Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 20, 2014

One More Chapter: The Girl Who Survived Auschwitz by Eti Elboim and Sara Leibovits, translated by Esther Frumkin

Andrews McMeel Publishing: The Wheel of the Year: An Illustrated Guide to Nature's Rhythms by Fiona Cook, illustrated by Jessica Roux

Tor Nightfire: What Feasts at Night (Sworn Soldier #2) by T. Kingfisher

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

Quotation of the Day

Bookseller Dedication, Elbow Category


"I'm not going to complain about how many books we had to read. I'm just going to say that one of my fellow judges, the remarkable bookseller Sheryl Cotleur [of Copperfield's in Northern California], had to go to her local skateboard shop and get elbow pads because she was wearing out the skin of her elbows lying on her deck chair in the summer reading her books."

--Geraldine Brooks, head of the fiction judges, speaking last night at the National Book Awards

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


National Book Awards Winners Celebrated

At a gala dinner held last night in New York City, the book industry celebrated books and the National Book Awards. The winners were:

Fiction: Redeployment by Phil Klay (The Penguin Press)
Nonfiction: Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Poetry: Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Young people's literature: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin)

All the winners were present and spoke. Phil Klay started off saying, "I know there's a least one Marine in the audience. Some backup? Just two of us? We can take them."


After his 13 months in the Marines in Iraq, Klay said, "I came back not knowing what to think about so many things. What do you do when you're struggling to find the words to explain to the father of a fallen Marine exactly what that Marine meant to you? What do you do when one of your best Marines calls you to tell you he's been drinking too much and he feels isolated at college surrounded by 18-year-olds he can't make sense of and who can't make sense of him? What do you make of it when the middle school students you're teaching ask you if you've killed anyone and are horribly disappointed when you say no? What do you do when strangers at a bar insist on treating you as though you must be psychologically damaged just because you're a vet or when friends of yours do indeed have post-traumatic stress and find that they can't express their feelings of grief and rage about what has happened and continues to happen overseas and at home?

Saying he didn't have the answers to these questions, he called Redeployment "the only way I knew how to start thinking them through.... War is too strange to be processed alone and so I want to thank everyone who picked up the book, read it and decided to join the conversation."

Evan Osnos noted that he comes from "a family of the book." (His parents, Peter Osnos, founder of PublicAffairs, and Susan Osnos, were present and cheering him on.) Osnos continued: "If you go into the writing business and your name is Osnos, you feel a little like what George W. Bush must feel like."

Among others, he thanked "the people in the pages of this book, who allowed me into their lives in a way that is amazing. They live in a place where it's very dangerous to be honest and be vulnerable, and they allowed me to write about them."

Louise Glück called it "a very difficult evening. It's very difficult to lose. I've lost many times. And it also turns out it's very difficult to win. It's not in my script. My work would not exist without the work of other finalists and my colleagues in poetry who more times than I can say have astonished me and moved me and filled me with the envy that in time becomes gratitude."


Among others, Woodson thanked the other finalists in the young people's literature category, saying, "I love you guys, and I love how much love there is in world of young adult and children's literature and how much deep respect we have for each other and how much we know that the world wouldn't be complete without all of our stories in it."

In accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, Ursula K. Le Guin said she was sharing the award "with all the writers excluded from literature for so long--my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful awards go to the so-called realists. I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom--poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality."

She added: "Books are not just commodities. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable--so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art and very often in our art, the art of words."

Accepting the Literarian Award, Kyle Zimmer of First Book said that her organization believes that "books are the most powerful force in the universe, and history supports us. This power is was why it was illegal to teach slaves to read. It is why oppressive regimes have burned books. And today it is why girls are tortured and shot when they attempt to attend school."

She noted, too, that the situation is dire: "45% of our children are now being raised in homes that are termed poor or near poor. 45% of our kids are largely being excluded from the power of books, and the results of this failure are unmistakeable. 80% of 4th graders from low income families read below proficiency.... McKinsey & Company has reported that our failure to elevate education for children in need results in the economic equivalent of a permanent recession."

