Shelf Awareness for Thursday, September 21, 2017

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

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


Bookstore Opening in Pawtucket, R.I.

Steve and Dawn Potter, owners of Stillwater River Publications, are opening a bookstore, Stillwater Books, in Pawtucket, R.I., the Valley Breeze reported. The store will likely open by late October or early November.

The 2,000-square-foot space is near City Hall, the Pawtucket Public Library and the likely future home of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Boston Red Sox's AAA affiliate.

The store will offer new books, remainders and used books as well as titles from Stillwater River Publications and local authors. The store will also carry newspapers, magazines and gifts and will host readings, presentations, workshops and small gatherings.

Stillwater River Publications calls itself "an affordable self-publishing solution for aspiring, independent authors & writers" and offers a variety of services from copy editing and typesetting to website creation and hosting and marketing and promotional services.

In the 1990s, Steve Porter was director of advertising and public relations for Lauriat's, the defunct bookstore chain that once had 160 stores in the Northeast, and he's the author of two novels, Confessions of the Meek & the Valiant and Manisses. He also runs a consulting business, SPIMAC (Steve Porter Integrated Marketing & Communication). Dawn Porter is a book designer and editor, and the author of Searching for Rhode Island.

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

McNally Jackson Branching Out to Brooklyn This Year


New York City's McNally Jackson, which has several stores in Manhattan, will open its long-delayed Brooklyn branch this fall, according to Brownstoner, which said that at the Brooklyn Book Festival last weekend, the store's booth featured a drawing of McNally Jackson's Williamsburg site saying "Please don't ask us exactly when but certainly by November." McNally Jackson also had business cards with the phrase "opening soon."

In 2014, McNally Jackson had announced that it was moving soon to the Lewis Steel Building at 76 North 4th Street in Williamsburg. But the former factory has been under construction for years; it now features 83 apartments.

Arizona's Book Vault Expands to 43,000 Square Feet

The Book Vault in Mesa, Ariz., has moved from a 9,000-square-foot space into a 43,000-square-foot store that once held a Sports Authority, owners Kay and Steve Albrecht told Shelf Awareness. The move happened in late March, when the Book Vault left Mesa's Power Square Mall, where it had resided for seven years, to become a fixture in the Superstition Springs Center shopping mall. Since then, the Albrechts have expanded the store's new and used book inventory, increased the size of its music and movie departments, and added new gaming and comic book departments. Space has also been reserved for community events, meetings and tabletop gaming. The Albrechts added that moving into the Superstition Springs Center "helps to fill a void" created when the mall's Borders Books & Music closed in 2011.

The Book Vault is located at 6505 E. Southern Ave., Suite 201, Mesa, Ariz. 85206; 480-699-1136.

National Book Foundation Honoring Scholastic's Dick Robinson

Dick Robinson

Richard (Dick) Robinson, chairman, president and CEO of Scholastic, is receiving the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, given by the National Book Foundation to honor "an individual for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading." He will receive the award at the 68th National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner on November 15 in New York City.

The Foundation called Robinson "a philanthropic hero and leader in children's publishing, education, and media.... As president of Scholastic since 1974, Dick Robinson is responsible for inspiring the publishing industry for decades with his commitment to children's literacy worldwide, his avid support of the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards, and his innovative approach to print and technology education solutions in support of core literacy teaching and learning."

Foundation chairman David Steinberger said, "It is deeply gratifying to see Dick Robinson receive this great honor. The mission of the National Book Foundation is, first and foremost, to increase the impact of books on our culture, and nobody has done more to encourage reading than Dick Robinson. Under Dick Robinson's leadership, Scholastic has brought books into the lives of literally millions of young people in the United States and around the world."

NBF executive director Lisa Lucas said, "Dick Robinson's tireless work toward expanding inclusivity and access in literature has changed the way we read. Demonstrated through his tremendous philanthropic giving and unwavering service to the publishing industry, Robinson's commitment to spreading the joy of books has made a significant and long term impact on our culture of reading."

Obituary Note: Lillian Ross

Lillian Ross, the longtime New Yorker staff writer, died yesterday, the New York Times reported. She was 99.

Ross started work at the New Yorker in 1945, originally writing short articles, then Talk of the Town pieces and finally profiles and other pieces. Among her best known articles were a 1950 profile of Ernest Hemingway during a visit by the author in New York City; John Huston's trials making a film based on The Red Badge of Courage (a series that was published as a book called Picture); and profiles of Francis Coppola, Robin Williams, Adlai Stevenson and Tommy Lee Jones, among many others.

