Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 29, 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

Editors' Note

Shelf Awareness on the Move

Shelf Awareness is moving this weekend. As of November 1, our Seattle office will be at 811 1st Ave., Suite 315, Seattle, WA 98104. Phone and fax numbers remain the same.

Please note that galleys of children's and YA titles for review should be sent to this new office, since our new children's and YA editor, Karin Snelson, lives in Seattle.

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

Quotation of the Day

Obama: 'Novels Taught Me How to Be a Citizen'

"When I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I've learned I think I've learned from novels. It has to do with empathy. It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays, but there's still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it's possible to connect with some[one] else even though they're very different from you."

--President Obama, in part two of his conversation with Marilynne Robinson in the New York Review of Books.


IndieBound Adding Direct Purchase Option

In a test, the American Booksellers Association is adding an option to that will allow customers to buy a book directly from the product page--without having to go to a bookstore page first, a process that many people coming to the site have found cumbersome enough not to complete.

People who make purchases will receive a variety of "messaging," including web pages, confirmation e-mails, packing slips and package inserts with Indie Next List recommendations, that will direct customers to their nearest indie bookstores, with suggestions by store name and city. After purchases have shipped, customers will receive a thank-you e-mail with links to the five closest indie stores and their IndieCommerce sites.

The changes were outlined in a letter this week to publishers from ABA CEO Oren Teicher, who emphasized that traffic to "has grown dramatically," in part because of "thousands of author and publisher links, by author mentions on social media, and as a result of national campaigns like Indies First and Small Business Saturday." But ABA "analytics show that very few consumers are actually buying titles through"

ABA aims to evaluate the test results and have more to report in about six months.

Bluestockings in NYC Reaches 75% of Fundraising Goal

To celebrate raising almost $29,000 of its $50,000 IndieGogo goal as well as almost $9,000 in direct fundraising--for a total of more than $37,000--Bluestockings, the bookstore, café and activist center on the Lower East Side in New York City, is holding a party tomorrow evening, Friday, at 7 p.m., according to Bowery Boogie. The IndieGogo campaign has more than two weeks to go before it ends.

For the BYOB party, Bluestockings is "inviting rad folks from all over the city to come hear about our plans for the store's future, and to chat about what we can all do to keep radical spaces alive in NYC! Costumes/facepaint encouraged but not required."

The money raised on IndieGogo and directly is going to remodeling the storefront, updating the point-of-sale software and cafe equipment, and expanding inventory. So far, co-owner Sarah Olle told Bowery Boogie, Bluestockings has "begun purchasing new computers and moving to a updated database/POS system. We will begin the facility repairs and awning renovation process likely in November!"

Foyles: London Delivery; Free Shipping Online

Foyles has begun offering a same-day delivery service in central London "in a new drive to be more competitive online and serve Christmas demand," the Bookseller reported.

The store is offering the service on orders placed by 12 p.m. for delivery from Foyles' flagship store on Charing Cross Road. The charge is £7.50 (about $11.50) for the first book and £1 ($1.53) for each additional book. Foyles is also offering free second-class postage in the U.K. on all online orders.

Foyles' head of digital Mark Thwaite told the Bookseller: "In our move towards omnichannel retailing, we have harmonised our instore and online pricing." The new policies, he added, "provide our customers with the same quality of experience, however they chose to shop with Foyles. It also enables our booksellers to order any titles not in stock to be delivered directly to a customer's home for exactly the same price as they would have paid in store."

A year ago, Amazon began a same-day collection service in the U.K. at 500 pick-up locations in Smiths News newsagents and convenience stories. More recently, Amazon began a £6.99 ($10.70) one-hour delivery service in London for Prime members--and free for two-hour deliveries--available from 8 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week.

American Writers Museum Launching in Chicago in 2017

The American Writers Museum has signed a 10-year lease for a prime location in the center of Chicago, at 180 North Michigan Avenue. Plans call for the museum, which organizers describe as "a vibrant home for the first and only museum to engage the public in celebrating American writers and their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives," to open in 2017.

The interactive, high-tech museum is expected to draw up to 120,000 visitors annually. The curating team and National Advisory Council are working closely with internationally renowned museum and exhibit companies on AWM's development. The museum is also collaborating with 50 authors' homes and museums around the U.S.--AWM affiliates--that will support its mission with author-specific knowledge and expertise.

"I enthusiastically support the efforts to place a national writers museum in Chicago," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Such a museum will complement the rich offerings of the city's theaters, museums, libraries and musical activities and adds significantly to Chicago's vitality."

