Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 15, 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

LBF Searching for 'World's Best Bookstore'

"Our focus this year on finding the world's best bookstore aims to highlight the absolutely vital role bookshops play worldwide in not only promoting new titles but also advising readers on the many excellent books already published but yet to be discovered. We look forward to hearing about the many initiatives being undertaken by colleagues around the world which showcase the best in publishing."

--Richard Mollet, CEO of the U.K. Publishers Association, regarding the creation of the International Bookstore of the Year award, which will be part of London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards

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


Hachette's Nourry Talks Consolidation, the Future of Print

Arnaud Nourry, chairman and CEO of Hachette Livre, joined Hachette in 1990, and since his appointment as CEO in 2003, has overseen the company's expansion into markets outside of France.

Speaking yesterday at the Frankfurt Book Fair with publishing consultant Ruediger Wischenbart and answering questions from trade journalists, Nourry explained that in 2003, he reached the conclusion that to continue to deliver stable profits, Hachette Livre had to grow, but due to scrutiny from the European Commission about Hachette's market share in France, the company could not expand in its native country. Given that Hachette already had operations in Spain and the U.K., Nourry concentrated his efforts there first, and then, with the acquisition of Time Warner Book Group in 2006, entered the U.S. market. Nourry doubted that he would have shareholder support for any major acquisitions at present, but he said that medium-sized acquisitions would "remain very active." On the topic of Hachette's ultimately unsuccessful bid to buy Perseus last year and whether Hachette may try again now that Perseus is up for sale, Nourry said he could not comment.

Arnaud Nourry at Frankfurt

When asked if he expected any more major consolidation in the publishing industry on the order of the Penguin Random House merger, Nourry doubted that it would happen soon, but, he said, "down the road there will certainly be more consolidation."

After the e-book market in the U.S. was brought up, Nourry jokingly wondered if anyone from the Department of Justice were in the room. Asked if he still worried about the possibility of low e-book prices devaluing books in consumers' minds, Nourry replied that publishers "have to be very careful" and "never think that it's behind us."

Publishers have learned from the music and magazine industries, Nourry continued, that "when you lose control of the price point for your content, you are on your way to death." Book publishers, he said, "must have some control" of price points, whether through laws or contract negotiations. He has been convinced since day one, he added, of the need to make sure that the "value of our content would not be depreciated by others." Nourry also doubted that he was alone on this point. By looking at what other publishers have been doing in the U.S. and U.K., the consensus seemed to be that major publishers should keep control of prices.

Nourry also addressed the plateauing and slight dropping off of e-book sales within the United States. The conclusion his company has reached, he said, was that the e-book market so far has been one based almost entirely on e-ink devices sold particularly to avid readers. That population now is saturated--there is no growth potential, he continued, among heavy readers for e-ink devices. In his view, that explained the plateau, and the increase in e-book prices in recent years might explain why a slight decline has followed that plateau.

"I think the same will happen in the U.K.," Nourry said, noting that the U.S. and U.K. were the only to countries to have such wide, deep penetration of e-readers. He believed that the much slower of adoption of e-readers in continental Europe was the result of no retailer being able to offer both an affordable device and massive discount on content.

Nourry said he would remain "quite silent" on the topic of Hachette's very public dispute with Amazon last year, but did offer: "I think there were two options for Amazon and ourselves. Do we keep accepting deep discounting, or do we go back to agency?" The conflict came because Amazon was more in favor of the first option, while Hachette preferred the latter, and "the rest is history."

On the topic of proposed changes to digital copyright laws in the European Union, Nourry said that the "naive desire of creating a unified digital market" in Europe was at present his "biggest concern." Nourry wondered why the European Commission would attack the only media and cultural industry in which Europe is powerful, and said he believed that behind the scenes this was in fact a battle between some major American technology companies and European officials.

Nourry did not equivocate when asked if he saw a future for print books. "I think the answer is obvious that there is a bright future," he replied, and brought up the resurgence of independent bookstores in the U.S. as a sign of hope. During his last trip to BookExpo America, he recalled, the independent booksellers he met with were quite optimistic, while the buyers for big box retailers were the ones who were afraid. As long as independent booksellers "don't forget they are businessmen," Nourry added, they are in a position not only to survive but thrive.

