Shelf Awareness for Thursday, April 25, 2019

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Grove Press: Reptile Memoirs by Silje Ulstein, translated by Alison McCullough

Beach Lane Books: The Great Zapfino by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Princeton University Press: Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern (Bollingen #669) by Mary Beard

Berkley Books: Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Henry Holt & Company: Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon

Wednesday Books: Together We Burn by Isabel Ibañez

Quotation of the Day

Penn Book Center: 'All That an Indie Bookstore Is'

"Stores like ours keep the streetscape interesting. Over the years, our huge windows facing Sansom Street have featured themed displays on: women's history, philosophy, French history, film, jazz, Pope Francis, cats vs. dogs, just to name a few. Our 34th Street window always features books by Philly authors.

"Independent stores form great partnerships with the local community. Our windows have promoted shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art and Wolf Humanities Center lectures. Penn writing classes hold readings at our store. Students from Drexel and Penn have designed our store windows. We've collaborated on events with nonprofits like Philadelphia Stories, Blue Stoop, and Mighty Writers, along with the All But True Reading Series, among many others.

"An independent bookstore is an intellectual hub, a place to talk books and ideas. But it is also a place for more casual conversations. Our lead bookseller, James Gleeson, who has vast knowledge of poetry and philosophy, is likely to ask, 'How was your weekend?' on a Monday morning--and be genuinely interested in your response. These casual exchanges are essential to urban life.

"A lot of heart has gone into building the Penn Book Center, and it's very sad to see that come to an end."

--From an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Ashley Montague and Michael Row about Penn Book Center, which they are closing at the end of May (although University of Pennsylvania faculty have nearly 5,000 signatures on a petition asking the university to help save the store).

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan


GoGo Books Gets Rolling in Newark, Del.

GoGo Books, a new mobile bookstore specializing in books for young readers, has hit the road in Newark, Del., the Newark Post Online reported.

Owner Kate Keeper has turned a former Doritos truck into a bookmobile carrying a couple thousand titles that range from board books and picture books to young adult novels, as well as some children's-focused sidelines. The bookmobile had its soft opening earlier this month.

Keeper, who left her job as a registered nurse to found GoGo Books, told Newark Post Online that she was inspired to open a bookstore of her own after visiting Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband about a year ago. While they felt that they could make a bookstore work, Keeper was skeptical about the idea of a bricks-and-mortar store. After researching bookmobiles, however, Keeper decided to go for it.

She plans to host storytime and singalong sessions at the truck, and set up shop at festivals and other events in the area. She hopes to form partnerships with a variety of local businesses, and her next appearance is scheduled for May 4-5 at the Creamery of Kennett Square, across the border in Pennsylvania.

"I left my nursing job because I wanted to do what I want to do when I want to do it," Keeper said. "And this is what I hope will help me get there. I seriously just love being around books, I love being around people. I just want to be out in the community."

Chronicle Books: Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris

Alexandra Schmelzle Joining NEIBA as Marketing Coordinator

Alexandra Schmelzle

Effective May 13, Alexandra Schmelzle is joining the New England Independent Booksellers Association in the newly created position of marketing coordinator. She has been at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the past five years, most recently as telephone sales representative to independent bookstores nationwide. NEIBA executive director Beth Ineson noted that "her enthusiasm for independent bookstores began in the third grade with a purchase from Kansas City's Reading Reptile and hasn't slowed since. Fun fact: her parents named her after the main character in Willa Cather's O Pioneers! An auspicious start to a career in books."

Schmelzle will have a couple weeks of overlap with administrative coordinator Nan Sorensen to make for a smooth transition before Sorensen retires at the end of May. Sorensen has been with NEIBA for 20 years, from 1994 to 2001 and--after a stint at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt--since 2006.

Ingram Booklove: An Exclusive Rewards Program for Indie Booksellers

B&N Opens Smallest Footprint Store in Fairfax, Va.

Barnes & Noble is opening one of its new prototype stores today at Edens' Mosaic District, a retail and restaurant project in the Merrifield section of Fairfax, Va., the Washington Business Journal reported, adding that the "8,300-square-foot bookstore located at 2921 District Ave. is the smallest of the 12 smaller-footprint prototypes the company has opened."

Despite its size, the latest B&N "squeezes a lot in: it carries 24,000 titles, a section of games, Legos and toys, a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating that serves Starbucks coffee and food items, and a small stationery and gift items section," the Business Journal wrote.

