Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


Saturn Booksellers Relocating '33 Steps to the East'

The new Saturn Booksellers in progress.

After almost 19 years in its current space, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, Mich., "is moving this month--33 steps to the east," according to owner Jill Miner. The bookshop's new home will be 127 W. Main St. "We'll still have a back door. It will even still open onto the same parking lot! We'll also have a front door onto Main St. and a door into the common space of the building, where there is to be, our landlord assures me, a coffee shop/bakery/wine bar or the like in the near future."

Miner offered a sneak peek, noting: "We're getting excited as it's starting to look like a retail space." Saturn will close May 7 "and start to pack books, with the Book Brigade happening Tuesday evening through Wednesday evening." Plans call for reopening May 15.

"Thanks for being Saturn customers for these many years!" Miner noted. "We had a fantastic 25th Anniversary celebration; we got to read with Skippyjon Jones to the North Ohio and South Maple kids, had a big party and Indie Bookstore Day celebration, had drawings for $25 gift certificates and gave away every 25th book we rang for two weeks. It was a blast. I hope you got to be a part of it. And I really hope you get to be a part of this new chapter in our lives--we can't wait to see you in our new space!"

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

BookExpo: PEN America's 'First Amendment Resistance' Panel

BookExpo 2017 will host the panel discussion "PEN America Presents the First Amendment Resistance," featuring a "diverse range of voices to tackle today's age of fake news and viral provocation and the role that the publishing industry can play within it."

Scheduled for Thursday, June 1, at the Javits Center, the panel will feature WNYC's On the Media co-host Brooke Gladstone, who will moderate a discussion "on the publishing industry's position as a neutral or more values-driven voice in today's age" with panelists Zoë Quinn, the video game developer "who unintentionally became a central figure in the Gamergate controversy in 2014"; activist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; New York Post columnist and Commentary magazine editor John Podhoretz; and author/lawyer Scott Turow.

"A fast-consolidating publishing industry is grappling with thorny dilemmas in its role as gatekeeper with powerful influence over what stories and ideas make it into mainstream discourse," said Suzanne Nossel, executive director at PEN America. "We need frank conversation about the tension that can arise between a publisher standing for particular values, and their serving as a more neutral enabler of an open marketplace where all views are aired. These are high-stakes decisions that can shape what people read, think and believe. PEN America is glad to be working with BookExpo to engage the whole industry in this conversation.”

BookExpo event director Brien McDonald commented: "In the current political climate, this is an incredibly important discussion that needs to be had and we are thrilled to be working with PEN America to bring these voices together for what is sure to be a thought-provoking event." 

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

Iowa City to Host 2018 UNESCO Cities of Literature Meeting

Iowa City has been selected as the host for the UNESCO Cities of Literature's 2018 annual meeting, which will be part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the city's designation as the third City of Literature in the world. At the 2017 meeting in Barcelona, member cities selected Iowa City, which is home to legendary independent bookstore Prairie Lights, to host the meeting.

"Given the growth trends of the network, we could have representatives from 30 or more cities with us in Iowa City next April," said City of Literature executive director John Kenyon. "This will offer our area a wonderful opportunity to show the rest of the world the things that make us a City of Literature, and a great way to celebrate our 10th year with the designation."

Iowa City is one of 20 UNESCO-designated Cities of Literature. Kenyon told Iowa Public Radio: "We are seen internationally as kind of a bright star in the literary sky. People are genuinely interested in coming to Iowa City and learning about what we have here."

Binc Launches Third Annual Campaign to Sustain

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation has launched its third annual Campaign to Sustain. Binc reported that to date, more than 170 contributors have pledged to become monthly sustaining donors and help "this ongoing funding [that] has ensured emergency financial assistance to help booksellers overcome challenges such as serious medical expenses, domestic violence, homelessness prevention and funeral expenses will continue to be provided by the foundation."

Binc has set the goal of adding another 80 sustaining donors during the month of May. Executive director Pam French said, "Our goal is to expand our funding so we will be able to assist an additional bookseller a month, every month of the year. If 80 new sustaining donors join with a contribution of $20 a month, we can strengthen our bookseller safety net immensely. When the literary community comes together, the combined contributions can make a huge difference."

In 2016, the addition of Ann Patchett and James Patterson as co-ambassadors for Binc helped spur a nearly 50% increase over 2015. Last year the foundation was able to assist 36 booksellers and their families with more than $81,000 in financial assistance. Binc's scholarship program provided higher education scholarships to 44 booksellers or their family members totaling $117,000. More than $125,000 was donated by book lovers, ranging from publishers to readers, to ensure booksellers in need have a place to turn. Thus far in 2017, 10 booksellers have received grants totaling just over $20,000.

To kick off this year's campaign, a pair of incentives has been added. Longtime sustaining corporate donor Basil Software will make a one-time $10 matching contribution for each of the company's customers who becomes a sustaining donor with a minimum gift of $20/month. And Ann Patchett will offer the first 80 people who join as a sustaining donor with a minimum gift of a $20/month an autographed hardcover copy of her novel Commonwealth.

