Shelf Awareness for Thursday, March 17, 2011


Harper: The Lowering Days by Gregory Brown

Scribner Book Company: Red Island House by Andrea Lee

Shadow Mountain: The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M Eden

House of Anansi Press: Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

St. Martin's Press: Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair by Kim Scott

Quotation of the Day

Indies 'Confident About the Future and Our Own Abilities'

"I'm sick of independents coming forward and saying, 'Come help us.' Our message should be that we're confident about the future and our own abilities. At this point we're all working together anyway. We're all competing against Amazon."

--Nikki Furrer, owner of Pudd'nhead Books, St. Louis, Mo., quoted in a Riverfront Times article examining the creation of St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance

 

 


University of California Press: Beethoven, a Life (1st ed.) by Jan Caeyers, translated by Brent Annable


News

Image of the Day: Sands of Time

Earlier this month, to celebrate the opening of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, retiring Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley accepted an honorary hourglass from Greg Meng, executive in charge of production for Days of Our Lives. More than 1,000 fans of the show came to the show to have copies of Days of Our Lives 45 Years: A Celebration in Photos (Sourcebooks) signed and to meet cast members.

 


Berkley Books: Dangerous Women by Hope Adams


Notes: St. Patrick's Day Reads; B&N's Stock Price Issues

Happy St. Patrick's Day reading.

In Washington, D.C., Solas Nua will celebrate the sixth annual Irish Book Day by stationing "one hundred volunteers around dozens of metro stops in the city from 6 a.m. until the end of the evening commute and hand out a whopping 10,000 books for free on the streets of D.C. The books are by current Irish writers and this is our way of celebrating Ireland's national holiday." You can follow real time Twitter updates of the book action with the hashtag or @solasnuacht.

The inaugural Irish Arts Center Book Day will take place in New York City: "Keep an eye out for Book Day volunteers handing out books by Irish and Irish American authors, free, at subway stops and transportation hubs across all five boroughs, and be in the know on Book Day locations during the day by following our up-to-the-minute Twitter and Facebook updates."

AM New York recommended some great Irish reads, noting that "there are ways to mark the occasion that don't involve marching in a parade or guzzling green beer. We'd like to pay homage to some of the greatest writers of the English language--who also happen to be Irish."

"On St. Patrick's Day, discover hidden Irish literary gems" was the advice from Newschannel 5 in Nashville, Tenn., which noted that the advent of digital books means that several OP titles recommended by Irish native Richard Haslam "are available on Google Books, or can be acquired the old-fashioned way: by visiting a library."

The Huffington Post's readers chose their "favorite books by Irish authors and about all things Irish. James Joyce of course took the lead, but there were a few surprises."

Marjorie Kehe, the Christian Science Monitor's book editor, improved upon her 2010 list of the "10 best books about Ireland (which I still stand by)" with five additional titles.  

For the last word, we go to the old country itself. Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland's National Public Service broadcaster, featured a top 10 Irish writers list, but with this caveat: "Like all Best of... lists, this top ten invites discourse if not outright criticism. But that's why we love them. Donal O'Donoghue lays his bets and takes his chances on our greatest living writers."

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Noting Barnes & Noble's 47% drop in stock price during the past three weeks to a new all-time low below $10, the Wall Street Journal's influential Heard on the Street column said that "growth investors appear to be staying away--with good reason."

The paper raised the specter of bricks-and-mortar media retailers that have filed Chapter 11--now joined by Borders Group--but noted that "admittedly Barnes & Noble has more chance of surviving" because of the Nook. "Even so, there are plenty of uncertainties," particularly what happens to the company's gross margins, considering the operating expenses of its stores. "The worry is the company will be too slow to close outlets," the Journal commented.

In addition, B&N has taken on long-term debt "for the first time in several years," partly to buy Barnes & Noble College from chairman Len Riggio, for $596 million, "more than Barnes & Noble's now-shrunken market capitalization." The Journal added that "the deal would have looked better for Barnes & Noble shareholders if Mr. Riggio had taken stock rather than cash."

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In 2013, Sam Weller's Bookstore will open a second location, in Salt Lake City International Airport, according to Deseret News. Weller's, which has operated in downtown Salt Lake City since 1929, is part of a partnership led by the Paradies Shops that successfully bid on retail and concession space that was opened up by the airport authority for the first time in 50 years. The Paradies group includes a mix of local and national companies.

