Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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


Hurricane Harvey Update: 'Indies Little, but Fierce'

Texas National Guards assist residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (photo:

Houston continues to grapple with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Brazos Bookstore was closed yesterday, although the building and the staff are in good shape. Brazos general manager Benjamin Rybeck recommended anyone wishing to donate to help the people of Houston use the list of resources put together by local station ABC-13. In addition, through Sunday Brazos is donating 20% of all online and in-store sales to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, established by Mayor Sylvester Turner. He added: "Once again, please be safe. And even as the storm continues to hit the city, find a moment to take comfort with others and remember that, ultimately, in spite of everything, we're seeing an undeniable display of Houston's resilience and kindness."

Bookstores and publishers far from Houston are following Brazos's lead. This weekend, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes, Calif., will donate a portion of sales to the Houston Food Bank, and Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, Minn., is donating 20% of all sales through its website this week to relief efforts.

Blue Willow Bookshop was closed, too, yesterday but is "safe and dry aside from a soaked towel at the back door," owner Valerie Kohler reported. In an e-mail to customers, she wrote, "Please keep in touch--and when you can, find refuge, comfort, and laughter in the pages of your favorite books. Here are some of our recent favorites. Think like an indie bookshop: Though we be but little, Harvey, we are fierce!"

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is available to help booksellers who have been affected by the hurricane and advised people wanting to assist them that they can "tell every bookseller and bookstore owner in Harvey's path about Binc" and donate to Binc.

The Texas Library Association will provide assistance to any libraries damaged by the storm through its Disaster Relief Fund. People can donate to the fund directly or by buying copies of the TLA Coloring Book ($10 for a set of two), proceeds of which go to the Fund.

The association wrote: "The Texas library family is strong. Together we will weather the storm and in the aftermath, support those libraries affected by this natural disaster."

The Texas Book Festival offered a list of ways "to support our fellow Texans in this tragedy." The organization emphasized that "it will likely take years for Texas to fully recover, and months for any semblance of normalcy to return. Even the smallest donations of time or money are great contributions."

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

The Writer's Block Breaks Ground

Construction underway for the new Writer's Block.

The Writer's Block Bookstore & Cafe, a new independent bookstore and cafe that plans to open in Anchorage, Alaska, in late 2017 or early 2018, began construction earlier this month. The Writer's Block will reside in a new, 2,500-square-foot building on a stretch of Anchorage's Spenard Road that was once notorious for peep shows and sex shops.

Co-owners Vered Mares and Kathy McCue intend for the store to focus on new books and Alaskan authors, while the cafe will serve craft beer, wine, coffee, tea and a variety of multiethnic food. Writer's Block will also have a stage for readings and live music, and there are plans for a weekly "house concert." According to the owners' GoFundMe page, which has to date raised just under $24,000, the store will also deliver both food and books throughout Anchorage.

"The big picture is to have a space that will be a venue for writers, readers, artists, musicians and families," wrote Mares and McCue on the GoFundMe page.

Newfoundland to End Sales Tax on Books

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador plans to end the 10% harmonized sales tax on books that was introduced at the beginning of the year, a move that was greeted with "much controversy and outcry from the public," Quill and Quire reported.

The tax should be lifted in January, pending approval by the Canadian government after a 120-day application process. The move is part of Finance Minister Tom Osborne's review of the province's tax system.

Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in Canada to have harmonized sales tax on books.

Obituary Note: Rachel Kranz

Rachel Kranz, a prolific ghostwriter, co-author of many books and author of the novel Leaps of Faith (published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2000), died yesterday.

Many of Kranz's ghostwritten and co-authored books were bestsellers and included nonfiction, memoir, popular psychology/culture, diet and health. The authors she worked with included Robyn O'Brien, Jane Jenkins and Janet Hirshenson, John Demartini, Woody Woodward, Stephen Hinshaw, John Hunter, Malaak Compton-Rock, Robin Stern, Dr. Ben Lynch, Raphael Kellman, Amy Myers, Frank Lipman, Deanna Minich, JJ Virgin, Marcelle Pick, Henry Emmons and Ann Louise Gittleman.

Kranz was also a playwright; a journalist in print, radio and video; and a warm and caring friend to the authors, editors and agents she worked with. She was revered for her ability to deliver spot-on manuscripts with very short deadlines.

