Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber


Nobel Literature Prize Returning--With Changes

After a postponement last year because of scandal, the Nobel Prize in Literature will be awarded again this autumn--with awards for both 2018 and 2019--and changes have been made that the Nobel Foundation said today aim to "restore confidence" in the Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize.

The 2018 award was postponed until this year because of a crisis at the Swedish Academy that started with accusations of assault by 18 women against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who was married to Academy member Katarina Frostenson. After a series of protests and resignations, the Academy didn't have enough members to elect new members.

The Academy "no longer includes any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations," the Foundation stated, and the Academy's Nobel committee "no longer includes members who have been associated with the past year's events."

The Foundation said that the Academy has modified its governing statutes, organizational structure and working procedures. Now "for five years, five independent external members, who will add valuable new perspectives, will participate in the task of selecting Nobel Laureates. The new committee will submit its own joint proposal for a Nobel Laureate."

In addition, the Academy "intends to practice greater openness, for example concerning its finances," the Foundation said. "The Academy has now also undertaken to investigate the issue of how expulsion cases should be handled in the future. Furthermore, the Academy is studying the potential for introducing some form of time limitation on membership, in order to simplify ongoing future reforms in its activities while ensuring continued suitable competency and work capacity."

The Nobel literature prize is usually awarded in October.

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

N.C.'s Sassafras on Sutton Has 'Gentle' Reopening

Sassafras on Sutton bookstore in Black Mountain, N.C., which had been forced to close in early December after suffering substantial damage to its historic building from a major snowstorm, was back in operation last weekend for what the owners called a "gentle" opening, WLOS reported.

"It's devastating," said co-owner Cole Brumer. "Certainly (December) is a very, very busy time. A lot of small businesses count on that for income, and we are no exception to that. And it's something you can't anticipate."

But the store community's support has helped tremendously, he said. "It reaffirms the fact that that it's a great town. Reaffirms the fact that the town likes us being here, likes what we offer. And we like being a part of it. Really, Black Mountain has a great vibe, and Sassafras on Sutton, we believe, kind of fits right into that."

The bookshop will officially celebrate its rebirth later this month with a grand opening event. "We're excited about March 15," Blumer said. "We're kind of calling it 'Blow the Roof Off' to reopen, kind of make a play off of words of what happened upstairs."

B&N's Maui Store Gets New Lease on Life

Barnes & Noble's store on Maui, which seemed in jeopardy two years ago when its closure was announced, responded to the community's online petition by relocating last spring to what was then called a "temporary Kahului location" in the Maui Marketplace. The Maui News reported that B&N recently made its commitment more permanent with a five-year lease and plans to install a café later this spring.

"I call the store the field of dreams," said Cindy Mauricio of Kihei, longtime store manager. "Build it and they will come.... They're looking at something different for our store. We are trying to outsource a local bakery.... We will brew Starbucks and that's what a lot of people said they have been missing. I am going to do the best I can to have an environment where people can have that comfortability."

She added that the "community has been been a big part of this. They reached out to the corporate office, saying, 'Keep the bookstore alive.' "

On March 12, the store will celebrate its first anniversary at Maui Marketplace with a public event. Mauricio, who's been with the company since day one in Lahaina, said she has a sense of appreciation about making it to the one-year mark in Kahului: "We are still here and we are making the best of it. When I see a customer's face, one who loves the smell of new books, it's a real kind of gratitude feeling."

Obituary Note: Charles McCarry

Charles McCarry, a "former C.I.A. officer who used his Cold War experiences to animate his widely admired espionage novels, notably The Tears of Autumn, a bestseller about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy," died February 26, the New York Times reported. He was 88. For nearly 40 years, McCarry's "dense plotting, realistic detail and brisk writing style brought him a reputation as one of espionage fiction's leading practitioners."

Many of his novels featured Paul Christopher, "an urbane agent for the Outfit (read: the C.I.A.)," who first appeared in The Miernik Dossier and lastly in Christopher's Ghosts, the Times noted. When The Tears of Autumn, the second Christopher series book, was reissued in 2005, critic Patrick Anderson wrote in the Washington Post that "McCarry's years as an undercover operative served him well."

His other novels include The Shanghai Factor; The Mulberry Bush; and Ark. He also wrote the nonfiction book Citizen Nader and collaborated on three memoirs--two with General Alexander Haig Jr. and one with Donald T. Regan, the Reagan era Treasury Secretary and White House chief of staff.

