Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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

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

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Ace Books: Rewitched by Lucy Jane Wood

Graywolf Press: We're Alone: Essays by Edwidge Danticat

St. Martin's Press: Runaway Train: Or, the Story of My Life So Far by Erin Roberts with Sam Kashner


Richard Powers, David W. Blight Among Pulitzer Winners

Richard Powers's novel The Overstory and David W. Blight's Frederick Douglass are among the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners, each of whom receives $15,000. This year's book winners and finalists:

Fiction: The Overstory by Richard Powers (Norton), "an ingeniously structured narrative that branches and canopies like the trees at the core of the story whose wonder and connectivity echo those of the humans living amongst them." Also nominated were The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking) and There There by Tommy Orange (Knopf).

History: Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster), "a breathtaking history that demonstrates the scope of Frederick Douglass' influence through deep research on his writings, his intellectual evolution and his relationships." Also nominated: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson (Liveright) and Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition by W. Fitzhugh Brundage (Belknap Press/Harvard University Press).

Biography: The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press), "a panoramic view of the personal trials and artistic triumphs of the father of the Harlem Renaissance and the movement he inspired." Also nominated: Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris by Caroline Weber (Knopf) and The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot (Liveright).

Poetry: Be With by Forrest Gander (New Directions), "a collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed." Also nominated: feeld by Jos Charles (Milkweed Editions) and Like by A.E. Stallings (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

General Nonfiction: Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), "a classic American story, grippingly told, of an Appalachian family struggling to retain its middle class status in the shadow of destruction wreaked by corporate oil fracking." Also nominated: In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America's Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung (The New Press) and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush (Milkweed Editions).

Drama: Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury, "a hard-hitting drama that examines race in a highly conceptual, layered structure, ultimately bringing audiences into the actors' community to face deep-seated prejudices." Also nominated: Dance Nation by Clare Barron and What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck.

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

Princeton Architectural Press Takes on Moleskine Books

Princeton Architectural Press has become the licensed publisher and distributor of Moleskine Books and is taking over editing, production, design, marketing, distribution, and sales responsibilities for the book line of Moleskine, best known for its "little black notebooks" that are popular bookstore sidelines. Founded in 1997, Moleskine now also includes paper objects, smart notebooks, apps, travel accessories and writing tools.

Through its books, Moleskine aims "to explore and understand where creativity comes from, how it is processed, and how ideas are turned into art," the company said. "Moleskine books give more space to illustrations, images, and drawings than to words, and can be flipped through like a notebook, or read from cover to cover."

The first jointly published titles are Paul Rudolph: Inspiration and Process in Architecture and Paul Rand: Inspiration and Process in Design, which will appear in October.

Princeton Architectural Press, Hudson, N.Y., publishes books on architecture, design, photography, landscape, and visual culture. In the last six years, the press has added a children's list and a line of stationery products.

"It is an indescribable honor to partner with Moleskine, surely the world's best-known maker of journals for artists, architects, designers, and writers," Princeton Architectural Press publisher Kevin Lippert said. "We will build the Moleskine Books series on the foundation they've laid, with books on inspiration, process, and projects from among the talented creatives who are drawn to the quality of Moleskine and Princeton Architectural Press."

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Obituary Note: Gene Wolfe

Science fiction/fantasy author Gene Wolfe, who wrote more than 30 novels including his best-known work, the Book of the New Sun series, died on Sunday, Tor reported. He was 87. Published from 1980 to 1983, the books in the tetralogy won British Science Fiction, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Locus, Nebula and Campbell Memorial Awards. In a 1998 poll, the readers of Locus magazine considered the series as a single entry and ranked it third among fantasy novels published before 1990, following only the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Wolfe won the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award in 1989, the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1996, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2012, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named him a Grand Master. Wolfe's other series include the Book of the Long Sun, the Book of the Short Sun and the Wizard Knight.

"Wolfe's fans include Michael Swanwick, Neil Gaiman, Patrick O'Leary, Ursula K. Le Guin, and many, many more, and he was praised for his exciting prose and depth of character," Tor wrote. "He leaves behind an impressive body of work, but nonetheless, he will be dearly missed."

At Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow recalled that Wolfe was "the kind of person who looked and acted exactly as you'd expect he would, based on his marvelous body of work (this is a rarity as most of us writers are mundane introverts who put all of our wildness on the page).... I'm so sad to hear that he's gone. Although he lived a long and wonderful and varied life (he invented the Pringles machine!) and left behind a staggering and brilliant literary corpus, the world was a better place with him in it. I'll miss him."

"I was going to see him in Peoria on Wednesday, and now I never will," Neil Gaiman tweeted, adding a link to a 2011 Guardian piece in which he had written: "I've met too many of my heroes, and these days I avoid meeting the few I have left, because the easiest way to stop having heroes is to meet them, or worse, have dinner with them. But Gene Wolfe remains a hero to me. He's just turned 80, looks after his wife Rosemary, and is still writing deep, complex, brilliant fiction that slips between genres. He's my hero because he keeps trying new ways of writing and because he remains as kind and as patient with me as he was when I was almost a boy. He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy--possibly the finest living American writer. Most people haven't heard of him. And that doesn't bother Gene in the slightest. He just gets on with writing the next book."

IBD 2019: More Parties, Passport Plans

With the fifth annual Independent Bookstore Day inching ever closer, Shelf Awareness has taken another look at what independent bookstores around the country have planned for Saturday, April 27.

To celebrate Indie Bookstore Day, is providing a selection of free audiobooks to customers of independent bookstores. On April 27, readers can enjoy these free audiobooks: Mothers' Group by Liane Moriarty, The Blackhouse by Peter May, Hello Neighbor: Missing Pieces by Carly Anne West, Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven and a Penguin Random House story sampler featuring a selection of 2019 bestselling audio titles.

Through a partnership between Hummingbird Digital Media, HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group, booksellers will be able to offer eight bestselling e-book titles for $2.99 or less on Indie Bookstore Day. To make use of this offer, indies must use Hummingbird's My Must Reads platform, which is integrated into the ABA's IndieCommerce and IndieLite programs. Bookstores already enrolled in the program will receive marketing materials from Hummingbird, and others can be found here.

The eight discounted titles are: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg; Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin; Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman; The Prophet by Michael Koryta; Mischling by Affinity Konar; The Party by Elizabeth Day; and Testimony by Anita Shreve.

For the first time, bookstores throughout New Hampshire are teaming up for a statewide bookstore tour. Readers who visit seven or more stores and get their passports stamped will be eligible to win a variety of prizes.

Seventeen bookstores across the state of Connecticut are taking part in the Connecticut Independent Bookstore Day Passport Program. Readers who visit every participating store can win a Passport Prize, a 20% off coupon from each of the stores, and will be entered into a grand prize raffle. For the raffle, five names will be drawn at random to win a grand prize of a $50 gift card from each store, for a total value of $850.

R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison, Conn., and R.J. Julia Bookstore in Middletown, Conn., will be celebrating IBD with a day full of parties and in-store events. The first 20 customers to spend $100 at either location on April 27 will receive a free IBD tote bag.

In St. Louis, Mo., six independent bookstores have joined forces to create the area's first IBD passport program. Readers who collect all six passport stickers will receive a coupon for 20% off any purchase at each one of the participating stores. The participating stores are: EyeSeeMe African American Children's Bookstore, Left Bank Books, Main Street Books, The Novel Neighbor, Subterranean Books and The Book House.

The Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee, a Queens, N.Y., community organization advocating for bicycling, walking and public transit, has organized a bike tour of four Queens bookstores to celebrate Independent Bookstore Day. The tour will begin at Astoria Bookshop in Astoria and stop at Book Culture in Long Island City and Kew & Willow Books in Kew Gardens before finishing at Topos Bookstore in Ridgewood.

Twenty independent bookstores across the state of Vermont are working together to create the Vermont Independent Bookstore Passport. Readers who visit five or more stores will receive a custom enamel pin; those who visit 10 or more will receive a Vermont Bookstores bumper sticker; visiting 15 or more will earn a Vermont Bookstores magnet; and readers who visit all 20 will receive all of the above in addition to a Vermont Bookstores bag.