Co-owner Tony Weller told the paper that he hoped to bring "a little local flavor" to the airport. "When you go to another city, the difference in stores, in vendors, in restaurants is part of the experience. Tourists don't go to other cities to look for Starbucks and Barnes & Noble."

The store is still seeking new space in downtown after announcing in 2009 that it planned eventually to move from the site where it has been located since 1961.

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As part of an exclusive partnership among Barnes & Noble, Penguin and Eric Carle, the bestselling children's author/illustrator has created custom artwork featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar that can be seen only in B&N stores and online at BN.com. In addition, customers will be getting a sneak peek at art from his new title, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, which Penguin will release in October.

This week, B&N will begin featuring Carle's artwork to celebrate the Very Hungry Caterpillar Day on March 20. A limited run of B&N gift cards with the new artwork will also be available in April, as well as curriculum guides distributed at BN Educator Nights. While books are the main focus, this four month-long promotion will showcase other products from the World of Eric Carle as well. B&N stores are planning a nationwide Eric Carle Storytime event for Saturday, March 19. There will also be exclusive content available at BN.com's Eric Carle page.

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Seaburn Bookstore, the Queens indie that was put on the endangered list earlier this year (Shelf Awareness, January 19, 2011), is staying put. The New York Daily News reported that owner Sam Chekwas has decided not to move "to a desolate stretch of Long Island City after business picked up and his landlord agreed to lower a planned rent increase. The building's owner had a change of heart after reading about the shop's plight in the Daily News."

"The community came out in droves," he said. "It's like there was a hurricane coming and you were only allowed to have books."

Chekwas has closed Seaburn temporarily for renovations, adding an Internet café and remodeling the store's basement remodeled for events. He plans to reopen the bookstore by the end of the month.

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Tweet of the day: From Michele Filgate (@readandbreathe), currently the events coordinator at RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.: "* tap tap * Is this microphone on? I have some really big news. Starting April 11th I'll be the Events Coordinator @mcnallyjackson in NYC!" Congratulations, Michele.

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In a curious case of mistaken city identity, the Daily Mail's recent article on Lifetime network's biopic Magic Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story (Shelf Awareness, March 16, 2011) said the filming had taken place in Vancouver, B.C., but Munro’s Books in Victoria was the actual setting.

"We had an interesting time on the filming day," recalled Sarah Frye of Munro's, "and yes, the store stayed open through the whole process, although we had to move our entire remainder section off the floor to accommodate a scene of one of her first readings. That said, the crew were all terribly respectful and Poppy Montgomery was gracious and generous."

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Earlier this week, a man driving a black Isuzu Trooper with 'Jesus Saves' on one side and 'confess and forgive' on the other, stole a sign--which said "Witchcraft wares and magical supplies, potion brews and unique gifts," with a pentagram on the back--from the Sacred Grove, a metaphysical bookstore and pagan community center in Santa Cruz, Calif. The Mercury News reported that Kelly Piper was apprehended after a car chase, the sign was found and returned to the shop.

"I'm sure he did this because of his views," said Sacred Groves owner Michael Correll. "The sign's a minor thing; it's a symbolic thing of us being messed with by Christians."

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For the Guardian, InformationIsBeautiful.net's David McCandless crunched book numbers from 15 notable book polls, readers surveys and top 100 lists to fashion a "consensus cloud" visualization of the "books everyone must read."

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"So you like to eat, and you like to read... sometimes you may like to mix the two in a place called a bookstore," the Chicago Tribune's travel section wrote in introducing its choices for "the better bookstores in the nation, now that places like Borders are down-sizing."

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Touching author video of the day: Harlan Coben in Paris on Tuesday accepting the Vermeil Medal of Honor for contributions to culture and society. A film version of Coben's Tell No One, in which he made a cameo appearance, was a smash French film; his newest thriller, Live Wire, appears next Tuesday, March 22. The video has helpful subtitles for our Francophone readers!

Author James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) received the Order of Arts and Letters; AFP reported that French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand called him "the master of dark dreams" and "one of the most prominent names in modern literature." Congolese author Alain Mabanckou, who teaches at UCLA, was given the French Legion of Honor. Mitterrand praised Mabanckou's "rare talent" and his "sublime ability to mix irony and poetry."

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What do librarians do with all those old card catalogue cabinets? At Bloomington Junior High School's Media Center, they've been adapted for the digital age and are now being used to store the library's e-reader collection. "It turns out that the drawers were just the right size for most of the common eReaders," eBookNewser reported. "All the case needed was a few holes drilled in the back, and then running some power cables."

