Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

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

Quotation of the Day

'I Know I Can Get This on Amazon but I Prefer to Get It from Ye'

"I would say six or seven years ago, [bookselling] was looking quite bleak. The Kindle had taken off in a big way. That seems to have found a level at the moment... We're still finding that the same people that are using them are buying books, especially nice picture books for kids or a book they might want to keep.

"We're also seeing a resurgence in people supporting local businesses. They say 'I know I can get this on Amazon but I prefer to get it from ye.' From that point of view you do have to be very aware of the price points and trying to keep them as close as possible to the online retailers. Customer service is very important and we try to have things happening in the shop. We do children's workshops, book signings, music events and storytelling. We want it to be a vibrant place that gives something back to customers and community."

--Brian Caliendo, co-owner of Liber Bookshop, Sligo, Ireland, in a q&a with the Irish Examiner

 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


Strand Owner Plans to Sue NYC Landmark Commission

After the New York City Council's Land Use Committee voted yesterday, as expected, to designate the Strand bookstore's building a landmark, owner Nancy Bass Wyden vowed to sue the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Daily News reported.

In June, the Commission had approved landmark status for the Strand as well as six other nearby buildings.

Bass Wyden has argued that landmark status will require her to seek approval from the Commission--and spend many thousands of dollars--when she wants to make changes. She called the Commission's regulations, according to the paper, the "equivalent to government seizure of her property, a violation of her Fifth Amendment rights." She has also said the added costs and burdens are a threat to the store's future.

Her lawyer, Alexander Urbelis, told the paper that the city government "made the erroneous assumption that [Bass Wyden] would roll over without a fight. They picked the wrong bookstore and they certainly picked the wrong woman." He added that the suit will be filed in federal court "at a date to be determined."

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

Oprah's Book Club Pick: The Water Dancer

Oprah Winfrey has chosen Ta-Nehisi Coates's first novel, The Water Dancer, released today by One World, as the latest Oprah's Book Club Pick. It will also be the title formally launching her book club partnership with Apple. In October, she will interview Coates before a live audience at Apple Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., a conversation that will air November 1 on Apple TV+, Apple's all-original video subscription service.

Revealing her choice Monday on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said, "I've always been a student of our history, of African-American history. And, you know, I grew up reciting Sojourner Truth's 'Ain't I a Woman' before I even knew what I was really saying. And I always recognized I've been carried by the ancestors. And Ta-Nehisi's book The Water Dancer allows us to see that, but also to experience and feel what that carriage has been like."

She described it as "one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. Right up there in the Top 5. I was enthralled, I was devastated. I felt hope, I felt gratitude, I felt joy--I mean, it's the range of emotions. That's why I think it has everything that a novel is supposed to [have]. I'm on my second read now, because the first read I was just reading to see if I was going to choose it. And then the second read, I actually am sort of spoonfeeding every word to myself."

Winfrey also made the announcement on Twitter, noting: "The only thing more thrilling than being captivated by a book is being able to share it with others. Which is why I'm excited to bring @oprahsbookclub to @apple starting TODAY! My first pick, The Water Dancer by the brilliant Ta-Nehisi Coates. It will enthrall you."

"I have not felt this way about a book since Beloved," Winfrey told the Associated Press reported, referring to Toni Morrison's novel. 

Coates said he "was just as surprised as anybody. I pretty much write for myself and the only people I think about are my wife and my editor. I was really happy (about the news from Winfrey). But I think the most encouraging part was that she's a reader. It was clear from the conversation that she's a reader. This is not a marketing ploy. There's nothing to be cynical about."

Patchett Named's Inaugural 'Bookstore Champion'

Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett, author and owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tenn., will receive's inaugural Bookstore Champion award, which recognizes individuals "who actively advocate for local bookstores through their platforms, influence, and contributions to the greater indie book community."

Patchett also created a video message for about her love for audiobooks in independent bookstores. The audiobook version of her upcoming novel, The Dutch House, read by Tom Hanks (HarperAudio), is being released today. co-founder and CEO Mark Pearson said, "We're proud to say that Ann has been a friend and supporter of since the beginning. We're extremely grateful for all Ann does for indie bookstores, which are the heart and soul of our communities."