In Burlington and Essex, Vt., Phoenix Books will be celebrating Indie Bookstore Day by raising funds for the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, N.H., which cares for orphaned black bear cubs. Megan Price, author of the Vermont Wild series, will be visiting both stores throughout the day, and a portion of both the store's and Price's sales will be donated to the KBC. According to Price, the KBC is currently "overwhelmed" caring for 65 bear cubs, and more are expected to arrive this spring. The center needs more funds to build additional housing and to buy food and other supplies. Price's books collect the true stories of retired game wardens. She will begin the day with a visit to Phoenix Books Burlington at 11 a.m. before stopping by Phoenix Books Essex at 2 p.m.

Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton, Mont., is turning 45 this year and will celebrate its anniversary on IBD. The store will have author signings and presentations, and former store employees, or Chapter One-ders, will be on hand to help celebrate. Visitors will enjoy birthday cake, and exclusive IBD merchandise will be available.

In Vienna, Va., Bard's Alley is celebrating with a variety of events and programs, including a community-wide book hunt. The hunt will begin at 9 a.m., and customers will try to find 100 ARCs hidden in and around participating businesses. Throughout the day, there will also be in-store scavenger hunts, a literature-themed children's concert, portrait drawings, live music, specialty drinks and board game sessions in the evening.

At DIESEL, a Bookstore in Brentwood, Calif., plans for Indie Bookstore Day include a special children's storytime session from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a literary scavenger hunt for children that will run throughout the day. Kids will scout the bookstore to answer questions and be entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes.

IBD celebrations will be taking place at each of the Third Place Books locations in Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park, Wash. Customers can expect free coffee, a scavenger hunt, photo booths, prize wheels and author meet-and-greets throughout the day. Some featured authors include Laurie Frankel (This Is How it Always Is), Asia Citro (Zoey and Sassafras) and Jill Lightner (Scraps, Peels, and Stems), among others. --Alex Mutter

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

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

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


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Ultimate Cartoonists

Cartoonists (l.-r.) Robert Leighton, Marisa Acocella, Bob Eckstein and Barbara Smaller celebrated the publication of The Ultimate Cartoon Book of Book Cartoons (Princeton Architectural Press), edited by Eckstein, at Rizzoli Bookstore in New York City.

'Booksellers Are the True Heroes'

Erin Dalton, owner of Huckleberry Books in Cranbrook, B.C., fielded five questions from BookNet Canada, which noted: "Booksellers are the true heroes. No matter which emotions we're experiencing--joy, sorrow, anxiety--they know just what we need (a book). That's why we love shining the spotlight on some of Canada's favorite independent bookstores and brightest booksellers in this series." Among our favorite exchanges:

What attracted you to bookselling?
I kind of just fell into it. It was far more satisfying than other jobs I had while putting myself through school. (And the staff discount helped!) When I decided to buy the store, we were living in Vancouver and I'd been out of the book world for a few years. I was looking more for a way to get out of the city than thinking of bookselling in particular. Buying the store was as much about moving back to the mountains as it was about the business itself. But I can't imagine doing anything else now. It's such a unique way to engage with people, there's always something creative to do in my day, and, let's be honest, hanging around books all day is just plain fun.

What is the most pressing issue facing bookselling today?
Amazon, show-rooming, getting stock in a timely fashion... all of these are true. Also, I think it's crucial to combat the impression that the death of the printed word is imminent. We hear something at least once a week about e-readers, or how kids these days are always on their devices. It does get a bit wearisome. No, really, I promise we're still relevant!

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

Sammy Brown has been promoted to publicist at HMH Books for Young Readers.

Marissa Page has joined the company as publicity associate.

Bridget Nocera has joined the company as publicity assistant. 

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bill McKibben on Fresh Air

NPR's Here & Now: Janny Scott, author of The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father (Riverhead Books, $28, 9781594634192).

Fresh Air: Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? (Holt, $28, 9781250178268).

Live with Kelly and Ryan: Tracy Pollan, co-author of Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family (Harper Wave, $29.99, 9780062821386).

The View repeat: Stacey Abrams, author of Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change (Picador, $17, 9781250214805).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, authors of The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's America (Crown, $28, 9780525574743).

Movies: A Boy Called Christmas

Studiocanal, Netflix and Blueprint Pictures have begun production on a live-action movie adaptation of Matt Haig's novel A Boy Called Christmas, Deadline reported. Gil Kenan (Monster House) is directing a screenplay he co-wrote with Ol Parker (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again).

