Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 2, 2015

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: Start your entrepreneurial journey with affordable packages, starting from $1,566

Candlewick Press: Mi Casa Is My Home by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Big Picture Press: Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols

Callaway Arts & Entertainment: The Beatles: Get Back by The Beatles, photographed by Linda McCartney

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Editors' Note

Quotation of the Day

Galassi on Booksellers: 'The Unsung Heroes of Publishing'

photo: Michael Lionstar

"I've always loved bookstores, and I think booksellers are kind of the unsung heroes of publishing in a way. And when I was first in publishing, as a young editor, I would go around with a friend of mine, who was one of the salespeople, and we would go calling on bookstores, in Connecticut, in Chicago and other places. And, you know, it was such an insight into the actual place that exchange happens. So in [Muse] I decided to make this woman, Morgan Dickerman, be a kind of conscience for the main character."

--Jonathan Galassi, publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux and author most recently of Muse, in a Salon interview with Michelle Filgate.

Paraclete Press: Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck


BAM Closing Dupont Circle Store in D.C.

Books-A-Million is closing its "prominently located outpost on Dupont Circle" in Washington, D.C., July 18 "and has no plans to relocate in the District," the Washington Post reported. Assistant manager Karen Sickles said the bookstore had lost its lease. In 2014, First Potomac Realty Trust purchased 11 Dupont Circle, the building where BAM's store is located, for $89 million, the Post wrote.

Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Go Set a Watchman: Events Rundown, Part 2

The publication date for Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman (Harper) is only 12 days away. Last month, we gave an overview of the many launch parties, film screenings and readings that bookstores are planning to celebrate this historic release. Here are more:

Gibson's Bookstore, Concord, N.H., will host a reading of To Kill a Mockingbird in its entirety, beginning July 13 at noon and ending at midnight on July 14. Readers include a New Hampshire Public Radio host, a teacher, a librarian, executive director of the Humanities Council and other "local luminaries."

Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo., opens at 8 a.m. July 14 for an all-day Mockingbird read-a-thon featuring authors Jody Feldman and Sarah Bromley. Customers can reserve their own 15-minute reading slot to receive a Go Set a Watchman button. Watchman purchasers will get free coffee and donuts, and a cocktail during the 5-7 p.m. "literary cocktail hour." A Kobo, autographed books and bookstore swag will be raffled to benefit River City Readers, a local school literacy program.

Fairfield University Bookstore, Fairfield, Conn., managed by Follett, is hosting a read-a-thon of Watchman on July 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by professors, librarians and any book lovers who RSVP to with availability and contact information.

Chester County Book Company, West Chester, Pa., hosts a Mockingbird book discussion at 10 p.m. on July 13, followed by a midnight release party for Watchman with food and beverages.

Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville and Downers Grove, Ill., is organizing a book discussion, film screening and launch party at the historic Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, according to the Chicago Tribune, beginning 8 p.m. on July 13. Tickets are $36 and include a copy of Watchman, with the option of buying up to two $10 companion tickets. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Charleston County Public Library's Cynthia Graham Hurd Memorial Fund, in honor of the librarian killed at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., last month.

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., and the Del Mar Theatre present a screening of To Kill a Mockingbird on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. followed by a discussion of the film and book. Tickets are $7.50 for the movie or $33.50 for a seat, Watchman at a 15% discount and a "What Would Scout Do?" bumper sticker.

Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt., will serve Mockingbird-themed refreshments, sweet tea cakes and homemade lemonade, on the afternoon of July 14, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., as long as their supplies last.

The University of Mary Washington Bookstore, Fredericksburg, Va., hosts a book talk and reception from 1 to 3 p.m. on July 14. English professor Gary Richards, an expert on Southern literature and Harper Lee, will speak and answer questions, according to Fredericksburg's Free Lance-Star.

Mary Badham

Actress Mary Badham, whose performance as Scout in the 1962 Mockingbird film earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress at age 10, will read from Mockingbird and Watchman at the 92nd Street Y's Poetry Center in Manhattan on July 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $24. Watch the live stream here.

U.K. independent bookstores will also be joining in the festivities, according to the Bookseller. Wallingford Bookshop in Oxfordshire, Rossiter Bookshop in Monmouth, Castle Bookshop in Ludlow, Pengwern Books in Shrewsbury, City Books in Hove, Foyles in Charing Cross Road and Newham Bookshop in East London (in conjunction with the Wanstead Tap, a craft beer emporium), are all screening the Mockingbird film in a run up to midnight sales of Watchman.

