Shelf Awareness for Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tordotcom: The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

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

Little, Brown Ink: The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (a Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

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


Hayden Confirmed as Librarian of Congress

Carla Hayden

Yesterday, by a vote of 74-18, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dr. Carla D. Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress, for a renewable 10-year term. The longtime CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system in Baltimore and a former president of the American Library Association was nominated by President Barack Obama in February. As the first woman, and the first African American, to serve as chief executive of the Library of Congress, Dr. Hayden succeeds acting librarian David S. Mao, who has served since the retirement of Dr. James H. Billington last September. She will be sworn in at a date to be determined and is expected to assume her duties soon.

"This is truly a great honor to be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to lead the nation's library, the Library of Congress," Dr. Hayden said. "It has been my privilege to serve the citizens of Baltimore for 23 years and help restore the Enoch Pratt Free Library as a world-renowned institution. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff of the Library of Congress. I will be honored to build on the legacy and accomplishments of my predecessors in this position, to be part of a continuing movement to open the treasure chest that is the Library of Congress even further and to make it a place that can be found and used by everyone."

Dr. Hayden has recently overseen the renovation of the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, a four-year, $112 million project, and has also led $40 million in renovations to other units within the 22-branch Pratt system. She took the helm of the Baltimore system in 1993. Before that, Dr. Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library, assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh and library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She received Library Journal's 1995 Librarian of the Year Award.

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

Forbes Global Celebrity 100 List: James Patterson at #3

James Patterson is ranked third, with $95 million in earnings, on this year's Forbes Global Celebrity 100 list, which is laden with entertainment and sports stars. Trailing only Taylor Swift and pop group One Direction, Patterson was described by Forbes as  "publishing's richest penman" as well as "its busiest."

Tor Books: One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Amazon Adding Third Kansas Warehouse

Amazon will open its third fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kan., joining the upcoming facility in Edgerton and an existing warehouse in Lenexa. The 855,000-plus-square-foot Kansas City fulfillment center will pick, pack, and ship smaller items, such as books, electronics and toys.

Governor Sam Brownback said that Kansas is "dedicated to attracting companies and helping them grow and create jobs. I am proud that Amazon has chosen to once again expand its footprint in the state and am confident this continued partnership will benefit all Kansans."

GLOW: Blackstone Publishing: The Wisdom of Morrie: Living and Aging Creatively and Joyfully by Morrie Schwartz, edited by Rob Schwartz

NearSt: Connecting Readers to London Booksellers

Retail tech startup NearSt has launched, "offering one-hour delivery in London, and connecting readers to bookshops in the capital through the 'near me' search on their smartphones," the Bookseller reported. NearLive, the company's technology, "enables shoppers to type in their postcode, search for a book they want, see where it's in stock nearby, and 'in a few taps' order it for one-hour delivery or instant collection." Booksellers keep 94% of the retail price of sale. Currently 35 London bookshops are on board for the launch, including Blackwell's in Holborn, Belgravia Books, West End Lane Books, Ink@84, Brick Lane Bookshop and Lutyens & Rubinstein.

NearSt founder and CEO Nick Brakenbury said his company "isn't shying away from going head-to-head with Amazon. While we are currently focusing on growth in London, we are actively working on wider coverage of our offer in cities across the U.K. and Europe. Our 2020 ambition is to have every product, in every shop, on every high street easily available through NearSt." He added that bookshops were his initial choice because "we think they have a very important role to play on the high street and that they bring character to it."

Andy Barr, manager at Belgravia Books, said, "The technology is enviably easy. I just make a few tweaks to a spreadsheet every day and our stock appears online.... I am going to stick with it, because for me it is a no brainer." 

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

Obituary Note: William H. McNeill

William H. McNeill, "a professor and prolific author whose catholic exploration of world history widened the traditional Eurocentric approach to the subject," died July 8, the New York Times reported. He was 98. McNeill's bestselling The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community (1963) took 10 years to write and won the National Book Award for history and biography. In the New York Times Book Review, historian Hugh Trevor-Roper praised the work as "not only the most learned and the most intelligent, it is also the most stimulating and fascinating book that has ever set out to recount and explain the whole history of mankind."

