Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Avery Publishing Group: Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic by Matt McCarthy

Grove Press: Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom

Spiegel & Grau: Last Day by Domenica Ruta

Other Press: Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Andrews McMeel Publishing: The Blue Day Book Illustrated Edition: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself Up by Bradley Trevor Greive, illustrated by Claire Keane

Shadow Mountain: A Song for the Stars (Proper Romance) by Ilima Todd

HMH Books for Young Readers: Camp by Kayla Miller

News

B&N Second Quarter: Comp-Store Sales Improve

Total sales at Barnes & Noble in the second quarter ended October 27 fell 2.5%, to $771 million, and the net loss was $27.4 million, less than the net loss of $30.1 million in the same period a year earlier.

Sales at B&N stores open at least a year were down 1.4%, a major improvement for the company and its best quarterly performance in by that measure since the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. In the first quarter, by comparison, comparable-store sales fell 6.1%.

Revenue was slightly below analysts' expectations, but the net loss per share of 38 cents was 2 cents a share better than analysts' consensus.

B&N chairman Le Riggio commented: "We saw significant improvement in our second quarter performance, especially notable in our comparable store sales. While we cannot predict the outcome of the holiday, we are putting our full effort behind our holiday plans, including launching a new ad campaign. We expect this to lead to continued sales improvement during the holiday period."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson


Shakespeare & Co. Makes a Comeback on NYC's Upper West Side

On Saturday, Shakespeare & Co. opened a third store, on Broadway between 69th and 70th streets on the Upper West Side in New York City. The store is a homecoming of sorts, since the original flagship Shakespeare & Co. store opened in 1982 at 81st and Broadway. That store closed in 1996, several years after a Barnes & Noble superstore opened at 82nd and Broadway.

"We see this as sort of a happier ending to You've Got Mail, where Shakespeare finds a new location a few blocks south," said Shakespeare & Co. CEO Dane Neller. "The welcoming and good will wishes from the local residents have been overwhelming. The sales at the Upper West Side store were record-breaking over the weekend."

Shakespeare opened a store in Philadelphia, Pa., last month, joining its store on Lexington Ave. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Next spring, the company plans to open yet another store, in Greenwich Village (in the site of the old Jefferson Market at 450 Sixth Avenue near 11th St.). And it says it plans to open additional stores in other markets "in 2019 and beyond."

The new Upper West Side store follows the Shakespeare & Co. model of being about 3,000 square feet, "featuring well-stocked and exquisitely curated fiction, nonfiction and children's book departments, an intimate literary café with seating and wi-fi, and the Espresso Book Machine technology, which has a catalog of approximately seven million published and mainly public domain titles." (Dane Neller is a founder of On Demand Books, which makes Espresso Book Machines. Neller bought Shakespeare & Co. in 2015.)


Soho Crime: Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti, translated by Ekin Oklap


Book & Puppet Company Opens Holiday Pop-Up Store

Book & Puppet Company, the children's book and toy store founded in 2017 in Easton, Pa., by longtime bookseller Andy Laties and his wife, Rebecca Migdal, a puppeteer, author and illustrator, has opened a pop-up this month and December at the Easton Public Market.

The pop-up includes a range of holiday gift books and will feature weekly events for children's book authors and cookbook authors and characters.

Laties was owner of the Children's Bookstore in Chicago from 1985-1996; founding manager of the Eric Carle Museum Bookshop in Amherst, Mass.; manager of the Bank Street Book Store, New York City; and author of Rebel Bookseller: Why Indie Bookstores Represent Everything You Want to Fight for from Free Speech to Buying Local to Building Communities, whose second edition was published in 2011 by Second Story Press.


AuthorBuzz for the Week of 03.18.19


Vt.'s Phoenix Books Misty Valley Seeks New Owner

Phoenix Books Misty Valley in Chester, Vt., is seeking a new owner after a controversial series of events prompted the bookshop's temporary closure November 7. The Chester Telegraph reported that Phoenix Books, which operates bookstores in Essex, Burlington and Rutland, as well as a partnership with the Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, had been in negotiations with Andover resident Amanda Bourque "to purchase the bookstore while leasing the building from Phoenix Books, which itself purchased the store and buildings 2 1/2 years ago."

