Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 10, 2016


Thomas Dunne Books: Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon by Henry Marsh

Random House: An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan

Chicago Review Press: The Sunken Gold: A Story of World War I Espionage and the Greatest Treasure Salvage in History by Joseph A. Williams

Park Row Books: Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades

Sourcebooks Fire: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Dundurn Group: Deer Life by Ron Sexsmith

Other Press: Infinite Summer by Edoardo Nesi

News

Indigo Second Quarter: Revenue Up 5.4%

In the second quarter ended October 1, revenue at Indigo Books & Music rose 5.4%, to C$216.9 million (about US$161.8 million), and the net loss was C$1.2 million (about US$895,000), compared to C$1.8 million (about US$1.34 million) in the same period a year earlier. All sales online and at stores open at least a year rose 5.1% in the quarter.

The company attributed the revenue gain to "continued double digit growth in the general merchandise business, and growth in the core book business enhanced by the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child."

Commenting on the results, CEO Heather Reisman said, "We are pleased to continue our strong track record of revenue growth, with three years of quarterly revenue increases. The momentum and energy in the business is palpable and we feel confident as we approach our critical holiday season."


Geek & Sundry: The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein


ABA and Libro.fm Download New Partnership

The American Booksellers Association and Libro.fm, the digital audiobook provider, have launched a marketing partnership and are integrating Libro.fm with hundreds of IndieCommerce websites. As a result, the ABA and Libro.fm said, "Customers now have an option to purchase digital audiobooks--as well as print and e-books--while supporting their local, independent bookstore, and as an alternative to Amazon's Audible.com."

With the IndieCommerce integration, the digital audiobook appears on the IndieCommerce product page for titles available in that format; Libro.fm supplies the shopping cart and fulfillment via a store co-branded white label site, and the company is working to ensure that sales tax is being collected in all relevant states. Libro.fm will also provide a link back from the white label site to the referring store for purchase of the print book.

More than 160 ABA member stores are now selling audiobooks through Libro.fm, and others are expected to sign on to the program. Libro.fm is helping bookstores promote digital audiobooks through in-store and online marketing with a catalogue of resources.

"We created Libro.fm because independent stores were getting left behind in the soaring growth of digital audiobooks, the fastest growing category in publishing," said Libro.fm CEO Mark Pearson. "The IndieCommerce integration makes it seamless for a bookstore to sell both print and audio editions through their website as well as their Libro.fm co-branded storefront."

ABA CEO Oren Teicher added: "The continued growth in sales of digital audiobooks has been very good news for writers and readers. And the integration of Libro.fm with IndieCommerce now means that these online sales can be very good news for independent bookstores as well. ABA is grateful for all the work that Libro.fm has done, and for their commitment to the indie channel."

Many booksellers welcomed the move. "From the beginning, Libro.fm has been a wonderful partner," said Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex. "They are easy to work with on the backroom side and offer a full range of audiobooks for our customers. Mark and his team have communicated with us on a regular basis about ways to improve our sales. Count us satisfied."

Len Vlahos, an incoming owner of the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., called Libro.fm "a turnkey, seamless service, which provides our customers with a broad selection of digital audio at competitive prices. The only piece missing was the connection to our website, so the IndieCommerce integration is very welcome news indeed."

And Chris Morrow, owner of Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt., and Saratoga Springs, N.Y., commented: "Libro.fm has been incredibly responsive and easy to work with. They understand the indie bookseller and how we operate. It is so nice to have an audio partner that makes it easy."


Counterpoint: Gangster Nation by Tod Goldberg


#FerranteNightFever

More than 60 bookstores across the country staged #FerranteNightFever events last week, a focal point of the November 1 launch in the U.S. of two new titles by Elena Ferrante--Frantumaglia: An Author's Journey and the children's book The Beach at Night. Publisher Europa Editions provided participating bookstores with a kit with event ideas, discussion questions, posters, buttons and bookmarks.