Frank Morabito, v-p of stores for B&N, said the company's future bookshops are more likely to focus on the limited-service cafe model of food and beverage offerings, expanding the quick-service food offerings at its cafes. He added that B&N is always looking for more opportunities in the D.C. region and beyond, though he declined to be specific.

Berkley Books: Harlem Sunset (A Harlem Renaissance Mystery) by Nekesa Afia

Obituary Note: Lyra McKee

Irish journalist and debut author Lyra McKee was shot and killed April 18 "while observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate," the Bookseller reported. She was 29. The New IRA has admitted responsibility for the killing.

Faber signed a two-book deal with McKee last April. Her first book, The Lost Boys, "exploring the disappearances of a number of children and young men during the Troubles," will be published in 2020, the Bookseller noted.

"We are heartbroken and appalled by the news of Lyra McKee's death in Derry," said Alex Bowler, publisher at Faber. "Lyra was a writer of exceptional gifts and compassion, an inspiring, determined seeker of truth, and the most beloved of human beings. We are honored to be her publisher."

In a tribute posted on Janklow & Nesbit's website, Will Francis wrote: "Lyra McKee was gifted, brave, kind and funny. I'm proud to have been her literary agent. I started working with her after Chrissie Giles at Mosaic published Lyra's extraordinary piece about the effect of the war in Northern Ireland on her generation, growing up in Belfast after the Good Friday Agreement. She wrote about the legacy of the Troubles, about a city haunted by its recent past, and did so with tremendous wit and insight. I sold her book... to Faber last year on the basis of a proposal. In that document she wrote about growing up in a 'conflict hotspot' in North Belfast, off the road known as the Murder Mile."

The National Union of Journalists' general secretary Michelle Stanistreet commented: "A bright light has been quenched and that plunges all of us in to darkness... Her death is a major loss to journalism."

Sidelines Snapshot: Puzzles, Pens, Cards and Games

At Flashlight Books in Walnut Creek, Calif., tote bags and onesies from Out of Print are doing "really well," as are lenticular bookmarks from ArtGame, reported store owner Shoshana Smith. Other popular items include mints from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, book lights from Mighty Bright and a variety of products from Fly Paper Products, such as candles, cards and journals. Over the holidays, Smith noted, wooden and metal puzzles from Professor Puzzle were especially popular. And on the subject of perennial favorites, Smith said she's reordered from Out of Print more times than any other supplier, and included Peter Pauper Press journals and Lee Publication pens in that category.

Recently, Smith has brought in a variety of baby products from the supplier Gamago, as well as Bookaroo pen pouches from the supplier If. When asked about any locally or regionally made sidelines, Smith mentioned that she has used the website Faire to source baby bibs, swaddles, toys and plenty of cards from local craftspeople. And many of the store's cards, Smith added, are made relatively locally in either Northern California, Oregon, or Washington State, with cards from Sad Shop and Ingrid Press as examples.

From New York Puzzle Company

Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., reported that her store's bestselling and fastest-growing sidelines category is jigsaw puzzles. She carries all piece counts from 24 to 2,000, and sources those puzzles from eeBoo, Ravensburger, New York Puzzle Company and Educa. Koehler noted that if booksellers order from Chronicle and Gibbs Smith, puzzles become "an easy addition to their book orders" and can be ordered in small quantities. In a similar vein, Koehler has had success with games that do not require batteries, can be learned quickly and "enjoyed by three generations." As examples she pointed to Tenzi and its sister games Slapzi and Itzi.

Half of the store is devoted to children's books, Koehler explained, and as such the store carries a lot of plush. She carries both licensed characters as well as simple stuffed animals, and said that when she buys picture books with animals as the main characters she makes sure to find matching plush toys. On the subject of stationery, Koehler said that her store does well with a variety of letterpress cards from suppliers like Rifle Paper Co. and Graphique de France. As for perennial bestsellers, Koehler pointed to the small, medium and large zipper pouches from Blue Q.

From Northern Lights

Phoenix Books has four locations across Vermont, in Burlington, Essex, Rutland and Chester. Bookseller and floor manager Donna McDermid reported that at the Essex location, pins and magnets from Badge Bomb are doing particularly well at the moment, and have been moving steadily since last fall. She's recently expanded the store's puzzle selection and sources them mainly from Ravensburger and Galison, with "awesome" children's puzzles coming from Crocodile Creek. Over the holidays, candles did extremely well, and McDermid said she gets them from Northern Lights. McDermid added that she recently brought in a line of literary-themed lip balm that has been doing surprisingly well.

