Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 3, 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


Burry Bookstore Celebrates 'Grand Re-Opening'

On Monday, Burry Bookstore, Hartsville, S.C., and new owner Sandi Brown welcomed the community to the store's grand re-opening celebration and ribbon cutting on a day that "happened to be the same date as the bookstore's original opening 43 years ago by Charles Everette 'Charlie' Burry Sr.," the Messenger reported.  

The bookstore, which officially changed hands August 7, "closed briefly for remodeling and additions, two of which include sharing its space with TinCan, owned by Bebe Chapman, and Shane Gottwals' Walls of Books. Customers can now purchase and trade used books at Burry Bookstore," the Messenger wrote.

"It is amazing to be open," Brown said. "The support of the community reaffirms what is in my heart, what is in my head and how important this bookstore is to the community as a family."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Book Depository Co-Founder Launching


Emad Eldeen Elakehal, a co-founder and former chief technology officer at the Book Depository, will launch, a global online bookselling website "selling titles in multiple languages and offering customers the option to pay for titles in a number of different currencies," the Bookseller reported.

The company's goal is to be price competitive, focusing initially on Middle East and North African territories where other global sellers "have no or little presence," Elakehal said. The website will begin by selling through third-party marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay, before launching direct-to-consumer later in the year.

Although Elakehal is currently talking to larger publishers and wholesalers to fulfill orders, "We are actually more interested in small presses and hard-to-find titles than those bestsellers that most booksellers already have on offer," he said.

Elakehal co-founded the Book Depository in 2004 and led its IT development and operations until November 2014, the Bookseller noted. In 2011, Amazon bought the Book Depository, which had become a strong overseas competitor.

BAM to Open 2nd & Charles Store in Columbus, Ga.

Books-A-Million will open one of its 2nd & Charles stores, which buy and sell used books and other media, at the Cross Country Plaza on Macon Road in Columbus, Ga., the Ledger-Enquirer reported. The 20,000-square-foot space will open in early October at a location BAM occupied from 1997 until 2011, after which the company "exited Cross Country Plaza and opened a much smaller location in Peachtree Mall, with that store closing earlier this year."

"We hated losing Books-A-Million in the first place. So we're very thrilled to have them back," property manager Vickie Smith said.

National Book Foundation Honoring Don DeLillo

The National Book Foundation is awarding the 2015 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Don DeLillo, who is being honored for "a diverse body of work that examines the mores of contemporary modern American culture and brilliantly embeds the rhythms of everyday speech within a beautifully composed, contoured narrative."

Jennifer Egan will present the award during the National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner on Wednesday, November 18, at Cipriani, 55 Wall Street, in New York City.

"Don DeLillo is unquestionably one of the greatest novelists of his generation," said Harold Augenbraum, the Foundation's executive director. "He has had an enormous influence on the two generations of writers that followed, and his work will continue to resonate for generations to come."


Image of the Day: Bookseller-Author Match

Following his reading last week, Adam Johnson (Fortune Smiles) arm-wrestles Elliott Bay Book Co.'s Rick Simonson at the Seattle Public Library as Chris Higashi, program manager for Washington Center for the Book, referees.

Happy 35th Birthday, Books of Wonder!

Congratulations to Books of Wonder, New York City, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a sale that runs through Labor Day. The store is offering a 20% discount on all new books, its collection of children's book original artwork and limited edition prints as well as titles in its old and rare book collection; 35% on children's book posters; and 80% on sidewalk sale items.

In addition, all in-store and online customers will receive a gift, and the store will have postcards created by children's book artists exclusively for Books of Wonder.

The store is also creating a range of 35th-anniversary products that feature illustrations and stories created by children's book authors and artists. The first two are tote bags designed by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney and author and artist Nick Bruel. The bags are now available for order online and in the store.

Owner Peter Glassman wrote: "This is simply the start of what promises to be a momentous and fun-filled 35th Anniversary at Books of Wonder. We've had 35 wonderful years of sharing the unforgettable memories that reading and books create with you and all the young readers in your life--and we're looking forward to many more!"

