Also published on this date: Thursday, October 10 Dedicated Issue: Schiffer Publishing

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 10, 2019

Atheneum Books: Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff

Tor Books: Winter's Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Penguin Random House Congratulates Jacqueline Woodson, Winner of a 2020 MacArthur Genius Grant

Amulet Books: Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty) by Diana Ma

Minotaur Books: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten, translated by Alexandra Fleming

Haymarket Books: We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest and Possibility by Marc Lamont Hill, edited by Frank Barat

DK Publishing: Oceanology: The Secrets of the Sea Revealed by DK

Quotation of the Day

'Bookshops Are Machines for Serendipity'

"Bookshops are machines for serendipity--opportunities to discover the books you didn't know you wanted. The algorithmic recommendations served up by online booksellers can't compete with the pleasure of finding something unexpected on the shelves of a bookshop, reading a dozen pages standing up and knowing, as you shift your weight from foot to foot, that you've got to take it home. And no online search engine can match the knowledge of booksellers, who have an almost superhuman ability to locate the book you're looking for, even if you can only remember the color of the cover.... Whether we think of bookshops as places we can escape the pressures of the world, or spaces in which to imagine its transformation, a world without them would be infinitely poorer."

--Tom Mole, author of The Secret Life of Books, in a column for The Big Issue

Berkley Books: The Last Night in London by Karen White


Nobel Literature Prize Winners Are Peter Handke and Olga Tokarczuk

The Swedish Academy announced this morning two winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: Peter Handke, the Austrian author, playwright and translator, wins the 2019 prize, and Olga Tokarczuk, the Polish novelist and poet, wins the 2018 prize, which was not bestowed last year because of a scandal involving sexual assault allegations and financial impropriety involving the Academy.

Handke was cited by the Swedish Academy for "an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience."

Tokarczuk was cited for "a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life."

Tokarczuk won the Man Booker International Prize last year for Flights, which was translated into English by Jennifer Croft and was published in paperback in August by Riverhead Books. She is also the author of Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, The Books of Jacob and Primeval and Other Times.

Handke has written numerous books and screenplays, including several with Wim Wenders. He also directed several movies, including screen versions of his novels The Left-Handed Woman and The Absence.

Last year's award was postponed because of a crisis that started with accusations of assault by 18 women against French photographer Jean-Claude Arnault, who was married to Academy member Katarina Frostenson. After a series of protests and resignations, the Academy didn't have enough members to elect new members.

In March, the Academy said that it had made changes to its organizational and operating structures and no longer included "any members who are subject to conflict of interest or criminal investigations." It said then that it would award the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize when it awarded the 2019 Nobel Literature Prize.

Handke himself is a focus of a different kind of controversy. He has been the target of criticism for supporting the late Yugoslavian and Serbian president Slobodan Milošević, who was accused of genocide and war crimes following the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 10.19.20

PNBA: Buzzing as Always

On a rainy morning in Portland, Ore., with the scent of maple syrup hanging heavy in the air, more than 150 booksellers gathered at large draped tables in a Red Lion banquet hall for the highly anticipated Authors Over Easy breakfast event, part of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Tradeshow. Author Emily St. John Mandel, after joking with the crowd that it was "very nice to be here not talking about Station Eleven," expressed her general gratitude to the audience, saying, "Without independent booksellers, no one would have read my first three novels." YA crossover novelist Ruta Sepetys, whose new book is The Fountains of Silence, echoed St. John Mandel's sentiments, telling the room that without booksellers, she would be "nowhere." Referring to Salt to the Sea, she explained: "I really doubt anyone runs into a bookstore yelling, 'Quick! Give me a book about 9,000 Prussian refugees on a sinking ship!' "

Kathryn Trueblood, author of Take Daily As Needed

PNBA bookkeeper Larry West estimated that 86 stores each sent an average of three booksellers to the show this year. "I like to judge 'by feel' rather than by numbers, which are a general guide but rarely capture anything significant," PNBA executive director Brian Juenemann added. "Officially, we had a slight increase in attendance this year. By the feel test, the show was spectacular."

