Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Little Brown and Company: This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs

St. Martin's Press: Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Dundurn Press: Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

W by Wattpad Books: Hazel Fine Sings Along by Katie Wicks

St. Martin's Press: The Girls of Summer by Katie Bishop

Soho Crime: The Rope Artist by Fuminori Nakamura, transl. by Sam Bett

Flatiron Books: Once Upon a Prime: The Wondrous Connections Between Mathematics and Literature by Sarah Hart

Grand Central Publishing: Goodbye Earl: A Revenge Novel by Leesa Cross-Smith


#WI11: Joyce Meskis Day in Colorado

Called "an extraordinary bookseller who exemplifies every good quality of independent bookselling" by ABA CEO Oren Teicher, Joyce Meskis, longtime owner of the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., received an unusual tribute yesterday. Her friend and former business partner John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, appeared as "a surprise guest" at the Winter Institute breakfast to talk about Meskis and then read a proclamation declaring January 25 Joyce Meskis Day, an announcement that was greeted with an extended standing ovation from the hundreds of booksellers in attendance.

First the Governor quickly plugged his upcoming book, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics (on sale May 17 from Penguin Press), because "Joyce would be very disappointed if I did anything less."

Hickenlooper then noted that he and Meskis became business partners in the LoDo area of Denver, where, when the area was still very seedy, Tattered Cover opened a branch and Hickenlooper founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company, the first brewpub in Denver.

Joyce Meskis at #WI11

In 1988, shortly after opening the brewpub, Meskis and her two daughters were at Wynkoop and she asked to see the owner. "She told me that the restaurant felt like a bookstore should--designed for people and not by a professional designer," Hickenlooper said. They became fast friends and bought a half a block of historic buildings together.

Hickenlooper continued: "Joyce trained me in what service is all about." In early days, he volunteered occasionally to do gift wrapping at the Tattered Cover because he liked it so much. Then, after some begging, she allowed him to take part in the first day of the two-week training session Tattered Cover gives for new employees on staffing the cash registers. Hickenlooper said he still remembers some of the lessons, including not praising a customer's book selection at the cash register because the next customer in line might be buying something that wouldn't elicit such an approving comment--and that would make that customer feel bad.

He remembered, too, that "Joyce said several times that day that 'the more books that are in more people's hands the better the world will be.' " He continued: "She inspired whole generations of book lovers and helped make Denver into a city of readers. She was also a crusader for freedom of speech and the right of free access to information." As Governor Hickenlooper left, he said approvingly to the crowd: "This room is filled with Joyce Meskises."

Nice words from a person who many hope will be the running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket this year. --John Mutter

Parallax Press: Radical Love: From Separation to Connection with the Earth, Each Other, and Ourselves by Satish Kumar

#WI11: 'Sobering Statistics' About the Effect of Amazon

One of the most well-attended and discussed sessions yesterday at the Winter Institute featured the release of a new Civic Economics-ABA study called Amazon and Empty Storefronts: The Fiscal and Land Use Impacts of Online Retail, which aims to demonstrate the effects of the growth of Amazon on American towns and cities. The study determined that in 2014, the last year for which it could get full-year statistics, Amazon sold $44.1 billion of retail goods nationwide, which is "the equivalent of 3,215 retail storefronts or 107 million square feet of commercial space, which might have paid $420 million in property tax." Also in 2014, Amazon avoided collecting state and local sales tax of $625 million. Between uncollected sales tax and the loss of property tax, state and local governments lost more than $1 billion in revenue--about $8.48 per household in the U.S.--the study found.

In 2014, Amazon's warehouses--65 million square feet of space--employed roughly 30,000 full-time workers and 104,000 part-time and seasonal workers. But including all the jobs lost from stores whose sales Amazon supplanted, Amazon sales "produced a net loss of 135,973 retail jobs."

Matt Cunningham of Civic Economics noted, too, that in 2014 Amazon book sales were about $5.618 billion, some 11.6% of Amazon retail sales. That amount of sales represents about 3,600 "bookshop equivalents and 40,000 bookstore employees," which he called "a sobering statistic."