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Peter Forbes, author of Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage, selected his top 10 books on color for the Guardian. "Color is challenging for writers: like music it appeals directly to the senses, bypassing language," he observed. "But you can't keep words out of anything, and for some writers words come bathed in colors."

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The "next chapter for bookshelves" was explored by the Minneapolis Tribune, which noted that books "have played a major role in shaping the American house. But with e-readers rapidly turning bookworms into techies, what's the future for home libraries, bookshelves and coffee-table tomes?"

"It's nice to have books around. They add so much ambience," said Jim Noble, whose 19th-century Minneapolis house features leather-bound volumes on floor-to-ceiling shelves that line an entire wall. "I hope we never live to see the day that books are eliminated from the home."

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Book trailer of the day: Cahoots by Karla Oceanak, illustrated by Kendra Spanjer (Bailiwick Press), the third in the alphabetical Aldo Zelnick comic novel series. In the trailer, Launie Parry, the designer for the series, shows how she creates the books' covers. Featuring appearances by Oceanak and Spanjer.

 


Gotham Book Prize: Last Call for Submissions - Due by November 1st


Dark Prince Emerges in New Edition

Twelve years after Christine Feehan's debut novel, Dark Prince, was published, readers can experience the book--and be introduced to the Dark Series--as she originally intended. An Author's Cut special edition, which went on sale last week (Morrow, $19.99, 9780062009623), has restored 100 pages to the text. It is also the first time Dark Prince has been available in hardcover.

"This is the version I wanted to read," said Feehan. "There's a lot of new material, but it's really the same book--just more of the same book." There are longer scenes, enhanced character development and additional details about the world and culture the paranormal romance series depicts.

The 21-volume Dark Series--one of four series Feehan is writing--features the Carpathians, an ancient race with extraordinary physical and psychic powers. They can live for thousands of years, surviving on human blood, although they don't kill. But a female Carpathian has not been born in more than 500 years. In the absence of lifemates, males lose the ability to feel emotions and to see in color and eventually either commit suicide or become vampires.

HarperCollins imprints Morrow and Avon acquired the rights to Dark Prince along with several of Feehan's other Dark Series novels (all of which are currently available as e-books). Initially Dark Prince was a tough sell with publishers. "Nobody was doing vampires at the time I sold Dark Prince. As soon as they heard the word 'vampire' they said no," recalled Feehan, who eventually signed with Dorchester Publishing and is now also published by the Penguin Group.

The first print run of Dark Prince sold out in about two weeks. "Readers wanted something different, and I happened to come along at the right moment," Feehan said. "I believe it opened the door. There is so much scope for imagination in the paranormal world, and I think writers were waiting to be able to use that."

The seeds for the series were sown when Feehan took part in role playing games with her son, a Dungeons & Dragons fan, and she wove in elements of the Carpathian world. After her son died in a car accident, Feehan, a lifelong reader and writer, found solace in storytelling. "When you lose a child, your world becomes dull," Feehand said. "You really feel as if you're walking through life. That lack of emotion and lack of color came into the Carpathian world. I poured all of that into the stories my son loved and wrote them for myself as a way of healing."

On Feehan's website, christinefeehan.com, an online community has some 70,000 members from more than 100 countries. There are extras such as book trailers, screen savers, puzzles, deleted scenes, "making of" articles and, for the Dark Series, audios of the Carpathian language. On a message board, conversations about the new Dark Prince are already in full swing.

In addition to interacting with readers online, Feehan hosts an annual, three-day FAN convention with fellow author Brenda Novak. The gathering takes place on the Delta King, a riverboat hotel in Old Sacramento, Calif., and includes festivities like a speakeasy-themed event, bingo brunch, mystery dinner theater, author chats and book signings.

Feehan plans to keep going with the Dark Series as long as she "can feel fresh and passionate about each story." Luckily for fans, her enthusiasm for crafting Carpathian adventures is as strong as ever. In the works right now is Dark Predator, which has an unusual spin, Feehan said. The 20th title in the series, Dark Slayer, also "was completely different from any book I had ever done. I never know where these characters are going to take me, and I love that."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

 


University of California Press: Epic Books Make Epic Gifts


Media and Movies

Media Heat: NASCAR's Michael Waltrip on Imus in the Morning

This morning on Imus in the Morning: Michael Waltrip, author of In the Blink of an Eye: Dale, Daytona, and the Day That Changed Everything (Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401324315).