Preparing for last night's NBA ceremony, Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler competed to see who could hand out the most books in Washington Square Park.

There were several Amazon jokes and observations: early in the evening, host Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, quoted several fictional missives from people unable to attend, including, "Jeff Bezos says allow me to offer my support and enthusiasm for all the publishers. Just kidding. You're going down. I'm going to slaughter you all. Wahaha." Later, he added, "If you're a publishing house not interested in making a profit, please see Jeff Bezos after the show."

In his comments, National Foundation Chair David Steinberger of Perseus said, "First I have to thank Amazon because thanking them is now one of the terms of my new vendor agreement with them."

In a more serious remark about Amazon, Le Guin said, "We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa."

GLOW: Scribner Book Company: Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford

The Remedy for Snow and Cold: Books

The huge storm that has pummeled western New York State largely spared Buffalo, N.Y., where Talking Leaves Books has two locations. According to Talking Leaves' Jon Welch, the storm was "modest" in Buffalo, leading to "some shoveling, reduced store traffic, but basically a pretty easy and normal winter storm, a little earlier than usual." However, a few miles east or south, there was up to six feet of snow, with another two to three feet expected today. "When we look south and east, we see a curtain of dark clouds, on our side the sun, even blue sky," he wrote. "We all know people who live there, so we're as worried and amazed as everyone else."

The snow has led to the cancellation of two important events for the store--the annual Jewish Book Fair and the appearance of David Henry Hwang yesterday as part of Just Buffalo Literary Center's Babel reading series.

Welch recommended anyone interested in what it's like to be in a big storm like the one that hit New York "should rush out to their local independent bookstore and pick up a copy of Bill Roorbach's The Remedy for Love (Algonquin), set during a brutal storm in Maine. Ironically, we had an event with him and fellow Algonquineer Brock Clarke the night before the storm began wreaking its havoc. I think they both got out before the burial began."

In Algonquin style, the press had some fun with Roorbach's book, coming up with variations on the title for New York as well as Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. As Craig Popelars wrote: "Lake effect snow? Cabin fever? Frostbite? No milk? No eggs? We get the drift, so stay inside and warm up with Bill Roorbach's The Remedy for Love."

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

Bureau for General Services--Queer Div. Finds New Home

The New York Times profiled the Bureau for General Services--Queer Division, the gay bookstore that reopened last month on the second floor of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Greenwich Village. The store had been in several locations recently.

"The bookstore's airy, high-ceilinged home carries a diverse selection, including classic novels like James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and contemporary nonfiction by Sarah Schulman," the Times noted. "But what truly sets it apart from Barnes & Noble is its selection of zines."

Casemate Group Acquiring International Publishers Marketing

Effective January 1, publisher and distributor Casemate Group is acquiring trade book distributor International Publishers Marketing, Dulles, Va., which has some 30 publisher-clients. In connection with the purchase, IPM director Jane Graf is joining Casemate.

Casemate president David Farnsworth commented: "Bringing IPM and their long-time director Jane Graf into the Casemate Group significantly increases our reach and enables us to provide a top-level service to distribution client publishers whose books fall outside of our traditional core subject areas of history, military, archaeology and art."

For her part, Graf said, "This is a marvelous way to celebrate IPM's 25th anniversary as it will expand the market penetration for IPM's client publishers and will increase the exposure across North America for their wonderful books. IPM's motto for years has been 'bringing you the best books from around the globe,' and this move will allow us to offer our clients an increased level of quality service."

Founded in 2001, the Casemate Group is made up of Casemate Publishers, Oxbow Books, Casemate Academic, Casemate Athena and Casemate Art. Casemate launched Casemate-U.K. in the U.K. in 2007 and in late 2011 acquired Oxbow Books and Oxbow's U.S. subsidiary the David Brown Book Company (since renamed Casemate Academic.)