The study noted that as of the beginning of this year, Amazon is collecting sales tax on purchases in 27 states--soon to be 28--which is helpful for some state and local governments, but that other trends continue to get worse. "The displacement of retail space from communities to the Internet... has contributed to a slowdown in the occupancy and development of commercial space," the study wrote. "This, in turn, has an invisible but certain impact on an essential source of revenue for most states, cities, and schools: property taxes." And Amazon's warehouses and distribution centers "on the peripheries of cities" are valued and taxed at lower rates than the spaces they are supplanting, often in downtowns.

In an effort to make the results more usable for showing government officials at all levels the cost of Amazon to them, the study ranks the impact of Amazon on individual states in several categories. In the case of "sales tax gaps," Missouri has the largest gap, at $62 million, followed closely by Colorado, Louisiana and Alabama, each of which is more than $50 million. In the case of property tax losses and job losses, the states' order was more generally comparable to its population, with some exceptions.

At the presentation, Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance emphasized that the study should serve as the basis for "generating a much bigger public conversation about the impact of Amazon," particularly with government officials at all levels. Too often, she said, those officials don't understand the implications of their decisions to support Amazon with ranges of grants and tax breaks and road improvements and the implications of not supporting independent, local businesses that provide so much value to towns and cities.

Mitchell noted that the current situation with Amazon reminds her of the monopoly on railroads in the 1800s, when "they were owned by industrialists who owned other kinds of businesses such as grain mills and steel mills and used transport to mess with competitors"--until the Interstate Commerce Commission was created.

ABA CEO Oren Teicher said that the "unprecedented study makes abundantly clear the deleterious effects on the American economy resulting from Amazon's strategy of retail dominance. It's our hope that the facts included in this report will help policy makers and the public better understand the need for more diversity in the marketplace, and recognize the potential long-term costs of the loss of healthy local economies."

Booksellers can see the study here.

William Morrow & Company: The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor

#WI11: The ABA Town Hall

Booksellers gathered yesterday morning for the American Booksellers Association's town hall meeting, marking the second consecutive year that the ABA has held a town hall meeting at WI in addition to the usual meeting at BookExpo America. The discussion ranged from best practices when working with self-published authors to race and class diversity initiatives, raising awareness about the negative effects of and much more.

The meeting's first topic was the ABA's recent experiments in selling books directly through the IndieBound platform. Christin Evans, co-owner of the Booksmith in San Francisco, Calif., and Kepler's in Menlo Park, stated that by selling books directly, the ABA is competing with its own member stores, and perhaps those resources could be put to better use elsewhere. Robert Sindelar, v-p of the ABA board and managing partner of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and Ravenna, Wash., stressed that selling through IndieBound is part of a six-month experiment in improving the extremely low conversion rates on that platform. Pete Mulvihill, board member and co-owner of Green Apple Books in San Francisco, also stressed that experimenting with IndieBound was "in no way" a distraction from improving IndieCommerce, and Matt Norcross, board member and co-owner of McLean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Mich., added that anything learned from this experiment would go toward helping all of the membership.

Many booksellers who participated in the town hall meeting, as well as many of the ABA board members themselves, frequently mentioned the Civic Economics study presented at WI earlier in the morning about the damage done to local, regional and national economies by (details in the story above). Betsy Burton, president of the ABA board and co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, said the study was an excellent tool not only to share with customers but to take to city and town councils, mayors and even state governors and legislature. ABA CEO Oren Teicher said that the entire presentation, as well as a PDF of the study, will be available for all ABA members on the association's website.

On the topic of self-published authors and the best ways to work with them, Jonathon Welch, board member and owner of Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo, N.Y., hoped that the ABA could establish a set of best practices and urged booksellers to see them as more than just a nuisance.

Paul Yamazaki, head buyer at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, raised the topic of creating an ongoing initiative to address the issues of race and class within the entire book business, and wondered if the ABA could partner with the American Association of University Publishers or the Association of American Publishers in addressing these things. Burton answered that diversity was a major issue at recent town hall meetings, and since then, the board has changed a number of policies in attempt to address the problem. One of those is a renewed emphasis on diversity scholarships, as well as changes to the board nomination process. The ABA board has also reached out to the AAP and AAUP and discussions are ongoing, but progress has been gradual. Burton said that though it is a difficult problem, it is a frequent point of discussion among board members.

