Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 4, 2016

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Clarion Books: Speak Up by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Ebony Glenn

Mira Books: The Wrong Kind of Woman by Sarah McCraw Crow

Del Rey Books: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

Zonderkidz: Pugtato Finds a Thing by Sophie Corrigan

Disney-Hyperion: The Tower of Nero (Trials of Apollo, the Book Five) by Rick Riordan

Quotation of the Day

Indie Resurgence 'Making Me Feel Hopeful for Humanity'

"The independent booksellers grew me a readership book by book, sale by sale, totally by hand. And here I am 10 years and seven books later and that would not be true if it weren't for independent booksellers all over the country.

"The thing that makes me feel really happy and hopeful, not just for me but for writers in general, is this resurgence we're having--the kickback against the impersonal Internet. The indies are really having a renaissance right now in a way that is making me feel hopeful for humanity."

--Joshilyn Jackson, whose novel The Opposite of Everyone is the #1 Indie Next List pick for March

GLOW: Grand Central Publishing: We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper


Ingram Buying Perseus's Distribution Business

Ingram Content Group is buying the distribution operations of Perseus Books Group.

Perseus's distribution business serves 600 publishers and has sales estimated at $300 million a year. Its main components are Publishers Group West, Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Legato Publishers Group, Perseus Distribution, Perseus Academic and Constellation digital services.

Ingram is best known for its warehouse operations, but also has a strong POD program and digital operations and has steadily built up its distribution division, Ingram Publisher Services, which has some 115 clients. Ingram will add Perseus Distribution's Jackson, Tenn., facility to its physical and print-on-demand logistics network. 

John Ingram, chairman and CEO of Ingram Content Group, welcomed "new colleagues from Perseus and publisher clients from Perseus distribution to Ingram Content Group" and said that the purchase "supports Ingram's transformation to a more comprehensive provider of global publisher services with a compelling offering in physical and digital distribution. The talented people at Perseus have created a company known for its service, and we're thrilled to be adding them to our team."

Perseus Books president and CEO David Steinberger commented: "The commitment to independent publishers enabled our people to build the industry's leading client services business. So we are very pleased to have found such a good long-term home for that business with Ingram, a company with a longstanding reputation for excellence."

The sale of Perseus's distribution operations to Ingram completes a deal whose roots go back almost two years, when, in June 2014, Perseus announced it was selling the whole company to Hachette, which was going to keep Perseus's publishing business but immediately sell the distribution operations to Ingram. The three-way deal collapsed in August 2014. In September 2015, after it received repeated inquiries, Perseus said it was "exploring" a sale of the company, and this time was using the services of an advisor, Greenhill & Co.

Just this past Tuesday, Perseus and Hachette announced that Hachette is buying Perseus's publishing operations. At the time, Perseus's Steinberger said the company was making "good progress" on a deal to sell its distribution operations.

Steinberger said he will wait until the Hachette and Ingram deals are completed before considering his own plans for the future. He added that looks forward to continuing his role as chairman of the National Book Foundation.

Steinberger joined Perseus in 2004. He was earlier president of the adult trade group and president of corporate strategy and international at HarperCollins, a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and deputy commissioner for bridges in the New York City government. He has an MBA from Wharton.

Perseus Books Group was founded in 1996 by Frank Pearl and grew steadily through a combination of acquisitions and internal growth. Frank Pearl died in 2012. A year ago, Centre Lane Partners took a controlling interest in Perseus.

Grand Central Publishing: The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

B&N Stock Jumps on Quarterly Report

Yesterday, Barnes & Noble stock rose 6.9%, to $10.94 a share, on higher than usual volume as Wall Street reacted favorably to the company's third quarter results. (Although overall sales dropped 1.8%, to $1.4 billion, net earnings more than doubled, to $80.3 million, and the core bookstore business was up.)

Speaking with securities analysts, B&N executives added information about the company's performance (thanks to Thomson Reuters for the transcript).

