Booksellers, help Melville House celebrate 10 years of publishing by participating in our 10th Anniversary bookseller promotion. For more information, please send us an email. The promotion includes the following books, our featured 10th anniversary poster, as well as shelf talkers for each book with descriptions written by co-publishers Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians. The Publishers have also written a letter addressed to all the booksellers out there who have supported Melville House over the years. Download it here.


by Hans Fallada

“The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis.” —Primo Levi

Presents a rich detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells a sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand against the Nazis when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in. In the end, it’s more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order-it’s a deeply moving story of two people who stand up for what’s right, and for each other.

“The big houses ignored him for 60 years, but when I discovered Hans Fallada’s gripping tale about a middle-aged couple’s stand against the Nazis I knew it would be our biggest bestseller ever. And I guess I wasn’t that surprised that it turned into a world-
wide phenomenon.” —DENNIS JOHNSON, Melville House co-founder

Download the Every Man Dies Alone shelf-talker


With a foreward by Alicia Ostriker

“There was something more to be said that only poetry could say. It is eloquently said here by 45 notable poets.” —Publishers Weekly

After 9/11 poetry was everywhere—on telephone poles, on firehouse walls, in the bus shelters. People spontaneously turned to poetry to understand and cope with the tragedy of the attack. Full of humor, love, rage and fear, this diverse collection of poems attests to the power of poetry to express and to heal the human spirit.

“Our first book, put together to protest the rush to war after the 9/11 attacks, which Dennis and I witnessed firsthand. Shockingly to us as novice publishers, it turned out to be a hit. So we just kept going.” 
—VALERIE MERIANS, Melville House co-founder

Download the Poetry After 9/11 shelf-talker


by Herman Melville
Part of the Art of the Novella Series

“The novella, at long last, has found a worthy and consistent champion …” —The Atlantic

Academics hail it as the beginning of modernism, but to readers around the world—even those daunted by Moby-DickBartleby the Scrivener is simply one of the most absorbing and moving novellas ever. Set in the mid-19th century on New York City’s Wall Street, it was also, perhaps, Herman Melville’s most prescient story: what if a young man caught up in the rat race of commerce finally just said, “I would prefer not to”?

“The story of the first protestor to occupy Wall Street was the first book in our Art of the Novella series. With Bartleby, Herman Melville created American modernism, and we thought someone should celebrate that, as well as the form of the novella itself, which—incredibly—no one else had a series in.” —DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the Bartleby the Scrivener shelf-talker


by Tao Lin

“[I]t’s funny and addictive and talks straight into your ear… Tao Lin’s sentences are so good they sometimes make me shudder.” —Bookslut

Confused yet intelligent animals attempt to interact with confused yet intelligent humans, resulting in the death of Elijah Wood, Salman Rushdie, and Wong Kar-Wai; the destruction of a Domino’s Pizza delivery car in Orlando; and a vegan dinner at a sushi restaurant in Manhattan attended by a dolphin, a bear, a moose, an alien, three humans, and the President of the United States of America, who lectures on the arbitrary nature of consciousness, truth, and the universe before getting drunk and playing poker.

“I can still hear Dennis’ first reaction on reading a few pages into this manuscript, after he discovered Tao online—he just went, ‘Whoa. . .’ That was my reaction, too. Later, we told each other, people are going to love this or hate it, but they’ve never read anything like it.” —VALERIE MERIANS

Download the EEEEE EEE EEEE shelf-talker


by Andrey Kurkov

“Death and the Penguin comes across as an almost perfect little novel … fast-paced and witty and on the side of the angels.” —John Powers, NPR’s Fresh Air

Aspiring writer Viktor thinks he’s finally caught a break when he lands a well-paying job at the Kiev newspaper writing “living obituaries” of local dignitaries—articles to be filed for use when the time comes. The only thing is, it seems the time always comes as soon as Viktor writes the article. Slowly understanding that his own life may be in jeopardy, Viktor also realizes that the only thing that might be keeping him alive is Misha, his pet penguin.

“One of the first books in our crime series, we wanted to create a series that was both literary and political, because Valerie and I don’t quite get the idea of crime lit being about pure entertainment. Like Bulgakov meeting Chandler, this is a perfect example of what we were after.” —DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the Death and the Penguin shelf-talker


by Irmgard Keun
Part of the Neversink Library

“I cannot think of anything else that conjures up so powerfully the atmosphere of a nation turned insane… one of those pieces of fiction that illuminate fact.” —Sunday Telegraph

In 1937, German author Irmgard Keun had only recently fled Nazi Germany with her lover Joseph Roth when she wrote this slim, exquisite, and devastating book. It captures the unbearable tension, contradictions, and hysteria of pre-war Germany like no other novel. Yet even as it exposes human folly, the book exudes a hopeful humanism. It is full of humor and light, even as it describes the first moments of a nightmare. After Midnight is a masterpiece that deserves to be read and remembered anew.

