Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Storey Publishing: The Universe in Verse: 15 Portals to Wonder Through Science & Poetry by Maria Popova

Tommy Nelson: You'll Always Have a Friend: What to Do When the Lonelies Come by Emily Ley, Illustrated by Romina Galotta

Jimmy Patterson: Amir and the Jinn Princess by M T Khan

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Blue Box Press: A Soul of Ash and Blood: A Blood and Ash Novel by Jennifer L Armentrout

Quotation of the Day

Libraries: 'The Church of the Original Source'

photo: Annie Griffiths

"Everywhere I've gone since, I've found libraries. Those of us launched from bare-bones schools in uncelebrated places will always find particular grace in a library, where the temple doors are thrown wide to all believers, regardless of pedigree. Nowadays I have the normal professional reliance on Internet research, but my heart still belongs to the church of the original source. Every book I've written has some magic in it I found in physical stacks or archives."

--Barbara Kingsolver, one of 12 authors asked by the New York Times to "tell us about their local public library or to share a memory of a library from their past."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich


S&S Merging Touchstone into Atria and Gallery

Following news about the retirement at the end of the year of longtime Scribner Publishing president and Touchstone publisher Susan Moldow, Simon & Schuster has decided to merge Touchstone operations with two of its other adult imprints, Atria and Gallery Books. In an announcement about the move, Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of S&S Adult Publishing, said that Touchstone's frontlist "frequently overlaps" with other S&S adult imprints, particularly Atria and Gallery. As a result, "I believe that going forward we will be best served by integrating Touchstone's talented staff within these imprints. In making this decision, careful consideration has been given to placing the Touchstone editors, publicity, and marketing staff, in new publishing homes that are the most natural and complementary fit for their sensibilities and titles."

Beginning in January, the following Touchstone staff members will join Atria: executive editor Matthew Benjamin, associate editor Kaitlin Olson, executive editor Trish Todd, editorial assistant Isabella Betita, associate director of publicity Shida Carr, publicity assistant Megan Rudloff, and marketing coordinator Isabel DaSilva.

Touchstone staff joining Gallery are: senior editor Cara Bedick, executive editor Lauren Spiegel, assistant editor Rebecca Strobel, assistant director of publicity Jessica Roth and associate publicist Sydney Morris.

Brian Belfiglio, who has been Scribner's director of publicity while doing double duty with Touchstone, will focus exclusively to Scribner, and will be joined by assistant director of marketing Kelsey Manning.

Associate publisher Meredith Vilarello will manage Touchstone's extensive backlist.

As a result of the restructuring, senior art director Cherlynne Li will leave the company. Karp wrote: "We are grateful for her work as Touchstone's art director over the years, which have made a major contribution to Touchstone's success, and given the imprint's books distinctive and selling covers in all formats."

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

McNally Jackson Close to Announcing New Location

In a New York Magazine Intelligencer column that should be read in its entirety, Sarah McNally, owner of McNally Jackson, the New York City store that is moving because of a huge rent hike, said that her rent for the 5,700-square-foot space has been "below market" at $360,000 and the landlord wanted to raise it to $850,000 when the lease ends next year. She is finalizing a lease on a new space nearby and hopes to make an announcement about it in the next week or two. She added that the new location is large enough that she plans to fold one of her stationery stores called Goods for the Study into it.

McNally is working on plans for the new store, she said. New York Magazine wrote: "She pictures a rare-books room with a fireplace, and she's already working with an architect on plans for balconies and skylights."

While discussing retail design and deep book selection, McNally gave a shoutout to Paul Yamazaki of City Lights Books in San Francisco, saying, "Paul wants every inch of his shelves to be devoted to books people would probably not otherwise find. I'm not a purist like that at all, but his courage is in my mind, always."

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

Putnam Six Bookstore Opens in Enid, Okla.

Putnam Six, a new bookstore in Enid, Okla., founded by Chloe Fuksa, held its grand opening last night, the Enid News & Eagle reported.

Fuksa decided last December to open a bookstore, in part to make up for the closing of a Hastings. (The chain went out of business in 2016.) "There was just a big void in the community for a bookstore," she told the newspaper. "I think every community needs a bookstore, just as a gathering place and that's what I want this place to be."

The store carries adult and children's books. "I want strongly a very good kid's section," Fuksa explained. "I want families to come in here, I want kids to fall in love with reading, I want them to grow up with a book in front of their face and not a screen." The store will also have storytimes on Saturdays as well as other events.

Putnam Six is named after Robert D. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Touchstone), among other titles, a professor of public policy at Harvard and founder of the Saguaro Seminar, a program that fosters civic engagement.

The store is located at 610 S. Cleveland St., Suite 212, Enid, Okla. 73703; 580-297-5089.

