Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 18, 2014

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: Roxy by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Shadow Mountain: Missing Okalee by Laura Ojeda Melchor

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone: Start your entrepreneurial journey with affordable packages, starting from $1,566

Candlewick Press: Mi Casa Is My Home by Laurenne Sala, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association: We're throwing a bookselling party and you're invited!

Big Picture Press: Art of Protest: Creating, Discovering, and Activating Art for Your Revolution by De Nichols

Callaway Arts & Entertainment: The Beatles: Get Back by The Beatles, photographed by Linda McCartney

St. Martin's Press: The Christie Affair by Nina De Gramont

Quotation of the Day

Betsy Burton: 'Amazon Can't Discount the Power of Community'

"The entire book world is watching this three-way standoff breathlessly. Because we are a community, those of us who work in the book industry, a community united by a love of books. Something Amazon doesn't seem to understand.

"Amazon evidently doesn't understand the love of local community either. It drains billions of dollars out of local economies and gives nothing back--no sales tax, no property tax, no payroll taxes since they pay no wages (except the part-time salary of UPS drivers, soon to be replaced--at least in Bezos' grandiose dreams--by squadrons of drones). In the process Amazon drives--or is attempting to drive--local retailers out of business, further eroding local economies nationwide.

Betsy BUrton"But it's not going to happen. Just as authors are uniting to stop the bullying, so are local communities. Local First Utah and other like organizations are educating people about the importance of local business to their local economy. And booksellers and authors everywhere are crying out that books are important. That they're not cannon fodder in a corporate war. And that communities are important--whether in the world of books or here at home."

--Betsy Burton, co-owner of the King's English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah, in an op-ed piece for the Tribune

Berkley Books: Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier


National Bookstore Day at BookPeople: 'A Great Day'

The National Bookstore Day for the BookPeople Nation on Saturday at BookPeople, Austin, Tex., was a "great day," according to BookPeople's Julie Wernersbach. Some 2,000 people came to the store, compared to a little more than 1,000 people on a usual Saturday. The store didn't have sales data as of last night, but Wernersbach said there were "long lines at the registers."

The stores' trivia competition drew a lot of people who "walked in wanting to play." The store ran out of the limited-edition tote bags it was giving away (as well as most of its other giveaway items) to purchasers of any of the BookPeople 100 titles, the BookPeople booksellers' most-loved books; many people came in to see the display.

BookPeople owner Steve Bercu
BookPeople owner Steve Bercu

Wernersbach also reported that customers enjoyed the tours of the store office and its receiving department, the kids' events in the morning and the voting for what movie to watch at the end of the day. "One of the my favorite moments was seeing how a crowd gathered around a table with a bookseller after we all talked about our staff picks for the fall," she said. "He stood there informally handselling upcoming books."

The store is thinking of having a similar format for Independent Bookstore Day next May 2 and using a "Carnival of Books" theme.

Paraclete Press: Mr. Nicholas: A Magical Christmas Tale by Christopher de Vinck

Washington Buy It Now Post

National newspaper as e-commerce fodder?

For the first time that we've seen, a regular article in the Washington Post, bought by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last year, had a buy button in the text accompanying the mention of a book. In a Style section story about an odd cover illustration for a new U.K. edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, the phrase "Roald Dahl classic" and a "Buy it now" box immediately following it both linked to the book's page on Amazon.

After others noted the link and posted about it yesterday, the link disappeared. The Post had an odd explanation for the disappearance, telling that the links had been added erroneously and should have been on the side of the article, a practice that has been used "for many years" and had not increased since Bezos bought the paper. Still, the Post has used links in the texts of book reviews and letters to the editor. It was not clear why this particular link was decoupled.

What's next? Any story mentioning a politician links to the usual autobiographies and issues titles?

Thanks to eagle-eyed Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books for the tip!