Book sales fell because of "lower sales of trade and juvenile titles partially offset by strong sales of coloring books," CEO Ron Boire said. Toys and game sales rose 12.5%, gifts were up 13.8%, and sales of the relatively new category of vinyl records rose 2.7 times.

These trends have resulted in the company closing eight stores this fiscal year, ending at the end of April, compared to the 13 it had planned, the lowest level of closings since 2000. In the coming fiscal year, it predicts it will close 14 stores but open four new concept stores, for a net loss of 10 stores. The first new concept store should open in "late summer."

Bookstore sales were helped by such store-wide events as "Vinyl Day" and the return of signed editions, as well as by B&N's "You Never Know Who You'll Meet" TV ad campaign featuring Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Boire said the campaign "generated great buzz and unprecedented social media reaction for the company, with millions of social media impressions."

Sales at improved but "we still have work to do to improve sales," Boire commented. "We have undertaken major projects to improve the user experience, including a redesign of the front-end, improving SCO by reengineering certain elements of the site and improving's search tool so that it's more relevant and intuitive to the customer's query."

Noting that half of site traffic is driven by mobile, Boire added that B&N is "making investments to improve our mobile and tablet experience," which includes "consolidating multiple B&N apps into a single customer experience."

The company's merchandising strategy in stores has a discovery theme, COO Jaime Carey said, as the company aims for "a more shoppable, discoverable experience for the customers in terms of the way we lay out our categories and our adjacencies and our promotions. I think maybe you're going to see a little more focus on us making sure that the very best books are brought forward."

As part of its efforts to reduce Nook expenses, B&N has given up Nook's app and video business and is exiting the U.K. e-book business, which Sainsbury will take over.

Disney-Hyperion: The Tower of Nero (Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan

Kobo's Tamblyn: 'End of the Beginning for E-books'

Michael Tamblyn

Speaking at the IPG Spring Conference this week, Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn highlighted the "steady state" of digital sales and said the publishing industry needed to let go of "preconceptions about what the reader is," noting that more than 50% of Kobo's readers are over 55 years old and 30% retired, the Bookseller reported.

"People 55 and over are leading a digital charge for the first time," he observed. "That kind of understanding of what that customer looks like changes everything for us.... [I]t seems more like there are times when people have more time in their life to read, and time when they don't. It's a conveyor belt that brings new recruits all the time. People make more time for reading as they get older."

Noting that "the book is a shockingly durable medium," Tamblyn said "it's probably not the end of days then, and probably not the end of the industry as we know it, but for e-books, it's probably the end of the beginning, and I think that's okay. We now have four ways to sell a book: bricks and mortar, print, audiobook and e-book, and none of them are going anywhere. Each of them gives us a nearly infinite list of options to answer the question 'what should I read next?' and as much as all of my retailer instincts are pushing me to focus on what someone reads next, I will spend at least as much time thinking about how someone wants to read. The readers' wants are so fundamental, so basic, that they sometimes get lost in the drive to sell customers that next thing. But if we answer that well, we earn the right to the readers attention."

NYC's Metrograph Arthouse Theater/Bookstore Opens

Metrograph, the arthouse cinema on New York City's Lower East Side that opens today, includes a balcony-level bookshop "for literary moviegoers. Patrons are welcome to peruse a distinctive selection of printed matter centered on moving pictures, from rare first-edition biographies of iconic directors to the latest issues of today's most important film journals."

Metrograph's founder and film director Alexander Olch (The Windmill Movie) told Time Out New York: "The dream is to make a place that is very special for cinema, which is slightly different than just building a cinema. It's a place that you would come to that speaks to the world of cinema but serves your purposes beyond seeing a movie. It's a place you'd want to hang out."

Obituary Note: William H. Schaap

William H. Schaap, "a radical lawyer, author and publisher who fought against investigative abuses by government agencies at home and abroad," died February 25, the New York Times reported. He was 75. In 1976, Schaap and his wife, Ellen Ray, formed what became CovertAction, "a publication that reported on illegal Central Intelligence Agency activities," the Times noted. They co-edited the books Covert Action: The Roots of Terrorism and Bioterror: Manufacturing Wars the American Way. Schaap and Ray also founded Sheridan Square Press, which published New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison's On the Trail of the Assassins: My Investigation and Prosecution of the Murder of President Kennedy.