Feasting with M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers

A one-of-a-kind literary feast is served during the Sunday Sit-Down Suppers hosted at M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers in Greenville, S.C. "We wanted to create a community dining experience that is food centric but also focuses on great authors," said Debi Horton, the store's manager and event planner.

A local chef devises a four-course menu based on the featured title, and the author joins diners to discuss the work. Sunday Sit-Down Suppers are ticketed events that typically cost $75 and are held in the evening, after business hours. Display tables are removed from the foyer, transforming the store--which is housed in a historic building that used to be a courthouse--into a temporary restaurant.

The suppers take place one Sunday a month and can accommodate up to 80 people. Diners are seated at either one or two long tables formally set with linens and china from the store co-owners' cupboards. Between each course, the author shares insights into the book and the chef talks about what inspired the upcoming dish.

The first sit-down supper took place in 2015, shortly after the store opened, with the late Pat Conroy, who was an early supporter of M. Judson Booksellers. Since then, Sunday Sit-Down Supper participants have broken bread with a variety of fiction and nonfiction authors, including Matt Lee and Ted Lee, who introduced Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cookbook, the first title in the Lee Brothers Library series. Kathryn Smith came in character as Missy LeHand, the central figure in her book The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership that Defined a Presidency, and the menu reflected food served at the president's frequent cocktail parties, on picnics at his retreat in Warm Springs, Ga., and at the White House.

Kathryn Smith as Missy LeHand

Guests may purchase the featured book at a discounted price and pick it up in advance or at the dinner. Conversation is enhanced by customers who come prepared with "thoughtful questions or testimonials about how a book has affected their lives," said Horton. While ruminating with Lauren Groff on Fates and Furies, which follows a couple's marriage over two decades, people shared their own relationship stories and ways in which the novel offered a new perspective. "What always stands out for me is the camaraderie that develops," added Horton. It's lovely to see that bonding people have with the books and then get to share it with the author."

A core group of repeat guests attends the Sunday Sit-Down Suppers, as do some of the store's book club members. Each author attracts different participants, while the various chefs also bring in diners. "We get foodies who love the opportunity to see a chef that they love cook something they normally don't get to try," said Horton.

Blending the literary and the culinary is a signature of M. Judson Booksellers, whose founders include Samantha Wallace, publisher of the seasonal food magazine Edible Upcountry, and Ashley Warlick, the editor of Edible Upcountry and author of The Arrangement, a novel based on the early career and tumultuous love life of legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher.

The table set for the Lee Brothers

Other palate-pleasing events hosted by the store are Book and a Beer, which matches an author with a local brewery, and Pop-Up Suppers, a more informal evening meal. Another is Page Pairings, a book-inspired wine tasting done in conjunction with the in-store eatery the Chocolate Moose Bakery & Cafe. Each of six wines is paired with a book that shares the same spirit. The $30 ticket includes a choice of one of the spotlighted titles, although customers often purchase additional books as well.

The most recent Sunday Sit-Down Supper took place this past Sunday, August 27. The guest of honor was Joshilyn Jackson, who chatted with diners about her new, Southern-set novel, The Almost Sisters. And what was on the menu?

Tin Roof Farm tomatoes, smoked tomato mayonnaise, Colonial Milling sourdough cornbread
Lady Pea cake, herb salad, apple cider vinaigrette
Smoked & braised beef brisket, Colonial Milling grits, wild mushrooms, thyme, shallots
Vanilla & lemon zest pound cake, peach & Gewurztraminer jam, vanilla bean powder, clabbered cream


Image of the Day: Bookshop Santa Cruz's Words to Act On

On Sunday, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., held a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood that raised more than $33,000 for the local chapter. The event, with more than 500 people in attendance, featured Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth McKenzie, Karen Joy Fowler and Laurie R. King serving as bartenders. Franzen made and served more than 155 cocktails. Jewel Theatre Company performed a staged reading of a scene from A Handmaid's Tale, and Indivisible Santa Cruz offered postcard writing stations to communicate with elected officials.

The event was part of Bookshop's year-long programming effort called Words to Act On, through which the store partners with local nonprofits to address issues of national concern. Bookshop Santa Cruz partnered with an environmental group, Ecology Action, in the spring and will partner with the Community Action Board's Immigration Project for the fall. The partnership involves curating reading lists, holding community reads for books on the issues and doing "action" projects to engage the community.