Some of the most striking events took place in the New York area. At Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, a lively discussion was moderated by novelist and critic Darcey Steinke and featured actor/filmmaker John Turturro, Ferrante scholar Giancarlo Lombardi and literary biographer/critic Judith Thurman. An international, SRO crowd heard the group discuss Ferrante's work in the context of the Italian literary landscape; Naples as a fertile territory for storytelling; the film adaptation of Troubling Love; feminism in Ferrante's work (and why it's important for men to read these novels), and a comparison of the reception of Ferrante's work in Italy and the U.S.

At McNally Jackson: Ann Goldstein, Dayna Tortorici, Roxana Robinson

On Tuesday, McNally Jackson in New York City hosted a panel consisting of novelist Roxana Robinson, Dayna Tortorici from n+1 and Ann Goldstein, translator of Ferrante's work, moderated by Europa Editions editor-in-chief Michael Reynolds, which considered Ferrante's books (Frantumaglia in particular), her literary influences and her thematic concerns.

On Friday at Astoria Bookshop in Queens, another SRO crowd heard novelists Siddhartha Deb and Elissa Schappell, journalist Jennifer Maloney and translator Ann Goldstein--also moderated by Michael Reynolds--discuss Ferrante's importance as a feminist writer and her writerly style (her tight sentences and "virile" writing), her approach to class and poverty and the political nature of her work.

Finally on Saturday, Reynolds moderated a panel at BookCourt in Brooklyn with authors Stacey D'Erasmo and Summer Brennan, New Yorker features editor Emily Stokes, National Book Foundation executive director Lisa Lucas and Ann Goldstein, which focused on Ferrante's writing, how each participant discovered her work and what they find important about it and more. The q&a included an impassioned discussion of the role of dialect in Ferrante's books.


Portable Press: Enter to win a copy of Strange Science


Indie Bookstores: Post-Election Safe Places

Yesterday, many independent booksellers responded to the election with messages of hope and outreach on social media, including:

via Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore

A Room of One's Own Bookstore, Madison, Wis.: "Hey, we are so glad you woke up this morning. You are loved. You are needed. We appreciate you. Let's get through today and find something good to read, yeah?"

Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.: "Today Bookshop Santa Cruz rededicates itself to being a safe place in this community. A safe place for all people. A safe place to share ideas and to evaluate options. A safe place to escape through books if needed. A safe place to find empathy within pages. A safe place to further discover what defines our community."

Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa.: "We at Aaron's Books rededicate ourselves to sustaining civil discourse in our community. Our space is one for learning, dialogue, new experience, and supporting diversity in an uncertain world. Let's explore together."

McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.: "With a difficult election season behind us many this morning feel anxious about what might be next. Please know that McLean & Eakin will still be here to help you make sense of the world or even just escape it for a bit. As always McLean & Eakin will have books for Liberals, Conservatives, Gays, Straights, Native Americans, Jews, Latinos, Muslims, African Americans, Christians, foreigners, locals, every American."

Charis Books and More/Charis Circle, Atlanta, Ga.: "Stories, above all else, remind us when we feel heartsick and broken that we are not alone. Books are, inherently, objects of hope. Books and the arts build on the lessons of the past and reach towards a future of possibilities. Books teach empathy and foster connections. At Charis we do this work with you, organizing for intersectional feminist justice, with books as our building blocks.... You are not alone. We are going to write the next chapter together with ourselves as possibility models. We are the ones we've been waiting for. If you need a place to be today, Charis is open 11-7. Today we mourn and share our stories so that in the days to come we may organize, fight, and love one another better."

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass.: "Our doors are open for all who want to run their fingers along the book spines, flip through the pages of an old favorite, and be with their friends, family, and community."

Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.: "Don't give up. Stand up and read up, instead."

And in Bookselling This Week, ABA CEO Oren Teicher summed up the situation, writing, "As this bitterly contested election season comes to a close--regardless of which candidate you supported--it's clear that we live in a terribly divided country. The role bookstores play in healing division has never been more important. As citizens, attempting to comprehend what has occurred, all of us in the bookselling community have a special obligation--and opportunity--to foster communication and to help reconcile our communities. President-elect Trump, Secretary Clinton, and President Obama have all indicated that the time to unite our country is now, and there is no better place than within the walls of a bookstore for that process to begin."


