9781107619012). (Re-airs Monday at 1:25 a.m.)

3:30 p.m. Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way (Simon & Schuster, $15.99, 9781451654431), at the 2014 National Book Festival.

5:30 p.m. Michio Kaku, author of The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385530828), at the 2014 National Book Festival.

10 p.m. Edward Baptist, author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books, $35, 9780465002962).

11 p.m. Daniel Green and Brig. Gen. William Mullen III, authors of Fallujah Redux: The Anbar Awakening and the Struggle with al-Qaeda (Naval Institute Press, $37.95, 9781612511429), at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

Books & Authors

Awards: Boardman Tasker for Mountain Literature

A shortlist has been announced for the £3,000 (US$4,845) Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature, "given to the author or co-authors of an original work which has made an outstanding contribution to mountain literature." The winner will be named in November at the Kendal Mountain Festival. The shortlisted titles are:

Tears of the Dawn by Jules Lines
My Father, Frank, Unresting Spirit of Everest by Tony Smythe
In Search of Peaks, Passes & Glaciers: Irish Alpine Pioneers by Frank Nugent
Nanga Parbat 1970: Tragedy and Controversy by Richard Sale and Jochen Hemmleb
Law Unto Himself by Michael Law
Hanging On: A Life Inside British Climbing's Golden Age by Martin Boysen

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:

Diary of the Fall: A Novel by Michel Laub, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Other Press, $20, 9781590516515). "This novel is an emotional hand grenade, one of the most devastating and powerful works I've read in some time. As Laub's narrator traces his own downfall and delves into the trauma that ripples through his family history, I found myself propelled forward and backward with him, unable to resist this small novel's terrible gravity or the narrator's powerful honesty. Diary of the Fall is one of those rare books that doesn't just hold your attention, it demands it. I simply couldn't stop reading." --Tom Flynn, 57th Street Books, Chicago, Ill.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors: A Novel by Nayomi Munaweera (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250043931). "This beautifully written novel relates the story of two families on opposite sides of the conflict on the island of Sri Lanka. Readers experience the passions and brutalities of the civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sinhalese Sri Lankan military. This conflict began in 1948, when the British left the island formerly named Ceylon, and ended in 2009. The customs, foods, and colors of the island permeate the descriptions of the daily life of the people in this excellent book." --Sally Van Wert, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, Colo.

Acceptance: A Novel by Jeff VanderMeer (FSG Originals, $15, 9780374104115). "The hungry anomaly of Area X is spilling over its borders. Now a woman devoured by the zone must join a man intent on understanding it and journey back inside. But will they unravel its secrets, or will it unravel them? The final book in VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy brings the series to a satisfying, if mind-blowing close." --Jim Tremlett, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, Mich.

For Ages 9 to 12
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 9780399252518). "Woodson looks back at her life, retelling it in verse, as she tries to discover who she is and how she became the person she is today. Her tale begins when she is a young child and follows her life as she travels between the North and South, through both happiness and sadness, trying to understand how she fits in with family, friends, and society. This story of self-discovery is poignant and beautifully told." --Kathy Taber, Kids Ink Children's Bookstore, Indianapolis, Ind.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 16:

Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball by Roger Kahn (Rodale Books, $25.99, 9781623362973) reexamines how Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey broke the color barrier in baseball.

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver, Tim Parks and Martin McLaughlin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544146440) is a collection of short stories exploring the universe.

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer (New Directions, $19.95, 9780811223355) follows a troubled teenage orphan in Rome.

Beyond the Pale Motel by Francesca Lia Block (St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9781250033123) follows two Los Angeles hairdressers.

Wolf in White Van: A Novel by John Darnielle (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24, 9780374292089) revolves around a mail-based fantasy game.

The Means: A Novel by Douglas Brunt (Touchstone, $26, 9781476772578) is a political thriller.

An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America by Nick Bunker (Knopf, $30, 9780307594846) explores the Boston Tea Party and the origins of the American Revolution.

Now in paperback:

E-Cubed: Nine More Energy Experiments That Prove Manifesting Magic and Miracles Is Your Full-Time Gig by Pam Grout (Hay House, $15.95, 9781401945435).

