Also published on this date: Thursday, February 15, 2018: Maximum Shelf: The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 15, 2018

University of Texas Press: Grief Is a Sneaky Bitch: An Uncensored Guide to Navigating Loss by Lisa Keefauver

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

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


For Sale: Clinton Book Shop in N.J.

Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, N.J., has been put up for sale, with owner Harvey Finkel stressing that "the key ingredients that will contribute to the success of a new owner are all in place: a loyal customer base, dedicated and supportive membership, the technology tools to remain current and relevant, and a beautiful environment that appeals to customers of all ages."

In an open letter to store members and supporters, Finkel noted that for nearly 50 years the bookstore "has been a fixture" in Clinton, "and your support has sustained one of our town's greatest treasures. Now it's time I move on."

Finkel is currently attending Rutgers University to earn a master's degree in Adult and Continuing Education, "with the goal of sometime in the near future helping adults to learn to read and write as well as getting their GED and working with ESL programs. Literacy and books are in my DNA," he observed. "I'm looking forward to the new challenges in life will bring me and I'm hoping that you--or someone you know--will want to be the next owner of the Clinton Book Shop, and see it remain as the core of our community.

"When I purchased the business in 2003, I did so with the belief that it was essential to continue a sustainable environment for years to come. Even now, in this age of electronic this and digital that, we are well-positioned to ensure that books and reading will remain at the forefront of our business."

Noting that he and manager Rob Dougherty are "willing to provide you with the necessary resources to ensure a smooth transition," Finkel wrote: "All it takes is someone who is passionate about books and all that they represent, who genuinely loves people and wants to be of service, and who has good judgment and a good sense of what it takes to operate a retail business. The reason that we're contacting you directly is that we know how much you care about the Clinton Book Shop, and perhaps might know someone--even a family member ready for a change of pace--who would enjoy being the owner of our community's center for literary culture."

For more information, contact Finkel or Dougherty at the Clinton Book Shop, 908-735-8811; or by e-mail at

"We can not only let you know more about our business and its potential, but also can provide you with the necessary training to succeed as a new bookstore owner," Finkel noted. "Thank you so much for your continued patronage and for your interest in seeing the Clinton Book Shop serve more generations of readers for years to come."

BINC: Click to Apply to the Macmillan Booksellers Professional Development Scholarships

Bookstore Sales Down 8.2% in December, 3.7% for 2017

December bookstore sales fell 8.2%, to $1.182 billion, compared to December 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This marked the sixth down month in 2017, after a four-month streak in which bookstore sales rose every month.

For the full year of 2017, bookstore sales were $10.8 billion, down 3.7% compared to 2016.

Total retail sales in December rose 3.7%, to $561.9 billion. For the full year, total retail sales rose 4.2%, to $5,754 billion.

The Census Bureau figures, which include a range of stores that sell books, including chains and others, differ significantly from results at indie bookstores. At indie bookstores, sales rose 2.6% in 2017 over 2016. And NPD/BookScan found that the number of books sold in the indie channel during the week leading up to Christmas was the highest since the organization began collecting that type of data.

Barnes & Noble results were more in line with Census Bureau figures: the company's sales in the last quarter of the year fell 6.4%.

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Story & Song Bookstore Bistro Opens in Florida

Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro, Fernandina Beach, Fla., had its soft opening earlier this week, Bookselling This Week reported. Owned by Mark and Donna Paz Kaufman of the bookstore training group Paz & Associates, Story & Song is designed to "illustrate the best practices of the business of bookselling."

Located in a two-story building on Amelia Island, the first floor features a 2,400-square-foot bookstore and bistro. The second floor, called Second Story for Arts & Creativity, is designed for programs and performances, story times, and discussions.