Later in the discussion, Nourry said that he did not feel threatened by the ever-growing self-publishing industry, seeing it as "the contrary [opposite] of my business." While there are some proven authors who decide to self-publish, the vast majority of self-published authors, he said, are those "who have not found a way to a traditional publisher." He did acknowledge that sometimes, as with E.L James's Fifty Shades of Grey series, traditional publishers get it wrong, but he was quick to note that James had even greater success after signing a deal with a traditional publisher.

In the panel's q&a portion, Nourry addressed his company's direct-to-consumer efforts, saying that "we don't want to be retailers," but DtoC does help decrease Hachette's dependency on major companies that "may have a tendency to impose painful terms on us." --Alex Mutter

Controversial YA Book Ban Lifted in New Zealand

The Interim Restriction Order imposed in September by the president of the New Zealand Film and Literature Board against Ted Dawe's award-winning YA novel Into the River has been lifted, the Herald reported. In a majority decision this week, the board ruled that it no longer considers a ban justifiable, adding that even though the book describes a number of "unacceptable, offensive and objectionable" behaviors, it "does not in any way promote them."

"I am thrilled. It has restored my faith in New Zealand's legal system," Dawe said.

Penguin Random House NZ managing director Margaret Thompson called the board's majority decision "a victory for freedom of expression and the right of authors and publishers to deal with the challenging social issues young people face today in high-quality works of literature."

Mary Sangster, chair of Booksellers NZ, commented: "This has been a long process, but we see this very sensible decision as reinforcing that there are subjects and issues in our society that need to be transparent and explained for the benefit of young people."

In Praise of NCIBA's Hut Landon

As the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Discovery Show opens and Hut Landon prepares to step down after 20 years in service to NCIBA--he was a bookstore owner president before ascending to the post of executive director--Shelf Awareness asked a few industry insiders to share their thoughts on Hut's many accomplishments.

Hut Landon, explaining "Giving Back: The Value of Local Businesses to Cities."

"Hut has been my friend and colleague for almost 25 years. It will be hard to imagine NCIBA without him. No one has worked harder--or more effectively--in support of indie bookstores. While his contributions are readily apparent in California; Hut's work has had a real impact all across the country. From serving as ABA's reporter during the anti-trust trial to the launch of BookSense to the creation of Independent Bookstore Day--and everything in between--Hut is as responsible as anyone for the resurgence amongst indie bookstores nationwide. He has been a leader among his compatriots at the other regional bookstore trade associations, and we at ABA have come to rely on his counsel, suggestions and help.

"Hut always believed that indie bookstores would find their way, and his patience, steady hand and resilience have guided us through some tough times. There is not an iota of doubt that we are doing better today because of Hut Landon. To simply say that I--and all of us at ABA--will miss him hardly seems adequate. We wish him well." --Oren Teicher, CEO, American Booksellers Association

"The booksellers of Northern California have been extremely well-served by Hut. In fact, booksellers well beyond NorCal have benefited from his roll-up-your-sleeves, we'll-figure-it-out leadership and execution. From the creation of BookSense to the sales tax equity battle, from creating and sustaining the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Association to helping launch and support Bookstore Day, Hut's relentless pattern of saying 'yes' when others might say 'no' or 'well...' have helped improve the lot of indie booksellers all over the U.S. From grand vision in educating consumers to the nitty gritty of shipping thousands of tea towels, from pleasing publishers at trade shows to keeping an eye on the organization's bottom line, Hut's passion and attention to detail made him an integral part of our bookselling community." --Pete Mulvihill, co-owner, Green Apple Books

"To say Hut is fantastic at his job is one thing--and he is. But in my experience--and most NCIBA members know this--Hut goes way above and beyond the call to duty. When I inherited A Great Good Place for Books after the unexpected passing of Debi Echlin right after Thanksgiving almost 10 years ago, Hut showed up and worked at the store every weekend through the holidays. And when my mother died he came to the funeral. Hut Landon is a class act, and I will miss him terribly." --Kathleen Caldwell, owner, A Great Good Place for Books

Landon (far left) at the unveiling of BookSense at NCIBA in 2001.

