Shelf Awareness for Monday, March 28, 2016

Little Brown and Company: Wolf at the Table by Adam Rapp

Tor Nightfire: Ghost Station by S.A. Barnes

Severn River Publishing: Covert Action (Command and Control #5) by J.R. Olson and David Bruns

Scholastic Press: Heroes: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Alan Gratz

Flatiron Books: Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Peachtree Publishers: King & Kayla and the Case of the Downstairs Ghost (King & Kayla) by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers


Staffer to Buy Bangor's Briar Patch Bookstore

A changing of the guard is in the works for the Briar Patch children's bookstore, Bangor, Maine. Owner Cathy Anderson "is planning her exit strategy," and Gibran Graham "is poised to purchase an iconic downtown store next year," the Bangor Daily News reported.

"I'm in my mid-60s. My husband has been retired for several years, and we have other things to do," Anderson said. "I just don't have the energy for it anymore. I used to be able to say I had read about 75% of what was in the store, but now there are so many new books out there I have to rely on book reviews and the recommendations of the sales representatives when I order. I can't keep up with it."

She "didn't have to look far to find an enthusiastic buyer for the business she has nurtured for the last 21 years," the Daily News wrote, adding that Graham has worked at the store for the past five years. Anderson said she may help finance the purchase: "I want to facilitate his success. I hope to be able to offer better terms than a bank would offer." The transition is anticipated to take effect next year at this time.

"There's a sense of happiness that comes with this business. It's not just about the income. Happiness is at least half the payback," said Graham, adding: "Every downtown needs a bookstore. It's a cultural beacon for the community."

University of California Press: The Accidental Ecosystem: People and Wildlife in American Cities by Peter S. Alagona

Amazon Plans Two-Hour Delivery Service in Berlin

Amazon is preparing to launch a two-hour delivery service in Berlin, and has ordered a site on the city's fashionable Kurfürstendamm "to be repurposed as a warehouse for more than 10,000 articles from the online retailer's assortment," Reuters reported, citing "Berlin transport sources" who spoke with the German newspaper Welt. Deliveries would begin in May and initially be carried out by courier firms already active in the city. "Until now, Amazon has mostly used Deutsche Post's DHL parcel service for deliveries in Germany, and its move to build up its own delivery capabilities is seen as a threat to DHL's business," Reuters noted.

Hong Kong Booksellers Update; Airport Cleansing?

Lee Po, one of the five Hong Kong publishers and booksellers who disappeared last year and resurfaced in Chinese custody, returned to Hong Kong last week. But shortly after arriving, he then returned to China, the South China Morning Post reported.

Lee Po

Lee is the best known of the five members of Mighty Current publishers and its Causeway Books bookstore, both of which have published and sold books critical of the Communist Party and Chinese leaders. The official Chinese view has been that those and other critical books are based on fabrications.

During his brief time in Hong Kong, Lee said, "I will never publish and sell those books that make things up. The freedom of publication and of speech does not mean that people can make things up." He also asked police to close his missing-persons case because he had gone to China voluntarily.


In a seemingly related item, the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong International Airport is cutting the number of airport bookstores to 10 from 16, replacing the two largest with luxury fashion stores. As part of the changes, Page One, whose headquarters are in Singapore, will close all six of its airport bookshops while French-owned Relay is cutting its outlets to five from 10. Five of the 10 remaining bookstores will be run by a company making its debut at the airport: mainland publisher and bookstore chain Chung Hwa (Chinese for China).

As the paper noted, "The cutback in book retail space has triggered concerns that the Airport Authority might have come under pressure to shut down shops selling politically sensitive titles or exercised self-censorship in the wake of the ongoing controversy."

An Airport Authority spokeswoman told the South China Morning Post that the decision had been taken to reduce bookstore space because of a "change in reading habit and advancement in technology," following regular customer surveys on travelers' needs.

Lisa Leung Yuk-ming, associate professor from the department of cultural studies at Hong Kong's Lingnan University, told the paper: "This might be a reprisal for bookshops selling these kind of things or it might be self-censorship by the airport themselves to try to weed out these problematic bookshop labels."