Northumberland's Forum Books opens early on July 14 for speed reader Anne Jones's attempt to read Watchman in under 30 minutes, while Devizes Books in Wiltshire hosts musician Liam Rafferty, who has written a musical starring Atticus Finch, and London's Lutyens & Rubinstein has a publication day discussion panel. Other indies will compete in a window display contest by U.K. publisher Penguin Random House using the hashtag #GoSetAWatchman, with a case of wine as the prize for regional winners. --Tobias Mutter

Obituary Note: Theodore Weesner

Author Theodore Weesner, "who mined his wayward youth for the stuff of his celebrated first novel, The Car Thief, and whose half-dozen other books earned plaudits for their patient, realistic narratives and humanely considered characters," died last Thursday, the New York Times reported. He was 79. His books also include The True Detective, Harbor Lights and an upcoming novel Carrying, which will be published in September by Astor + Blue Editions.


Image of the Day: Chuckanut Writers Conference

Industry professionals, writing teachers and a range of poets and writers, including Erik Larson and Elizabeth George--all shown here--were speakers at the fifth annual Chuckanut Writers Conference, sponsored by Village Books and Whatcom Community College and held June 26-27 at the college in Bellingham, Wash.

Bookshop Chalk Board of the Day: Out West Books

From the Facebook page of Out West Books, Grand Junction, Colo.: "The getaways we provide are much cheaper, full of adventure, and sometimes include a romantic hunk."

'The Author Who Wrote in Bookstore Windows'

In 1998, legendary sci-fi author Harlan Ellison responded to a challenge from Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, to write a story based on this premise: The 102-year-old pregnant corpse. Mental Floss noted that, "one by one, the pages went up in the window. They were immaculately typed, spaced, and edited in his head long before his fingers hit the keys.... When the Dangerous Visions bookstore in Sherman Oaks, Calif., closed that day, Harlan Ellison had completed 'Objects of Desire in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear.' "

Harlan Ellison

Ellison "began public compositions in bookstore windows in the 1970s, inspired by French author Georges Simenon, who was rumored to have written an entire novel while sitting in a glass cage," Mental Floss wrote. He "churned out stories in bookstore windows overlooking Washington, London, Boston and New York. Good ones, too. The five days he spent in the window of A Change of Hobbit in Santa Monica in 1977 resulted in work that garnered three awards."

When people grew suspicious he was plotting out stories in advance, he began soliciting premises. In 2002, "at the Booksmith in San Francisco, Robin Williams gave him the springboard 'Computer Vampyre.' Ellison, who disliked working with computers, grunted but wrote a story, 'Keyboard,' anyway," Mental Floss noted. His efforts "raised some charitable funds, brought attention to independent booksellers, and intensified his own reputation as an author who never once considered the act of writing as a mechanical exercise."

Book Trailer of the Day: Miss Emily

Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor (Penguin Books), a novel featuring Emily Dickinson and her fictional Irish maid, Ada Concannon; the trailer, made by the author, includes pictures she took during her research in Amherst, Mass., and at the Harvard Emily Dickinson archives.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ben Mezrich on Weekend All Things Considered

This morning on Good Morning America: Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of No One Understands What You Do and What to Do About It (Harvard Business Review Press, $22, 9781625274120).


Tomorrow on a repeat of Diane Rehm: Danielle Allen, author of Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright, $16.95, 9781631490446).


Tomorrow night on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).

Also on Late Night: Katie Lee, author of Endless Summer Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $29.95, 9781617691447).


Sunday on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered: Ben Mezrich, author of Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs (Atria, $28, 9781476771892).

Movies: Snowden Trailer; Zadie Smith, Screenwriter

"It has no movie scenes or dialogue, but the trailer for Snowden is aiming to speak volumes," the New York Times observed regarding Oliver Stone's upcoming film adaptation of two books: The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus, a novel by Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden's Russian lawyer. The Times also noted that Edward Snowden "is unseen in this teaser, which primarily relies on dramatic music, text and a powerful symbol." The film is set for a December 25 release.


For her first English-language film, French director Claire Denis (Beau Travail) will be collaborating on a screenplay with the British novelist Zadie Smith. Screen International reported that "as-yet untitled adventure-sci-fi" project will "take place beyond the solar system in a 'future that seems like the present.' " Smith and her husband, author Nick Laird, are co-writing the script with Denis.

"I am delighted that Claire has been tempted to cross the channel and make a film in English," said producer Oliver Dungey. "She is one of the greats of contemporary cinema and she's assembled a quite extraordinary team to make exactly the kind of ambitious film that audiences cherish--completely original, genuinely pushing the boundaries of art and science and, above all, extremely entertaining."

TV: Leifer's How to Succeed...

Gaumont International Television is developing a series based on comedy writer and performer Carol Leifer's 2014 book How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying, Variety reported. Leifer (Seinfeld, Saturday Night Live, Modern Family) will write the script. Gaumont "is expanding into comedy series after establishing its U.S. outpost with drama series including the Silence of the Lambs prequel Hannibal and Netflix's Hemlock Grove," Variety noted.

