Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 9, 2016

William Morrow & Company: The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Shadow Mountain: The Witch in the Woods: Volume 1 (Grimmworld) by Michaelbrent Collings

Hell's Hundred: Blood Like Mine by Stuart Neville

Delacorte Press: Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy

Margaret Ferguson Books: Not a Smiley Guy by Polly Horvath, Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Indiana University Press: The Grim Reader: A Pharmacist's Guide to Putting Your Characters in Peril by Miffie Seideman

St. Martin's Press: Lenny Marks Gets Away with Murder by Kerryn Mayne


Riggio on B&N: Optimistic Despite 'Worst Ever Retail Malaise'

A drop in book sales was a key cause of the 6% fall in sales in the first quarter at Barnes & Noble stores open at least a year, CFO Allen Lindstrom said yesterday during a conference call with stock analysts (via One problem was a difficult comparison to the same period a year earlier, which had such strong bestsellers, he continued, as Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James and What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss, as well as "breakout books" such as The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and "media driven properties." In addition, sales of coloring books and artist's supplies "leveled off" after boosting "the overall comp last year."

Lindstrom added that sales trends are expected to improve this fall in part because of "a stronger title lineup," including books by J.K. Rowling, Amy Schumer, Joel Osteen, Nicholas Sparks and Bill O'Reilly.

He noted, too, that the company is making progress on opening its five new concept stores that will include full-service restaurants, as well as redesigns of some 10 stores by the holiday season and another 50 by the end of the current fiscal year, July 30, 2017.

Len Riggio

In a reminder of why we miss him in his old role, chairman Len Riggio, who is acting as CEO following the abrupt departure of CEO Ron Boire last month, spoke at length and in a remarkably straightforward way about the company's circumstances.

Riggio called the retail division's situation "worse than I have ever experienced in the 50 years I have been in this industry." He blamed much of the problem on "the current election cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of the fear, anger and frustration being experienced by the public. The preoccupation with this election is keeping them in home, glued to their TVs and at their desktops. Retail traffic by any measure and across all segments is close to a historic low point. I get this not from our own observations but in speaking to many of the CEOs of other retail companies."

However, he said B&N bears some responsibility for the bad situation--and gave a hint perhaps of why Boire abruptly left. Riggio said, "We did shoot ourselves in the foot somewhat" by making "unprecedented inventory reductions" and "ill-advised" expense cuts, "mainly retail floor personnel." Those problems are being "remedied."

In response to one analyst's question, Riggio implied that the inventory reductions involved major reductions of titles on store shelves. With returns, "you want to take inventory out of the warehouse, but the last place you want to look for inventory reduction is on your shelves, because we are still a title-intensive business and we have made our reputation on the enormous selection we have," up to 100,000 titles in each store. He decried the practice of "making returns one month and then three months later buying the books back," which he called "silly and costly."

Riggio defended the company from the charge that its executive suite has "a revolving door," citing some longtime executives, including Mitchell Klipper, who last year retired after 28 years with B&N, many of them as COO, and Max Roberts, a 25-year-plus veteran, who is CEO of B&N Education.

Riggio said one of his main tasks is finding a new CEO "suited to the nuances of specialty store retailing," someone who can "adapt to the unique nature of bookselling." He said that he'd prefer "to get this done sooner rather than later," but that it's key to find the right person because "this company is too important to the tens of thousands of great booksellers who work here, to millions of loyal customers and to the publishing industry that falls short of no goals. We need the best of the best to lead us."

He predicted that B&N stores will soon feature "a lot more visual merchandising, a lot more promotional work... they need to be jazzed up a little bit." If the new concept stores are lacking, Riggio said, B&N will go "back to the drawing board.... We are not just going to close stores and go home. We are committed to this business."

Riggio emphasized his optimism about the future, saying, "We intend to grow this business. We remain the best at what we do, we have great people throughout the entire organization and we look forward to a great holiday season, which will begin this year in the post-election period, when I expect what I call this retail malaise to be over."