Remembrance Gathering for P.J. Horoszko

Picador is holding a gathering in remembrance of P.J. Horoszko, the publisher's associate editor who died earlier this month. The gathering takes place this Wednesday, March 30, 5:30-6:30 p.m., at the Quaker Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place (15th St., between Second and Third Avenues) in New York City.

Obituary Notes: Jim Harrison; Nancy Olson

Jim Harrison

Internationally renowned author Jim Harrison, a "fiction writer, poet, outdoorsman and reveler who wrote with gruff affection for the country's landscape and rural life," died Saturday, the Associated Press reported. He was 78. Harrison published more than 30 books, including Dalva, True North, Sundog, In Search of Small Gods, A Good Day to Die, The Big Seven, The Woman Lit by Fireflies, The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand, Dead Man's Float and, most recently, The Ancient Minstrel.

The AP noted: "Sometimes likened to Ernest Hemingway for the range and kinds of his interests, he was a hunter and fisherman who savored his time in a cabin near his Michigan hometown, a drinker and Hollywood script writer who was close friends with Jack Nicholson and came to know Sean Connery, Orson Welles and Warren Beatty among others. He was a sports writer and a man of extraordinary appetite who once polished off a 37-course lunch, a traveler and teller of tales, most famously Legends of the Fall."

The New York Times wrote: "Though not strictly a household name, Mr. Harrison was long esteemed by a large, devoted cohort of readers in North America. He was also hugely popular in Europe--especially in France, where he was venerated as a cult author.

"Considered a master of the novella, a rarely cultivated discipline, Mr. Harrison was also known for his essays on food: he was perhaps the leading exponent of the small subgenre in which shotguns and shoe leather play a far greater role than balsamic reduction....

"But constructing Mr. Harrison merely as a rough-and-ready man of appetite--a perennial conceit of profile writers, and one he did relatively little to dispel--ignores the deep intellectualism of the man and his work. In conversation, he could range easily and without affectation over Freud, Kierkegaard, Stravinsky, Zen Buddhism, Greek oral epic and ballet."

Morgan Entrekin, publisher and CEO of Grove Atlantic, commented: "I met Jim in 1978 when I was working with the legendary publisher Sam Lawrence, who asked me to read the manuscript of a collection of novellas called Legends of the Fall, which Delacorte Press went on to publish to great acclaim. After Sam's death in 1994, Jim decided to come publish with Grove Atlantic. Over the last 22 years, we have published and reissued 19 of his books. His unwavering support of this old-fashioned independent literary publisher was one of the reasons we have survived and thrived. America has lost one of its greatest writers, but those of us at Grove Atlantic have lost a member of our family. Our thoughts are with the Harrison family and his many friends all over the world. Jim is gone but his work will live on."


Nancy Olson

Very sad news: Nancy Olson, founder and longtime owner of Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C., a bookseller "credited with launching a literary renaissance in North Carolina by giving readers and writers a place to gather," as the News & Observer wrote, died yesterday. She was 75 and had battled kidney disease for the past three years.

We remember Olson as a cheerful, enthusiastic, smart bookseller whose personality was marked by a combination of sweetness, graciousness and a sharp, hilarious sense of humor. She loved books, authors and readers, and made her store a friendly home for all. She was famous for encouraging new, budding authors: one of them was Charles Frazier, who happened to be in the store when we were visiting. A delighted Olson introduced "Chuck" and the two talked like longtime friends about family and books and local gossip. Only later did she mention that this was the author who not long before had published the bestseller Cold Mountain.

Sarah Goddin, a friend and longtime general manager at the store, told the News & Observer that when Olson opened Quail Ridge in 1984, "Raleigh didn't have any strong independent booksellers, and Nancy wanted to live in a place that had a good bookstore. So she opened one."

Carol Moyer, longtime friend and co-worker at the store, added: "It wasn't a cookie-cutter store; you could tell individual thought had been put into the collection and design of the store. [Olson] was a dream to work with. She was always open to ideas and loved children's literature... She was definitely devoted to supporting local authors, which is essential for any independent bookstore. She was devoted to our First Amendment rights, which is why she carried a wide-range of books, so everyone could find something that suited them or broadened their horizons."