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Tomorrow on Fox & Friends: Jack Cashill, author of Deconstructing Obama: The Life, Loves, and Letters of America's First Postmodern President (Threshold, $25, 9781451611113).

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Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: James Beckerman, author of The Flex Diet: Design-Your-Own Weight Loss Plan (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439155691).

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Tomorrow on NPR's Round Table: Sally Wade, author of The George Carlin Letters: The Permanent Courtship of Sally Wade (Gallery, $26, 9781451607765).

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Tomorrow on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, author of You Know I'm Right: More Prosperity, Less Government (Threshold, $26, 9781439193228).

 


This Weekend on Book TV: The People Reloaded

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Tuesday 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, March 19

9 a.m. For an event hosted by Hue-Man Bookstore in New York City, Belva Davis, author of Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman's Life in Journalism (Polipoint Press, $24.95, 9781936227068), recalls her nearly five-decade career. (Re-airs Sunday at 4:15p.m. and Monday at 1 a.m.)

10 a.m. Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, editors of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran's Future (Melville House, $18.95, 9781935554387), discuss the book with contributors Hamid Dabashi, Ervand Abrahamian and Golbarg Bashi. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

12 p.m. Maya Jasanoff, author of Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (Knopf, $30, 9781400041688), chronicles experiences of loyalists who fled retribution at the hands of victorious patriots after America's war of independence. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m. and 7 p.m.)

9 p.m. Thomas Christie, Franklin C. Spinney and Pierre Sprey, contributors to The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Through It (Center for Defense Information, $10, 9780615446240), take a critical look at the Defense Department. (Re-airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Dan Mitchell interviews Dambisa Moyo, author of How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead (FSG, $25, 9780374173258). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

Sunday, March 20

7 a.m. John McMillian, author of Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780195319927), recounts the underground newspapers of the 1960s and their effect on the political movements of their time. (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

2:45 p.m.From the Virginia Festival of the Book, a "Voices from the Middle East" panel features Laila El-Haddad, Joshua Foust and Chas Freeman, who talk about current events in the region and take questions from festival attendees. 

 


Television: House of Cards to Netflix?

In potential deal that could alter the television landscape significantly, Netflix is in talks to acquire House of Cards, adapted from the Michael Dobbs novel and the acclaimed 1990 BBC miniseries.

Deadline.com's Nellie Andreeva reported that "video streaming juggernaut Netflix is becoming an original programming player. In what is probably the biggest gamble in its 14-year history, I hear Netflix has outbid several major cable networks, including HBO and AMC, for Media Rights Capital's drama series House of Cards, executive produced and directed by David Fincher and exec produced by and starring Kevin Spacey. Negotiations are still going on, but I hear Netflix landed the drama project by offering a staggering commitment of two seasons, or 26 episodes."

 


Movies: How to Be Single; Hunger Games; Foer on Memory

Drew Barrymore will direct and produce (with her Flower Films partner Nancy Juvonen) How to Be Single, adapted from the 2008 novel by Liz Tuccillo. Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn wrote the screenplay. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the project is a reteaming of the He's Just Not That into You team: Barrymore and Juvonen produced that movie, with Silverstein and Kohn writing the script.

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Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) will play the role of Katniss in The Hunger Games, based on the bestselling novels by Suzanne Collins, the Wrap reported. Lionsgate "plans the franchise as a trilogy which will include The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit) is directing the film, which will debut on March 23, 2012."

Several actors are rumored to be under consideration for the role of Peeta Mellark, including Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four), Josh Hutcherson (The Kids Are All Right, Bridge to Terabithia) and Hunter Parrish (Weeds), the Wrap wrote.

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Sony's Columbia Pictures acquired the rights to adapt Joshua Foer's Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Deadline.com reported.

"This is a very special book which transcends the already fascinating subject of memory," said Columbia president Doug Belgrad. "By explaining in personal and entertaining fashion a great deal about how our brains work, Joshua has written a book that sheds light on how memory is connected to humanity."

 



Books & Authors

Awards: Lambda Finalists; Aussie Indie Book; BC Book Prize

The 114 finalists in 24 categories of the annual Lambda Literary Awards have been announced by the Lambda Literary Foundation. Winners will be honored at the 23rd annual awards ceremony, to be held May 26 in New York City at the end of BEA.