Berkley Books: Sadie on a Plate by Amanda Elliot

German Authors Sign Amazon Protest Letter

More than 1,000 writers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland--including Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek--have now signed an open letter to Amazon, "accusing it of manipulating its recommended reading lists and lying to customers about the availability of books as retaliation in a dispute over e-book prices," the New York Times reported. Amazon's battle with the German subsidiaries of Swedish media company Bonnier Group has similarities to the Hachette dispute.

"Amazon's customers have, until now, had the impression that these lists are not manipulated and they could trust Amazon. Apparently that is not the case. Amazon manipulates recommendation lists. Amazon uses authors and their books as a bargaining chip to exact deeper discounts," read the letter, which was to be sent to Amazon and to appear in leading publications today. The authors released a digital version Friday at a new website organizers created after some German publications leaked the story, resulting in an "overwhelming response."

The Times noted that the decision to publish the letter "was made weeks before the annual book fair in Frankfurt, which starts a new season of price negotiations. Gerhard Ruiss, of the IG Authors Austrian, the Interest Group of Austrian Authors, which also signed the open letter, said the action was only the first step to raise readers' awareness about the issue. Other steps will include discussions and demonstrations at the fair, which takes place in October."

In an e-mail response, Amazon said Bonnier "offers most of its titles under conditions that make it significantly more expensive for us to sell a digital version, as compared to a printed edition. E-books can and should be offered cheaper than printed books, and this should also go for the prices at which booksellers buy from publishers."

Explaining why he signed the letter, John von Düffel told Deutsche Welle that an appeal to readers "could hit Amazon in a sensitive spot. It can exist without me--but without customers, it's a bit more difficult.... Amazon is an online shop, but not the only one. Amazon is a good thing for people who don't leave their home. But for those who do leave their home, walking to the closest bookstore to order a book is unproblematic. That only takes 24 hours and you don't have to go to the post office. There was life before Amazon, and there will also be life after Amazon."

The letter was jointly initialized by the German Pen Center and the Börsenverein, the German publishers, wholesalers and booksellers association, Deutsche Welle noted.

Will Atkinson Named Managing Director of Atlantic Books

Will Atkinson
Will Atkinson

Effective October 1, Will Atkinson, Faber's sales and marketing director, will join Atlantic Books as managing director and publisher, the Bookseller reported. Toby Mundy, founder and CEO of the British publisher, left his position in June, six months after Allen & Unwin became the publisher's majority shareholder.

"At Faber, [Atkinson] has demonstrated an unrelenting enthusiasm for independent publishing tempered with an unparalleled zeal for negotiating the best deal," said Peter Roche, Atlantic's chair. "I've admired Will's work for many years and believe he is the perfect person to head up Atlantic Books."

The Novel Neighbor Brings Books and Art to Webster Groves

"We're opening regardless, but it's been amazing," said Holland Saltsman, who recently launched an indiegogo campaign to raise $20,000 for her new bookstore, the Novel Neighbor, which will open in Webster Groves, Mo., near St. Louis, in early September. So far, the campaign has raised more than $8,600. "People want a bookstore; they're invested in local," she said. "The support they've given me is unbelievable."

Saltsman's plan is to open a 2,600-square-foot general bookstore that includes a community meeting space, work from local artists and a studio belonging to an "artist-in-residence." The artwork for sale will be organized around sections and book genres, with things like handmade tea towels and cutting boards displayed alongside cookbooks. The artist-in-residence will work in the studio nearly full time and teach a variety of art classes, for both kids and adults, in store.

"I went to a lot of festivals in St. Louis and the surrounding areas and I was really impressed by local artists," explained Saltsman. "But I could only find them on Etsy or Facebook. A lot of them lived locally, but there was no storefront."

At around the same time, and spurred in part by reports of a growing indie resurgence, Saltsman began to consider opening a bookstore. The idea of partnering with local artists helped define and focus her developing business plan, and after an artist friend mentioned that she was looking for studio space and wanted to teach art classes, Saltsman had the idea of an artist-in-residence.

"I thought about what my dream store would be," Saltsman said. Her dream store, it turned out, would be a bookstore, full of local art, with a community space for art classes, birthday parties and other events. "It seemed a much more solid business plan than just opening a bookstore, if we could have people coming in for different reasons."

