Also published on this date: Thursday, September 17, 2015: Dedicated Issue: HarperElixir

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 17, 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


Cheryl Strayed Is Official Spokesperson for Indies First

Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things, Torch and the forthcoming Brave Enough, is this year's official spokesperson for Indies First, the American Booksellers Association announced. On Small Business Saturday (November 28), independent booksellers will host authors as honorary booksellers throughout the day to help handsell favorite titles, sign books, give readings and more.

In a letter to authors and illustrators, Strayed wrote: "There are so many ways that a rich and vibrant network of independent booksellers contribute to the betterment of book culture in America, but perhaps the most important one is the support they give to authors and illustrators by handselling their books. I love that term, 'handselling.' It reminds us that humans are involved, humans with a passion for language and stories and pictures. Handselling is the bookseller at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vermont who recently wandered the store with my nine-year-old daughter until they were both satisfied they'd found a small stack of appropriately terrifying page-turners. It's the artful window displays at Powell's Books in my hometown of Portland, Oregon that always compel me to learn more about the featured books. It's the people who put out the folding chairs for my--and your--book events at stores across the land so we can connect with readers face to face. It's the store employees who place our books prominently on the 'staff recommended' shelves that lead us to readers we might have never otherwise found....

"I'll be spending this Indies First the way I spent the first one--at Broadway Books, the beloved independent bookstore I'm fortunate enough to have in my neighborhood. Several of my local author friends and I have made it a tradition to spend a few hours in the store together, sharing book recommendations and signing our books for customers while chatting with the store owners and their staff about the art of selling books. It always feels like a party that's made even more festive by the knowledge that our colleagues across the nation are doing the same. I hope you'll be among us this year."

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

Foyles Flagship Store Wins AJ Retrofit of the Year Award

Architectural firm Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands' design for Foyles' revamped flagship store on Charing Cross Road in London was named overall winner of this year's AJ Retrofit Awards. The project "features eight new retail floors inside the four-story shell with each story divided into two halves. An atrium at the center of the plan floods the building with daylight," Architects' Journal reported.

The judges called the scheme a "reinvention of a well-loved but chaotic bookshop," and praised the practice for the store's clarity of circulation, access and wayfinding. They were also impressed by the use of natural light and other environmental improvements.

WaPo Teaser Subscription for Amazon Prime Members

Taking advantage of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's ownership of the Washington Post, the online retailer is now offering Prime members six months of free unlimited access to the newspaper's National Digital Edition, after which a monthly subscription rate of $3.99 per month (compared to the normal $9.99) will be available.

Fortune magazine noted that in "the short term, what the Prime deal means is that the Washington Post gets access to about 40 million new potential subscribers.... What's most interesting about the Prime move, however--and others that Bezos has made since he became the Post's owner--is that it shows the Post is focused on boosting its national and international readership."

Hazra Appointed Publisher of Pan Macmillan India

Diya Kar Hazra has been appointed publisher of Pan Macmillan India, where she will be responsible for the company's imprints in the country, including Picador India, Pan and Macmillan, the Bookseller reported. Hazra has spent two decades in publishing, beginning in editorial and marketing at HarperCollins, followed by 12 years at Penguin before joining Bloomsbury India in 2012 as a founding publisher.


Image of the Day: Three Authors Walk into a Bar...

Last Saturday, Books & Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center of Performing Arts in downtown Miami held an event featuring three authors tending bar and signing books. The tertulia, "a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones, where participants share their recent ideas and creations such as poetry, short stories, and even artwork or songs," was free and starred (from l.) Alan Zwiebel, Adam Mansbach and Dave Barry.

Cool Idea of the Day: Baby Book Bouquets from Pages & Pages

Pages & Pages Booksellers in Mosman, Australia, has launched a new service called Baby Book Bouquets. For A$140 (approximately US$100), Pages & Pages will deliver seven hand-picked baby books, plus a copy of a guide to children's books for ages zero to 18, to any hospital or address in the Sydney Metropolitan area. Said Jon Page, general manager and owner of Pages & Pages Booksellers: "Every child needs books and it is never too early to get started."