"After the humongous task of receiving and merchandising product and then training staff, we are thrilled to quietly open our doors to an appreciative community of Amelia Island residents and visitors," said Donna Paz Kaufman, adding: "We've loved catching the adjectives: beautiful, happy, cheerful. One three-year-old who came with her grandparents for story time asked, 'Is this a library?' It was clear by the look on her face that she'd never had this kind of experience. I asked her what words she'd use to describe the bookshop and she replied, 'home' and 'library.' Best of all, we loved the customer who stayed until closing and upon departing commented, 'Congratulations, you've hit this out of the park!' "

The soft opening has been a chance for troubleshooting and learning, Kaufman noted: "What is clear is that there is an unmet demand for books, greeting cards, toys that tie into picture books, and unique gift items in our community. We don't think this is a unique circumstance in this world of online shopping and corporate chains. People are craving connection, meaning, and a special local sense of place."

73 ABA Member Stores Opened in 2017

Last year, the American Booksellers Association added 73 new independent bookstores that opened for business in 33 states and the District of Columbia, Bookselling This Week reported. The new stores include 10 branches or satellites of existing businesses. In addition, 22 established ABA member stores were bought by new owners.

Susan Weis-Bohlen: From Indie Bookseller to Ayurveda Author

Susan Weis-Bohlen

"It's a culmination of 10 years of studying Ayurveda," said Susan Weis-Bohlen, a former bookseller and a full-time Ayurveda instructor. From 2004 until 2014, Weis-Bohlen owned a New Age bookstore in Baltimore, Md., called Breathe Books, and has been studying Ayurveda since 2007. Her first book, an introduction to the practice called Ayurveda Beginner's Guide: Essential Ayurvedic Principles and Practices to Balance and Heal Naturally, went on sale this week from Althea Press.

"I couldn't believe how hard it was to sit and write my personal story," she said. "It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time."

Weis-Bohlen described the Indian practice of Ayurveda as a "sister science of Yoga and meditation" that focuses on well-being and treats a person's whole "mind-body constitution." In addition to the aforementioned Yoga and meditation, it incorporates the use of indigenous herbs, spices and ingredients. She characterized her book, meanwhile, as a combination of her personal story learning and practicing Ayurveda and a "Western telling of how to practice Ayurveda in your busy Western life."

In it she lays out a step-by-step, day-by-day plan for someone to slowly begin implementing Ayurveda in their lives. Readers can plot their own 21-day plans to make manageable, incremental changes without "getting caught up in esoterics." She added that it was very important to her to make everything suggested in the book gradual and practical; all too often people "dive into something, put everything into it for two weeks," and then quit when they don't see immediate, life-changing results.

In telling her personal story, Weis-Bohlen recounts how a "Western Jewish girl from Baltimore" stumbles "onto this ancient Indian path." She first came across Ayurveda through the work of Deepak Chopra, specifically his 1993 book Ageless Body Timeless Mind, which she discovered in a Crown Books in Washington, D.C. Through Chopra's work, as well as the work of Dr. Andrew Weil, Weis-Bohlen increasingly became interested in alternative medicine and Ayurveda.

She went on to study at the Chopra Center in California, got a certification and started seeing clients, all while Breathe Books was still open. Eventually, Weis-Bohlen decided to close her shop so that she could practice Ayurveda full time. She sees clients, teaches classes and even has a teaching kitchen in her home, where she hosts Ayurveda cooking classes. She's also led six trips to sites in India and plans more in the future.

Weis-Bohlen was inspired to open a New Age bookstore of her own while visiting Bodhi Tree Bookstore in Los Angeles, Calif., in 2002. She was so taken with the store, which was a West Hollywood fixture until its closure in 2012, that she thought: "I have to do this." During her time as a bookseller she became involved with the ABA, serving on the Booksellers Advisory Council for several years. And when it came to writing a book of her own, Weis-Bohlen said that her experience as a bookseller guided her through the process.

Weis-Bohlen with Country Bookshelf events manager Jessica Hahl.