As she continued to formulate a business plan, Saltsman assumed that finding a retail space would be the easiest part of the process; it turned out to be the most difficult part. After one space didn't work out, Saltsman found a perfect spot "at the last hour," and is now "knee-deep" in minor construction.

"I think we'll have a soft opening by September 13," said Saltsman. She has a lot of the merchandise ready to go and is currently talking to publishers to build up the inventory. The ribbon cutting, Saltsman expects, will be a little later in the fall. She also has the store's initial events lined up: one of the first art classes will be a workshop on how to make a lamp out of an old book, and the first birthday party will be a Day the Crayons Quit-themed party for an eight-year-old girl. Saltsman is also considering hosting a "A Night with Heather Brewer" event in October, which would be aimed at getting St. Louis area librarians and teachers in contact with YA author Heather Brewer.

"We're so fortunate to have some incredible local authors," Saltsman said. "I'm really excited about it; we can do so much with them."

Saltsman has a master's degree in education and a diverse background that includes work in higher education, as a children's librarian, and as an independent bookseller. From 2010 until 2012, she worked at the now-closed Pudd'nhead Books; her primary role there was coordinating and planning author events. Her favorite book is Mary Doria Russell's novel The Sparrow and she is passionate about children's and young adult literature.

Saltsman will be one of three staff members when the store opens and expects to be in the store nearly 24/7 in the early months. "Without going crazy, you want to there all the time," she said. "As the owner, you want to be the first person people meet, the first time they walk through the door. For the Novel Neighbor to really be a community store, there has to be that sense of hospitality." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Notes: Leonard Fein; Mary MacCracken

Leonard Fein, "an intellectual and activist who wrote voluminously about contemporary Jews, Judaism and, in his words, 'the often stormy relationship between Jews and Judaism,' " died last week, the New York Times reported. He was 80. His books included Where Are We? The Inner Life of America's Jews and Against the Dying of the Light: A Parent's Story of Love, Loss and Hope.


Mary MacCracken, "whose memoirs about her intensely individualized approach to teaching children with emotional and cognitive disabilities were made into television movies," died July 23, the New York Times reported. She was 88. Her books included A Circle of Children, City Kid and Lovey: A Very Special Child.


Image of the Day: Tattered Cover Alights at DIA

Tattered Cover at Denver International Airport, the result of a licensing agreement with Hudson Booksellers, held its grand opening last week, celebrating the three stores currently up and running at the airport (one on each concourse). A fourth store, planned for the airport main terminal, is tentatively scheduled to open this fall. Cutting the ribbon were author Peter Heller (3rd from left), children's author Ingrid Law (4th from left); Joe DiDomizio, CEO of Hudson Group (center); Mayor Michael Hancock (in white shirt); Joyce Meskis, owner of Tattered Cover (second from r.); and DIA manager Kim Day (far r.). The celebrations also included book signings by local authors at each store throughout the day.

Union Ave Books.: 'Knoxville Gets the Bookstore It Needs'

Unon Avenue BooksUnion Ave Books, "Knoxville's only independent bookstore selling new books is thriving three years after opening," the Memphis Daily News reported, noting that owner Flossie McNabb's business evolved from a prior store, and now she partners with her daughter, Bunnie Presswood.

"Every customer that walks in the door, I feel thankful for, in this day and time. You want to do your best to make them feel welcome," McNabb said.

She and Presswood worked together at now-closed Carpe Librum, where McNabb was one of four owners. The Daily News noted that "the itch to sell books stayed with McNabb, who'd been in the business for 12 years, including six years at Davis-Kidd Booksellers." Union Ave Bookstore's space is smaller. "The size is much more manageable. It has that good feel," she observed. "I love the old building, the real high ceiling, the woodwork, the creaky floors. I just love it."

"Once you get that bookstore bug, it's hard to get rid of. I just wasn't ready to stop," McNabb said, adding that indie bookselling is "about being passionate about what you're doing, and readers are passionate so you're sharing a passion."