Obituary Note: Jean Stein

Jean Stein, the literary editor and author "known for producing engrossing oral histories on topics as disparate as the tumultuous life of an Andy Warhol acolyte and the dastardly intrigues of early Hollywood," died April 30, the Los Angeles Times reported. She was 83. A spokesperson at Random House, which published her most recent book, West of Eden: An American Place, said the publisher "is deeply saddened by the death of Jean Stein."

"She had the respect of the heavy hitters, people who weren't interested in the small talk--people like Joan Didion, Jules Feiffer," said journalist Robert Scheer, who had known Stein since the '60s. "It was a circle of people who were very tough and demanding."

Stein also produced, in collaboration with George Plimpton, her debut oral history American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy (1971) and Edie: An American Biography (1982).

She met Plimpton in Paris "and by the mid-1950s was working at the Paris Review, where she interviewed figures such as novelist William Faulkner (with whom she also had a romantic dalliance)," the L.A. Times wrote, adding that by the end of the decade "she had landed back in New York City, where she worked as an assistant to Clay Felker, the legendary magazine editor who was then the features editor at Esquire and who would ultimately go on to found New York magazine." From 1990 until 2004, Stein edited the literary journal Grand Street.

"She didn't suffer fools," Scheer observed. "And when I was a fool, she didn't suffer me."


Image of the Day: Graduate with John Waters

Green Apple Books on the Park, San Franciso, hosted a sold-out in-store event with John Waters last week. Waters read the commencement speech from his new book, Make Trouble (Algonquin), to an audience of 200 people. 

University Book Store's DiMartino: 'Quietly Awesome'

Nick DiMartino (via)

University Book Store's branch in the Husky Union Building at the center of the school's Seattle campus has many things going for it, but "the reason this store is great is because of one guy: Nick DiMartino," the Stranger reported.

"I am doing everything I can to keep literature alive on campus," DiMartino said. "That's my real mission."

Noting the bookshop's selection "is thoughtful and engaging," the Stranger highlighted Nick's Picks, where each month DiMartino "adds to the section whatever he thinks is the 'best new book of the month.' " Nick's Picks also has its own book club.

DiMartino started working for University Book Store in 1970, after he graduated from UW. "I've been here long enough that I remember a lovely young Japanese gal came in and told me that I had introduced her mother to her father," he said.

He has also written 18 books. The Stranger noted: "Listening to how much writing and reading DiMartino packs into a single day started to make me feel like I was wasting my life. Two book clubs, plus writing 18 books of his own, plus running a bookstore? This guy is amazing."

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Avid Books

Posted on Facebook yesterday by Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.: "For the life of us we cannot understand people who can walk by a bookshop without wandering in. Hence this dorky, heartfelt chalkboard sign at #avidonprince today. Hee hee. #bookstore #bookstorechalkboard #books #reading #athensga #avidbookshop #stopandsmelltheroses #stopandsmelltheBOOKS #bibliophile #princeave."

Personnel Changes at Scribner; Putnam

Taylor Noel has been promoted to publicist at Scribner. She was formerly an associate publicist.


Emily Ollis has been promoted to marketing manager for Putnam. She was previously assistant marketing manager.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Rothstein on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Liveright, $27.95, 9781631492853).

PBS Newshour: Amy Goldstein, author of Janesville: An American Story (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781501102233).

MSNBC's Live with Craig Melvin: Charlamagne Tha God, author of Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It (Touchstone, $25.99, 9781501145308).

Conan: Alec Baldwin, author of Nevertheless: A Memoir (Harper, $28.99, 9780062409706).

Daily Show: Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press, $22, 9781594205071).

Movies: Doc Holliday; Christopher Robin

Palmstar Media (The Catcher Was a Spy) has optioned rights to Mary Doria Russell's novels Doc and Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral, Deadline reported. Jeremy Renner will play Doc Holliday in the movie and co-produce with PalmStar's Kevin Frakes and the Combine's Don Handfield.

"We are excited to re-introduce this classic American character to a whole new audience by chronicling Doc Holliday's incredible transformation from Average Joe dentist to a man who Wyatt Earp called the 'nerviest, speediest, deadliest man with a six-gun [he] ever knew,' " Renner and Handfield said in a joint statement.


Ewan McGregor is in talks to star in Disney's Christopher Robin, a live-action film directed by Marc Forster (World War Z, Quantum of Solace) that "centers on the child from the A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh stories--but he's all grown up," according top the Hollywood Reporter. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures) will "take a new pass on the script," THR noted, adding that "Alex Ross Perry wrote the screenplay, with Tom McCarthy working on a later draft."

Books & Authors

Awards: Australian Book Industry; Miles Franklin

The shortlists in the 12 categories of the Australian Book Industry Awards have been announced and can be seen here. Winners will be revealed at the 17th Annual ABIAs on May 25 in Sydney, presented by the Australian Publishers Association.