When those negotiations came to a halt earlier this month, Bourque, who had worked at Misty Valley for 15 years, left her position, as did the three other Misty Valley employees, a situation that Phoenix co-owner Michael DeSanto described to the Telegraph as a "surprise."

In a press release, he then announced that "it is with a heavy heart we have no other choice than to close our Chester location.... We appreciate the many friends and loyal customers we have made during our time in Chester. We are hopeful that a new party will come forward to take the reins and continue to serve the community with a bookstore. Please direct any questions and inquiries to Mike DeSanto at michael@phoenixbooks.biz."

Earlier this week, DeSanto published an open letter to the community offering further clarification: "We have enjoyed being part of the Chester community and have strived during this period to create and maintain a welcoming and viable store. It is with sadness that we have come to realize that without a local management presence in the community, Misty Valley is not financially sustainable for Phoenix Books.... We are now actively seeking another buyer, and during the process will transfer staff from another location to keep Misty Valley open, with limited hours, through the end of the year.

"Although we can envision several workable options for a successful store, we suspect that the best fit would be an on-site owner who lives in the building and operates the store. It is our belief that a bookstore can be successful in Chester, especially with the care and commitment of a resident owner and manager.

"To our customers and friends in the Chester community, we sincerely apologize that we are not able to continue to support the store. Selling the store is wrenching, and certainly not anything we had envisioned two years ago. We remain staunch supporters of independent bookstores and would like nothing better than to see a suitable party step forward to take the reins of a front-list bookstore in Chester. As of this writing, I have received inquiries from several interested parties.

"As the owner of Phoenix Books, I want to add that I am sorry over the way I handled the closure last week. It was truly a shock to me when the existing staff left and we could not immediately provide staff from other stores. As a result of this, I closed the store and did not consider the effects on the town of Chester."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais


Kids' Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

On Thursday, the first part of the American Booksellers Association's Winter 2018 Kids' Next List was delivered to nearly half a million of the country's best book readers, going to 419,597 customers of 128 participating bookstores. The second part of the winter catalogue will be sent on Thursday, December 27.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features winter Kids' Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Kids' Next List pick, in this case Natasha Ngan, author of Girls of Paper and Fire (Jimmy Patterson).

For a sample of the newsletter, see this one from River Dog Book Co., Beaver Dam, Wis.


Chronicle Books: The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North American by Matt Kracht


More Plans for Indies First/Small Business Saturday

With Thanksgiving just two days away, Shelf Awareness is taking another look at plans for Indies First/Small Business Saturday.

"A good bookstore is your friend. And I hope you're a good friend to your favorite independent bookstore by supporting them on Small Business Saturday, November 24, 2018," wrote poet and professor Ross Gay in an essay published last week entitled The Laboratory: Delighting in Independent Bookstores.

Available as a PDF and recorded on YouTube, the essay celebrates independent bookstores, including New York's Three Lives & Co. and The Book Corner in Bloomington, Ind., while also spreading the word about Indies First/SBS. Published last week, Gay's essay has been widely shared among indie booksellers.

Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va., wrote on Facebook that she watched the video after a morning of "gut-wrenching work stress," and "...burst into tears. And I [remembered] why it's all worth it."

Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., will be welcoming a slew of authors on Indies/SBS to serve as guest booksellers, including Doug & Susan Segal (Struck), Phoef Sutton (From Away), Lynell George (After/Image), Kwei Quartey (Death by His Grace), Lilliam Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) and Jervey Tervalon (Monster's Chef). Jenifer Lewis will also make an appearance at the store to discuss her memoir, The Mother of Black Hollywood.

In South Hadley, Mass., Odyssey Bookshop is celebrating Indies First/SBS with a day of refreshments and free gifts with every purchase of $50 or more. Customers will also be able to choose between receiving 20% off their purchase or having the bookstore donate that amount to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The day's guest booksellers will include librarian Jordan Funke and Jamie L.B. Deenihan, author of the picture book When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree.

At Bards Alley Bookstore in Vienna, Va., there will be raffle drawings and visits from local authors throughout the day, among them Katy Upperman, author of The Impossibility of Us, Eugenia Kim, author of the Kinship series, and Anna Whiston-Donaldson, author of the memoir Rare Bird. Bards Alley will also donate a box of special-edition copies of Ghost by Indies First spokesperson Jason Reynolds to the literacy nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental of Northern Virginia, as part of the #IndiesGiveBack campaign.