The cast includes Jim Broadbent, Zoe Colletti, Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, Michiel Huisman, Henry Lawfull, Maggie Smith, Rune Temte, Indica Watson and Kristen Wiig. Filming will take place in Lapland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and London. Studiocanal will release the film theatrically in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and China, while Netflix releases in the rest of the world.

Books & Authors

Awards: L.A. Times Book; Wolfson History

The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Awards, announced during the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, are:

Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Atria/37 INK)
Biography: Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight (S&S)
Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon (Scribner)
Current Interest: The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (Riverhead)
Fiction: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)
Graphic Novel/Comics: On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (First Second)
History: Travelers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism 1919-1945 by Julia Boyd (Pegasus Books)
Mystery/Thriller: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)
Poetry: Wild Is the Wind: Poems by Carl Phillips (FSG)
Science & Technology: Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy (Little, Brown)
Young Adult Literature: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

Terry Tempest Williams was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, and Library of America received the Innovator's Award for its contributions to America's cultural heritage.


A shortlist has been unveiled for the £40,000 (about $52,455) Wolfson History Prize, recognizing the "best historical writing being produced in the U.K., reflecting qualities of both readability and excellence in writing and research." Each shortlisted author receives £4,000 (about $5,245). The winner will be announced June 11. This year's finalists are:

Building Anglo-Saxon England by John Blair
Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook
Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln
Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words by Jeremy Mynott
Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis
Empress: Queen Victoria and India by Miles Taylor

Top Library Recommended Titles for May

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

Top Pick
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (Berkley, $15, 9780451490827). "On the autism spectrum, Khai doesn't feel anything for anyone. His mother recruits Esme, a young Vietnamese woman, to marry him. A realistic, humorous romance that reveals the slow path to love and a meaningful relationship. For those who loved The Kiss Quotient, The Rosie Project, and The Wedding Date." --Jessica C. Williams, Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, Tiffin, Ohio

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson (Sourcebooks Landmark, $25.99, 9781492691631). "Blue-skinned Cussie brings books via horseback to rural, racially intolerant Kentucky in the 1930s. Her efforts demonstrate that people crave intellectual stimulation even when they are poverty stricken in a food desert. For fans of Sandra Dallas and Lee Smith." --Courtenay Reece, Millville Public Library, Millville, N.J.

The Farm: A Novel by Joanne Ramos (Random House, $27, 9781984853752). "What sounds like an easy way to make money while indulging in a spa-like oasis propels young pregnancy surrogates into ethically complex decisions, racial inequities, and new friendships. For those who loved The Handmaid's Tale and Future Home of the Living God." --Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Wash.

The Flatshare: A Novel by Beth O'Leary (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250295637). "In this entertaining and humorous romance, Tiffy and Leon share a flat, but have never met. Who says you can't fall in love if your only communication has been through Post-It notes? For fans of Bridget Jones's Diary and Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating." --Kelly Moore, Carrollton Public Library, Carrollton, Tex.

How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper (Putnam, $26, 9780525539889). "Andrew's Council job is finding people to pay for funerals for the recently deceased, and he seems bound to a similar lonely destiny. When lively Peggy joins the staff, he begins to wonder if there's more to life than model trains. Give to fans of Jojo Moyes, Nick Hornby, and Gail Honeyman." --Jennifer Knight, North Olympic Public Library System, Port Angeles, Wash.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors: A Novel by Sonali Dev (Morrow, $15.99, 9780062839053). "Trisha Raje is a talented neurosurgeon, from an immigrant Indian family, descended from royalty. When she meets a patient's brother we embark on a classic tale of enemies to lovers. With likable characters and an appealing story line, I highly recommend this book. For readers who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and The Wedding Party." --Ellen Firer, Merrick Library, Merrick, N.Y.

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston (Griffin, $16.99, 9781250316776). "First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is in his last semester of university and has an antagonistic relationship with Prince Henry of Wales. But friendship and then love blossoms when they are forced to pretend to be buddies after an embarrassing altercation. For fans of a good rom-com." --Nita Gill, Brookings Public Library, Brookings, S.D.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel by Juliet Grames (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062862822). "The life story of Italian-American Stella Fortuna is told through an interesting conceit: the times she nearly died. We follow her through an impoverished childhood in rural Italy, coming to America as a teenager, and finally wife, mother, and widow in suburban Connecticut. For fans of The Stars Are Fire and Daughter of Fortune." --Celia Morse, Berkley Public Library, Berkley, Mass.