"I was always thinking about bookselling," recalled Weis-Bohlen. "What it would look like in a bookstore, how they would sell it, what section it would be in." She reported being thrilled when she learned that the book would be available through Ingram Publisher Services; she recalled that during her time as a bookstore owner, the single biggest obstacle when it came to working with small publishers was simply: "How am I going to get the book?"

After an intimate first event with her dedicated meditation group, Weis-Bohlen officially began her book tour in Bozeman, Mont., this week with a visit to Country Bookshelf. The schedule also includes stops at Politics & Prose in D.C., several Barnes & Noble signings, and in March she will be the first book event ever for a new indie bookstore in Baltimore called Greedy Reads, which will open February 25.

"I remember my own first book event," said Weis-Bohlen. "I'm really excited." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Ernest Hecht

Ernest Hecht OBE, founder and publisher of Souvenir Press, has died, the Bookseller reported, noting that he "remained at the helm of Souvenir Press, conducting business from his West London home, 'till the last.' " He was 88.

Hecht founded the independent press in 1951, "setting it up in his parents' back bedroom after securing a £250 loan from his father," the Bookseller noted. He "went on to publish an eclectic list, including Nobel laureates, humor classics--such as Jenny Joseph’s Warning: When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple--cult classics such as Erich von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods and the series of Modesty Blaise thrillers by Peter O’Donnell." He received the first Lifetime Achievement award at the British Book Awards in 2001 and was honored with an OBE in 2015.

Describing Hecht as "much more than a publisher," a Souvenir Press spokesperson said: "An ever-generous host, whether at long lunches or his many theatrical and musical events, Hecht was a loyal friend to many, offering ideas and advice, but also criticism when he felt it was needed. He was wise and witty, a great anecdotalist with a mind like a steel trap who forgot nothing. No one would say he was easy--but for Ernest that was all just part of the sport. Publishing will never see his like again and his passing leaves a void in a great many lives."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Remember You Will Die
by Eden Robins
GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

Despite the title, Eden Robins's Remember You Will Die is a joyously enlivening masterpiece. Only dead people inhabit the pages of this novel, their stories revealed predominantly through obituaries ranging from deeply soulful to hilariously delightful. As Christa Désir, editorial director for Bloom Books at Sourcebooks, promises, it's "a book about life and art and loss and being human and messy." By 2102, the singularity has long happened, and an AI called Peregrine learns that her 17-year-old daughter, Poppy, is dead. Unraveling this requires a three-century excavation of relationships, cultures, science, history, and brilliantly sourced etymology. Désir predicts "a cult classic" that readers will want to "immediately pick back up... to find more Easter eggs and clues." Eden Robins could have the singular bestseller of the year. --Terry Hong

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $16.99 paperback, 9781728256030, 
October 22, 2024)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: SRO Saunders

Midtown Scholar, Harrisburg, Pa., hosted a sold-out event with George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo) last week. More than 300 fans filled the store for the reading.

Bookstores Save Lives... Of All Breeds (WARNING: Contains Puppy Photos)

Kevin Elliott from 57th Street Books in Chicago, Ill., sent in this story.

I thought I'd share this unexpected story from a few weeks ago.

While walking from 57th Street Books to our sister store, the Seminary Co-op, one early Sunday morning to retrieve a dolly for an all-day pop-up shop we were scheduled to sell books at, I noticed a puppy waddling around in the alley between our stores with no leash and no humans partner. When I approached to say hi, the little guy approached with friendly sniffs and whimpers. I picked him up and walked up and down Kimbark, hoping to find the owners. Nothing. So, I took him into our store to see if he wanted to read some Antisthenes or Diogenes. While he pawed through the philosophy section, I posted this picture on social media in hopes that the owners were fans.

It became abundantly obvious that he was more of a Mary Oliver fan, so I took him over to the poetry section and posted another picture.

By this time, I was quite late to our pop-up shop when our children's manager, Franny Billingsley, came in a bit early to watch the little guy. When I got up to leave for the offsite, the puppy dropped everything and followed me around. I've been in this industry a long time and I've seen a lot of puppies come and go in the stores I've worked, but reader, I love him.

