Shelf Awareness for Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yen Press: The God of Nishi-Yuigahama Station by Takeshi Murase, Translated by Guiseppe Di Martino

Peachtree Publishers: Erno Rubik and His Magic Cube by Kerry Aradhya, Illustrated by Kara Kramer

Beacon Press: Kindred by Octavia Butler

Inkshares: Mr. and Mrs. American Pie by Juliet McDaniel

Tundra Books: On a Mushroom Day by Chris Baker, Illustrated by Alexandria Finkeldey

Simon & Schuster: Register for the Simon & Schuster Fall Preview!

St. Martin's Press: Sacrificial Animals by Kailee Pedersen


Books, Inc., Opening 12th Store, in Campbell, Calif.

The current Books Inc. in Mountain View

Books, Inc., which has 11 stores in the Bay Area, plans to open another store, in Campbell, Calif., in Silicon Valley, in early summer 2018, the store announced. The Campbell store will be in the Pruneyard Center, owned by Ellis Partners, which also developed the Town & Country Center in Palo Alto next to Stanford University, where Books Inc. moved in 2008 from the Stanford Shopping Center.

At the same time, the company said it will move its nearby Mountain View store early this summer, from 301 Castro St. to 317 Castro St., "two doors up." The new location will have 4,000 square feet of space, all on one floor, which will allow for a larger children's book area and author event space. Books Inc. opened in Mountain View in 2001, taking over space that had been occupied by the former Printer's Inc. Bookstore. The store's new site was once the home of BookBuyers, which closed this location in April 2016.

Books Inc., founded in 1851, is one of the oldest bookstores in the country.

BINC: Do Good All Year - Click to Donate!

Barnes & Noble to Close Towson, Md., Store

Barnes & Noble will close its bookstore in Towson, Md., at the end of May. The Baltimore Sun reported that the store is located at Towson Circle, which will be redeveloped by owner Retail Properties of America Inc. B&N had been expected to stay, but to occupy one level instead of two.

"The property is going through a major redevelopment, which would not allow for us to remain in place during the construction," said David Deason, B&N v-p of development, adding that the company's stores in Pikesville, White Marsh and at the Power Plant in downtown Baltimore will remain open.

GLOW: Torrey House Press: Life After Dead Pool: Lake Powell's Last Days and the Rebirth of the Colorado River by Zak Podmore

Obituary Note: Irwin Stambler

Irwin Stambler, "an aeronautical engineer whose love of music inspired him to write some of the earliest and most flavorful encyclopedias on pop music," died February 10, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 92. Although Stambler wrote dozens of books on a variety of topics, he "took a particular interest in the roots of rock 'n' roll, the blues, and country and Western music." His work includes The Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul; The Encyclopedia of Popular Music; and The Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western (with the late Grelun Landon);

"He really wanted to give people a flavor of these artists.... He was very much a product of his times. He was there at the beginning in rock 'n roll," said his son Lyndon Stambler, adding that the elder Stambler would often do his own research, interviewing musicians and attending concerts, a process that gave his encyclopedia entries a folksy you-were-there quality. Father and son eventually teamed up to co-write Folk & Blues: The Encyclopedia.

Harpervia: Only Big Bumbum Matters Tomorrow by Damilare Kuku

More Book-Related #Resistance

Booksellers at Powell's, Portland, Ore., display titles featured in the store's "Nevertheless She Persisted" section.

Bookstores have continued to seek ways of addressing political issues since the November election. Here is a roundup of a few events, new book clubs and more.

In what it called a "collective act of kindness and resistance," on Presidents Day, Changing Hands, Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., donated profits from all sales in-store and online to IRC Phoenix, the local branch of the International Rescue Committee, which has requested emergency funding. The IRC said it needs help so it can "continue to provide refugees of all faiths and nationalities with critical resettlement assistance. Your gift will help us provide refugee families in the U.S. with housing, cultural orientation, healthcare, education, employment, and other services that help them rebuild their lives."

The sale exceeded "all our expectations," co-owner Gayle Shanks wrote. "Sales in our Phoenix store tripled last year's sales, and the Tempe store's sales doubled. The day reminded me how much our community wants to do something for others and how integrated our store is in that commitment to evoke change and participate in humanitarian acts of kindness. We were prepared to hear complaints but got nothing but thanks all day long. Our staff was so involved, so proud to be a part of our efforts and thrilled that people turned out and happily shopped and had conversations with each other and with them."


