Also published on this date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015: Maximum Shelf: The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Little Brown and Company: A Line in the Sand by Kevin Powers

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne

Ballantine Books: The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Henry Holt & Company: Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley


E-Books: 'Digital Apocalypse' Is 'Not on Schedule'

Noting that "five years ago, the book world was seized by collective panic over the uncertain future of print," today's New York Times examines the recent slowing down of e-book sales, including a 10% drop in the first five months of this year for publishers reporting sales to the Association of American Publishers, and suggested that "the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule."

"E-books were this rocket ship going straight up," said Len Vlahos, a former executive director of the Book Industry Study Group and now part of the senior management team of Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo. "Just about everybody you talked to thought we were going the way of digital music."

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher observed: "The fact that the digital side of the business has leveled off has worked to our advantage. It's resulted in a far healthier independent bookstore market today than we have had in a long time."

Print books account for more than 70% of sales for Penguin Random House in the U.S. "People talked about the demise of physical books as if it was only a matter of time, but even 50 to 100 years from now, print will be a big chunk of our business," noted PRH CEO Markus Dohle.

Steve Bercu, the co-owner of BookPeople, Austin, Tex., where sales are up nearly 11% this year over last, "credits the growth of his business, in part, to the stabilization of print and new practices in the publishing industry, such as Penguin Random House's so-called rapid replenishment program to restock books quickly," the Times wrote.

"We've seen people coming back," said Arsen Kashkashian, a book buyer at Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo. "They were reading more on their Kindle and now they're not, or they're reading both ways."

The future remains uncertain. "Maybe it's just a pause here," said Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. "Will the next generation want to read books on their smartphones, and will we see another burst come?"

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon

ABFE and Indies Gear Up for Banned Books Week

With this year's Banned Books Week kicking off this Sunday, American Booksellers for Free Expression and independent bookstores all over the country are finalizing their plans for the annual celebration of free expression.

This year, ABFE will be sending out some 500 display kits to booksellers--three times the number that the organization distributed last year. A variety of Banned Books Week materials and designs are also available for download on the ABA's website, and new this year is a web badge for "official sponsors" of Banned Books Week. Booksellers planning events for Banned Books Week can add their own events to ABFE's Banned Books Week events page and see what other booksellers are planning.

Among the many ways of celebrating, Books Inc. in California made this brief video in honor of Banned Books Week.

Among the featured events for Banned Books Week 2015 is WeHo Reads: Banned Books, an all-day event consisting of readings, performances, workshops and panel discussions about free speech and censorship. The event is part of the city of West Hollywood's ongoing author series and will take place on September 26. And on September 29 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York, authors David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing), Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) and Coe Booth (Kinda Like Brothers), will discuss their experiences having their books challenged or banned. David Shipler, the author of Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword, will moderate the discussion.

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Pottermore Launches Redesigned Website

Yesterday, launched its redesigned website, which includes new writing by J.K. Rowling "at its core, including a piece on the history of the wizarding Potter family from its illustrious beginnings in the 12th century," the Bookseller reported, adding: "The new site contains entertaining features, commentary and articles about the Harry Potter series and the wider Wizarding World." A "Pottermore Correspondent" will be "dedicated to reporting on all the latest updates going on in the Wizarding World."

"J.K. Rowling is continuing to expand her magical universe, and as the Wizarding World expands, so does Pottermore," said Susan Jurevics, Pottermore's CEO. "The fascinating story of the Potter family, from the author herself, will enthrall everyone interested in this world and shows just how J.K. Rowling's writing remains at the heart of our new site. Users will find all areas easier to access, due to the elimination of mandatory registration, as well as responsive designs for optimal viewing across a wide range of devices. Our new digital destination is tailored to unlock and stimulate the imagination like never before."

Sourcebooks Young Readers: Global: One Fragile World. an Epic Fight for Survival. by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

Amazon Prime Membership for $67 on Friday

On Friday, Amazon will offer a one-day sale on Amazon Prime memberships for $67 to celebrate the five Emmy Awards won Sunday night by its Amazon Original series, Transparent, at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards.

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Obituary Notes: Jeremy Tarcher; Carmen Balcells

Jeremy Tarcher, a pioneer in mind/body/spirit publishing and the founder of Tarcher Books (now part of Tarcher Perigee at Penguin Random House), died on Sunday of complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was 83.