With 96 featured authors, most of the ticketed events sold out, and the tradeshow floor was buzzing from opening to closing on Monday. Most attendees had full schedules, many of which were followed by offsite drinks. Random House sales rep David Glenn, while passing out the annual bourbon and doughnuts at the PRH booth, called the show "consistently and gratifyingly busy."

The show began with a day of educational sessions--the first half of the day was dedicated to events primarily run by booksellers, while the latter half was for authors and publishing sales reps to share upcoming titles. PNBA show director Greg Holmes commented that the education sessions were up by 20-30 people from last year, and Kim Hooyboer, manager of Third Place Books Seward Park in Seattle, Wash., said that Education Day was "especially fantastic this year and the sessions had really practical application." Hooyboer found the Sideline Merchandising & Small Store Display session particularly informative; at it, Kate Stone, a designer at Oni Press, explained sideline merchandising through easily applicable graphic design concepts.

The awards committee (from l.): James Ganas of Third Place Books; Ariana Paliobagis of Country Bookshelf; Alexa Butler of Beach Books; Charlotte Glover of Parnassus Books and Gifts; and Hana Boxberger of Village Books.

On Monday evening, the PNBA Book Awards Committee advocated for a number of titles in front of a crowded room. The titles that got more than one mention were Sharma Shields's The Cassandra and Pete Fromm's A Job You Mostly Won't Know How to Do. Also mentioned by the committee were Tess Gallagher's Is, Is Not, Karl Marlantes's Deep River, Lauren Kessler's A Grip of Time and Ted Chaing's Exhalation, among others. As they do each year, after the awards committee members shared their chosen titles, they opened up the floor, and a number of other titles were mentioned. The shortlist will be announced in October, and the winners are announced in January.

Also at the show, Just in Case You Want to Fly by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson (Neal Porter Books/Holiday House) was voted the BuzzBooks contest winner. (Some 200 punch cards were given to attending booksellers and librarians who visited seven exhibitors for quick pitches from publishers in a variety of genres and then voted on their favorite picks.) Just in Case You Want to Fly, recommended as "an inspirational book for anyone--parent or child--looking for support when facing a new challenge," will be displayed by many PNBA members this fall and be a featured title of the Give Books holiday catalog campaign.

PNBA's Brian Juenemann noted that following the fall show, publishers have the option to donate any remaining finished copies and ARCs to the Scappoose Public Library, the library selected by Oregon author Willy Vlautin through Rural Library Project. Colin Rea, who has directed the program for the past 13 years, will pass the program on to Fern Ridge Library colleague Caitlin McMahon starting in 2020. --Emma Levy

Broadleaf Books: Inspiring New Nonfiction from Broadleaf Books!

Indies on the Outer Banks Lend a Hand to Storm-Damaged Bookstore

Jamie Anderson, Leslie Lanier and Gee Gee Rosell last week.

Independent booksellers on the Outer Banks of North Carolina have rallied around Books to Be Red in Ocracoke on Ocracoke Island, which was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian right after Labor Day. 

According to Gee Gee Rosell, owner of Buxton Village Books in Buxton on Hatteras Island, Ocracoke had "many feet of smelly, sound-side tide flow over it, sinking homes that had never had water inside." Homes, roads, businesses and the town's school were all severely damaged, and in fact students finally returned to school just last Monday.

Leslie Lanier, owner of Books to Be Red, was facing the prospect of her business being shut down for weeks if not months, so Jamie Anderson, owner of Downtown Books in Manteo on Roanoke Island, had the idea of getting together with Rosell and lending a hand.

Rosell noted that the three booksellers frequently collaborate on group ads, and often share information about how the season is going. They've also all experienced significant storm damage at one time or another.