Image of the Day: Pub Party for Dear Pope Francis

Forty people gathered at the Sheen Center in Manhattan on Wednesday night to celebrate the release of Pope Francis's first and only book for children, Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World (Loyola Press). Pictured: Tom McGrath, Loyola's director of new product development, trade; Antonio Spadaro, S.J., project editor; and James Martin, S.J., author of My Life with the Saints.

Photo Shoot: L.A.'s the Last Bookstore

As downtown Los Angeles's "landscape continues to evolve, one beautiful and massive bookstore has come to serve as a thriving cultural heart of the neighborhood," LAist observed in featuring a photo collection exploring the Last Bookstore and an interview with owner Josh Spencer. Among our favorite exchanges:

How does the space inform the experience for visitors and how does the artwork play into that?
It's a 100-year-old bank with vaults, huge pillars, old tile floors, and so forth. We tried to design around that to create a nostalgic feel. The artwork is meant to stimulate the imagination and creative juices, just like the books much of it is made from.

What challenges have you faced over the years of developing and running the bookstore?
The usual... staffing issues, cash flow, inventory systems, parking, point of sale headaches, etc. Tedious retail business challenges. Everything is a challenge! Being downtown we deal with a crazy amount of shop-lifting and vandalism and acts of craziness from some street people, which costs us thousands of dollars a month. But each challenge is gratifying in its own way and helps me and my staff grow as human beings who can treat every fellow human with dignity and do anything we put our minds to.

Do you think one day you may be the very last bookstore left or is there still hope for others?
Tons of new bookstores are opening all over America, so our name has definitely proved to be tongue-in-cheek for now. For anyone who loves books more than money, there's always hope.

Pennie Picks The Kitchen House

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom (Touchstone, $16, 9781439153666) as her pick of the month for March. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"As cliched as it may sound, books really are the most affordable and convenient way to travel--from real to imaginary places and through time. This month's book buyer's pick, The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, begins in 1791, and shines a light on a time when possessing slaves and indentured servants was a common practice.

"Lavinia, an Irish orphan placed in the kitchen house to work as an indentured servant, befriends the slaves who work there. However, as she gets older, her fair skin allows her to move to the main house, where she struggles with straddling both worlds.

"Reading The Kitchen House has me ready for Grissom's follow-up novel, Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House, which will be available on April 5."

Personnel Changes at Scholastic

At Scholastic Trade:

Saraciea Fennell has been promoted to publicist. She was previously associate publicist.

Brooke Shearouse has been promoted to publicity coordinator. She was previously publicity assistant.

Emily Heddleson has been promoted to senior marketing manager, educational and library marketing. She was previously marketing manager.

Antonio Gonzalez has been promoted to senior marketing manager, brand marketing. He was most recent marketing manager, educational and library marketing.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Richard Price on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Richard Price, author of The Whites: A Novel (Picador, $16, 9780312621308).

MSNBC's Politics Nation with Al Sharpton: Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476716565).

TV: American Gods

Ian McShane (Deadwood) has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in Starz TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel American Gods. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the role comes as McShane is "poised to have a major part in HBO's upcoming sixth season of Game of Thrones. The casting brings him back to Starz, where he earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in miniseries Pillars of the Earth. His credits also include Pirates of the Caribbean, Ray Donovan, The West Wing and Lovejoy." Production on the series begins in April. Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (The River) are writing the script and serving as showrunners. David Slade will direct the pilot and additional episodes.

"When you write a beloved character (beloved with, or despite, or because of all his faults) like Mr. Wednesday, you get to watch the Internet trying to cast the role," Gaiman said. "I've seen a hundred names suggested, but few make me grin like Ian McShane does. I've already been lucky enough to have him in one film (he was bright blue in it, animated, and probably Polish). Now I count myself even luckier: he's made the journey from Lovejoy to American Gods. Yesterday was Super Tuesday. Today is Wonderful Wednesday."