In further attempts to find the dog's owners, Franny posted a photo on a local message board. Soon, customers and community members were sharing the story of our adopted store dog. A discussion began among our local authors and readers that our award-winning children's book author and children's manager, Franny, should write a story about his adventures in Hyde Park.

After a couple of hours of petting, cooing, and heart melting of staff and customers alike, the owners caught word, thanks to our community and came in to retrieve him.

The pup's name is Biscuit (how perfect!) We shared the story during our weekly Saturday story time, and Biscuit now has a fan base.

Later in the evening, two adorable children came in with their mother and gifted us with four cases of mini-cupcakes as a thank you for saving their beloved Biscuit. I, of course, demanded that Biscuit make frequent visits, because even though I am a cat person, Biscuit has a special place in my heart.

Through all this adventure, I thought about how we read about bookstores being important elements of the community. Community spaces. Valued community institutions. Essential to the community. You read it so much, that sometimes it can seem like just a marketing term.

Carrying Biscuit in my arms through the cold Saturday morning streets in attempts to find his owners. Watching our neighbors come together to help return Biscuit home. Telling our event partner that we would be late to sell books because we had to tend to a puppy's needs. These were the things that firmly took the feeling of community to a new and genuine level.

And for those wondering, Biscuit still visits us. Here's a picture of him with his happy owner crossing the street just outside of our store the other day.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Vicente Fox on Real Time with Bill Maher

Harry: Nate Staniforth, author of Here Is Real Magic: A Magician's Search for Wonder in the Modern World (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781632864246).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Vicente Fox, author of Let's Move On: Beyond Fear & False Prophets (Savio Republic, $25, 9781682615430).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Savannah Book Festival

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, February 17
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live coverage from the 11th annual Savannah Book Festival in Savannah, Ga. Highlights include:
  • 9 a.m. Robert H. Latiff, author of Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield (Knopf, $25, 9781101947609).
  • 10:10 a.m. Brian Curtis, author of Fields of Battle: Pearl Harbor, the Rose Bowl, and the Boys Who Went to War (Flatiron, $17.99, 9781250059598).
  • 11:20 a.m. Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, authors of The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501109867).
  • 12:30 p.m. Celeste Headlee, author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter (Harper Wave, $26.99, 9780062669001).
  • 1:40 p.m. David Enrich, author of The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History (Custom House, $29.99, 9780062452986).
  • 4 p.m. Ben Blum, author of Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385538435).
6:45 p.m. Emily Dufton, author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America (Basic Books, $28, 9780465096169), at Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver, Colo. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

7:45 p.m. Jeff Goodell, author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316260244).

9 p.m. Ronen Bergman, author of Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations (Random House, $35, 9781400069712). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. Ira Shapiro, author of Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country? (Rowman & Littlefield, $35, 9781538105825). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Bill Minutaglio and Steven Davis, authors of The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD (Twelve, $30, 9781455563586), at Book Passage Bookstore in Corte Madera, Calif. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

Sunday, February 18
3:30 p.m. Susan Marquis, author of I Am Not a Tractor!: How Florida Farmworkers Took on the Fast Food Giants and Won (ILR Press, $29.95, 9781501713088).

6 p.m. William Ayers and Crystal Laura, co-authors of "You Can't Fire the Bad Ones!": And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, Teachers Unions, and Public Education (Beacon Press, $16, 9780807036662), at Volumes Bookcafe in Chicago, Ill.

10 p.m. William Rempel, author of The Gambler: How Penniless Dropout Kirk Kerkorian Became the Greatest Deal Maker in Capitalist History (Dey Street, $28.99, 9780062456779).

Books & Authors

Awards: Wallant Winner; Sunday Times EFG Short Story; PEN/Barber Freedom to Write

Margot Singer won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for her novel Underground Fugue (Melville House). Presented by the University of Hartford's Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies, the award is given to "a Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for the American Jew."

