Shelf Awareness for Thursday, May 2, 2013

S&S / Marysue Rucci Books: The Night We Lost Him by Laura Dave

Wednesday Books: When Haru Was Here by Dustin Thao

Tommy Nelson: Up Toward the Light by Granger Smith, Illustrated by Laura Watkins

Tor Nightfire: Devils Kill Devils by Johnny Compton

Shadow Mountain: Highcliffe House (Proper Romance Regency) by Megan Walker


Michelle Obama to Sign at Politics and Prose

Next Tuesday, May 7, Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C., is hosting First Lady Michelle Obama, who will sign her book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America (Crown), an event the Washington Post said will be "the first time a sitting first lady has done a signing at Politics and Prose."

The store said that customers who wish to attend "must complete a security screening form in person.... A limited number of wristbands for entry to this event will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis with purchase of American Grown" at the store, starting this morning, May 2, at 9 a.m. The event is a book signing only; the First Lady won't sign anything else. Wristbands and copies sold will be limited to one person each. The Post said the store has more than 250 copies of American Grown on hand.

American Grown recounts the First Lady's experience creating a kitchen garden on the South Lawn of the White House in 2009, promoting healthy eating and learning of other unusual gardens across the country. The book includes photographs and recipes created by White House chefs using food from the South Lawn garden.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Book Cottage Hosts Grand Opening This Weekend

photo: Mike Mulholland/

Book Cottage, Jackson, Mich., will host its grand opening this Saturday, reported, noting that when Nancy Oakley saw "a dwindling number of bookstores in the area," she decided "to give book lovers somewhere to go to get new and used books."

"I have had a passion for reading for my entire life," Oakley said. "I really hope people will come out and see us as a valuable resource for their children or family members. We are expecting to have a little something for everyone."

Oakley told she "has focused the most attention on the store's children's and history section and said the ability to order books is what will set her business apart from others."

"The goal is to always be able to say... yes, you can get that book even if we don't have it," she said.

Book Cottage is located at 2108 Horton Rd., Jackson, Mich. 49203; 517-768-8030;

GLOW: Workman Publishing: Atlas Obscura: Wild Life: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Living Wonders by Cara Giaimo, Joshua Foer, and Atlas Obscura

Book House Being Forced to Move

The Book House, Rock Hill, Mo., will have to move because the "historic residence" in which it's located is being demolished, along with several other properties, to create a storage facility, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

A representative for the company that intends to build the storage facility said it will help owner Michelle Barron find a new home for the store and is considering several options, including moving the 1863 Victorian Gothic building. The Book House, which sells new and used books, has some 200,000 volumes in inventory.

Owner Michelle Barron called the store "a haven, a magical place."

Weldon Owen: The Gay Icon's Guide to Life by Michael Joosten, Illustrated by Peter Emerich

HMH Publishing Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love

On October 1, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love, an anthology edited by Andrew Blauner that will feature original essays on the Hub by Pico Iyer, Chip McGrath, James Atlas, Charlie Pierce and Lesley Visser, among many others, as well as previously published pieces by such writers as John Updike, George Plimpton, Susan Orlean and Robert Pinsky. Blauner is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency and editor of three previous anthologies, Coach, Brothers and Central Park and co-editor of Anatomy of Baseball

Proceeds from the book will be donated to victims of the marathon bombings through the One Fund Boston.

Gary Gentel, president of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Publishers, said that the company "has deep roots in the Boston community and an office that overlooks the marathon finish line. It means a lot to us to contribute to the One Fund and to celebrate our home city, and we expect this book will be a treasure for many years to come."

Graphic Universe (Tm): Hotelitor: Luxury-Class Defense and Hospitality Unit by Josh Hicks

Hachette Book Group Selling E-Books to Libraries

Effective May 8, Hachette Book Group will make all its e-books available to nonprofit public and school libraries in the U.S. Under the new policy, new e-books will be released simultaneously with the print edition and sold for "an unlimited number of single-user-at-a-time circulations at an initial price three times the primary physical book price," the company said. "One year after publication, the purchase price will drop to one and a half times the primary book price. The primary book price will be defined as the highest-price edition then in print."

The new policy follows two years of pilot programs under which Hachette offered a large selection of its e-books to certain libraries and assessed e-book usage and borrowing behavior.

"I grew up in public libraries and appreciate deeply their importance to readers hungry for more," Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hachette Book Group, commented. "Hachette Book Group believes strongly in supporting the availability of books in all formats to library users, in ways that recognize the importance and value of authors' works. Our goal is to have authors' work available on as many bookshelves and platforms as possible, and we're looking forward to working with public libraries to serve their communities of readers as their reading habits evolve."

The company will review its library pricing policy annually, as it does all accounts, and said it will "continue ongoing discussions with stakeholders such as the American Library Association to ensure that we are working together to achieve the broadest possible access to authors' work in a manner that will benefit readers, libraries, and authors."

