Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Atria Books:  Spirit Crossing (Cork O'Connor Mystery #20) by William Kent Krueger

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner

Other Press (NY): Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah

Delacorte Press: The Midnight Game by Cynthia Murphy

Quotation of the Day

Author's 'Greatest-Hits Compilation' Bookstore Tour

"I adore my own local indie, Buffalo Street Books, and love reading at indie stores on tour. And I couldn't resist the shout-out to WORD, which has always treated me particularly well. The Broken River tour is going to be kind of a greatest-hits compilation of all my favorite places to read--I'm really looking forward to it. And I don't think I'd have a career at all without booksellers who cared about the kind of thing I write. I'm very grateful to them."

--J. Robert Lennon, author of May's #1 Indie Next List Pick Broken River, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week 

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request


Washington's Watermark Book Company for Sale

Watermark Book Company, Anacortes, Wash., is for sale. In an e-mail to friends of the bookstore, owner Patti Pattee said that "after 35 years of bookselling, I have decided it's time to retire and pursue other passions."

Pattee and her late husband, Norman Sturdevant, founded Watermark in 1989. The store has faced "many challenges over the years, including the rock-slide that closed Highway 20, the growth of chain bookstores, Norman's death in 1999, the rise of the 'Big River' (, and the advent of eReaders," Pattee wrote.

But it is "a highly-regarded independent bookstore with a strong inventory as well as a knowledgeable, experienced staff. The business is healthy and growing. The future of the bookstore is bright in a community that treasures the arts, poetry, literature, and good bookstores.... Now, Watermark is ready for someone who is eager to take the art of the bookstore to the next level, whatever that may be."

People with a serious interest may contact Pattee via e-mail.

GLOW: Blue Box Press: In the Air Tonight by Marie Force

Bookstores Open in North Carolina, Oklahoma

Congratulations to two bookstores that were announced earlier this year and last year and have opened!

Bright Leaf Books, Winston-Salem, N.C., opened on March 25 and held a grand opening on April 7. "The positive response I've gotten from members of the community, especially from some people who are downtown, has been excellent," owner Samuel Puliafito told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Bright Leaf's inventory is 90% used and 10% new, and includes literary fiction, scholarly titles, periodicals, small gifts and fine writing supplies.

"I have a fairly small store, and I like to be pretty selective of what I carry," Puliafito added. "I want what I carry to be of high quality both in terms of content, and because in a used store, condition is key."


Commonplace Books, Oklahoma City, Okla., held its grand opening last Thursday, drawing a large crowd that enjoyed pizza, wine and music. Owner Ben Nockels told Red Dirt Report, "Honestly, I'm humble, I'm grateful; my suspicions are being confirmed right before my eyes that books, in fact, are not dead, and people in this town love to read." (See our in-depth story about Commonplace Books from November here.)

Carolrhoda Lab (R): They Thought They Buried Us by Nonieqa Ramos

Amazon: Silicon Valley Store; More N.J. Warehouses

Amazon has confirmed that it is opening an Amazon Books in San Jose, Calif., in the Santana Row outdoor shopping mall and mixed-use development, the Mercury News reported. The 5,500-square-foot book and electronics store will be in a former Brooks Brothers location and should open this summer. It's the first bookstore in Santana Row since Borders closed in 2011.

In a statement quoted by Silicon Valley Business Journal, Jeff Kreshek, senior v-p of West Coast leasing for Federal Realty Investment Trust, Santana Row's owner, said, "The 'technology meets traditional shopping' approach of Amazon Books reflects a greater trend towards a new retail strategy that appeals to the tech-savvy and fashion-forward Santana Row customer who appreciates boutique and innovative services."

This will be the third Amazon Books location in California. One opened last year in San Diego and another is planned for Walnut Creek.


In other Amazon news, the company is  opening three more warehouses in New Jersey--in Cranbury Township, Edison and Logan Township--which will bring the total to 10 in the Garden State. It opened its first warehouse in New Jersey in 2012.

The Cranbury and Logan Township warehouses will focus on larger items such as music equipment, sports gear and patio furniture. The 900,000-square-foot warehouse in Edison will handle smaller items such as books, toys and kitchenware.

Obituary Note: Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died yesterday at age 88.

First published in 1974 by William Morrow, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values was a spectacularly popular philosophy book that was loosely autobiographical, tracing a father-son motorcycle trip and flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic. Its thesis was that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought. Pirsig called this system of thought the Metaphysics of Quality.