GBO Picks A Whole Life

The German Book Office in New York City has chosen A Whole Life (House of Anansi Press, $19.95, 9781487000745) by Robert Seethaler, translated by Charlotte Collins, as its September Pick of the Month.

The GBO said: "Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn't ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas' heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in World War II--where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus--and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven."

The GBO describes A Whole Life as "a tender book about finding dignity and beauty in solitude. An exquisite novel about a simple life, it has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of solace and truth. It looks at the moments, big and small, that make us what we are."

Author Robert Seethaler lives in Berlin and Vienna, where he was born in 1966. Charlotte Collins, who specializes in German translation, is currently translating Der Trafikant (The Tobacconist), one of Seethaler's previous novels.

Personnel Changes at Parragon

Susan Weiss, marketing coordinator for Parragon Books, is jumping ship and becoming media manager aboard the Carnival cruise ship Imagination. She writes, "If you ever find yourself onboard the Imagination, don't forget to come say hi!"

For Fun

'What Independent Booksellers Do Isn't Easy'

"What independent booksellers do isn't easy. They face frequently overwhelming odds and strains, long days and recurring doubts. It isn't an easy life. And yet, every day, they find time to read. The booksellers I know read incessantly; the backrooms and sales floors of every independent bookstore I've ever been to are a hum of 'Have you read this?' and 'What did you think of that?' No matter the financial pressures and the ongoing stresses, booksellers find time to immerse themselves in books new and old, to read deeply and passionately.

"They are also, it has to be said, some of the most critical readers you are ever liable to meet: if they feel strongly enough about a book to recommend it, you know it's a good one. They won't dis a book they don't like, at least outright, but another bookseller can always tell. It's as simple as the difference between a book on the shelf, and a book in their hands as they press it toward you, their face lit up with enthusiasm. 'You have to read this,' they'll say.... And I suspect I speak for all writers in this country when I repeat, 'Thank you. Thank you, independent booksellers, for all you do.' "

--Canadian author and bookseller Rob Wiersema in his latest post for the "Shelf Talkers" series at 49th Shelf

Media and Movies

Media Heat: David Maraniss on NPR's Marketplace

Today on Fresh Air: Nadia Bolz-Weber, author of Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (Convergent Books, $23, 9781601427557).


Tomorrow on the View: Tory Johnson, author of Shift for Good: Simple Changes for Lasting Joy Inside and Out (Hachette, $26, 9780316261562).


Tomorrow on Bloomberg Surveillance: Barry Schwartz, author of Why We Work (Simon & Schuster/TED, $16.99, 9781476784861).


Tomorrow on NPR's Marketplace: David Maraniss, author of Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476748382). (See trailers for the book here: "How Eminem Inspired David Maraniss," "The Rise of Motown," "The Mustang," "Civil Rights and Detroit" and "Walter Reuther, Hero of the Working Class.")

Movies: Allegiant; The Jungle Book; Before I Fall

The first trailer is out for The Divergent Series: Allegiant, based on Veronica Roth's novel and starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. "Following the pattern of other YA properties, the new movies split the final book of the trilogy into two entries, with the first, The Divergent Series: Allegiant, hitting in March and then The Divergent Series: Ascendant following in 2017," Indiewire reported. Robert Schwentke, who directed Insurgent, returns, along with cast members Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Maggie Q. Jeff Daniels replaces Kate Winslet "as the big bad villain for the last two movies."


The first trailer has also been released for Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, a new film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic novel, starring Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita Nyong'o as Akela & Raksha, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Christopher Walken as King Louie and Bill Murray as Baloo, Indiewire wrote. The Jungle Book hits theaters April 15, 2016.


Zoey Deutch (Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy) will star in Before I Fall, the film adaptation of Lauren Oliver's 2010 YA novel "that originally was set up some time ago at Fox 2000," reported, adding: "Now it's at Awesomeness Films, the movie division of multichannel platform AwesomenessTV that has already seen digital success with this year's output Smosh: The Movie and last year's Expelled." Ry Russo-Young is directing Maria Maggenti's script, with revisions by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Production is expected to begin in late October, primarily on location in Vancouver.