On the topic of local sidelines, McDermid mentioned a company called Maple Landmark, which makes quality wooden toys, bookmarks and games. Other children's-focused sidelines come from Tedco Toys, which makes a variety of science toys. When asked about perennial favorites, McDermid brought up a few, including "anything" from Unemployed Philosophers Guild, especially mints and mugs, as well as fountain pens from Pilot and Lamy and puppets from Folkmanis. As for cards and stationery, meanwhile, McDermid pointed to Roger la Borde cards and journals and cards from eeBoo. --Alex Mutter


Image of the Day: Nicola's Presents Valerie Jarrett

Monday night Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Mich., hosted Valerie Jarrett (Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward; Penguin) in conversation with Broderick Johnson (both University of Michigan Law School alumni who served in President Obama's administration) at the historic Michigan Theater. Pictured: (l.-r.) Meagen Kucaj, general manager; Samantha Hendricks, event coordinator; (seated) Jarrett; Alana Haley, marketing coordinator; booksellers Ieva Bates and Rebecca Fortes.

Personnel Changes at HMH Books for Young Readers

At HMH Books for Young Readers:

Lisa DiSarro has been promoted to executive director, marketing. She has been with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for 20 years.

Amanda Acevedo has been promoted to marketing manager, school & library.

Taylor McBroom has joined the marketing team as marketing specialist, school & library. She previously worked at HarperCollins Children's Books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rosalind S. Helderman on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Rosalind S. Helderman, contributor to the introduction and analysis of The Mueller Report (Scribner, $15, 9781982129736).

The View: Vivica A. Fox, author of Every Day I'm Hustling (St. Martin's Griffin, $17.99, 9781250306920).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Tennessee Williams-New Orleans Literary Festival

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, April 27
12:30 p.m. Book TV visits independent bookstores to mark the fifth annual Independent Bookstore Day.

2:30 p.m. Kenneth Ackerman and David O. Stewart, contributors to The Presidents: Noted Historians Rank America's Best--and Worst--Chief Executives (PublicAffairs, $32, 9781541774339).

4:40 p.m. Jeff Bergner, author of The Vanishing Congress: Reflections on Politics in Washington (Rambling Ridge Press, $25.95, 9780989040228). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:25 a.m.)

6:15 p.m. Akiba Solomon and Kenrya Rankin, authors of How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance (Bold Type Books, $17.99, 9781568588490), at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

7:50 p.m. Nick Adams, author of Class Dismissed: Why College Isn't the Answer (Post Hill Press, $25, 9781642930672). (Re-airs Monday at 1 a.m.)

8:25 p.m. Robert Caro, author of Working (Knopf, $25, 9780525656340) is interviewed by Conan O'Brien. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

10 p.m. Preet Bharara, Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law (Knopf, $27.95, 9780525521129). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 p.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Chelsea Clinton, author of Don't Let Them Disappear (Philomel, $17.99, 9780525514329). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:05 a.m.)

Sunday, April 28
1:30 a.m. Pamela Nadell, author America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today (Norton, $28.95, 9780393651232), at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 10:35 a.m.)

2 a.m. Joe Lurie, author of Perception and Deception: A Mind-Opening Journey Across Cultures (Nipporica Associates, $16.95, 9780970846365).

1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Coverage of the 2019 Tennessee Williams-New Orleans Literary Festival, which took place March 27-31 in New Orleans, La. Highlights include:

  • 1 p.m. A discussion of community and setting in fiction with Joshua Wheeler, author of Acid Wash, Silas House, author of Southernmost, Malka Older, author of State Tectonics, Hannah Pittard, author of Visible Empire, and Robert Olen Butler, author of Paris in the Dark.
  • 2:18 p.m. A discussion of American optimism with Douglas Brinkley, author of American Moonshot, Jason Berry, author of City of a Million Dreams, and Elizabeth Schwartz, author of Before I Do.
  • 3:28 p.m. A discussion of New Orleans with Bryan Batt and Katy Danos, authors of Pontchartrain Beach, Cassie Pruyn, author of Bayou St. John and Scott Ellis, author of The Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans.
  • 4:35 p.m. A discussion of memoir with Bev Marshall, author of Back Home, Kathy McKeon, author of Jackie's Girl, Ken Wells author of Gumbo Life, and Tena Clark, author of Southern Discomfort.
  • 5:51 p.m. A discussion of the portrayal of sexuality in written works with Justin Phillip Reed, author of Indecency, and Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You.