Obituary Notes: Mary Thom; Fredrick McKissack

Mary Thom, former executive editor of Ms. magazine who wrote several books (including a history of Ms.), died last Friday, the New York Times reported. She was 68. "She was a lodestone for the women's movement nationally, and a center of trust, common sense and creativity," said Gloria Steinem.


Fredrick McKissack, who with his wife, Patricia, "wrote more than 100 books, for children and adults, including many about the history of African-Americans and racism," died last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He was 73. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many accolades, including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal Award, the Coretta Scott High Author Honor Award and the Jane Addams Peace Award.

Patricia McKissack told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the couple were working on their latest book together, tentatively titled Jump Rope, about the songs children sing on playgrounds, until shortly before his death.  


Image of the Day: Christmas in Exeter

Tuesday night, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H., hosted the first event in Joe Hill's bookstore tour for his new novel, NOS4A2 (Morrow), with a standing-room-only crowd of about 120. The store had Christmas decorations and Christmas cookies (which Hill handed out to the audience before the reading) to conjure up a bit of Christmasland, the frightening place in his book where every day is Christmas and every night is Christmas Eve. Here Hill dons signing request Post-Its and (above) poses with Water Street Bookstore staff: (from l.) events coordinator Stef Kiper Schmidt, bookseller Sarah Connell, Hill, owner Dan Chartrand and bookseller Eva Skewes.

photos: Eva Skewes

Happy 40th Birthday, Bookshelf!

Congratulations to the Bookshelf, Guelph, Ont., which is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a "40 Years Young" event on Friday, June 7, and a "40 Years, 40 Books, One Bookshelf" contest. For the contest, customers who submit the names of books published over the last 40 years that have been important to them can win a shelf of 40 books that Bookshelf staff have identified as particularly significant in the life of the store.

Founders Barb and Doug Minett

Barb and Doug Minett, "a very young couple looking for something that would allow their passions to shape their life," founded the store in May 1973. "With desire overruling reason, glee leading the way, and a ridiculously small amount of money, they took the plunge," as they put it. "They knew nothing about retail and, in fact, six months later they were so exhausted from working at Christmas that they closed the store between Christmas and New Year's--one of the busiest weeks of the year."

But the 900-square-foot store did well, in part because it was "the golden years of Canadian writing and publishing. The Canada Council was flush and stimulated the literary economy with young writers who would soon become famous: Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findley, Farley Mowat, Dennis Lee, Margaret Laurence, Leonard Cohen, Robertson Davies, Al Purdy."

The store also computerized; the Minetts "designed their own elegant and efficient computer system that is still the envy of every bookstore in the country."

Next generation: Ben and Hannah Minett

When a large mall that opened nearby in the late '70s decimated downtown Guelph, the Minetts responded by moving and starting the first bookstore café in Canada. A few years later they added a second floor and created the only bookstore/café/cinema/bar in the world.

In the '90s, the Bookshelf created the first online bookstore in Canada, which the Minetts sold to Indigo. (That online store morphed into Kobo, whose chief content officer, Michael Tamblyn, got his start at the Bookshelf.) The Minetts then expanded the bricks-and-mortar store next door.

The Minetts figure they have had thousands of employees altogether during the past 40 years and thank them all. The Minetts have passed on general management of the store to their two adult children, Ben and Hannah Minett.

Books Afloat on the Bainbridge Ferry

On April 25, Susan Wiggs, author of The Apple Orchard (Harlequin), held a reading in an unlikely place--on board the Seattle/Bainbridge ferry in Washington.

The reading was the first in a new program organized by the Kitsap Regional Library, called Books Afloat. Every Thursday, on the 3:50 p.m. ferry from Bainbridge Island to Seattle and on the return trip to Bainbridge Island at 4:40 p.m., an author or a librarian will hold a book talk. The Kitsap Regional Library will also be operating a "Ferry Tales" book club. All Books Afloat programs are free for ferry riders.

More information about Book Afloat can be found at the Kitsap Library website.

A Writer's Favorite Indies

On, author and travel writer Hilary Davidson wrote about her favorite independent bookstores in the U.S. and Canada, most of which she's visited while on tours for her books--the latest is the mystery Evil in All Its Disguises. Among the stores: BookPeople, Austin, Tex., McNally Jackson, New York City, Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, Ariz., Mysterious Galaxy, Redondo Beach, Calif., Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Mo., the Tattered Cover, Denver, Colo., Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., and Book Passage, San Francisco. Concerning the last, she wrote:

"This shop has two locations, but the tiny one in the San Francisco Ferry Building is the one that grabbed my heart. I discovered it while attending a conference, and I was instantly charmed by its towering shelves, spectacular travel section and inspiring view of the water. Two years later, I returned on tour and found the same staff I'd met the first time still working in the store. 'We never want to leave,' one told me. I didn't either."

