Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 7, 2019


Aladdin Paperbacks: Legacy (Keeper of the Lost Cities #8) by Shannan Messenger

Flatiron Books: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Sleeping Bear Press: Back Roads, Country Toads by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Tim Bowers

St. Martin's Griffin: The Truth about Magic: Poems by Atticus

Tor Teen: This Light Between Us: A Novel of World War II by Andrew Fukuda

St. Martin's Press: Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie Grazer

News

B&N 3rd Quarter: Sales Flat; Comps Up 1.1%

In the third quarter ended January 26, total sales at Barnes & Noble were $1.2 billion, down $423,000 compared to the same period a year earlier, while net earnings were $66.9 million compared to a net loss of $63.5 million in the same period a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.1%, B&N's best quarterly performance in that category in several years.

Both net sales and net earnings were slightly below analysts' expectations although same-store sales and adjusted earnings were higher than expected. In pre-market trading, B&N shares were down about 10%.

B&N chairman Len Riggio commented: "In fiscal 2019, we have been focused on growing the top line, which contributed to our best holiday in years. Sales benefitted from our new ad campaign, increased marketing and promotions, and an improved omni-channel experience for our customers. We believe these efforts are laying the foundation for sustained growth."

The company predicted fiscal 2019 EBITDA to be between $140 million and $155 million, which "includes the impact of incremental investments the company is making in its business, as well as lower than expected post-holiday sales."

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In other B&N news, the company has appointed Sasha Quinton v-p and general merchandise manager, bookstore, effective March 25. Quinton has worked at Readerlink Distribution Services (and its predecessor, Levy Home Entertainment) since 2010, most recently as senior v-p, marketing and procurement.

At B&N, she will be what the company calls "the enterprise leader of publisher relations" and will head Barnes & Noble's "business partnership objectives and strategies. She will also lead business development, assortment development and product development in support of Barnes & Noble's Adult Trade, Bargain, and Newsstand divisions."

Tim Mantel, B&N's chief merchandising officer, to whom Quinton will report, said, "Sasha's stellar industry track record of merchandising, marketing and procurement makes her the perfect fit for our company."


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters


Amazon: Closing Pop-Ups, Adding Books/Electronics Locations

In a shift in its bricks-and-mortar store strategy reported yesterday by the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores in the U.S., some of which have been open for only a few months, and putting renewed emphasis on its "4-star" stores (featuring products rated four stars or higher by customers, including some books); Amazon Go cashierless stores; the new grocery store chain it announced recently--and its Amazon Books books and electronics stores. The company confirmed the Journal's report.

Although news about Amazon Books was sparse--a spokesperson said only that it will open "additional locations" of Amazon Books and 4-star stores "this year"--yesterday Barnes & Noble stock fell almost 9%, closing at $5.84, as Wall Street interpreted the Amazon move as a threat to B&N. (Bad news from B&N Education, a separate company, also hurt B&N's stock.)

The first of the Amazon's pop-up stores of a few hundred square feet opened five years ago. They feature electronics and are in malls, Kohl's stores and some Whole Foods stores. They will all close by April 29.

An Amazon spokesperson told the Journal that the company prefers to focus on stores "where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection." Amazon has 19 Amazon Books locations. Its newest, in Denver, Colo., opened yesterday.


Andrews McMeel Publishing: Zweihander Grim & Perilous Rpg: Player's Handbook by Daniel D Fox


BookExpo: An Evening with Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will headline a special Thursday evening event at this year's BookExpo in New York City. She will discuss her life and the experiences that led her to write her upcoming book for young readers, Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You, illustrated by Rafael López, which will be released September 3 in English and Spanish editions by Penguin Young Readers.

Sotomayor returns to her home city to discuss the lessons she learned growing up in the Bronx; how living with Type 1 diabetes gave her the fortitude and perseverance it took to thrive as a lawyer and judge; and why it is important we acknowledge and celebrate different abilities in kids, and people of all ages. Sotomayor is also the author of Turning Pages, My Beloved World and The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor.

"An Evening with Justice Sonia Sotomayor" will be held Thursday, May 30, at the Javits Center from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. This is a free event, though all attendees must register for in advance and must also have a valid BookExpo badge for this day.


Chronicle Books: Redwood and Ponytail by KA Holt


Milkweed Editions Launches Paid Internship Program

Milkweed Editions is relaunching its internships as a paid program, beginning with the summer 2019 group. Three participants will be accepted per semester (spring, summer, fall). Applications for the summer session close March 15.