Malcolm E. O'Hagan, AWM founder and president, said, "We are thrilled to have found the perfect space in the heart of downtown Chicago, just steps from the city's major attractions. The American Writers Museum will become a beloved attraction for Chicago residents and visitors from all over the world, and will provide an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to showcase true Americana in one of the nation's most culturally rich cities."

Andy Anway of Amaze Design, which is creating the museum exhibits, told WBEZ: "Most people think immediately of a library setting or something that's much more cerebral than you think of typically with a museum exhibition. So one of the things we've been really working on is trying to figure out a way to both present writing in a way that gets at the intimacy... which very much relates to your personal experience and reading, and also expresses the larger story about both individual authors and the context of writing."


Happy 40th Birthday, Mulberry Bush Bookstore!

Congratulations to the Mulberry Bush Bookstore, Qualicum Beach, B.C., which celebrated its 40th anniversary last Saturday. Owners Tom and Barbara Pope took over ownership 26 years ago, and it "wasn't long before they began hearing about the looming demise of printed books," PQB News reported.

"I think that started about 25 years ago. Over the years, some folks have come in and said it's the end of books. But readership across Canada is up. And our market share is up," said Pope, who with his wife opened a second Mulberry Bush location, in Parksville, in 1992. "We're survivors. One of the big things for us is people locally recognize the benefit of supporting a community business. Our customers are very loyal."

Saturday's celebration was "kind of an emotional day, in a way," Barbara noted. "We know we wouldn't be here if it weren't for our wonderful customers. To have them coming in like this and offering their congratulations and well-wishes, it's very gratifying. Overwhelming, actually."

She added: "I don't think we ever envisaged we'd be at it this long. But when you're in this business, it's not just a business. It's a life, and it's a life well-lived."

Cool Idea of the Day: The Libromat

A group of friends at Oxford University who are working to develop the Libromat, a combination childhood education and laundry services center, were finalists for this year's $1 million Hult Prize. The competition's aim is to help "launch the most compelling social business ideas--start-up enterprises that tackle grave issues faced by billions of people." As finalists, they were given the opportunity to pilot a Libromat in July and August at an early childhood development center in Khayelitsha, South Africa, NPR reported.

According to the team's research, mothers and caregivers in South Africa can spend up to nine hours per week hand-washing dirty clothes. The goal for the Libromat project is to "teach mothers effective ways to read books to their infants in the amount of time it takes to complete a wash and spin cycle," NPR wrote. Although they did not ultimately win the prize, the team members are going forward with the project, having received initial funds of $200,000 from an investor to start three new centers in South Africa. "They will extend their program to eight weeks and, when classes are not in session, operate the center as a walk-in laundry and library service with children's books," NPR noted. "Centers will be managed directly by the team and will employ one educator, laundry manager and general assistant from the community."

Bookstore Weddings? How About a Bookstore Birth?

Posted yesterday on Facebook by Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.: "A few days ago, during a conversation with a pregnant customer, we asked when the customer was due, and she said, 'Hopefully today!' Turns out she was in the beginning part of labor and the hospital told her to wait until contractions became more frequent. So, she chose to wait at our store, browsed our children's section and even bought a book for her little baby-to-be!

"Bookstores: Community gathering places, literacy advocates and a safe and comfortable spot to wait while you're about to birth a human."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster

Maureen Cole has been promoted to senior publicity manager at Simon & Schuster. She joined S&S in 2012 as a senior publicist.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stacy Schiff on Colbert's Late Show

Tomorrow on the Meredith Vieira Show: Jamie Oliver, author of Everyday Super Food (Ecco, $34.99, 9780062305640).


Tomorrow night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches: Salem, 1692 (Little, Brown, $32, 9780316200608).

Movies: The Monopolists

Big Beach producers Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf are partnering with Diane Nabatoff to develop a film about the origins of the board game Monopoly, based on Mary Pilon's bestselling book The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game, reported, adding that the project will also draw from Ralph Anspach's book The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle.

This Weekend on Book TV: The Southern Festival of Books

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 31
9:15 a.m. Steven Watts, author of Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America (Other Press, $29.95, 9781590515020). (Re-airs Sunday at 8:45 p.m.)

12 p.m. Coverage from the 27th annual Southern Festival of Books, which took place October 9-11 at the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville, Tenn. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.)

6 p.m. Paul Kengor, author of Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage (WND Books, $18.95, 9781942475101). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 a.m.)

7:30 p.m. Mary D. Looman and John D. Carl, authors of A Country Called Prison: Mass Incarceration and the Making of a New Nation (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780190211035). (Re-airs Sunday at 3 p.m.)

10 p.m. Sean Naylor, author of Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9781250014542). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780547250250). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:30 p.m.)

Sunday, November 1
12 p.m. Live In Depth q&a with economist Walter Williams, author of American Contempt for Liberty (Hoover Institution Press, $19.95, 9780817918750). (Re-airs Monday at 12 a.m.)