Book Review

Review: Gutenberg's Apprentice

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie (Harper, $27.99 hardcover, 9780062336019, September 23, 2014)

From his home city of Mainz, Germany, scribe Peter Schoeffer has struck out on his own, achieving a modicum of success at the university in Paris. When his foster father, merchant Johann Fust, summons him home with a business proposition, Peter never dreams that his life and career will be utterly transformed. Instead of continuing as a scribe, Peter begins an apprenticeship studying a brand-new art under a mercurial, passionate man: Johann Gensfleisch, better known as Gutenberg.

Resentful of being forced into a new career but curious in spite of himself, Peter becomes an expert in every facet of Gutenberg's printing process. Working in secret, dodging the city's powerful guilds and supported by gold from Fust's coffers, Peter and his colleagues in Gutenberg's workshop embark on a daring venture: printing copies of the Bible to sell. As Peter carves letters, mixes ink and sets type, he clings to his old life by continuing to work as a scribe in the evenings. But Gutenberg's enthusiasm proves infectious: Peter begins to wonder if this new invention might not change the world. Fust catches the vision, too, musing, "Books everywhere.... Imagine how the world would look if anyone could buy one."

Debut novelist Alix Christie draws a dark, evocative portrait of 15th-century Mainz, emphasizing the heavy hand of the city council, which often clashes with the archbishop over matters of commerce and religion. Gutenberg himself emerges as a clever trickster--erratic, smooth-talking, endlessly slippery--who manages to circumvent all restrictions, buying himself and his apprentices the time and resources to complete their ambitious project.

Readers will be swept up in Gutenberg's fervor, even as Peter wrestles with his own beliefs about the sanctity of the handwritten (and holy) word. As the project drags on, requiring more and more funding, Fust grows impatient, often asking his son to spy on Gutenberg's activities. Peter, weary of being used as a pawn by the two men he respects, must eventually decide whether to throw his lot in with his father or with his master--or make a stand for himself.

Gutenberg's Apprentice has powerful parallels to the present day conflicts concerning old and new methods of distributing the written word (and the righteous indignation on both sides). Occasional flashforwards frame the story, giving readers a glimpse into Peter's long career as a printer and his perspective much later in life. Drawing on historical accounts of the real Peter Schoeffer, as well as Gutenberg and his other apprentices, Christie has created a rich, masterful tale of "the darkest art" and its powerful effect on the written word. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: A rich, evocative tale of the birth of Gutenberg's printing press and the young scribe who found himself swept up in the invention.

Deeper Understanding

Stand Up Comics: Love and War

Stand Up Comics is a regular column by Adan Jimenez. These titles need no introduction: just read the column, then read some good comics!

Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Ballantine, $25, 9780345529374)
Katie is the 29-year-old chef of Seconds, the restaurant she helped start but doesn't own. She's trying to open her own restaurant, but there are contractor and money issues. She's having a semi-secret tryst with Andrew, the younger chef taking over for her at Seconds, whom she cannot stop fighting with. And her ex-boyfriend Max keeps showing up at the restaurant, trying to talk to her. In short, she's having a bit of a quarter-life crisis. And then she finds a mushroom and instructions on how to fix her mistakes.

The follow-up to the critically acclaimed and cult favorite Scott Pilgrim series was always going to be tough for O'Malley, but he's handled it with grace and aplomb. Katie is a natural successor to Scott, extrapolating from his first forays into adulthood to present her fumblings out of what remains of her 20s. Katie is neither likable nor unlikable because she's too much like us, constantly screwing up and constantly trying to do better, all of which is exacerbated by literal magic mushrooms, house spirits and time travel. The other characters in the story are little more than props for Katie to play against (with the exception of Hazel), but that can be forgiven as, unlike Scott Pilgrim, Seconds is first and foremost a character study.

The ending felt rushed and could have benefited from 20 or so extra pages, but overall, an extremely enjoyable read about one person's quest to simply be better.

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of "new adult" fiction, but with a lot less sex, and fans of magical realist texts from Borges to Rushdie.