Avinoam J. Patt, associate director of the Greenberg Center, said he and the other judges have "followed Margot's work since the publication of her collection of short stories, The Pale of the Settlement, and we were encouraged to see her take the leap to becoming the novelist who brought such intriguing characters to life. We are delighted to bring recognition to Margot, who is a highly talented writer and hope the award brings more awareness of her excellent work to broader audiences."

Rachel Hall was runner-up for her debut story collection, Heirlooms. Both authors will be honored at an awards ceremony May 2 in West Hartford, Conn., as part of the Mandell JCC Book Festival series.


Some 15 authors have been included in the longlist for the £30,000 ($41,655) Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, which can be seen here. A shortlist will be announced March 18, and the winner named will be announced at a gala dinner in London April 26.


This year's PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, given annually to a writer or writers in prison, will go to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, reporters from Myanmar who documented ethnic violence and atrocities carried out by Myanmar's military.

While working for Reuters, the two journalists investigated the destruction of Inn Din village and the execution of 10 Rohingya villagers at the hands of the Myanmar military. Their work contributed to an expose of the massacre published by Reuters earlier this month. They were arrested on "spurious charges under Myanmar's Official Secrets Act" in December 2017 and face sentences of up to 14 years in prison.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo will be honored on May 22 at the 2018 PEN America Literary Gala. Past recipients of the Freedom to Write Award include Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and the late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 20:

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House, $28, 9780399590504) is the memoir of a woman raised by rural survivalists who first saw a classroom at age 17.

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250085894) is a science-fiction and horror adventure for young adults.

Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup (Doubleday, $18.99, 9781524769666) uses peek-through holes on every page to show the moon's different phases.

Red Sparrow: A Novel (The Red Sparrow Trilogy) by Jason Matthews (Pocket, $9.99, 9781501168918).

Annihilation, based on the first book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, opens February 23. Natalie Portman stars as a biologist on a mission into a quarantined area where natural laws are mysteriously broken.

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:

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (Pamela Dorman Books, $26, 9780735221963). "Told from alternating points of view, this novel is about the relationship between sisters Miranda and Lucia and the impact of mental illness upon their personal bond. Lucia is an artistic free spirit and has lived independently, in large part, because her sister, Miranda, has always been her caretaker. When Lucia's lucidity begins to shift, Miranda's responsibility to her sister does as well. Everything Here Is Beautiful explores the boundaries of our responsibilities to those we love, and how we might go about honoring someone's self-determination when that person may not be stable enough to be up to the task. At what point does taking care of someone else cease to serve anyone involved, and how do you know when you're there? Mira T. Lee's debut work is necessary--a generous, beautiful, and frank examination of a very difficult subject." --Sarah Bumstead, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, Calif.

The Afterlives: A Novel by Thomas Pierce (Riverhead Books, $27, 9781594632532). "In The Afterlives, Thomas Pierce follows a man's quest for what comes after death. The story skillfully intersects religion, technology, philosophy, humor, love, and fear, but love and fear are what really got to me. The novel celebrates the love we're born into with our family and the love we find, but behind that is the fear of its loss. The novel doesn't flinch. Pierce's characters are so natural and so funny that at times it felt like I was reading Douglas Coupland or Elan Mastai. The Afterlives didn't feel bleak or hopeless or preachy--it was sincere and hopeful." --Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, Vt.