"I always considered Hut the best Big Picture guy among the regional leaders. Way back when, Hut was the major supporter and promoter of ABA's BookSense program, when many of us were relatively unsure on the concept. Hut helped ABA push it to its introduction and then campaigned hard for its transition to IndieBound. He was always in pursuit of programs that could lift up all independent stores, not just California's.

"I also remember Hut's rabid support of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. No one else from the regional associations took a stronger stand on Free Speech than Hut, and no one did a better job of rallying support than Hut did. He was also a huge supporter of the lawsuits against publishers over the issue of their 'special terms,' and in the fight against the government's 'special favors' to Amazon.

"Congratulations, and our thanks, to Hut." --Thom Chambliss, executive director, Pacific Northwest Independent Booksellers Association

"I love Hut. I first met him as the president of NCIBA, and of course, then as NCIBA staff, and finally, executive director. Hut is so good at his job. He remains unflappable and approachable at the same time. Not an easy combo. And with him at the helm, NCIBA has made so many contributions to bookselling, from being the first to claim 'Independent' in their name, to creating BookSense, to Indie Bookstore Day. And Hut has always shared. He is generous with his talent, time and creations. I will miss Hut more than he can imagine. And I can't picture NCIBA without him, but I know they will go on, and that Hut would have it no other way. Happy days ahead for Hut." --Wanda Jewell, executive director, Southern Independent Bookseller Alliance

"Before his bookseller days, Hut was the editor of a comedy newspaper called Just for Laughs, where he spent time hanging out with little-known comedians like Dana Carvey and Robin Williams.

"I think we all wish Hut a lovely retirement and hope his stepping down does not mean he will disappear. Hut has plans to stay connected to not only NCIBA but to our bookstores and the independent bookselling world at large, as well as spend a little more time with his beautiful wife, Joy.

"I am looking forward to the challenge of building on the legacy that Hut leaves us with." --Calvin Crosby, who follows Hut in making the step from former president to executive director, NCIBA

On a personal note,  I'd like to add that when I decided to move from New York to the San Francisco Bay Area--more than 14 years ago--knowing Hut Landon made the transition so much easier than I can ever explain. I have never actually used the expression "he's a gentleman and scholar" before without being at least a little bit sarcastic, but with Hut it is 100% true! So, as NCIBA opens its trade show today, Hut will probably be way too busy helping run things to take a victory lap. You are more than a gentleman and scholar, Hut Landon, you are a national book treasure--and a real friend, too. Lucky for us that no one actually leaves book publishing completely--happy retirement! --Bridget Kinsella

Deaton Wins Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Angus Deaton the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, the last of this year's Nobels, "for his analysis of consumption, poverty and welfare."  

"To design economic policy that promotes welfare and reduces poverty, we must first understand individual consumption choices," the Academy said. "More than anyone else, Angus Deaton has enhanced this understanding. By linking detailed individual choices and aggregate outcomes, his research has helped transform the fields of microeconomics, macroeconomics and development economics."

Deaton, who is perhaps best known to general readers for his 2013 book The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality, "has devoted his career to improving the data that shape public policy, including measures of wealth and poverty, savings and consumption, health and happiness," the New York Times reported.

Obituary Note: Rosalyn Baxandall

Rosalyn Baxandall, a feminist historian "who was among the first to bring scholarly attention to the historical role of women in the workplace and to expand the meaning of 'women's work,' " died Tuesday, the New York Times reported. She was 76. With Linda Gordon and Susan Reverby, she "assembled primary documents, including letters and diaries, that offered a sweeping history of women and labor" and their 1976 book, America's Working Women: A Documentary History, 1600 to the Present, "was acquired for Random House by Toni Morrison, then a young editor there," the Times wrote. An extensively revised and updated edition was published in 1995. Baxandall's other books included Dear Sisters: Dispatches From The Women's Liberation Movement; and Picture Windows: How the Suburbs Happened.