At Anderson's invitation, Lanier brought her sidelines and gift items (things "that are somewhat more waterproof") up to Downtown Books in Manteo to sell during the October First Friday event last week, and Rosell drove up from Hatteras to help out as well. Rosell reported that the evening was great, and Anderson has invited Lanier to sell her sidelines in Downtown Books on a longer-term basis.

IPG's Larry Norton to Retire

Larry Norton

Larry Norton, executive v-p and general manager at Independent Publishers Group, will retire December 31, after nearly 40 years in book publishing. Norton joined IPG in 2016, when the company acquired INscribe Digital to expand technology solutions for its publishing partners and to provide IPG's clients with a digital distribution platform.

"Larry Norton has made an enormous contribution to IPG by ensuring that the acquisition of INscribe Digital has been a success," said IPG CEO Joe Matthews. "He has been a true champion of the value and benefits of e-book and print-on-demand publishing for our publishing partners. He will leave a legacy of profitable business initiatives that will position IPG for growth for years to come. His nearly 40 years of industry experience will be greatly missed."

Prior to joining IPG, Norton held several high-level positions in the industry, most notably senior v-p of merchandising at Borders Group and president of sales and distribution at Simon & Schuster. He began his career as a marketing assistant at Basic Books in 1981.


Image of the Day: Brookline Booksmith's Transnational Series

Last Saturday, Naja Marie Aidt (longlisted for the National Book Award in Translated Literature) and Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press contributing editor and recent recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant) discussed Aidt's new memoir, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl's Book, in front of a packed house at Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass. The event was part of the store's Transnational Series, which focuses on books concerned with migration, displacement and exile, with particular emphasis on works in translation. (photo: Bradley Trumpfheller)

B&N's October Book Club Pick: Ninth House

Barnes & Noble has chosen Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250313072) as its October national book club selection. The novel, which was published on Tuesday, will be the focus of a book club night at B&N stores around the country on Tuesday, November 5, at 7 p.m.

Noting that Ninth House is bestselling YA author Leigh Bardugo's first adult novel, Liz Harwell, senior director of merchandising, trade books at Barnes & Noble, said: "Ninth House is a mesmerizing tale of power, privilege, and dark magic set in the secretive world of the Ivy League elite. It's also simply a gripping read that we think readers will love discussing."

The Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of Ninth House has an annotated chapter with Leigh Bardugo's handwritten notes in the margins, as well as a Reading Group Guide.

PRHPS to Distribute the MIT Press

Beginning in July 2020, Penguin Random House Publisher Services will sell and distribute the MIT Press's entire frontlist and backlist across all sales channels worldwide.

Established in 1962, the MIT Press focuses on science, technology, art, social science, and design and publishes more than 300 new titles a year. Its deep backlist includes such authors as Noam Chomsky, John Maeda, Vaclav Smil, and Sherry Turkle. It also distributes such presses as Semiotext(e) and Zone Books.

Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press, commented: "With an expanding trade program across a range of disciplines, we welcome the opportunity to introduce more readers to the intellectual daring, interdisciplinary focus, and distinctive design that are the hallmarks of our publishing program."

Personnel Changes at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

At Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing:

Lisa Moraleda has been promoted to senior director of publicity from director of publicity for the Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Margaret K. McElderry, Atheneum, and Beach Lane imprints.

Caitlin Sweeny has been promoted to director of marketing from associate director of marketing for the Simon Pulse, Aladdin, Little Simon, and Simon Spotlight imprints.

Anna Jarzab has been promoted to director of digital and social marketing from digital marketing strategist.

Kate Bouchard has been promoted to digital and social marketing coordinator from digital marketing assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Megan Phelps-Roper on Fresh Air

CBS This Morning: Rand Paul, author of The Case Against Socialism (Broadside, $28.99, 9780062954862). He will also be on the View tomorrow.

Fresh Air: Megan Phelps-Roper, author of Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27, 9780374275839).

Wendy Williams: Eddie Jackson, author of Game-Day Eats: 100 Recipes for Homegating Like a Pro (Harper Design, $29.99, 9780062870834).

