Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, July 8, 2016

Poisoned Pen Press: That Night in the Library by Eva Jurczyk

From My Shelf

Elie Wiesel, 1928-2016

Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel, "the Auschwitz survivor who became an eloquent witness for the six million Jews slaughtered in World War II and who, more than anyone else, seared the memory of the Holocaust on the world's conscience," died Saturday, the New York Times reported. He was 87.

Wiesel, who wrote several dozen books and in 1986 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "was defined not so much by the work he did as by the gaping void he filled.... [B]y the sheer force of his personality and his gift for the haunting phrase, Mr. Wiesel, who had been liberated from Buchenwald as a 16-year-old with the indelible tattoo A-7713 on his arm, gradually exhumed the Holocaust from the burial ground of the history books."

Night, the 1960 English translation of his autobiographical account of the horrors he witnessed in the camps as a teenage boy, has sold more than 10 million copies, "three million of them after Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club in 2006 and traveled with Mr. Wiesel to Auschwitz," the Times wrote, adding that it was followed by novels, books of essays and reportage, two plays and even two cantatas--"an average of a book a year, 60 books by his own count in 2015." His Night Trilogy includes Dawn and Day.

President Obama, who visited the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp with Wiesel in 2009, said Saturday: 'He raised his voice, not just against anti-Semitism, but against hatred, bigotry and intolerance in all its forms. He implored each of us, as nations and as human beings, to do the same, to see ourselves in each other and to make real that pledge of 'never again.' "

The Writer's Life

Ernest Cline: Follow Your Muse

photo: Dan Winters

Ready Player One became a hit, with its mashup of video games, 1980s pop-culture references, and time-honored story of the nerd who makes it big. Author Ernest Cline is having a similar experience in the real world as his first novel is set to become a motion picture made by one of his childhood heroes, Stephen Spielberg.

Armada (Broadway Books, $16 paperback), Cline's second novel, is a fantastic summer read--full of fun storytelling with a serious message of how humanity might survive a first contact scenario. When Zack Lightman realizes that his elite video gaming skills have prepared him to take on the invading alien horde, he has to think past everything he's been taught about the bad guys in order to save humanity itself.

Cline took time out of a busy promotional schedule to talk with Shelf Awareness about Armada, sudden success and his inspirations.

Was writing your sophomore effort, Armada, different from writing your breakout hit, Ready Player One?

It was completely different. With Ready Player One, the whole time I was writing it, I wasn't even sure I could get it published. I wasn't even sure I could write a book that has Mega Godzilla fight Ultraman and not get sued by all those people. I never imagined it would be a bestseller or that it would be assigned at universities or translated to other languages. It's crazy. That changed everything for the second book because it was my first experience of writing a book under a deadline. Also, the movie rights were sold and as soon as I finished the book, I would have to write a screenplay adaptation for Universal Pictures. Not only was it going to be published, thousands and thousands of people were going to read it, it stood a good chance of becoming a movie, and people were waiting. It was my first time ever having the experience of people on social media saying, "When's your next book coming out?" It's the best problem to have, but still it's a whole element of pressure that I never expected.

You have to go where the muse leads you, so I tried to keep that in mind when I was writing my second book, knowing that it was going to be viewed with expectations, whereas Ready Player One could just be a surprise.

Ultimately, I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone buying this book: What would I want to get out of the story and what would please or delight me as reader? Then trying to execute that. That's what I did for Ready Player One--not expecting anybody to like it at all.

Armada is a whole different animal because most people wanted a sequel to Ready Player One, I think. That wasn't the idea that I had, though, or what I was most excited about to write. For me, writing a book is really hard and takes over a year. This book took me almost two years to write. For me to focus on something that long, I have to be passionate about it and interested in the story, the characters, and everything I'm writing about. The only way I could write any kind of book under those circumstances is to be writing something I believe in and that I'm interested in and enthusiastic about, which incorporates all the stuff I'm interested in at the time. I couldn't have written any other book as a follow-up. That was the place that I was in.

Are there any real-life analogs for the video games within Armada?

I have a bunch of inspirations for Armada, but one of the first one's a video game that I have here in my home, Battlezone, which came out in 1982.

I love Battlezone.

