Shelf Awareness for Monday, July 20, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles

Quotation of the Day

Preston: 'Overwhelmingly Positive Feedback'

"We're getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from authors and booksellers. Out of maybe 700 e-mails I got [on Tuesday], I did get one nasty one, from Amazon champion Hugh Howey, who called me 'disgusting' and 'sad' and 'bonkers.' That relieved me; I was getting worried that the usual critics were staying so quiet."

--Douglas Preston, in an interview with Bookselling This Week regarding the July 13 request by Authors United to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for its "abuse of its dominance in the world of books." The appeal is supported by the American Booksellers Association and Authors Guild, which both sent letters to the DOJ, and the Association of Authors' Representatives.

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Seth Meyers's Late Night Literary Salon

Amy Poehler, George R.R. Martin and Seth Meyers play Game of Thrones trivia.

NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers, "has become a haven for writers, particularly novelists, with the host welcoming more than a dozen authors in the past year. Meyers has interviewed Joshua Ferris and Marlon James as well as seasoned bestsellers like George R.R. Martin and Stephen King," the Wall Street Journal wrote, adding that with Meyers "behind the desk, the show has morphed into something of an intellectual salon, with authors and biting political commentary as well as celebrities."

"I think this is somewhat of an experiment for them," said Hanya Yanagihara, author of A Little Life and a recent guest on the show. "For writers who never get any attention anywhere, it's a great boon."

"We're used to kind of scraping for any kind of attention for literary fiction," said Riverhead Books publicist Claire McGinnis, who described Meyers's enthusiasm as "absolutely thrilling."

"Writers are just naturally great storytellers," said Meyers. "[W]hen an author comes out more often than not you've never seen them, you don't know anything about their personality. The fun for me and the fun for the audience is just realizing how many different kinds of people write books."

Meyers "also actually has to read the novel--and assume the audience hasn't," the Journal noted.

Marlon James, author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, said he was astonished to receive the Late Night invitation (Meyers had read the book on vacation and loved it.): "I first just thought, well, my publicist is working overtime, which she is. But the idea that behind his booking was simply that he fell in love with these books just kind of blew my mind. It's just not one of those things you expect."

Anderson's in La Grange, Ill., Opening August 1

Anderson's Bookshop, which has stores in Napersville and Downers Grove, Ill., is opening its new location, in La Grange, on Saturday, August 1, Candy Purdom of Anderson's wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

The grand opening celebration begins on Saturday at 10 a.m. with an official ribbon cutting, including Village of La Grange officials, local business representatives, Anderson's staff, the Cat in the Hat character, WBBM-2 TV's Rob Johnson and others.

At 11 a.m., storytime will feature a local children's book author, following by storytimes at noon and 1 p.m., along with children's activities and giveaways.

The first adult book signing takes place at 2 p.m. with romance write Susan Elizabeth Phillips, author of Heroes Are My Weakness. On Sunday, at 2 p.m., reality TV star and former Playboy Bunny Holly Madison will present her new book, Down the Rabbit Hole.

In addition, the store will have book trivia games, glitter tattoos, a door prize drawing, giveaways and treats from local vendors. The first 25 people in line Saturday morning will win Anderson's Bookshop memberships.

New Olde Warwick Book Shoppe Opening Soon

Great news from Warwick, N.Y.: Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe, which Thomas G. Roberts and Joseph J. Justin opened in 2012, plans to open a second location, in nearby Greenwood Lake, according to the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association.

The new store will be 1,500 square feet with lots of store and "very little to be done except building the book shelves themselves." It should open by the end of the month.

Ye Old Warwick Book Shoppe sells new, used and rare books.

Rainbow Books in Texas for Sale, May Close

Rainbow Books & Learning Center, a children's and educational supplies bookstore in Corpus Christi, Tex., is for sale but will close in September if no buyer is found, according to KRIS-TV.

Barbara Flanigan, who opened the store in 1984 with her husband, Chuck, said, "My husband and I are 80 now and we want to spend more time with our families."

Barbara was a schoolteacher and librarian before starting the store and has been devoted to fostering literacy and reading by children.

Amazon: Prime Now Expands to Chicago, Indianapolis

Amazon has added Chicago and Indianapolis to cities qualifying for Prime Now service, which allows Amazon Prime members to order products and receive them in one or two hours, Cnet reported, noting that Walmart, "which is arguably Amazon's chief competitor, given its size, also offers same-day delivery in select cities on certain products, including groceries. Still, for now, Amazon is the top force in e-commerce in the U.S., but is facing increasing pressure from Walmart and other top brick-and-mortar retailers."


Cool Idea of the Day: Bookshop's Horse-Drawn Tours

Stanfords Bookshop, the map and travel bookstore in London's Covent Garden district, will run horse-drawn tours of the city every Tuesday and Thursday, the Bookseller reported. In a vintage Victorian omnibus, customers will ride from Stanfords' flagship store on a tour of London's West End, with tours departing at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Landmarks en route include the Palace of Westminster, the Royal Opera House, Trafalgar Square and many others. Rides will cost £30 (about $47) for adults and £10 ($15.60) for children, and a family pass, costing £65 ($102) for two adults and two children, will also be available.

The bookstore, which dates back to 1853 and has stood in its current location since 1901, partnered with TW Carriages to create the Edward Stanford Omnibus Company to operate the tours.

"Our partnership with TW Carriages taps into our 163-year heritage by offering a tour of our great capital that looks, sounds, and, yes, at times even smells authentically Victorian--matching so much of the architecture of the West End," Tony Maher, Stanfords' managing director, told the Bookseller.