This Weekend on Book TV: The Southern Festival of Books

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

Saturday, October 12
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Coverage of the 2019 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 11 a.m. Chris Edmonds, co-author of No Surrender: A Father, a Son, and an Extraordinary Act of Heroism That Continues to Live on Today (HarperOne, $29.99, 9780062905017).
  • 1 p.m. Jason DeParle, author of A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century (Viking, $28, 9780670785926).
  • 3 p.m. Paul Theroux, author of On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780544866478).
  • 4 p.m. Saeed Jones, author of How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501132735).

6:55 p.m. Lonnie Bunch, author of A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump (Smithsonian Books, $29.95, 9781588346681).

8 p.m. Michael Lynch, author of Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631493614). (Re-airs Sunday at 10 p.m.)

9 p.m. Corey Robin, author of The Enigma of Clarence Thomas (Metropolitan, $30, 9781627793834).

10 p.m. Susan Rice, author of Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501189975). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Jackie Gingrich Cushman, author of Our Broken America: Why Both Sides Need to Stop Ranting and Start Listening (Center Street, $28, 9781546084884). (Re-airs Sunday at 8 p.m.)

Sunday, October 13
2 p.m. Susan Neiman, author of Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30, 9780374184469), at the Southern Festival of Books.

3 p.m. Samantha Power, author of The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir (Dey Street, $29.99, 9780062820693), at the Southern Festival of Books.

6:30 p.m. Benjamin Moser, author of Sontag: Her Life and Work (Ecco, $39.99, 9780062896391).

11 p.m. Bob Batchelor, author of The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius (Diversion Books, $27.99, 9781635765861).

Books & Authors

Awards: Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Flannery O'Connor Winners

The winners of the 2019 Dayton Literary Peace Prize are:

Nonfiction: Rising Out of Hatred by Eli Saslow, which chronicles the awakening of a prominent young white supremacist
Nonfiction Runnerup: Tigerland by Wil Haygood, about two sports teams from a poor, black high school in Ohio who both become state champions in 1969

Fiction: What We Owe by Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde, about Iranian refugees living in Sweden
Fiction Runnerup: The Overstory by Richard Powers, about nine Americans whose life experiences with trees bring them together to address the impact humans have had on forests

Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize celebrates the power of literature to promote peace, social justice, and global understanding. This year's winners will be honored at a gala ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on November 3.


Patrick Earl Ryan has won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction for his collection of short stories called If We Were Electric. The collection will be published in 2020 by the University of Georgia Press, sponsor of the award.

Ryan's work has been printed in the Ontario Review, Pleiades, Best New American Voices, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Men on Men: Best New Gay Fiction for the Millennium and the James White Review, among other publications. Founder and editor-in-chief of Lodestar Quarterly and former editor-in-chief of Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review, he has also taught martial arts philosophy and tai chi chuan for many years.

Flannery O'Connor series editor Roxane Gay commented: "If We Were Electric, the debut short story collection from New Orleans native Patrick Ryan is, indeed, fiercely electric. These twelve startling fictions have been crafted by a writer with an assured and absolutely original voice and a remarkable understanding of how place is as much a compelling character in a good story as the people who populate it. There are stories here about unrequited love and youthful yearning, the complexities of desire between men, the beginnings and ends of relationships, deaths both inevitable and untimely, the bitter ache of loneliness, the quiet horrors that unexpectedly befall us, and the magic of the ordinary world. With this outstanding collection, Patrick Earl Ryan makes his mark on Southern literature and how."

Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 15:

The Guardians by John Grisham (Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385544184) is a legal thriller about a lawyer representing an innocent inmate.

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316486637) reveals how serial rapists such as Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men silence the truth at all costs.

Me by Elton John (Holt, $30, 9781250147608) is the singer's official autobiography.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson (Doubleday, $30, 9780385539302) includes interesting facts about the human body.

Christmas Shopaholic: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella (The Dial Press, $27, 9780593132821) is the latest shopping story with Becky Brandon.