Olson was a shop local activist for many years and served on the North Carolina State Library Board, helping raise money for libraries, and started Books for Kids, a non-profit foundation that gives books to needy children. Every year, she placed an "angel tree" in the store, through which customers donated books. She also collected used books to distribute to prisons, mental health facilities, low-income day care centers and overseas programs and supported the North Carolina Symphony, the North Carolina Food Bank, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science and Hospice of Wake County.

In 2013, Olson sold the store to Lisa Poole, who recently moved the store into a temporary location as its future home in the North Hills area is renovated.


Image of the Day: The Problem with Forever Dinner

Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Ill., hosted a dinner with author Jennifer Armentrout and teens from two local schools, Metea Valley High School and Nazareth High School, who had read advance copies of her new book, The Problem with Forever (Harlequin Teen). Armentrout (she's the one not holding a copy of the book, above) will return to Anderson's in May for the book's launch.

Pete Mulvihill on Green Apple's Customers, Staff

Hoodline offered "A Conversation with Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books," which has two stores in San Francisco. Among our favorite comments:

Pete Mulvihill

"So far, we're still here because roughly 400 people a day come through and buy something. Ultimately, the only reason we're still here, even with all the smarts, or experience, or energy, or enthusiasm--whatever it is that we've done right--the only reason we're still here is because people have decided that we're worth it. Even though books might cost a little more here than they will on Amazon, people still think that it's worth it…

"All the people who work here contribute. There's 28 people who work here, and they all write these little shelf-talkers and they all help decide which books we carry. There's a guy who knows everything about LPs, so he has a killer LP selection. There's another person who knows magazines, so we have 700 magazines. All these people add up through their efforts and energies to create the store, and it really reflects back on the community, because we only buy what we think we can sell. Really, it's kind of a mirror to the customers, in a certain way."

'Librarians Who Lend Out More Than Books'

Noting that "not all librarians are limited to working with the printed word," Mental Floss showcased "8 librarians who lend out more than books," adding: "Whether they're lending out ties or larger-than-life puppets, these are the heroic men and women behind some of the world's most unique library collections."

Afterwords Books Is 'Route 66 Tourist Info Stop'

Cindy Reinhardt, an associate member of the Historic Preservation Commission, has created a way to show the tourists traveling Route 66 what Edwardsville, Ill., has to offer by forming a partnership with Afterwords Books owner Luann Locke to provide information to travelers, reported the Intelligencer.

"Thousands of Route 66 tourists come through Edwardsville every year, but they don't stop," said Reinhardt, adding: "Luann has given us an area in her bookstore to display information about Edwardsville. This is a place that tourists can stop and learn about our shops, restaurants, museums, hotels and historic districts.... We know there are hundreds of foreign travelers that pass through Edwardsville every year because of the credit card receipts at local gas stations. Route 66 is in the top three of tourist attractions in Illinois. We should be capitalizing on the visitors while they are in town."

On Facebook, Afterwords posted: "We're proud to announce that the bookstore is acting as an official Tourist Information Center on Old Route 66! Special thanks to Cindy Reinhardt, local historian and writer extraordinaire, for working so hard to make this happen."

Book Trailer of the Day: The Witches of Benevento Series

The Witches of Benevento, a new illustrated chapter book series by John Bemelmans Marciano and Sophie Blackall. In the trailer, the pair discuss their collaboration while in their shared studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Augusten Burroughs on All Things Considered

Fresh Air: Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780547973180).

Diane Rehm: Anna Quindlen, author of Miller's Valley: A Novel (Random House, $28, 9780812996081).

Dr. Oz: Laura Prepon, co-author of The Stash Plan: Your 21-Day Guide to Shed Weight, Feel Great, and Take Charge of Your Health (Touchstone, $26, 9781501123092).

The Talk: Nina Tassler, author of What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women (Atria, $25, 9781476734675).

Diane Rehm: David Cole, author of Engines of Liberty: The Power of Citizen Activists to Make Constitutional Law (Basic Books, $27.99, 9780465060900).