Booksellers who would like to nominate the next Bookstore Champion may send an e-mail to

Obituary Note: Steve Dalachinsky

Steve Dalachinsky, "a contemporary poet unrivaled in his dedication to the jazz avant-garde, not only as a gimlet-eyed observer but also as a prolific collaborator and performer," died September 16, WBGO reported. He was 72. A "steadfast presence on New York's downtown scene--streetwise and pithy, sardonic but never jaded--Dalachinsky seemed to know everybody, and heard more live music than most. Many of his poems bear witness to some ephemeral magic on the bandstand.... Within the avant-garde community, he was known as a discerning barometer."

Pianist Matthew Shipp, who met Dalachinsky shortly after arriving in New York in 1983, remembered him in the present tense: "He's very charming in one way, and in another way he's so in-your-face and brutally honest. Personality-wise we just hit it off." Their creative partnership included poems, performances and liner notes, as well as a book, Logos and Language: a Post-Jazz Metaphorical Dialogue, WBGO noted.

A decade ago, the RogueArt label published Reaching Into the Unknown: 1964-2009, a large collection of jazz-respondent poems, with photographs by Jacques Bisceglia. A previous collection, The Final Nite & Other Poems: The Complete Notes From a Charles Gayle Notebook 1987-2006, won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award.

In the New York Times, Neil Genzlinger observed: "To write about the life of Steve Dalachinsky, one first has to decide what to call him. 'Poet' comes to mind, given all of his books of poetry, the poetry awards and the countless times he read his work, often accompanied by jazz musicians, in the avant-garde clubs of New York and environs.... But Mr. Dalachinsky was always wary of the term."

Yuko Otomo, his wife, said, "Steve didn't want to be pigeonholed in any way, although towards the end of his life he realized he wasn't good at anything but writing poetry."

Dalachinsky's final reading "was at the opening of an exhibition related to death" earlier this month, the Times wrote. "Accompanied by trumpet, it was a wide-ranging poem made of words, sounds and breaths, and lasted some 13 minutes. 'You go where you must,' he said midway through the piece. 'You always go where you must.' "


Image of the Day: Insurgent Empire

McNally Jackson in SoHo hosted the New York launch for Priyamvada Gopal's Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent (Verso Books). Gopal (r.) was joined in conversation by anthropologist Dina Siddiqi, as part of The Polis Project's lecture series.

Road Trip: Yan Bookstore in Shenzhen, China

Yan bookstore in Shenzhen, China, "provides a space in which visitors can engage in deep self-reflection and create their own unique stories," designboom reported, noting that the store "is located on the third floor of Shenzhen's MIXC commercial complex, closed off by a long façade of rammed-earth walls to create a very different, 'zen' world within."

"Over the past 30 years, the population of Shenzhen has exploded from 300,000 to 14 million people," said architect Tomoko Ikegai of IKG inc. "It is unique among Chinese cities that 65% of these residents are in their twenties and thirties, giving it a powerful new energy.... Recently, bookstores have been opening all over China which on a surface level are beautifully and strikingly designed. However, we felt that especially in this proactive city, it was important to value China's originality and individuality, exploring mystical images of the East in the context of globalization."

Bookshop Chalkboard: Fall at Warwick's

"Although Fall is not a San Diego holiday, our bookseller, L.J. Lefleur made a great welcome to Fall chalkboard," noted James Jensen, local author coordinator at Warwick's in La Jolla, Calif., in sharing a photo of the store's latest creation.

Personnel Changes at Dutton and Plume

Stephanie Cooper has joined Dutton and Plume as marketing director. She was formerly at HarperCollins, where she was marketing director for commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction and memoir, and pop culture books.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Fresh Air

NPR's Here & Now: Demi Moore, author of Inside Out: A Memoir (Harper, $27.99, 9780062049537).

Fresh Air: Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of The Water Dancer: A Novel (One World, $28, 9780399590597).

Today Show: Louise Aronson, author of Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life (Bloomsbury, $30, 9781620405468).

Books & Authors

Awards: Bloody Scotland McIlvanney Winner

Manda Scott won Bloody Scotland's £1,000 (about $1,245) McIlvanney Prize for best Scottish crime book of the year for A Treachery of Spies. The book will be promoted in Waterstones bookshops nationwide.

The judges described the novel as "a powerful, complex and remarkable espionage thriller: a present-day murder links back to Resistance France. An intricately plotted novel which keeps the reader guessing right to the end."