The brother of author Judith Krantz and husband of the late puppeteer Shari Lewis, he founded Tarcher Books in the early 1970s and published, among many other titles, Bikram's Beginning Yoga in 1978, when yoga was much less popular in the U.S. than now; two exceptional titles about creativity, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards and The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron; and Aquarian Conspiracy by Marilyn Ferguson, "a handbook of the New Age." Putnam (now part of Penguin Random House) bought Tarcher Books in 1991. Tarcher ran the company until 1996.

Tarcher Perigee v-p and publisher Joel Fotinos said Tarcher was "was one of the most creative and brilliant people I've ever met. His boundless curiosity inspired him to go beyond traditional publishing and thought, and led him to discover the most innovative and exciting voices in the field of human potential. This curiosity about the world, our minds, and our capacity to expand our abilities drove him every day, and was reflected in the eponymous, pioneering publishing company he built from ground up.

"On a personal level, Jeremy had an unparalleled ability to make each person he spoke to feel like they were the most important person in the world. He was a mentor to me, and he changed my life. I know he changed the lives of many people, both directly and indirectly through the books he published."

Dean Sluyter, author of several Tarcher books, including Natural Meditation, commented: "Jeremy was the editor of my first two books, the godfather of my writing career, and a beloved mentor and friend. Every time I sit at the keyboard I hear his probing editor's voice, spurring me to write with more clarity, more honesty, and more humanity."


Carmen Balcells, the "formidable literary agent who shepherded a generation of Latin American writers, including Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, to international prominence," died Sunday, the New York Times reported. She was 85. Her nickname was "La Mamá Grande," after a story by García Márquez.

"She was much more than an agent or representative of the authors who had the privilege of being with her," Vargas Llosa observed. "She took care of us, she spoiled us, she quarreled with us, she yanked our ears, and she filled us with understanding and kindness in everything we did, not only in our writing."

Balcells's agency represents about 300 writers, including Isabel Allende, Javier Cercas and the estates of Carlos Fuentes, Clarice Lispector and Pablo Neruda. The Times noted that last year, she signed a letter of intent with Andrew Wylie to form the Balcells-Wylie agency, but at the time of her death "the merger talks had not concluded, leaving in play not only the future of her agency but also of one of the largest literary estates in the world, that of Mr. García Márquez, who died last year and is estimated to have sold more than 50 million books."

G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams


Image of the Day: A Broad Abroad... Abroad

Diane Giombetti Clue launched the U.K. edition of her book A Broad Abroad: Surviving (and Loving) Your Junior Year on Foreign Soil with a reading in front of 1,100 people in Canterbury Cathedral, part of a multimedia event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the University of Kent at Canterbury (where Clue spent her junior year abroad).

A Tip of the Hat to NYC's Strand Bookstore

The Strand Bookstore in New York City came up with a "a smart answer" to Donald Trump's ubiquitous "Make America Great Again" campaign hat with their own bookish variation on the theme: "Make America Read Again," the Village Voice reported. The cap retails for $14.95

"It's just a one-off product to capture the moment," said Whitney Hu, the Strand's marketing director. "We really didn't know what to expect when we launched it, but people are really digging the slogan."

Inkwood Books N.J. "Is Hitting at the Right Time'

Inkwood Books, a "cheerful literary oasis for the whole family" that opened in Haddonfield, N.J., this June, is off to a great start, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in a profile of owner Julie Beddingfield. "I'm working as hard as I did when I was a lawyer," she said. "But I'm having a lot more fun doing it.... Business so far is better than I thought it would be. It's not where I need it to be, but it's a good foundation going into the holiday season."

Remi Fortunato of the Partnership for Haddonfield noted that increased consumer interest in retail "experiences" online shopping can't provide mean Inkwood is "hitting at the right time."

Beddingfield said Inkwood also needs to be "a viable business," however. "This isn't a hobby. I left a good job to do this... People keep asking me how I'm going to compete with Amazon. But knowing your community and hosting events? You can't get that from an algorithm."

'At the Bookbinders' with Satin Island

From Poets & Writers magazine: "A behind-the-scenes look at Shepherds Bookbinders in London reveals the complexity and detail involved in bookbinding—in this case, a special edition of Tom McCarthy's Satin Island (Knopf, 2015), which is shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize for Fiction."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jim Gaffigan on Colbert's Late Show

Tomorrow on Live with Kelly and Michael: Bill O'Reilly, co-author of Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency (Holt, $30, 9781627792417).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748382).


Tomorrow on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live: Pamela Anderson, co-author of Raw (BenBella, $29.95, 9781942952077).