The publisher noted that "while the gateway to working in publishing has typically been a brief, unpaid internship (or several), Milkweed seeks to address this significant barrier to entry by offering a more viable and equitable internship experience, which will include a $1,500 stipend, free books, extensive mentorship with staff, and a range of professional development opportunities."

Describing the internship program as "an intensive introduction to book publishing," Milkweed said that interns will contribute meaningfully to work across all areas of the operation, including editorial and acquisitions, book design, publicity, sales/marketing, digital and community engagement, development (fundraising), and nonprofit arts administration. Interns also have the opportunity to learn about the bookselling industry through the company's indie bookshop, Milkweed Books.

More information about the program, typical responsibilities, qualifications, and application instructions are available here.


New Press: Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America by Erik Nelson and Andrea Dennis, foreword by Killer Mike


Obituary Note: Ellis Avery

Ellis Avery, the author of critically acclaimed works including the novels The Last Nude and The Teahouse Fire, died February 15. She was 46. Avery was also the author of a poetry collection, and two memoirs, The Smoke Week and The Family Tooth. Her novels received awards from the American Library Association and the Golden Crown Literary Society, and her debut novel, The Teahouse Fire, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. Her work has been translated into seven languages.

Broken Rooms, her first volume of poetry, featured selections from a year's worth of haiku, paired with images by sculptor Will Corwin. In 2017, she began to collect each year's haiku into an annually published datebook. To foster writing that brought the same attention to writing about place that she brought to her daily haiku, in 2014 Avery founded and edited a column on the Public Books website called Public Streets.

"All of my work has been about the transformative power of attention," Avery wrote. "Attention is the heat that fires the raw clay of research and daydream into fiction. A tea master's meditative attention turns eating and drinking into a ritual performance; a painter's sexual attention turns a model into a lover. And the attention required to write a haiku every day for fifteen years turns life into a treasure hunt."

Lambda Literary wrote that "the community will mourn the loss of this phenomenal talent."


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Yellow Bird Sings
by Jennifer Rosner

What happens when a child's love of music must be silenced in exchange for survival? Such is the sacrifice made during World War II by a young Jewish mother who goes into hiding with her bright, inquisitive five-year-old daughter. As their plight becomes increasingly dire, the two find comfort by imagining a yellow bird that sings the songs they dream will once again be theirs. The Yellow Bird Sings "affects people in a rather profound way," said Amy Einhorn, executive vice-president and publisher of Flatiron Books. "It's about the power of a mother’s love, the music of the living and the silence of the dead, and how in order to survive sometimes we need to forget." --Melissa Firman
 

(Flatiron Books, $25.99 hardcover, 9781250179760, March 3, 2020)

CLICK TO ENTER


#ShelfGLOW
Shelf vetted, publisher supported

 


Notes

Image of the Day: Birthday Wishes Rule Watermark Books

Author Beth Ferry and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld just completed a tour for their picture book 10 Rules of the Birthday Wish (Putnam), stopping at schools and bookstores across the country. Here they are at Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.


Visible Voice Books Unveils Book Art Installation

Tomorrow night, Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, Ohio, will reveal the name of its impressive new book art installation, discuss the story behind its creation and celebrate its completion at a dedication event during Walkabout Tremont. The mural was created using more than 3,000 books. Staffer Nick Perry and artist Dawn Tekler designed, installed and painted the artwork. 

"The dawn-and-dusk coloration applied to the dimensional literary canvas remind us that there are so many different stories that arise each and every day," said bookshop owner Dave Ferrante, who commissioned the work.


Cool Idea of the Day: Hub City's Free Books for Travelers

Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg, S.C., has launched Free Books for Travelers, its latest community outreach project. Travelers passing through the Sparta Passenger Center at 100 North Liberty Street are encouraged to take a free book along for the ride next time they hop on a bus.

The bookshelf, topped with an eye-catching sign featuring a Dr. Seuss quote ("The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."), is stocked with a rotating selection of post-publication ARCs as well as new and gently used books donated by customers of the Hub City Bookshop.

"We are gratified to be able to offer books to travelers, whether they are headed across town or across the country," said HCWP's Anne Waters. "For years we have distributed free children's books through our 'Growing Great Readers' program and this enables us to extend our outreach to adults."

She added: "Every day we receive ARCs of books that will be released in the coming months. Once the finished books are published, the ARCS are destined for the recycling bin. We determined it was far better to share them. If this initiative ignites or rekindles a passion for reading we have furthered our mission to 'Nurture Writers and Cultivate Readers.' "


Personnel Changes at Macmillan

At Macmillan, the sales executive reorganization announced last week has resulted in a new "dedicated Barnes & Noble team to focus on the account and better align Macmillan with the needs of B&N"; the linking of the mass merch and special sales teams "to more effectively collaborate and expand our presence in these channels"; and the expansion of the Amazon, Canada, academic and library channels. Among resulting several promotions, reassignments and additions:

Christine Jaeger is being promoted to senior director, trade and inside sales. She will be the in-house B&N specialist and will continue to sell all formats to B&N for Tor/Forge. She started at Macmillan as an assistant at Tor in 1996.

