Also published on this date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016: Dedicated Issue: Sourcebooks Fire

Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Chooseco: Chimera (Weregirl #2) by C.D. Bell

Riverhead Books: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Barron's Educational Series: Dear Dinosaur: With Real Letters to Read! by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

Timber Press: Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman

HarperCollins: Laura's Album: A Remembrance Scrapbook of Laura Ingalls Wilder by William Anderson

Quotation of the Day

David Bowie: Book Lover's Lament

"I'm a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can't throw it away. It's physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I've got a library that I keep the ones I really really like. I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself--I count up the books and think, how long I might have to live and think, 'F@#%k, I can't read two-thirds of these books.' It overwhelms me with sadness."

--David Bowie, quoted in the Daily Beast in a 2002 interview with Bob Guccione, Jr.

Avery Publishing Group: The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline by Dale Bredesen


News

Bookstore Sales Jump Again, Up 7.5% in November

November bookstore sales rose 7.5%, to $757 million, compared to November 2014, according to preliminary estimates from the Census Bureau. This was the third month in a row that sales rose strongly, after jumping nearly 7% in September and October. For the year to date, bookstore sales have gone up 1.7%, to $9.8 billion.

Total retail sales in November rose 1.7%, to $444.6 billion. For the year to date, total retail sales have risen 2.1%, to $4,805 billion.

Note: under Census Bureau definitions, the bookstore category consists of "establishments primarily engaged in retailing a general line of new books. These establishments may also sell stationery and related items, second-hand books, and magazines."


Soho Teen: No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear


Canadian Book Sales Bounce Back in 2015

After several years of downward trends, the unit sales of print books in Canada rose 1% in 2015, according to BookNet Canada's sales tracking service, BNC SalesData. Sales in dollars rose 3%. Sales of e-books have remained relatively steady at 17%-18% of market share since 2013, BookNet's consumer studies have found.

The #1 bestseller in 2015 was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, followed by All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Grey by E.L. James and My Secret Sister by Jenny Lee Smith. Four of the top 10 bestsellers were adult coloring books, including three from Johanna Basford.

A detailed report titled The Canadian Book Market 2015 will be released later this year.


She Writes Press: Things Unsaid by Diana Y. Paul


Susan Reich, David Lamb Found Book Advisors

Susan Reich, who stepped down last year as president of Publishers Group West, and David Lamb, a partner at STM Advisers LLC with experience in financial advisory, strategy consulting and publishing operations, have formed Book Advisors LLC, which will advise publishers on mergers and acquisitions, sales and divestitures, financings and valuations in addition to providing consulting on strategic planning, digital publishing, distribution and operational issues.

"In the course of my career, I've had the pleasure of working with a wide range of publishers," Reich said. "I've known David for 20 years and worked with him on the sales of PGW (2002) and Avalon Publishing (2007). Combining my operational experience with David's financial advisory background will give Book Advisors clients the best of both worlds."

Before becoming president of PGW in 2007, Reich was COO of the Avalon Publishing Group and held executive positions at Harper San Francisco, Random House and Simon & Schuster. She was formerly a consultant at BMR Associates.

As president of GSL Publishing Associates for 15 years, Lamb handled the sale of consumer publishers, including Motorbooks, Avalon, PGW, Timber Press and Sterling Publishing. His buy-side clientele has included Chronicle Books, Workman Publishing, Penguin Random House and HarperCollins. He also owned and operated self-publisher Vantage Press for three years and worked at Veronis Suhler Stevenson. At STM Advisers, where he continues, his consulting clients last year included the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Book Advisors is located at 232 Madison Avenue, Suite 1400, New York, N.Y. 10016. Reich, who lives in Oakland, Calif., may be reached via e-mail here; Lamb, who is in New York City, may be reached here.


DK Publishing: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock


St. Mark's Bookshop Update: Investor to Help?

In an e-mail and online, Bob Contant, co-owner of St. Mark's Bookshop, New York City, acknowledged that the store has been taken to court by its landlord, the New York City Housing Authority, for non-payment of rent. But he offered some possible good news: "An investor has proposed to take over our lease and pay the back rent if we can raise enough money to stock the store. He believes as I do, that if we fill the store with books our business will increase and we'll be able to pay our way. The landlord has already agreed to settle."