“Another awesome book by a forgotten writer we’re proud to have rediscovered—name another woman writing from within Germany about a woman’s life under the Nazis. Suspenseful, poignant, beautiful, scary, and totally absorbing.” 

Download the After Midnight shelf-talker


by Benoit Duteurtre

“What I admire most about The Little Girl and the Cigarette: the clarity with which this novel unmasks the fundamental stupidity of our modern world; the black humor that transforms horror into a fascinating danse macabre.” —Milan Kundera

At the cutting edge of European fiction, controversial young author Benoit Duteurtre creates a world wildly askew, yet disconcertingly close to our own, in this daring, antic satire.

“Maybe the funniest satire we’ve ever published. We were hooked when we just heard the premise: A convict about to be executed asks for a last cigarette . . . in a non-smoking prison. Suffice it to say, chaos ensues.”DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the The Little Girl and the Cigarette shelf-talker


by Yoani Sanchez

“Provides the world a unique window into the realities of daily life in Cuba… empowers fellow Cubans to express themselves through the use of technology.” —Barack Obama

Yoani Sánchez is an unusual dissident: no street protests, no attacks on big politicos, no calls for revolution. Rather, she produces a simple diary about what it means to live under the Castro regime in Cuba: the chronic hunger and the difficulty of shopping; the art of repairing ancient appliances; the struggles of living under a propaganda machine that pushes deep into public and private life. For these simple acts of truth-telling her life is one of constant threat. But she continues on, refusing to be silenced—a living response to all who have ceased to believe in a future for Cuba.

“She’s trapped living in a dictatorship that has kidnapped and beaten her more than once, but Yoani’s writing is hypnotically calm and convincing about maintaining daily dignity in an impoverished state. We were so inspired we couldn’t not publish it.”

Download the Havana Real shelf-talker


by Trevor Paglen

“These enigmatic dark-op images, in some cases probably designed by the participants themselves, are more personal, and also more disturbing, than most.” —New York Times Book Review

In a work that combines ingenious journalism and bizarrely encoded art, author/photographer/investigator Trevor Paglen uncovers 75 never-before-seen-in-public military patches that reveal a bizarre secret world of the American military. Paglen investigates classified weapons projects and intelligence operations by examining their own imagery and jargon, disclosing new facts about important classified military units—here known by peculiar names (“Goat Suckers,” “None of Your Fucking Business,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons.

Weird, wild, funny and scary all at once, the story of these shoulder patches from military units engaged in espionage also makes a political point: The Pentagon military budget seems to be in the hands of 12-year-olds. One of our most lavish books, production and design-wise.” —DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me shelf-talker


by Lewis Carroll; Illustrated by Mahendra Singh

“Delightfully surreal…save this book for the brightest and most adventurous young word-worms on your holiday shopping list…Singh’s daring illustrations will appeal to older children eager to leave the world of candy-colored cuteness behind.” —The New Yorker

A brilliant new illustrated version of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense masterpiece in heroic couplets-full of visual riddles, puns and mysteries.

“We were hooked on the idea for this book the minute we saw a sample of the amazing illustrations. They were astonishing, and then we started realizing all the hidden images, jokes and illusions. We already loved the poem. This was a no-brainer.” 

Download the The Hunting of the Snark shelf-talker


by Doris Langley Moore
Part of the Neversink Library

“The best biography of Lord Byron ever written.” —W.S. Merwin

Of the hundreds of books on Byron and his work, not one has been devoted to the immediate aftermath of his life; and yet it is these first twenty posthumous years that yield the most unexpected and exciting discoveries about the character of the poet and the behavior of those who once surrounded him—wife, sister, friends, enemies.

“Once upon a time we were lucky enough to have dinner with poet laureate W.S. Merwin and a bookseller. He asked her what poetry books worked best for her. She said biographies of poets, and he said, ‘Too bad, because the best bio ever written of a poet is out of print.’ We took note, and here it is. This book represents what our Neversink Library series is all about.” —DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the The Late Lord Byron shelf-talker


by Vivian Cook

“A delightfully eclectic manual that gently guides the reader through the often infuriating vagaries of an evolving language.” —Independent on Sunday

Linguist Vivian Cook takes us on a brilliant series of excursions into the history and meaning of words: How do we learn words as a child? How are words born, and why do they die? Why do some never get spoken, and others never written?

