Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tor Nightfire: Dead Silence by S A Barnes

Shadow Mountain: The Slow March of Light by Heather B Moore

Berkley Books: Women who defied the odds. These are their stories. Enter giveaway!

Soho Crime: My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

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

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


Books and Crannies Opens in Martinsville, Va.

Congratulations to Books and Crannies, Martinsville, Va., whose grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony is today.

The store is owned by Deshanta Hairston, who won a $12,715 grant from Startup Martinsville after crafting a business plan, the Martinsville Bulletin reported. The paper said that the new bookstore owner "felt something was missing in the Martinsville community" since a Waldenbooks closed.

The store sells new and used books and is located in the Henry, formerly the Henry Hotel. While Hairston is particularly fond of YA books, "books of all genres grace her shelves." She also aims to offer a range of community activities, including a book club and kids' story time.

Chronicle Books: Inside Cat by Brendan Wenzel

Rainbow Bookstore Collective in Madison, Wis., May Close

The Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, Madison, Wis., is "in danger of closing due to financial troubles," according to the Daily Cardinal, the University of Wisconsin at Madison student newspaper.

"We are in the process of having meetings to come together and determine what we want to do as a store and as a cooperative," Elizabeth Severson, a Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative volunteer, told the newspaper.

The bookstore will remain open at least through the month, but all merchandise is currently discounted 50%.

Founded in 1989, the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative is a cooperatively owned and collectively-managed store with a volunteer staff that "provides books and resources which challenge the status quo" and aims to be "a community resource center for activists, scholars, and engaged people as well as books lovers of all sorts."

GLOW: Flatiron Books: Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Preparations Underway for Banned Books Week

With Banned Books Week beginning next Sunday, September 25, publishers, booksellers, librarians and wholesalers are finalizing plans for the annual celebration of literature and the First Amendment. A variety of resources for teachers, students, booksellers and more can be found on the Banned Books website, along with a directory of events listed by state. The American Booksellers for Free Expression group, meanwhile, has created digital display resources for booksellers.

For the fifth consecutive year, the American Library Association will run the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out, during which readers can celebrate the freedom to read virtually by creating videos that will posted on a dedicated YouTube channel. The ALA will also host a free webinar on September 29 featuring authors Jessica Herthel (I Am Jazz), Christine Baldacchino (Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress) and Wendy Doniger (The Hindus), who will discuss their experiences with censorship. Also on the ALA website are various resources and the 2015 most-challenged book list--John Green's Looking for Alaska leads the list for the year.

In honor of Banned Books Week, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is offering "I Read Banned Comics" T-shirts and Comics Code Authority pins and patches, along with kits and bundles for retailers, including the 2016 CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook, stickers, buttons and more.

Ingram and ABFE have teamed up for a banned books promotion: stores that place a qualifying order of 25 or more units will receive an extra 3% discount on initial and subsequent orders through October 5. The first 250 customers to order 25 units or more per store will receive a free Banned Books Week poster.

Among bookstore events honoring Banned Books Week, Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth, Mass., is hosting authors Ilene Wong (None of the Above, as I.W. Gregorio) and Amitha Knight at the Falmouth Public Library on September 26. The pair will discuss why diverse literature is disproportionately banned or challenged; Stephanie Seales of the Falmouth Public Library and Sara Hines of Eight Cousins will moderate the conversation.

On September 27, a coalition of independent bookstores around the country, including Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York, N.Y., Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Calif., The Book Cellar in Chicago, Ill., Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colo., and Books & Books in Miami, Fla., will host simultaneous open mic events in honor of Banned Books Week. 

And in a sad reminder of why Banned Books Week is repeated every year, Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel by Dan Slater, has just been banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Paste magazine reported. The book, which was published by Simon & Schuster on September 13, tells the true story of two American teenagers recruited by a Mexican drug cartel and the Mexican-American detective who tracked them down and ultimately captured them. A portion of Wolf Boys was excerpted in Texas Monthly earlier in September, and after the excerpt became popular among TDCJ prisoners, the TDCJ's Directors Review Committee read the book and decided to ban it, saying that parts of the book contained "material on the setting up and operation of criminal schemes or how to avoid detection of criminal schemes by lawful authorities charged with the responsibility of detecting such illegal activity." Gabriel Cardona and Rosalio Reta, the subjects of Wolf Boys, are in fact current inmates of the TDCJ. --Alex Mutter

Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier

Lonely Planet Serves Up Food & Drink Imprint

Lonely Planet is launching a new imprint, Lonely Planet Food. As the travel guide publisher explains, "Lonely Planet has been scouring the globe for over 40 years to find the best places to eat and drink when you're on the road. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, Lonely Planet's experts have tried it all. Now, through Lonely Planet Food we're sharing our knowledge and experience with food-lovers everywhere, so you can bring a taste of the world into your kitchen."