The Times wrote that Ross "preached unobtrusive reporting and practiced what she preached." Ross explained her approach this way: "Your attention at all times should be on your subject, not on you. Do not call attention to yourself." She also wrote, "The act of a pro is to make it look easy. Fred Astaire doesn't grunt when he dances to let you know how hard it is. If you're good at it, you leave no fingerprints."

Irving Wallace described Ross as "the mistress of selective listening and viewing, of capturing the one moment that entirely illumines the scene, of fastening on the one quote that Tells All." The Times added that Ross's work "was often cited as a precursor of the New Journalism of the 1960s, in which nonfictional material was presented in forms drawn from imaginative literature."

Besides Picture, Ross's books included collections of her New Yorker work such as Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism and Reporting Always: Writings from the New Yorker, published by Scribner two years ago.

But her most famous book is Here but Not Here: My Life with William Shawn and the New Yorker, a 1998 memoir detailing her 50-year romance with the longtime New Yorker editor who was married to someone else. The memoir appeared after the intensely private Shawn's death, but his widow was still alive, and many people involved at the New Yorker were offended by this most personal kind of reporting. Ross wrote, for example, about his daily visits to her apartment, which he would leave to spend the night with his wife and children 11 blocks away.

Ross was unperturbed by the criticism, saying about negative reviewers in one interview, "They want to make Bill into my victim, but he wasn't that at all. They say I was disloyal. He wouldn't think so; he liked being shown as he was--a tender, romantic, passionate lover, one who adored jazz and theater and fun, liked driving fast cars, was mad about good food."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Road Trip: Randy's Book Xchange in Vietnam

Randy Slocum

Randy's Book Xchange "may only be the second-largest foreign language bookstore in Vietnam, but it's undeniably the quirkiest," OZY reported, adding that the "stock of around 20,000 new and used titles in 30 languages fills more than half of Hawaii native Randy Slocum's home in Hoi An," the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Vietnam.

"I try to make some cash out of every transaction," said Slocum, "but if a customer walks in with 12 good books and only wants to buy two, I'm not gonna say no.... It's darned hard to get quality stock out here."

Slocum's original idea "was to open a taco shop (he even had some tortilla presses shipped), but when he realized there was a shortage not only of Mexican food but also books, the idea of standing behind a hot grill rapidly lost its appeal," OZY wrote.

Cool Idea of the Day: Upstate New York Bookstore Tour

Thirteen independent bookstores in the Rochester, N.Y., area have created Fall into Books--A Bookshop Tour, which will be held through the month of October. Bookstore "tourists" are encouraged to pick up a tour passport at the first participating store they visit (or print out a passport online), then collect stamps at each store they stop at. For every store visited, they are eligible to win one of two gift baskets, and at any of the stores visited with the passport, the customer receives a 10% discount on purchases.

The stores wrote: "Much of the news lately is about the demise of retail, and especially the oft-told tale of bookstores going out of business. These 13 bookstores are out to show that they are here to stay! By visiting each store you can learn how much variety there is between bookstores--each one is unique with completely different types of books stocked and unique products that are not available elsewhere!"

Participating stores are Books, Etc. in Macedon; The Book Centre, Spencerport; Explore! The Bookstore, Clifton Springs; The Books Landing, Penn Yan; Greenwood Books, Rochester; The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra; Lift Bridge Bookshop, Brockport; The Paperback Place, Canandaigua; Mood Makers Books, Rochester; Village Bookmarket, Palmyra; Small World Books, Rochester; Yesterdays' Muse Books, Webster; and Stomping Grounds, Geneva.

Personnel Changes at Penguin Random House

Lindsey Elias has been promoted to associate director of consumer shows and conferences at Penguin Random House and will take on additional responsibility for the planning and direction of the company's presence at major shows such as BookExpo and BookCon. She was formerly senior manager, consumer shows and conferences.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Ken Burns, co-author of The Vietnam War: An Intimate History (Knopf, $60, 9780307700254). Lynn Novick, creator with Burns of the film series the book is based on, will also appear on the show.

Good Morning America: Patrice Banks, author of Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide (Touchstone, $25, 9781501144110).

Fox Business Network's Mornings with Maria: Ray Dalio, author of Principles: Life and Work (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501124020).

Harry: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry (Norton, $18.95, 9780393609394).

This Weekend on Book TV: Suzy Hansen and Notes on a Foreign Country

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, September 23
8:30 p.m. Odd Arne Westad, author of The Cold War: A World History (Basic Books, $40, 9780465054930).