Books & Authors

Awards: Story Prize; Tufts Poetry; Blue Peter Children's Book

At an awards ceremony held Wednesday night at the New School in New York City, Adam Johnson won the Story Prize for his short story collection Fortune Smiles. Published last August by Random House, Fortune Smiles also won last year's National Book Award for fiction; according to Story Prize director Larry Dark, Johnson is the first author to win the Story Prize and National Book Award for the same book (Johnson also won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for his novel The Orphan Master's Son). The Story Prize comes with a $20,000 award.

The runners-up for this year's Story Prize were Charles Baxter, nominated for There's Something I Want You to Do (Pantheon), and Colum McCann, nominated for Thirteen Ways of Looking (Random House). The judges for the award were author Anthony Doerr, librarian Rita Meade and New Yorker staff writer Kathryn Schulz.


Ross Gay won Claremont Graduate University's $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, given annually to a mid-career poet, for Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press). In addition, Danez Smith won the $10,000 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, given for a first book by a "poet of genuine promise," for [insert] boy (YesYes Books). Both writers will be honored at an awards ceremony April 7.


Two graphic artists turned authors are winners of this year's Blue Peter Book Awards, chosen by schoolchildren across the U.K. to "celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children."

This year's winning books are The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie (best story), which children described as giving them a "wonderful feeling" and said the plot was like "putting pieces into a jigsaw"; and The Epic Book of Epicness by Adam Frost (best book with facts), which children praised for having "funny facts that made your head fizzle."

Book Brahmin: Belinda McKeon

photo: Alen MacWeeney

Belinda McKeon's second novel, Tender, the story of an obsessive relationship between a young woman and a gay man in 1990s Ireland, has just been published by Lee Boudreaux Books (February 16, 2016). Originally from rural Ireland, McKeon has lived in New York for 10 years and teaches at Rutgers University. She is also the author of the novel Solace and the editor of the anthology A Kind of Compass: Stories on Distance.

On your nightstand now:

I've wanted to get my hands on Benjamin Wood's novel The Ecliptic all year, and passing through Dublin Airport last week, I finally nabbed a copy. It's a portrait of a group of artists living in a refuge off the coast of Istanbul, concentrating particularly on the character of Elspeth, a painter who has run away from the 1960s art scene in London. Wood's way of writing about art, and about the envies and anxieties that spring up between artists, is absorbing and addictive. Also by my bed is Issue 23 of A Public Space, one of my favorite literary journals; this issue focuses on forgotten or erased artists, with the editor's note revealing that the idea for the issue started at the $1 cart in Housing Works Bookstore, "where the undervalued and damaged books are put for sale." I love that glimpse, and the knowledge that such a rich collection of writings and images grew from it. Finally, on the nightstand is a galley of Helen Oyeyemi's new short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. It came with a key, the way galleys tend to come with accessories these days. I'm looking forward to the read, but the key has gone into the bin.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The first books I remember reading were a little set of four Peter Rabbit tales; it was, for some reason, published by the British department store Marks & Spencer in the early 1980s. Our neighbor Jo, who was slightly posh and au fait with British department stores, gave me a tale a week as a gift when I was maybe four years old. The books fascinated me; I was obsessed with the idea of there being all these little houses, with furniture and everything, in all the rabbit holes and tree trunks I saw around me. What also stuck with me were all the threats Peter faced from grown-ass men and rabbits, who wanted to punish and hurt him (they were total sadists!), but how he kept going anyway. He was my hero. Still is, come to think of it.

Your top five authors:

I return to Deborah Eisenberg's stories again and again, and teach them often. I love their uncompromising take on the things we humans get up to. Not dissimilarly, I love the stories of the 20th-century Irish writer Mary Lavin; they're often about the lives of girls and women, and they never hesitate to tell difficult truths. Edwidge Danticat, from Breath, Eyes, Memory to last year's YA title Untwine, her writing takes my breath away. I don't love everything Alan Hollinghurst has written, but for the The Line of Beauty alone, he makes my top five. And these days, I think it's not just okay but recommended to consider an author a favorite not just for their books, but for their brilliant social media presence. Roxane Gay is that writer for me.