Cristina Cushing is being promoted to senior national accounts manager and will now sell all formats to B&N for Holt, Celadon, Picador, and Flatiron Books. She joined Macmillan in 2016 from B&N.

Jeanette Zwart, senior national accounts manager, will now sell all formats to B&N for St. Martin's Press.

Hank Cochrane is being promoted to director, Canada, Raincoast manager. He rejoined Macmillan in 2016.

Paul Kirschner, national account manager, will now sell Indigo, CMMI, and Canadian wholesale accounts.

Astra Berzinskas is being promoted to senior director, merchandise, and will now have selling responsibilities for Target. She joined Macmillan 13 years ago as key accounts executive for the merchandise team.

Liz O'Connor is being promoted to national accounts manager, Readerlink, Paradies, TVG and BJ's. She began her career as an assistant on the merch team in 2013.

Trish Madson will continue to sell Costco and will assume the selling responsibilities for Sam's and Benjamin News.

Jen Golding is being promoted to national accounts manager, Canada Kids. She joined the children's sales team in 2002 as sales assistant.

Mark Von Bargen, senior director, children's sales, will now sell Baker & Taylor Kids.

Don O’Connor, associate director, field will assume selling responsibilities for Ingram Kids.

A.J. Murphy, senior national accounts manager, will now sell Baker & Taylor and Ingram for all adult lines and continue selling Bookazine.


Media and Movies

Movies: Aniara

An official trailer has been released for Aniara, based on a 1956 poem by Swedish Nobel Prize-winning author Harry Martinson, io9 reported, adding that the film "is about a ship that's supposed to get people quickly and safely from Earth to Mars in three weeks. Obviously though, that doesn't happen." Written and directed by Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja, Aniara opens May 17.


This Weekend on Book TV: Senator Doug Jones

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, March 9
5:30 p.m. Alex Berenson, author of Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence (Free Press, $26, 9781982103668).

6:50 p.m. Irshad Manji, author of Don't Label Me: An Incredible Conversation for Divided Times (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250157980), at East City Bookshop in Washington, D.C.

8 p.m. Anthony Jack, author of The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students (Harvard University Press, $27.95, 9780674976894), at Kramerbooks and Afterwords in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 5:30 a.m.)

8:50 p.m. John Marini, author of Unmasking the Administrative State: The Crisis of American Politics in the Twenty-First Century (Encounter, $27.99, 9781641770231). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:50 a.m.)

10 p.m. Senator Doug Jones, author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights (All Points Books, $29.99, 9781250201447).(Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Coverage of the 20th annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History at the Yale Club of New York. (Re-airs Sunday at 5:15 p.m.)

Sunday, March 10
12:10 a.m. A panel discussion on Alex Haley's The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Ballantine, $7.99, 9789990065169). (Re-airs Sunday at 1:45 p.m.)

3:45 p.m. David Sloan Wilson, author of This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution (Pantheon, $27.95, 9781101870204).

6:25 p.m. Thomas Mallon, author of Landfall: A Novel (Pantheon, $29.95, 9781101871058).

7:40 p.m. Kyle Swenson, author of Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America (Picador, $29, 9781250120236), at Gramercy Books in Bexley, Ohio.

10 p.m. Elaine Shannon, author of Hunting LeRoux: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius and His Empire (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062859136), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. Kellie Carter Jackson, author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press, $34.95, 9780812251159).



Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize; Simpson Literary; Walter Scott Historical Fiction

Lauren Groff has won the 15th annual Story Prize for Florida (Riverhead Books), receiving the $20,000 winner's award and an engraved silver bowl after an evening of readings by and conversation with her and the other two finalists at an event in New York City last night.

The other finalists were Jamel Brinkley for A Lucky Man (Graywolf Press) and Deborah Eisenberg for Your Duck Is My Duck (Ecco).

The judges called Florida "a truly immersive experience--each story builds upon the last, without being expressly linked, until by the end, the reader experiences the book the way you might experience Florida. Fierce and almost fully deconstructed now in its beauty and awfulness.  Amid the merciless sun like 'hot yellow wool,' the dense heat, the humid tangle of vines and mosquitoes, the elusive silkiness of a panther, and the cool slither of reptiles, Groff's characters emerge from their landscape fully imagined."