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton (Hachette Books, $30, 9780316349253) is the memoir of the actress.

Dad's Maybe Book by Tim O'Brien (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9780618039708)
reflects on 15 years of a father's letters to his sons. (October 14.)

A Book of Bones by John Connolly (Atria/Emily Bestler, $28.99, 9781982127510) is the 17th supernatural thriller with Charlie Parker.

Stealth by Stuart Woods (Putnam, $28, 9780593083161) is the 51st thriller with Stone Barrington.

We Should All Be Mirandas: Life Lessons from Sex and the City's Most Underrated Character by Chelsea Fairless and Lauren Garroni (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $19.99, 9780358022367) is a guide based on Sex and the City.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9781328519030) is a memoir by a woman who helped her mother have an affair.

Return to the Reich: A Holocaust Refugee's Secret Mission to Defeat the Nazis by Eric Lichtblau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328528537) chronicles a German Jew who escaped the Nazis and returned as on OSS operative.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong (Random House, $27, 9780525508830) is the memoir of the comedian.

The Whole30 Friends & Family: 150 Recipes for Every Social Occasion by Melissa Hartwig Urban (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30, 9780358115793) includes recipes for every social occasion.

The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao (Bloomsbury, $16.99, 9781547602001) is a series-opener featuring a 12-year-old girl determined to become a warrior.

Allies by Alan Gratz (Scholastic Press, $17.99, 9781338245721) is a fictionalization of the events that occurred on D-Day for middle-grade readers.

Suicide Woods: Stories by Benjamin Percy (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781644450062).

Unpunishable: Ending Our Love Affair with Punishment by Danny Silk (Loving on Purpose, $15.99, 9781947165762).

Jojo Rabbit, based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, opens October 18. Taika Waititi directs and stars in this story of a boy in Nazi Germany who finds out his mother is harboring a Jewish girl, much to the chagrin of his imaginary friend named Adolf.

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:

Cold Storage: A Novel by David Koepp (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062916433). "Meet Cordyceps Novus, a highly adaptable fungus that just wants one thing: to take over the world. After being contained underground for 40 years, conditions are finally perfect for a comeback. Several floors above, two young night-shift security guards decide to track down the source of the mysterious alarm below. David Koepp's debut novel is both terrifying and humorous--a thrilling combination. After getting an inside look at the growth and spread of this fungus, I will never look at a mushroom the same way again." --Mary Salazar, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.

The Long Call: A Novel by Ann Cleeves (Minotaur, $26.99, 9781250204448). "I absolutely loved The Long Call. In this new mystery, Ann Cleeves introduces us to Inspector Matthew Venn, who embodies his diagram namesake as a character caught between his past and his future. A murder on a beach in Venn's hometown on the English coast leads to a kidnapping, and as the pacing picks up, the suspects get ever closer to Venn's personal life. An expertly plotted mystery that will keep readers guessing until the final pages." --Keith Vient, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

She Would Be King: A Novel by Wayétu Moore (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781644450017). "It's hard to describe a novel as wholly original as She Would Be King. A retelling of the birth of Liberia through interconnected stories, the novel combines history, magic, and myth in one engrossing story. Moore's novel takes you from West Africa to the plantations of Virginia, from Jamaica to Liberia, weaving together the stories of three characters who yearn for power and true freedom. Guided by the ancient wind, all of Moore's characters challenge and transcend the many faces of oppression, and the story's profound culmination will leave you in awe. She Would Be King is the kind of novel that lingers with you for days. A must-read!" --Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, Kan.