In the New Yorker in 1974, George Steiner wrote, "This is indeed a book about the art of motorcycle maintenance, about the cerebral concentration, about the scruple and delicacy of both hand and ear required to keep an engine musical and safe across heat or cold tarmac or red dust. It is a book about the diverse orders of relation--wasteful, obtuse, amateurish, peremptory, utilitarian, insightful--which connect modern man to his mechanical environment ... the analogies with Moby Dick are patent."

In announcing Pirsig's death Morrow called the book "an enduring landmark of American literature that has inspired millions of readers."

In 1991, Pirsig published his second book, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, which traced a sailboat journey taken by two fictitious characters along the East Coast of the U.S.

Pirsig graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1950 with a degree in philosophy, and then traveled to India for a year and graduate study in Hindu philosophy at Benares Hindu University. He first became aware of Eastern philosophy when stationed in South Korea in the Army. He also enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago. After the success of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig helped found the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, and then lived reclusively. A skilled mechanic, he performed repairs in his home workshop. He taught himself navigation in the days before GPS, and twice crossed the Atlantic in his small sailboat, Aretê.

A private memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the academic institution or other charitable organization of one's choice.


Image of the Day: L.A. Times Festival of Books Surprise

Over the weekend at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, one bookseller's dream team made a surprise visit to her store's booth. The bestselling duo of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen stopped by the booth run by Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif., before they endured 90° heat on the Children's Read by 9 Stage, where they presented their latest collaboration, Triangle, to hundreds of adoring fans. Pictured: (l.-r.) Mac Barnett, Maureen Palacios, Jon Klassen.

AIA/ALA Library Building Awards

Eight recipients of the 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards were recently announced by the Library Leadership and Management Association, a division of the American Library Association, and the American Institute of Architects. The award program was designed "to encourage and recognize excellence in the architectural design of libraries. As the traditional role of libraries evolves, the designs of these community spaces have changed to reflect the needs of the surrounding residents, as represented by the recipients of these awards."

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown

Lena Khidritskaya Little joins the Little, Brown publicity department as assistant director of publicity. She was most recently at NatGeo Books and has worked at Politics & Prose, Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Virginia and Dave Grohl on Colbert's Late Show

Fresh Air: Elizabeth Ford, M.D., author of Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward (Regan Arts, $27.95, 9781941393437).

CBS This Morning: Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People (Portfolio, $27, 9780399564482).

Good Morning America: Dr. Ian Smith, author of Blast the Sugar Out!: Lower Blood Sugar, Lose Weight, Live Better (St. Martin's, $25.99, 9781250130136).

The View: Caitlyn Jenner, author of The Secrets of My Life (Grand Central, $30, 9781455596751).

Daily Show: Kevin Coval, author of A People's History of Chicago (Haymarket, $17, 9781608466719).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Virginia Hanlon Grohl, author of From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars (Seal Press, $27, 9781580056441) and her son Dave Grohl.

TV: Will

TNT has set July 10 as the premiere for its "young Shakespeare drama" titled Will, Deadline reported, adding that the series stars Laurie Davidson as William Shakespeare "and chronicles his wild 20s in the punk-rock theater scene of 16th century London." The cast also includes Olivia DeJonge, Ewen Bremner, Colm Meaney, Mattias Inwood, Jamie Campbell Bower, William Houston, Lukas Rolfe, Max Bennett and Jasmin Savoy Brown.  

"Theater back then was like punk rock," said series creator Craig Pearce at TCA in January. "It was a completely revolutionary form of entertainment, something for the masses, and... was really rapidly evolving." Pearce is writing and co-executive producing the project.

Books & Authors

Awards: E.U. Prize for Literature; Wellcome; Tony Ryan

The 12 winners of the 2017 European Union Prize for Literature, recognizing "outstanding new and emerging literary talents across Europe," can be seen here.


Maylis de Kerangal has been awarded the 2017 Wellcome Book Prize for Mend the Living, translated by Jessica Moore from the French. This marks the first time a novel in translation has won the £30,000 (about $38,350) prize, which recognizes a work of fiction or nonfiction with "a central theme that engages with some aspect of medicine, health or illness." This is also only the second time a novel has won the prize.

The judging panel praised the author's "beautiful style in this exploration of the emotional, physical and practical complexities of organ donation, reflecting the fragility and fluidity of life."


Eliza McGraw has won the 11th annual Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award, which honors books with a horse racing background, for Here Comes Exterminator! The Longshot Horse, the Great War, and the Making of an American Hero (Thomas Dunne Books).