This Weekend on Book TV: In Depth with Peter Schweizer

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, July 4
10 p.m. Carol Berkin, author of The Bill of Rights: The Fight to Secure America's Liberties (Simon & Schuster, $27.50, 9781476743790). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, July 5
12 p.m. In depth q&a with Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (Harper, $27.99, 9780062369284). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Desmond Elliott; CWA Daggers

Claire Fuller won the £10,000 (about $15,610) Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novelists for Our Endless Numbered Days (Tin House Books). Chairman of the prize trustees Dallas Manderson said, "A key mission of this prize has always been to protect the future of fiction, and I am proud to see that the judges have done just that by selecting the very impressive Our Endless Numbered Days as this year's winner. I know Desmond would have been pleased to champion such an entirely original writer and we look forward to seeing many more novels to come from Claire Fuller."


Several Dagger awards were announced Tuesday at the Crime Writers' Association's annual ceremony in London. Shortlists for the CWA's Gold, Steel and John Creasey Daggers were also released. This year's CWA Dagger winners to date are:

Diamond Dagger: Catherine Aird
Nonfiction Dagger: In Plain Sight: The Life & Lies of Jimmy Savile by Dan Davies
Historical Dagger: The Seeker by S.G. MacLean
International Dagger: Camille by Pierre Lemaitre, translated by Frank Wynne
Short Story Dagger: "Apocrypha" by Richard Lange
Debut Dagger: Last of the Soho Legends by Greg Keen
Dagger In The Library: Christopher Fowler

'Fresh Off the Vine': SIBA's Summer Okra Picks

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced its Summer Okra Picks, a selection of fresh titles chosen by Southern indie booksellers each season as the upcoming Southern titles they are most looking forward to handselling:

Bloody Royal Prints by Reba White Williams (Tyrus Books)
The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall (Gallery Books)
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich (Putnam)
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (Disney/Hyperion Press)
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams (Simon Pulse)
Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor (Penguin)
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Harper)
Yard War by Taylor Kitchings (Wendy Lamb Books)
The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young (Putnam)
The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate (Tyndale House)
The Drunken Spelunker's Guide to Plato by Kathy Guiffre (John F. Blair Publisher)
A Free State by Tom Piazza (Harper)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 7:

A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501115639) are memoirs of the 39th U.S. President.

The Hirschfeld Century: Portrait of an Artist and His Age by Al Hirschfeld, edited by David Leopold (Knopf, $40, 9781101874974) chronicles the late artist and caricaturist's 80-year career.

Code of Conduct: A Thriller by Brad Thor (Emily Bestler/Atria, $27.99, 9781476717159) is book 15 in the Scot Harvath series.

Nemesis by Catherine Coulter (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399171277) is the 19th FBI Thriller book.

Tim and Eric's Zone Theory: 7 Easy Steps to Achieve a Perfect Life by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (Grand Central, $26, 9781455545438) comes from the comedy duo behind Adult Swim's Tim and Eric Awesome Show.

Vanishing Games: A Novel by Roger Hobbs (Knopf, $25.95, 9780385352642) follows the hunt for treasure stolen by pirates in the South China Sea.

Now in paperback:

The Shapeshifters by Stefan Spjut (Mariner, $15.95, 9780544084087) takes place in northern Sweden, where real trolls are protected by a group of humans.

The Secrets She Keeps: A Novel by Deb Caletti (Bantam, $15, 9780345548108).

As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney (Touchstone, $16.99, 9781476799087).

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:

Thank You, Goodnight: A Novel by Andy Abramowitz (Touchstone, $26, 9781476791777). "Teddy Tremble is the former lead singer of Tremble, a one-hit wonder band from the '90s. Now pushing 40 and working as a lawyer for a respectable firm, Teddy receives a phone call from an old friend who tells him to fly to London and see his 'legacy hanging on a wall at the Tate.' Teddy finds himself part of a photography exhibit entitled 'Faded Glory: Where Do They Go When They Have Nowhere to Go?' Enraged, Teddy travels to Switzerland to seek out and confront the artist, only to discover that he has a large contingent of fans urging him to record again. Returning home, he convinces the band to reunite and deals with the complicated relationships that ensue. This is a heartwarming, funny look at love, life, and second chances that often aren't there for most of us." --Georgette Coan, Barbara's Bookstore, Chicago, Ill.

Dietland: A Novel by Sarai Walker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544373433). "Meet Plum, a woman who has forever defined herself by her obesity and who gets through her daily routine by looking forward to the life that will come after her weight-loss surgery. When Plum discovers that she is being followed by a strange girl, her life is changed forever. While Plum embarks on her journey of self-acceptance, a violent feminist crusade takes the world by storm. As the two storylines converge, readers witness an unexpected transformation. This is a fun, no-apologies-offered debut!" --Tess Fahlgren, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, Mont.