In addition, Claire Askew received the inaugural Bloody Scotland Scottish Crime Debut of the Year for All the Hidden Truths.

National Book Foundation: '5 Under 35'

The National Book Foundation has announced the 2019 "5 Under 35" honorees, recognizing "fiction writers under the age of 35 whose debut work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape." They were each selected by a National Book Award winner, finalist, longlisted author, or by a writer previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program.

"Our 2019 5 Under 35 honorees are new authors of extraordinary promise, but their debut books are remarkable achievements for writers at any stage of their career," said NBF board chairman David Steinberger. "Like the National Book Awards, 5 Under 35 is part of our mission to celebrate the best literature in America, and it's a privilege to bring more praise and recognition to these wonderful young authors."

NBF executive director Lisa Lucas noted that the latest selections "join an important legacy of authors whose debut works reveal a brilliant talent that is only just beginning to shine. We're so grateful to welcome these exceptional authors to the National Book Foundation family, and we're delighted to help share these important new voices with readers across the country."

The honorees, who each receive $1,000 and will be celebrated November 18 at an invitation-only ceremony in New York City, are:

Anelise Chen, author of So Many Olympic Exertions (Kaya Press), selected by Dana Spiotta, 2006 NBA finalist for fiction
Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian (Grove Press), selected by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016 NBA finalist for nonfiction
Johannes Lichtman, author of Such Good Work (S&S), selected by Garth Greenwell, 2016 NBA longlist for fiction
Bryan Washington, author of Lot: Stories (Riverhead Books), selected by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, 2018 NBA longlist for fiction
Ashley Wurzbacher, author of Happy Like This (University of Iowa Press), selected by Brandon Hobson, 2018 NBA finalist for fiction

Top Library Recommended Titles for October

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 October titles public library staff across the country love:

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $30, 9780385539302). "A fascinating look at the human body and how it functions. Each historical tidbit is well-researched and thoroughly cited. Interesting stories, such as how diseases, cells, nerves, and organs were discovered, are woven throughout. For readers who like narrative nonfiction such as Gulp by Mary Roach, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, and Guts by Giulia Enders." --Carolynn Waites, Manvel Library, Manvel, Tex.

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas (Berkley, $16, 9780451492470). "In this fun, playful series, Thomas has created a female version of Holmes who is vibrant, real, relatable, and intelligent. This fourth book has Holmes and Watson travel to France, with twists and turns the reader won't see coming. Perfect for fans of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series and Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily series." --Carrie Pedigo, Tippecanoe County Public Library, Lafayette, Ind.

The Butterfly Girl: A Novel by Rene Denfeld (Harper, $26.99, 9780062698162). "Denfield's writing is like lyrical poetry, with every word captivating. Add to this an amazing mystery, a plethora of suspense, and an ending that exceeds all expectations, and we have another 5 star book. For fans of What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan and Love You More by Lisa Gardner." --Cyndi Larsen, Avon Free Public Library, Avon, Conn.

Cilka's Journey: A Novel by Heather Morris (St. Martin's, $27.99, 9781250265708). "A powerful follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, this story begins after the liberation of Auschwitz, when Cilka is sentenced by the Soviet liberators to 15 years in one of Stalin's Siberian labor gulags. From one death camp to another--for doing what was needed to survive. For fans of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter." --Don Crankshaw, Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, Ind.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky (Grand Central, $30, 9781538731338). "Christopher and his mom run from an abusive boyfriend and seek peace and quiet in a new town. Instead, Christopher becomes agitated and sneaks out at night, doing anything a 'nice man' tells him to do. This is pure horror, a classic battle of good and evil, and a must for fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Paul Tremblay." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (Ace, $16, 9781984806376). "The ideas of books never actually written possess dangerous potential and power. They are kept in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell. Determined librarians tend the library keeping watch for escaped characters, angels and demons. For fans of Genevieve Cogman or Neil Gaiman." --Jessica Trotter, Capital Area District Library, Lansing, Mich.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron, $27.99, 9781250313072). "Alex has always been able to see ghosts, and this talent uniquely qualifies her to become part of the Lethe, a group that regulates the eight magical societies at Yale. When a murder happens nearby the campus, Alex suspects that a society has their hand in this and it's not just a normal homicide. For fans of urban fantasy and secret societies." --Amy Verkruissen, Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Lake Charles, La.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (Ecco, $26.99, 9780062913463). "A funny, snarky narrator takes on the job of caretaker for kids with remarkable and strange abilities. Everyone involved learns that sometimes all we need after being repeatedly let down is someone to rely on. For fans of Chuck Klosterman and Gary Shteyngart." --Linda Quinn, Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield, Conn.