6:30 p.m. Harlow Giles Unger, author of Henry Clay: America's Greatest Statesman (Da Capo, $25.99, 9780306823916).

7:30 p.m. Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family (Random House, $28, 9780812994568). (Re-airs Monday at 5:45 a.m.)

10 p.m. Marion Nestle, author of Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning) (Oxford University Press, $29.95, 9780190263430).

Books & Authors

Awards: Governor General's Literary

Winners were announced for the Canada Council's Governor General's Literary Awards, Quillblog reported. Each category winner receives C$25,000 (about US$19,000). English-language winners will be honored in Ottawa December 1. This year's recipients include:

Fiction: Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Poetry: My Shoes Are Killing Me by Robyn Sarah
Drama: carried away on the crest of a wave by David Yee
Nonfiction: Bee Times: Lessons from the Hive by Mark L. Winston
Children's Literature, text: The Gospel Truth by Caroline Pignat
Children's literature, illustration: Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Sydney Smith
Translation, French to English: Twenty-One Cardinals by Rhonda Mullins, translated from Les héritiers de la mine by Jocelyne Saucier

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 3:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books, $13.95, 9781419717017) is the 10th Wimpy Kid children's book.

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (Scribner, $30, 9781501111679) is a collection of short stories with notes on their origins.

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451664164) follows a Mexican man and his younger sister, who can read minds and possibly see the future.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel by Isabel Allende (Atria, $28, 9781501116971) follows a Polish refugee in San Francisco and her secret Japanese-American lover during World War II, his internment and later.

The Crossing by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown, $28, 9780316225885) continues the Harry Bosch thriller series.

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco, translated by Richard Dixon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780544635081) tracks a conspiracy of murder and the media in Milan over 20 years. (See our review below.)

Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos (Grand Central, $28, 9781455561490) is a posthumously published novel inspired by the real life friendship between Mark Twain and explorer Henry Morton Stanley.

Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again by Donald J. Trump (Threshold Editions, $25, 9781501137969) contains the thoughts of the real estate mogul/Republican presidential candidate.

50 Years, 50 Moments: The Most Unforgettable Plays in Super Bowl History by Jerry Rice and Randy O. Williams (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780062302601) marks 50 years of Super Bowls with a history of key plays.

The Happy Vegan: A Guide to Living a Long, Healthy, and Successful Life by Russell Simmons and Chris Morrow (Avery, $20, 9781592409327) is a hip-hop mogul's guide to veganism.

Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge by Antony Beevor (Viking, $35, 9780670025312) explores Hitler's final offensive in December 1944.

The Heart You Carry Home by Jennifer Miller (Mariner, $14.95, 9780544300552) follows two generations of American veterans and the women who love them.

Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency by Charlie Savage (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316286572) looks at Obama's national security policies.

Trashed by Derf Backderf (Abrams ComicArts, $18.95, 9781419714542).

Trumbo, based on the book by Bruce Cook, opens November 6 and stars Bryan Cranston as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. A movie tie-in (Grand Central, $15.99, 9781455564972) is available.

Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, follows an Irish immigrant in New York City caught in a love triangle. The film opens November 6, with a tie-in (Scribner, $15, 9781501106477) available now.

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:

Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt by Kristin Hersh (University of Texas Press, $22.95, 9780292759473). "You don't need to be familiar with Chesnutt's or Hersh's work to appreciate this phenomenal book, but you will undoubtedly want to be once you've finished it. Hersh is a writer of intense and subtle beauty, and she will make you cry and feel a hundred other things with the power of her style alone. Through the tragic story of her close friend and tourmate, Chesnutt, Hersh evokes the torture of all that artistic genius encapsulates and makes that pain sing in a voice both opaque and elegant, grimy and pristine. Ultimately, this is a deeply affecting meditation on one's thrust toward 'important art' and on how music is a necessary expression of sadness and loneliness but also one of intense and inimitable beauty." --Donovan Swift, Inkwood Books, Tampa, Fla.