Painted Horses: A Novel by Malcolm Brooks (Grove Press, $16, 9780802123817). "Brooks sweeps post-WWII American prosperity, ancient native traditions, and the rush to tame the still-wild West together in a novel driven by diverse and deeply realized characters that come together in a heart-pounding story. Catherine Lemay is a talented young archeologist defying the traditions of a 'man's world' by accepting the challenge to explore a Montana canyon slated for flooding for hydroelectric power. What she discovers is beauty, history, threats, and John H--a former mustanger, Army veteran, and enigmatic canyon dweller. Far from her comfortable New York home, Catherine embraces Montana's stark conditions and with John H uncovers both secrets of the region and truths within herself. A breathtaking debut!" --Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (Bloomsbury, $17.99, 9781619635906). "Ollie and Mo's friendship unfolds during the course of their correspondence. Ollie, who is allergic to electricity, and Moritz, who has a pacemaker, can never meet face-to-face but the things they have in common form a unique bond between them. Ollie lives alone in the woods with his mother. Moritz attends a public school where his physical appearance makes him a target for ridicule and bullying as, in addition to a pacemaker, he wears dark goggles to hide the smooth skin where his eyes should be. There's a mystery wrapped up in this tale, but the beauty and humanity of the main characters is where this gorgeous book especially shines." --Elliott bat Tzedek, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.

For Ages 9 to 12
Dragons Beware! by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado (First Second, $14.99, 9781596438781). "Look out, lizards! The fearless Claudette of Giants Beware! is back, and nothing is going to stop her from rescuing her poppa from a dragon. But everything about her quest is complicated, especially when you take into account the presence of gargoyles, the apple hag, the many princes wooing Claudette's diplomatically skilled friend Marie, and the burning question of how a band of heroes will eat when their chef has sworn off cooking for a while. There's just so much to love about this breathless adventure in which everyone has a moment to shine--including that maybe not-so-terrible dragon!" --Molly Templeton, WORD, Brooklyn, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
One Word From Sophia by Jim Averbeck (Atheneum, $17.99, 9781481405140). "Sophia is a spunky girl with a big wish: to own a giraffe! One by one, she approaches family members to explain how beneficial giraffe ownership can be, using graphs, charts, and detailed business proposals. Each time, though, she's told to use fewer words, until she finally finds the right one: 'please.' The ink-and-watercolor illustrations are bright and perfectly capture the mood as Sophia works to make her giraffe dream a reality. Silly, sweet, and filled with hilarious giraffe-related ideas, this book will be a winner for kids and grown-ups alike." --Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics

Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics by Barton Swaim (Simon & Schuster, $25 hardcover, 9781476769929, July 14, 2015)

Mention the name of former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and there's at least a fair chance the response will be, "hiking the Appalachian Trail," a reference to the feeble story his aides offered to cover up Sanford's secret trip to Argentina to visit his mistress in June 2009. Barton Swaim's memoir of the nearly four years he spent as one of Sanford's beleaguered speechwriters during that time is a candid, witty look inside the world of high-stakes politics.  

Like his predecessors, Swaim's early success with Sanford was followed almost immediately by the discovery that his boss was a petty tyrant when it came to the demands he placed on his overworked and underpaid staff. Ignoring his own wife and children, Swaim became "fixated instead on pleasing a man who could not be pleased." Worst of all, Sanford was a man who "knew bad writing when he saw it, except when he was the author." Imagine someone cringing at the exclamation that he had "cracked the code" for writing letters in Sanford's voice, and you have some sense of the depth of Swaim's despair.

As miserable as Swaim was in his futile effort to craft eloquent words for a man who had "no knowledge of your personhood," he's generous in his admiration for some of the principled stands Sanford took against his benighted opponents in the South Carolina legislature. One involved his veto of an unenforceable law intended to curb teenagers' ATV injuries. Another was his refusal to yield to calls for his impeachment in 2010. For all his bitterness over the mistreatment he endured, Swaim is a wounded idealist, not a cynic. "He was everything a politician should be--a politician in the best sense of that word, if it has a best sense," he writes of Sanford in the book's concluding chapter.

The account of Sanford's romantic misadventure is entitled "The Fall." That title doesn't refer to a season of the year, but instead to the way Sanford immolated his political prospects, at a time when hints were being dropped about a possible place on a Republican national ticket. Sanford's escapade became fodder for late-night comedians, while for Swaim and his colleagues, the "one thing that changed definitely for the worse was the sheer embarrassment of being a writer for a disgraced politician."

In 2013, Mark Sanford overcame his embarrassment to win re-election to his old seat in Congress. When he went about selecting his Washington staff, it's doubtful he considered hiring Barton Swaim. That's Sanford's loss. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: This memoir by a former speechwriter for ex-South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is a humorous and sobering glimpse inside the modern political crucible.

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