McNeill's books include The Pursuit of Truth: A Historian’s Memoir; Plagues and Peoples; The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since A.D. 1000; and The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History (co-written with his brother, John Robert McNeill).

Blink: Come Home Safe by Brian G. Buckmire


Image of the Day: Big Ideas at Book Passage

Book Passage at the Ferry Building in San Francisco hosted graphic recorder James Lake, of Draw Your Big Idea (Chronicle), who did a live demonstration of how to bring big ideas to life through illustration. Passersby were encouraged to participate, and the result was mural of ideas and innovation that is currently hanging behind the counter at the bookstore.

Papercuts J.P. Publishes Year One Anthology

This week, Papercuts J.P., Boston, Mass., is celebrating the release of The Papercuts Anthology: What Happened Here, Volume 1, marking "one year of bookselling and author events through a compilation of new and collected works by the authors who visited the store in its first year." The anthology blends fiction, nonfiction and poetry by a wide range of writers, including Abigail Thomas, Chris Hedges, Cat Warren, Christopher Irvin and Jennifer Tseng. Bookstores can order The Papercuts Anthology (9781942645009, $16.99) through Inkshares/Quill (distributed by IPS).

The book's co-editors are Papercuts J.P. media & events coordinator Katie Eelman and owner/manager Kate Layte. "We couldn't be more excited about the writing in this book and the support we've received from readers and authors alike," Eelman noted. "We are thrilled to create a book that celebrates the independent bookstore, and it's already our number one bestseller at Papercuts."

Steven Salardino, manager of Skylight Books, Los Angeles, Calif., said Layte and Eelman "have created a bookstore, an event space, a community place, and now: an incredible anthology. What Happened Here celebrates Papercuts' first year and is an effort to mark, with something physical and tangible and take-homeable, the magic moments that happen at author readings and events. Luckily for us it is still happening. And it smells like paper and glue and sweat and wine and ink. Some scent of brick, wet wool, smoke, espresso. It smells like a movement... like my favorite kind of revolution. It is a revolution of excitement, of books, of enthusiasm, of quitting your job and following your dreams. The book is born from the buzz of Papercuts' first year of events and it positively vibrates."

Happy 50th Birthday, Como Sales!

Congratulations to Como Sales, the independent rep group covering the East Coast that's celebrating its 50th anniversary. Como's Maureen Karb writes:

"In 1966, Jock Moore and Murray Cohen teamed up to sell books for publishers like Avon and Ballantine. The story goes that Como was one of the first independent publisher rep companies in the country. The company has been through a lot of changes throughout the years, but they are mostly known as the 'Workman reps' on the East Coast as they have been representing Workman since Peter Workman published his first book, and the two companies have always had a close relationship. Now the company is employee-owned, representing several publishers, including Workman, Sterling and Time Inc Books, with four reps: Maureen Karb in New England, Joe Ginis in the Mid-Atlantic, Frazer Dobson covering the Mid-Atlantic and the South, and Gail Whitten also in the South. It's a testament to this industry and to the many Como reps over the years  that a small independent group representing independent publishers and serving mainly independent bookstores can survive and thrive for as long as it has!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Josh Altman on Meredith Vieira

Meredith Vieira repeat: Josh Altman, author of It's Your Move: My Million Dollar Method for Taking Risks with Confidence and Succeeding at Work and Life (HarperOne, $25.99, 9780062369253).

Movies: A Monster Calls

A trailer is out for A Monster Calls, directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage). Patrick Ness adapted the script from his novel, which is based on an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd. The film stars Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell and Liam Neeson. Focus Features will release A Monster Calls nationwide October 21.

This Weekend on Book TV: Darrell Issa

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 16
7 p.m. Candice Shy Hooper, author of Lincoln's Generals' Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War for Better and for Worse (Kent State University Press, $39.95, 9781606352786), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

8:15 p.m. K. Riva Levinson, author of Choosing the Hero: My Improbable Journey and the Rise of Africa's First Woman President (Kiwai Media, $19.95, 9781937247034), at Politics & Prose.

