Shelf Awareness for Friday, December 11, 2015


Random House Books for Young Readers: Lights, Camera, Middle School! (Babymouse Tales from the Locker #1) by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Greenwillow Books: Nothing by Annie Barrows

Time Inc. Books: BookExpo Events

Wednesday Books: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Bloomsbury: BookExpo Titles

Little, Brown and Company: The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading by Anne Gisleson

News

Our 2015 Best Books of the Year

Our Best Books of 2015 list is the result of an alchemy mixing the joy of choosing wonderful books with anguish over what we couldn't include. So here it is, after blood, sweat and tears. See our reviews of these titles in today's Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Fiction:
American Blood by Ben Sanders (Minotaur Books)
Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard (Thomas Dunne Books)
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Ballantine Books)
Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum (Random House)
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (Scout Press)
The Incarnations by Susan Barker (Touchstone)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday)
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua (Pantheon)
Under the Udala Trees by Chinela Okapranta (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Nonfiction:
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)
Drinking in America by Susan Cheever (Twelve)
H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Grove Press)
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central)
Midnight's Furies by Nisid Hajari (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Missoula by Jon Krakauer (Doubleday)
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Atria)
This Old Man by Roger Angell (Doubleday)
Thunder & Lightning by Lauren Redniss (Random House)
Wanted by Chris Hoke (HarperOne)

Children's/YA:
Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, collected by Elizabeth Hammill, illus. by 77 artists (Candlewick)
Ask Me by Bernard Waber, illus. by Suzy Lee (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International (Second Story Press)
Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke, illus. by Lauren Tobia (Kane Miller)
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree by Ellen Potter, illus. by Qin Leng (Knopf)
Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan)
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad/HarperCollins)
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick)
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Calvin by Martine Leavitt (Margaret Ferguson/FSG)


Flatiron Books: Book Expo Galley Giveaway


General Retail Sales in November: Down & Sluggish

"Cool--but still balmy--weather in November was one of the factors keeping retail sales sluggish," Alpha Now reported. Slower store traffic due to online Black Friday deals, lower gasoline prices and foreign exchange differences were also cited as factors. For the month, sales at stores open at least a year (excluding drugstores) decreased a -0.7% at the eight retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters, compared with analysts' projection of -1.4%.


Auzou: ALA Annual 2017


Holiday Shopping in Full Swing

With just two weeks until Christmas, and Hanukkah nearly over, the annual holiday shopping rush is in full swing for independent booksellers nationwide. For many indies, things kicked off in November on Thanksgiving weekend, and the rush is not expected to slow until January.

At {pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., manager Scott Becker said that the shopping season began in mid-November, with Manhattan Beach's Holiday Open House. For the annual event, the city's downtown businesses stay open late and welcome holiday shoppers. Although there hasn't been a single book of the season, several titles are doing particularly well, Becker said, including Patti Smith's M Train, Garth Risk Hallberg's City on Fire and Anthony Marra's story collection The Tsar of Love and Techno. One {pages} customer bought copies of David McCullough's The Wright Brothers for every one of his clients as a Christmas gift. And Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California by Travis Lett, a cookbook by the head chef of a local restaurant called Gjelina, is selling especially well.

Asked if there were any noticeable differences between this holiday season and last year's, Becker noted the timing of Hanukkah, which ended on Christmas Eve in 2014. "Sometimes when they're close, it gets a bit more hectic," Becker continued. "It's more spread out this year."

For Ezra Goldstein and Stephanie Valdez, owners of Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., the Hanukkah rush has begun, and the full Christmas frenzy has yet to begin. Goldstein pointed to Randall Munroe's Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words as a stand-out title this season, along with Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me; Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik; the children's book Robo-Sauce by author and illustrator pair Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri; and all four of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels. Patti Smith is due in store to sign copies of M Train, and Goldstein expects that to boost sales. Mary Beard's SPQR, Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk, and the graphic novel Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future by Lauren Redniss are also performing well.