Incidentally, two days ago Catapult Books published The Story Prize: Fifteen Years of Great Short Fiction, an anthology celebrating the 15th anniversary of the award. Edited and introduced by Story Prize director Larry Dark, the book includes a story each by the 14 past winners of the prize: Edwidge Danticat, Patrick O'Keeffe, Mary Gordon, Jim Shepard, Tobias Wolff, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Anthony Doerr, Steven Millhauser, Claire Vaye Watkins, George Saunders, Elizabeth McCracken, Adam Johnson, Rick Bass, and Elizabeth Strout.

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A shortlist has been released for the $50,000 Simpson Literary Prize, recognizing mid-career authors in fiction. The award is administered by the Simpson Project, a collaboration of the Lafayette Library & Learning Center Foundation and the University of California, Berkeley, English Department. The six finalists were selected from authors confidentially nominated by publishers, reviewers, agents, authors and author representatives. The winner is expected to be named in April. This year's shortlist includes:

Rachel Kushner, author of The Mars Room (Scribner)
Laila Lalami, author of The Moor's Account (Vintage)
Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive (Knopf)
Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend (Riverhead)
Anne Raeff, author of Winter Kept Us Warm (Counterpoint)
Amor Towles, author of A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking)

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A longlist has been unveiled for this year's £25,000 (about $32,890) Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, which "celebrates quality, innovation and longevity of writing in the English language, and is open to books first published in the previous year in the U.K., Ireland or the Commonwealth." A shortlist will be announced in April, and the winner named June 15 during the Baillie Gifford Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland. This year's longlisted titles are:

Little by Edward Carey
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey
After the Party by Cressida Connolly
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey
Dark Water by Elizabeth Lowry
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
The Wanderers by Tim Pears
The Long Take by Robin Robertson
All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy
Tombland  by C.J. Sansom


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, March 12:

All the Wrong Places: A Novel by Joy Fielding (Ballantine, $27, 9780399181559) finds four women targeted by an online-dating murderer.

If, Then: A Novel by Kate Hope Day (Random House, $26, 9780525511229) takes place in a small Oregon town whose residents suffer visions of an alternate reality.

The Liar's Child: A Novel by Carla Buckley (Ballantine, $27, 9781101887127) follows a woman who rescues two abandoned children from a hurricane.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9781984855428) is the posthumous memoir of a woman with cystic fibrosis.

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18.99, 9781328496300) features a princess who must use her dangerous magical powers to defeat a plot against the crown.

Boom! Bellow! Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices by Georgia Heard, illus. by Aaron DeWitt (Wordsong/Highlights Press, $17.95, 9781620915202) is a picture book poem collection about the many sounds animals make.

Movie:
The Aftermath, based on the novel by Rhidian Brook, opens March 15. Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke star as a British couple stationed in 1946 Berlin, where they share a house with its former owner (Alexander Skarsgård). A movie tie-in edition (Vintage, $16, 9781984897909) is available.


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
The Weight of a Piano: A Novel by Chris Cander (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525654674). "A hulking black piano of Russian origin links the stories of two women: Katya, who must leave behind her beloved instrument when she immigrates to the U.S., and Clara, who is forced to sell her family heirloom when she loses her boyfriend and her home. The obsessive love each woman holds for the piano unfolds as the instrument journeys across continents. Chris Cander has crafted a novel of compelling beauty and characters who are complex, deeply flawed, and magnificently haunting. This will be a five-star beginning to any avid reader's 2019 book list." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.

The Current: A Novel by Tim Johnston (Algonquin, $27.95, 9781616206772). "Tim Johnston's brand of storytelling is a curious hybrid of conventional crime fiction and observation of human nature that demands attention. In The Current, Johnston goes beyond the sensational and asks relevant questions when tragedy strikes, addressing real topics that come with the loss of a loved one and the questions that follow a horrific crime. As with Johnston's previous novel, Descent, his latest concludes with a wallop you will not see coming." --Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, Ill.

Paperback
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions: A Novel by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn (Mariner, $14.99, 9781328588784). "Introducing Auntie Poldi, a 60ish amateur sleuth who stars as the heroine of Giordano's new series of delicious mysteries. She's sexy, outrageous, can't mind her own business, and has just retired to Sicily, where she intends to lay about and drink good wine for the rest of her days on the world's most fabulous island. Of course, things are soon stirred up by the murder of her hot young handyman, and Poldi becomes deeply involved. Great characters, fun plot, Italian charm--and what could be better reading for the chilly months than a novel set in sun-soaked Sicily? Don't miss what the Times Literary Supplement calls 'a masterful treat.' "--Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

For Ages 4 to 8
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062748683). "Pura Belpré led a rich life filled with travel, music, and countless stories. Her own inspiring story is beautifully presented in this perfect picture book. Readers will be inspired by this gentle, determined woman who knew it was vital to share the folklore that had been such a big part of her childhood in Puerto Rico. For years, she read enthusiastically to countless children, spoke passionately to crowds of librarians, and retold treasured cultural tales in books. The influence of her work is still felt today, and Planting Stories is a worthy tribute." --Christopher Rose, The Spirit of '76 Bookstore, Marblehead, Mass.