Trillium by Jeff Lemire (DC/Vertigo, $16.99, 9781401249007)
Dr. Nika Temsmith is a scientist on Atabithi in the year 3797. She is one of the last 4,000 remaining humans left in the universe as a sentient virus named the Caul hunts humanity to extinction. She is studying the Atabithians and a special flower within their main compound that might hold the key to a vaccine the Caul will be unable to adapt to.

William Pike is an ex-British soldier on an expedition in the Peruvian jungles in 1921. He fought in the Great War and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He is searching for the Lost Temple of the Incas that is fabled to contain untold riches. Both Nika and William find the temple at the same time and begin a romance that spans the entirety of time and space.

Lemire has made a name for himself telling incredibly quirky stories, but Trillium is possibly his least quirky story ever, even with the time travel, psychotropic plants and lost Incan tribes. Nika and William are literal star-crossed lovers, separated by nearly 2,000 years and entire star systems who somehow manage to find each other. "Before all of this, I was broken, Nika," William says. "But as soon as I saw you, I knew that I wasn't alone anymore.... I knew you were broken too. I was broken, but together--we're not broken anymore." Sappy? Yes, but it still hits you right in the gut.

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of great romances, and people who like their soft sci-fi mixed with a little mysticism.

Star-Lord: Guardian of the Galaxy by Steve Englehart, Chris Claremont, Doug Moench, Timothy Zahn et al. (Marvel Comics, $34.99, 9780785154495)
Star-Lord supplies scintillating '70s sci-fi suspense! And trust me; you, too, will communicate alliteratively once you read these stories. The collection contains the earliest Star-Lord stories, all before he became a part of the larger Marvel Comics universe, back when anything was possible and nobody had to worry about pesky continuity--and before he became a wise-cracking, raccoon-and-tree-befriending movie star.

Englehart's origin story is good, but the real grooviness begins with Claremont and Moench's stories that follow. Claremont is teamed up with his future Uncanny X-Men partners John Byrne and Terry Austin for stories in which Peter Quill overthrows would-be warlords, visits alien worlds where a drop of water can last a lifetime and takes on an entire civilization in a 100-kilometer long spaceship. Moench follows up with stories about what it means to be human, what it means to have faith and what it means to be alive. In short, everything excellent sci-fi is made out of.

Zahn finishes up with a three-part story of the man who takes up the Star-Lord mantle after Peter Quill goes missing. It's more of a superhero tale, but still contains a lot of the same sci-fi tropes present in the earlier stories.

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of vintage science fiction adventure stories like Flash Gordon, the E.E. "Doc" Smith Lensman series and original Star Trek.

Weapons of Mass Diplomacy by Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain (Self Made Hero, $24.95, 9781906838782)
In 2002, Arthur Vlaminck has just landed a fantastic first job: he is the newest speechwriter for Alexandre Taillard de Vorms, the larger-than-life French foreign minister. At first, Vlaminck is happy in his job. Stressed, but happy. De Vorms is demanding, but he has a clear vision and knows what he wants. And then the U.S. decides to invade the Kingdom of Khemed.

Antonin Baudry, the real-life person behind the pseudonym Abel Lanzac, was an adviser to the French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin in the lead-up to Operation Enduring Freedom, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Here he portrays a fictionalized account of his time as a diplomat that is as hilarious as it is terrifying. There are laugh-out-loud moments that will startle your fellow morning commuters (on almost every page, really), but then comes the sobering realization that it's very probable that world leaders and their staffs actually behave in this manner, and oh my God why haven't we all died in a massive fireball of ego, bureaucracy and doublespeak?

Handselling Opportunities: Fans of political satire-cum-exposés who aren't afraid to see how the sausage is made.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Vain: Part Three by Deborah Bladon
2. The Arrangement 16 by H.M. Ward
3. Until Series by Aurora Rose Reynolds
4. Billionaire Unmasked by J.S. Scott
5. Reasonable Doubt 3 by Whitney Gracia Williams
6. Whiskey, You're the Devil by Liliana Hart
7. Black Lies by Alessandra Torre
8. The Sasha McCandless Series: Volume 1 by Melissa F. Miller
9. Guarding His Heart by J.S. Cooper
10. Alpha Billionaire by Helen Cooper

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KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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