The imprint will include the From the Source cookbook travel series that made its debut last year. Lonely Planet Food titles on the menu include From the Source: Japan and From the Source: Spain (both publishing today), Food Trails: Plan 52 Perfect Weekends in the World's Tastiest Destinations (October) and Lonely Planet's Global Beer Tour (May 2017).

"Under the banner of Lonely Planet Food, we'll showcase our knowledge and passion for genuine local cuisine," Lonely Planet associate publisher Robin Barton said. "Food and drink is a huge part of the travel experience, and with Lonely Planet's global expertise and reach we're able to help lovers of food and travel discover exciting dishes, drinks and more."

Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

Amazon Lockers in U.K.'s Morrisons Supermarkets

U.K. supermarket chain Morrisons "is leveraging its partnership with Amazon to deliver the next wave of convenience for its time-starved shoppers," according to Chain Store Age, which reported that hundreds of Amazon Lockers will be installed throughout the company's stores this year. In May, Morrisons began supplying thousands of grocery items that are now available to Amazon customers through AmazonFresh in London, Amazon Pantry nationwide and Amazon Prime Now.

"Many busy customers can't wait at home for their delivery," said Trevor Strain, Morrisons' CFO. "We believe the option to pick it up from one of our hundreds of conveniently located supermarkets will be attractive." 

Bonnier Publishing USA Moves into New NYC Offices

Bonnier Publishing USA has moved to new offices at 251 Park Avenue South, New York, N.Y. 10010. The little bee books and Sizzle Press teams, the marketing/publicity team of Weldon Owen, and the U.S. sales team for Igloo Books will all be in the new office. The company says they're all "excited to come together as a company under Bonnier Publishing USA and grow even further in these new offices!"


Image of the Day: Eat Sleep Read Northshire

Photo: Patty Berg

Last Saturday, as part of its 40th anniversary celebration, the Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., hosted a catered dinner to thank longtime local supporters; current and former booksellers; as well as several people from the publishing industry who have had a connection to the bookstore over the years. During the festivities, American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher presented the Northshire with a permanent "Eat Sleep Read" banner to display in the store. Pictured: (l.-r.) Northshire owner Chris Morrow, Teicher, and founders Ed and Barbara Morrow.

'Many Reasons to Like' Pages Bookshop, Detroit, Mich.

Among the "many reasons to like Pages Bookshop" in Detroit, Mich., the Free Press writes, are that "it's well-lit and inviting, the sort of place that feels comfortable the second you walk in the door. It's located in an area that's woefully underserved by booksellers. It has book groups galore; in-store appearances by authors, too. And there's a plump black and white cat named Pip who has made the store her home. But the best thing about the shop: Its small--about 5,000 titles--but incredibly well-selected stock of books that makes browsing kind of like looking at your best friend's bookshelves. It's so much more pleasant than trying to navigate through a mega store or Amazon."

Owner Susan Murphy, who opened Pages Bookshop last year, commented: "What I hope the store accomplishes is... to be a place for the community to come together. I love stories that are in books but I also believe those stories can generate conversation."

'Recommended Reading' Worldwide

For a post headlined "Recommended reading: Brilliant books to read around the world," the Travel Supermarket blog "spoke to book lovers around the world to recommend two titles that have the power to enhance an explorer's experience of their city."

Among the bookish travel agents polled were booksellers Colleen Callery from the Strand bookstore in New York City, Prudence Ho of Kelly & Walsh in Hong Kong, Julia Gillberg of the English Bookshop in Stockholm and Keira Brown of the Edinburgh Bookshop.

Personnel Changes at Magers & Quinn Booksellers

Effective this Friday, September 23, Ann Mayhew is leaving Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, Minn., where she is events coordinator, to take a non-book related position as a production coordinator at a Minneapolis company. The new events coordinator will be Kate Moening, who may also be reached at

Mayhew writes: "It is certainly bittersweet to leave such a great store and industry, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Thank you for working with me to create such a stellar events program here at Magers & Quinn these past 2-plus years!"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Taraji P. Henson on Extra!

Fresh Air: opera star Ryan Speedo Green, the subject of a new biography, Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family by Daniel Bergner (Lee Boudreaux Books, $28, 9780316300674).

Fox & Friends: Cookie Johnson, co-author of Believing in Magic: My Story of Love, Overcoming Adversity, and Keeping the Faith (Howard, $26, 9781501125157).

Extra!: Taraji P. Henson, co-author of Around the Way Girl: A Memoir (Atria/37 INK, $26, 9781501125997).