For Ages 4 to 8
Just Because by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Candlewick, $17.99, 9780763696801). "Young philosophers, budding scientists, and curious youngsters everywhere--rejoice! Mac Barnett's perfect bedtime story is full of questions and answers worth contemplating. With endpapers that suggest a world of possibilities and the magical pairing of Isabelle Arsenault's illustrations with Barnett's text, Just Because is destined to be requested each evening as often as the obligatory glass of water. It is a joyful celebration of imagination and the world of dreams--just be sure to close your eyes." --Mary Alice Garber, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

For Ages 9 to 12
Rat Rule 79 by Rivka Galchen, illustrated by Elena Megalos (Restless Books, $19.99, 9781632060990). "I would be hard-pressed to name a writer more delightful than Rivka Galchen. Her first novel for young readers (young in spirit as well as young in age) is pure joy. Inventive, warm-hearted, and ingenious, Rat Rule 79 is a classic in the making and a book I will be recommending to readers of all ages." --Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Calif.

For Teen Readers
A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062696908). "Imagine being the caretaker of a powerful and magical house and its grounds, a house with the power to control the wind and rain and bring prosperity to the surrounding countryside. Imagine it all goes wrong and everything and everyone suffers because of it. Would you risk your life to save your house and restore the lands? Moody and atmospheric, with beautifully descriptive images, this is fantasy and magic at its best." --Jane Simons, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, N.Y.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

Book Review

Review: Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames

Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames by Lara Maiklem (Liveright, $27.95 hardcover, 336p., 9781631494963, November 5, 2019)

London's River Thames has long been a repository for lost or unwanted objects, and those who seek them out are known as "mudlarks." Writer and editor Lara Maiklem, a long-time visitor to the Thames foreshore, chronicles her adventures in her first nonfiction book, Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames. Her expeditions and the objects they yield--including hatpins, hand-blown glass bottles, buttons and the occasional precious stone--provide a rambling, idiosyncratic, fascinating guide to the city's history.

Maiklem charts her journeys, beginning where the river's tideway originates, near Richmond in west London. She works her way methodically east, passing several of the river's famous bridges, which are notable here mainly for how they interact with the tides and the types of objects that end up beneath them. Armed with a good pair of wellies, a keen eye and endless patience, Maiklem inches her way along the foreshore, sifting through centuries' worth of silt, mud and debris, in search of lost or discarded bits and pieces that might give her a glimpse into the city's past.

London's history is layered and sometimes confusing even to locals, but Maiklem's crisp, accessible writing style keeps her readers' interest. She describes her perennial love of scavenging (including the "museum" she kept in her parents' barn as a child) and the eventual outlet she found in mudlarking, along with the friends she has made. Her journeys touch on sociology, anthropology, ecology (climate change has affected both the river and the rest of London) and the complicated interactions between the built environment and the natural world.

Maiklem's chief delight is in the search--hunting for treasure amid the silt, mud and modern-day trash that clogs parts of the shore--and then in researching and imagining the histories of her finds. Her travels sometimes bring her close to seats of power, like the Tudor palace at Greenwich, but her chief fascination is with "the personal possessions of ordinary people, each small piece a key to another world and a direct link to long-forgotten lives." From shoe soles to wine stoppers to tokens and coins used for all sorts of transactions, Maiklem's treasures help her piece together the stories of her city. Readers will learn much from one mudlark's generous offer of the knowledge she has picked up--a mosaic of different pieces, much like her treasures themselves. Those who live near tidal bodies of water, or even in London itself, may be inspired to do a bit of mudlarking on their own. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Lara Maiklem chronicles her journeys mudlarking on the Thames foreshore, and the history of the objects she finds.

The Bestsellers

Top Book Club Picks in September

The following were the most popular book club books during September based on votes from book club readers in more than 48,000 book clubs registered at

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Putnam)
2. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House)
3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (Celadon)
4. City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert (Riverhead)
5. Before We Were Yours: A Novel by Lisa Wingate (Ballantine)
6. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Books)
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown)
8. Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine)
9. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central)
10. The Alice Network: A Novel by Kate Quinn (Morrow)

Rising Stars:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Back Bay Books) (because of the movie)
Ask Again, Yes: A Novel by Mary Beth Keane (Scribner)

AuthorBuzz: Harper: You Can Go Home Now by Michael Elias
AuthorBuzz: BookLocker: Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity by Paul Corson
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