Contant added that "it's our challenge to raise money" and asked for support and ideas. "We hope people share our belief that a bookstore is vital to the East Village, and want to thank everyone who has supported the campaign thus far."

In the past month, the store has raised more than $21,000 on its gofundme site, where it seeks to raise $150,000. According to several reports, St. Mark's owes more than $62,000 in back rent. Its current rent is $6,000 a month.


Berkley Books: The French Girl by Lexie Elliott


#WI11 Buzz Books: YA and Middle Grade

Winter Institute 11 begins this weekend in Denver, Colo., and our multi-part series on exciting titles for 2016 continues today with a look at young adult and middle grade books. Previous installments in the series covered fiction and nonfiction; tomorrow's final article will look at children's and early readers. Each list was put together with the help from booksellers around the country, who shared with Shelf Awareness their most anticipated reads for 2016.


Leading off today's article is Goldy Moldavsky's debut novel, Kill the Boy Band, a dark comedy about a group of four teenage girls who are all superfans of a boy band called the Ruperts. Their obsession with the group turns dangerous after an attempt to get close to them leads to an unplanned kidnapping of one of the members, and things spiral out of control from there. Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., picked Kill the Boy Band as one of her most anticipated YA reads for 2016, and Melissa Fox, children's events coordinator at Watermark Books in Wichita, Kan., described it as a great, funny, slightly scary book. It'll be available from Point on February 23.

Another highly anticipated debut novel is Dreamology by Lucy Keating (HarperTeen, April 12). The story follows Alice, who has dreamed of a boy named Max every night for years. In her dreams, they've traveled all over the world and had incredible, impossible adventures together. Alice believes that Max exists only in her dreams, but after moving from New York to Boston she meets the real-life Max at her new school. Clarissa Hadge, assistant bookstore manager at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston, Mass., recommended Dreamology, saying, "Alice's narration is extremely funny and makes her a likable protagonist. This is a lighthearted read and the perfect book for a reader needing a pick-me-up during the long winter months."

Jenna Evans Welch's debut novel, Love & Gelato, will be  in stores April 12 from Simon Pulse. Lina is on a summer-long trip to Tuscany, Italy, to spend time with and get to know her father, but, despite all of the country's charms, the only thing she wants to do is go home. That is, until she finds an old journal her mother wrote when she lived in Italy--now, Lina begins to see her family and the country in a new light. Melissa Fox of Watermark Books said it's a "great, fluffy romance. It'll be fun."

Rounding out our list of debut novels is Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan. It is the story of Max, an otherwise-average student with a fondness for heist movies who receives an invitation from a mystery prank society called the Chaos Club. Later that night, Max finds himself at a campus water tower with four other invitees and no sign of the club. After Max gets caught by campus security, he decides it's about time to give the Chaos Club a taste of their own medicine. Don't Get Caught will be available from Sourcebooks Fire on April 1.

Ruta Sepetys, the author of the bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, returns on February 2 with Salt to the Sea (Philomel Books), an historical novel set during the waning months of World War II. Based on a little-known, real-life event, the novel tells of Joana, Emilia and Florian, a trio of refugees flocking toward a ship called the Wilhelm Gustloff that they think will be their salvation. Melissa Fox of Watermark and Anne Holman, the co-owner of the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, both highlighted Salt to the Sea as a YA read to watch out for. Said Holman: "I think Sepetys is one of the finest writers working today in the world of YA literature."

In Ally Condie's Summerlost, a girl named Cedar has lost both her father and younger brother in a tragic accident. The summer after the accident, Cedar and her remaining family travel to a town called Iron Creek. Soon Cedar meets a boy named Leo, who draws her into the town's famous Summerlost theater festival. "It's realistic fiction for middle readers, about a small town and the Shakespeare festival that shapes everyone's lives," explained Anne Holman of the King's English Bookshop, who recommended Summerlost. It will be available from Dutton Books for Young Readers on March 29.

On July 12, the Tiny Pretty Things series continues with Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (HarperTeen). Shiny Broken Pieces continues where 2015's Tiny Pretty Things left off: Gigi, Bette and June are still students at a ruthlessly competitive ballet school in Manhattan, wading through the aftermath of the previous year's drama. "Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton have crafted a clever story line here," said Clarissa Hadge of Trident Booksellers and Cafe, "giving fans of the first novel a satisfactory conclusion to the series.