Goldstein also noted that likely, as happens every year, a book or books will take them completely by surprise.

Valerie Koehler, the owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Tex., also pointed to Thing Explainer as selling particularly well. On the children's side, The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us by Rosanna Pansino is doing well. The holiday season, Koehler noted, is the best time of the year for her store's nonfiction section. As for non-book items, Koehler said that 'Bellz!', a magnetic game made by Wiggles 3D, is her and her staff's favorite game of the season. Blue Willow is offering a low price on direct-to-home fulfillment this season if a given title is not on the shelves, but Koehler is not advertising. "We are doing it on a case-by-case basis," she explained.

"It's a fun time of year," reflected Koehler. "We like helping people find what they want. And we also like re-merchandising a few items that may have 'overstayed their welcome' and seeing them go to a good home. We call it reindeer games and everyone can play, including Rudolph."

At Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck and Millerton, N.Y., the holiday rush is in full swing. Co-owner Suzanna Hermans observed that "you know it's here when the store is busy on a cold weekday morning, and the weekends are so slammed you can hardly walk the floor."

Elena Ferrante and Ta-Nehisi Coates are still dominating Oblong's bestsellers lists, but Lars Mytting's Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way, M Train, SPQR, Oliver Sacks's Gratitude, Roger Angell's This Old Man and Notorious RBG are all gaining momentum as gift buys. For non-book items, Blue Q and Sock It to Me Socks are selling so well that it's "mind-blowing." Hermans added that "the ones with dirty words sell the most."

Over the past few years, Hermans has noticed that her customers are spending more on holiday gifts. "It seems the economy has finally rebounded to a point where people have extra cash in their pockets," she said. "We'll see how long it lasts, but in the meantime we are so grateful for this trend."

For Janet Geddis, the owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, Ga., this is her store's fifth holiday season. Business began to pick up in mid-November, and since Indies First things have been going at a breakneck pace. Geddis noted that this year, as in years past, the biggest books for her store are local in focus (though New York Times and NPR bestsellers are also selling well). Several Athens-centric coloring books are flying off the shelves, so much so that the local artists who make them have had to do multiple reprints in less than two weeks. There's also an issue of the Oxford American magazine about Georgia music that just came out; in just five days Geddis sold 90 copies.

Geddis recently hired a staff member to handle all of Avid's non-book items, and so far the re-merchandising has had a great effect. Letter kits from Leafcutter Designs are selling well, as are Shinola journals. LeccareLollipops, which are made in Athens but not sold anywhere else in town, have been moving briskly. The store has also been selling more memberships in its Book Subscriptions Program (a book a month for any age and any reader) over the holidays.

The biggest change this year, though, is that Geddis will be running Avid's first ever holiday pop-up shop, in the historic Fire Hall next door, from December 12 to Christmas Eve.

"Avid Bookshop is still pretty young, so it's not surprising that we've seen a lot of growth over the last few years during the holidays," said Geddis. "I do think more folks are aware of our existence, and more long-distance fans are realizing they can buy from our website." --Alex Mutter


G.P. Putnam's Sons: A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light by Eleanor Brown


Amazon: 'Superfast' Prime Now from Chicago Stores

Amazon's Prime Now one-hour delivery service has begun offering what it dubs "superfast delivery" from three local Chicago stores, in addition to the items already available from the online retailer under the program. Effective yesterday, customers can purchase groceries, prepared meals and baked goods from Plum Market, Sprinkles Cupcakes and My Fit Foods through the Prime Now app.


Shelf Awareness Sign-up Giveaway: Roald Dahl Challenge


Obituary Notes: John Forrester; Judith Fitzgerald

Historian and philosopher John Forrester, who "advanced the study of psychoanalysis, its history, key figures, clinical practice and social significance, both in Britain and farther afield," died November 24, the Guardian reported. He was 66. Forrester's "life's ambition, he explained to his daughter, Katrina, was to reconcile Freud, the doctor of the soul, with Michel Foucault, the critic of medical regimes of all kinds," the Guardian wrote.