Jo Lusby to Head Penguin Random House North Asia


Jo Lusby has been named managing director, Penguin Random House North Asia. Lusby has been managing director of Penguin China for the past nine years.

Gabrielle Coyne, CEO Penguin Random House Asia Pacific, commented: "I have no doubt that Jo's experience with English, Chinese, and Korean language publishing under the Penguin brand, as well as helping drive the sale and marketing of imported books from the U.S. and U.K., are what we need in order strengthen our core and achieve our strategy. The recent acquisition of a distribution license in China, coupled with digital agreements for sales of our e-books now being in place, positions us to expand Chinese and English language publishing across adult and children's markets."

In a related change, Cyrus Kheradi, was recently promoted to senior v-p, director, international sales & marketing, and East Asia business development, Penguin Random House U.S., and will have oversight of Penguin Random House U.S. sales and marketing in Korea. A resource for Lusby, he will work to identify opportunities for corporate investment, print and digital publishing and licensing agreements, brand extensions, and more.

Obituary Note: Charles Champlin

Charles Champlin, an arts critic and memoirist "best known for his writing about movies for the Los Angeles Times," where he was lead movie critic from 1967 until 1980, died Sunday, the New York Times reported. He was 88. Champlin's books included A Life in Writing: The Story of an American Journalist and My Friend, You Are Legally Blind: A Writer's Struggle with Macular Degeneration.


Image of the Day: Cat’s Pajamas Pajama Party

On Monday night, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C., launched The Cat's Pajamas by Daniel Wallace (Inkshares). "The bookstore served milk, cookies and (for adults only, of course) bourbon," owner Jamie Fiocco reported, adding that "135 folks showed up, most of them in their pajamas!"

Bookseller Style: Sarah McNally for Lucky Brand

"Find your dream jeans (and dream chocolate) with literary icon Sarah McNally," Lucky Brand suggested on its Clover Journal blog, where the clothing retailer featured McNally in a "Standout Style Stories" video, noting that that she "owns and operates one of New York's last great independent bookstores, McNally Jackson in Soho. Always on the go (often with her son Jasper), she describes the ideal pair of jeans as the kind you: 'try on once, never think about again, and wear forever.' Jasper, on the other hand, is fixated on chocolate. He tasted varieties from Costa Rica to Brooklyn and still hasn't found a single piece that lives up to the chocolate made by Santa's elves."

And in a different medium, the New York Times interviewed McNally about how she reads the newspaper:

Q. Do you have a favorite section?
A. The Business section. I love it, I read it more religiously than the Arts section, unbelievably, since my job is much more about the arts than about business.... I love reading the news of what consumer-oriented businesses are trying. Be they department stores or television channels, they're staging vast social experiments.

Once Upon a Storybook: Hoping to Be 'an Entertainment Hub'

In a q&a with the Orange County Register, Susie Alexander, who opened Once Upon a Storybook, a children's bookstore, in Tustin, Calif., last month, said she wants the store to be "an entertainment hub for Orange County--where families can feel like they can come and hang out. We want the store to become a place where families grow up, where kids come and grow up, where people can feel so comfortable being here so that books become second nature to them and where they will always be able to find a new book or recommendation. I want to be a meeting place for the community."

Customer service is also important. Alexander and her staff, she said, "have backgrounds in children's literature and have a passion for stories, so we know what's in our inventory and we know how to recommend a book for any age and any situation."

Personnel Changes at Parragon Books

At Parragon Books:

Jeremy Nurnberg has joined the company as senior director of sales, North America. He was formerly v-p, sales, at Charlesbridge Publishing and earlier was v-p, sales, at Imagine Publishing/Bookmasters Distribution Services.
Veronica Aragon has joined the company as senior manager, warehouse clubs and custom publishing. She was formerly custom and premium sales manager at Disney Publishing Worldwide and earlier worked at Big Box Entertainment.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Martin Short, Jimmy Page, Norman Lear

Tomorrow on the Talk: Martin Short, author of I Must Say: My Life As a Humble Comedy Legend (Harper, $26.99, 9780062309525).