Oh, Battlezone is so great. It is a great game, and it was so realistic. Despite its rudimentary hardware and graphics, the U.S. Army bought it from Atari and paid the original programmer, Ed Rotberg, to reprogram it into a tank training simulator called Bradley Trainer to train real soldiers to operate the Bradley fighting vehicle, which was a new, light armored tank they developed at the time.

I remember reading this story in a video game magazine in the early '80s, and it just rocked my world because from the very first time I started playing video games--which was Space Invaders in 1977--they felt like simulators to me. It was a way to live out my fantasy of being Luke Skywalker. Space Invaders was directly inspired by Star Wars, so I was fascinated by Space Invaders after seeing Star Wars; my whole childhood was obsessed with it. The video game industry, to some degree, was heavily inspired by Star Wars, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Star Raiders, Starmaster and Star Fire. All these early video games were inspired by people who had seen Star Wars and wanted to re-create that feeling inside a video game. My brother and I would build a cockpit out of couch pillows in front of the TV and pull our Atari inside and pretend it was a space ship. That is such a natural thing, I think, for anybody who plays video games to imagine. What if this was real? What if I could really learn to do whatever this video game is teaching me? Another big influence is the novel Ender's Game, which was the first science fiction book I ever read.

Fantastic novel.

Yeah, the book came out in 1985. Also around the same time, in 1984, The Last Starfighter came out. I love that movie so much.

One of the most disappointing things about my childhood was that there was no The Last Starfighter video game. Is that not the biggest lost opportunity in the history of video games? You left that movie wanting to play that game so badly. I found in my research for Armada that the reason they never made one was because they made a prototype and it was going to cost $30,000 a unit to build. There was no amount of quarters that you can put into the game to justify building it. In the movie, it promises in the end credits: "Watch for the video game from Atari," but it never came.

Another inspiration for Armada is my younger brother, a major in the Marine Corps; he's an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician. He has shown me some of the drones they use to disarm bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan remotely with telepresence robots that have remote hands used to disarm these things from a safe distance. The controls to these drones look like video game controllers.

They do that on purpose because it lowers the learning curve for soldiers who've grown up playing video games. They can just pick up one of these controllers and intuitively do that. They do that with all of the quadcopter drones now, too.

Why do all first-contact stories turn into explosions? You have some of that in the book, but ultimately, you've built a more nuanced take in Armada.

The reason it always turns into that is because that's what we like at the movies. We like watching stuff blow up. We like watching Independence Day-type stuff.

I've always loved alien invasion stories, all the way back to War of the Worlds and all the different tellings of War of the Worlds. First-contact stories are always amazing to me, so it was a way to have all my cake and eat it at the same time.

And actually be thoughtful and intelligent about it, right?

Yeah, thank you. And not have it end with you kill the most aliens and you win--let it be an examination of human nature. I worry about that sometimes. As a science buff and fan, I'm so proud of everything humanity has accomplished in this short amount of time. But because of science fiction, some part of you ends up being disappointed that we haven't accomplished more. It's 2015; we should have hover boards and flying cars.

There's such a difference between written science fiction and popular media science fiction. You could bridge the gap with this novel.

Thank you. You can have smart, fun science fiction films, too, but they are few and far between. It's usually one or the other. You have smart, thought-out science fiction or you have big, bombastic things-blowing-up science fiction but never in between. I'm trying.

You've got to have both.

Yes, you have to have both. A lot of people tell me I did it. It's weird because I don't know that Armada has the same broad appeal that Ready Player One does because to appreciate Armada and what I was trying to do, you have to almost be a student of science fiction or have been a fan of science fiction books and films for a long time to pick up on all the tropes I was trying to play off of and put a new spin on. I also tried to make it work as a straightforward story for people who had not grown up with that stuff. I'm still figuring out whether or not I succeeded.

When I sat down to write Ready Player One, it's not like I was trying to accomplish any of the things that book has accomplished. I was just trying to please myself. It's like whenever people sit down to write a song, they're always trying to write a good song or the best thing that they can. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Book Candy

Beach Reading in Style

"Bookish beach style": Quirk Books advised summer readers to "load up with bookish beach goodies for your next trip to the seaside, and enjoy the sunshine without missing out on your favorite character's adventures."


Buzzfeed suggested "23 items perfect for a Jane Austen-inspired wedding."


Pop quiz from Mental Floss: "Pick the correct word for each definition."