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Canadian poet and critic Judith Fitzgerald, whose "achievements were many, including more than 20 collections of poetry, four edited anthologies... along with three books of nonfiction," died November 25, Quillblog reported. She was 63. Fitzgerald "was also a champion of the arts and culture in general. From her home in Northern Ontario, she wrote reviews, blogs, columns, criticism, and feature articles on sports, music, and the literary arts," Quillblog wrote.


Notes

Image of the Day: BIGNY Supports Marine Toys for Tots

In keeping with its tradition of supporting literacy, the Book Industry Guild of New York recently made a donation of children's books to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "We are proud that our membership contributed from their hearts," said Book Industry Guild of New York v-p Jody Saunders Ray. "The donations came from individual BIGNY members who work in the book publishing, printing, and paper industries. We were able to fill two SUVs with books that will bring joy to a child's holiday."
The donations were presented to active Marines during the organization's holiday party. Pictured: (l.-r.) Staff Sergeant Herbert Nicholas, BIGNY executive board member Diana Gee, Lehigh Phoenix senior v-p of sales Michael Wettstein; Major Stacie Piccinich; First Sergeant Patrick Noel; BIGNY v-p Jody Saunders Ray; BIGNY treasurer Michael Kwan.


Happy 40th Birthday, Vero Beach Book Center!

James Patterson with more than 300 fans at Vero Beach

Congratulations to the Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, Fla., which has been celebrating its 40th anniversary over the past month with author events and giveaways. Debbie Macomber, Craig Johnson, Robert Crais and James Patterson stopped by to promote their latest books, and earlier this month, David Baldacci wrapped up the celebrations with a standing-room only crowd. Each author event included drawings for goody bags of books and book paraphernalia.

Tom and Linda Leonard, parents of current owner Chad Leonard, opened the Vero Beach Book Center in 1975. By 1997, the store had expanded twice, first tripling its size into a 12,000-square-foot space, then opening a dedicated children's store in an adjacent building, bringing their total retail space to 21,000 square feet.

In 2013, the Leonards consolidated the entire Book Center into what had been the Children's Store, reducing their square footage back to 12,000 feet. Chad Leonard admitted the store had always been too large, and that they needed to change with the times. "The small mammals survive while the big dinosaurs die off," he said. On the verge of its 41st year, the Vero Beach Book Center is not merely surviving, but thriving.


Drury Lane Books 'Keeps Spirit of Reading Alive'

"If you're an avid reader and a lover of books, there's a tiny shop in Grand Marais [Minn.] that might just be up your alley," KQDS reported in a piece--headlined "Independent Bookstore Keeps Spirit of Reading Alive"--that profiled Drury Lane Books, which was founded by local author Joan Drury in 2002.

"We don't just get bestsellers--we do have bestsellers--but we do have a lot of books that people are surprised that we have," said store manager Lee Stewart. "Our tagline is basically 'Books for book lovers.' People who find us who are book lovers and people who love to read come back.... For me it's like visiting old friends. I look forward to seeing them again. There are children who have been coming here since they were very young. I know their reading tastes. They know me. And we talk about books; we talk about the books that they've read through the year."


Indie Booksellers 'Thrive as They Reinvent Genre'

In an article headlined "Local bookstores thrive as they reinvent genre," Cindy Dach, owner and general manager of Changing Hands Bookstore, with locations in Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz., told AZ Big Media that the ability for a local business to be nimble gives it the advantage necessary to adapt to a changing economy.

"We can change the policy and we don't have to worry about big losses with investments," she said. "A corporate store has to bounce everything back to their corporate headquarters and that is a problem. Changes in policy cost them millions. Our ideas don't have a large impact when we are trying stuff out."

Dach added that younger generations have been a key to success for the new Phoenix location: "It matters to them and they understand where things come from and the money spent to make it or the harm it causes. So there is this raised consciousness which I really love about this next generation."