At Booksmith in San Francisco, an anonymous benefactor provided free copies of Notes of a Native Son.

Tonight Oblong Books & Music, Millerton and Rhinebeck, N.Y., is hosting the first in its new community book group series with a social justice focus. The theme for the night will be racial inequality, and the books discussed will be Kindred by Octavia Butler and its graphic novel adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings.

The second meeting of the book group takes place on Tuesday, March 21, and has an emphasis on feminism. The books to be discussed are both by Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities.


Also tonight, Let's Play Books, Emmaus, Pa., is hosting a "reception, open-house style" for the launch of Why I March: Images from the Women's March Around the World (Abrams), encouraging participants "to celebrate each others' experiences, and share with those persons who may not have attended any march in person, but in thought." The store will contribute 15% of sales to the ACLU of Pennsylvania.


On Sunday, March 5, Print: A Bookstore, Portland, Maine, is hosting a Welcoming Immigrants event with "I'm Your Neighbor," a local project that "promotes the welcoming of immigrants through the sharing of literature." Kirsten Cappy of Curious City will discuss children's books that celebrate the current immigrant experience, and customers will be able to buy any of the featured titles for themselves and/or for donation to Portland public schools.


On Tuesday, March 7, with Huffington Post Arts & Culture and a group of New York authors, the Housing Works Bookstore, New York City, is hosting "Drink, Draw n' Take Action," a night of "drinking, drawing and sending messages to members of Congress who have the ability to enact change in our uncertain political climate. Want to send a handmade postcard alerting your representative of the importance of the Affordable Care Act? Here's the place to do it."

The hosts will provide blank postcard paper for participants to design, along with markers, crayons, pens and pencils. There will be three rounds of drawing based on three policies being debated in Congress. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase, with proceeds going to Housing Work's mission to end homelessness and AIDS. Participants are asked to bring stamps.

Authors, including Rebecca Schiff, Repro Rights Zine and more, will be on hand to read.


In January, Aaron's Books, Lititz, Pa., launched the 1st & 19th Book Group (named after the First and 19th Amendments). At the initial monthly meeting, in January, the group discussed We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The February 9 meeting had to be postponed because of icy roads, so the book that would have been discussed then--Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen--will be discussed at the March 9 meeting, along with The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Besides discussing the books in the context of current politics, the groups talk about "what we as individuals can do relating to the subject of the book and the current climate."

Aaron's also has set out a basket of stamped postcards that customers can take for free to use to contact national and local representatives, no matter what side of an issue they're on. The basket is on one of four book displays relating to current issues, including displays for Black History month, speaking out for women, related "dystopian" fiction (1984, It Can't Happen Here, etc.), and for kids ("Reading Builds Empathy" has books about diversity and refugees). Sam Droke-Dickinson noted, "We're in a very conservative area so we can't be as vocal as some of our urban friends... but we do what we can!"


And in Mosman, New South Wales, Australia, near Sydney, Pages & Pages Booksellers has reacted, too--and with distance comes the ability to be very vocal and speak more directly than most American booksellers would.

Jon Page, owner of Pages & Pages, wrote: "To say we are currently living in troubling times is a bit of an understatement. The election and inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States has seen a resurgence of fascism and right wing rhetoric the likes of which I didn't think we would ever see again. But the best weapon against fascism, Nazism and hateful ignorance (including a punch in the face) is knowledge and books (that's why most fascists try to burn them!)."

To that end, the store has created what it calls an "anti-Trump reading list" that aims "to help us survive and understand these strange times and hopefully the mistakes of the past are not allowed to be repeated...." Titles on the list include the familiar 1984, The Plot Against America and It Can't Happen Here, but also The Diary of Anne Frank, Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Fatherland by Robert Harris, among others. For each book purchased, Pages & Pages will donate $1 to the Refugee Council of Australia.


Image of the Day: Two for the Road

Twenty-one booksellers from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania recently shared dinner and discussion with (front row, center) Alan Drew, author of the novel Shadow Man, and Ariel Levy, author of the memoir The Rules Do Not Apply (both forthcoming from Random House).