Meet Rowan McCabe, "the world's first door-to-door poet."


The Chronicle Books blog featured artist Lisa Swerling's book-themed shadowboxes, in which "poignant scenes extracted from books are encapsulated within a diorama, provoking feelings of nostalgia, intrigue, and wonder."


Hidden library dept.: The Albion Barn project "includes offices wrapped around a central, hidden library with four secret doors which, when opened, connect the different areas," Bookshelf noted.

Great Reads

Rediscover: Future Shock

Futurist Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock, died on June 27 at age 87. Toffler received an English degree in 1950 from New York University, where he met his wife and later co-author, Heidi. The Tofflers, both aspiring writers, set out for experiences to write about. They spent the first five years after graduation studying mass production by taking blue-collar jobs on factory assembly lines. Alvin's labor experience got him a position at a union newspaper, leading to other journalism jobs, including labor columnist for Fortune and interviewer for Playboy. In the mid-1960s, Toffler conducted research and consulted for IBM, Xerox and AT&T, sparking the five years of work that would lead to Future Shock in 1970.

The title Future Shock refers to the social effects of rapid technological change, a type of confusion and breakdown of established decision-making processes called "information overload," a phrase coined by the book. Toffler foresaw many of the issues created by the shift from industrial to post-industrial society: wasteful disposability in manufactured goods, quickening technological obsolescence, upheavals in employment and other market forces, and the creation of a semi-nomadic class of service workers moving from job to job, fraying most meaningful social bonds. Future Shock was followed by The Third Wave (1980) and Powershift (1990). Toffler's ideas influenced a generation of political and business leaders, including the founder of AOL, Steve Case, whose recent book's title (The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future) pays tribute to Toffler. Future Shock has sold six million copies worldwide, and was last published in 1984 by Bantam ($7.99, 9780553277371). --Tobias Mutter

Book Review


Ithaca: A Novel of Homer's Odyssey

by Patrick Dillon

Homer's Odyssey recounts Odysseus's 10-year journey home from the Trojan War, to where his wife and son await him. His adventures along the way take center stage. Ithaca, Patrick Dillon's retelling, resets that center to the son. With substantially more insight into Telemachus than readers have had before, this version also offers a more fallible Odysseus, with all the drama and yearning of the original.

Dillon remains true to Homer's setting, but the novel is told in Telemachus's voice, and the weighty absence of a father he never met defines his existence. At 16, he worries over his role and responsibilities, and his inability to protect his mother: he has no one to teach him how to fight. These interior workings bring Odysseus's iconic son to light as a nuanced and fully formed character. When the wise warrior Nestor assigns his daughter to be Telemachus's traveling companion, the story gets an appealing twist: Polycaste is headstrong and capable, and her friendship has much to offer Telemachus. The gods are less present this time around; Telemachus is openly dubious. Veterans of the Trojan War roam Greece as bandits and vagabonds.

Though only slight details are changed, Ithaca is a vibrant and fresh revival; Telemachus's struggles are illuminated through the use of his own voice. The well-loved classic is present: Penelope is beautiful, determined, fading; the suitors are shocking; Menelaus and Helen fight bitterly; the aging Nestor tries to guide Telemachus true. Dillon's achievement is in characterization while retaining the heart and passion of Homer. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: This retelling of the Odyssey gives Telemachus more voice than ever before.

Pegasus Books, $25.95, hardcover, 9781681771557

Listen to Me

by Hannah Pittard

After exploring youth and family in her first two novels, Hannah Pittard (Reunion) turns to one of the most complicated human relationships, marriage. Listen to Me is a love story in which the lovers have grown detached from and circumspect around each other. In other words, it's like many marriages, where passion has worn off and the pair have settled down to the business of being together for the rest of their lives.

Mark and Maggie are driving from Chicago to spend the summer in Virginia when they're caught in a storm, forcing them to change their plans and find a place to spend the night in rural West Virginia. Having survived a mugging a few months earlier, Maggie has become withdrawn and paranoid, and Mark's little patience is wearing thin even before they begin their trip. But Pittard isn't interested in moving tension through plot. Instead, she expertly peels back the years of comfort the two have created, revealing a fraying marriage that is not equipped to deal with the force of nature it encounters.