AZ Big Media noted that "with 40 years under its belt and its second store, steadily increasing its business with new events, Changing Hands is a true testament that, sometimes, bigger isn't always better."



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stan Lee on CBS Sunday Morning

Tomorrow:
NPR's Weekend Edition: Christopher Buckley, author of The Relic Master: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501125751).

Sunday:
Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace: Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476752952).

CBS Sunday Morning: Stan Lee, co-author of Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir (Touchstone, $30, 9781501107726).


Movies: The War Magician; & Sons

Benedict Cumberbatch will star in The War Magician, which is being adapted by screenwriter Gary Whitta (Book Of Eli) from David Fisher's 1983 book The War Magician: How Japer Maskelyne & His Magic Gang Altered the Course of World War II. Deadline.com reported that the project is being mounted with funding from Studiocanal and the producers are Storyscape Entertainment's Bob Cooper and Richard Saperstein, Tony Eldridge's Lonetree Entertainment and SunnyMarch's Adam Ackland and Adam Selves. SunnyMarch is Cumberbatch's production company.

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Sarah Polley (Away From Her, The Stories We Tell) is adapting David Gilbert's novel & Sons for Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment, with John Lesher (Birdman, Black Mass) co-producing. Deadline.com wrote that Polley "is an inspired choice for the classy source material.... This is one of those projects that, in the right hands, could go all the way. Ratner's recruitment of both Polley and current indie King Midas John Lesher sets this up as one that emanates class from the outset."


Books & Authors

Awards: RBC Taylor for Literary Nonfiction

The longlist has been released for Canada's $25,000 (about US$18,430) RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction, which recognizes an author "whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style and a subtlety of thought and perception." A shortlist will be announced January 13 and the winning author named March 7 at an awards ceremony in Toronto. The winner will also announce his or her choice for the $10,000 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer's Award.


Book Brahmin: Jennifer Willoughby

photo: Kurt Gegenhuber

A recipient of the Academy of American Poets' James Wright Award and a graduate of the University of Minnesota's MFA program, Jennifer Willoughby lives in Minneapolis and works as an advertising copywriter. Her poems have appeared in the Believer and the Boston Review, among other publications. Beautiful Zero (Milkweed Editions, December 2015) is her first book and is the 2015 recipient of the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry.

On your nightstand now:

Mary Ruefle's Madness, Rack and Honey. The chapter about the first Apollo mission, its astronauts, their ultimate fates and how human relationships with space and science dovetail with poetry is amazing. Everything she says seems exactly how a poet should make sense of her world.

Favorite book when you were a child:

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. It made me want to be a veterinarian, and know that I never, ever could.

Your top five authors to take with when stranded on a desert island:

Joyce Carol Oates: She's historic, folkloric and canonical and supernaturally able to voice victims, predators, seekers, seers, young, old and specifically American places in time. The gothic sensibility that invades even her non-gothic work is just one of her many charms.

Emily Dickinson: For her genius, wit, rhyme and sideways power to be both incredibly secretive and wildly engaged with the world.

Agatha Christie: Haters can hate, but I was weaned on her novels. They comfort me like bourbon and fuzzy sweaters.

P.G. Wodehouse: Evelyn Waugh said that Wodehouse "will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own," and boy, was he right. Any novelist that can describe a baby as having a face like "a homicidal fried egg" is all right in my book.

Mary Ruefle: Besides Madness, Rack and Honey, I love Trances of the Blast (her poem about rabbits in a graveyard is right up there with Keats's "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be"), her whiteout poems and basically everything. I am trying to get my hands on the rare and rather unbelievably priced Indeed I Was Pleased with the World.

Book you've faked reading:

There must be hundreds of books I've read that I can't remember having read. Does that count? I have too much anxiety about being caught in a lie to fake reading books.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Miranda July's It Chooses You. It's both an elaborate exercise in artistic procrastination and incredibly moving documentary writing about beautifully weird, obsessed, isolated people and the physical stuff in their lives. July's ability to be baldly honest about herself without taking anything away from her subjects is uncanny and awe-inspiring.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Lots of early and mid-century pulp paperbacks in the heyday of tawdry, gaudy and bawdy book cover art: Bullet for a Blonde by Paul Kruger, Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon and Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie are just a few.