Diane Rehm: Kelley and Thomas French, authors of Juniper: The Girl Who Was Born Too Soon (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316324427).

Last Call with Carson Daly: Hannah Hart, author of Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded (Dey Street, $23.99, 9780062457516).

On Stage: City of Glass

Paul Auster's "meta-detective novel" City of Glass will be staged in Manchester and London next year "in a new hi-tech adaptation," the Guardian reported, noting that this is the first theater show originated by 59 Productions, "whose projects have included the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, the V&A exhibition David Bowie Is and the sound-and-light spectacular Deep Time at this year's Edinburgh international festival." The project will be at Home in Manchester March 4-18 and then at the Lyric Hammersmith in London, from April 20 to May 13. An international tour will follow. See the trailer here.

The look of the new production was inspired by a graphic novel based on City of Glass by David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik. Duncan Macmillan, who adapted the book for the stage, said he first read it as a teenager and was "dazzled by its formal innovation and sheer weight of ideas. For such a short novella, it buzzes with thoughts about literature and authorship, about identity and time and death and faith, all within a mystery story that deconstructs itself as if it's been corrupted by a virus."

Books & Authors

Awards: Royal Society Science Book Winner

Andrea Wulf has won the £25,000 (about $32,590) Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize for her biography of Alexander von Humboldt, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World, published in the U.S. by Knopf.

Chair of judges and former winner of the prize Bill Bryson commented: "The decisive factor for the winning book was that it excited and gripped us as judges the most. The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf is a thrilling adventure story as much as a science book about a polymath who had an extraordinary impact on our contemporary understanding of nature. It is a book you will find yourself talking endlessly about with friends in the pub."

Book Review

Review: Nobody's Son

Nobody's Son: A Memoir by Mark Slouka (W.W. Norton, $26.95 hardcover, 288p., 9780393292305, October 18, 2016)

In a body of work that includes a PEN Award-winning essay collection (Essays From the Nick of Time), and a well-regarded novel (Brewster), Mark Slouka has demonstrated an incisive mind with supple prose. He brings those same qualities to bear in Nobody's Son, a memoir of displacement, longing and the searing pain of family conflict.

Natives of Czechoslovakia, Slouka's parents, Zdenek and Olga, were teenagers when the Nazi occupation began in 1939. In 1948, they made their hair-raising escape from the country--now under Communist control. That flight launched them on an odyssey that started with 18 months in an Austrian displaced persons camp and took them to Australia, New York (where Slouka was born in 1958), Bethlehem, Pa., and eventually back to their homeland after the Velvet Revolution of 1989.

The Sloukas' journey was "not that different from that of the Syrian or Sudanese refugees in today's paper." And it left its scars on a couple whose marriage had been tension-filled from the start. Employing an episodic narrative structure that's "a bit of mess. A lot like life, if I get it right," Slouka alludes to his father's weakness and alcoholism, but focuses most of his attention on his mother's struggle with an undiagnosed and inadequately treated mental illness (save for prescription medication that became a lifelong affliction), whose roots might involve childhood sexual abuse. Her passion for a man (identified only as "F.") she met at a Czech summer language camp in the first year of her foundering marriage offered only intermittent respite from her emotional turmoil.

Slouka wrestles bravely with the challenge that bedevils any conscientious memoirist--the unreliability of memory and the way every memoir is "riddled with fictions." Indeed, at one point he considered writing his parents' story as a novel, but "thought no one would believe me if I wrote it straight." In a scene near its end he describes a reunion between his mother and F. that's "so unlikely, so much like fiction, that if you found it in a novel you'd put the book aside in favor of something closer to life." But by that point his excavation of his family's past has been so dogged that readers have no choice but to readily suspend disbelief.

The title of Slouka's elegiac memoir provides an ironic counterpoint to the reality of this intense, discomfiting account. His is, in fact, the story of a dutiful son, who, despite ample reason to do so, never abandoned his parents, even in an old age they chose to live thousands of miles from him. The sad truth of these pages is that love and the best intentions too often aren't enough to save vulnerable souls from the damage they inflict on themselves. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Mark Slouka's memoir of life with his Czech immigrant parents is a moving portrait of displacement and loss.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan
2. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies by J.K. Rowling
3. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling
4. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling
5. Seducing My Assistant by J.S. Cooper and Helen Cooper
6. Society for Paranormals by Vered Ehsani
7. Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Brash Blonde by Gemma Halliday and Kelly Rey
8. Sloane Monroe Series Boxed Set, Books 1-3 by Cheryl Bradshaw
9. Fire and Brimstone by R.L. Mathewson
10. A Dirty Shame (A J.J. Graves Mystery Volume 2) by Liliana Hart

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