While Pittard depicts Maggie and Mark with razor-sharp precision, foibles and all, she doesn't gawk at them. If anything, she forcefully argues that they are two sometimes-decent human beings trying to survive and be loved. It's a rare novel that expertly portrays a totally normal marriage, but Listen to Me also reminds readers that it's the normal patterns of a long-term relationship that allow it to survive. --Noah Cruickshank, marketing manager, Open Books, Chicago, Ill.

Discover: Hannah Pittard's third novel delves into what makes marriages tick.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, hardcover, 9780544714441

The Prisoner of Hell Gate

by Dana I. Wolff

In the early 1900s, Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant cook who carried disease with her, inadvertently killing those she fed with her delicious meals. Tracked down by George A. Soper, Typhoid Mary was sent to live out her days on North Brother Island, an asylum for the sick and ill, off the coast of Manhattan. Fast-forward many years after Mary's death, and Karalee, the great-granddaughter of Soper, is boating on the East River with four of her friends when they decide to investigate the abandoned buildings on the infamous island. What ensues in Dana I. Wolff's first novel is a classic tale of physical and psychological horror and suspense as the group of college students and one professor meander through the derelict wards and overgrown grounds. High on pot and alcohol, their senses both heightened and subdued, they ponder why there's a viable garden in the greenhouse and who the homeless woman is who agrees to cook them dinner, while ignoring possible clues as to what's really transpired on this neglected piece of property.

The Prisoner of Hell Gate expertly weaves the history of Mary Mallon's life with the devastating 1904 fire and shipwreck of the passenger steamboat General Slocum off the island, and the antics of the five newcomers to the place. The ending is startling and almost too abrupt, but it neatly resolves the novel. And although some of the characters' actions are predictable, this element is easily overlooked as one gets swept along in the rapid current of unfolding events. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: Set on a little-known island in New York City, this taut, well-written ghost/horror story combines elements of historical fact with the rich imagination of a debut novelist.

Picador, $16, paperback, 9781250089700

Jonathan Unleashed

by Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff has been known to weave dogs into her crossover stories for young adults and teenagers (How I Live Now, There Is No Dog). In Jonathan Unleashed, canines take the lead as Rosoff makes her first foray into adult fiction with a romantic comedy about 20-something Jonathan Trefoil, who is struggling to launch his adult life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Jonathan lives in a sublet and has a job he loathes writing advertising copy for an office supply company. He also isn't sure how to placate his pushy, ambitious girlfriend, Julie, who works for a bridal magazine that only increases her zealousness to tie the knot. When Jonathan's brother, James, takes an engineering job in Dubai, he asks Jonathan to care for his two dogs for six months, and Jonathan forges an instant bond with them. Dante is a super-smart and hyper-aware border collie, out of his herding element amid the hustle and bustle of New York City. Sissy is a spaniel who is more sweet-natured and much lower maintenance. The dogs' attentiveness to Jonathan--and vice versa--add a refreshing new dimension to Jonathan's thorny, uncertain life, leading him on a journey that exposes him to new places and people.

Rosoff has a great handle on the nuances of contemporary dog culture. She writes big, funny scenes that heighten the over-active imagination of her very likable hero as he "goes to the dogs" in all areas of his life, hilariously liberated from the stifling confines of his existence. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

Discover: The life of a disillusioned, 20-something New Yorker is upended in hilarious ways when he takes in two very special dogs.

Viking, $25, hardcover, 9781101980903

Mystery & Thriller

House Revenge

by Mike Lawson

Congressman John Mahoney is fired up in Mike Lawson's 11th novel in the Joe DeMarco thriller series. His ego is bruised, and someone must pay.

In a regular trip back to Boston, Mahoney meets with his constituents to hear their concerns and issues. Plucky octogenarian Elinore Dobbs shares her current housing plight with Mahoney: Sean Callahan, a wealthy real estate developer, is trying to force her out of her long-term lease in order to demolish her building and erect a mammoth development catering to the upper class. But Dobbs doesn't want to leave. She likes her apartment and has three more years on her lease. So Callahan is resorting to underhanded tactics to force her out.

Mahoney takes an immediate liking to Dobbs and wants to help her. He knows Callahan, a donor to his last election campaign, and figures he can negotiate a mutually agreeable arrangement, winding up a hero in the process. But instead of cooperating, Callahan essentially says he's more powerful than any politician and Mahoney can go jump in the lake. The clash between the two powerful men sets off deadly Rube Goldberg machinations, ensnaring Joe DeMarco in his most terrifying job yet.