For Ages 9 to 12
It Wasn't Me by Dana Alison Levy (Delacorte, $16.99, 9781524766436). "Written in a highly accessible, chatty style that will help young readers situate themselves in a shifting narrative, It Wasn't Me tells the story of a horrifying act of bullying and one teacher's quest to find out the truth and bring healing to the victim and the school. Held in a Breakfast Club-style detention-not-detention (a sort of restorative justice process), the five kids found at the scene of the crime are forced to grapple with each other, looking past the stereotypes and seeing the character of the individual for the first time. Tremendously readable, packed full of slang (Theo's voice is highly distinctive), and infused with authentic emotional exploration, It Wasn't Me is a fantastic middle-grade novel, perfect for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders." --Paul Murufas, Books Inc., San Francisco, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Scholastic Press, $17.99, 9781338227017). "This honest and real book really delivered and is already one of my favorites! Khan shows us the realities of a Muslim lesbian teen and the difficulties she has within her family and a group of friends. We see the extremes of the situation, but we also see the importance of family and the Bengali traditions. I loved Rukhsana's firmness in her own beliefs even while struggling with the traditions of her family. This really takes LGBTQ fiction to another level and will help open readers' eyes to the realities that many face in these changing times." --Candace Robinson, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative

Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison (Catapult, $16.95 paperback, 272p., 9781948226134, April 2, 2019)

Who knew literary criticism could be so much fun? That's the impression that lingers after finishing novelist, memoirist and University of Virginia creative writing professor Jane Alison's Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative. It's Alison's impassioned brief against the dominance of the Aristotelian dramatic arc, the "one path through fiction we're most likely to travel," in which a "situation arises, grows tense, reaches a peak, subsides." Instead, serving as an assured and entertaining guide through an assortment of narrative structures, she hopes more writers will follow her lead and not "feel oppressed by the arc, that they'll imagine visual aspects of narrative as well as temporal, that they'll discover ways to design, being conscious or playful with possibilities."

Alison (Nine Island) offers a well-stocked "museum of specimens," from the work of writers both widely known (Philip Roth, Raymond Carver and W.G. Sebald, one of her favorites) and less so (Marie Redonnet and Murray Bail). She meticulously but briskly unearths an impressive body of evidence to support her argument that the arc structure "makes sense for tragedy, but fiction can be wildly other." Alison's gift for close reading brings to mind fellow novelist and critic Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, and her enthusiasm for this literary archeology project is infectious.

After identifying a cluster of what she calls "primary elements," including how writers control the flow of time, use color and deploy white space on the page, Alison devotes most of her attention to a catalogue of eight patterns that move from one that's at least a cousin to the dramatic arc ("waves") to "spirals" to "fractals" (what she describes as "patterns that roughly replicate themselves at different scales and could go on forever"). Each one is validated for her because it coincides with "fundamental patterns in nature." Alison is not interested in literary virtuosity for its own sake, but instead as a tool for enhancing the pleasure of the reading experience, as a skilled writer strives to tell a good story in a refreshingly different way. "Design helps deliver sense," as she puts it.

Even for those reluctant to abandon the classical narrative arc for more adventuresome fare, Meander, Spiral, Explode is a joyous celebration of literature's robust shape-shifting qualities. At the very least, it's a book that will have open-minded readers viewing the next work of serious fiction they encounter with a more discerning eye, ear and mind. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: With the goal of unearthing intriguing patterns in literature, novelist and teacher Jane Alison leads writers and readers on a stimulating journey.


The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in February

The following were the most popular book club books during February based on votes from book club readers in more than 48,000 book clubs registered at Bookmovement.com:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Putnam)
2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House)
3. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown)
4. The Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn (Morrow Paperbacks)
5. Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate (Ballantine)
6. The Girls at 17 Swann Street: A Novel by Yara Zgheib (St. Martin's Press)
7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)
8. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central)
9. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (Flatiron Books)
10. The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A.J. Finn (Morrow)

Rising Stars:
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris (Sourcebooks Landmark)
The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff (Park Row)


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