Book you hid from your parents:

Fanny by Erica Jong. I think I thought it was dirtier than it really was, innocent that I was. It's a rollicking, sexy, feminist reimagining of John Cleland's Fanny Hill (a pretty dirty book in its own right, if you like that kind of thing).

Book that changed your life:

Lorrie Moore's Self-Help. I read it in high school, after being pleasurably embalmed in Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Flaubert, de Maupassant, etc. Moore's book was a lightning bolt because it was so of its time, which was my time, and it was the first time I grasped the concept of contemporary American writing, and writers as existing on a spectrum that included my experiences. That is, I saw writing as a living thing, not an artifact, which meant there was a hope I could do it, too.

Favorite line from a book:

Most any from "Soonest Mended" by John Ashbery in The Double Dream of Spring. "Barely tolerated, living on the margin/ In our technological society, we were always having to be rescued," or "This was our ambition: to be small and clear and free." I love when Ashbery trots down hapless paths, he's both seeking and aimless, and old and cranky and young and funny simultaneously, like Larry David crossed with Saint Paul.

Five books you'll never part with:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. This is a great gothic adventure, and Jane is a feminist trailblazer, confronting monsters with steadiness, brains and bravery.

The Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke. I first read Stephen Mitchell's translation in German class, so it's the version that's imprinted on me. Like a baby duck.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Hooray for Jeanette Winterson's generous ferocity! And this book about a girl using fantasy, humor, stubbornness and imagination as both weapons to strengthen self identity and keys to salvation.

The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara. I can always return to Frank and find new joy in his joy, his language and the sheer volume of people roaming his poems.

Dracula by Bram Stoker. Like the Greeks, I think horror is cathartic. Horror, fireworks and Internet cat videos. A far cry from any of the movie versions, Stoker's book is a great epistolary novel that channels Victorian sexual and class anxiety at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, all while scaring the pants off you.

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

Donna Tartt's The Secret History. I distinctly remember the sense of discovery and breathtaking willingness to follow this author anywhere, which, as a reader, is the pull one always seeks.


Book Review

Review: The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project

The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea's Abduction Project by Robert S. Boynton (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26 hardcover, 9780374175849, January 12, 2016)

They vanished from beaches, from their European universities and vacations, and walking home after school. In his second book, The Invitation-Only Zone, Robert S. Boynton (The New New Journalism) pieces together the disturbing and still-unfolding story of North Korea's abductions of Japanese, South Koreans and other foreign citizens, from the 1950s to the present day.

Boynton sets his story of the abduction project deep in the context of the history between Japan and Korea. "I gradually came to understand that the subterranean link between Japan and Korea--whether by way of immigration, colonialism, or abduction--was the story." He centers his book on the lives of two couples who became neighbors in a North Korean "Invitation-Only Zone." Each young couple was kidnapped while on evening dates in 1978, separated for reeducation in North Korea, then reunited, married and moved into these restricted areas where they raised their children under the eyes of government watchers.

In 1991, a Japanese TV producer investigated the stories of Korean-Japanese whose relatives were among the 93,000 who accepted Kim Il-sung's offer of "repatriation" in 1956. Those interviews led him to the story of the abduction of a Japanese chef. He produced a documentary on the chef's abduction that was met with disbelief; he investigated further and wrote a book. The arrest and confession of a North Korean terrorist finally motivated the Japanese government to confront the question of the abductions project, and in 2002 five abductees were allowed to return to Japan.

Japanese public opinion turned from denial to outrage and panic. "Not only had the Japanese government failed to protect its people, but it emerged that it had been aware of the abduction project almost from the start." With the publicity came a rush of inquiries from families with missing relatives. Activist Kazuhiro Araki "believes the North has kidnapped more than two hundred fifty Japanese and that the kidnappings continue to this day."