Road Trip: India's Indies; 'Oldest Bookstores'

Noting that in India, "it is getting to be so that even the existence of a small independent bookshop in some corner now feels like a real luxury," the Hindu explored indies in Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai, and suggested booklovers "mindfully patronize local independent bookshops--or at least divide our book buying between online booksites and physical bookshops. After all, they offer two different experiences: one is about distribution and product fulfillment, the other is about communing with a roomful of books and fellow readers. What will it be for you?"


"Forget e-books. Here are the oldest bookstores in India," the Hindustan Times reported. "From the mountains to the metros, here we bring you a few gems that have survived the tests of time and are a true testament to the old world charm of reading the written word."

Book Trailer of the Day: Enchanted August

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen (Pamela Dorman Books), a novel by the literary agent and children's book author that reimagines Elizabeth von Arnim's The Enchanted April, but set on a tiny island in Maine. The trailer voiceover is from the audiobook read by Broadway actress Sierra Boggess.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Called for Life on Today

Today on Diane Rehm: Arthur Brooks, author of The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America (Broadside Books, $27.99, 9780062319753).


Tonight on the Tonight Show: Judd Apatow, author of Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy (Random House, $27, 9780812997576).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Kent Brantly and Amber Brantly, authors of Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic (WaterBrook Press, $23, 9781601428233).


Tomorrow on Diane Rehm: Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars (Simon & Schuster/TED, $16.99, 9781476784762).

Movies: The Revenant Trailer

The first trailer has been released for the highly anticipated adaptation of Michael Punke's The Revenant. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman), the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. It opens Christmas day.  
Punke's novel was originally published by Carroll & Graf in 2002 and went out of print, but Picador noted that it considers The Revenant "a forgotten modern classic of the frontier," which led to the publisher's decision to bring the book back into print as a hardcover earlier this year rather than as a movie-tie-in edition.

Books & Authors

Awards: Midwest Booksellers Choice; Charleston-Chichester

The winners in five categories of the Midwest Booksellers Choice Awards, voted for by members of the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association and honoring books that are "pertinent to the region either in content or in regard to the authors hometown or current residence," are:

Adult Fiction: Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher (Doubleday)
Adult Nonfiction: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autoiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill (South Dakota Historical Society Press)
Poetry: Splitting an Order by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press)
Children's Literature (YA & Middle Grade): The Scavengers by Michael Perry (HarperCollins)
Children's Picture Books: Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen (HMH Books for Young Readers)

The winners will be celebrated at the opening night book awards dinner at the Heartland Fall Forum on October 9.


British author Jane Gardam will be awarded the Charles-Chichester Award for a Lifetime's Excellence in Short Fiction on September 27 at a special event held at this year's Charleston Small Wonder Short Story Festival, the Bookseller reported. Previous honorees include William Trevor and Edna O'Brien.

"Although Jane Gardam is now best known for her Old Filth trilogy, it is perhaps less well known that the original protagonist [retired judge Sir Edward Feathers] began his literary existence in one of her sublime short stories," said Diana Reich, artistic director of Small Wonder. "Her writing is sometimes compared with Jane Austen, due to the lucidity of her prose, powers of observation and understated wit. We are sure that this award will serve to confirm her reputation and that her rich, vivid and startling short stories will come to be seen as classics."

Gardam noted: "I am honored and delighted that I have lived long enough to find that lovers of the short story have been there all the time--not now almost out of sight but in full view."

Book Review

Review: The Night Stages

The Night Stages by Jane Urquhart (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27 hardcover, 9780374222192, July 28, 2015)

Jane Urquhart (Sanctuary Line) returns to her trademark themes of place, memory and loss in The Night Stages, a quietly lyrical novel about a woman who attempts to escape the limitations of her life in postwar, rural Ireland for a new life in America. Tam's journey becomes a reckoning when she is stranded by intractable fog at the airport in Gander, Newfoundland.

The airport, a real-life jewel of mid-century architecture and dominated by the waiting room's majestic mural called "Flight and Its Allegories," provides the setting that organizes the novel. It is this mural that triggers Tam's memories and ruminations over the course of three fog-bound days after leaving Ireland and her married lover, Niall. Figures and scenes within the painting prompt specific memories for a narrative that weaves back and forth in time to tell stories of Niall, his estranged brother, Kieran--for whose disappearance Niall cannot forgive himself--Tam herself and Kenneth Lochhead, the historically based artist who painted the mural.

Before her affair with Niall, Tam endured an early failed marriage and the subsequent death of a beloved partner. A pilot during World War II who delivered warplanes to their air bases, she went from being someone who thrived on the "success of a completed mission, the pleasure of performance" to the end of hope. The stories she recalls and reconstructs are the result of her effort to understand this transformation. The disparate strands unite for a story about the bonds and conflicts between brothers, the competition that ruins them, the endurance of hope in the midst of scarcity and the power of family and place.

For the most part, Kieran and Kenneth's stories are told from their respective points of view, while those of Tam and Niall are reported and described as though from a distance and have the feel of reconstructed memory. The novel is slightly uneven as a result. Kieran's sections, especially, are alive, eventful and suffused with longing. The others' are more descriptive and move more slowly; the characters, even Tam, remain in shadows. Kenneth's sections seem slightly contrived, with no real function other than to mirror some of Urquhart's larger themes and provide a history for the mural that frames the novel. Yet as ever, her prose, melodic with Irish names and inflections, is gorgeous, her images incisive. A face is "stern with thinking" or an angry child is "full of refusal." The Night Stages is an elegiac novel that describes the landscapes of home and heart with Urquhart's trademark grace. --Jeanette Zwart, freelance writer and reviewer

Shelf Talker: Jane Urquhart draws on her deep love for Irish heritage and a lyrical gifts to portray a woman caught between her lover's remorse over his lost sibling and her own place in the world.

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