This Weekend on Book TV: Julian Assange

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, September 19
2:30 p.m. Michael Dirda, author of Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books (Pegasus, $24.95, 9781605988443), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

8:15 p.m. Joe Domanick, author of Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451641073). (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

10 p.m. Joy-Ann Reid, author of Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide (Morrow, $27.99, 9780062305251). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, authors of Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America (Threshold Editions, $28, 9781501115417). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m. and Monday at 7 a.m.)

Sunday, September 20
12 a.m. Julian Assange, editor of The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire (Verso, $29.95, 9781781688748). (Re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: NBA Nonfiction Longlist

The National Book Foundation is unveiling longlists for the 2015 National Book Awards this week, with a category released each day. Finalists will be announced on October 14, and winners named November 18. This year's longlisted titles in the nonfiction category are:

Rain by Cynthia Barnett (Crown)
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
Mourning Lincoln by Martha Hodes (Yale University Press)
Hold Still by Sally Mann (Little, Brown)
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Atria)
Paradise of the Pacific by Susanna Moore (FSG)
Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays by Michael Paterniti (Dial Press)
If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power (Henry Holt)
Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith (Knopf)
Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir by Michael White (Persea Books)

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:

Best Boy: A Novel by Eli Gottlieb (Liveright, $24.95, 9781631490477). "Gottlieb gifts us with the character of Todd Aaron, a middle-aged autistic man whose life in an institution takes a turn from a model of medically controlled routines he readily and ideally adapts to, to a year of disturbing changes with the arrivals of a volatile roommate, a cunning staff member, and a beguiling one-eyed girl, all who threaten his sense of equilibrium and reignite Todd's desire for the comforts of his original home. Tender and humorous memories linger well after reading this amazingly insightful story." --Mark Ingraham, Powell's Books, Portland, Ore.

The Gates of Evangeline: A Novel by Hester Young (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399174001). "Charlie Cates recently lost her young son and the job that she worked so hard for is probably going to be eliminated. When Charlie is offered a chance to write about the Deveau family and their child who went missing over 30 years ago, she jumps at the chance. What she hasn't told anybody is that she has been seeing visions of children in trouble and is currently experiencing one of a young boy in a rowboat in a Louisiana swamp who she suspects is the missing Deveau child. But what if she has it all wrong? In this excellent thriller, things are really not what they seem to be. A wonderful puzzle with a Southern Gothic feel, this is a definite must-read!" --Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, Ind.

Florence Gordon: A Novel by Brian Morton (Mariner, $14.95, 9780544570245). "Irascible, intellectual, life-long activist Florence Gordon never sought the limelight, and her work now seems to be receding into feminist history. But, at 75, she receives a rapturous review in the New York Times. That, plus some disconcerting physical difficulties, increasingly unreasonable demands from her ex-husband, and the recent move of her son and his family to her Upper West Side neighborhood throw this fiercely controlled, independent woman off balance. Every character in this novel faces unexpected challenges and is vividly, memorably drawn. Florence's granddaughter, Emily, observes that 'each person is the center of a world.' Rarely has that been so richly demonstrated." --Banna Rubinow, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

For Ages 4 to 8
Everyone Loves Bacon by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Eric Wight (FSG, $17.99, 9780374300524). "All of us have fallen prey to bacon's charms, and this new picture book is simply delectable. DiPucchio has written a hilarious cautionary tale about arrogance starring everyone's favorite breakfast meat--bacon. With witty text, bold retro-style illustrations, and a wicked twist, this book will make readers laugh out loud and ask for seconds." --Erin Barker, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB by Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781616204983). "Norse mythology, a winking squirrel, a strange man named Mr. Fox who lives in a cemetery in a house built by a witch, and the belief that magic is real, all combine to give middle-readers an intriguing story. Pru has an empty space inside her left by the death of her dad, a small-town detective. When she receives a mysterious postcard that asks, ‘What is the unbelievable FIB?' she can't resist investigating. Luckily the new boy in school, ABE, is good at puzzles and riddles and joins Pru in solving the clues that lead to a dangerous enemy who may be responsible for a war that could destroy her world. Fans of fantasy, adventure, mystery, and mythology will love this series debut. I can't wait for a sequel!" --Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, Mich.