Harper: Our Kind of Game by Johanna Copeland

Hills & Hamlets Bookshop to Open in Georgia

Hills & Hamlets Bookshop is expected to open next month "in the urbanist green living community of Serenbe, located in the city of Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.," Bookselling This Week reported, adding that the store will primarily sell new books and "is the project of Josh Niesse and Megan Bell, the couple who co-own Underground Books, a used, rare, and antiquarian bookstore in nearby Carrollton."

They have raised around $18,500 selling "pre-memberships" to community members to fund the 650-square-foot bookstore, which "will be located on the ground floor of the new Serenbe Textile Lofts building within Serenbe, a new high-end urbanist 'planned' community that emphasizes green living and the arts," BTW wrote.

Josh Neisse and Megan Bell

"The books we sell will have some specialized focus on the themes that are exemplified by the Serenbe community, such as architecture, urban planning, agriculture, and culinary arts, but we'll also have indie staples: children's books and popular fiction and literature," said Niesse. "We will also feature some of the vintage antiquarian/rare book inventory that Underground Books has specialized in.... There is a tremendous amount of built-in opportunity in this community. There are 100,000 visitors a year to Serenbe: some just regional, some visiting for vacation, and then also some just visiting to see this new model of alternative urban planning and community development.... So we'll have some [events] that we will try to create, and then we'll have some we do using existing partnerships and opportunities."

Hills & Hamlets hosted a pop-up shop in July to raise awareness about the store, and this month Niesse and Bell "are planning several soft opening events in conjunction with the Serenbe community," BTW noted. The couple also attended the Paz & Associates "Owning a Bookstore" workshop.

"The 'new book' world is definitely different from the used and antiquarian world, and we have a lot to learn," said Bell. "We are still often going back to our binders and our notes from the Paz workshop.... Community in the bookselling industry means everything, especially the amount of time and attention invested in making sure that newcomers are well-informed."

Chronicle Books: Life Wants You Dead: A Calm, Rational, and Totally Legit Guide to Scaring Yourself Safe by Evan Waite, Illustrated by Paula Searing

Bookmarks Finds Bookstore Site in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Bookmarks, the nonprofit literary organization in Winston-Salem, N.C., has found a 5,000-square-foot space that it wants to turn into an independent bookstore and meeting place for readers, coffee bar and cafe, as well as use for its own offices, reported the Winston-Salem Journal. "It will give the literary arts in Winston-Salem a home," said Ginger Hendricks, Bookmarks' executive director. The store is expected to open next year, following renovations.

In April, the board had announced its plans to look for a space and the need to raise $400,000 to that end. So far, some $250,000 has been raised.

Hendricks and Jamie Southern, operations director for Bookmarks, told the Journal that they believe having a bricks-and-mortar facility will allow Bookmarks to attract more authors to Winston-Salem and will double the number of Bookmarks events each year to more than 100.

GLOW: Tundra Books: We Are Definitely Human by X. Fang

Bookstore at Palm Beach International Aiport to Close

Heritage Booksellers, which is located on Palm Beach International Airport's Concourse B, "will be replaced by the Flagler Gourmet Market, a 'grab and go' operation, if county commissioners OK lease changes at their regular meeting on Tuesday," the Palm Beach Post reported. The shop was formerly a New York Times Bookstore.

Harper: Sandwich by Catherine Newman

WH Smith Opening Four Bookstores in Finland

WH Smith plans to open four bookstores in Finland, at Helsinki airport, later this year and in 2017, to be operated by SSP Finland. DFNI reported that Finavia "has been in close collaboration with both WH Smith and long-time partner SSP Finland to integrate the look of the new stores at Helsinki and will have a hand in providing the retail assortment to match the needs of customers."

"It is a pleasure to have yet another international operator arrive in Finland," said Elena Stenholm Finavia, v-p of commercial services at the airport. "Large global companies are now more interested in Helsinki airport as a place of business than ever before."