Why did they do it? A variety of reasons seem to have existed at different times: to train or breed Japanese spies, to obtain skilled professionals or find wives for terrorists. Boynton writes that "ultimately, there was no single explanation or motivation. The most plausible explanation is that the abductions were part of a bold plan to unify the two Koreas, spread Kim Il-sung's ideology throughout Asia, and humiliate Japan." Anyone with an interest in the history and politics of these nations will find this a fascinating read. --Sara Catterall

Shelf Talker: The Invitation-Only Zone is the most thoroughly researched and complete telling so far of the still-unfolding story of North Korea's abduction projects.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Tis the Season for Holiday Bookselling

Surviving Christmas in bookshops boils down to a few simple factors: books, customers, staff, booze and gift-wrap. If one can find the magical alchemy of those five factors, seasonal balance is achieved and Santa rains gifts of splendor, leaving behind a fine whiff of health and happiness. Which is important, because January is hangover country. --Booksellers NZ in an article headlined "Surviving Santa"

In 1962, the New York Times noted that Scribner's Bookstore in New York City started its holiday season "in early November, by sending out a catalogue to some 40,000 regular customers. By mid-November, the Gift Table is set up--art books, cook books, indeed books from archaeology to zoology.... Igor Kropotkin, the manager of the store and president of the American Booksellers Association, says that Christmas trade accounts for between 35% and 40% of the year's business."

That number might still ring a silver bell or two for many booksellers, who annually seek creative ways to attract customers, boost sales, build community and, well, celebrate this high stakes retail season. I've been doing a little online window shopping recently, exploring local news coverage, social media posts and e-mail newsletters for indie bookseller holiday treats. Here's a sampling of what I've found thus far:

Events
Last night, author Allan Gurganus performed his holiday story, "A Fool for Christmas," at the Regulator Bookshop, Durham, N.C.: "If you, like me, have been having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year, given the grim goings on in the world, Allan's heartwarming tale will bring us just the tonic we need."

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City will present What the Dickens?: Sixth Annual A Christmas Carol Marathon tomorrow. Sponsored by Penguin Classics, the event features "dozens of terrific writers and performers" reading the classic holiday story. "Drop in early and often to catch a few surprise performers or linger through the afternoon for the whole, spirited tale."

Also tomorrow, Battenkill Books in Cambridge, N.Y., is hosting a Christmas Cookie Contest, judged by Ellen Stimson, author of An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth & Home.

Photo Ops


Media Coverage
"For a curious and intelligent person, what could be better than a Literary Concierge?" Nicole Magistro, owner of the Bookworm of Edwards, asked Vail Daily in a piece on holiday gift giving and the success of the bookseller's Literary Concierge services Give 15 for kids and Trust Me, You'll Love It for adults. "These gifts were mostly from grandparents to their far-flung families. But we soon realized there were plenty of other folks who wanted this kind of personal and regular recommendation."

Describing Bethlehem, Pa., as "a perfect place to visit during the holiday season," the Burlington County Times recommended a stop at the Moravian Bookshop, which "just happens to be the oldest bookshop in the country. Established in 1745, the shop has a full-service book department, a large Christmas and home goods section, a gift shop and cafe."

Holiday display at Fact & Fiction (photo: Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

Last weekend, downtown Missoula, Mont., held its annual Parade of Lights and the Missoulian featured a photo of the window display at Fact and Fiction Books, which highlights a brilliantly conceived paper snowman/author hard at work typing the great American winter novel with his tree branch arms.

I opened this brief peek at holiday bookselling with some words of wisdom from Booksellers NZ. As it happens, the same article also concludes with a useful dose of perspective for the season: "There is vast experience and kindness out there in bookshop-land, those who court success in this trade of ours work hard to find that magical alchemy of stock, staff and customers, understanding that it all links together to form a profitable and joyous union that makes the quiet closing of the doors at the end of the day on the twenty-forth of December, and the sigh that follows, deeply satisfying." --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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