All Things Considered: Augusten Burroughs, author of Lust & Wonder: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9780312342036).

TV: Game of Thrones Season 6 Teaser, Pics

A "March Madness" teaser for the sixth season of Game of Thrones "includes new footage and dire warnings," the Hollywood Reporter wrote, noting that the clip "catches up with Daenerys, who is being led into Vaes Dothrak, and includes a brief glimpse of Ramsey Bolton before showing Sansa on the run with Theon Greyjoy after their daring escape. Turning its attention to King's Landing, the rest of the Lannisters are seen while the High Sparrow narrates: 'We are sinful creatures. We deserve death. We all do.' Jaqen H'ghar ends the teaser with an ominous note to Arya: 'One way or another, the gift will be given. One way or another, a face will be added to the hole.' "

Entertainment Weekly unveiled a gallery of Game of Thrones season six photos. The series returns to HBO April 24.

Books & Authors

Awards: Tony Ryan; Jim Baen; Walter Scott

Three finalists have been announced for the 2015 Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, honoring horse racing-oriented literary works. The winner, who will be revealed April 13, receives $10,000; each runnerup receives $1,000. The finalists are:

Ride to Win: An Inside Look at the Jockey's Craft by Bob Fortus and Gary West
Turning for Home by Natalie Keller Reinert
Warriors on Horseback: The Inside Story of the Professional Jockey by John Carter


Aimee Ogden has won the grand prize in the 2016 Jim Baen Memorial Award competition for her short story, "Dear Ammi." First runner up was "To Lose the Stars" by Jennifer Brozek, and the second runner up is "Cylinders" by Ronald D. Ferguson.

The winner receives a trophy, and publication in June at, which has new fiction every month.


The shortlist for the £25,000 (about $35,330) Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction has been released. The winner will be announced June 18 during the Brewin Dolphin Borders Book Festival. The shortlisted titles are:

Sweet Caress by William Boyd
A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale
Mrs. Engels by Gavin McCrea
End Games in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
Tightrope by Simon Mawer
Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Book Review

Review: Thirst

Thirst by Benjamin Warner (Bloomsbury, $26 hardcover, 9781632862150, April 12, 2016)

What would you do if all the water that wasn't bottled suddenly disappeared? In this tense debut thriller, Benjamin Warner, creative writing instructor at Towson University in Maryland, takes this premise and spins a fast-paced story about Eddie Chapman and his wife, Laura. After being stuck in a traffic jam for hours on his way home from work, Eddie can no longer wait for the police and ambulances to arrive. His phone is dead, so he has no way to call home, where he knows Laura will be waiting and worrying about him. Having run track in college, Eddie thinks he has the stamina to run the eight or nine miles to his house, so he abandons his car and sets off. He encounters clusters of people along the way, standing on the highway and then on the town's streets. They are all experiencing the same problems: no cell service, no electricity and no responses from any of the powers that be--police, ambulances, the power company or the water company. Worse yet, there's no water in anyone's taps. Even the stream bed near Eddie's home is empty. "Usually, the stream poured over a spillway there, but that wide slope of cement was dry. Over its edge, where the water should have pooled, was only whitish sand... there was no water on the other side of the road. A thin rust-colored scar ran through the sand where it should have flowed." The trees and bushes along the banks have turned to powdery ash, as if a great fire had ripped through the area, instantly incinerating everything in its path.

Once Eddie is reunited with Laura, the couple must contend with their increasing thirst and with their neighbors, who are also struggling with the lack of water and the rising temperatures outside.

Warner gives us a beautiful portrayal of a couple desperate for water, or anything that might quench their thirst, as they fade in and out of consciousness due to dehydration. The author does a stellar job of depicting the chaos that would ensue if water suddenly disappeared, with no explanations as to how or why it vanished or when it might return. The ways that strangers and neighbors alike respond to the crisis are reminiscent of moments in history when blackouts have stopped a city from functioning, and the way that the Chapmans respond to the primeval need to drink is horrific and realistic at the same time. Make sure a tall glass of something cold is nearby when before enjoying Thirst. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: When all water instantly disappears, a man and his wife confront the chaos that ensues.

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