BAM Launching 'The Write Stuff' Program

Books-A-Million is rolling out a new curation program called "The Write Stuff" online and in its stores, with a goal of bringing "the expertise its book buyers have to customers directly and easily: what Books-A-Million's book buyers truly love, and find worthy of calling out, will be marked with 'The Write Stuff' logo on the website and within the shelves of its stores."

" 'The Write Stuff' is about giving our customers access to the best of the best," said Margaret Terwey, senior fiction book buyer. "Books-A-Million buyers have decades of experience, and by hand-selecting and curating products, we are able to give our customers new discoveries and experiences each time they visit the store or go online."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Stephan Eirik Clark on Fresh Air

This morning on CBS This Morning: Daniel J. Levitin, author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload (Dutton, $27.95, 9780525954187). He will also appear on MSNBC's the Cycle.

Also on MSNBC's the Cycle: Helen Thorpe, author of Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War (Scribner, $28, 9781451668100).


This week on MSNBC's Hardball: Rick Perlstein, author of The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan (Simon & Schuster, $37.50, 9781476782416).


Today on Fresh Air: Stephan Eirik Clark, author of Sweetness #9: A Novel (Little, Brown, $26, 9780316278751).


Today on NPR's On Point: William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (Free Press, $26, 9781476702711). He will also appear on Fox News's Kelly Files and tomorrow on MSNBC's the Cycle.


Today on NPR's Diane Rehm Show: Alan Rabinowitz, author of An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar (Island Press, $30, 9781597269964).


Tomorrow morning on the Today Show: Pat O'Brien, author of I'll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $26.99, 9780312564377).


Tomorrow on Sirius XM's Oprah Radio: Mark Nepo, author of The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be (Atria, $26, 9781476774640).

TV: The Kills

Richard House's novel The Kills "is headed to television as a drama series for Starz and the BBC produced by Colin Callender's Playground," reported. A search is underway now for a writer to adapt the novel, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013. Recently released in the U.S. by Picador, The Kills was originally published in the U.K. as four separate, interconnecting books.

Books & Authors

Awards: Hugo Winners

The Hugo Awards winners were announced last night during Loncon 3, the World Science Fiction Convention:

Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
Best Novella: "Equoid" by Charles Stross (, 9/2013)
Best Novelette: "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal ( /, 9/2013)
Best Short Story: "The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere" by John Chu (, 2/2013)
Best Related Work: "We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative" by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
Best Graphic Story: "Time" by Randall Munroe (xkcd)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj, Heyday Films, Warner Bros.)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Game of Thrones: "The Rains of Castamere" written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
Best Editor, Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Editor, Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan
Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon
Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton and Stefan Rudnicki
Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink, edited by Aidan Moher
Best Fancast: SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester
Best Fan Writer: Kameron Hurley
Best Fan Artist: Sarah Webb

Also, the John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines: Sofia Samatar

Book Review

Review: Once in the West

Once in the West: Poems by Christian Wiman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23 hardcover, 9780374227012, September 9, 2014)

Few of today's great American poets are also very religious. Mary Karr comes to mind, who converted to Catholicism in her 40s. Another is Christian Wiman. Wiman, like Karr, is a Texan. Raised as a Southern Baptist, he lost his religion early on, then wrote several fine books of poetry, became editor of Poetry magazine and learned he had a rare, incurable form of cancer. As he described in his popular memoir, My Bright Abyss, he returned to faith, to prayer. He felt his strong spiritual hunger fulfilled--and his cancer hasn't killed him yet.

In his fourth poetry collection, Once in the West, Wiman explores the "hard horizonless country" of his West Texas roots, his religion, his family and the joy of being alive. Here, he proves himself to be a writer who can show us the world poetically from a metaphysical, mystical, religious viewpoint. His poetry can sustain, lift up, support--it is sustenance for the soul. The opening poem, "Prayer," is an invocation to the reader: "my prayer/ is that a mind/ blurred/ by anxiety/ or despair/ might find/ here/ a trace/ of peace."