Otto Penzler, publisher of Mysterious Press, "who tried for decades to publish Mr. McCarry before acquiring his last few books," recalled that McCarry "had been prescient about the rise of suicide bombers (in The Better Angels, a 1979 novel), torture (which he called 'enhanced debriefing' in Second Sight in 1991) and industrial espionage by the Chinese (The Shanghai Factor, published in 2013)," the Times wrote.

"He's been called the American le Carré," Penzler said, "but some believe le Carré should be called the British McCarry."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Bookstore Boot Camp

Bookstore Boot Camp, facilitated by the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates and sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, was held February 24-27 at Story & Song Bookstore Bistro on Amelia Island, Fla. A full class of 23 students represented 18 independent bookstore start-ups, one bookstore acquisition and one family succession plan in major markets, small towns and emerging communities across the country, with openings scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Also last week, Story & Song and its owners--Paz & Associates' Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman--won the Amelia Island/Nassau County Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Small Business of the Year Award. The citation read: "In less than a year, Story & Song Bookstore Bistro has become an integral part of the Amelia Island/Nassau County community, not only by championing locally-owned independent businesses, but also by bringing people together for conversation, culture, and the arts." Congratulations, Donna and Mark!

Big Bang Theory to Feature Experimenting with Babies

Shaun Gallagher's 2013 science book Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid (TarcherPerigee) will be featured on the next episode of The Big Bang Theory, airing this Thursday on CBS at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. The episode, entitled "The Conference Valuation," is the 17th episode of the show's 12th season, and Experimenting with Babies will be a part of the episode's main story line. The show is in its final season; during its 11th season it averaged more than 18 million viewers per episode.

A promo trailer for the episode can be viewed here.

Hachette to Distribute Sheldon Press

Effective September 2, Hachette Book Group will handle North American sales and distribution of all printed and digital Sheldon Press products. This move comes because of John Murray Press/Hachette UK's acquisition of Sheldon Press in January. Sales and distribution of Sheldon Press is currently handled by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, which had been its owner for more than 25 years.

Sheldon Press, with headquarters in London, publishes self-help books designed "to inform and empower readers to take control of their physical, mental, and emotional health." Sheldon Press has nearly 200 titles on its backlist.

Personnel Changes at Little, Brown

At Little, Brown:

Katharine Myers is promoted to director of publicity.
Lena Khidritskaya Little is promoted to associate director of publicity.
Alyssa Persons is promoted to publicist.
Ashley Marudas is promoted to senior marketing manager.

Diana McElfresh is promoted to publishing assistant, James Patterson.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Gretchen Rubin on CBS This Morning

CBS This Morning: Gretchen Rubin, author of Outer Order, Inner Calm (Harmony Books, $16.99, 9781984822802).

Watch What Happens Live: Amber Tamblyn, author of Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution (Crown Archetype, $25, 9781984822987).

Wendy Williams: Lisa Lillien, author of Hungry Girl Simply 6: All-Natural Recipes with 6 Ingredients or Less (St. Martin's Griffin, $21.99, 9781250154521).

TV: Lion of Ireland

Michael Scott, DillonScott Media and BCDF Pictures will adapt and produce Morgan Llywelyn's historical novel Lion of Ireland as a TV series, Deadline reported. Scott is writing the pilot and will serve as executive producer with Barry Krost as well as Claude Dal Farra and Brian Keady of BCDF Pictures. Scott is best known for his fantasy fiction series the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Lion of Ireland has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and won numerous awards.

"Lion is an extraordinary story of a truly outstanding man. It is time to give him the place he deserves on the world stage," said Scott.

Llywelyn added: "I am thrilled that the story of Brian Boru, the first High King of Ireland, who drove the Vikings out of his country, is coming to life and will be seen throughout the world."

Books & Authors

Awards: Audies, RNA Winners

The winners of the Audie Awards, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, were announced last night at the APA's 24th annual Audies Gala. The Audiobook of the Year was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, narrated by Bahni Turpin (Macmillan Audio). See winners in all 24 categories hereShelf Awareness will have more on the Audie winners later this week.


Isabelle Broom won the Romantic Novelists' Association's Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year award for One Thousand Stars and You. This year's other RNA category winners are:

Sapere Books Popular Romantic Fiction Award: You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac
Books and the City Romantic Comedy Novel Award: Not Just for Christmas by Natalie Cox
Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award: The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap
Nicola Cornick Fantasy Romantic Novel Award: Living in the Past by Jane Lovering
Goldsboro Books Historical Romantic Novel Award: The Temptation of Gracie by Santa Montefiore
Libertà Shorter Romantic Novel Award: Secret Baby, Second Chance by Jane Godman

David Headley, managing director of Goldsboro Books and founder of DHH Literary Agency, said, "I am really pleased that One Thousand Stars and You by Isabelle Broom and The Temptation of Gracie by Santa Montefiore have won their respective awards. Both of them prove that sublime storytelling is everything we look for in a great novelist and Isabelle and Santa are proving to be at the top of their game in this regard."