Book you've faked reading:

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. I turned up for a tutorial on this novel in college, and nobody else did, so it was just me and the professor for an hour. I flattered myself that she believed I'd read it (I'd read some scholarly introduction or other), but I'm sure now that she had my number. I also mentioned the novel in my first novel, Solace, which is fraudster behavior of the highest order, isn't it? The weird thing is, I'm pretty sure I'd love it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Kate Zambreno's Heroines, not that it lacks evangelists; it's a brave and fascinating book that captivated me when I first read it three years ago. It's not exactly a beach read, but I was so obsessed with it I couldn't leave it behind when we went on vacation, so I lay on the sands of Playa Sucia raging against the modernist writers (male) I'd always unthinkingly admired.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Chris Kraus's I Love Dick, and a very good decision that was, too.

Book you hid from your parents:

The ones I wrote....

Favorite line from a book:

"What happens in the heart simply happens," from Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes. The line is a sort of ghostly subtitle for my novel Tender, in which it has a bit part.

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

Most recently, Lily King's Euphoria. I got it as a galley, wasn't aware of King's work, and started reading it almost absent-mindedly. Very soon, I realized I had found something very special, a compelling, stunningly written novel about three anthropologists in 1930s New Guinea. Nell, the character inspired by Margaret Mead, is an unforgettable presence. But I'd love to be stumbling upon her again for the first time. 

Book Review

Review: The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones by Rich Kienzle (Dey Street Books, $27.99 hardcover, 9780062309914, March 29, 2016)

That country music legend George "The Possum" Jones survived to age 81 is something of a miracle. Born in the no-man's land of Texas's Big Thicket region to an abusive, alcoholic father and doting mother, the chunky 12-pound baby George broke his arm when he was dropped on delivery. This ominous beginning was only the first traumatic insult to a hellraising man who went through four wives, countless bar fights, bankruptcy, jail, several car wrecks and multiple revolving-door visits to rehab hospitals. As he said to his last wife, Nancy, sitting at his deathbed, "I've had eighty-one good years. Some of 'em I messed up, paid for 'em." Writing with rich detail, music critic and journalist Rich Kienzle (Southwest Shuffle) chronicles the stumbles and falls but also the many musical triumphs in "No-Show" Jones's remarkable life.

Based on dozens of interviews and newspaper archives, The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George Jones (from the song of the same name) tracks the songs, songwriters, duet co-stars and concerts that took the "kid singing country songs and hymns on the streets" of Beaumont, Tex., in 1943 to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992, where he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and sang his defiant do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night anthem "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair." Kienzle includes historical tidbits like Jones's role singing backup on the 1959 novelty hit "Running Bear" (written by one of his drinking buddies, J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson), and the addition of another running buddy, Johnny Paycheck, to his Jones Boys backup band in 1965. The short troubled marriage with his duet co-star Tammy Wynette, from 1969 to 1976, was a major accelerant to Jones's deeper dive into booze and cocaine, causing a long string of missed performances. After a 1982 bust for drunk driving outside Jackson, Miss., the sheriff who took Jones to a rehab hospital said he was "so slobbering drunk, he wouldn't have known if he was Roy Acuff or Jesus Christ." Tammy couldn't keep track of him, either, answering a desperate promoter when Jones missed a show: "I don't know where George is. I doubt if even George knows where George is."

Through it all, the songs and hits kept coming. Songwriters knew just what kind of range and lyric fit his distinctive life and voice, songs like "If Drinking Don't Kill Me" and "Stand on My Own Two Knees." In the end, he won every country music award and was honored in a memorial concert ("Playin' Possum: The Final No-Show") with dozens of stars paying tribute. His Nashville gravesite features a substantial stone monument designed by his last wife, Nancy, with this epigraph engraved beneath his name: "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Kienzle's The Grand Tour covers it all--the bars, the theme parks, the empty concert halls and the millions of adoring fans and admiring musicians. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: Kienzle's omnibus George Jones biography details both his stumbles and his triumphs on the way to becoming perhaps the greatest country music singer ever.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Taking the Bookish Leap

"You should. It's Leap Day. Real life is for March."