Lacy Simons, owner of hello hello books in Rockland, Maine, wondered if there were any efforts being made to add used books functionality to IndieCommerce. Sindelar acknowledged that it was indeed part of the conversation, and in fact "comes up every time" there is any sort of IndieCommerce task force, but did not have concrete details. Mulvihill said that some 60% of his store sales are used books, but they were not in his store's own system, or in any system. He said he would love to get his used books online in an affordable way, but cautioned that online used books sales are a race to the bottom in terms of pricing.

Also raised was the issue of credit card fees and increases in cost, and whether that could warrant any antitrust scrutiny from the Department of Justice. Burton acknowledged that independent booksellers are not the only ones aware of the problem, and that booksellers together with other business organizations could have a "considerable amount of clout" in getting something done about it.

The question of whether the ABA could help encourage or recruit prospective booksellers in underserved markets around the United States was raised by Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, N.H. John Evans, board member and co-owner of DIESEL, a bookstore in Oakland, Larkspur and Brentwood, Calif., said the board has had ongoing conversations about this for the past few years. The resurgence of indie bookstores in the U.S., he said, is not keeping pace with the need for bookstores around the country. Evans said that it is easier for established stores to open second or third locations than for a brand new store to find funding. Betsy Burton suggested that the Civic Economics Amazon study could help show banks how valuable independent bookstores are for local economies, and Pete Mulvihill noted that the big five publishers seem to be as enthusiastic about new bookstores as many booksellers. Said Evans: "Personally I would love to see bookstores opening up like mushrooms across the landscape." --Alex Mutter

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PEN America to Honor Rowling, Pietsch

PEN America will honor author J.K. Rowling and Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch during the organization's annual gala May 16 in New York City.

Rowling, who will receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award, was cited for using her talents and stature as a writer to fight inequality on both a local and global level. "Through her writing, Rowling engenders imagination, empathy, humor, and a love of reading, along the way revealing moral choices that help us understand ourselves," said Andrew Solomon, president of PEN America. "Through their experiences with Rowling both on and off the page, countless children have learned not only the power of speaking their own minds, but the critical importance of hearing others. A gifted storyteller, fierce opponent of censorship, advocate for women's and girls' rights, and staunch defender of access to education, Rowling uses all of the tools at her disposal to create a better and more just world for our children."

Pietsch is being recognized "for his leadership in the fight against censorship by new and traditional actors," and for championing "the power of the unrestrained word." PEN executive director Suzanne Nossel commented: "As new technologies continually expand the space for creativity and new ideas to find a global audience, repressive forces are increasingly eager to silence those who challenge the status quo. Michael knows that writers who dare to see the world clearly are also those who ultimately have the greatest impact. As a leader in the fight against pervasive censorship, he has painstakingly reaffirmed literature as more than a consumer good: as a cultural currency in need of vehement protection."

Amazon Testing 'Title-Specific Kindle Gift Cards'

Amazon is testing title-specific Kindle gift cards, featuring 20 bestselling Kindle titles and 4 Kindle Unlimited card designs, in 61 Bartell Drug stores across Washington state. The Digital Reader reported that while the Kindle Cards are tied to specific titles, "Amazon isn't going to hold you to the sale. If someone gives you a card for a book you don't want, Amazon will let you trade it in for a regular credit." Bartell tweeted about the cards just before Christmas.

Although there has been no formal announcement of the program, a help page on the website notes that "Kindle Cards are Gift Cards that depict popular Kindle books and Kindle Unlimited subscriptions in the form of a physical card.... Included on each Kindle Card is a description of the Kindle book or Kindle Unlimited subscription, and instructions for redeeming the book or subscription to the desired account once the card has been activated at the store register."

GeekWire, which found one of the "Kindle eBooks kiosks tucked between displays of Valentine's Day candy" at a Bartell Drugs store in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, wrote: "Whether it turns out to be worthwhile for Amazon remains to be seen. Even during the checkout process, the concept was clearly a novelty to the Bartell Drugs employees at my local store, perhaps indicating that they haven't been selling a lot since the October launch."