Four Indie Booksellers Shortlisted for Britain's Best Small Shop

Four independent bookshops in the U.K. are among the businesses that have been named by the Independent Retailers Confederation to the shortlist for Britain's Best Small Shop of 2018, the Bookseller reported. The winner, selected from a shortlist of 25 retailers, will be announced November 13 at the Houses of Parliament.

Drake the Bookshop, Stockton-on-Tees; Forum Books, Corbridge; Kenilworth Books, Kenilworth; and the Mainstreet Trading Company Books, Café, Deli & Home, St. Boswells, are in the running for the honor, which celebrates "the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the U.K.'s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities." Applicants were asked to showcase their "innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and community ethos."

"The fact the book industry has such a healthy chance of being voted Best Small Shop this year is a huge testament to how well and positive independent bookselling is at the moment," said Drake the Bookshop owner Richard Drake. "For little old Stockton, and given that M&S has just shut here, it's a massive boon." His store was voted best independent bookshop in the north of England 2018 by the British Book Awards.

IRC chairman Mark Walmsley said: "Despite all of the bad headlines and the high-profile closures of larger stores, we firmly believe that specialist independent retailers can thrive in this climate by delivering a truly unique retail experience. The Best Small Shops competition enables us celebrate this unique industry, the passion, service, flexibility and knowledge of independent shop owners offer and show customers what makes independent retailers so special."

Obituary Note: Sue Hubbell

Sue Hubbell, "who wrote quietly penetrating books and essays about her life as a beekeeper, a curious wanderer and a divorced woman navigating middle age," died October 13, the New York Times reported. She was 83. Hubbell "examined the natural world and her own experiences for insights into relationships, self-reliance and, as she put it in A Country Year, 'where we older women fit into the social scheme of things once nest building has lost its charm.' "

Her books include A Country Year: Living the Questions (1986); A Book of Bees... and How to Keep Them (1988); Far-Flung Hubbell: Essays From the American Road (1995); and Waiting for Aphrodite: Journeys Into the Time Before Bones (1999).

In August, Hubbell, who had been dealing with dementia, was found by searchers 14 hours after she had wandered away from her home in Milbridge, Maine. She subsequently moved in with her son, Brian, who told the Times: "Sue decided that she strongly wished not to descend into dementia under indefinite institutional care. So, on the morning of Sunday, September 9, she ate her last grapefruit and informed her friends and doctor that she intended to stop eating and drinking. She stuck to her plan and died 34 days later, increasingly lucid through the last few days."

"In the end, Sue Hubbell died as she had lived--her way," the Bangor Daily News wrote, adding that a 1998 edition of the newspaper had a feature about Hubbell in which "she was described as not only a hardcore writer, but also a chainsaw kind of woman who liked, bugs, earthworms, katydids and sea sponges and referred to her writing style as biology for English majors. She also wrote about pies, toothpick factories, magicians, truck stops and the National Bowling Hall of Fame."


Image of the Day: Mr. G.'s The Reckoning

John Grisham stopped by New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, Va., to sign a few copies of his new novel The Reckoning (Doubleday) ahead of today's release. Mr. G (as they call him around the shop) has been a longtime supporter of New Dominion.

Happy 35th Birthday, 57th Street Books!

Congratulations to 57th Street Books, Chicago, Ill., which celebrated its 35th anniversary and grand re-opening last Saturday with a story time featuring Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle "followed by reflections on 57th Street Books' storied history and integral relationship with readers, old and young, throughout Chicago, birthday cake, and a ribbon cutting in honor of our grand re-opening. With a vastly expanded children's department, a clearer focus on new releases across genres in Room One, and a renewed commitment to maintaining a top-shelf collection of diverse and delightful general interest books, we are excited to welcome the next generation of enthusiasts to one of the most charming and beloved neighborhood bookstores in the world."

On its Facebook page, 57th Street Books featured a video from the celebration, along with recollections by Seminary Co-op manager Adam Sonderberg, who wrote: "When I started at the Co-op in October 2014, one of the first things I was itching to do was walk over to 57th St. Books and open the door to the back room. I grew up on the Northside, in West Rogers Park, so trips to Hyde Park weren't plentiful, but my dad never failed to take me to 57th before or after a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. The walls of bookcases looked and felt very much like home--except in a labyrinthine basement with exposed brick vs. the upstairs rooms of a Chicago bungalow--so I was seduced by the environment long before I could fully understand the content of most of the books on the shelves."

Personnel Changes at S&S Children's

Amy Beaudoin has been promoted to associate marketing manager, education & library, at Simon & Schuster Children's Books. She was formerly marketing associate, education & library.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ari Berman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (Picador, $18, 9781250094728).

Megyn Kelly: Kristina McMorris, author of Sold on a Monday: A Novel (Sourcebooks Landmark, $15.99, 9781492663997).

Dr. Oz: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me (Touchstone, $26, 9781501193255).

Watch What Happens Live: Ellie Kemper, author of My Squirrel Days (Scribner, $26, 9781501163340).