Tomorrow on MSNBC's All in with Chris Hayes: Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781451697391).


Tomorrow on Fox News's Kelly File: David Willey, author of The Promise of Francis: The Man, the Pope, and the Challenge of Change (Gallery, $26, 9781476789057).


Tomorrow on Fox Business Network's After the Bell: Gerald Posner, author of God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican (Simon & Schuster, $20, 9781416576594).


Tomorrow on SiriusXM's David Webb Show: Jay Winik, author of 1944: FDR and the Year That Changed History (Simon & Schuster, $35, 9781439114087).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jim Gaffigan, author of Food: A Love Story (Three Rivers Press, $15, 9780804140430).

Movies: The Big Short; The Girl on the Train

The first trailer is out for The Big Short, based on Michael Lewis's bestselling book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. The Film Stage reported that Adam McKay's movie "will close AFI Fest on November 12th, before landing in limited theaters on December 11th and going wide on December 23rd." The star-studded cast includes Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Karen Gillan, Steve Carell, Melissa Leo and Marisa Tomei.  


"Before even a frame has shot, the buzz is building around The Girl on the Train," Indiewire noted in reporting that Jared Leto and Chris Evans "are in early talks for the movie," and would join a cast that already includes Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson and Haley Bennett. Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) will direct the adaptation of the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins.

Books & Authors

Hamilton Creator Wins Special George Washington Prize

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright, lyricist, composer and star of the hit musical Hamilton has won a Special Achievement Award from the board of the George Washington Book Prize. The special award of $50,000 will be presented on December 14 in New York.

This marks the first time a George Washington Prize has been presented to a play. A spokesperson said: "In capturing the hearts of all who have seen it, Hamilton has clearly made the lessons of our Founding accessible and engaging while hewing to historical fact."

In a nice twist, Miranda has said that his inspiration for the play, which tells the story of the nation's first treasurer using rap, hip hop and diverse casting, was Ron Chernow's biography Alexander Hamilton--the winner, in 2005, of the first George Washington Book Prize.

Awards: FT-McKinsey Business; Samuel Johnson Nonfiction

This year's shortlist has been unveiled for the of £30,000 (about $45,900) Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year, which recognizes a book with "the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues." A winner will be named November 17 in New York. Each of the runners-up receives £10,000 ($15,300). The shortlisted titles are:

The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment by Martin Ford
Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff
Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper
Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics by Richard Thaler
How Music Got Free: What Happens When an Entire Generation Commits the Same Crime? by Stephen Witt


A longlist of 12 contenders has been released for the £20,000 (about $30,890) Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction. This year's shortlist will be announced October 9, and a winner named November 2. The longlisted titles are:

Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate
Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance by Robert Gildea
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
The Planet Remade by Oliver Morton
Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia by Peter Pomerantsev
They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper by Bruce Robinson
The Four-Dimensional Human by Laurence Scott
Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently by Steve Silberman
The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky
Black Earth by Tim Snyder
This Divided Island by Samanth Subramanian

Book Brahmin: C.A. Higgins

photo: Lisa Verge-Higgins

C.A. Higgins writes novels and short stories. She was a runner up in the 2013 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing and has a bachelor of arts in physics from Cornell University. She lives in Brooklyn. Her first novel, Lightless, will be published on September 29, 2015, by Del Rey.

On your nightstand now:

I usually keep nonfiction on my nightstand; once I've started a novel, I tend to read it so quickly that the book doesn't last the night! I have Time and Chance and Quantum Mechanics and Experience, both by David Albert, on my nightstand. Right beneath them is Introduction to Attic Greek by Donald Mastronarde, and then some fiction: Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Underneath all that is my e-reader, which has pretty much the entirety of Project Gutenberg saved on it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate. The series has a fantastic world and fantastic characters, and I love the mix of escapism (They can turn into lions! Sometimes they travel the cosmos or hop through time!) with the genuinely disturbing body horror and a really grim depiction of the psychological effects of war on the pre-teen heroes.

Your top five authors:

Robin Hobb, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Philip K. Dick, Tanith Lee and Gaius Valerius Catullus.