10 p.m. Representative Darrell Issa, author of Watchdog: The Real Stories Behind the Headlines from the Congressman Who Exposed Washington's Biggest Scandals (Center Street, $27, 9781455591985). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Daniel Hatcher, author of The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America's Most Vulnerable Citizens (NYU Press, $35, 9781479874729), at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.)

Sunday, July 17
12:15 a.m. Laurence Leamer, author of The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down the Klan (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062458346), at Politics & Prose. (Re-airs Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

1 a.m. A mock trial featuring Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer in a fictional case based on George Orwell's 1984. (Re-airs Sunday at 7:45 p.m.)

7 a.m. Andrew Hacker, author of The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620970683). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7 p.m. Del Wilber, author of A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad (Holt, $30, 9780805098815). (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: PEN Ackerley Winner

Alice Jolly won the for £3,000 (about $3,980) PEN Ackerley Prize, which is awarded to "a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the U.K.," for Dead Babies and Seaside Towns. Chair of the judges Peter Parker said: "Although this year's shortlist was indeed short--only three books--it was also very strong. These three books stood out, not only because they are exceptionally well written but because they tell compelling stories that hold the reader's attention throughout. It was very difficult to decide between three such fine but very different books."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, July 19:

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder (Dutton, $28, 9780525954620) is a thriller about a plot to defame a Supreme Court Justice.

The Castle of Kings by Oliver Pötzsch, translated by Anthea Bell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544319516) follows an aristocrat and her lowborn lover during the Peasants' War in 1524 Germany.

Falling by Jane Green (Berkley, $26, 9780399583285) follows a British woman in finance who moves from New York City to Connecticut.

Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith (Blackstone Publishing, $24.99, 9781504725842) takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity lives in airships above an irradiated Earth.

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS: This Is My Story by Farida Khalaf and Andrea C. Hoffmann (Atria, $24, 9781501131714) is about a Yazidi teenager who escaped sexual slavery under ISIS.

High-Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will by Mark Rampolla (Portfolio, $28, 9780399562129) is a memoir and business guide from the creator of ZICO Coconut Water.

Hooray for Halloween, Curious George by H.A. Rey (HMH Books for Young Readers, $9.99, 9780544699564) is a hardcover gift book (with stickers), in which a tablecloth-wrapped George gets mistaken for a ghost. (Ages 4-7.)

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:

A Hundred Thousand Worlds: A Novel by Bob Proehl (Viking, $26, 9780399562211). "Nine-year-old Alex and his mom, Valerie--the ex-star of a superhero TV show--make their way across the country, Comic-Con by Comic-Con, toward a future of inevitable loss. They visit the fallen heroes, wise women, and wizards of pen-and-ink who have all shaped the story of their lives. Pushed and pulled by so many other people's stories, can Alex and Valerie learn to write their own?" --Cat Nichols, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

As Good as Gone: A Novel by Larry Watson (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616205713). "After the death of his wife, Cal Sidey abandoned his children for the life of a solitary ranch hand in Montana. Years later, in 1963, his son Bill asks his father to return home to look after his grandchildren, while Bill tends to a family emergency. The powerful story of Cal's visit is a tragedy of narrowly missed moments as he attempts reentry into a world that no longer has any place for his old-fashioned and violent ways. The prose is clear and lovely, every character is strongly drawn, and Cal Sidey captured my heart while breaking it. Watson has given us a grand Western tragedy, spare and harrowing." --Kathi Kirby, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