Tomorrow on the Ellen DeGeneres Show: Jimmy Page, author of Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page (Genesis Publications, $60, 9781905662326).


Tomorrow on the View: Norman Lear, author of Even This I Get to Experience (Penguin Press, $32.95, 9781594205729). He will also appear on the Late Show with David Letterman.

This Weekend on Book TV: Miami Book Fair International

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, November 22
10 a.m. Day one of live coverage from the 31st Miami Book Fair International. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

8:45 p.m. Steven Pinker, author of The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (Viking, $27.95, 9780670025855).

10 p.m. Sharyl Attkisson, author of Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama's Washington (Harper, $27.99, 9780062322845). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. William Voegeli, author of The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion (Broadside, $26.99, 9780062289292).

Sunday, November 23
10 a.m. Day two of live coverage from the 31st Miami Book Fair International. (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Megan Ming Francis, author of Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (Cambridge University Press, $27.99, 9781107697973).

7:30 p.m. Stephen Seager, author of Behind the Gates of Gomorrah: A Year with the Criminally Insane (Gallery, $26, 9781476774497).

10 p.m. Coverage of the 65th annual National Book Awards in New York City.

Books & Authors

Awards: Costa Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2014 Costa Book Awards has been released. Category winners will be announced on January 5, and the Costa Book of the Year will be announced January 27. The nominees:

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
House of Ashes by Monique Roffey
How to Be Both by Ali Smith
Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín

First novel:
A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray
Academy Street by Mary Costello
Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
Chop Chop by Simon Wroe

Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life by John Campbell
The Iceberg: A Memoir by Marion Coutts
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

The Whole and Rain-domed Universe by Colette Bryce
My Family and Other Superheroes by Jonathan Edwards
A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde by Lavinia Greenlaw
The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion by Kei Miller

Running Girl by Simon Mason
Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

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:

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett (Viking, $27.95, 9780525427247). "This is a frothy and fun mystery/romance that asks 'What if Jane Austen plagiarized her greatest work, Pride and Prejudice?' By alternating chapters about Austen and her fictional friendship with an elderly minister and writer with those involving a modern-day bookseller and Austen fan who is searching for love and rare books, Lovett builds suspense while tossing in all kinds of fun Austen factoids. The tale is simple and sweet and the heroine is a modern-day Eliza, torn between two men and her first impressions of each. Delightful, especially for Austen fans--and really, who isn't?" --Bill Carl, the Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered by Michele Raffin (Algonquin Books, $24.95, 9781616201364). "Raffin has created a sanctuary for rare and endangered birds that completely surrounds her California home with professionally maintained aviaries to protect, preserve, and propagate more than 300 species. Her obsession with the birds' survival is an inspiration, and her descriptions of the various birds' behaviors and emotional lives are a delight. This extraordinary story of commitment, love, and devotion is an exemplary tale of perseverance, diligence, and heartfelt sacrifice on behalf of feathered creatures in desperate need of help." --John Evans, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, Calif.

The Last Animal: Stories by Abby Geni (Counterpoint, $15.95, 9781619024373). "When people let you down, the natural world is the place to find solace, or so the reader learns from this fascinating new collection of short stories. Whether it be from Alzheimer's, depression, affairs, or reasons yet to be determined, family members in these stories keep disappearing. Fortunately, there are substitute connections, whether it's the teen student in 'Dharma at the Gate' who has her dog, or the young aquarium worker of 'Captivity' who is quite aware of the intelligence of the octopus. Geni's work is filled with unique images and situations, some of them heart-stopping." --Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Only Thing Worse Than Witches by Lauren Magaziner (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 9780803739185). "Rupert cannot help but be drawn to an ad to be a witch's apprentice. Witchling Two is a witch-in-training who needs practice before she takes her exams. Between his awful teacher, Witchling Two, and his protective mom, Rupert is far from ready for what his future holds. Kids will love this!" --Sue Mason, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, Ore.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Monday and Tuesday, November 24 and 25:

Hope to Die by James Patterson (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316210966) continues the Alex Cross series. (November 24)

Betrayed: A Rosato & Associates Novel by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250027702) is the second Rosato & DiNunzio novel.