Books & Authors

Awards: Colby, Anna Dewdney Read Together Winners

Paul Scharre has won the 2019 William E. Colby Award for his book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (Norton). He will receive the $5,000 prize, awarded by Norwich University, funded by the Pritzker Military Foundation and honoring "a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs," at Norwich University during the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium, September 24-25, in Northfield, Vt.

Organizers described Army of None as an exploration of "what could happen when next-generation weapons change warfare in a fast-paced and exciting non-fiction narrative. Scharre examines the role of artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, the complex legal and ethical issues involved, and their growing use worldwide. Combining military history, philosophy, science, and global policy with interviews with defense experts, activists, analysts, and psychologists, Scharre argues that technology should be utilized when it provides benefits and makes war more humane, spares civilian lives, and increases precision, but that autonomous technology is no replacement for human empathy, judgment, and decision-making."

Colby Symposium co-founder Carlo D'Este called Army of None "an important, thoughtful and timely appraisal of the future of warfare and how autonomous weapons may well affect how wars are fought and possibly decided by artificial intelligence. Army of None is also a sober warning that we're embarking on an age of dangerous and uncharted waters."

A former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Scharre is a senior fellow and director of the technology and national security program at the Center for a New American Security. He had a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies while working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2008-2013.

Finalists for the 2019 Colby Award included: A Spy Named Orphan by Roland Phillips (Norton), Brotherhood of Mamluks by Brad Graft (Sager Group), The China Mission by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan (Norton), Facts and Fears by James R. Clapper (Viking) and War on Peace by Ronan Farrow (Norton).


The Rabbit Listened, written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books), has won the third annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, sponsored by Penguin Young Readers, the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader and honoring "a picture book that is both a superb read-aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection."

Doerrfeld will be awarded a prize of $1,000 from the Children's Book Council, and Penguin will purchase and donate 250 copies of The Rabbit Listened to a school, library, or literacy organization of her choice. A reading by Doerrfeld and the award presentation will take place at the Red Balloon Bookstore in St. Paul, Minn., on May 2 at 10:30 a.m.

The 2019 Honor Books are: Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat (Disney Hyperion); Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (Holiday House); I Am Enough by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo (Balzer & Bray); Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick); and Thank You, Omu! by Oga Mora (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).

The winner and honor books were chosen by voting over the last two months by librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country.

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, April 30:

The 18th Abduction by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown, $29, 9780316420266) is the 18th Women's Murder Club thriller. (April 29)

Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff (Harper, $29.99, 9780062275646) is a minute-by-minute account of 9/11.

Mama's Boy: A Story from Our Americas by Dustin Lance Black (Knopf, $27.95, 9781524733278) is the memoir of a gay filmmaker raised by a conservative Mormon mother.

The Red Daughter: A Novel by John Burnham Schwartz (Random House, $26, 9781400068463) follows Joseph Stalin's daughter in 1960s America.

The Invited: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon (Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385541381) takes place in rural Vermont, where a couple accidentally builds a haunted house.

A Good Enough Mother: A Novel by Bev Thomas (Pamela Dorman, $26, 9780525561255) follows a psychotherapist whose new patient reminds her of her missing son.

You're Missing It! by Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith (Paulsen/Penguin, $17.99, 9780525514428) is a picture book featuring a number of children desperate to get their parents off their phones.

Extraordinary Birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781547601004) features an orphaned girl who believes she will find her mom the day she finally transforms into a bird.


The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (Gallery/Scout Press, $16.99, 9781501156250).

The Republic: A Novel by Joost de Vries, translated by Jane Hedley-Prole (Other Press, $16.99, 9781590518533).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick (Penguin Press, $27, 9780525558736). "The courage of youth and the beauty of faith are crystallized in this story of love, loss, and acceptance. Ilya and his older brother, Vladimir, may have been thick as thieves, but while Ilya's high marks in school offered him a way out of their depressing Russian town, Vladimir's path has led to more illicit activities. Now, as Ilya navigates his new life in Louisiana, he is determined to save his brother, who is accused of murder back in Russia. Lydia Fitzpatrick's stunning debut brings these vastly different cultures to life and imbues every scene with empathy and understanding. A brilliant and thrilling novel that shouldn't be missed!" --Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, Calif.