So Much for That Winter: Novellas by Dorthe Nors (Graywolf Press, $15.99, 9781555977429). "Inventive and emotionally charged, the two novellas in So Much for That Winter bridge the gap between melancholy and humor. Told in a series of lists and headlines, these stories of the aftermath of two relationships are witty examinations of love and heartbreak in an age of technological detachment and shortened attention spans. Nors' relentlessly paced vision of modern life should not be missed." --Emily Ballaine, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press, $18.99, 9781626720565). "Other books have been published about groupings of animals and the collective nouns used to describe them, but this one has Lane Smith's gift for blending wit, whimsy, and wonder. He uses puns and wordplay combined with amazingly textured mixed media illustrations to craft a clever and heartfelt tale about childhood adventure, the beauty of language, and the gift of belonging." --Marc Villa, Politics and Prose Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Washington, D.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson (Walden Pond Press, $16.99, 9780062338174). "Ms. Bixby is the teacher that every student dreams of having for sixth grade. When she announces that she is leaving school due to health complications, Topher, Steve, and Brand set out on a quest to make her last day unforgettable. Told with warmth and lots of humor that 12-year-old boys will appreciate, this new classic coming-of-age story from Anderson is truly one-of-a-kind." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

For Teen Readers
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (Flatiron, $17.99, 9781250078407). "Amanda Hardy is starting a new life in a new town and a new school--one where no one ever knew her as Andrew Hardy. She has survived a suicide attempt, lifelong bullying from peers, and her father's denial of who she really is. Now, she finds herself in the life she's always imagined--as a normal teenage girl with girlfriends and even a boyfriend--but she still finds herself living in fear of her past. This novel about a transgender woman, written by a transgender woman, is an important and timely story." --Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Good Morning, Midnight

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Random House, $26 hardcover, 9780812998894, August 9, 2016)

Lily Brooks-Dalton's debut, Good Morning, Midnight, is a post-apocalyptic novel that hardly spares a sentence on the actual apocalypse. According to one of its protagonists, "the last news from civilization, over a year ago, had been of war," but there's never any mention of the specific calamity that seems to have overtaken almost the entire world simultaneously. Without any hints of plague or nuclear catastrophe, the reader is left to wonder why "the amateur waves were silent; the emergency communication satellites hummed an empty tune; even the military aviation channels were mute. It was as if there were no radio transmitters left in the world, or perhaps no souls to use them." Brooks-Dalton instead focuses her attention on characters already at the fringes of human civilization, struggling to deal with the utter isolation of a mysteriously quiet earth.

The narrative toggles back and forth between Augustine, an elderly astronomer, alone in an Arctic observatory except for a quiet young girl named Iris, and the crew of the Aether, a spaceship making the lengthy return trip to Earth after completing a groundbreaking survey of Jupiter and its moons. Mission Specialist Sullivan, or "Sully," is one of the astronauts on board consumed by confusion and fear after Mission Control abruptly goes silent. Part of the fun of the novel is seeing how Brooks-Dalton manages to weave these two seemingly disparate stories together, drawing her protagonists closer to each other by ingenious narrative and thematic means.

The immediate challenges facing both Augustine and Sully are borne out of survival. Augustine seems satisfied to ponder the stars and burn through his remaining provisions until his discovery of Iris awakens long-buried parental instincts. He leads them on a dangerous overland journey to a more suitable Arctic home and desperately searches the airwaves for signs of humanity. On board the Aether, Sully and the rest of the crew deal with interpersonal conflicts, dangerous spacewalks and, most of all, the psychological toll of their uncertain journey. Sully, Devi, Ivanov and the others are forced to ponder disturbing questions: "And if everything went right, if they somehow made it home without mutiny or casualty, what then? What would be waiting for them? What kind of life?" Unlike plot-oriented science fiction novels such as The Martian, Good Morning, Midnight derives more tension from existential dread than dealing with equipment failures.

Lily Brooks-Dalton puts much of her writerly energies into introspection, having her protagonists delve deep into their copious emotional baggage. Before the calamity, Augustine and Sully preferred to focus on the stars rather than relationships, a course that left both of them with plenty of regrets. When not deliberately engaged in the business of survival, the protagonists reflect on their pasts and the choices they made or avoided making. Augustine speaks for himself and Sully when he reflects that "his gaze had always been far-flung." Here, at the end of the world, Brooks-Dalton turns her protagonists' gaze inward. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: Good Morning, Midnight is an excellent addition to the literary-dystopic canon, with its thoughtful approach to characters forced to reconsider what matters most in the face of possible human extinction.

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