Phoenix Books Wins BPRNE's Independent Spirit Award

Phoenix Books has won the 2015 Independent Spirit Award, sponsored by Book Publishers Reps of New England to recognize "excellence in a bookstore member of the New England Independent Booksellers Association." Phoenix Books has stores in Essex and Burlington, Vt., and on September 28 will open another store, in Rutland.

Phoenix Books receives two nights lodging for the NEIBA fall conference in Providence, R.I., October 6-8 and a free ticket to all NEIBA meals for an exceptional bookseller of its choosing who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the show. The award will be presented at the NEIBA Awards Banquet on October 6.

Debra Woodward of Red Wheel/Weiser, the BPRNE member who nominated Phoenix, wrote: "The booksellers at Phoenix Books really believe in community and making good books more widely available to the public. They also believe in independent bookselling.  They worked hard to make their store a destination out in Essex, and then when Burlington had a need for a full-service bookstore, they jumped in. They also believe in employing as many booksellers as they can and paying them fairly. I want to give a special shout-out to Beth Wagner who started as a bookseller and moved on to gift buyer, then children's book buyer. She is now the buyer for all books and takes her book buying quite seriously and uses Edelweiss wisely."

'Independent Bookstores on the Comeback'

Noting that neighborhood indie bookstores are "being kept alive through a combination of shoppers interested in supporting local businesses and bookseller's ingenuity," Essential Pittsburgh, a program on Pittsburgh's public radio station WESA, interviewed Susan Hans O'Connor, owner of the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, for a segment headlined "Independent Bookstores on the Comeback."

Personnel Changes at Pennsylvania State University Press

Brendan Coyne has joined the Pennsylvania State University Press as director of sales and marketing. He was formerly associate sales director at Johns Hopkins University Press.

Press director Patrick Alexander said that Coyne "brings a vision, passion, and savvy that align nearly perfectly with our plans to push in new directions and solidify our core markets."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: 'Science Bob' Pflugfelder

Tomorrow morning on CBS This Morning: Salman Rushdie, author of Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel (Random House, $28, 9780812998917).


Tomorrow on Live with Kelly & Michael: "Science Bob" Pflugfelder, co-author of Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself! (Quirk Books, $12.95, 9781594747601).


Tomorrow on Hannity: Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, authors of Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501115417).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Steve Harvey, author of Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life's Riches (Amistad, $15.99, 9780062220332).

Kramerbooks & WAMU Team Up

Kramerbooks & Afterwords, Washington, D.C., is partnering with WAMU, the NPR station that produces the Diane Rehm Show and the Kojo Nnamdi Show, among others, for an author event series that will feature WAMU reporters, producers and anchors interviewing authors at Kramerbooks.

The series begins next Tuesday, September 8, when Martin Austermuhle will interview Jeff Smith, author of Mr. Smith Goes to Prison. The following night Tayla Burney will interview Jen Chaney, author of As If!. For other events, click here.

"This partnership is a wonderful opportunity," said Kramerbooks events director Sarah Baline. "We can't wait to bring these journalists and authors together, help foster our literary community, and, of course, have great conversations."

Tayla Burney, producer and books editor at the Kojo Nnamdi Show, commented: "We know WAMU listeners love to read and so does our staff. They're curious and have lots of questions for people writing both non-fiction and novelists creating fictional worlds. It's an obvious fit for us and we're excited to get out in the community."

This Weekend on Book TV: The National Book Festival

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, September 5
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Live coverage from the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Highlights include open phone sessions with David McCullough, author of The Wright Brothers (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476728742) at 12:35 p.m.; Tom Brokaw, author of A Lucky Life Interrupted: A Memoir of Hope (Random House, $27, 9781400069699) at 1:20 p.m.; and Buzz Aldrin, co-author of Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet (National Geographic, $18.99, 9781426322068) at 3:55 p.m. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

8 p.m. Deneen Borelli, author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation (Threshold Editions, $26, 9781451642865). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 a.m. and Monday at 4 a.m.)

10 p.m. Kathryn Edin, author of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780544303188). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.)

Sunday, September 6
12 p.m. Live in-depth q&a with Lynne Cheney, author of James Madison: A Life Reconsidered (Penguin, $18, 9780143127031). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m. and Tuesday at 5 a.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Paul Engle Winner; Scottish Children's Book Shortlist

Sara Paretsky won the $10,000 Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization to recognize "an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts." The author will be honored October 2 during a special ceremony as part of the Iowa City Book Festival.