In Washington State, Village Books and Paper Dreams will be hosting guest authors at both its stores. In Bellingham, children's book author Barbara Davis-Pyles will be on hand from 11 a.m. until noon to sign copies of her book Grizzly Boy, while John Hoyte will stop by from noon until 1 p.m. to discuss his book Persistence of Light. And in Lynden, local author Susan Colleen Browne will discuss her memoirs Little Farm Homegrown and Little Farm in the Foothills from 1 to 3 p.m.

In Wichita, Kan., Watermark Books & Cafe will host a special storytime session and make-your-own gingerbread ornament activity. Customers wearing Watermark T-shirts will receive 10% off their cafe lunch orders, and there will be a variety of other special promotions throughout the day. Purchases of $50 or more will come with a free SBS tote, while purchases of $100 or more will come with a tote and a quarter-pound of Watermark's house coffee. And purchases of $150 or more will come with all of the above, plus entry into a contest to win a tote full of free books, along with Watermark gear.

At Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., some SBS highlights will include visits and tastings with Ellen King, author of Heritage Baking: Recipes for Rustic Breads and Pastries Baked with Artisanal Flour from Hewn Bakery, and Carrie Schloss, author of The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by 28 Honey Varietals and Blends. And later that evening, Steve Dolinsky will discuss his book Pizza City, USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago Is America's Greatest Pizza Town, complete with some pizza samplings.

Malaprop's Bookstore Cafe in Asheville, N.C., will host a long list of guest booksellers, including Wayne Caldwell (Requiem by Fire), Jennifer McGaha (Flat Broke with Two Goats), Constance Lombardo (the Mr. Puffball series), Adair Sanders (the Allison Parker mystery series) and Allan Wolf (Who Killed Christopher Goodman?). Malaprop's will also be taking part in the #IndiesGiveBack campaign to distribute copies of Jason Reynolds's novel Ghost to children in underserved communities.

At Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Tex., there will be a coffee pop-up in partnership with Southside Espresso and the store will be offering 15% off a selection of the its "Brazos Best" titles published this year. Customers who spend more than $150 will receive a newly designed Brazos tote bag, and Lilah Sturges, author of Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass, will serve as a guest bookseller.

On Friday, just in time for Indies First/Small Business Saturday, the Snail on the Wall, which describes itself as "a full-service indie bookstore without a storefront," is opening a permanent location for the holiday season inside a local boutique, Roosevelt & Company, on Clinton Row in downtown Huntsville, Ala. The store has special events planned, including Saturday book signings with local authors each week. YA author Heather Kaczynski (One Giant Leap) will appear for Small Business Saturday.

Owner Lady Smith said, "I handpick every book I sell, and I make it my mission is to find hidden gems readers are sure to love. Since we opened last year, we've sold 5,000 books, delivering them to doorsteps in Huntsville and shipping them all over the country. I've heard that my young customers get excited when they see a Snail package at their door, but I think my grownup customers have the same reaction about getting a great new read."

River Dog's Ghost gift package.

And finally, BrocheAroe Fabian, owner of River Dog Book Co., a bookmobile slated to open in Beaver Dam, Wis., in spring 2019, will be participating in the #IndiesGiveBack promotion by partnering with a local youth services librarian and middle school. Beginning on November 24, children and their families will be able to pick up copies of Ghost at the library, complete with a copy of the Kids' Indie Next List, a bookmark, a sticker, a River Dog Book Co. postcard and a book discussion guide provided by the library. On January 19, Fabian will lead a bookclub discussion on Ghost at the library.


HMH Books for Young Readers: Click by Kayla Miller

Notes

Image of the Day: Liane Moriarty and 10 Non-Strangers

Several hundred people showed up for an event hosted by Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., and the University of San Diego's College of Arts and Sciences that featured Liane Moriarty, author of the new thriller Nine Perfect Strangers (Flatiron), in conversation with Professor Orly Lobel. Pictured: Moriarty (in the red dress) and Warwick's booksellers.