This year's longlist has been announced for the AU$60,000 (about US$45,200) Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia's prestigious prize honoring a novel "of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases." A shortlist will be unveiled June 18 at the Australian Booksellers Association conference in Melbourne, and the winner named in September. The 2017 Miles Franklin longlisted titles are:

The Easy Way Out by Steven Amsterdam
An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire
The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O'Flynn
Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O'Neill
A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe
Waiting by Philip Salom
Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson
Hold by Kirsten Tranter
Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Reading with... Sonia Taitz

photo: H&H photo

Sonia Taitz is the author of five books, including The Watchmaker's Daughter and In the King's Arms. Her latest novel is Great with Child (McWitty Press, April 11, 2017).

On your nightstand now:

Jonathan Safran Foer's Here I Am, Maria Semple's Today Will Be Different and Kevin Dann's Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau. As in my own writing, I like to mix up fiction and nonfiction.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It's a tie between Heidi by Johanna Spyri and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lindgren. I felt cozily accompanied and protected by the image of the grandfather in Johanna Spyri's classic. He always seemed to be cutting hunks of good bread and cheese for Heidi, sending her out to breathe goat-scented Alpine air, or fluffing the straw on her rustic loft bed. She got to be both an exiled orphan and a cherished child. Pippi, of course, was alone, with a sea-captain father somewhere in the world. As compensation, Astrid Lindgren gave her wit, wisdom and will enough to lift horses and silence bullies.

Your top five authors:

Charles Dickens (whose complete oeuvre I frighteningly had to read as a grad student at Oxford), James Joyce, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Amis and Lionel Shriver. All are both passionate and infinitely verbal.

Book you've faked reading:

It's never to late to confess. In college, I took a course called "German Literature in Translation." The highlight was The Magic Mountain, which I never got through. That's not the entire confession. I did a term paper on this book, and got an undeserved "A" for my imaginative ruminations on the great Thomas Mann's sanatorium.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I fell in love with Lionel Shriver's novel The Post-Birthday World. In it, she depicts two alternate realities: one in which the protagonist leaves her worthy husband for a sexy snooker player and another in which she stays. It's a tour de force--verbally, intellectually and emotionally.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods by Michael Wex. It features a photo of a comically grumpy Hasidic boy. This cover is by an artist I love, Jenny Carrow, who also designed the last four covers for my books.

Book you hid from your parents:

Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth. My parents were hardworking Holocaust survivors. They hoped to raise a decent child who would become a doctor, or at the very least an optometrist or actuary. And they hoped she would marry a nice Jewish man with a similar disposition and résumé. So I felt I needn't burden them with my subversive reading about a compulsive Jewish masturbator who lusted after shiksas.

Book that changed your life:

James Joyce's Ulysses. Interestingly, it's about another intensely sensual Jewish male, Leopold Bloom. But this one was written by an endlessly inventive Irish mind. I found the combination of those two sometimes brazen cultures to be electric.

Favorite line from a book:

It's from the novella by Heinrich von Kleist, The Marquise of O: "He would never have appeared like a devil to her, if he had not, on his first appearance, seemed to be an angel." The marquise has encountered a man capable of both infinite tenderness and ultimate brutishness.

Five books you'll never part with:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Howards End by E.M. Forster, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, Everybody Was So Young (Amanda Vaill's definitive biography of the Jazz Age and its fading stars) and Stephen King's warmly helpful guidebook, On Writing. Oddly, these books have nothing else in common but deep passions, whether subversive or sublime.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Isn't a book of this stature and depth a bit wasted on the young? Anna's married state, her motherhood--these are as contributory to her anguish as her forbidden love affair. And these conditions--and their complications--come with age.

Paper or digital:

I may be one of the last few people who read only in paper. Books, for me, are like friends. And I prefer friends with whom I can use my senses, friends who show their age and patina, friends whose bond with me goes further than a series of electronic communications. Paper, in short, feels more personal. Having said that, I thoroughly understand that e-books are more portable and provide more instant gratification.

The Bestsellers

Top Audiobooks in April

This is the monthly bestseller list from and is based on sales through more than 300 independent bookstore locations during April.


1. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Penguin Random House Audio)
2. The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (HarperCollins)
3. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
5. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins)
6. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Penguin Random House Audio)
7. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Penguin Random House Audio)
9. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster Audio)
10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HarperCollins)

Extended List

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Simon & Schuster Audio)
American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Penguin Random House Audio)
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke (HarperCollins)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Macmillan Audio)


1. Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance (HarperCollins)
2. The Book of Joy by Douglas Carlton Abrams, Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu (Penguin Random House Audio)
3. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (Penguin Random House Audio)
4. Evicted by Matthew Desmond (Penguin Random House Audio)
5. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (HarperCollins)
6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (HarperCollins)
7. The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (Penguin Random House Audio)
8. Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin (HarperCollins)
9. You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero (Penguin Random House Audio)
10. Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett (HarperCollins)

Extended List

When Breath Becomes Air by Abraham Verghese and Paul Kalanithi (Penguin Random House Audio)
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Penguin Random House Audio)
Hourglass by Dani Shapiro (Penguin Random House Audio)
Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott (Penguin Random House Audio)

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