John Ingram Honored with BISG Award for Excellence

John Ingram

John Ingram, chairman of Ingram Content Group, will receive the 2016 Book Industry Study Group Award for Excellence. He will be honored September 30 during the association's annual meeting, which will also celebrate BISG's 40th anniversary.

Ingram was cited "for leading his company and transforming Ingram Book Company into Ingram Content Group--a comprehensive publishing industry services company that offers a number of services including physical book distribution, print on demand and digital services," BISG noted.

Amazon Debuts 'All-New' Fire HD 8

Yesterday, Amazon unveiled the "all-new" $89.99 Fire HD 8, which the company described as "the next-generation Fire HD tablet designed from the ground up for all-day entertainment." The device's features include an 8" widescreen HD display and quad-core processor, 12 hours of battery life and 50% more RAM. The HD 8 will also soon offer the Alexa cloud-based voice service for the first time on Fire tablets.


Flying Books: Toronto's 'Smallest & Most Portable Bookseller'

At a shop called Weekend Variety in Toronto, "the shelf that constitutes... Flying Books is topped with the company logo (Amelia Earhart, as drawn by author and illustrator Leanne Shapton), below which are a half-dozen titles, all face out, with small, handwritten notes detailing their merits," the National Post noted in a feature on Martha Sharpe. Sharpe opened the first of her Flying Books sites last August after deciding "that a small, 'choosily chosen' selection of a half-dozen or so books tucked inside another retail space was a safer--and inventive--way to start."

Noting that "the books sold quickly and people keep coming back," she said that by last February she had placed shelves in three more locations: Northwood General Store on Bloor, the Gladstone Hotel and Ezra's Pound coffee shop.

Under the Flying Books banner, she has also "launched other book-related ventures, such as readings and signings at venues near her Queen Street location (in November Flying Books will host the launch of Elena Ferrante's new collection, Frantumaglia); a Flying Books writing school at Artscape Youngplace, taught by Damian Rogers (more classes are planned in 2017); and the Flying Books Book Club she co-hosts with author Harriet Alida Lye at the Soho House," the National Post wrote.

"She's one of the rare people who have truly dedicated their entire lives to finding new talent, to discovering different styles and genres," said author Amy Stuart. "She reads and supports thrillers, she reads the Booker prize winners and more obscure, literary novels--she's just very open with what she'll read."

Milkweed Books Hopes to Be 'Small and Weird'

Milkweed Books in progress

Milkweed Books, Milkweed Editions' 600-square-foot bookstore in downtown Minneapolis, Minn., will have its grand opening on September 20, Twin Cities Geek reported. Milkweed Books' Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the opening has raised almost $20,000 of its $25,000 goal, with two weeks to go.

"I want [the store] to be small and I want it to be weird," manager Hans Weyandt, a former co-owner of Micawber's Books in St. Paul, told Twin Cities Geek. "And what I mean by that is I want people to come in and see books that they're not seeing in other spaces."

Though the store will very much be a boutique, and in fact be designed to look like a gallery, Weyandt told Twin Cities Geek that he wants to avoid the snobbish connotations those words might have: among the top requirements for staff members are friendliness and a willingness to help. And in an unusual twist, "a lot of the people working the floor" other than Weyandt will be Milkweed Editions staff.

Said Weyandt: "To me, there is no greater joy as a bookseller than when someone comes into the store and says, help me find a birthday present for my niece.... Help me read the next book that I'm going to love. That's hard, but it's awesome. That's the best thing about it, and it happens every day."

Cool Idea of the Day: First Amendment Sales Tax Holiday

On August 27, Square Books in Oxford, Miss., celebrated its self-declared First Amendment Sales Tax Holiday by discounting books by 7%, which is the state sales tax. Bookselling This Week reported that the bookstore's staff "came up with the idea in response to the Mississippi state legislature's decision to remove the sales tax on firearms and hunting supplies during a three-day 'Second Amendment Holiday,' which was inaugurated two years ago." The promotion was intended to encourage the legislature to consider adding books to future tax holidays and to raise awareness about the importance of free speech.