Next up on today's list is Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten (Delacorte Press, May 31). Likened to both Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and E. Lockhart's We Were Liars, Beware That Girl is a young adult psychological thriller about Kate O'Brien, a scholarship student at New York's Waverly School. Extremely smart and a world-class liar, Kate is dead-set on climbing the social ladder and claiming a spot at Yale. Beware That Girl was a choice of both Oblong's Suzanna Hermans and Lauren Peugh, a backlist buyer at Changing Hands Bookstores in Phoenix, Ariz. The novel's compelling mystery and unreliable narrator will keep readers guessing until the very end.

Due out on August 9 from HarperCollins is Makoons, the fifth book in Louise Erdrich's Birchbark House series. Based on Erdrich's own family history, the series is set in the 1800s and tells stories of the Ojibwa people. The fourth book in the series, Chickadee, introduced the twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons; Makoons continues where that story left off, with the brothers traveling with their family to what was then the Dakota Territory. As they learn to make a new life on the Great Plains, Makoons has a vision of even greater challenges to come. Replete with black and white illustrations, Makoons also features research notes, a detailed map and a glossary of Ojibwe terms.

The next novel by two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo is Raymie Nightingale, out April 12 from Candlewick Press. Convinced that seeing her picture in the paper will make her father see the error of his ways and come back home, Raymie Clarke decides to join the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. As she strives to learn baton twirling and do all she can to win the competition, Raymie unexpectedly becomes friends with her erstwhile rivals Beverly Tapinski and Louisiana Elefante. Sarah Bagby, the owner of Watermark Books in Wichita, Kan., picked Raymie Nightingale as a young adult book to watch.

The last book on today's list is Booked, Kwame Alexander's follow up to his Newbery-winning novel The Crossover. Written almost entirely in verse, Booked tells the story of a soccer-loving 12-year-old  named Nick as he navigates family problems, bullies and girls. Among his friends and supporters are his teammate Coby and a rapping librarian named The Mac. This energetic, fast-paced middle grade novel will be out from HMH Books for Young Readers on April 5. --Alex Mutter


Obituary Note: Francisco X. Alarcón

"Beloved Chicano poet" Francisco X. Alarcón died January 15. He was 61. El Tecolote featured photos from a January 10 event "¡Viva la Vida!" at Cafe La Boheme in San Francisco's Mission District, describing it as "a very special day. Family, friends, musicians, Aztec dancers and even the poet Francisco X. Alarcon himself was present, to read his poetry, despite his condition." His books include From the Other Side of Night/ Del otro lado de la noche: New & Selected Poems; Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus & Other Poems/ Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikus terrenales y otros poemas; and Canto hondo/ Deep Song.

Rigoberto González's tribute, "Remembering Friend, Mentor and Poet Francisco X. Alarcón," recalled "his exceptional example as a teacher, a writer, an activist and a mentor."



Notes

Image of the Day: Margo Jefferson at Seminary Co-op

Last Thursday, Seminary Co-op bookstore in Chicago featured a conversation between Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland, and Jamie Kalven of the Invisible Institute discussing Jefferson's memoir. The bookstore's Colin McDonald noted that "Jefferson, who lived in Hyde Park and was a student at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in the 1950s and '60s, brought out 160 people to the store (including former classmates), stretching well beyond our event space out into the stacks."


Powell's Voted Portland's Best Bookstore

Powell's City of Books, Portland, Ore., "dominated" the Oregonian's People Choice voting for Portland's best bookstore, the paper reported.

Powell's won 32% of the vote. "Broadway Books also made a strong showing, garnering 19% of the vote, followed by A Children's Place with nearly 14%. Annie Bloom's Books and Wallace Books were tied, each receiving 8% of the vote."

One commenter wrote: "Portland has the best bookstore options in the country, if not the world. So it's hard to pick a single best, kind of like picking the best song ever. How could you ever do with just one? If I really had to choose, I say Powell's City of Books! And for anyone who says it's hard to get to, well try living in another city the size of Portland for a while and reevaluate that question."


Chronicle to Distribute Hardie Grant Books

Starting with the Fall 2016 season, Chronicle Books and its Canadian distributor, Raincoast Books, will distribute Hardie Grant Books, Melbourne, Australia, in North America. The companies will sell approximately 40 titles a season; for the last season, Chronicle has distributed Quadrille Publishing, part of Hardie Grant Publishing Group.