Paretsky commented: "We all have one or two fundamental questions about life--about our own lives--that we keep returning to, and trying to sort out. Mine have to do with speech and silence: who gets to speak, who has to listen. When you're powerless, it can be hard to speak, easy to remain silent. I try to understand cruelty, both the petty acts we all do from time to time, and the gross acts, lynch mobs, Auschwitz, Rwanda, that most of us pray we'll never commit. I'm not interested in reading or writing books that seek to inhabit the minds of torturers. Rather, I want to know the mind of that rare person who steps forward, who speaks."


Finalists have been named in three categories for the Scottish Children's Book Awards, celebrating the most popular children's books by Scottish authors or illustrators. The shortlist, which was chosen by a panel of judges, will now be voted on by children across the country to determine winners, who will be announced March 2, 2016. The three overall winners receive £3,000 (about $4,590) each. You can find the Scottish Children's Book Awards shortlist here.

B&N's Discover Great New Writers: A Fall Drop-In

Because the pub date for the book has been moved to October 20 from next year, Barnes & Noble has added a title to its Discover Great New Writers Fall 2015 season:

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt (Random House). As B&N said, "The topic is timely, the Maines family utterly endearing, and Nutt's writing is extraordinary."

Random House calls Becoming Nicole an "inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family's extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the right to be different, from the Pulitzer Prize-winning science reporter for the Washington Post."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcover titles appearing next Tuesday, September 8:

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child (Delacorte, $28.99, 9780804178778) is the 20th Jack Reacher thriller.

Trigger Mortis: With Original Material by Ian Fleming by Anthony Horowitz (Harper, $27.99, 9780062395108) turns previously unpublished Ian Fleming material into a new James Bond novel.

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison (Algonquin, $25.95, 9781616202613) follows an elderly woman who embarks on an Alaskan cruise after her husband's death.

The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? by Dale Russakoff (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547840055) looks at public education and the outcome of Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to the Newark, N.J., school system.

Zero Belly Cookbook: 150+ Delicious Recipes to Flatten Your Belly, Turn Off Your Fat Genes, and Help Keep You Lean for Life! by David Zinczenko (Ballantine, $28, 9781101964804) is a dieting cookbook.

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder (Tim Duggan Books, $30, 9781101903452) brings new perspectives to Holocaust scholarship, including ecological factors and the future dangers of climate change.

Trumbo by Bruce Cook (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781455564989) is the movie tie-in edition of a biography about blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. The film, starring Bryan Cranston, opens November 6.

Wolf Totem, based on the Chinese novel by Jiang Rong about a Beijing student sent to live in Inner Mongolia, opens September 11.

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:

All That Followed: A Novel by Gabriel Urza (Holt, $25, 9781627792431). "All That Followed sheds some much-needed light on a region with an incredibly rich cultural history and a painful, tormented political past. The story is told in short chapters from three different perspectives: Joni, an American who fell in love with a Basque woman and has lived in Muriga, a small Basque town, since the 1940s; Mariana, a young woman from Muriga whose husband belonged to the wrong political party and was kidnapped and murdered; and Iker, the young man who is in jail for that crime. Each voice has its own weight, an almost sultry flirtation between acknowledging history as it was while needing to create its own version of the story. An impressively nuanced debut." --Elayna Trucker, Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif.

The Girl Who Slept With God: A Novel by Val Brelinski (Viking, $27.95, 9780525427421). "A cautionary tale, a coming-of-age story, a family drama, a religious and social commentary, and an examination of the bond between two sisters, Brelinski's debut is remarkably multilayered and complex. At times audacious and even disturbing, it is above all an honest novel, tackling the definitions of love and morality and challenging the things we seem to never want to think or talk about. This demands to be read!" --Belinda Roddie, Copperfield's Books, San Rafael, Calif.

The Pope's Daughter: A Novel by Dario Fo (Europa Editions, $16, 9781609452742). "This is a delicious narrative that refutes the traditional belief that Lucrezia Borgia was an absolute villain. As Fo declares, 'there are two sides to every story,' and this retelling offers the positive side of Borgia's accomplishments, revealing both her humanity and her compassion. In his first novel, Nobel laureate and Italian playwright Fo weaves an engaging tale both informative and humorous, while also portraying the violence of the Borgia family and the times in which Lucrezia lived, holding a mirror to the abuses of power in our own time." --Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, Ala.