Marilynne Robinson's Gilead is WSJ Book Club Pick

Geraldine Brooks, author most recently of The Secret Chord and host this month of the WSJ Book Club, has chosen Marilynne Robinson's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead as the book club's latest pick, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Over the next several weeks, the WSJ Book Club will be reading Gilead (Picador), with discussion questions posted on the Journal's Speakeasy blog. Readers are invited to join the conversation on the club's Facebook page, or follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #WSJBookClub. Brooks will ultimately join the club for a live video chat about the novel.

"The language is exquisite," Brooks said of Gilead. "The observations are breathtaking and so original and unexpected. I think there's some pyrotechnics in here, but it's virtuosity rather than showing off. It's a masterpiece of voice. And it's very challenging to do what she's done. She created an entirely good, entirely sympathetic protagonist who at the same time is fully human and deeply sympathetic and wholly plausible. So you really feel that you know this John Ames and you're on his side in the world. And I think her exacting depiction of what it feels like to love a child, the totality of that love--I don't know of anybody else who's captured that so perfectly."

President Obama and Marilynne Robinson at the Iowa State Library (photo: Pete Souza/White House)

Even President Barack Obama is a Gilead fan. In a recent conversation with Robinson that is being published in the New York Review of Books, he said: "I first picked up Gilead, one of your most wonderful books, here in Iowa.... And I've told you this--one of my favorite characters in fiction is a pastor in Gilead, Iowa, named John Ames, who is gracious and courtly and a little bit confused about how to reconcile his faith with all the various travails that his family goes through. And I was just--I just fell in love with the character, fell in love with the book, and then you and I had a chance to meet when you got a fancy award at the White House. And then we had dinner and our conversations continued ever since."

New Events Manager at WORD Bookstores

Ally-Jane Grossan is joining WORD Bookstores, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Jersey City, N.J., as event/pr director, taking over from Molly Templeton, who is moving on to publicity at Grossan comes from Bloomsbury Publishing, where she has been the editor of the 33 1/3 series of books as well as commissioning editor of Popular Music and Sound Studies. She can be reached at after November 3.

Happy 15th Birthday, Octavia Books!

Congratulations to Octavia Books in New Orleans, which celebrated its 15th anniversary last Saturday by "serving up some fun music, art, literature, cake and sparkling refreshments." Customers were invited to dress up like their favorite literary character and listen to music by NOLA songwriter/piano player/singer Phil Melancon, while the city's "fastest caricature artist Steve Lindsley captures your essence on paper before you can tell what's happened."

On Facebook, Octavia Books co-owners Tom Lowenburg and Judith Lafitte wrote: "We hope we have and will continue to enrich your life and the life of our precious community. Thanks for being part of the story with us. And, as with many of the books we read, we know the best is yet."

Other Press on the Move

Effective October 19, Other Press is moving. Phone, fax and e-mail remain the same. The new address is: 267 Fifth Avenue, 6th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10016.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Whoopi Goldberg on Tonight

Tomorrow on NPR's Soundcheck: Elvis Costello, author of Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider Press, $30, 9780399167256).


Tomorrow on CNBC's On the Money: Julia Pimsleur, author of Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781476790299).


Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Amy Robach, author of Better: How I Let Go of Control, Held on to Hope, and Found Joy in My Darkest Hour (Ballantine, $27, 9780553392982).


Tomorrow night on the Tonight Show: Whoopi Goldberg, author of If Someone Says "You Complete Me," RUN!: Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships (Hachette Books, $26, 9780316302012).

Movies: Room; R.L. Stine's Fear Street Series

Noting that no movie this fall "will give you as well-deserved or satisfying a big cry as Lenny Abrahamson's Room," based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, IndieWire featured star Brie Larson singing "Big Rock Candy Mountain" to child actor Jacob Tremblay, as well as the first clip from the film, promos and a 15-minute talk with the filmmakers. Room opens in select cinemas this weekend and nationwide November 6.


20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment are developing a movie based on R.L. Stine's Fear Street series of scary stories, the Wrap reported. When the bestselling author was asked about the project, he said, "I'm not allowed to say, but yeah, there's something happening. I'm usually a loose cannon but they really didn't want me to talk about it." The Wrap also noted that there are "at least 100 titles in the Fear Street series, which has sold nearly 100 million copies worldwide."