As part of the agreement, Hardie Grant Publishing will hire a marketing and publicity executive, who will work on both Quadrille and Hardie Grant Books and be located at Chronicle Books's office in San Francisco.

Founded in 1997 in Melbourne, with offices now in London, too, Hardie Grant Books publishes illustrated books in categories including food and drink, design and interiors, humor and advice. Its internationally bestselling authors include Greg and Lucy Malouf, Megan Hess, Domonique Bertolucci, Kit Kemp and the Green Kitchen blog authors David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.

Chronicle president Jack Jensen commented: "After a longstanding partnership working with Hardie Grant to distribute our products in Australia, we are thrilled that we can now bring their future lists to the North American market."


Personnel Changes at Abrams

At Abrams:

Jennifer Brunn is promoted from senior director, publicity to executive director, publicity, adult trade.

Maya Bradford is promoted from publicist to publicity manager, adult trade.

Melissa Esner is promoted from associate marketing manager to marketing manager, adult trade. 

Morgan Amer is promoted from special markets assistant to sales representative, special markets.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jane Mayer on Fresh Air

Today:
Morning Joe: E.J. Dionne Jr., author of Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476763798). He will also appear tonight on Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell and tomorrow on Diane Rehm.

Diane Rehm: Trent Lott and Tom Daschle, authors of Crisis Point: Why We Must--and How We Can--Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America (Bloomsbury, $28, 9781632864611).

Fresh Air: Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385535595).

Late Late Show with James Corden: Carrie Brownstein, author of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir (Riverhead, $27.95, 9781594486630).

Last Call with Carson Daly repeat: Ron Perlman, author of Easy Street (the Hard Way): A Memoir (Da Capo, $16.99, 9780306824180).

Comedy Central's At Midnight: Judah Friedlander, author of If the Raindrops United: Drawings and Cartoons (Hachette Books, $16.99, 9780316306959).

Tomorrow:
The Talk: Bobby Flay, co-author of Brunch at Bobby's: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780385345897).


Movies: Frog Music

Emma Donoghue, who wrote both the novel and screenplay of Lenny Abrahamson's Oscar-nominated film Room, "is teaming up with Alison Owen's and Debra Hayward's Monumental Pictures to make a feature adaptation of her novel Frog Music," Deadline reported. Donoghue, who garnered an adapted screenplay Oscar nomination, is set to write the screenplay.

"I couldn't be more excited to be working with Emma, who deserves every bit of the huge success she is having with Room, an amazing book and an amazing movie," said Owen. "Frog Music shares the same qualities of suspense and extraordinary characters, this time in a period setting, and I feel so privileged to shepherd it into an equally extraordinary movie."


Books & Authors

Awards: DSC Winner; NBCC Finalists; Erasmus Winner

Anuradha Roy has won the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for her novel, Sleeping on Jupiter.

Chair of the jury Mark Tully said the panel chose Sleeping on Jupiter "because of its elegance, flair and readability. It raises many issues succinctly and with commendable economy of words. The South Asian setting is described faithfully and evocatively. Among the issues raised are the power of memory and myth, religious hypocrisy, sexuality, abuse and other forms of violence. The novel contains powerful portraits of both major and minor characters. We believe this book will be a source of inspiration to other writers."

---

The National Book Critics Circle has unveiled 30 finalists in six categories--autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry--for the best books of 2015. The awards will be presented March 17 in New York City.

The NBCC also announced the following prize winners:

Wendell Berry is the recipient of this year's Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. He was cited in part this way: "Now 81 and still productive, Berry is the author of eight novels, two short story collections, 28 volumes of poetry and 31 volumes of nonfiction.... An outspoken environmentalist, organic farmer and pacifist, Berry has written about and engaged in civil disobedience against industrial agribusiness, ecological destruction and militarization."

Kirstin Valdez Quade's story collection Night at the Fiestas (Norton) won the third annual John Leonard Prize, which recognizes "outstanding first books in any genre."

Carlos Lozada, associate editor and nonfiction book critic at the Washington Post and former managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, has won the 2015 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

---

Possession author A.S. Byatt was won the €150,000 (about $163,460) Erasmus Prize, given to "a person or institution that has made an exceptional contribution to the humanities or arts," the Bookseller wrote.