Obituary Note: Michel Tournier

French novelist Michel Tournier, "who blended myth and philosophy in prizewinning novels that revisited Robinson Crusoe, Goethe's elf king and the biblical tale of the Three Magi," died January 18, the New York Times reported. He was 91. The Académie Française awarded its grand prize to Tournier's first novel, Friday, which was published in 1967. The Ogre won the Prix Goncourt in 1970. The Times noted that Tournier "went on to write several more novels, along with literary and art criticism, that explored large themes in a style he called 'hyperrealist,' an approach that made him a closer cousin to writers like Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez or Salman Rushdie than to the leading French writers of his day."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Wisdom of Morrie:
Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully
by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz
GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

Twenty-five years ago, Mitch Albom immortalized his former college professor in Tuesdays with Morrie, the blockbuster memoir that shared Morrie Schwartz's profound insights about life as he was dying of ALS. In The Wisdom of Morrie, Rob Schwartz, Morrie's son, resurrects his father's voice, sharing Morrie's philosophical wisdom and humor about the aging process--what can be an emboldening period filled with meaning and purpose. "This book is invaluable to anyone interested in improving their quality of life," says Rick Bleiweiss, head of new business development at Blackstone Publishing. "Readers who enjoy[ed] The Last Lecture and When Breath Becomes Air will expand their awareness and find new ideas and insights into living more fully." Schwartz's musings are timeless, and inspirational for readers of all ages. --Kathleen Gerard

(Blackstone Publishing, $25.99 hardcover, 9798200813452,
April 18, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Winter Institute's Author Reception

Last night, many hundreds of booksellers crowded Winter Institute 11's author reception, a highlight of an event full of highlights. There attendees met and received signed galleys from some 70 authors, including Richard Russo, Mark Kurlansky, Kwame Alexander and two author/booksellers: Louise Erdrich and Len Vlahos.

#WinterStormJonas Update: Bookstore Cat Div.

Posted yesterday on Facebook by Whistlestop Bookshop, Carlisle, Pa.: "First, to address the paramount concern of my customers, Mulan was perfectly fine during Winter Storm Jonas. I had left extra kibble and water Friday night (very quiet downtown that evening at 8 p.m., by the way). She followed previously-negotiated emergency protocols on Saturday (security patrols upstairs and downstairs, lots of naps, regular snack breaks). On Sunday morning she greeted me with feline sang froid and discreetly allowed me to make the first remark about how her dish was empty. This was remedied promptly, and together we studied her report on neighborhood activity before I went out to shovel."

For Book Notes Owner, 'Job Is Well Worth Its Struggles'

"Owning an independent book store is hard work," the Williamson Daily News reminded its readers in a profile of Book Notes, Pikeville, Ken., where owner Glenda Hall, who has run the store for more than 15 years with her son, said "the job is well worth its struggles.

"We took this place when we started because it had been a book store before," Hall recalled. "We thought that would make it easier, but it took us a lot of hard work to get everything fixed up.... We don't have as many books as bigger stores, but if you let us know what you're looking for, even if we don't have it, in most cases we can recommend something similar."

Hall noted that great customer service is "what separates us from these bigger, chain owned stores. We know the people. We know what they like. And we especially know books! I don't know if that's a requirement for working in a chain store, but from some of my experiences, it seems like maybe not.... I think good customer service is very important in what we do." Bookselling, she added is "not something to do if you want to get rich. But we do it because we believe every person in the world should have access to a book store. That's something each person should have a right to."

Waxman Launches Marketing Consultancy

Waxman (c.) with Other Press author Chris Cander and Unnamed Press author Benjamin Rybeck at Brazos Bookstore for Indie Press Night Houston.

Jeff Waxman, formerly of Other Press, the University of Chicago Press and the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, has launched a freelance marketing consultancy. Waxman is a creator of Peck's Book/Plate, the Literary Dispensary at ABA's Winter Institute 11 in Denver, and has hosted numerous Indie Press Nights in bookstores across the U.S.

As an independent consultant, he currently works with publishers Restless Books and Tyrant Books, as well as magazines including Nautilus, MAKE Literary Magazine and The Baffler. Waxman can be reached at

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rainn Wilson on the Late Late Show

The View: David Zinczenko, author of Zero Belly Cookbook: 150+ Delicious Recipes to Flatten Your Belly, Turn Off Your Fat Genes, and Help Keep You Lean for Life! (Ballantine, $28, 9781101964804).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Rainn Wilson, author of The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy (Dutton, $26.95, 9780525954538).