“Quirky books about the language are a specialty of ours, based solely on our own affection for wordplay. And nobody writes quirkier—or more playfully—than Vivian Cook, so we jumped at the chance to work with him. After all, he’s from England. They invented the language.” —VALERIE MERIANS

Download the All in a Word shelf-talker


by Stephan Reynaud

“With Reynaud’s books, I always feel as if I can understand just where it is that French food comes from. The dishes tend toward hearty, approachable fare from the French countryside, but the recipes can guide a home cook to new comfort with a sometimes intimidating cuisine.” — Don and Samantha Lindgren, owners of Rabelais in Portland, Maine, in Bon Appetit

Think roasting takes all day? Not so. From the authority on soulful French cooking and author of Pork and Sons comes a definitive guide to roasting fish and meat, featuring 100 essential recipes …

“We’ve always tried to do cookbooks that were beautiful, useful, 
and genuine. Rôtis is a perfect example: Written by the son of a French butcher, it’s full of simple, out-of-this-world recipes that allow you to spend time with your company, not in the kitchen.”—VALERIE MERIANS

Download the Rotis shelf-talker


by Heinrich Boll

“Böll is an expert marksman: the arrows are sharp, the feathers smooth, the targets numerous.” —The New York Times

A gripping examination of one man’s struggle to overcome guilt and rediscover his idealism in post-War Germany.

“We were knocked out when the estate of the great Nobel Prize-winner, one of the 20th century’s most important writers, chose Melville House as Böll’s American publisher. The Clown shows you why we were so psyched—it’s a fascinating tour de force about a man in postwar Germany who’s so overcome by guilt he doesn’t feel human.” 

Download the The Clown shelf-talker


by Raj Patel

“For anyone attempting to make sense of the world food crisis, or understand the links between U.S. farm policy and the ability of the world’s poor to feed themselves, Stuffed and Starved is indispensable.” —Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma

It’s a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).

“People thought we were psychic when we published this exposé about the food industry because it predicted a political uprising, and sure enough there were several big food riots the week this book first 
appeared. Since then, food riots have toppled governments, so we have revised and updated this, because clearly it’s just as urgent as ever.”—DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the Stuffed and Starved shelf-talker


by Jean Christophe-Valtat

” … the novel glides on silver skates from the surreal to the absurd to the languorously decadent … Irresistible.” —Laura Miller, Salon

1908. New Venice — “the pearl of the Arctic” — a place of ice palaces and pneumatic tubes, of beautifully ornate carriage-sleds and elegant victorian garb, of long nights and vistas of ice.

“We’re not readers of sci-fi or fantasy, but this book really blew us away. Written by a French smarty-pants who told us he just wanted to be the next Jules Verne, we were fascinated by his wild language, amazing literary allusions, and bizarre-but-true historical references. Polar 
kangaroos, dirigibles, hermaphrodite Siamese twins, revolution—what’s not to love?” —VALERIE MERIANS

Download the Aurorarama shelf-talker


by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald was better than he knew, for in fact and in the literary sense he invented a generation…. He might have interpreted them and even guided them, as in their middle years they saw a different and nobler freedom threatened with destruction.” —New York Times

May Day is Fitzgerald’s most raw, direct political commentary, and one of the most desperate works in his oeuvre.

“It was eye-opening to come across something by Fitzgerald—an elegant and subtle writer—that was so blunt and forceful, and more of a political statement than cultural commentary. It’s what the Art of the Novella series is all about—works by really famous writers that are lesser-known, but great nonetheless.” —DENNIS JOHNSON

Download the May Day shelf-talker


by Gianni Rodari

“Gianni Rodari gave free reign to his imagination, with inspired panache and gleeful lightness.” —Italo Calvino

When we first meet Baron Lamberto (age ninety-three), he is very rich and very ill. He owns twenty-four banks and has been diagnosed with twenty-four serious ailments: only his butler Anselmo remembers them all …

“Italy’s most beloved children’s book author, never before translated into English, has written our kind of kids’ book: For adults, really, a fable inspired by the terrorism that struck Italy in the 1970s, with quirky illustrations and—hooray!—a bunch of bankers getting what’s theirs. All in a beautiful package. A Melville House take on the form if ever there was one.” 

Download the Lamberto Lamberto Lamberto shelf-talker


by Imre Kertesz

“Heroic … Kertész is unique in Holocaust literature …[H]e seems to flaunt the thoughts and feelings that contradict the accepted narrative.”—Nan Goldberg, The Boston Globe

The heretofore untranslated “missing” book from the trilogy that won Imre Kertész the Nobel Prize.

“We were thrilled that this great, Nobel Prize-winning author left a bigger, much more famous publisher to come to Melville House. And this is one of his most important—and gripping—books: After surviving a Nazi death camp, the author describes what it was like to come back to a country run by a different kind of tyranny: the Communists.” 

Download the Fiasco shelf-talker


by Lore Segal

“Dizzy, shameless fun… scathing yet sweet…. The construction is clever, the style delicious.” —Los Angeles Times

Lore Segal’s brilliant and some-would-say scathing look at the New York literary scene was a hit when it was first released, and has been a cult classic ever since.

“A charming and achingly beautiful tale of loving reading and writing and the people who do both, with some biting humor about the New York literary scene. It’s hard to believe that its previous publisher let it go out of print. It just gives us such a thrill to rediscover stuff like this.” —VALERIE MERIANS

Download the Lucinella shelf-talker