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs (Ace, $27, 9780425281291). "Mercy Thompson has opened her garage again and is trying to get back to normal. Now that the Tri-Cities is neutral ground, all kinds of supernatural beings are heading her way. If you're a Briggs fan, you're going to love this book and look forward to the next. For fans of the Walker Papers and Weather Warden series." --Helen Imre, Franklin Township Public Library, Somerset, N.J.

Sunset Beach: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250126108). "After her mother's death, Drue Campbell inherits her grandparent's beach cottage in Sunset Beach, Florida where she takes a job with her estranged father who is married to her high school frenemy. For readers who enjoyed The Identicals and Life's a Beach." --Evelyn Janoch, Rocky River Public Library, Rocky River, Ohio

Book Review

Review: Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up

Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up by Tom Phillips (Hanover Square Press, $19.99 paperback, 320p., 9781335936639, May 7, 2019)

For everyone who's ever said, "We'll look back on this one day and laugh"--and even anyone who hasn't--Tim Phillips's Humans: A Brief History of How We F*ucked It All Up is for you. London journalist Phillips looks back on the whole of human existence to examine some truly catastrophic mishaps in areas such as the environment, war, colonization and more. And through his theme of "our deep and consistent ability to fool ourselves with stories and delusions about what it is we're actually doing," he gives his readers plenty to chuckle about.

Beginning with Lucy, whose fossilized remains introduced scientists to a new species they believe is the missing link between humans and apes; touching on the Cuyahoga River catching fire, repeatedly; and even analyzing Hitler's invasion of Russia (a rerun of Napoleon's fiasco), Phillips employs brilliantly sarcastic wit to make his history text lively, informative and superbly entertaining. He rubs off the glorified stories often used to downplay or rationalize monumental debacles and tells history like it is, in all its messed-up glory, such as the belief that many people thought the world was flat and Christopher Columbus was trying to prove them wrong: "Pretty much every educated person in Europe at the time (and most of the uneducated ones, too) was fully aware that the world was a globe, and they'd known that for a very long time."

Phillips calls out humans on their propensity for greed, and he identifies racism, often mocking the utter idiocy of rationalizations for bigotry--as he does in his coverage of Easter Island: " 'Aliens must have done it' is a remarkably popular and obviously extremely rational solution to the conundrum of nonwhite people building things that white people can't imagine them having built."

Those involved in wars most certainly never found anything funny about them, but Phillips not only tickles the funny bone, he elicits uncontrollable belly laughs. These tales include that of the German submarine U-1206, "the only craft in World War II to have been sunk by a poorly thought-out toilet," and the American Civil War's Union troops who attacked the Confederates during the Siege of Petersburg (Virginia) by running right into a massive crater. "Once the Confederate soldiers had reorganized after the shock of the explosion, they found themselves surrounding a very large hole full of opponents who couldn't get out. Union reinforcements kept on arriving, and for some reason decided to join their comrades in the crater."

Humans have a colorful history of mucking things up. Sometimes it's because of the skills we have that other species do not--seeing patterns, communicating, imagining the future--sometimes it's as simple as greed, arrogance or alcohol. But no matter the reason, Phillips delivers the story with clever style and verve, making it fascinating and fun. Tom Phillips's history class is in session, so be sure to get a front-row seat. --Jen Forbus

Shelf Talker: A journalist and humor writer takes readers on a hilarious history tour of the human race's monumental failures.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Skull King by Penelope Sky
2. Nobody Does It Better by Lauren Blakely
3. Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins
4. Spring Fling by Various
5. The McCabe Brothers: The Complete Collection by Lorhainne Eckhart
6. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
7. Shadowspell Academy: The Culling Trials by Shannon Mayer and K.F. Breene
8. Mated to the Reaper by Alexa Riley
9. Surprise Marriage by R.R. Banks
10. America's Geekheart by Pippa Grant

[Many thanks to!]

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