The board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation, the Dutch founder of the prize, praised Byatt for her "inspiring contribution to 'life writing,' a literary genre that encompasses historical novels, biographies and autobiographies."

The jury added: "Byatt has written dozens of (historical) novels, biographies, short stories and critical essays. In a wide-ranging body of work she unites great erudition with an unbridled pleasure in writing and imaginative power. Her work crosses boundaries in style and content. It covers a range of genres, literary forms and subjects. She immerses the reader in the history of European thinking, taking the big questions about science, history and identity as her starting point."


Ambassador Gene Luen Yang: Taking Comics on the Road

Artist and author Gene Luen Yang has a habit of breaking new ground. His debut graphic novel, American Born Chinese (First Second), was a National Book Award finalist in 2006 and also the first graphic novel to win the Michael L. Printz Award. In 2013, Boxers and Saints (First Second), a "graphic diptych" about China's Boxer Rebellion, was an NBA finalist, too.Now, as of January 7, 2016, Yang is the first graphic novelist to represent the entire children's and young adult industry as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Kate DiCamillo passes the torch to him with these words: "Gene Yang is a talented writer. He is a brilliant artist. His stories are thought-provoking, genre-bending, utterly original examinations of the human heart. In short, Gene Yang is a Renaissance man.... No one is better suited for bringing us all together." Here, for Shelf Awareness, Yang answers a few questions about the mighty rise of graphic novels and his exciting new role.

You've really made a difference in how the world sees graphic novels. What is your perspective on the remarkable evolution of this format?

It's astounding, really. I started in comics in the mid-'90s, and if you'd told me then that we'd be here today, I wouldn't have believed you. Graphic novels have earned Newbery Honors two years in a row! Cece Bell's El Deafo (Abrams) broke new ground last year, and this year Victoria Jamieson's Roller Girl (Dial) proved that we're here to stay. Multiple graphic novels have been nominated for the National Book Awards now, and not just in the Young People's Literature category.

Even more importantly, librarians, teachers and parents are recognizing the value of graphic novels. They're being used in classrooms, and not just with reluctant readers. At every level, graphic novels are being accepted as a part of the literary landscape. Absolutely astounding.

Do you think the upcoming generations, awash in screen time, are more visual in general?

I'm not sure, to be honest. I haven't seen the data. But there's no denying that we are multimedia now. We're used to seeing documents that use multiple types of media, all sitting side by side, to convey information. The lines between the various forms of media are blurring.

If someone told you he or she had never read a graphic novel, which titles would you recommend to the neophyte?

For our youngest readers, I'd recommend Long Tail Kitty (Blue Apple) by Lark Pien. It's a beautiful collection of short stories about friends hanging out. Also, anything put out by Toon Books.

For middle grade, I'd recommend anything by Raina Telgemeier. Just pick one. Zita the Spacegirl (First Second) by Ben Hatke is another wonderful choice.

For high school kids, Blankets (IDW) by Craig Thompson. This One Summer (First Second) by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.

And for adults, Maus by Art Spiegelman. Maus converted my wife into a graphic novel reader.

For the next two years you'll be traveling the country talking to readers of all ages about your platform, "Reading Without Walls." How would you explain your mission?

Reading Without Walls encourages kids to explore the world through books. We want to challenge kids to read outside their comfort zones in three very specific ways. First, read a book about someone who doesn't look like you or live like you. Second, read a book about a topic that you find intimidating. Third, read a book in a format you've never tried before: a graphic novel, a prose novel, a novel in verse or a hybrid novel.

You taught high school for 17 years--do you feel that this new appointment puts you back in the classroom in a sense?

Absolutely. I'm really excited about this. I left my teaching gig last June, and it was rough. It felt like I was breaking up with someone. I lost sleep. I couldn't eat. I missed my classroom. In a way, this appointment fills that empty space. It gives me a classroom of sorts.

Do you think you'll have time to create more new books while you're out on the road? What are you working on now?

Well, I travel a decent amount already. I don't anticipate traveling more. My events will just be different. Instead of talking exclusively about my books, I'll get to talk about BOOKS. I've already learned to write on the plane and in hotel rooms.

Right now, I'm writing more Superman and more Avatar: The Last Airbender. I'm working on the next volumes of Secret Coders (First Second). I'm also working on my next big book which I'll be both writing and drawing. It will be about basketball.