Book Trailer of the Day: Blessed and Cursed Alike

Blessed and Cursed Alike, an occult murder mystery by Kiarna Boyd (Piscataqua Press), from the publishing arm of Riverrun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Jill Smokler on Motherhood

This morning on CBS This Morning: Pepper Schwartz, co-author of The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship (Harmony, $25, 9780307951632).


Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Tom Shadyac, author of Life's Operating Manual: With the Fear and Truth Dialogues (Hay House, $19.95, 9781401943097).


Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Kjerstin Gruys, author of Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery, $26, 9780399160172).


Tomorrow on Dr. Oz: Gabrielle Reece, author of My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life (Scribner, $25, 9781451692662).


Tomorrow on NPR's On Point: Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781439160992).


Tomorrow on 20/20: Jill Smokler, author of Motherhood Comes Naturally (and Other Vicious Lies) (Gallery, $15, 9781476728346).

TV: Olive Kitteridge

Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right) will direct Olive Kitteridge, an HBO miniseries based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, starring Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins. reported that the project "started when McDormand fell in love with the book before it won the Pulitzer. She bought it with her own money, and drafted [Jane] Anderson to write the script."

This Weekend on Book TV: Vali Nasr on The Dispensable Nation

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this week 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, May 4
12 p.m. Book TV visits Yuma, Ariz., to interview several of the city's authors and tour its literary sites, including the Corner Bookshop. (Re-airs Sunday at 10 a.m.)

7 p.m. At an event hosted by Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C., David Rohde presents his book Beyond War: Reimagining American Influence in a New Middle East (Viking, $27.95, 9780670026449).

8 p.m. From the 2013 William E. Colby Military Writers' Symposium, a panel on "Coming Home: The Hopes, Fears, and Challenges of Veterans Returning from War," featuring authors Karl Marlantes, Dave McIntyre, James Wright and Col. Jon Coffin (Ret.). (Re-airs Monday at 5:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. After Words. Judith Yaphe interviews Vali Nasr, author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385536479). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. George Michael talks about his book Lone Wolf Terror and the Rise of Leaderless Resistance (Vanderbilt University Press, $34.95, 9780826518552).

Sunday, May 5
12 p.m. In Depth. London Daily Mail journalist and columnist Melanie Phillips, author most recently of The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power (Encounter Books, $18.95, 9781594035746), joins Book TV for a live interview. Viewers can participate in the discussion by calling in during the program or submitting questions to or via Twitter (@BookTV). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. Book TV in London features A.C. Grayling, author of The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism (Bloomsbury USA, $26, 9781620401903). (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

6:37 p.m. Book TV in London features Justin Webb, author of Cheers, America: How an Englishman Learned to Love America (Atria Books/Marble Arch Press, $16, 9781476730196). (Re-airs Monday at 4:37 a.m.)

7 p.m. At an event hosted by New York University Bookstore in New York City, Scott Korb talks about his book Light Without Fire: The Making of America's First Muslim College (Beacon Press, $25.95, 9780807001639).

8:15 p.m. At an event hosted by Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., Laurie Edwards presents her book In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America (Walker & Company, $26, 9780802718013).

10 p.m. Charles Johnson discusses his book Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America's Most Underrated President (Encounter Books, $25.99, 9781594036699).

11 p.m. Victor Navasky, publisher emeritus of the Nation, talks about his book The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307957207).

Books & Authors

Pennie Picks City of Women

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen City of Women by David R. Gillham (Berkley, $16, 9780425252963) as her pick of the month for May. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"Stories about war often focus on battles. What's so fascinating about this month's pick, David R. Gillham's debut novel, City of Women, is that he focuses on the people left behind.

"By all accounts, Sigrid Schroder is the ideal German soldier's wife: She dutifully goes to work, makes the most of rations and tends to her mother-in-law. And yet, with her husband shipped off to Russia to fight, she dreams of her former lover, an expert in gems and manipulation, who has removed the star from his lapel and gone underground.

"Gillham does an unforgettable job of taking readers to 1943 Berlin. The city is filled with women who, although left behind, are forging ahead with their lives and wrestling with decisions that are heavy with life-changing implications."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, May 7:

Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel by Charlaine Harris (Ace Hardcover, $27.95, 9781937007881) is the final Sookie Stackhouse novel.

Silken Prey by John Sandford (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399159312) is the latest Lucas Davenport mystery.

Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399161575) is a posthumous continuation of Parker's Spenser series.

The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul Theroux (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780618839339) is the travel writer's ode to Africa.

Keep It Pithy: Useful Observations in a Tough World by Bill O'Reilly (Crown Archetype, $21.99, 9780385346627) is a selection of material from O'Reilly's bestsellers with updated commentary.