10 p.m. Suzy Hansen, author of Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, 9780374280048). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Paul Hollander, author of From Benito Mussolini to Hugo Chavez: Intellectuals and a Century of Political Hero Worship (Cambridge University Press, $29.99, 9781107415072). (Re-airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, September 24
12:30 a.m. Zoe Quinn, author of Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate (PublicAffairs, $27, 9781610398084), at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C. (Re-airs Monday at 5 a.m.)

11 a.m. Joseph Aoun, author of Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (The MIT Press, $24.95, 9780262037280), at MIT Press Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass.

1 p.m. Christina Sandefur, author of Cornerstone of Liberty: Property Rights in 21st Century America (Cato Institute, $12.95, 9781939709813). (Re-airs Monday at 7 a.m.)

4 p.m. Marc Eliot, author of Charlton Heston: Hollywood's Last Icon (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780062420435). (Re-airs Sunday at 11:30 p.m.)

Books & Authors

Awards: Stephan Russo Social Justice

The Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice has chosen a shortlist of six titles for this year's inaugural award, named after the former Goddard Riverside executive director and celebrating "the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all people." The winner will be announced at Goddard Riverside's annual gala on November 1 in New York City. The shortlisted books are:

Reading with Patrick by Michelle Kuo (Random House)

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women by Susan Burton (The New Press)

How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France (Knopf)

Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It by Richard Reeves (Brookings Institute Press)

No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America by Ron Powers (Hachette)

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, September 26:

Sleeping Beauties: A Novel by Stephen King and Owen King (Scribner, $32.50, 9781501163401) is a father/son collaboration set in a world where nearly all women are afflicted by a mysterious sleeping sickness.

What Is It All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man by Art Garfunkel (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385352475) is the star's memoir.

Complete Stories by Kurt Vonnegut (Seven Stories Press, $45, 9781609808082) is a full collection of the author's short fiction.

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan (Touchstone, $28, 9781476794044) is a history of Biltmore, the Vanderbilt estate in Asheville, N.C.

The Visitors by Catherine Burns (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501164019) follows a shy spinster living with her domineering brother in a mysterious mansion.

After the Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Search by Sarah Perry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544302655) is the memoir of a woman whose mother was murdered when she was 12.

Provenance by Ann Leckie (Orbit, $26, 9780316388672) is the latest sci-fi novel from the author of Ancillary Justice.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, illustrated by Sara Kipin (Imprint, $18.99, 9781250122520) is a collection of short stories from Bardugo's Grishaverse.

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith (Little, Brown, $19.99, 9780316266574) is the debut poetry collection of the writer and executive producer for How I Met Your Mother.

Federal Donuts: The (Partially) True Spectacular Story by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, 9780544969049) samples the story of a successful donut chain.

Food Can Fix It: The Superfood Switch to Fight Fat, Defy Aging, and Eat Your Way Healthy by Mehmet Oz (Scribner, $29.99, 9781501158155) gives a TV doctor's diet advice.

The Clever Gut Diet: How to Revolutionize Your Body from the Inside Out by Michael Mosley (Atria, $25, 9781501172731) is a diet based on the gut's microbiome.

Christmas with My Cowboy by Diana Palmer and Lindsay McKenna (Zebra, $7.99, 9781420144697).

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:

Unraveling Oliver: A Novel by Liz Nugent (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781501167751). "Oliver, the titular center of Liz Nugent's chilling debut thriller, will attract and repel the reader as his deep wounds and legacy of destruction are revealed by his own confessions and by the recollections of those whose lives intersect with his. The novel opens with Oliver, a successful writer living in apparent domestic contentment, beating his wife into a coma. Why? As Oliver's crimes come into focus, Nugent's brilliance is in balancing the evil he does with the evil that is done to him. Is he to be reviled or pitied? Or both?" --Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Wayne, Pa.

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires: A Novel by Daren Wang (Thomas Dunne, $26.99, 9781250122353). "In The Hidden Light of Northern Fires, a town on the Underground Railroad secedes from the Union after it becomes fractured by the politics of the American Civil War. As a huge geek on the subject, I'm often skeptical of historical fiction relating to it. While Wang's tale benefits from being based on truth, that is a moot point. His well-developed, very real characters and masterful writing are all that's needed for an incredible debut. Though a novel of the home front, it is nonetheless a war novel focusing on how conflict brings out the best and worst in people. It is one of the best works of historical fiction on the Civil War that I've ever read, and perhaps even that exists." --Carl Kranz, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.