For Ages 4 to 8
Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison (Dial, $16.99, 9780803739161). "Nothing says disappointment like being the only one at the birthday party to get the plain white, no-frosting-flower piece of the cake, and Bernice's day just gets worse from there. She takes matters into her own hands, and with the help of too many balloons and a grumpy rain cloud, Bernice discovers a way to lift her mood. Fun illustrations and a non-didactic, solution-oriented story make this perfect for anyone who has ever had a bad day." --Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

For Ages 9 to 12
Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith (Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780553511932). "Zavion and Henry are each recovering from tragedies. Zavion's house has disappeared with Hurricane Katrina and Henry has just lost his best friend on a favorite mountain in Vermont. In this remarkable debut, told in alternating voices, Smith weaves together each of the boys' stories, allowing readers to feel sad about the circumstances but renewed by the love of others who support the boys and rally to bring new joy to those who have suffered." --Arna Lewis, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, Mass.

For Teen Readers
Conviction by Kelly Gilbert (Disney-Hyperion, $17.99, 9781423197386). "Wow! The pressure of the situation that 17-year-old Braden finds himself in when his father is arrested for murder and Braden is the crucial witness builds and builds throughout the novel as the author slowly reveals what really happened that night. My heart is still bleeding for Braden, days after finishing Conviction, which I highly recommend for both adults and teens." --Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: The House of Twenty Thousand Books

The House of Twenty Thousand Books by Sasha Abramsky (New York Review Books, $27.95 hardcover, 9781590178898, September 1, 2015)

Journalist Sasha Abramsky's seventh book is a warmhearted, frank memoir of his bibliophile grandfather, scholar and collector Chimen Abramsky, and the extraordinary book-filled London home where he lived for 66 years.

Born in Byelorussia in 1916, the son of prominent Orthodox rabbi Yehezkel Abramsky, who served as the chief judge of England's rabbinical court after fleeing Russian persecution in 1931, Chimen rejected Judaism for another religion--Communism--as a young man. But in his case, mere involvement in the activities of the British Communist Party wasn't sufficient. Though lacking a degree from a British university, he went on to become a leading scholar of Marxism and collector of Marxist literature. His books packed every available space in what his grandson calls the House of Books, in North London's Highgate neighborhood. Along with his wife, Mimi, whose cooking prowess Sasha Abramsky lovingly describes, Chimen hosted a salon that became home to some of the most prominent Marxist scholars of the time.

By 1958, however, Chimen, disillusioned by the revelations of Stalin's atrocities and anti-Semitism, had severed his ties with the Communist Party. That repudiation ushered in the second phase of his intellectual life, as his interests pivoted to Jewish literature and Judaica. Eventually, he became Sotheby's leading adviser on rare Jewish manuscripts. Chimen's work with Jewish collectibles highlighted one of the ironies of his life--his strict adherence to Jewish practices like the dietary laws while never abandoning the atheism that had been a hallmark of his Socialist days.

Without a catalogue of his grandfather's library, Abramsky acknowledges that the book count reflected in his title may be imprecise, but as he describes the "staggering" number of books, it's easy to picture the "unfathomable clutter" that defined the home. The book is structured around a tour of its cramped rooms, each one "lined from floor to ceiling with shelves double-stacked with books, with just a few bare spots left in which paintings and photographs hung." Along the way, Abramsky shares fascinating stories of British intellectual luminaries like Eric Hobsbawm and Isaiah Berlin who were regular visitors to 5 Hillway or close friends of his grandfather.

But as much as this book is the story of a life of the mind, it's also a tender account of the way this increasingly dilapidated, book-crammed home became for an adoring grandson, "my school, my university, my library, my sanctuary when the going got tough at home." Balancing that affection with a sense of awe at the story of his grandfather's fascinating life, Sasha Abramsky has produced a work that will appeal to book lovers and readers of family memoir. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Sasha Abramsky's memoir shares the story of his grandfather's passionate, book-filled life.

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