TV: Game of Thrones; The Night Manager

HBO's hit series Game of Thrones "gained the attention of its social audience through its teaser campaign" last week, Variety reported, noting that the "Twitter-focused campaign, which encouraged users to tweet with special hashtags for a direct reply including teaser videos, was able to drive cross-channel engagement throughout the week, with YouTube and Facebook generating millions of views. All of the cross-channel activity helped make this GoT's most engaging week since the infamous 'Jon Snow' teasers." Season 6 premieres April 24.


The first trailer has been released for the BBC's The Night Manager, based on John Le Carré's novel and starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. Indiewire noted that "Susanne Bier (Brothers, After the Wedding) directed all six episodes, and while no air date has been revealed just yet, the show will get a premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival along side some other shows."

Books & Authors

Awards: CWA Diamond Dagger

The Crime Writers' Association named Peter James this year's recipient of its highest honor, the CWA Diamond Dagger, awarded annually "to a writer who has a career marked by sustained excellence." James has published 28 novels, selling 16 million books worldwide, highlighted by his series featuring Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.

"Peter James is king of the police procedural," said CWA chair Len Tyler. "His books combine up-to-the-minute accuracy with tight plotting and a fast pace. Over the past thirty years or so, Peter has established himself as one of the best-known and best-loved thriller writers in the country. He is immensely supportive of other authors and his wide-ranging work inside and outside the genre has been recognized both by Brighton University and Sussex Police. I know this will be a popular choice both amongst readers and other crime writers."

Top Library Recommended Titles for February

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 February titles public library staff across the country love:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Philomel Books, $18.99, 9780399160301). "Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful--a must read." --Jennifer Asimakopoulos, Indian Prairie Public Library, Darien, Ill.

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase (Putnam, $27, 9780399174124). "Young Amber Alton and her family adore Black Rabbit Hall, and the joy and peace it brings to them all. That is, until a tragic accident changes everything. Three decades later, Lorna decides her wedding must be celebrated at the crumbling hall. As the book moves between these two time periods, secrets slowly unfold. Perfectly twisty with interesting characters and a compelling story that kept me up too late." --Deborah Margeson, Douglas County Libraries, Parker, Colo.

A Girl's Guide to Moving On: A Novel by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine, $26, 9780553391923). "Leanne and her daughter-in-law Nichole both leave cheating husbands to start over. They learn that it is never easy and that hardships abound, but they meet many wonderful people on their way to happily-ever-after. Believable characters and an enjoyable story made this perfect for relaxing reading--definitely one of Macomber's best. An excellent choice both for long-time fans of the author and for those who have never read her novels." --Linda Tilden, Cherry Hill Public Library, Cherry Hill, N.J.

Be Frank With Me: A Novel by Julia Claiborne Johnson (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062413710). "Meet Frank. Frank is an odd 9-year-old boy who has a higher IQ than Einstein's and dresses as if he were on a movie set in the early 1920s--and he is someone with whom you are sure to fall in love. Frank's reclusive mother is an author whose publisher has just sent Alice Whitley to serve as an assistant and ensure the next book is completed. The relationship between Frank and Alice is magical. Readers will devour this book and want more. Just magical." --Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, Mich.

Flight of Dreams: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385540025). "Flight of Dreams chronicles an author's imagined scenario on the ill-fated last flight of the Hindenburg, which was shrouded in mystery. Lawhon does a masterful job by giving meticulous detail of the ship and delving into the lives of many of the characters on board. I read with mounting dread and intensity as the storyline of the disaster unfolded. Historical detail and wonderful storytelling make this a must read for historical fiction lovers." --Kristin Fields, Farnhamville Public Library, Farnhamville, Iowa

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143128489). "Everyone loves Lizzie--she is the confidant, the late night go-to, and she is always there and hungry for attention. Lizzie becomes even more obsessed and needy when she no longer feels insecure about being overweight and it becomes painfully obvious that she will always feel bad about herself. It is a candid and sad look at how we mistreat people with different body types." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

Fighting Dirty: An Ultimate Novel by Lori Foster (HQN Books, $7.99, 9780373789177). "What. A. Ride! I absolutely loved this book. I loved finally getting Armie and Merissa's story. I also enjoyed being able to go back and revisit past characters and getting to know future ones! The story was fast-paced and dreamy. Armie's fight with himself over his emotions wasn't drawn out, nor did it get tedious to read. All around, this book was an absolute pleasure, and I can't wait to read more from Foster!" --Jessica McCroskey, Holston River Regional Library, Johnson City, Tenn.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner (Dutton, $27, 9780525954576). "WOW. Find Her is intense. Those initial pages are a testament to the strength of Lisa Gardner's writing. I had to know what was going to happen! At times it was so bleak and dark, and yet I still had to know what Flora and Stacy were going to be doing. A very suspenseful, twisty, unpredictable page-turner." --Allie Williams, Parnell Memorial Library, Montevallo, Ala.