A Line of Blood: A Novel by Ben McPherson (Morrow, $25.99, 9780062406101). "Surely an unspoken fear of parents is that they will discover that their child has some dark secret, that their normal, well-adjusted, happy child is hiding something. McPherson introduces us to just such a family in a whodunit with many layers of psychological intrigue, secrets, and unspoken emotion. Alex and Millicent and their son, Max, find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation and what was once taken for granted begins to unravel around them. This is a must-read for anyone who loves being in the clutches of a brilliant thriller with anything but a straight line to the conclusion." --Linda Schaefer, the Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, Ohio

On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977207). "Biss' essays about the immunization debate range from the personal to the body politic and back again. Drawing on her experiences as a mother and employing an astonishing diversity of sources, Biss plumbs our ancient fear of infection. Acknowledging the permeability of both our borders and bodies, she arrives at the conclusion that 'immunity is a shared space--a garden we tend together.' Biss' precise language and wry humor make On Immunity as engaging as it is informative." --Brooke Alexander, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
Beyond the Pond by Joseph Kuefler (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062364272). "Ernest D. lives in an ordinary house with a pond out back that needs to be explored. After various experiments, Ernest D. declares that his pond has no bottom! After gathering his supplies, Ernest D. and his trusty dog set out to explore the unknown depths. Beyond the Pond is full of wonder and imagination with fantastic illustrations. Read Beyond the Pond and go exploring with Ernest D.!" --Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.

For Ages 9 to 12
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar (Delacorte, $16.99, 9780385743785). "This thought-provoking new book by the popular Sachar is adventurous, bold, fast-paced and fun. Sachar blends issues of virtue, family, growing up, ethics, and relationships with mystery and science fiction into a book that will appeal to many. Fifth-grader Tamaya, whose parents have recently divorced, attends a private school in a mansion bordering some woods. One day, after an encounter with bullies, she and a friend take a shortcut home through the woods and stumble upon a secret lab. Trouble and excitement ensue!" --Coleen Colwell, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, Calif.

For Teen Readers
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763678180). "I'd expect nothing less from Schlitz, but was happy nonetheless to find her latest book a captivating and delightful story. Based on the journal of Joan Skraggs, Schlitz's grandmother, The Hired Girl is the comical and sweet tale of a 14-year-old girl who leaves her harsh life on the farm to find work in the big city--Baltimore in 1911. Joan confides all in her diary as she grows up, with some bumps along the way. Schlitz captures all of the awkwardness and yearnings of a young girl in this satisfying and enjoyable novel." --Janis Herbert, Face in a Book, El Dorado Hills, Calif.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Numero Zero

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco, trans. by Richard Dixon (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 hardcover, 9780544635081, November 3, 2015)

Despite his reputation as a literary genius, dating back to the English-language publication of The Name of the Rose in 1983, Umberto Eco has put out only a scattered handful of novels over the years. But that's not to say he hasn't been busy--Eco's nonfiction publications (even excluding the work never translated from Italian) are voluminous and enviably broad. One of Eco's defining features as a writer has always been his boundless intellect, which allows him to leap nimbly through history and various academic disciplines with infectious glee.

Eco's novel Numero Zero is of a piece with the rest of his work, albeit much shorter and more caustic. Unlike the massive historical epics that helped put Eco's name on the map, Numero Zero could easily be classified as a novella. It's remarkable, then, how many big ideas Eco manages to stuff inside of it.

Set in 1992, the book's formal plot involves a hack writer who is hired to help create a newspaper dedicated to extortion and slyly conducted libel. In other words: a newspaper that sets out to cynically cater to its readership's basest desires. The plot also prominently features a vast conspiracy theory spun by a paranoid reporter working for the newspaper. Fans of Eco's writings will recognize a few of his pet fixations at work in these plotlines, particularly conspiracy theories and semiotics.

With The Prague Cemeteryas a recent example, Eco is obsessed with the idea of shadowy events and organizations that underpin our everyday reality. In Numero Zero, the conspiracy sprawls to include both real and implausible ideas, like Mussolini's supposed faked death, the terrorist attacks that plagued Italy during the turbulent '60s and '70s, the controversial Cold War program Operation Gladio and, as ever, the Masons. Part of the fun of the book is following an elaborate chain of logic--and, frequently, illogic--that leads the reader on a tour of postwar Italian history, in all its depressing and fascinating murk.

In this slim volume, Eco somehow also takes the time to deconstruct media and its reality-warping tendencies. As the founder of the newspaper says: "It's not the news that makes the newspaper, but the newspaper that makes the news." Numero Zero viciously satirizes the forces that go into dishonest news-making as well as the gullible Italian public that eats it up. Eco's criticisms might seem a shade elitist if he didn't take equal time satirizing the truth-seekers who wind up paralyzed by their own paranoia:

In the scene of a mother hugging a suffering child, I saw, alas, the victims of some remote terrorist attack. In a solemn meeting with a pope, various cardinals and sombre capuchin friars, I saw a council meeting at the Vatican bank planning my capture... everything seemed a perfidiously disguised allegory of infernal forces plotting in the shadows.

Numero Zero may be a change of pace for the literary legend, but fans need not worry that Eco's intellect has dulled a whit. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Shelf Talker: Numero Zero is Umberto Eco's late-career Notes from the Underground: a brief, cutting satire soaked through with paranoia.

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