Los Angeles: 'Finding Books in the Least Expected Places'

"In cafes and bars, skate shops and co-working spaces, books are popping up everywhere in Los Angeles--and as more than just décor," the Los Angeles Times reported in noting that "book lovers in L.A. are still sourcing their reading lists from the least expected places."

Personnel Changes at Page Street Publishing

Madison Taylor has joined Page Street Publishing as publicity and marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Elle: The Movie and Book

This Sunday, fans of Isabelle Huppert will be rooting for the French film star who's in the running for a best actress Oscar, which would be a stirring followup to the best actress Golden Globe (in a motion picture, drama) that she won last month.

Huppert is the star of Elle, which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film, a psychological thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct). The movie is based on the book Oh... by Philippe Djian, which was originally published in France in 2012 and won the Prix Interallié.

Early on, Oh... was translated into English, but the translation, done by Michael Katims, was commissioned by the man who had bought film rights and hasn't been published here--until now. On May 23, the Other Press will release Djian's book in paperback with the title Elle ($15, 9781590519158).

Like the movie, the book is a harrowing tale: Elle centers on Michèle Leblanc, the character played by Huppert, who, as the novel begins, is raped by a man in a ski mask in her home a few weeks before Christmas. In the month that follows, when "memory, sex, and death converge at every turn," as the publisher puts it, Michèle, who is the head of a film production company, suspects most of the men in her life, including her ex-husband; her lover, who's married to her best friend and business partner; a married neighbor she flirts with. (Not suspects are her son, who kidnaps his wife's baby, who was fathered by another man; her own father, who's serving a life term in jail for having killed 70 children 30 years earlier; and her mother, who has lovers half her age.) Eventually Michèle learns the identity of the rapist, but rather than report him to the police, she engages in a brutal, sexual game with him that eventually spins out of control.

The French magazine Inrockuptibles called Oh... "the most crazy, feminist and politically incorrect novel" of the Rentrée Littéraire of 2012.

Media Heat: Keke Palmer on Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz: Keke Palmer, author of I Don't Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice (North Star Way, $24.99, 9781501145391).

This Weekend on Book TV: Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin on Rest in Power

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, February 25
5 p.m. Jill Jonnes, author of Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape (Viking, $32, 9780670015665), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

6 p.m. Luke Mayville, author of John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy (Princeton University Press, $29.95, 9780691171531), and Richard Alan Ryerson, author of John Adams's Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many (Johns Hopkins University Press, $60, 9781421419220). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

7 p.m. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, author of Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (37INK/Atria, $26, 9781501126390). (Re-airs Sunday at 10:30 a.m.)

8:30 p.m. David Horowitz, author of Big Agenda: President Trump's Plan to Save America (Humanix Books, $26.99, 9781630060879). (Re-airs Sunday at 1 a.m.)

10 p.m. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, authors of Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin (Spiegel & Grau, $26, 9780812997231). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. David Armitage, author of Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (Knopf, $27.95, 9780307271136), at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass. (Re-airs Sunday at 6:45 p.m.)

Sunday, February 26
9:30 a.m. Brad Snyder, author of The House of Truth: A Washington Political Salon and the Foundations of American Liberalism (Oxford University Press, $34.95, 9780190261986), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Sunday at 11 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Los Angeles Times; PEN Literary

Finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes have been announced in 11 categories, including the new Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose. Novelist Thomas McGuane will be given the 2016 Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, which recognizes a writer whose work focuses on the American West. Winners will be celebrated April 21 at the University of Southern California on the eve of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books


The PEN American Center announced winners of the 2017 PEN Literary Awards. They will be honored March 27 in New York City at the annual awards ceremony, along with the winners of the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, PEN/Nabokov Award, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award. This year's PEN Literary Award honorees include:

PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction ($10,000): Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond (Crown)
PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Awards ($7,500 and $2,500): Suzan-Lori Parks (Master American Dramatist), Tarell Alvin McCraney (American Playwright in Mid-Career), and Thomas Bradshaw (Emerging American Playwright)
PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award ($10,000): Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets by Luke Dittrich (Penguin Random House)
PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Literary Oral History ($10,000): How Did You Get Here?: Tales of Displacement by Aleksandar Hemon
PEN Open Book Award ($5,000): What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead)
PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography ($5,000): Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary by Joe Jackson (FSG)
PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss (Portfolio/PRH)
PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing ($5,000): Bill Nack
PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry ($5,000): The Verging Cities by Natalie Scenters-Zapico (Center For Literary Publishing/Colorado State University)
PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000): Finding a Home at the End of the World by Phillippe Diederich (work in progress)
PEN Translation Prize ($3,000): Angel of Oblivion by Maja Haderlap, translated from the German by Tess Lewis (Archipelago Books)
PEN Award for Poetry in Translation ($3,000): Pearl: A New Verse Translation by the Pearl Poet, translated from the Middle English by Simon Armitage (Liveright/Norton)
PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing ($2,500): Michael Archer and Joel Whitney for Guernica
PEN Grant for the English Translation of Italian Literature: Ithaca Forever by Luigi Malerba, translated by Douglas Heise

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, February 28:

Everything Belongs to Us: A Novel by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (Random House, $27, 9780812998542) follows two university students in 1970s South Korea.

Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook by Tony Robbins (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501164583) gives step-by-step financial planning advice.

Attitude: Develop a Winning Mindset on and off the Court by Jay Wright, Michael Sheridan and Mark Dagostino (Ballantine, $28, 9780399180859) is a memoir by the coach of the Villanova University men's basketball team.

Cravings: How I Conquered Food by Judy Collins (Nan A. Talese, $26, 9780385541312) shares the musician's struggle with compulsive overeating.

Why Wall Street Matters by William D. Cohan (Random House, $25, 9780399590696) is a financial journalist's defense of Wall Street.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062498533) is a debut teen novel that explores racism and police violence.

Life on Mars by Jon Agee (Dial, $17.99, 9780399538520) is a picture book about a boy astronaut who lands on Mars in search of a life form that might enjoy cupcakes.

Big Lonesome by Joseph Scapellato (Mariner, $13.95, 9780544769809) is a collection of 25 short stories set in various versions of the American West.

Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine, $17, 9781101883082).

The Shack, based on the novel by William P. Young, opens March 3. Sam Worthington stars a a man mysteriously called to a shack in the Oregon wilderness. A movie tie-in edition (Windblown Media, $9.99, 9781455567614) is available.

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:

The Lonely Hearts Hotel: A Novel by Heather O'Neill (Riverhead, $27, 9780735213739). "If there is Canadian magical realism, this is it! The Lonely Hearts Hotel is the charming story of Rose and Pierrot, two children raised in a Montreal orphanage in the early 20th century. O'Neill traces their romance from their childhood of entertaining rich people in their homes to their less salubrious post-orphanage careers. When Rose and Pierrot meet again as adults, magic happens--but can this magic survive the rigors of the real world? Fantastic and fabulous in the truest sense of both words." --Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, N.Y.

Indelible: A Novel by Adelia Saunders (Bloomsbury, $26, 9781632863942). "In her remarkable debut, Adelia Saunders develops an intriguing idea into an extraordinary book. When Magdalena looks at other people, she sees words describing their lives written on their skin. The impact is so disturbing that she often leaves her glasses off and walks through the world in a blur, almost missing an encounter with Neil, the American student upon whose face her own name is written. Would fate have demanded that they meet? The interwoven stories of Magdalena, Neil, and their families raise thought-provoking questions of destiny and freewill. Well done, Ms. Saunders!" --Gillian Kohli, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

300 Arguments: Essays by Sarah Manguso (Graywolf Press, $14, 9781555977641). "Sarah Manguso is a master of the minimalist form. She can do more with a sentence than many authors can do with an entire book. In this collection of brief ruminations, she covers everything from sex and mortality to ambition, mental illness, writing, desire, and motherhood. These 'arguments' are aphoristic gems in which a seemingly random thought has hardened into a bold, cutting, crystalline truth. There is no exposition. Manguso lets these minute statements stand on their own, and the reader is left with nowhere to hide from direct engagement with a most remarkable literary mind." --Keaton Patterson, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

For Ages 4 to 8
NOPE by Drew Sheneman (Viking, $17.99, 9781101997314). "The timeless story of overcoming your fears to enrich your life is told with simple charm in this nearly wordless book. Humor punctuates the tale of a nervous little bird who has plenty of reasons not to leave the nest and a mother bird who knows that flight is worth it in the end. A sweet picture book debut by syndicated cartoonist Sheneman." --Sarah Holt, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Mo.