The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062105684). "Fans of Jackson's Someone Else's Love Story will be pleased to see William's acerbic friend Paula take center stage. A successful divorce lawyer, Paula's carefully constructed life starts to fracture when family secrets come to light, forcing her to try to come to terms with the power of her story to hurt and heal, and a growing need for family connections. A wonderful cast of offbeat, memorable characters make this book a winner." --Beth Mills, New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer (Melville House, $25.95, 9781612195001). "There is not much more terrifying than losing your child. There's the terror, the guilt, and then the relentless and unending chasm left behind by your child. I am grateful to not know that pain, and yet what Beth, the main character of this book, went through, resonated with me. I have had so many things on my to-do list, and yet I found myself delaying laundry and dusting and research so that I could find out how this story would unfold." --Kim Dorman, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, N.J.

Book Review

Review: Every Last Tie

Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family by David Kaczynski (Duke University Press, $19.95 hardcover, 9780822359807, February 5, 2016)

David Kaczynski is a poet, a former English teacher, an impassioned opponent of the death penalty and the younger brother of Ted Kaczynski, better known to the world as the Unabomber. In Every Last Tie, he contemplates "loving memories and painful outcomes," hoping to illuminate his brother's and his own experiences.

Some of David's message involves correcting misconceptions. For example, he says it was not his heroism but his wife Linda's compassionate and principled actions that identified the Unabomber. He relates the process of recognizing Ted's voice in the Unabomber's manifesto: Linda's concern, David's denial, the careful considerations they conducted together and the final decision--betrayal of his brother or betrayal of yet more innocent lives. David often contemplates such difficult questions as how to explain Ted Kaczynski's illness and actions, coming from a family that David portrays as caring, close and committed to education and integrity. He characterizes Ted as a loving older brother increasingly withdrawn from society, a tortured genius and, finally, a mentally ill man David no longer understands. The decision to identify his brother still prickles. "Ted's cruelty stigmatizes my good name; but my reputation for goodness comes at his expense. Like all contrived opposites, we reinforce one another."

Every Last Tie is beautifully written, searingly honest, in no way the sensational tell-all it might have been, but a careful exercise--sometimes emotional, sometimes intellectual--in self-examination. David clearly wants to pile praise on his beloved parents, but chooses to consider their complexities, seeking truth over comfort. The result contains a certain amount of psychological analysis (especially in a thorough afterword by James L. Knoll IV, a forensic psychiatrist who has both studied Ted Kaczynski's case and come to know David well), but the book is also a meditation on notions of family, "the premise that a brother shows you who you are--and who you are not." David struggles to reconcile the brother he loved and the serial killer he turned in, but does not belabor the point, choosing instead to remember and share what he knows, and acknowledge the mystery. Knoll's afterword makes a more pointed criticism of the United States' "nonsystem" of mental health care.

This slim, intriguing book is the story of a family whose two sons lead different lives. David Kaczynski's voice is quietly thoughtful, and his writing is lovely; he ranges from family anecdote to psychological puzzle to philosophical musing while retaining an even tone. Every Last Tie is both a straightforward story and a complex consideration of an extremely difficult one. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: David Kaczynski's contemplation of his brother's life and crimes is sensitive and skillfully composed, with broad appeal.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Score (Off-Campus Book 3) by Elle Kennedy
2. Sebring (Unfinished Heroes: Volume 5) by Kristen Ashley
3. Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
4. Aced (The Driven Series Book 5) by K. Bromberg
5. Dirty Together (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy Book 3) by Meghan March
6. For the First Time: Twenty-One Brand New Stories of First Love by Various
7. Miss Fortune Series Boxset by Jana DeLeon
8. The Tycoon's Captured Heart (The Boarding School Series Book 5) by Elizabeth Lennox
9. Surrender My Love by Melissa Foster
10. Protecting the Future by Susan Stoker

[Many thanks to!]

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