This Weekend on Book TV: The Texas Book Festival

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, October 17
11 a.m. Live coverage from day one of the 2015 Texas Book Festival in Austin, Tex., at the State Capitol. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

7:30 p.m. Contributors Williamson Evers, James Milgram, Sandra Stotsky, Ze'ev Wurman and editor Peter Wood discuss Drilling through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for America (Pioneer Institute, $9.95, 9780985208691). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

10 p.m. Bethany McLean, author of Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants (Columbia Global Reports, $12.99, 9780990976301). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m.)

11 p.m. Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, 25th Anniversary Edition: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (Da Capo, $15.99, 9780306824203), at BookPeople in Austin, Tex. (Re-airs Sunday at 6 p.m.)

Sunday, October 18
9 a.m. Ronald Bailey, author of The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century (Thomas Dunne, $27.99, 9781250057679). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 p.m.)

12 p.m. Live coverage from day two of the Texas Book Festival.

7:45 p.m. Pedro Domingos, author of The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (Basic, $29.99, 9780465065707).

Books & Authors

Awards: National Book Award Finalists

The National Book Foundation announced the finalists for this year's National Book Awards. The winners will be named November 18 at the 66th NBA benefit dinner and ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Refund by Karen E. Bender (Counterpoint)
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (Riverhead) Books/Penguin Random House
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (Random House)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
Hold Still by Sally Mann (Little, Brown)
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Atria)
If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power (Holt)
Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith (Knopf)

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (U. of Pittsburgh Press)
How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)
Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (Knopf)
Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón (Milkweed)
Elegy for a Broken Machine by Patrick Phillips (Knopf)

Young People's Literature
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg & the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press)
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (HarperCollins Children's Books)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new hardcover titles appearing Tuesday, October 20:

Golden Age: A Novel by Jane Smiley (Knopf, $26.95, 9780307700346) concludes the Last Hundred Years trilogy.

Host by Robin Cook (Putnam, $26.95, 9780399172144) is another medical thriller by the author who popularized the genre.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Mulholland Books, $28, 9780316349932) is the third mystery with private detective Cormoran Strike.

The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett (Viking, $19.95, 9780525429104) takes place 20 years after Dickens's A Christmas Carol.

The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World's Most Misunderstood Mammals by Merlin Tuttle (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544382275) coincides with National Bat Week (Oct. 25-31).

Binge by Tyler Oakley (Gallery, $24, 9781501117695) are personal essays by a YouTube star.

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt (Random House, $27, 9780812995411) chronicles a set of identical twins, one of whom is transgender.

Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World by Andy Bull (Avery, $26.95, 9781592409099) looks at the American bobsledding team during the Lake Placid Olympics.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper! by Ree Drummond (Morrow, $29.99, 9780062225245) is the cookbook of a Food Network host.

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:

Quicksand: A Novel by Steve Toltz (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781476797823). "A dark comedy that ups the ante on both the 'dark' and the 'comedy,' pulling laughs from some of the worst situations that can be imagined, Quicksand is also an incredible distillation of the absurdity that makes up life in the 21st century. All too frequently, authors who take on so vast a topic struggle to say anything of real meaning, but Toltz drops simultaneously profound and hilarious observations as if they were one-liners and hardly pauses to let them sink in before moving on to the next. With characters both vibrant and tragic, and the story both an encapsulation and a dazzling parody of our modern lives, Quicksand is a book not to be missed." --Christopher Phipps, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, Calif.

Undermajordomo Minor: A Novel by Patrick deWitt (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062281203). "With dry and witty dialogue worthy of a Monty Python movie, this wonderful novel takes some getting used to, but once you fall into this world you will not want to come back out. A remote castle, a crazy Baron, an incredibly incompetent cook, and a lovely village girl--what else could the young narrator Lucien, known as Lucy, need for a good story? Of course, the fact that he's a compulsive liar makes things more interesting, too. Dewitt, the author of The Sisters Brothers, once again crafts an unusual and wholly entertaining story that is sure to surprise and delight his growing legion of fans." --Dana Schulz, Snowbound Books, Marquette, Mich.

Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession, edited by Elizabeth Benedict (Algonquin, $16.95, 9781616204112). "Twenty-seven authors share stories about hair and all its meanings in this revelatory collection. Hair can represent class, race, a period in history, health, neuroses, and more. What a wonderful way to ponder our life histories and traumas and still keep a sense of humor as we are invited to remember what hairstyles we were wearing at key times in our lives. Through the focus on hair, this book leads us to consider our stories in both a fun and oddly serious way." --Rona Brinlee, the BookMark, Neptune Beach, Fla.

For Ages 4 to 8
Max the Brave by Ed Vere (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, 9781492616511). "Simple illustrations and bold colors make this a fun book to look at, and a rhythmic story and the hilarious antics of Max the kitten make it fun to read. Brave Max is eager to catch a mouse. The hitch is that he's not sure what a mouse looks like. Enter a series of helpful animals, a mouse with a keen sense of self-preservation, and an allergic monster, and antics ensue. I hope there are more books starring Max to come!" --Sarah Rose, Big Blue Marble Bookstore, Philadelphia, Pa.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall (Knopf, $16.99, 9780553497281). "Life can't get much worse for Arthur T. Owens. His dad is dead, and he has been arrested for heaving a brick at a junk collector he sees wearing his dad's favorite hat. Now the judge sentences him to 120 hours of assisting the junk collector. There are important lessons to be learned and some wonderful surprises in this book. Arthur learns them with grace and good humor under the skilled pen of Pearsall in a story inspired by the life of folk artist James Hampton." --Julie Wilson, the Bookworm of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.

For Teen Readers
One by Sarah Crossan (Greenwillow Books, $17.99, 9780062118752). "Grace and Tippi are sisters who share everything--their room, their clothes, and their bodies. Meet the 16-year-old conjoined twins who have never wanted to undergo the risky surgery that would separate them until they are forced to do so after a fluke virus. Crossan writes with exquisite grace and makes readers question everything they thought they knew about identity, sisterhood, and true love and understanding. Readers will ache to hug Tippi and Grace as they confront the most important decision of their lives." --Grace Firari, the Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, Wis.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: My Life on the Road

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (Random House, $28 hardcover, 9780679456209, October 27, 2015)

Gloria Steinem, founder of New York and Ms. magazines and many women's organizations and a noted leader of the women's movement, shares her stories from along the way in My Life on the Road. This simply stated memoir recounts Steinem's childhood, her organizing and activism from her youth into the present, with commentary on the social and political events of those decades. But it is also explicitly a story of life lived on the move. As she sees it in hindsight, Steinem inherited a love for constant motion from her father, who lived for most of her life out of his car, with little Gloria keeping him company for her first 10 years. As a young woman not ready to settle down to marriage and motherhood, and then as an organizer, she kept moving. One chapter is dedicated to her choice to travel communally rather than use an automobile of her own, because it offers increased opportunities for contact.

In stating her goals for this book, Steinem cites storytelling as a central drive. Much is told in short vignettes, stories from those she's met in her travels or lessons learned on her way. There are more than a few instances of Steinem making assumptions about people (Harley riders, cab drivers), only to have them proven wrong--emphasizing the idea that every person is more than he or she appears.

Steinem hopes to encourage her readers to hit the road, too. She is clearly deeply passionate about the advantages of travel: for perspective, for personal development and for plain enjoyment. She recommends that politicians travel the country and the world: "I called big-city contributors from on-the-road places, so I could say, 'You don't know what it's like out here.' " 

My Life on the Road is not a history of the women's movement, although of course it contains many references to that history, as well as to the U.S. political climate and events of the second half of the 20th century. Instead, Steinem's memoir is a glimpse into one remarkable woman's life and philosophies of the road. It includes profiles of Steinem's immediate family and friends like Bella Abzug, Wilma Mankiller and Florynce Kennedy, and briefly addresses the conflict between Steinem and Betty Friedan. Steinem's writing style is personal, warm, approachable and straightforward. Her fans will be satisfied by this personal view, one that combines a love for people and places and stories and change with a love for movements--in both senses. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: Gloria Steinem's straight-talking memoir is rich with personal anecdote, political history and a fervent love for living on the go.

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