I don't think about Leap Year any more often than you do--once every four years, on average. But if we didn't have Leap Days, this week would actually be in mid-July of 2017, with summer "starting sometime in December--and we'd be in for white June next year." I was intrigued when I read that. As is my way, I first sought out irrelevant cultural ephemera:

  • "The hero of Gilbert and Sullivan's opera The Pirates of Penzance is indentured to the pirates until his 21st birthday. Then it's discovered he was born on February 29, meaning he must remain in servitude until he is 84. Much hilarity ensues."
  • On February 29, 2004, the final part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, "swept the board, picking up a record-tying 11 trophies including Best Picture and Best Director for Peter Jackson."
  • "On the traditional day for women to propose to men," the Guardian once offered a "Leap year quiz: literary proposals."

But then I realized I had a column to write and refocused my curiosity toward finding variations on a Cool Ideas of the Leap Day theme by indie booksellers nationwide:

Upshur Street Books, Washington, D.C.: From Petworth News--"Gonna drop a logic bomb on you, get ready... Every four years we elect a president, and every four years we celebrate Leap Year. This year is an election year for president. And this year President Obama visited Upshur Street Books... Therefore, THE place to be this Leap Year Day must be Upshur Street Books. BOOM! (Logic explodes everywhere like confetti. It's messy and beautiful at the same time.).... Come by Upshur Street Books... and get a great discount on everything in the store, while feeling proud you're supporting a Petworth independent bookstore. It's the logical thing to do!"

Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.: "Happy Leap Day! February is almost over, which means warm weather is around the corner. It's the perfect time to sit on your porch with a good book (before you have to deal with the very real possibility of sweat ruining everything). Enjoy these few weeks of perfection."

Changing Hands Bookstore: "We're celebrating 2016's extra day with Happy Hour prices all day at First Draft Book Bar. Also, find a book or gift at our Tempe or Phoenix locations with 'leap' or 'year' in the title and get 25% off that item!"

Fact & Fiction Bookstore, Missoula, Mont.: In a Missoulian column headlined "February offers an additional day for reading," store owner Barbara Theroux wrote: "Here are a few titles to consider adding to your bedside table, as you celebrate leap year 2016."

Booksellers at Little Shop of Stories "spent our extra day in our pajamas."

Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, Ga.: "Leap Day Storytime and Party! Lucky us! We get an extra day this year! Hope you will join our celebration of stories and activities that will make you wish every year had an extra day."

Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kans.: "You've got an extra day. Spend it reading! HAPPY LEAP DAY! To celebrate this leap year, Watermark wants to help you spend a little extra time reading. Enjoy 20% off one, in-stock book of your choice on Monday, Feb. 29.... We hope you have a wonderful EXTRA day in 2016, and we'll give you the extra time to read."

Broadway Books, Portland, Ore.: "Leap into March! Leap Day only comes around every four years, so we think it's worth a special pop-up sale: Come shop with us on Monday, February 29th, and get 20% off your entire purchase!"

Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego, Calif.: Join us for a special leap day evening MG Gathering of Young Adult Authors.... Don't miss this special event!"

Books & Company, Oconomowoc, Wisc.: "In an effort to increase your odds of experiencing extraordinary reading during this leap year, we offer you this lucky coupon. Stop by Books & Company between Monday, February 29th and Thursday, March 3 to redeem this tantalizing opportunity for 29% off on one in-stock book. Now, go forth and leap into a book that will amaze you."

I hope you found your own ways Monday to take a bookish leap. Mine eventually led me back to a poem by Jane Hirshfield in her most recent collection, The Beauty. From "February 29":

An extra day—

Not unlike the space
between a door and its frame
when one room is lit and another is not,
and one changes into the other
as a woman exchanges a scarf.

An extra day—

Extraordinarily like any other.
And still
there is some generosity to it,
like a letter re-readable after its writer has died.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)


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