What do your kids think about all this?

They think it's nice. I have to tell you, it's very hard to impress kids that you see on a daily basis. It's easier for me to impress my kids' friends. They all think the ambassadorship is awesome. My own kids just think it's nice.

In a Shelf Awareness Book Brahmin in 2014, when asked to list your top five authors, you replied, "Is it okay that they're mostly cartoonists? Osamu Tezuka, Art Spiegelman, Lynda Barry, Lloyd Alexander, Shusaku Endo." Anyone you've added to your top author list since then?

Oh, for sure. I have a deep admiration for Gary Schmidt, both as a person and as an author. I just finished Laura Ruby's Printz-winning Bone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins) and it was astounding. G. Willow Wilson is schooling the world on how to write YA superheroes right now.

I also finished Plutoby Naoki Urasawa. He will. Blow. Your. Mind.

Anything else you'd like to tell Shelf readers?

Books are awesome and so are you.

--Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

Book Review

Review: The Loss of All Lost Things

The Loss of All Lost Things by Amina Gautier (Elixir Press, $19 trade paper, 9781932418569, February 1, 2016)

Amina Gautier is the consummate short story writer. Winner of a slew of awards, including the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, she has published more than 80 stories in various magazines and two book-length collections (At-Risk and Now We Will Be Happy). She was asked in a 2014 interview in the Nervous Breakdown if, like many fiction writers with story collections, she planned to turn to a novel next. She replied: "I write what interests me and nourishes my creative spirit.... I'm not interested in following a path that has been trodden by others; it kills the grass." Sure enough, her new book is again a collection of stories--perhaps her best--and it has already won the Elixir Press Award. While not expressly a collection of "linked" stories, The Loss of All Lost Things collects pieces that focus on characters whose lives have been upended in some way by loss. They lose their spouses and children, their confidence, their dreams, their careers. In the title story, a couple's oldest son has been abducted and his mother sits alone in his bedroom where "she is free to count her [life's] losses... a birthday card with a ten dollar bill taped inside... her first ever camera... her virginity.... Each loss is a reprimand, a reminder of her helplessness; each loss is a disorienting thing... its own little death."

An Afro-Puerto Rican and native New Yorker with degrees from Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, Gautier fills her stories with multi-racial academics, parents, single moms, grad students, administrators and small children. Whether navigating life in big cities or small towns (including a prep school in Massachusetts "where the towns were named for fields: Northfield, Greenfield, Springfield, Deerfield"), they must struggle to overcome their losses. Silence and brevity is often the language of couples who can't speak of their rift, like the academic husband in "Resident Lover" who reacts to a written goodbye from his wife: "She was declaring her separation from him.... She wanted nothing from him. She did not love him anymore. He didn't write back." Gautier also has a sharp eye for the details that define characters and scenes--often listing them in series, such as this description in "Directory Assistance" of women riding to work on a Philadelphia bus: "hair pulled neatly back into fake buns, falls, or clumps of curls, their bodies bundled in bulky trench-like coats, their feet in gym sneakers... piles of bags in their laps... books with the words Scandal, Temptress, Captive, and Seduction on the covers."

Quiet, subtle, observant--the stories of The Loss of All Lost Things are pictures of sadness that enrich an understanding of separation and despair. One after another they do what short fiction does so well: capture a character, scene or place that together are much bigger than they seem. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Amina Gautier's third collection of stories focuses on the debilitating effects of separation and loss on a diverse group of everyday people in everyday places.


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by IndieReader.com:

1. Big Rock by Lauren Blakely
2. Lexie Starr Cozy Mysteries Boxed Set by Jeanne Glidewell
3. The Score (Off-Campus Book 3) by Elle Kennedy
4. Sebring (Unfinished Heroes: Volume 5) by Kristen Ashley
5. Accused (Scott Fenney Series Book 2) by Mark Gimenez
6. Aced (The Driven Series Book 5) by K. Bromberg
7. F*ck Love by Tarryn Fishe
8. Counter to My Intelligence (The Heroes of the Dixie Wardens MC Book 7) by Lani Lynn Vale
9. The 20/20 Diet by Phil McGraw
10. Ryker (The Powers That Be Book 4) by Harper Bentley

[Many thanks to IndieReader.com!]


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