Award organizers described the book as chronicling "the life of early 20th century champion Exterminator and the broader world in which he lived. It was the Cinderella story of an unlikely hero--an off-bred, unattractive gelding nicknamed 'Old Bones' for his gaunt, leggy appearance, who burst from nowhere to win 50 races, including the 1918 Kentucky Derby. Much like Zenyatta and California Chrome a century later, Exterminator became a fan favorite, drawing enthusiastic crowds wherever he went, and even appearing in early film newsreels."

Lead judge Kay Coyte commented: "McGraw is an elegant, accessible writer, and a thorough historian. Exterminator reads as smoothly as fiction and is a book that both racing fans and neophytes to the sport would enjoy."

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

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

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman (Pamela Dorman Books, $26, 9780735220683). "I loved this book about the quirky Eleanor, who struggles to relate to other people and lives a very solitary life. When she and the new work IT guy happen to be walking down the street together, they witness an elderly man collapse on the sidewalk and suddenly Eleanor's orderly routines are disrupted. This is a lovely novel about loneliness and how a little bit of kindness can change a person forever. Highly recommended for fans of A Man Called Ove and The Rosie Project--this would make a great book club read." --Halle Eisenman, Beaufort County Library, Blufton, S.C.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore (Sourcebooks, $26.99, 9781492649359). "This is the story of hundreds of young, vibrant women who were sentenced to death by their employers. The so-called "Radium Girls" painted luminescent faces on clock and watch dials using a paint mixture that contained radium. Instructed to "lip-point" their brushes as they painted, they absorbed high doses of radium into their bodies. When the effects of the radium led to horrific disfigurement and pain, the company refused to take responsibility. This heartrending book was one I could not put down." --Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, Mass.

Since We Fell: A Novel by Dennis Lehane (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062129383). "Rachel is a journalist who, after her online breakdown, becomes a recluse scared to resume her daily life. She is recently divorced and meets an old friend who wants to help her overcome her fear. They fall in love, marry and appear to have the perfect life, until Rachel ventures out of the house one day and sees something that makes her question everything she knows about her new husband. Once a reporter, always a reporter and Rachel has to get to the bottom of her story." --Michele Coleman, Iredell County Public Library, Statesville, N.C.

The Leavers: A Novel by Lisa Ko (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616206888). "One morning, eleven-year-old Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job and never comes home. Deming is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town. This is a poignant story of a boy who struggles to find his footing in a new world. It's also an unflinching look at the difficult decisions a mother faces. This novel explores what it means to be a family and the duality of lives, especially through adoption." --Jennifer Ohzourk, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis Mo.

Ginny Moon: A Novel by Benjamin Ludwig (Park Row Books, $26.99, 9780778330165). "What an amazing debut novel! Ludwig effectively captures the voice, thought process, and behaviors of a young autistic girl who has escaped a harrowing living situation and has finally settled into a new "forever" home. Unfortunately, she becomes obsessed with returning to her old home to find her "baby doll," jeopardizing both her own and her new family's safety. Ginny truly is an original, and readers will be captivated by her story." --Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, La.

Saints For All Occasions: A Novel by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307959577). "Sisters Nora and Theresa Flynn leave their home in Ireland for a new life in 1958 Boston. Each adjusts to life in America in her own way. Steady Nora watches younger Theresa, until choices made by each woman drive the sisters apart. We follow the story from 1958 to contemporary New England, Ireland, and New York, exploring how siblings and children relate to their parents and each other as they age. Novels about Irish immigrant families and their American descendants are a weakness of mine and the way this story unfolds from everyone’s perspectives is very satisfying!" --Trisha Rigsby, Deerfield Public Library, Deerfield, Wis.

White Hot: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews (Avon, $25, 9780062674791). "After rereading the first Hidden Legacy book, I plunged immediately into White Hot. I wasn't disappointed. Nevada is trying to return her life to a semblance of normal, "normal" being without powerful, sexy, and very dangerous Prime Rogan. Rogan hasn't stopped thinking about Nevada and hasn't stopped wanting her. And what Rogan wants, he eventually gets. The action in White Hot was faster, the plot more intricate, and the characters became even more real. I cannot wait to read book three!" --Heather Cover, Homewood Library, Birmingham, Ala.