The Midnight Cool: A Novel by Lydia Peelle (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062475473). "The journey of middle-aged swindler Billy and his young, idealistic partner Charles is a journey into the history and heart of the oft-maligned American dream. As the nation considers whether it will join World War I, Billy and Charles must weigh the merits of freedom against patriotic obligation, their life on the road against the temptation of putting down roots, and their diverging desires against the love and loyalty they bear for each other. As Billy says, 'I reckon that's the beauty and the shame of it, all at once.' Peelle's exploration of this beauty and shame is exquisitely wrought, richly populated, and ultimately devastating. I finished the novel in tears." --Mairead Small Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters! by Marikka Tamura, illustrated by Daniel Rieley (Nancy Paulsen Books, $16.99, 9781101996966). "This is the perfect book for the children of environmentally aware parents! I was expecting a silly story, but this book is so much more. It is a true story about how people around the world knitted sweaters for penguins after an oil spill. The author also makes a point to mention that even though it was a great movement to gain awareness of oil spills and the havoc they cause, the sweaters were not the best way to help these penguins. The simple, repetitive text mixed with the fun, graphic illustrations and the overall message of environmental awareness makes this a great read for young children." --Emma McAndrew, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham (Crown, $16.99, 9781524700201). "Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this hilarious adventure story of a brave gargoyle named Penhallow (don't call him Goyle!) and his human friend Viola. Penhallow takes seriously the protection of his Wards, the people living in the home he lives on, and when a mysterious Boneless King starts releasing all the scary creatures that go bump in the night, it is his job to get to the bottom of the problem before it is too late." --Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (Soho Teen, $18.99, 9781616958473). "Sometimes you pick up a book that makes you laugh. Sometimes you pick up a book that makes you cry. Sometimes you pick up a book that makes you love. And sometimes, just sometimes, you are lucky enough to pick up a book that makes you do all three. Love, Hate & Other Filters is that book. It is filled with the power of expectations. Some are expectations Maya sets for herself, some are expectations her parents place upon her, and some are expectations that classmates jump to because of prejudice. Ahmed has written a book that will sucker-punch you with emotions--much like teen life, it is cute one minute and raw the next. It is a masterpiece." --Rachel Strolle, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, Ill.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Top Library Recommended Titles for March

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

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh (Berkley, $26, 9780451490537). "For readers who enjoyed Mackintosh's I Let You Go and I See You, you most certainly will enjoy her latest suspenseful thrill ride. Anna has been struggling to get on with her life after her parents' suicides when she starts to receive clues that maybe her parents did not carry out the heinous act that everyone believed they committed." --KC Davis, Fairfield Woods Library, Fairfield, Conn.

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James (Berkley, $26, 9780451476203). "Parallel narratives, one set in Vermont 1950 and the other in Vermont 2014, are woven together in this intricate mystery. Timely themes of violence toward women and abuses of power resonate throughout. A well-crafted and unsettling tale for fans of Gothic horror and female centered thrillers." --Kate Currie, Hennepin County Library, Minneapolis, Minn.

The Flight Attendant: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian (Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385542418). "Cassie Bowden is a flight attendant with a drinking problem. Rock bottom comes when she wakes up in a hotel room in Dubai with a dead man next to her. Warning: do not read this on a plane!" --Marika Zemke, Commerce Township Public Library, Commerce Township, Mich.

Sometimes I Lie: A Novel by Alice Feeney (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250144843). "For fans of the recent psychological thrillers, The Woman in the Window and The Wife Between Us, comes another one that will keep you on your toes. I felt like I needed a whiteboard to keep track of the twists and turns." --Robin Beerbower, Salem Public Library, Salem, Ore.

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (Ace, $27, 9780425281314). "The latest installment in the Alpha and Omega series. The tension between humans and werewolves is ramping up and Charles and Anna are becoming more deeply involved in Pack business. For readers who enjoy Ilona Andrews and Kelly Armstrong." --Shana Harrington, Las Vegas Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, Nev.

Sunburn: A Novel by Laura Lippman (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062389923). "Polly leaves her husband and child while on a beach vacation and winds up in a small town in Delaware with almost nothing. She gets a job at the local bar and starts a relationship with Adam, someone who seems to have landed in the town by accident as well. As the novel progresses, we learn of Polly's past and soon you won't know what to believe. Sunburn is a twisted novel that will suck you in." --Annice Sevett, New Hanover County Public Library, Wilmington, N.C.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781476717807). "Richard is a successful concert pianist who has contracted ALS and now his right arm is paralyzed. His wife Katrina takes on the role of reluctant caretaker. Theirs is a marriage filled with secrets, blame, loneliness and disappointment. The book is beautifully written and visceral in its description of the progression of ALS. Most moving to this reader was both characters' impassioned relationship to music." --Maggie Holmes, Richards Memorial Library, North Attleborough, Mass.

Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel by Shobha Rao (Flatiron, $25.99, 9781250074256). "A beautiful tale of survival despite overwhelming destructive forces all around. After her mother's death, Poornima is left to care for her siblings and father until her arranged marriage. When a free spirited Savitha enters, Poornima begins to imagine a different life. Told in alternating perspectives, the girls' ambition keeps them going through unimaginable trials." --Darla Dykstra, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, Mo.

Alternate Side: A Novel by Anna Quindlen (Random House, $28, 9780812996067). "This book really captures contemporary New York, the increasing disparity between the wealthy Manhattanites and those who work for them and live in the outer boroughs, and the obsessive search for parking. The title hits exactly the right tone as 'alternate side' has several meanings in this novel." --Rosemarie Borsody, Lee Library Association, Lee, Mass.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062686664). "This novel brings to mind Hitchcock. This is the story of two women, friends in college, until an accident drives a wedge between them. Years later, Alice is living in Tangier with her husband when Lucy shows up. A twisted tale told in alternating points of view." --Terri Smith, Cornelia Habersham County Library, Cornelia, Ga.

Book Review

Review: Walking the Americas: 1,800 Miles, Eight Countries, and One Incredible Journey from Mexico to Colombia

Walking the Americas: 1,800 Miles, Eight Countries, and One Incredible Journey from Mexico to Colombia by Levison Wood (Atlantic Monthly Press, $27 hardcover, 304p., 9780802127495, March 6, 2018)

British photographer, writer and explorer Levison Wood (Walking the Himalayas) has journeyed the length of the Nile and the Himalayas. In Walking the Americas, he hikes 1,800 miles through the countries of Central America.

On this trek, he has Alberto, a Mexican guide and friend, to accompany him, a man who has never hiked through the uncut jungle or been outside of Mexico. Together the two travel south, from Mérida in the Yucatán Peninsula, through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, to its border with Colombia. They end their trip with a swim in the Caribbean Sea.

As with his other books, Wood skillfully incorporates scenic details, the day-to-day aspects of hiking through unfamiliar territory, the history of the various regions and the people they encounter en route. This walk is filled with the dangers of the natural world--snakes, spiders, biting insects that carry a host of diseases, crocodiles, sharks and jaguars, to name a few. Moreover, the men must also worry about drug smugglers, gang members, kidnappers, corrupt police and a host of other unsavory characters who would think nothing of stealing their money, clothes, possessions and their lives.

Some of the journey is on paved roads, but they prefer to take back roads and hike through the seemingly impenetrable jungle, scaling sheer cliffs, wading through rivers and streams--which could flood at any moment--and hacking through thick vines and trees that would deter most. The last stretch is through Panama's Darién Gap, an infamous region used by drug and human smugglers; it also boasts some of the most hazardous jungle in the area. Fortunately, through careful planning, Wood is able to hire locals who know the surrounding regions like the backs of their hands, making it possible for the travelers successfully to navigate the potentially deadly hike without too many mishaps.

One of the most engaging aspects of Wood's narrative is his ability to bring his passion for adventure, for history, for learning about indigenous cultures and interacting with native peoples and for the natural world to the reader in an unpretentious manner. Reading Walking the Americas places the reader alongside Wood in his feats, as he ponders his motivations and reasons for hiking long distances and as he exclaims over the sheer beauty of the world he sees from a mountain peak few have climbed. His is travel and adventure writing at its best. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Shelf Talker: British adventurer Levison Wood hikes 1,800 miles across Central America and shares his passion of the natural world and the local people.

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