For Ages 9 to 12
Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape by Ron McGee, illustrated by Chris Samnee (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062421647). "Eighth-grader Ryan Quinn has no idea that his parents are part of a super secret Underground Railroad-type organization that operates in many of the world's most dangerous places. Now he must try to save both of them with the help of some of his school friends. I love the way that debut author McGee gets inside the head of his protagonist and that of his techno-geek friend, Danny. These characters ring true, the action is non-stop, and fans of adventure, spy thrillers, and just plain fun storytelling will be eagerly awaiting the next installment." --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Teen Readers
Loving vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland (Chronicle, $21.99, 9781452125909). "Powell has written an incredibly moving account of the landmark Civil Rights case of Mildred and Richard Loving versus the State of Virginia. All this interracial couple wanted to do was marry, but to do so in the 1950s was illegal not only in Virginia, but also in 19 other states. Powell's documentary novel, combining primary source material with free verse, adeptly captures the voices and perspectives of all the major players, both inside and outside the courtroom. As a lawyer-turned-bookseller, I am deeply impressed by Powell's ability to clarify a complex issue while simultaneously telling a richly layered story." --Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, Va.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Word by Word

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper (Pantheon, $26.95 hardcover, 320p., 9781101870945, March 14, 2017)

Most people use a dictionary with little thought given to the genesis of definitions, or their maintenance. Kory Stamper pulls back the curtain in Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, a paean to the craft of lexicography and a sometimes bemused exploration of the "Escher-esque logic of English."

Stamper started college in pre-med, came a cropper in organic chemistry, and moved on to medieval Icelandic sagas, which led to classes in Old English, where she fell for "this wild, vibrant whore of a language." That love affair has continued with her work for Merriam-Webster as a lexicographer and editor. Aside from the formal qualifications to be a lexicographer--have a degree in any field, be a native English speaker--she had to have Sprachgefühl, a feeling for language. She also had to be suited to sitting in near monastic silence while working, with only an occasional murmur when confronted with a misplaced dash.

Stamper neatly and wittily covers grammar, defining philosophy (recording language as people use it vs. guarding the purity of the language); "wrong" words, like irregardless and unravel; dialects (where marginalization of same can have dire results, as in the Trayvon Martin trial); the history of dictionaries; adding new words (with the standard resultant carping about the decline of civilization); revising (constant); etymology (many origin stories, like those for "posh," are false); dating ("OMG" can be traced back to 1917); pronunciation; and the sociolinguistic implications of "nude" (whose skin?).

She obviously loves working with words, in spite of her frustration when wrestling with three weeks of compiling citations for the verb "take." "Lexicography moves so slowly that scientists classify it as a solid." But it's not a job, it's a calling, which is a plus if a lot is at stake: when defining slurs, for instance--painful lexical interactions can be fraught with disagreement. And the landscape of lexicography has been "overwhelmingly beige" (i.e., the "province of well-off, educated, old white dudes"). As much as lexicographers are trained to be objective, it's difficult to stand outside the personal, as Stamper thinks about being catcalled a bitch, and "the fist that clenches in my chest as the car rounds the corner, trailing male laughter and a whiff of gasoline."

Kory Stamper has written a smart, sparkling and often hilarious valentine to the content and keepers of dictionaries. Whether describing the editorial table at Merriam-Webster (room for four editors to sit comfortably, or six "in introverted terror") or the reverence lexicographers have for "this gorgeous, lascivious" language, she shares her admiration and appreciation for the invisible craftspeople who not only define the recently added "face-palm," but also revise the verb "ghost" to match the current dating scene. In doing so, she deftly explains why "a living language made by fallible people will not be perfect, but it will be remarkable." --Marilyn Dahl, editor emerita, Shelf Awareness for Readers

Shelf Talker: Merriam-Webster editor Kory Stamper writes a superbly entertaining account of dictionaries' inner workings and creation.

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