"We think the legislature may agree that a tax free holiday for books would be a great way to celebrate our state's rich tradition of literature," said owner Richard Howorth. "We also enjoyed this opportunity to promote the First Amendment and to remind people of its importance."

The First Amendment Sales Tax Holiday increased the store's sales by 15% over the previous Saturday. "A lot of people said it was the reason they came in the store or decided to buy two books instead of one," Howorth noted, adding that Square Books will hold a three-day First Amendment sales tax holiday next year: "We'll do a lot of pre-sale marketing, and I think it will be much bigger."

Personnel Changes at Putnam

Katie Grinch has been promoted to associate director of publicity for Putnam. She was previously assistant director of publicity.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Dear Data Authors on Science Friday

Science Friday: Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, authors of Dear Data: A Friendship in 52 Weeks of Postcards (Princeton Architectural Press, $35, 9781616895327). (See the trailer here.)

CBS This Morning: Ben Mezrich, author of The 37th Parallel: The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway (Atria, $26, 9781501135521).

Weekend Edition: Laia Jufresa, author of Umami (Oneworld, $21.99, 9781780748917).

Also on Weekend Edition: Teddy Wayne, author of Loner: A Novel (Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781501107894).

Weekend All Things Considered: Dan Slater, author of Wolf Boys: Two American Teenagers and Mexico's Most Dangerous Drug Cartel (Simon & Schuster, $26.95, 9781501126543).

Movies: Bel Canto; The Game

Julianne Moore will star with Ken Watanabe and Demian Bichir in Bel Canto, "the long-in-the-works movie adaptation of Ann Patchett's bestselling 2001 novel," Deadline reported, adding that the movie "will be shown with Anthony Weintraub, and Bloom will kick off sales on the pic at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival. WME Global is repping U.S. rights." Paul Weitz adapted the screenplay and is directing.


Although he has been making numerous film adaptations of literary classics, James Franco's "newest lead role is in a film based on Neil Strauss's controversial but bestselling memoir/ how-to guide, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists," Indiewire reported. The film is anticipated to be in production in 2017.

Books & Authors

Awards: FT-McKinsey Business Book; Scotiabank Giller

The shortlist for the 2016 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award is:

What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark (Ecco)
Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business by Rana Foroohar (Crown Publishing)
The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon (Princeton University Press)
The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott (Bloomsbury)
The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby (Penguin Press)

The winner will be announced November 22 and receives £30,000 (about $40,065). The authors of the shortlisted books receive £10,000 ($13,355).


A longlist has been released for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, which recognizes the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. The winner receives C$100,000 (about US$77,380) and the other finalists $10,000 each. A shortlist will be released September 26, with the winner named November 7.

Reading with... Elsa Hart

photo: Robbie Hart

Elsa Hart wrote her first novel, Jade Dragon Mountain (Minotaur), while studying alpine plants in southwest China with her husband, a botanist. Before that, she graduated from Swarthmore College and Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. The White Mirror (Minotaur, September 6, 2016), the sequel to Jade Dragon Mountain, follows former librarian Li Du into the snowy borderlands between China and Tibet.

On your nightstand now:

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl.

Favorite book when you were a child:

My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Not only is it a captivating tale of a boy who sets out, on the recommendation of an alley cat, to rescue a baby dragon from enslavement, but there was nothing more satisfying to my organized, controlling little child mind than Elmer Elevator's perfectly packed knapsack.

Your top five authors:

Agatha Christie's incisive character sketches and uncluttered plots are, for me, a perpetual source of pleasure. Terry Pratchett's novels illuminate history's most disappointing patterns without succumbing to despair. Louise Erdrich arranges words into currents that dislodge my footing and pull me under. George Eliot's characters change with every reading; I will always return to learn more about them and about myself. William Shakespeare reminds me of the potential of human thought.