Tonight Show: Steve Kornacki, author of The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism (Ecco, $29.99, 9780062438980).

CNN's Tonight with Don Lemon: Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501181795).

TV: Jake the Fake Keeps It Real

Jake the Fake Keeps It Real, the first title in a series written by author Adam Mansbach (Go the F**k to Sleep) and comic actor Craig Robinson (The Office), and illustrated by Keith Knight, is being adapted for a potential TV series at Disney Channel by Mansbach and Robinson, Deadline reported. Mansbach will write the pilot and serve as executive producer alongside Robinson for the project, which is in very early development.

Books & Authors

Awards: Brooklyn Public Library; Polari First Book Winners

The winners of the fourth annual $5,000 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prizes are:

Nonfiction: A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History by Jeanne Theoharis (Beacon Press)

Fiction & Poetry: Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)

Charles Duhigg, nonfiction prize committee co-chair, said that A More Beautiful and Terrible History challenges "us to reconsider all we know about the civil rights movement and the work that remains to be done in this profound study of our nation's history."

Ashley Mihlebach, fiction prize committee co-chair, said that Machado's short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, "tackles difficult subjects head on including sexual desire, female subjugation and violence."


Fiona Mozley won the Polari First Book Prize for her Man Booker-shortlisted debut novel, Elmet, the Bookseller reported. The prize is awarded to "a writer whose first book explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction or nonfiction."

Prize founder and chair of judges Paul Burston said: "Strange, extraordinary and unique, Fiona Mozley's story has a lyrical, ethereal quality and the feel of an old folk tale. Sometimes brutal but often beautiful, the novel expertly weaves together themes of ownership, greed and masculinity, pitching the gentle narrator Daniel against the brutality of his father. It's a remarkable achievement and the judges were united in their admiration for it."

Book Review

Review: Muck

Muck by Dror Burstein, trans. by Gabriel Levin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 hardcover, 416p., 9780374215835, November 13, 2018)

In modern-day Jerusalem, an aspiring poet named Jeremiah receives the rudest review any writer can get: a prominent critic smashes a computer keyboard over his head. That violent opening is but a hint of the fireworks to come in Israeli novelist Dror Burstein's Muck, a wildly imaginative retelling of the biblical book of Jeremiah.
In the sixth century BCE, the prophet foretold the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and the exile of the Jewish people to Babylon, one that lasted nearly 70 years. Instead of simply updating this well-known tale to the present, Burstein's conceit is to create a clever mashup of events in the ancient kingdom of Judah and contemporary Israel.
The realization of what Burstein (Netanya) is up to doesn't dawn all at once. But then references to a reigning monarch named Jehoiakim and long-dead kingdoms like Moab and Phoenicia insinuate their way into the narrative. Jeremiah's father works as a hematologist at Hadassah Hospital, and there is a television station called the Idol Worship Channel. As these details emerge, Burstein's ingenuity becomes ever more entertaining. The novel's depiction of the siege of Jerusalem, directed by a Babylonian general in a black Mercedes and featuring battering rams and helicopters, iron chariots and tanks, is yet another example of Burstein's deft technique.
Muck is also a cautionary tale about the perpetual quality of Middle East conflict, reflected in a conference in which Babylon's vassal states struggle to carve up the map as they contemplate what will happen when their dream of overthrowing their oppressor with Egypt's aid comes true. "Let's spread the map open, let's all get out our rulers and pencils," the Judean king muses. "All things considered, it's a big region, and there's room for everyone." The results are sadly predictable.
And for anyone who wonders what it would be like to be granted the gift of prophecy, Burstein's Jeremiah hardly offers an encouraging role model. His apocalyptic message, delivered in a cafe among his fellow poets, depicting Jerusalem as a "heap of ruins, a lair of jackals," and "the towns of Judah a desolation without inhabitant," garners him nothing but ridicule. He's hounded from one temporary dwelling to another, tried for sedition, tortured and, worst of all, suffers the fate of having his prophecies ignored until it's too late. Though we might wish for a more generous treatment, Burstein's energetic novel, to its credit, remains true to the spirit of its source material until the bitter end. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer
Shelf Talker: Dror Burstein blends the stories of ancient and modern Israel in a vibrant retelling of the book of Jeremiah.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. Swamp Spook (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book 13) by Jana DeLeon
2. Five Years Gone by Marie Force
3. Love Sincerely Yours by Meghan Quinn and Sara Ney
4. A SEAL's Resolve (SEALs of Chance Creek Book 6) by Cora Seton
5. Once Upon a Wild Fling by Lauren Blakely
6. Fighter in Lingerie by Penelope Sky
7. Embrace the Passion by Various
8. Rescuing Harley by Susan Stoker
9. And Then You Loved Me by Inglath Cooper
10. Beck Bear (Daughters of Beasts Book 2) by T.S. Joyce

[Many thanks to!]

Powered by: Xtenit