Showing their support for Planned Parenthood: (l. to r.) Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth McKenzie, Laurie R. King and Jonathan Franzen.

'Best Bookshops in Sydney'

In highlighting "the best bookshops in Sydney," TimeOut Sydney writes, "There are few greater pleasures in life than visiting a quality bookshop. No matter the weather, they're a port in a storm where anyone and everyone is welcome. Not all bookshops are created equal though, so we’ve put together Sydney's best, from the dusty to the designer."

The 10 shops are Gleebooks, Berkelouw Books, Kinokuniya Sydney, Desire Books & Records, Gould's Book Arcade, Best Little Bookshop in Town, Love Vintage Books, Sappho Books Café and Wine Bar, Gertrude & Alice and Better Read Than Dead.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Chronicle Books' Tyrrell Mahoney on Marketplace

CBS This Morning: Senator Bernie Sanders, author of Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution (Holt, $16.99, 9781250138903).

Today: Martha Stewart discusses Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker: 110 Recipes for Flavorful, Foolproof Dishes (Including Desserts!), Plus Test- Kitchen Tips and Strategies (Clarkson Potter, $26, 9780307954688).

CBS This Morning: Mike Tyson, co-author of Iron Ambition: My Life with Cus D'Amato (Blue Rider Press, $28, 9780399177033).

The View repeat: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, $18.95, 9780393609394).

NPR's Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal, in a "Corner Office" segment: Tyrrell Mahoney, president of Chronicle Books.

Daily Show: James Blake, co-author of Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together (Amistad, $26.99, 9780062354525).

Late Late Show with James Corden repeat: Eddie Izzard, author of Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens (Blue Rider, $28, 9780399175831).

TV: Malcolm X; The Haunting of Hill House

Manning Marable's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, is being adapted as a television series by Critical Content and writer David Matthews (Boardwalk Empire, Tyrant). Deadline reported that Matthews "will pen the adaptation with Critical Content's Tom Forman, Andrew Marcus, Ray Ricord and Jon Schwartz executive producing. Dr. Leith Mullings and Michael Tyner will serve as producers and consultants."


Oliver Jackson-Cohen has joined the cast of The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix's "modern re-imagining of Shirley Jacksons classic 1959 novel," Deadline reported. He joins Timothy Hutton, Carla Gugino, Michel Huisman, Elizabeth Reaser, Kate Siegel and Henry Thomas in the 10-episode straight-to-series drama. The new adaptation "draws from the original classic ghost story while expanding on the mythology of the Crane family."

Books & Authors

Awards: McIlvanney Scottish Crime; Rona Jaffe

A shortlist has been released for the £1,000 (about $1,300) McIlvanney Prize for Scottish crime book of the year. The winner will be announced September 8. The 2017 shortlisted books are:

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
The Long Drop by Denise Mina
The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid by Craig Russell
Murderabilia by Craig Robertson
How to Kill Friends and Implicate People by Jay Stringer


The Rona Jaffe Foundation is giving its 23rd annual Writers' Awards to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers, each of whom will receive $30,000: Aamina Ahmad (fiction), Ama Codjoe (poetry), Ebony Flowers (fiction/nonfiction), Tiana Nobile (poetry), Dominica Phetteplace (fiction) and Shawna Kay Rodenberg (nonfiction).

Midwest Connections September Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, four recent Midwest Connections Picks. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal:

Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977856). "Don't Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality--the dangers experienced in skin, body, and blood--and a diagnosis of HIV positive. 'Some of us are killed / in pieces,' Smith writes, 'some of us all at once.' Don't Call Us Dead is an astonishing collection, one that confronts America, where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle."

Quiet Until the Thaw: A Novel by Alexandra Fuller (Penguin Press, $25, 9780735223349). "Lakota Oglala Sioux Nation, South Dakota. Two Native American cousins, Rick Overlooking Horse and You Choose Watson, though bound by blood and by land, find themselves at odds as they grapple with the implications of their shared heritage. When escalating anger towards the injustices, historical and current, inflicted upon the Lakota people by the federal government leads to tribal divisions and infighting, the cousins go in separate directions: Rick chooses the path of peace; You Choose, violence."