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: The Lake House by Kate Morton


Notes

Image of the Day: Prospect Park Books Turns 10

Last Saturday evening, Prospect Park Books, Altadena, Calif., celebrated its 10th anniversary with a party at the Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles. Founder and publisher Colleen Dunn Bates reflected on 10 years of book publishing and thanked many people. The party was catered with food from Prospect Park Books' own cookbooks. (Distributed by Consortium, the publisher also emphasizes fiction, mysteries, humor and regional/gift titles.) To read the 10 lessons Bates has learned about publishing, click here.


Pennie Picks All the Light We Cannot See

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $27, 9781501132872) as her pick of the month for November. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I've read more books than I can recall, and it remains a pleasure to read something that proves I can still be knocked off my feet. Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See, which is this month's Book Buyer's Pick, is just that kind of book. At its core are a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and a German boy, Werner, whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II.

"Doerr not only develops fascinating characters, he has a way of using Marie-Laure's blindness to enrich descriptions of the novel's locales and the characters' development. Werner might be one of the most sympathetic characters I've read about in a long time. He is a bright and curious boy who becomes a pawn in the circumstances of the time."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Bianculli on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: David Bianculli, a regular contributor to the show and author of The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific (Doubleday, $32.50, 9780385540278).

Tomorrow:
PRI's Science Friday: David Biello, author of The Unnatural World: The Race to Remake Civilization in Earth's Newest Age (Scribner, $26, 9781476743905).

Rachael Ray: Bill Rancic, author of First Light (Putnam, $26, 9781101982273).

Late Night with Seth Meyers repeat: Nathan Lane, co-author of Naughty Mabel Sees It All (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781481430241).

HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher repeat: Trae Crowder, Corey Ryan Forrester and Drew Morgan, authors of The Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin' Dixie Outta the Dark (Atria, $25, 9781501160387).


Movies: Alexander McQueen Biopic

Jack O'Connell (Unbroken, '71) will play the lead role in "the hotly anticipated Alexander McQueen biopic" based on Andrew Wilson's biography Blood Beneath the Skin, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Directed by Andrew Haigh (Weekend, 45 Years), the film about the late fashion icon features a script by Chris Urch, the award-winning playwright of The Rolling Stone and Land of Our Fathers. Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, Belle, Lady in the Van) is producing, with principal photography set to begin in January for delivery at the end of 2017.


This Weekend on Book TV: Neil deGrasse Tyson

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, November 12
12 p.m. David Remnick, David Maraniss, Jonathan Alter and Jacob Weisberg discuss their respective biographies of Presidents Obama, Clinton, Carter and Reagan. (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15 p.m.)

7 p.m. Nicholas Eberstadt, author of Men Without Work: America's Invisible Crisis (Templeton Press, $12.95, 9781599474694). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

8 p.m. Danny Orbach, author of The Plots Against Hitler (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544714434), at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass.

9 p.m. Deirdre Bair, author of Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend (Nan A. Talese, $30, 9780385537155). (Re-airs Sunday at 3:15 p.m.)

10 p.m. George Borjas, author of We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative (Norton, $26.95, 9780393249019). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Bradley Birkenfeld, author of Lucifer's Banker: The Untold Story of How I Destroyed Swiss Bank Secrecy (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $26.95, 9781626343719). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, November 13
12 a.m. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss and J. Richard Gott, authors of Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour (Princeton University Press, $39.95, 9780691157245). (Re-airs Sunday at 7 p.m.)

8:30 a.m. Anne Sebba, author of Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250048592). (Re-airs Monday at 1:40 a.m.)

10 p.m. Laura Trevelyan, author of The Winchester: The Gun That Built an American Dynasty (Yale University Press, $28, 9780300223385).


Books & Authors

Awards: Goldsmiths Winner

Irish author Mike McCormack won the £10,000 (about $12,445) Goldsmiths Prize, which celebrates "the spirit of creative daring" and rewards "fiction that breaks the mold or extends the possibilities of the novel form," for Solar Bones, a book written in a single novel-length sentence.