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Australian independent booksellers named Anh Do's The Happiest Refugee as their choice for Indie Book of the Year. Simon Milne, general manager of Leading Edge Books, said the title "was chosen by an overwhelming number of independent booksellers.... Last year was an important year for nonfiction, and this is the first time a nonfiction book has won this award. Anh Do's story--of his family's struggle to reach Australia, and the life they have created since then--touched booksellers and readers alike."  

One bookseller described The Happiest Refugee as a story that "will reach into every heart of every reader who is fortunate enough to be absorbed from page one. The story of the family, their hardship and the love and humor that gets them through put this book on a par with A.B. Facey's A Fortunate Life. I hope lots of Australians get to read his book and appreciate Australia through Anh's eyes."

The other contenders and category winners were Bereft by Chris Womersley (fiction), Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer (debut fiction) and Mirror by Jeannie Baker (children's book).

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Finalists have been named for the 2011 BC Book Prizes. Winners, who will share $14,000 in prize money, will be announced April 21. The complete shortlists are available here.

 


Book Review

Book Review: The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek

The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek: A Tragic Clash Between White and Native America by Richard Kluger (Alfred A. Knopf, $28.95 Hardcover, 9780307268891, March 2011)

Years before his fateful encounter with Nisqually tribe members at Medicine Creek, Isaac I. Stevens was valedictorian of the 1839 class at West Point, at a time when the United States Military Academy excelled in training army engineers. From early on, he was brilliant, self-assured, fierce in defending his positions and mightily ambitious. Working his political connections in 1853, Stevens successfully campaigned to be appointed the first governor of the newly created Washington Territory, setting the stage for the tragic clash that Richard Kluger (Pulitzer winner for Ashes to Ashes) recounts in this powerful, disturbing and heartrending history of Stevens's program to commandeer Indian lands in the Territory for white settlers.

"His purpose in coming to Washington Territory had been to accumulate political credit and advance his aspiration for ever higher posts of command and access to the levers of power," Kluger notes as he shows Stevens's initial strengths of drive and organization devolving into fatal flaws of being blind to the opinions of others and using deadly force if necessary when his will was opposed. Serious opposition to Stevens's plan to seize Indian lands began in December 1854 when the Medicine Creek Treaty was "presented" to members of the Nisqually tribe, including Leschi, its co-chief. The treaty asked the tribe to cede all title to its land--2.4 million acres--in exchange for a very small (and undesirable) reservation.

Kluger raises a series of key questions in a cogent review of the treaty (and subsequent charges leveled against Leschi): Did the Nisqually understand the terms of the treaty? Why would they agree to such a treaty? Did they actually sign it? Kluger finds that the terms of the complex treaty were "explained" to the Nisqually in Chinook, a language of limited use for delineating legal agreements (also, Salish, not Chinook, was the language of the Nisqually). Based on later attempts to discuss reservation assignments, it also appears that the Nisqually did not comprehend what they were being asked to trade in December 1854, and some sources stated that Leschi left the meeting without making his mark on the treaty, though the treaty forwarded to the U.S. Senate showed the "mark of Leschi." Was forgery involved? Was anything clean and straightforward in Stevens's drive to make Washington a preserve for white settlers?

From that starting point, one tragedy followed another, culminating in two highly compromised murder trials that ended up ordering Leschi's summary execution. Kluger stops short of actually asking, "How do we make this right?" but every thoughtful reader will be profoundly challenged to answer that question for himself.--John McFarland

Shelf Talker: A powerful, disturbing history of government-sanctioned monomania and land grabbing in the Washington Territory of the 1850s that has left us as a nation with an unspeakable legacy of injustice and shame.

 


The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Titles in Chicagoland and Milwaukee Last Week

The following were the bestselling titles at independent bookstores in and near Chicago and Milwaukee during the week ending Sunday, March 13:

1. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
2. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
3. Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas
4. The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
5. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
6. The Social Animal by David Brooks
7. Open City by Teju Cole
8. Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard
9. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
10. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Reporting bookstores and their handselling favorites last week:

Anderson's, Naperville and Downers Grove: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
The Book Cellar at Lincoln Square: Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas
The Book Table, Oak Park: Pym by Mat Johnson
The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
Books & Company, Oconomowoc: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee: Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth by Matthew Inman
57th St. Books, Chicago: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Lake Forest Books: Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman
Next Chapter, Mequon
Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock
Seminary Co-op: Scorecasting by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Werthem
Women and Children First, Chicago

[Many thanks to the booksellers and Carl Lennertz!]

 


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