For Teen Readers
The Accident Season by Moϊra Fowley-Doyle (Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99, 9780525429487). "Every October the accident season strikes Cara and her family. Bones are broken and skin is bruised and cut. Some years, the bad years, one of them dies, and Cara thinks this is going to be a bad year. When the origin of the accident season is revealed, no one is ready for it. Spellbinding and sharply beautiful, The Accident Season is a haunting look at the power of secrets." --Amy Brabanec, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 22:

Come Rain or Come Shine: A Mitford Novel by Jan Karon (Putnam, $27.95, 9780399167454) is the 13th book set in the fictional village of Mitford, N.C.

The Nixon Tapes: 1973 by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780544610538) transcribes the final year of Richard Nixon's Oval Office recordings.

Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (Holt, $30, 9781627792417) continues O'Reilly's Killing series.

Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success by Michael D'Antonio (Thomas Dunne, $26.99, 9781250042385) looks at the presidential candidate's apparent need for money and attention.

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544003446) is a coming of age novel set against Nigeria's civil war.

Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel by William Ritter (Algonquin, $17.95, 9781616203542) continues the YA historical-paranormal R.F. Jackaby series.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson (Flatiron, $26.99, 9781250077004) takes a humorous look at mental illness.

Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for Every Season: 165 Quick Dinners, Sides, Holiday Dishes, and More by Michael Symon and Douglas Trattner (Clarkson Potter, $19.99, 9780804186568).

Book Review

Review: M Train

M Train by Patti Smith (Knopf, $25 hardcover, 9781101875100, October 6, 2015)

When Just Kids--Patti Smith's memoir of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1960s and '70s New York City--surprised the literary world and won the 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction, it changed the way many perceived her artistry. She was not just a poet rocker from the grassroots punk club scene and former lover of Sam Shepard. Instead, she proved to be a deliberate, observant, refreshing writer; M Train, her new memoir of musings and reminiscences about her life and travels, confirms it. No longer just a kid inhaling the artistic energy of New York, Smith is now in her late 60s and mostly alone. She lost Mapplethorpe; her much-loved husband, MC5 guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith; and her supportive brother, Todd--all in their 40s when they died. Her son and daughter are grown and straddling 30. "How did we get so damn old, I say to my joints, my iron-colored hair," she reflects in her Greenwich Village apartment. "I [miss] that particular version of me, the one who was feverish, impious. She has flown." Writing is her solace. Coffee is her fuel. Her apartment is a mess of manuscript drafts and unfinished canvases, but it is a temple to "the centrality of work in a life.... Here is joy and neglect. A little mescal. A little jacking off, but mostly just work."

Drifting between the present and the past, M Train is stitched from Smith's memories and journals of travels and coffee houses around the world--especially her regular café, 'Ino on Bedford Street in the Village. Her journeys take her to Genet's prison in French Guiana, Mishima's Tokyo, Kahlo's and Rivera's Coyoacán, Bowles's Tangiers--and to Far Rockaway in Queens, where she impulsively buys a rundown bungalow near the boardwalk before Hurricane Sandy nearly blows it away. Armed with books of writers who influenced her, she looks for inspiration and comfort in Sebald, Murakami, Bolaño, even a kids' biography of her first hero, Davy Crockett. Packing is easy: "black jacket dungarees underwear 4 tee shirts 6 pairs of bee socks Polaroid film packs Land 250 Camera black watch cap tin arnica graph paper moleskin Ethiopian cross." Often alone in hotel rooms, she binges on her favorite detective movies and TV shows. She frequently misplaces belongings--glasses, coats, cameras, books, photos, notebooks--but she has learned to take loss in stride.

Illustrated with several of her signature Polaroids, M Train is an affirmative, meandering story of a life shaken by tragedy but also buttressed with moments of joy and discovery. She embraces what she has and what she had. At one point she reflects on her travels: "I just wanted to get lost, become one with somewhere else, slip a wreath on a steeple top solely because I wished it." With each new book or song or poem, Smith adds another wreath to her already stout steeple. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Patti Smith follows her smash NBA-winning Just Kids with an equally accomplished, more melancholic, memoir of life and loss.

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