Disney Lucasfilm Press: Queen's Shadow (Star Wars) by E.K. Johnston


Northshire Bookstore Honored at NEPCo Awards

Recipients of the 2018 NEPCo Award: Southern Vermont College associate professor Daisy Levy and Northshire Bookstore publishing manager Debbi Wraga (center) flanked by Bookbuilders v-ps Josh Garstka and Margaret Rosewitz

Debbi Wraga, publishing manager at Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, Vt., and Daisy Levy, chair and associate professor of the Hunter Division of Humanities at Southern Vermont College, received the New England Publishing Collaboration Award for second place, as well as the audience choice award, for their collaboration project, the Shires Press Series.

In 2014, Northshire Bookstores/Shires Press partnered with SVC to create publishing opportunities for undergraduate students. Faculty from the college work alongside Shires Press staff through a four-course program that gives students hands-on experience with book publishing. To date, nine books have been published, and three authors are slated to publish in May 2019.

The awards were presented earlier this month at the NEPCo Award ceremony in Somerville, Mass., an event hosted by Bookbuilders that "educates its members who are new to the industry and rewards those who have achieved meaningful relationships with partners."

"We are so proud of the program and this partnership, and being able to represent Southern Vermont College and Northshire Bookstore in such a positive way," Levy said. "The whole event was intensely validating, not just for me and Debbi, but we hope for both the bookstore/press and Southern Vermont College--not to mention all the individuals who are part of supporting and building this program from the ground up."


Là Bas: Ici Librairie Opens in Paris

Ici Librairie, the independent bookstore that opened last month in Paris, spans more than 53,000 square feet and includes a café, children's area, exhibition space and "an agora (originally the central public spaces in ancient Greek cities) for people to gather and exchange opinions," designboom reported. Studio Briand & Berthereau's design for the space "feels fluid and lightweight due to a layout of clear and pure shapes which are combined with simple and durable design elements."

" 'Less is more' is the philosophy we applied to our work during this whole adventure," said Studio Briand & Berthereau, which was responsible for the architecture, visual identity and signage of ICI.

"A natural palette composed of terracotta, rough concrete and wood binds the different spaces of the bookstore together, along with a chevron ceramic floor whose stoneware slates combine various colors and get more dense around the main parts of the shop," designboom wrote, adding that the designers "used natural beech wood for the book displays of the store, which include large shelves and modular tables fixed on wheels to move whenever a special event takes place. metal stands attached to the tables are used to highlight the latest book releases, while shelves underneath offer plenty of storage space."


IPG Adding Three Spanish-Language Publishers

Effective January 1, IPG is handling print distribution in the U.S. and Canada for three Spanish-language publishers:

Ediciones Larousse, Mexico City, Mexico, which was founded in 1965 and is the Spanish-language arm of the French publishing house Éditions Larousse. Ediciones Larousse is a leading publisher of Spanish-language dictionaries, reference guides, cookbooks, and children's books.

Cinco Tintas, Barcelona, Spain, a healthy lifestyle publisher specializing in popular nutrition trends such as detoxing, juicing, and superfoods as well as vegan and paleo diets.

Akiara Books, Barcelona, Spain, a children's picture book publisher.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: George R.R. Martin on Colbert's Late Show

Today:
Late Show with Stephen Colbert: José Andrés, author of We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time (Anthony Bourdain/Ecco, $27.99, 9780062864482).

Tomorrow:
Daily Show repeat: Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501181795).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: George R.R. Martin, author of Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (Bantam, $35, 9781524796280).


TV: The Innocent Man

Netflix has ordered The Innocent Man, a new docuseries based on John Grisham's nonfiction book The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, for a December 14 premiere, Deadline reported. The six-part series focuses on two murders that shook the small town of Ada, Okla., in the 1980s and the controversial chain of events that followed.

Directed by Clay Tweel (Finders Keepers, Gleason, Out of Omaha), The Innocent Man features interviews with victims' friends and families, Ada residents, attorneys, journalists and others involved in the cases. Grisham also appears, as does attorney Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project, Deadline wrote.

"As a filmmaker, I often find that the best stories are the ones we tell ourselves," Tweel said. "But what surprised me was the extent to which that idea also permeates the criminal justice system. By re-examining these old cases, I hope that viewers will identify the biases involved, even their own."