Book you've faked reading:

I accidentally faked reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. When I was younger, I had read some fantasy series that I had hated for a reason I have long since forgotten, and somehow I confused that other series with A Song of Ice and Fire. When the TV show started airing, family, friends and total strangers tried everything short of tying me to a chair A Clockwork Orange-style to make me watch it, while I swore up and down that I'd read the books and didn't like them. I gave in eventually--only to realize that not only had I never read the books, but that they are fantastic and I love them, and I regret all those years we spent apart.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Farseer Trilogy (and sequels) by Robin Hobb. Sharing it with my friends is the only way I know how to deal with the fact that the books make me cry like a child.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I have a great and terrible weakness for corsets.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Symphony of the Ages series by Elizabeth Haydon. I read very rapidly as a child, and at some point--probably marked by the moment I had finished every book in the children's and young adult sections of the library and my mother sent me to the adult section with a duffle bag and the words, "Have at it"--my parents gave up on trying to actively monitor my reading list. To protect this beneficial state of affairs, I learned discretion when it came to a few books, including the series above. And on the bright side, I had a better sex ed than most of my peers.

Book that changed your life:

The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene--it's what got me interested in physics, which led me to the idea for Lightless.

Favorite line from a book:

"You must never run from anything immortal; it attracts their attention." --Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.

I really enjoy the ominousness and simplicity of this line. It implies so many interesting details about immortal creatures, mortal creatures, the differences thereof and the relationship between.

It's also solid advice. Whenever I'm walking someplace dark and alone and I feel that pricking on the back of my neck, I never run. Correlation doesn't mean causation, but I haven't been eaten yet.

Five books you'll never part with:

I have a sub-collection of books that I take with me whenever I go on a long trip as sort of paper and cardboard teddy bears. This sub-collection includes The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Changeling Prince by Vivian Vande Velde, The Farseer series by Robin Hobb, What If? by Randall Munroe and--a recent addition--Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

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

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I had to read it for a class in my freshman year of college, and my dorm was this big, quiet stone building with a long hallway right outside my door. I started the book in the afternoon and ended up reading it all in one sitting, while the sun set behind the hill outside my window and then--as it got dark--people started whispering in and walking down the hallway. Every now and then, someone would shout or laugh and then immediately fall silent. At one point someone tripped and hit the wall beside my door and I nearly screamed. I really admired the way the psychological effects of the book's titular house influenced me beyond the book, and rereading it isn't quite the same as the first time.

Book Review

Children's Review: Last in a Long Line of Rebels

Last in a Long Line of Rebels by Lisa Lewis Tyre (Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, $16.99 hardcover, 276p., ages 8-12, 9780399168383, September 29, 2015)

All 12-year-old Lou Mayhew wants is an exciting summer so when she returns to school in the fall she'll have good adventures to share. Lou, daughter of a junkman and an artist, lives in a small town in Tennessee. The family's grand-but-sagging home, which looks "like something out of an R.L. Stine story," is one of the oldest in town, and Mayhews have lived there for generations. One day, while praying over the treasured Mayhew family Bible for an exciting summer, Lou and her best friend Benzer accidentally damage its cover. Panicked, they hide, and while hiding, they overhear the devastating news that Lou's family home might be torn down. Lou's summer proves to be a different sort of exciting as she works with three friends--including Franklin, a Boy Scout earning his American Heritage badge--to save the family home, possibly by getting it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After all, it's a place the town librarian tells her may have been inhabited by gold thieves and, according to a visiting historian named George Neely, a murderer. Worst of all for Lou, she learns there are old slave quarters in her own backyard. "Try to look at it as a puzzle," Mr. Neely tells Lou. "Your ancestors left you a great mystery to solve." And what could make for a more exciting summer than solving mysteries and searching the house for stolen gold?

Puzzle pieces keep popping up. At an estate sale with her father, Lou discovers an old wooden box covered in cobwebs. In it, she finds a secret compartment that contains the Civil War-era diary of her namesake, Louise Duncan. (" 'Whoa,' I whispered.") As Lou reads her ancestor's diary, getting goosebumps, she learns that Louise Duncan was proud of her beau, Walter Mayhew, for guarding gold for the Confederacy. But gradually, as the war raged on, Louise realized the cost to the community, and became opposed to slavery and joined the underground abolitionist movement in town. Meanwhile, Lou sees first-hand that prejudice is still alive in 1999 Tennessee when her friend Isaac, a talented athlete, is denied a university scholarship because he is black.

Lou decides that if Isaac is brave enough to fight that, and her namesake was brave enough to fight slavery, she's not going to give up trying to save her family home from demolition. Thanks to Lou's lively, first-person narration and her entertaining, loyal team of friends, readers will be happy to be along for the ride in what proves to be an exciting summer indeed. --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop

Shelf Talker: Lisa Lewis Tyre's debut novel, set in Tennessee, skillfully combines Civil War history and a modern-day mystery.

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