His is an intense, intimate poetry, employing surprising meter, rhyme and word juxtaposition to share ideas, opinions and memories, as he does in "Keynote": "I saw/ I saw/ like a huge claw time tear through the iron/ armory and the baseball fields/ the slush-puppy stand/ the little pier at Towle Park Pond/ until I stood strangered/ before the living staring Godfearing men/ who knew me when." Or in "Razing a Tower": "Once in the west I rose to witness/ the cleverest devastation./ It was early but I was late/ and the quiet into which I crept... was intimate, inviolate, tribal./ I didn't so much keep it as was kept."

In "Winterlude," he confesses to the reader his experience with cancer, the pain and the suffering. "Painlady leaning into pain as every day she does:/ this time it's mine, this time my spine's/ rivering new forms of formlessness:/ lava crawling creaturely through my jaw,/ one shoulder shot through with shineless light/ only the unliving could see by."

In an epigraph to "Self-Portrait, with Preacher, Pain, and Snow," Wiman quotes theologian Karl Barth. It does much to encapsulate Wiman's life and art: "We need to be ready and resolved simply to let the truth be told us and therefore to be apprehended by it." --Tom Lavoie, former publisher

Shelf Talker: Wiman's poetry shows us how to experience and confront the fear of death, and the sustenance of a faith in something greater.

Deeper Understanding

World's Longest Bookstore Tour: Part 3

Jenny Milchman, whose newest book is Ruin Falls (Ballantine), embarked recently on a cross-country author tour. This is the third installment of notes from her trip:

There's nothing like four months of touring to make you feel young again, and as I steamed west on the world's longest book tour, the years just seemed to peel away. Yes, you're reading correctly--book tour really doesn't have to be the long slog you might imagine. There's an energy that comes from being out here on the road and from engaging with so many readers and booksellers face-to-face.

A comfortable reading nook at Looking Glass Books in La Grande, Ore.
A comfortable reading nook at Looking Glass Books in La Grande, Ore.

We hit La Grande, Ore., for Looking Glass Books, a bookstore offers a combination of new and used titles, which means that local kids curl up by the shelves to dig for tales of yesteryear, even as authors come to take part in the town/gown conversation going on in this university town. The mayor came to my event, and even after visiting nearly 400 bookstores, that was a first.

Some bookstore experiences are colored by the bookseller, which happened at Auntie's Books in Spokane, Wash. The soaring, two-storied space, whose upper walls are covered in art from an attached gallery, would be worth a trip on its own. But Linda Bond has a love of books that shines from her like a halo. No sooner have you said hello before the discussion of recent reads is flowing. It's a chance to see handselling and word of mouth in action... and judging by the attendees' march to the registers, this is a powerful tool.

Tucked away on a spit of land that extends nearly to Canada, Village Books in Bellingham, Wash., is creating a community dialogue that centers on books. Events here include everything from a live recording for local radio to a party afterward at the gourmet café upstairs. (The secret ingredient in those peanut butter cookies is fresh rosemary.) There's even a robust organization in town called the Red Wheelbarrow Writers, who can fill a room for book events.

Milchman with Fran Fuller of Seattle Mystery Bookshop

The subtitle of the World's Longest Book Tour could have been Seattle in Thirty Days, because Seattle Mystery Bookshop, down a steep trio of steps, boasts some of the most serious collectors we've encountered on this trip. Books are to be signed and dated no more than 30 days after publication, and as the stack grows on the long, wooden signing table and readers line up to pluck them up, you can almost watch a title appear on the store's bestseller list in real time. This marriage of ardent fan, knowledgeable bookseller and destination bookstore might be the trifecta of books.

Orca Books
A gem of Pacific Northwest bookselling.

What better place for a book club to meet than in a bookstore? Orca Books in Olympia, Wash., hosted a book club led by a bookseller who recently retired but continues to be involved with the book club. The circle of chairs was filled, then more chairs had to be brought out, as more people arrived. Voices rose in a clamor--club members know how to discuss a book. Amid snacks and drinks, the group posed some of the most insightful questions I had heard yet.