Lawson delivers an explosive plot with a brilliant construction of events that add up to a swift, exciting novel. Encapsulating both hot-button issues and Lawson's darkly creative imagination, House Revenge is the political thriller at its finest. And with a self-contained story line, even series newbies can relish this high-stakes DeMarco adventure. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

Discover: Joe DeMarco tries to find justice for one of Mahoney's Boston constituents in a battle of over-inflated egos that may cost him dearly.

Atlantic Monthly Press, $25, hardcover, 9780802125231

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Hatching

by Ezekiel Boone

In the jungles of Peru, a tour guide and his clients suddenly disappear in a black river of something that flows like water but isn't a liquid. In India, strange tremors indicate an earthquake, but the vibrations are too uniform to be seismic activity. And in China, a nuclear bomb is detonated in a remote province where mining is taking place. The Hatching, Ezekiel Boone's first novel in the Hatching series, is an apocalyptic horror story that feeds on humanity's fear of spiders.

For undisclosed reasons, an ancient species has come to life and humankind must figure out a way to stop it. Short scenes set around the world quickly help the reader realize the invasion is global, while longer chapters introduce characters who will probably reappear in future installments. There's Stephanie Pilgrim, president of the U.S.; Melanie Guyer, American University professor and expert on spiders; Melanie's ex-husband, Manny, who is Steph's lover and White House chief of staff; Mike Rich, Minneapolis cop and devoted father; and several survivalists living in California, to name a few. Although the characters are a bit stereotypical and Boone often provides too much background information on them at once, these aspects can be easily overlooked as the reader gets wrapped up in the threads of disaster and graphic horror that Boone has spun.

Tense, rapid-paced and creepy, The Hatching will give anyone arachnophobia. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

Discover: An ancient species of spiders threatens to take over the world in this first-class apocalyptic horror story.

Emily Bestler/Atria, $26, hardcover, 9781501125041

Food & Wine

Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes

by Robin Ha

For illustrator Robin Ha, cooking is a creative outlet that serves as a natural extension of art. Ha discovered her love of this art form while living in Italy during her senior year, where she learned from her host family how easy Italian cooking could be. Upon her return, she took up residence in the New York suburbs, and with no Korean restaurant within walking distance, Ha took up the gauntlet and learned how to cook the dishes of her birthplace, sharing the results with friends and coworkers, and thereby piquing their interest in Korean food. This brought about Banchan in 2 Pages, a practical and practicable cooking blog that employed playful drawings, straightforward ingredient lists and simple instructions to demystify the art of Korean cuisine, many of which have been gathered in Cook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes.

Using a cartoony heroine named Dengki who dresses in the traditional high-waisted Korean dress--hanbok--Ha demonstrates techniques through two-page spreads and charming illustrations. The genius behind Ha's method is the use of individual panels that bind related steps into self-contained and digestible points, making Korean cooking approachable. Interested in learning how to cook dolsot bibimbap? Ha distills the recipe into six neat sections. She also presents interesting facts and the historical context behind many of the more popular dishes. Cook Korean! is fun, accessible and a pleasure to read. Ha proves that one doesn't need to be a pro or born Korean in order to enjoy the country's cultural riches. --Nancy Powell, freelance writer and technical consultant

Discover: A fun and innovative way to learn how to cook Korean food through comics from the creator of Banchan in 2 Pages.

Ten Speed Press, $19.99, paperback, 9781607748878

Biography & Memoir

Catullus' Bedspread: The Life of Rome's Most Erotic Poet

by Daisy Dunn

Gaius Valerius Catullus' poetry has endured for 2,000 years and still has the power to shock and move readers (do an Internet search for "Catullus 16" to get a sense of the modern, powerful and vulgar work). While his late Republican Rome (circa 50s BCE) contemporaries Julius Caesar, Pompey and Mark Antony engaged in politics and war, the poet engaged with his art and his tumultuous love affair with the wife of a powerful politician. Of her, Catullus writes, "Now I have got to know you. So even if I burn more deeply/ You are still much cheaper and less significant to me./ How can that be, you say? Because such a wound compels a lover/ To love more, but to like less." 