Sycamore: A Novel by Bryn Chancellor (Harper, $26.99, 9780062661098). "A newly divorced woman is starting life over in a small Arizona town. She comes across the skeletal remains of what the locals think is the body of a seventeen-year-old girl named Jess who disappeared almost two decades ago. The discovery forces community members to recall memories and secrets that have been buried a long time. Readers are treated to a cast of characters with distinct personalities who, with each piece of the puzzle, form a patchwork that reveals the truth surrounding Jess's disappearance." --Sharon Layburn, South Huntington Public Library, Huntington, N.Y.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (Norton, $18.95, 9780393609394). "Tyson's writing style is always approachable and entertaining, and his latest book is no exception. Clear and concise, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry gives readers exactly what the title promises, a basic understanding of a deeply fascinating subject. Highly recommended for readers who want to understand our universe better." --Mary Vernau, Tyler Public Library, Tyler, Tex.

The Jane Austen Project: A Novel by Kathleen A. Flynn (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062651259). "The Austen fan genre is expanded by an original new novel set both in the past and the near future. Two employees of a time travel company are assigned to go back to Austen's day, ostensibly to retrieve the full copy of "The Watsons," lost for all time... until now. The blending of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance with a beloved classic author thrown in the mix is a daring combination which succeeds." --Leslie DeLooze, Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, N.Y.

Book Review

Review: The Answers

The Answers by Catherine Lacey (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9780374100261, June 6, 2017)

In her laconic first novel, Nobody Is Ever Missing, Whiting Award-winner Catherine Lacey explored the life of 29-year-old Elly, who leaves her husband and travels to New Zealand in hopes a rugged new landscape will redefine her. In The Answers, Lacey again focuses on a young woman whose passivity and introspection take her places she never planned. Born Junia Stone in East Tennessee, Mary Parsons was renamed and taken in by her aunt when her Bible-obsessed father tried to raise her "in a state of complete purity." A self-described "homeschooled semi-orphan from a barely literate state," she remembers her time at college as "a gestational period, four years of warning and training for this life that was coming." She graduates and moves to New York City with her loopy roommate Chandra.

Stricken with body-wracking disease, Mary lets Chandra lead her through a maze of traditional health care ("seven specialists, three gynos, five GPs, a psychiatrist, and one grope-y chiropractor") before venturing into Chandra's preferred healers ("a celebrity acupuncturist, a spiritual surgeon, and a guy who sold stinking powders in the back room of a Chinatown fishmonger"). She finally discovers miraculous relief with Chandra's last recommendation: Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia ("PAKing"), as practiced with the hocus-pocus jive of the personal masseuse Ed. Problem is, a full PAKing treatment costs thousands, so Mary turns to Craigslist. She applies for a job with a mysterious employer who is looking for someone to serve as a special girlfriend to movie star Kurt Sky, an experiment to define the nature of love--and to clean up his messy romantic life. On this substrate, Lacey digs into the choppy turf beneath a woman's relationship to her body, her identity and her search for balance between independence and meaningful relationships.

After numerous interviews, Mary is offered a job with the Girlfriend Experiment designed to illuminate love and companionship. As Kurt's "Emotional Girlfriend," she will be one among many woman playing specific roles (e.g., the Anger Girlfriend, the Intimacy Girlfriend, the Maternal Girlfriend) in helping a team of researchers sort out the perfect mate. A bit weird, but the pay is good. Between her tightly scripted contract role as Kurt's Emotional Girlfriend and her expensive sessions with Ed, Mary has no personal relationships at all--until she more closely considers her time with Ed: "all these hours they'd spend together, two adults in a room, half-clothed, trying to make life better. What was that if it wasn't a relationship?" When the job and DAKing sessions inevitably end, Mary has a new perspective on the uncertainty of life. She reflects: "I thought of all those billions of hearts beating out there, trying to find love or keep love going. All those people, getting in the way of each other--how do we even stand it? How do we make our way around?" Lacey doesn't give us answers, but she sure gives us a wild story with a memorable protagonist. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: In an adept novel filled with wacky alternative health cures and a bizarre celebrity psychological experiment, Whiting Award-winner Lacey showcases a young woman searching for stable ground.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by
1. Mister Moneybags by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
2. Turning Back by JA Huss
3. Faking It by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde
4. Royally Screwed by Emma Chase
5. Anchor Me (The Stark Trilogy Volume 4) by J. Kenner
6. Champions of the Dragon by Michael James Ploof
7. Legends of the Damned by Various
8. HOT Addiction (Hostile Operations Team Book 10) by Lynn Raye Harris
9. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
10. The Gravity of Us (The Elements Series Volume 4) by Brittainy Cherry

[Many thanks to!]

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