Many booksellers are creatively involving self-published authors with their stores. We've seen dedicated stands of books, consignment programs, monthly open mics for authors--I could write a whole column about the variety of approaches. Portland, Ore., is a very bookish city, and Annie Bloom's Books proof of that. The bookstore hosted a conversation about the advantages of self-publishing versus holding out for a traditional deal ways featuring me and local "indie" author Lauren Sweet.

Grass Roots Books & Music in Corvallis, Ore., has gone through several iterations, involving a café and locavore efforts to engage customers and the community. I got to discuss these and other dimensions of bookselling today with a local journalist as well as owner Jack Wolcott during one highly enlightening evening.

Sunriver Books
Loyal audience at Sunriver Books, whose events make for a summer's night out.

Some bookstores we've visited have a customer base so loyal and engaged that all the booksellers have to do is whisper about an event, and this becomes the social plan for the evening. Such is Deon Stonehouse, owner of Sunriver Books & Music in the resort community of Sunriver, Ore. Deon spoke with joy about "growing an author"--seeing the chairs in her lovely, airy side room mostly filled, thoroughly filled, until lo and behold, that same author is appearing at the off-site theater the bookstore uses to host such greats as Craig Johnson.

California, here we come... and how could any author on book tour not? It's got to be one of the most bookstore-dense states. The Davis area boasts an active writing group and several published authors, including two who came to the Avid Reader: chilly, windswept mystery author Catriona McPherson and the wry and witty humorous mystery author Cindy Sample. When the conversation can unfold over multiple books and authors' perspectives, things get interesting.

This trend of authors appearing at bookstore events continued into Corte Madera--thank you, Cara Black and Judy Greber--but Book Passage offered something we hadn't seen on the road yet. This is a bookstore that has its own writing conference, the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference. With its other location in San Francisco, this store touches many facets of writing, publishing and bookselling today. Bookseller Johanna Rupp is any reader and author's best friend, and Book Passage is a can't-miss stop for any lover of words.

A Bay Area bookstore empire with more than 10 locations is Books, Inc. I visited the one in Berkeley and again found members of a writers group, including mystery author Andrew McRae, among the attendees. Having fans attend book events is a joy and a wonder, but it can take a while to build to that point. Even when it happens, I have found that communing with fellow writers in bookstores does much more than make for a robust gathering. It allows us to explore some of the changes in the industry in a setting that has remained constant--and give back by supporting the bookstores that support us.

Mysterious Galaxy
A changing landscape of books--this bookstore will soon close, while its other location is expanding

Mysterious Galaxy is another destination bookstore for mystery lovers, and also another example of adapting to changing times in the bookseller scene. I was lucky enough to get to appear at the Redondo Beach location just before it transformed from a bricks-and-mortar into a horse of a different color. This location will from now on host author appearances, provide books at off-site events and finds ways to interact with its community, but it will no longer be a browsing bookstore. Luckily, the sting of this is balanced by the fact that the San Diego Mysterious Galaxy will be expanding. The night they hosted for me took place in the old location, but the next time I visit, it will be bigger, brighter and more book-filled than ever.

Pages in Manhattan Beach
Surf lovers in Manhattan Beach come in for a night of books

Manhattan Beach is a town for strolling and surfers, and many of the former if not the latter wander into the local bookstore, Pages. We had a few walk-ins the night I shared with lawyer-turned-author Robert Rotstein. Bob and I spoke about transitioning from one profession to another, and I tell you... there's nothing like being so close to Hollywood to make the book industry feel stable and secure.

It's fitting to wrap up this segment of the world's longest book tour with Vroman's in Pasadena, a bookstore that has been in the hands of the same family for 118 years. That kind of longevity and continuity is inspiring in our disposable world. But that's the thing about books and bookstores. They make us believe in the power of the permanent, and none better than this one, whose event calendar covers most of one wall and includes some of the biggest names in the biz... plus story hour for the kids. So long as bookstores like Vroman's are packing the room, I have a feeling I could be writing this column for a very long time.

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