Grisham called the documentary "gripping, compelling, and ultimately just as heartbreaking as the book. Though I know the story well, I can't wait to watch it again."



Books & Authors

Awards: Scotiabank Giller; Aspen Words Literary; SCBWI Sue Alexander

The winner of the C$100,000 (about US$75,900) Scotiabank Giller Prize is Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Knopf).

The jury wrote: "How often history asks us to underestimate those trapped there. This remarkable novel imagines what happens when a black man escapes history's inevitable clasp--in his case, in a hot air balloon no less. Washington Black, the hero of Esi Edugyan's novel is born in the 1800s in Barbados with a quick mind, a curious eye, and a yearning for adventure. In conjuring Black's vivid and complex world--as cruel empires begin to crumble and the frontiers of science open like astounding vistas--Edugyan has written a supremely engrossing novel about friendship and love and the way identity is sometimes a far more vital act of imagination than the age in which one lives."

Edugyan also won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues.

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The longlist for the 2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize has been announced and can be seen here. The titles include 11 novels, five story collections and 13 debut authors. The $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize is given to "an influential work of fiction focused on vital contemporary issues."

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Patricia Flam's's Daniel and the Infinite Stuff (middle grade novel) won the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators' Sue Alexander Award, which was chosen from manuscripts submitted for individual critiques by editors and agents at the SCBWI Annual Conference in Los Angeles. The prize is given to "the manuscript deemed most promising for publication." She will have her synopsis presented to a group of editors and agents. Melanie Dearman's Atlanta/Pacifica was the runner-up.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Little: A Novel by Edward Carey (Riverhead, $27, 9780525534327). "I am astounded. I am charmed. I am awaiting the manifestation of pure joy this enchanting book will be for the ages. Anne Marie Grosholtz is as tall as the human heart but her outlook is to the moon. Orphaned at a young age, this child is apprenticed to a physician whose wax modeling lends a twist of the macabre and is a precursor to Marie's wondrous involvement with French royalty, a revolution, and museums. Complete with elucidating illustrations, Little is a bold imagining of Madame Tussaud. To be clear, I love it! I love it! I love it!" --Jeanette Creager, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, S.D.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner, $26, 9781501125652). "Telling the truth has always been a radical and political act, but Kiese Laymon writes in Heavy with a rare, vulnerable unity of personal urgency and political clarity. This is a story about how our country's lies and thefts weigh heavily on the hearts and souls of its black mothers and sons. About how dishonesty about white supremacy, money, sex, and violence threads through our most intimate relationships and causes us to become strangers to ourselves. If Heavy is about lies, it is also fundamentally about the redemptive power of truth, stories, language, and joy. If there's a way out of the loneliness of being human in a country that does not value or support humanity, Laymon suggests, it is in the connection we find in the words we toss to one another, like lifelines, like laughter." --E.R. Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, Ga.

Paperback
Scribe: A Novel by Alyson Hagy (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555978181). "Scribe is a novel about dystopian Appalachia following the Civil War, a place ravaged by sickness and divvied up by the brute strength of men and their ability to defeat any invaders. If that doesn't pique your interest, its main character is a complicated woman with a highly valued skill: the ability to write. In the wake of war and widespread fever, she sustains herself by creating paper and ink and writing the most heartbreakingly poetic letters to help others declare their triumphs and sins. After getting a special request from an unusual passerby, she finds herself in danger and must flee the once-beautiful but now brutal farmland she's always called home. Scribe is as deeply imaginative as it is viscerally emotional, and Alyson Hagy's ability to temper darkness with light makes it a spellbinding novel." --Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.

For Ages 4 to 8
Winter Is Here by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow, $17.99, 9780062747181). "Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek have done it again! Winter Is Here makes you want to snuggle up to its cozy pages with a cup of hot chocolate and savor all of your favorite aspects of the season. Dronzek's illustrations are beautiful and warm, despite the winter scenery, and Henkes' prose is playful and perfect. Simplistic and full of depth, Winter Is Here also comes with a bit of springtime at the end to keep you hopeful." --Juliette Munda, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.