Book you've faked reading:

The prospect of being caught faking it induces more anxiety than the prospect of admitting that I haven't read the book. But I tend not to volunteer the dearth of Charles Dickens in my readerly background.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall, in which there is a predator whose hunting ground is text. Danger lurks, quite literally, within the pages. It's a frightening story that revels in tropes, and never employs them thoughtlessly.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. Inside, the unusual amalgam of culture, history and genre suggested by the cover expands into an alternate reality made stranger by the elements of it that are familiar.

Book you hid from your parents:

Romance novels borrowed from the library at my grandmother's retirement community swimming pool. I remember the smell of chlorine and yellowing paperback pages. Relentless by Patricia Potter was a revelation.

Book that changed your life:

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. I read it during the summer after fourth grade. I was surrounded by summer things--ice cream trucks, sprinklers, tetherball, sunblock, dinnertime--and I'd look up at twilight and realize that I'd been somewhere else. I'd been in a forest in the 12th century with a band of outlaws, and I'd gone there all by myself. That book made me a reader.

Favorite line from a book:

"The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm." It is from Chapter 1 of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. I recommend reading this book in October once the leaves have started to fall and the wind carries just a little bit of malevolence under the sweet candy and apple cider.

Five books you'll never part with:

I move often, and my bookshelf does shift and change. But when I look at it right now and ask myself which volumes would remain if I had to part with all but five, I'd keep my Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Gardner's Art Through the Ages, the Robert Fagles translation of The Odyssey, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

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

There are many books I am glad I am not reading for the first time, books that I worry I would dismiss without the openness of childhood. And there are books I'm glad I read as early as possible so that I can reread them at different stages in my life. But to answer the question--it must be Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

Book Review

Review: Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some

Balls: It Takes Some to Get Some by Chris Edwards (Greenleaf, $24.95 hardcover, 264p., 9781626343252, October 4, 2016)

In this bold memoir about gender dysphoria and gender confirmation surgery, Chris Edwards explains, "That feeling of finally being complete--of being who you really are--trumps everything." It ultimately takes Edwards more than three decades and 28 surgeries to realize his consummate body, but in 1974, at five years old, he already knows his true gender. It's everyone around him who seems to be confused, so in his childish wisdom he deduces the answer is as simple as a haircut:

"Since everything about me was boy-like--my clothes, my toys, my obsession with all superheroes except for Wonder Woman and her lame, invisible plane--I put my five-year-old brain to work and determined that the only thing lumping me in with the girls was my hair length."

However, a haircut doesn't stop the female body from developing around the man locked inside. Throughout high school and college--breasts, menstruation, estrogen and a sorority--Edwards battles depression and thoughts of suicide. Using a cunning blend of heartbreaking sincerity and humor, he navigates his audience through this excruciating stage of his life:

"I was apparently too scared to actively take my own life, I drove around without a seatbelt on, hoping for someone to hit me. And I was hit. Twice. But both times the car was parked and I wasn't in it."

When Edwards, through the help of an amazing counselor, is finally able to share his battle with his family and friends, he finds support, compassion and encouragement. Despite his first instinct to move away and transition, Edwards remains at his job in a Boston advertising firm and courageously opens his quest to the company's board members, his colleagues and the clients. While everyone doesn't always understand, he patiently educates them--and his readers. Edwards also invites everyone to laugh with him--learning to pee standing up, mistakenly inviting the wrong woman on a date. His stark openness and dogged determination allow the audience to identify with him through their similarities, instead of fearing the differences.

Balls is a stunning self-portrait of an exceptional man, an inspiration for others who may be a gender not recognized by those around them. And it is a primer for those fortunate enough to be born "complete." With eloquence and grace, as well as sharp wit and brutal honesty, Edwards explains to his audience, "The key to understanding gender dysphoria is realizing that sexual orientation and gender identity are two totally different and completely separate things." More than anything, he exemplifies the definition of bravery. From opening himself up to his family, friends and colleagues to sharing the intimate details of his story with the entire world, Chris Edwards has no shortage of moxie. Smart, funny, genuine and uplifting, Balls is sure to win a lot of hearts. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

Shelf Talker: A courageous memoir of one man's struggles, Balls tells the extraordinary story of being transgender in an era before it even had a name.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Underrated Art of #ShowingUp