Obsessed: America's Food Addiction--and My Own by Mika Brzezinski (Weinstein, $26, 9781602861763) explores the obesity epidemic and personal food issues.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Putnam, $18, 9780399162411) is a young adult story about sequential alien invasions of Earth.

Killing Jesus by Stephen Mansfield (Worthy Publishing, $22.99, 9781617951879) chronicles the death of Jesus.

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

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

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel by Kristopher Jansma (Viking, $26.95, 9780670026005). "I started placing special orders for customers who love books that are extremely well done even before finishing this wonderful debut. Some people prefer plot-driven novels. Some can go along with any plot as long as the writing is fantastic. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is perfect for either type of book lover and is best described by these lines pulled directly from the book: 'It is a rare sort of book that resembles nothing else and yet somehow seems intensely familiar. From the first line you feel your own heart begin to beat differently. Once it's over you want to begin it again. It is a love letter; it is an atom bomb; it is literature we'd forgotten could be written.'" --Beth Golay, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kans.

Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Garden by Matt Wilkinson (Black Dog & Leventhal, $27.95, 9781579129347). "Though the title can deceive you into thinking this is a cookbook for vegetarians, it isn't at all. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific vegetable that takes center stage in a glorious recipe. Written in a manner that can be appreciated by the novice cook to the trained gourmet, Wilkinson's book makes you yearn for fresh produce and the warmth of a well-stocked kitchen. This is a fabulous addition to anyone's cookbook collection and a perfect gift for a foodie looking for something a bit out of the ordinary." --Charles Mille, The Quiet Man Bookshop, Canadensis, Pa.

Vengeance: A Novel by Benjamin Black (Picador, $16, 9781250024183). "If you haven't yet discovered Benjamin Black (a.k.a. John Banville) and his marvelous creation, Dr. Quirke, then you are missing some first-rate writing and entertainment. Vengeance is the fourth in a series set in Dublin in the late 1950s featuring the good doctor, a somewhat grumpy pathologist, and his drinking and sleuthing companion Inspector Detective Hackett. Quirke is a flawed man of many weaknesses, yet he manages to be in a state of permanent self-deprecation that he takes as a sign of virtue, and that makes him an irresistible and believable character." --Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.

For Teen Readers
What We Saw at Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard (Soho Teen, $17.99, 9781616951412). "Can you imagine never being able to see the sun? Allie and her two closest friends, Juliet and Rob, all suffer from XP, a fatal allergy to sunlight, and can only come out at night. Juliet introduces Allie and Rob to Parkour--the extreme sport of scaling and leaping off tall buildings, dangerous by day but deadly in darkness. Even scarier is observing a murder taking place in one of the buildings the trio is scaling. Only Allie investigates the incident, wondering why Rob and Juliet are ignoring her. Mitchard offers a thriller that will keep you guessing to the very end--and beyond." --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Americanah

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf, $26.95 hardcover, 9780307271082, May 14, 2013)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah is the rare novel that pulls readers into its well-crafted, richly observed universe and makes us witnesses to stories that feel true and stay with us long after the final page. The people in this novel are people we know; its places are as intimate as home. Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) writes so well it doesn't even feel like reading--until she comes up with a brilliant description or an observation that crackles with truth.

Americanah begins just after the 30-something Ifemelu's impulsive decision to return to Nigeria after 13 years in the United States. Framed by Ifemelu's visit to an African hair braiding salon in preparation for the move, the story moves seamlessly between present and past, unfolding into an elegant, multi-continental epic that spans two decades.

Ifemelu's decision baffles her family and her American boyfriend. After all, she's an American citizen with a brilliant (and lucrative) blog on race in America who's just completed a fellowship at Princeton. But there was "no bold epiphany and there was no cause," Adichie writes. "It was simply that layer after layer of discontent had settled in her, and formed a mass that now propelled her" home.

These "layers of discontent," we learn, have hardened over the accumulated wounds of the trials and insults of immigrant life: the gaping misunderstandings, the unremitting terror of working illegally, the micro-aggressions of ignorant Americans. There is also the anguish of homesickness and the reverberant ache of her first love, Obinze--who has also come back to Nigeria after making his fortune abroad.

Eventually, Ifemelu does return home, where she must reckon with Nigeria's transformation into an oil-rich, globalized country--and with her own undeniable transformation into an "Americanah."

Americanah isn't just a Nigerian novel, or an American novel, or an immigrant story--although it is all of those. It's a character study, and a love story. It's a book about being black and about being a woman. It's a story of becoming. Each page is a revelation that wholly envelopes readers, transforming us into better people for having read it. --Hannah Calkins

Shelf Talker: Acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie returns with a masterfully crafted novel about a brave, whip-smart woman returning to Nigeria after years in the U.S.

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