Swallowing Mercury: A Novel by Wioletta Greg, translated by Eliza Marciniak (Transit Books/Consortium, $15.95, 9781945492044). "In Swallowing Mercury, nuanced gestures, drop-dead metaphors, and indelible observations coalesce in a series of short, adolescent episodes from 1980s Poland. English-speaking readers possessing no knowledge of the political climate and history of the time, fear not, for Greg's primary concern is one of universality, as many scenes take on that unmistakable relatability of childhood. Stories of high jinks, first love, familial absurdity, and (inevitably) death are the basis of these vignettes, while an excellent note from translator Eliza Marciniak contextualizes the book within the wider world." --John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, Calif.

For Ages 4 to 8
Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio (Chronicle, $17.99, 9781452165066). "Professional Crocodile is a book in which to immerse yourself. Readers will revel in each gloriously illogical yet everyday detail and will delight in the hilarious twist at the end. Perfection." --Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, 9781481419451). "Stranded in the Amazon after a plane crash, four tenacious children band together, summoning courage and creativity to find their way back home. Readers will be transfixed as the survivors build a raft, mimic monkeys to harvest honey, discover the unique fishy-chicken flavor of tarantula, and adopt an orphaned sloth. Rundell's story of adversity and friendship is a must for readers who love survival stories like Hatchet, and anyone with an adventurous spirit!" --Sara Grochowski, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, Mich.

For Teen Readers
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99, 9781492647492). "When Sal robs an intriguing court lady, it turns out that her purse contains more than just valuables--inside is also a flier announcing auditions to be one of the queen's elite assassins. Sal signs up, entering a Hunger Games-style contest in which the lone survivor takes all. But when the intriguing lady reappears, Sal suddenly has to balance the competing demands of assassination and romance. Featuring a gender-fluid main character and a diverse cast of ruffians, former magicians, and court personalities, this is an exhilarating, violent romp of a read." --Lillian Tschudi-Campbell, The Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, Minn.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Scribner, $28 hardcover, 448p., 9781476716732, October 3, 2017)

In both substance and style, Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach marks an abrupt departure from her 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad. She turns away from the artistic high-wire act that illuminated some of the dark corners of American popular culture, and instead delivers a story about the machinations of the New York mob amid the United States' effort to defeat Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, Egan again creates a sophisticated, satisfying blend of artfully drawn characters and skillfully plotted drama.

Set principally in Brooklyn in the early 1940s, Manhattan Beach revolves around Anna Kerrigan, whose father, Eddie, a bagman for one of the principals of the "Wop Syndicate," mysteriously disappeared half a decade earlier, leaving behind his wife, Anna, and her profoundly handicapped sister. Anna works as a parts inspector at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but her ambition is to become a professional diver and repair the massive vessels she gazes at on her lunch hour. In order to overcome the undisguised sexism of that time and achieve her goal, she's forced to prove herself even more skilled than the men against whom she's competing.

Egan creates a bevy of colorful and realistic characters that surround the earnest Anna. One is the shadowy Dexter Styles, a gangster who never seems fully at home in the world of crime; he also dwells uneasily in the inner circles of New York society and high finance where his wife's family has its roots. But Egan is less interested in mob dealings than she is in portraying Anna's gritty quest. In a well-paced narrative, she judiciously deploys flashbacks to reveal Eddie Kerrigan's increasing disenchantment with his criminal activities. And when the truth of his disappearance finally is disclosed, it's neatly, but in no way obviously, connected to Anna's own career ambitions.

One of the most impressive aspects of Manhattan Beach is the verisimilitude of Egan's storytelling, a result of prodigious documentary and personal research she describes in the novel's acknowledgements. The book's epigraph is taken from Moby Dick and Egan delivers a terrifying description of a merchant ship crew's battle to survive a U-boat attack in the Indian Ocean. It is Melvillean in its vivid detail, something that's also true of her accounts of Anna's diving exploits.

While Anna's determination to overcome discrimination and make her way in the world is inspiring, Manhattan Beach isn't a message-driven novel. Instead, Jennifer Egan has applied her considerable talents to the far-from-simple task of telling an absorbing story, leaving it to readers to ponder the larger meaning of Anna's tale. --Harvey Freedenberg, attorney and freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Jennifer Egan's latest is an absorbing story of a woman's quest to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, while she struggles for acceptance in the male-dominated world of the early 1940s.

Powered by: Xtenit