Using the poem traditionally known as "Catullus 64"--what historian Daisy Dunn refers to as "the bedspread poem"--as a scaffold, she explores the life and motivations of the poet. Dunn also presents crisp, fresh translations of many additional poems, never shirking from the scathing vulgarity that helped to establish Catullus' reputation and continually presents challenges to more prudish translators. It is as a translator and critic that Dunn particularly impresses; this book coincides with publication of Dunn's translation of Catullus' full corpus.

While biographical and contextual elements are somewhat scant and basic familiarity with the crisis of the late Republic is assumed, Catullus' Bedspread serves as an excellent introduction to a fabulous, scurrilous poet, a poet who reminds modern readers how little humans have changed in the intervening millennia. --Evan M. Anderson, collection development librarian, Kirkendall Public Library, Ankeny, Iowa.

Discover: Classicist Daisy Dunn presents a lucid and provoking interpretation of one of Ancient Rome's most fascinating and enduring literary figures.

Harper, $25.99, hardcover, 9780062317025

The Drone Eats with Me: A Gaza Diary

by Atef Abu Saif

This spare, devastating account of living through Israel's 2014 invasion of Gaza is the journal of a 40-year-old father of five, risking his life each day walking to an Internet café to write The Drone Eats with Me, as the aerial devices hum overhead, watching his every move. Atef Abu Saif fears for his wife and children, helps bombed relatives and fleeing friends, and creates a moral center of love at the heart of his science fiction-like nightmare, in which an unseen enemy watches and kills from a distance, always hovering, in the end taking the lives of 1,900 civilians.

His entries are thoughtful vignettes and mini-essays, simple, clear and straightforward; he never knows whether he will live to write tomorrow. With quiet dignity and a simmering rage, Abu Saif recounts what happens around his home in Jabalia, the largest refugee camp in Palestine, its streets altered by bombs as chunks of the makeshift city are reduced to rubble.

Abu Saif has written a level-headed, understated account of 51 hellish days of 21st-century warfare that reads like the true-life version of Camus' The Plague--human beings struggling to find meaning in the jaws of a random, meaningless death machine they can do nothing to stop, forced helplessly to endure devastating losses and sorrows until, for no apparent reason, the evil pauses for a few years of tentative, delicate peace. At the end, Abu Saif's 11-year-old son, already lucky enough to survive three wars, asks his father the question every reader wants to know: "Daddy, when will the next war be?" --Nick DiMartino, Nick's Picks, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

Discover: A 40-year-old father of five recounts the horrors of the 2014 invasion of Gaza by Israel in this heartbreaking journal.

Beacon Press, $16, paperback, 9780807049105

Business & Economics

Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses

by Amy Whitaker

In Art Thinking, Amy Whitaker (Museum Legs) takes on the question of finding mental space for creative work, whether you're an aspiring novelist, working artist or member of a corporate team charged with finding creative solutions to problems with little obvious connection to "art."

With an MBA from Yale and a MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, Whitaker brings an unusual perspective to the crowded field of books on creativity. She draws on examples from science, sports, law, business and technology, along with her own experiences as artist and art student. Her models of "art thinking" include Adam Smith as well as Leonardo da Vinci, 3M as well as Pixar.

Whitaker offers a rich array of theoretical challenges and practical solutions as she reflects on the thorny question of financial compensation for creative work, both at the individual level and in terms of what she calls the "design constraints of capitalism." She explores the balancing act between creating a "holding environment" that allows creativity to flourish and producing results. She discusses the critical difference between goals and questions as starting points, and offers tactics for looking at creative work in terms of the sum total of your life and for maintaining perspective when you're deep in the details.

Art Thinking can be read as a business book for artists (however defined), a handbook for managing creative teams or a philosophical treatise on the nature of art and how it is made. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins

Discover: Artist Amy Whitaker examines the intersection between art, business and creation.

HarperBusiness, $26.99, hardcover, 9780062358271


Run the World: My 3,500-Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the Globe

by Becky Wade

In 2012, NCAA All-American star and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade received a Watson Fellowship to travel around the world to explore her passion: running. "Seventy-two beds, eleven pairs of running shoes, and 3,504 training miles later," Wade has since become an elite marathoner, drawing on her experience of cultures in nine countries to perfect her sport. In Run the World, she tells about her travels--and the lessons she learned along the way--in precise detail.