Dead But Not Forgotten: Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Ace, $26.95, 9780425271742) includes contributions from 15 authors.

Symbiont by Mira Grant (Orbit, $26, 9780316218993) continues the sci-fi Parasitology series.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.: A Memoir by Viv Albertine (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9781250065995) is the memoir of the lead guitarist and songwriter for the Slits.

Now in paperback:

Lying in Wait: Ann Rule's Crime Files: Vol. 17 by Ann Rule (Pocket, $7.99, 9781451648294).

Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin and Milla Vane (Berkley, $7.99, 9780425273920).

The Look of Love: A Novel by Sarah Jio (Plume, $16, 9780142180532).

Book Review

Review: Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas

Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas by Adam Kirsch (W.W. Norton , $26.95 hardcover, 9780393243468, November 17, 2014)

rocket and lightshipThough he's not yet 40, on the strength of the 19 essays collected in Rocket and Lightship, Adam Kirsch (Why Trilling Matters) legitimately qualifies as one of our most important working critics. Whether he's writing about literary classics or his contemporaries, Kirsch matches erudition with a generous, sympathetic spirit to produce criticism that's consistently wise and enlightening.

Kirsch intends that his essays "engage with texts at the point where literature intersects with society and history." That approach emerges explicitly in several pieces, including two that focus on Charles Darwin and two others that confront the theories of Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man. Measured though it may be, another essay surveying the research of World War II historians whose examination of U.S. conduct in that conflict has begun to "reshape the way we think about its moral legacy" seems intended to provoke vigorous debate.

Several essays are devoted to Jewish writers, such as Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt and Saul Bellow, and Kirsch is especially incisive in deconstructing Cynthia Ozick's "complicated engagement" with Henry James. He offers provocative insights into the theme of Jews and Jewishness in the oeuvre of Marcel Proust, whose mother descended from German Jews and who "moved in a milieu that was extensively, if not exclusively, Jewish." But he is equally proficient in dissecting the work of writers who don't share his religious heritage, as he demonstrates in commentaries on David Foster Wallace ("precocious, very uneven, at times immature") and Zadie Smith, "that rare and ambiguous thing, not just a good writer but a famous writer."

Some of Kirsch's subjects--like the 19th-century Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi or German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk--likely will be unfamiliar to most readers. But in giving wider circulation to the repellent philosophy of Slovenian cultural critic Slavoj Žižek, whose "allegedly progressive thought leads directly into a pit of moral and intellectual squalor," Kirsch clearly performs a public service.

Simply listing the range of some of Kirsch's other topics--the sexual identity of E.M. Forster, the tensions between the inner lives and the criticism of writers like Alfred Kazin and Susan Sontag and the psyche of present-day Europe as revealed in the works of novelists Michel Houellebecq, W.G. Sebald and Ian McEwan--suggests the breadth of his concerns. Rocket and Lightship highlights the virtuosity of a keen thinker, someone intent on challenging our preconceptions while welcoming us to an intellectual feast. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: In 19 incisive, challenging essays, poet and critic Adam Kirsch explores a range of literary and cultural topics.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Alpha Billionaire 3 by Helen Cooper
2. Ruin (Ruin Series Book 3) by Deborah Bladon
3. Ruin (Ruin Series Book 1) by Deborah Bladon
4. Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans (Rose Gardner Mystery Book 6) by Denise Grover Swank
5. Ruin (Ruin Series Book 2) by Deborah Bladon
6. His Secretary: Undone by Melanie Marchande
7. The Arrangement 17 by H.M. Ward
8. Reign (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Book 4) by Chanda Hahn
9. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell
10. Polar Bared by Eve Langlais

[Many thanks to!]

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