Chair of judges Blake Morrison commented: "Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently. Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that's lyrical yet firmly rooted. Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work."


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcover titles appearing next Tuesday, November 15:

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Penguin Press, $27, 9781594203985) follows two young women whose childhood friendship fractures over diverging dreams of becoming dancers.

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke (Simon & Schuster, $26.99, 9781501108587) is the third book in the Under Suspicion mystery series.

Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell (Morrow, $28.99, 9780062436689) is the 24th mystery with medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.

Settle for More by Megyn Kelly (Harper, $29.99, 9780062494603) is the memoir of the Fox News anchor.

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In by Bernie Sanders (Thomas Dunne, $27, 9781250132925) shares Senator Sanders' primary campaign experience and outlines future progressive policy plans.

Vincent van Gogh: The Lost Arles Sketchbook by Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, foreword by Ronald Pickvance (Abrams, $85, 9781419725944) reproduces previously unknown van Gogh sketches.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (Touchstone, $26.99, 9781501117206) is the memoir of the actress.

Superficial: More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries by Andy Cohen (Holt, $27, 9781250116482) is the latest from the host of Bravo's Watch What Happens Live.

The Mistletoe Secret: A Novel by Richard Paul Evans (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781501119811) is a Christmas romance about a lonely blogger.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman (McElderry/Simon & Schuster, $23.99, 9781481443258) is a collection of short stories about the adventures of Simon Lewis as he trains to become a Shadowhunter.

Paperback:
The Godfather Notebook by Francis Ford Coppola (Regan Arts, $50, 9781682450529).

Movies:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne as a wizard in New York City 70 years before Harry Potter, opens November 18. The film is based on a textbook from the Harry Potter series, and the screenplay (Arthur A. Levine, $24.99, 9781338109061) comes out the same day as the film.

Nocturnal Animals, based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, opens November 18. Amy Adams plays an art gallery owner feeling threatened by a violent novel written by her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). A movie tie-in edition (Grand Central, $14.99, 9781478970637) is available.

A Street Cat Named Bob, based on the memoir by James Bowen, opens November 18. Luke Treadaway stars as Bowen, a recovering drug addict and street musician whose life is changed by meeting a stray cat. A movie tie-in edition (Thomas Dunne, $15.99, 9781250135735) is available.


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

Hardcover
You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris (Penguin Press, $23, 9780735222113). "This slender tome began as a social media viral sensation. Shortly after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, a husband and father wrote an open letter to the perpetrators of those attacks, stating time and again that they would not have his hate, despite the fact that he lost his wife and the mother of their infant son. This memoir closely follows the hours after the attack, chronicling Leiris' thoughts and emotions for the next several days up through the funeral for his wife. Though brief, this is a powerful meditation on grief and resilience and the importance of building a legacy of forgiveness for his son." --Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.

Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick (HarperCollins, $25.99, 9780062448767). "This moving novel establishes its unique tone and lyrical beauty from the opening sentence and sustains that level through a multi-generational story of the tension of loyalty to family and home against the lure and opportunities of the outside world." --Joe Strebel, Anderson's Bookshop Naperville, Ill.

Paperback
Am I Alone Here?: Notes on Living to Read and Reading to Live by Peter Orner (Catapult, $16.95, 9781936787258). "From beloved novelist and short-story writer Peter Orner comes a collection of essays on the reading life. Orner considers Chekhov in a hospital cafeteria, Welty on a remote island. He also throws Julian Barnes out the window of a moving car--after all, who would trust a man who only talked about what he loved? Behind and around and between these meditations flit the ghosts of the author's life: his late father, his lost marriage, his self-deprecating take on his own career. The result is a book overflowing with charm--wry, delectable, and laugh-out-loud funny. Orner is a writer's writer, but he is also a reader's reader. Am I Alone Here? is an absolute treasure." --Mairead Staid, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

For Ages 4 to 8
Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763665302). "In Du Iz Tak?, readers dive into the miniature world of bugs, where big things are happening. In a story told entirely in an imaginative insect language, readers will quickly find themselves understanding and speaking 'Bug.' Ellis' vibrant illustrations are full of tiny details and readers will come back again and again to explore this striking, inventive story. Su!" --Sara Grochowski, Brilliant Books, Traverse City, Mich.