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Diaz (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616209131). "Diaz was out of control. Her life was a never ending cycle of indifferent (or worse) parenting, street fights, abuse, drugs, arrests, alcohol, skipping school--all are detailed in this coming of age memoir. Reading this extraordinary memoir, I was reminded that no one can make you do something until you decide to on your own. For fans of Hunger by Roxane Gay and When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago." --Linda Tilden, Mt. Laurel Public Library, Mt. Laurel, Ala.

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780358023937). "Engaging characters set off to follow the mysterious clues of the will of an elderly, wealthy eccentric for a chance at winning the grand prize. Young grief and loss, family guilt, secrets, and hilarity are featured throughout. Plus: ghosts! For readers who liked The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson and Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst." --Pamela Gardner, Medfield Public Library, Medfield, Mass.

Book Review

Review: Out of My Head: On the Trail of Consciousness

Out of My Head: On the Trail of Consciousness by Tim Parks (New York Review Books, $18.95 paperback, 320p., 9781681373973, October 22, 2019)

In 2015, novelist and critic Tim Parks was invited by the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut of Heidelberg, Germany, to contribute a chapter for a book on the subject of whether science has become a substitute for religion. While he eventually produced that essay, Out of My Head: On the Trail of Consciousness--an at times captivating, at times bewildering inquiry into contemporary scientific thinking on the subject of human consciousness--is the much more ambitious product of that engagement.

Parks (Teach Us to Sit Still) explains that he's been fascinated with the question "whether the self, the mind, the soul, or just consciousness, is a separate thing, isolated in the head, or some ongoing collaboration between body, brain and world" for some time. That curiosity has been fueled in recent years by his friendship with Italian robotics expert Riccardo Manzotti, who posits a controversial thesis he calls the Spread Mind Theory. In Manzotti's formulation, "experience is made possible by the meeting of perceptive system and the world, but actually located at the object perceived, identical with it even; in short, experience is the same thing as the object."

Instead of pursuing the ostensible subject of his assigned essay topic, Parks interviews a child psychologist, a psychiatrist/philosopher and a neuroscientist at Heidelberg University, and probes each discipline's understanding of consciousness. Yet he discovers, somewhat to his dismay, that none seem to share his fascination with the subject. Though he has some understandable trepidation in doing so, he also manages to test Manzotti's theory with each of his interlocutors, all of whom greet it with varying degrees of skepticism.

As he travels the circuitous path toward a better understanding of the human mind, Parks is a good-natured, self-effacing guide, revisiting the view of consciousness advanced in the popular animated film Inside Out or describing his mental gymnastics as he grapples with a problematic hotel tea urn. He also shares personal stories--like the frightening account of his partner Eleonora's sudden sensorineural hearing loss--that illuminate his subject.

Parks's book becomes most challenging when it asks readers to join him in the deep end of neuroscience pool, as in a 35-page chapter describing in detail an experiment involving Gad67EGFP mice and GABAergic neurons. He's clearly steeped himself in the relevant scientific literature, and has spent a good bit of time grappling with this elusive subject matter, but for those who aren't technically inclined, portions of the book like that one may prove less appealing.

Out of My Head does more to stimulate speculation about its central question than it does to provide any definitive answers. Parks is a thoughtful layman fully committed to his task, and anyone with a similar bent will find much grist for further reflection in this provocative book. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: A stimulating glimpse of the diverse and complex theories about how the human mind operates.

The Bestsellers

Top-Selling Self-Published Titles

The bestselling self-published books last week as compiled by

1. The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn
2. Captivating in Love by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully
3. Make Me (KPD Motorcycle Patrol Book 4) by Lani Lynn Vale
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter
5. Why Meadow Died by Andrew Pollack and Max Eden
6. How to Wed a Wild Lass by Kathryn Le Veque and Emma Prince
7. Bright Lights (John Milton Thrillers Book 15) by Mark Dawson
8. Code Name: Sentinel by Sawyer Bennett
9. Beard With Me by Penny Reid
10. Wrapped in Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan

[Many thanks to!]

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