Tornado Weather: A Novel by Deborah E. Kennedy (Flatiron, $24.99, 9781250079572). "Five-year-old Daisy Gonzalez's father is always waiting for her at the bus stop. But today, he isn't. As the bus driver, Fikus, lowers her wheelchair to the ground and looks around, chaos erupts behind him as one child has an accident and the rest begin to scream. When Daisy says her house is right down the road, she'll be fine, and begins to wheel herself away, Fikus lets her go. And that's the last time she is seen."

Every Kind of Wanting: A Novel by Gina Frangello (Counterpoint, $16.95, 9781640090040). "Every Kind of Wanting explores the complex intersection of three unique families and their bustling efforts to have a 'Community Baby.' Miguel could not be more different from his partner Chad, a happy-go-lucky real estate mogul from Chicago's wealthy North Shore. When Chad's sister, Gretchen offers the couple an egg, their search for a surrogate leads them to Miguel's old friend Emily, happily married to an eccentric Irish playwright, Nick, with whom she is raising two boys. Into this web falls Miguel's sister Lina, a former addict and stripper, who begins a passionate affair with Nick while deciphering the mysteries of her past."

Book Review

Review: David Bowie: A Life

David Bowie: A Life by Dylan Jones (Crown Archetype, $28 hardcover, 544p., 9780451497833, September 12, 2017)

David Bowie lived many lives. Born David Jones and enamored of fame, he assumed the name of a knife renowned for its cutting edge. Then came Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Halloween Jack, the Thin White Duke. Each new incarnation sent fans running back to their bureaus to change. Defining the '70s, Bowie became a legend few could keep pace with in decades to come. A shape-shifter baptized in new trends at every turn, he followed his fascinations with remarkable doggedness. His pursuits, though, regularly benefited from the people who surrounded him--early mentor Lindsay Kemp, eccentric first wife Angie, relentless manager Tony Defries, longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, protégé Iggy Pop and, especially, Bowie's schizophrenic older brother, Terry, who introduced him to jazz.

Those who knew him best are among the many included in British GQ editor Dylan Jones's (no relation) kaleidoscopic oral history, David Bowie: A Life. Jones seldom interjects amidst the fascinating monologues. After a touching introduction, he smartly steps back and lets others do the talking. Their stories are clever, funny, inspiring, heartbreaking and cautionary. As Bowie rose to fame, he succumbed to a ferocious appetite for drugs. Harry Maslin, co-producer for Young Americans and Station to Station, recalls how Bowie would pour piles of coke all over the studio, "so he never had to move to take another bump.... And we're talking piles, we're not talking lines."

No matter his state of mind, though, Bowie maintained his openness to the music and the world. Pianist Mike Garson remembers laying down his inimitable solo for "Aladdin Sane" after trying it in a blues style first and then a Latin style, both of which Bowie declined. "He wanted something avant-garde. So I did it in one take. It was he who pulled it out of me, because it wasn't my first choice." Garson, who played with Bowie for more than 40 years, adds, "I'll probably go down in history known only for this." That wasn't always the case. Bowie was notorious for absorbing other's ideas without thoroughly crediting them, and for ghosting once a partnership had satisfied his needs.

Understandably, the bulk of David Bowie gravitates to the '70s, the artist's wildest era. As the Berlin period of the late decade transitions to his acting in the '80s and his art collecting in the '90s, the music takes a backseat--until 2013's muscular comeback, The Next Day. Many marvel at the monumental effect supermodel Iman had as his second wife. By his final decade, Bowie had come full circle: the young man who craved fame had become the most famous man on the planet, yet wanted nothing but normalcy.

There is always more to say about Bowie, not all of it glowing. He was a flawed man who exuded cool; haunted by his brother's mental illness, he created and re-created until the very end. Dylan Jones has crafted an irresistible pastiche of his life, conversations that form a glittering constellation outline of the Starman. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: A legion of voices shape Dylan Jones's enthralling oral history of music legend David Bowie.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
2. The Soul Mate by Kendall Ryan
3. Shelter for Sophie (Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes Book 8) by Susan Stoker
4. The Scotch King by Penelope Sky
5. Thousands (Dollar Book 4) by Pepper Winters
6. Swept Into Love: Gage Ryder (Love in Bloom: The Ryders Book 5) by Melissa Foster
7. Royally Endowed (The Royally Series Book 3) by Emma Chase
8. To Love a Reckless Lord by Collette Cameron
9. Creatures by Various
10. Wild Card by Karina Halle

[Many thanks to!]

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