For Ages 9 to 12: Revisit & Rediscover
The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,$7.99, 9780152026103). Originally published in 1960. "Two best friends, Amy and Clarissa, love to draw. They create a world where a moderately wicked witch has been banished to the top of a glass hill. The girls and witch communicate via a giant bumblebee, Malachi, who spells out messages between them. A request for companionship leads to a little witch girl and witch baby becoming part of the lively hilltop family. This magical tale, with its gentle suspense, sassy humor, and charming art by Ardizzone, has enchanted generations of young readers." --Elizabeth Bluemle, The Flying Pig Bookstore, Shelburne, Vt.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati (Delacorte Press/Random House, $17.99, 9781101938898). "After Catherine is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she doesn't believe that she'll survive. She knows that, while right now she's ok, soul-crushing depression, which she calls Zero, is coming for her. So she decides that she won't let it get her--she'll end things before it hits. But she has a few things to do first. Catherine's bucket list becomes an unlikely source for change as she begins to find hope where she never expected it. This book absolutely floored me. It tore me apart and rebuilt me, in the best possible way. It is by far the best depiction of depression that I've read in a very long time. I spent the last half of the book in grateful tears, filled with a deep recognition that gave me hope for life and love for Catherine. I cannot express enough what this book meant to me. Read it. It'll change you." --Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The Boy Who Escaped Paradise

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee, trans. by Chi-Young Kim (Pegasus Books, $24.95 hardcover, 288p., 9781681772523, December 20, 2016)

In The Investigation, his first novel translated into English, Korean author J.M. Lee celebrated the arts. His follow-up pays homage to the beauty of numbers. The Boy Who Escaped Paradise is the extraordinary story of a math savant told through his own words. From a prison hospital--where he's being held by U.S. officials on suspicion of murder and 11 international crimes--21-year-old Ahn Gil-mo relates his journey across the globe to a nurse who shares his love of numbers.

The son of an esteemed physician in North Korea, Gil-mo attends an excellent school catering to his mathematical gift. Lee offers the first glimpses of North Korea's hostile human rights environment when Gil-mo's father's medical license is revoked because he was unable to save a mortally wounded high-ranking military officer. The family continues to survive amid famine until officials arrive at their front door and drag Gil-mo's parents away.

His father returns long enough to collect him, and the two are banished to a prison camp because, as the boy learns, his father was discovered practicing Christianity. He never sees his mother again, and his father, like many others, dies from the hard labor and lack of food, leaving the son at the mercy of those who want to take advantage of his innocence and valuable skills.

Gil-mo's affinity for numbers lands him an easier job with Mr. Kang, working with foreign currency. He spends his days completing the computational tasks Kang assigns him, finding ways to improve the efficiency and profitability of the camp. It is here that Gil-mo makes the promise he spends his life fulfilling, no matter the cost: looking after Kang's daughter, Yeong-ae.

With regular allusions to Homer, Lee takes his modern-day Odysseus on a journey of epic proportions after he escapes the camp in order to keep his promise to Kang. The characters Gil-mo encounters as he follows Yeong-ae's trail from Asia to North America rival the complexity of Homer's. From the compassion of Gil-mo's best friend who gives him his gloves as Gil-mo is carted away, to the vile greed of the prison camp warden who profits from the boy's naiveté, a spectrum of players make The Boy Who Escaped Paradise riveting.

The novel is a reminder of the power of numbers, but one doesn't need to be a math fan to appreciate the brilliance of this work. The language is mesmerizing, illustrating the logic of Gil-mo's mind as clearly for the audience as it functions for the boy:

"I turned on my computer and went to a stock market site, watching tame numbers appear on the screen. Through graphs and tables, I herded them to a meadow by a calm stream. They listened to me and grazed where I directed them."

To say any more would spoil the plot. An exciting adventure added to rich characters, all multiplied by stunning language, equals an unforgettable novel. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A young North Korean boy with a penchant for numbers leaves a trail of crimes across the world in order to fulfill his promise.


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