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May (Park Row, $24.99, 9780778307785). "I loved this perfect memoir so much that I read it twice and already know that it will be one of my favorites of the year. Meredith May learns to withstand pain, loss, and grief through the lessons her beloved grandfather teaches her. After her mother moves the family away from her father and shuts down emotionally, Grandpa shows May and her brother love, patience, and understanding using honeybees as an example of how to survive and thrive in a confusing world. I cannot wait to put this moving, emotionally compelling memoir into many hands this spring!" --Diane Grumhaus, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, Ill.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
Brute: Poems by Emily Skaja (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555978358). "How can the end of a relationship feel like anything but a gaping wound? Visceral, angry, and honest, Brute will show you how. This is a journey to the heart of loss and back out again, stronger, fiercer. These highly propulsive poems tell a story, but much more than recalling a simple breakup, Emily Skaja explores gender, sexuality, and the strength and wildness in femininity and womanhood. Her poems will slice you open to your very soul and then stitch you back together, and you will thank her for it." --Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds (Orchard Books, $17.99, 9780545865036). "The importance of speaking your truth echoes throughout this book. Don't be afraid. Don't hold back. Your voice is important and necessary. We all need to gather our strength and speak up, even if it's hard to do. Beautiful." --Dea Lavoie, Second Star to the Right Children's Books, Denver, Colo.

For Ages 9 to 12: An Indies Introduce Title
Mostly the Honest Truth by Jody J. Little (Harper, $16.99, 9780062852496). "When Jane finds herself in foster care while her father spends another stint in rehab, she's determined not to make friends with anyone because this is the last time they'll be apart. As days go by and she settles into Three Boulders, Jane realizes that family is more than your relatives--it's who stands by you when you need them. Wonderful characters and authentic voices make this story one for all to share." --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
XL by Scott Brown (Knopf, $17.99, 9781524766245). "Growing up is tough, no matter what! But it doesn't make it any easier if you are a boy and barely five feet tall going into high school. You just want to be normal, average, and have a friend or two. Will Daughty has a stepbrother, who is also his best friend, and Monica, a girl he secretly loves. But Will is not average. He doesn't feel normal. Until he starts to grow. And grow. And grow. And soon Will is towering over everyone. And here begins another set of problems. XL is a fun and fascinating story about growing up--literally." --Marilyn Robbins, BookBar, Denver, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Lanny

Lanny by Max Porter (Graywolf Press, $24 hardcover, 160p., 9781555978402, May 14, 2019)

Following his decorated first novel, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter again takes his reader into a weird and magical world with Lanny. Similarly short, lyric and mysterious, this touching story is partner but not sequel.

Lanny's mum and dad have moved to a village not far from London, "fewer than fifty redbrick cottages, a pub, a church." Lanny's dad commutes into the city while his mum works on writing her murder thriller. Lanny goes to school and plays in the woods, singing, fairy-like and joyful; he is "young and ancient all at once, a mirror and a key," "stinking of pine trees and other nice things." He "says strange and wonderful things, mumblings, puzzling things for a child to say." There is also an old man in the village named Pete, an artist who works with natural materials and was once famous in London. He describes himself as a "miserable solitary bastard" but is actually caring and sensitive; he becomes the closest friend Lanny's family has in town.

And then there is Dead Papa Toothwort, a legend and an enigma, tied up in trees and leaves and related to the green men carved in old churches in this part of the world. When the book opens, he is waking "from his standing nap an acre wide." As a force, it is unclear whether Dead Papa Toothwort is good or evil; he is associated with death as well as seasonal renewal. "He wants to kill things, so he sings... his grin takes a sticky hour." "He loves it when a lamb gets stuck being born." And he is obsessed with Lanny.

The whole village, in a way, revolves around Lanny--especially after misfortune strikes. His dad feels overwhelmed by his son's specialness ("What or who is supposed to manage and regulate Lanny and his gifts? Oh f*ck, it's us"); his needs are simpler, related to work, food and sex. The boy's mum is closer to Lanny's dreamworld, "the type of person who is that little bit more akin to the weather than most." After agreeing to give him art lessons, Pete finds a surprising new friend in the young boy. The rest of the human population follows this preoccupation--and always there is Dead Papa Toothwort, listening.

What begins as a sweet revolution of three adult lives (mum, dad, Pete) around the boy turns sinister in the novel's second of three parts; resolution comes in the third. Often a stream-of-consciousness style leaves the reader a bit off-kilter, but this is suited to Lanny's dreamlike setting: trust in the story will be rewarded. Porter's prose is undeniably gorgeous. "Mile-wide slabs of rain romp across the valley... palette-knife smears of bad weather rush past." These elements in combination are every bit as imaginative, compelling and magical as Lanny himself. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This novel about family, the power of the woods and the creative spirit, centered on a special young boy, will charm any reader.

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