Wade went first to England, then on to Ireland, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden and Finland. Along the way, she watched the 2012 Summer Olympics, ran with the competing clubs of Oxford and Cambridge universities, trained in the Swiss Alps, joined numerous running clubs, met coaches, dipped in saunas and ice baths, learned to run by feel, learned to run by pacing watch, tested different race strategies, experienced alternative medicine, ran training runs of all kinds (trails, cross country, speedwork, distance runs) and forged countless friendships. Peppered throughout her incredible account of these adventures are photographs of various stops, along with recipes from each country she visited.

Run the World is more than just a memoir of this incredible trip: Wade provides insight into the many staggering differences--and sometimes shocking similarities--she encountered along the way. Run the World is a simple reminder of why so many love the sport of running--be it as spectator, amateur or professional athlete. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: Champion marathoner Becky Wade travels to nine countries to explore running cultures.

Morrow, $15.99, paperback, 9780062416438

Children's & Young Adult

The Voyage to Magical North

by Claire Fayers

Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborne was discovered on a rowboat three years ago, a "shivering, sneezing child with skin as dark as hazel-wood, half dead," with no memory of where she came from. The sorcerer Tallis Magus soon puts her to work as a servant in his island house, even "washing the magician's disgusting socks." The bookish, curious Brine's "boring straight line of a life" zigs a dramatic zag when the magician decides to hand her over to a rich neighbor nicknamed "Bladder-Face," and to marry off his annoying 12-year-old apprentice, Peter, to Bladder-Face's daughter. Brine and Peter, who aren't exactly friends, make their escape by sea.

Their newfound freedom fizzles when they're scooped up by a pirate ship, the Onion (meant to be Orion, but mispainted), captained by the charismatic Cassie O'Pia. ("Oh, her hair is as red as the sun in its bed,/ Her eyes are as blue as the waves..." according to the ballad.) Brine's maritime adventures prove to be fraught with peril, but her itch to explore the wide world is finally scratched, especially when the Onion's crew sets off for the "Magical North," the world's most concentrated point of magic. Brine, who is allergic to magic (it makes her sneeze), is much more interested in finding clues to her own past, present and future.

Welsh author Claire Fayers buoys her seaworthy series debut The Voyage to Magical North with agreeably understated humor, over-the-top sea monsters and nuanced characters. This finely spun adventure is the very definition of swashbuckler, but also thoughtfully examines ideas of story, good vs. evil, instinct vs. rules and self-discovery. A treasure. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A foundling and a magician's apprentice find themselves aboard a pirate ship in search of the Magical North in this smart, sunny swashbuckler.

Holt, $16.99, hardcover, 320p., ages 8-12, 9781627794206

Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects

by Jack Challoner, foreword by Jack Andraka

Kids, do try this at home. In the handsome, hefty Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects, illustrated with DK's trademark crisp, full-color photographs, British author Jack Challoner--in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution--offers crystal-clear step-by-step instructions for how to make sticky slime (cornstarch and shampoo combine in "some alien gloop from a science fiction movie"); a dazzling kaleidoscope (beads, colored paper and a cardboard tube); a waterwheel (a plastic bottle and water); and 25 more fun projects that can be created, mostly, with everyday household objects. What could go wrong? Challoner (The Cell; DK Eyewitness Books: Energy) is a former science and math teacher and educator at the London Science Museum.

The enticing, kid-friendly experiments are divided into four sections: Food for Thought (invisible ink, lemon battery, etc.); Around the Home (DNA model, balloon rocket car, etc.); Water World (soap-powered boat, bath fizzies, etc.); and The Great Outdoors (sun prints, erupting volcano, etc.). A "how it works" section concludes each activity guide, explaining the science behind the experiment, be it surface tension or a chemical reaction. Award-winning teen inventor Jack Andraka writes in his foreword, "As a young scientist, you can start by asking 'Why?' And by making messes, making mistakes, and making connections." (The erupting volcano looks particularly messy, "just like real lava.") An intriguing collection of hands-on projects for a sunny day outside or a rainy day inside. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: The Smithsonian Institution and DK team up with Jack Challoner to present 28 appealing do-it-yourself science projects for inquisitive children, from making an icy orb to a shoe box plant.

DK, $19.99, hardcover, 160p., ages 8-12, 9781465451354

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