In addition to the category awards for 2019, the Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Liz Fielding, and a new award was announced for 2020: the RNA will partner with Simon & Schuster UK to launch the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thriller of the Year.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular February Books

The two most popular books in February at Reading Group Choices were At the Wolf's Table by Rosella Postorino, translated by Leah Janeczko (Flatiron Books) and The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg, translated by Alice Menzies (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Midwest Connections March Picks

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

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (Orbit, $26, 9780316388696). "For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has flourished, protected under the watchful eye of the god known as the Raven. But now, the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom's borders are tested by invaders, god and human alike. And as the unrest deepens, the darkest secret of the Raven's tower slowly comes to light, threatening to destroy Iraden forever."

Northern Lights by Raymond Strom (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501190292 ). "Shane Stephenson has come to the remote town of Holm, Minnesota, looking for his mother. Holm is divided between a group holding white pride rallies just outside town and young misfits and drug users who adopt Shane as their own."

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine, $28, 9780525622109). "This richly imagined novel tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud."

Nothing Is Scary with Harry by Katie McElligott (Cottage Door Press, $14.99, 9781680523867). "Nothing Is Scary With Harry is a story about a girl, her blankie, and the value of comfort. The story follows Katie throughout her childhood as she overcomes various 'scary scenarios' with the help of her friend Harry the blanket."

Book Review

Review: The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology

The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology by Mark Boyle (Oneworld Publications, $24.95 hardcover, 304p., 9781786076007, June 11, 2019)

Mark Boyle was The Moneyless Man in his memoir of that title, about the first of three years he spent living without money. The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology covers another first year: Boyle has now made the shift to a life without modern technology in County Galway, Ireland. What is modern technology? Obviously, definitions are complicated, but for Boyle his new way of living means hauling his own water; fishing, foraging and gardening for his food; making his own beer and wine; and traveling by bicycle, by hitchhiking and on foot. (He beats himself up about monofilament fishing line but, within the book's timeline, has not yet found an alternative.)

Organized as the diary of a year in its four seasons, The Way Home is a thoughtful study, often wise but always questioning and seeking. With frequent references to Edward Abbey, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Robert Macfarlane, Wendell Berry, Henry David Thoreau and others, Boyle places himself in a grand tradition of intellectual naturalists and thinkers. He also makes repeated forays (both literally and in imagination and research) to Great Blasket Island, an unusually literary place where a technology-free lifestyle only recently ended. He aims to query every decision, investigate its outcomes: while writing this book using a pencil, he stops to consider the making of that tool--its wood and graphite and paint, the extraction of these materials and the transportation of the workers who made it. Boyle, stymied by the ecological impact of such a simple technology as a pencil, is a former vegan who now eats fish and venison. He is a man willing to rethink his outlook.

Boyle has a sense of humor as well as a deep sensitivity to the needs of people as well as the planet and its ecosystems. "Rome," he reflects, "wasn't demolished in a day," as he gardens with the (plastic) tools available and plans for the future. His writing style is pensive and unhurried. His lifestyle is in many ways "slow," as in slow food and slow transportation, and he observes that writing by hand after a longtime addiction to computers has slowed his thought processes, for the better. "Just as carpenters always recommend measuring twice and cutting once, I've begun thinking twice and writing once."

The result is a deeply appealing examination of nearly all aspects of modern human life, by a thorough, careful, concerned narrator. Readers already considering various forms of disconnection from modern technologies--in favor of a reconnection with local plants, animals, soil and people--will be goaded and inspired. Those less attracted to composting their own feces will nonetheless be entranced by Boyle's unusual lifestyle, and perhaps moved a little closer to the earth. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This memoir about living off the grid and tech-free in County Galway will inspire, connect and slow down the most impatient of readers, and that is a very good thing.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Risk by Elle Kennedy
2. Boyfriend for Hire by Kendall Ryan
3. Forever Notorious (Forever Bluegrass 11) by Kathleen Brooks
4. The Dictator (Banker Book 2) by Penelope Sky
5. Tinsel (Lark Cove Book 4) by Devney Perry
6. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
7. Overture by Skye Warren
8. A Family to Keep by Susan Gable
9. When August Ends by Penelope Ward
10. Best Laid Plans by Lauren Blakely

[Many thanks to!]

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