For Ages 9 to 12
Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062686237). "In Knights vs. Dinosaurs, Matt Phelan has created a roaring romp of a good time, bringing together the knights of King Arthur's Round Table and DINOSAURS! Though it may at first glance seem a book for boys, a plot twist will have girls loving it, too! With knights, dinosaurs, a wizard, and some great battles wonderfully illustrated by Phelan, this exciting tale demonstrates the value of being true to yourself while being part of a team." --Jim Hess, Let's Play Books!, Emmaus, Pa.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062696878). "Laura Weymouth's debut novel, The Light Between Worlds, is a captivating tale of two sisters struggling to find home and to find themselves. The younger, Evelyn, longs for the days when she and her sister and brother lived in the Woodlands, a mystical Narnia-like land Weymouth paints with beautiful lyricism. Evelyn has carried the weight of her longing since she and her siblings returned to post-WWII England. When Evelyn goes missing, Phillipa carries the loss of her sister, as well as the pain of her own choices. They embark on their own journeys of healing and belonging, each searching for what they've lost and where they belong. Written with meaning, feeling, and depth, The Light Between Worlds is a stunning debut." --Hannah Wilson, Out West Books, Grand Junction, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History

Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History by Jeremy Brown (Touchstone, $26.99 hardcover, 272p., 9781501181245, December 18, 2018)

On the centennial of a global influenza pandemic that infected 500 million people and killed up to 100 million of them, Jeremy Brown, a former ER doctor who is now a director at the National Institutes of Health, has written Influenza: The Hundred Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History. It is an accessible, straightforward and often riveting history of this seasonal menace and the many thwarted attempts to defeat it.

Brown wrote this book because he believes that, despite this century's great advances in science and medicine, the world has not effectively learned from the so-called "Spanish flu." The 2017 flu season was the deadliest in decades. "Because of its mystery, and its ability to mutate and spread, the flu is one of mankind's most dangerous foes," Brown writes. "The lessons of 1918 may be our only inoculation against a deadly sequel."

But Influenza isn't all alarmist gloom. In fact, it's brisk, entertaining and written with an endearing zeal. Brown weaves the history and context of the 1918 pandemic into the more contemporary story of how teams of adventurous scientists "resurrected" that year's deadly strain and studied it. He then discusses the complicated development, politics and business of weapons against the flu: vaccines (only partially effective at best) and Tamiflu (as it turns out, not effective at all).

He also points out how recent attempts to combat the flu with data have proven only that this shapeshifting, elusive virus is always a few crucial steps ahead of us. (See: Google's discontinued "Flu Tracker" feature.) Brown compares it with a "criminal who makes convincing disguises, who can easily disappear into a crowd."

Notably, Influenza is layperson-friendly; Brown's explanations of virology and epidemiology are clearly meant to reach a wide audience of readers. That said, those who do have scientific backgrounds will still appreciate the book, if only for the fascinating historical insights. For example, the reason it was called the "Spanish flu" is not what you think, and it's not fair to Spain. And one reason the death toll in 1918 was so high was because the recommended treatments for the flu at the time--such as bloodletting, mercury-laced laxatives, staggeringly high doses of aspirin and exposure to toxic gas--were themselves fatal.

Brown concludes the book with an elegant memorial to the flu pandemic of 1918 in order to more clearly define it in our collective consciousness. He argues that this century has been one of catastrophe and strife, but also one of mass expansion, technological breakthroughs and medical victories--and "the flu pandemic," he writes, "tells both these stories." --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

Shelf Talker: Part history lesson, part investigative report and part public service announcement, Influenza shows us how far we've come since 1918--and how far we have to go.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Up Shute Creek by Denise Grover Swank
2. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda B. Bell  
3. Oracle's Haunt (Desert Cursed Series Book 4) by Shannon Mayer
4. Guinness World Records 2019 by Guinness World Records 2019
5. Wicked Whiskey Love by Melissa Foster
6. How About No (The Bear Bottom Guardians MC Book 3) by Lani Lynn Vale
7. A Rancher's Heart (The Stones of Heart Falls Book 3) by Vivian Arend
8. Good Time by Jana Aston
9. Christmas at the Cottage (Oyster Bay Book 6) by Olivia Miles
10. Dirty Sexy Games by Laurelin Paige

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


AuthorBuzz: Graydon House: The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman
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