We often run into people who understand their job to be showing up on time to do the work that's assigned.... Showing up is overrated. Necessary but not nearly sufficient. --Seth Godin in a 2013 blog post

Sorry, Seth, but I think it's more complicated than that. "Showing up" is, and maybe always has been, the essence of the working life, but there's been some misdirection over time about its meaning in the workplace. I chose to momentarily leave out a couple of sentences from the passage quoted above (see ellipsis): "We've moved way beyond that now. Showing up and taking notes isn't your job. Your job is to surprise and delight and to change the agenda. Your job is to escalate, reset expectations and make us delighted that you are part of the team."

That's true. And for great booksellers, it is the magic part--handselling, coming up with dynamic displays, hosting great author events, engaging in meaningful conversations with patrons and colleagues, community involvement. And much more.

All good. But not all.

Anyone who has worked as a bookseller knows the best ones show up day after day, ready for whatever the job requires, even when--perhaps especially when--they aren't in the mood. There is the magic of bookselling and there is the grind of bookselling, though the former tends to get better publicity.

So this column is celebrating the booksellers who are #ShowingUp for their stores every day, and it draws inspiration from a few disparate sources. The first occurred earlier this year as I was listening to Marc Maron's WTF podcast and he said to a guest, "But you showed up for your kids, right?"

That's what got me thinking about the phrase. Then I read a New York Times piece about Jodie Foster in which she said she had the chance to direct movies early in her career because so many male executives "knew me as the 8-year-old who showed up on time, and they didn't see it as a risk. They looked at me as if I was a daughter. They'd seen me grow up. They knew my professionalism." Producer Lara Alameddine (Money Monster) said, "Talk to anyone who has worked with her. They'll tell you the same thing. She is the most prepared person. She's the first one there and the last one to leave."

BooksActually's resident feline booksellers Cake, Pico & Lemon shared a pic of boss Kenny Leck #ShowingUp on their Facebook page: "while our hooman is #nevernotworking, we're #nevernotnapping."

Although I made note of the phrase "showed up" at the time, I didn't think about it again until recently, when I saw a notice about quarterly six-week BAxs internships being offered by one of my favorite-bookstores-I've-never-visited-but-want-to-someday: BooksActually & Math Paper Press in Singapore.

On his Facebook page, owner Kenny Leck noted: "Just to be sure, before you drop us an e-mail, bear in mind, it is going to be knuckle grinding work. Kid you not. But you will learn things, and it will be learning without any hand holding. You will make mistakes, and as long as it is an honest mistake, I will suck it up for you. Because. Only because you are BAxs. #BAxs #BAextrasmall #internship #nevernotworking."

And then I read an Inkshares interview with Allison Hill, president and CEO of Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena and Book Soup in West Hollywood, Calif., in which she was asked what she thought was the key to running a successful indie bookstore. "The answers to this question seem obvious--passionate booksellers, an awesome selection, hard work, but clearly that's not all it takes because we've lost a lot of great bookstores that possessed all of those characteristics," she replied. "Ultimately I think it requires resilience, adaptability, attention to the bottom line, creativity, a strong sense of identity, AND passionate booksellers, an awesome selection and hard work."

#ShowingUp in the best way possible.

I was a full-time bookseller from 1992 until 2006, and part-time until 2009. On September 12, 2004, I launched a blog called Fresh Eyes: A Booksellers Journal with these words:

It would be tempting to begin a journal like this on a day that might serve as an official portal into the bookselling world--the first day of the year, for example, with the journal reaching its climactic finish during the mad holiday season.

But bookselling isn't a dramatic profession. Often people who envy booksellers do so because they imagine some idyllic little bookshop myth, where the bookseller reads peacefully at a counter, his well-fed cat sleeping near his elbow, and when the little bell over the door rings, announcing a customer's arrival, he looks up casually from his book and welcomes the newcomer to biblioparadise.

I haven't had many days like that. I love bookselling, but part of that love is not unlike the day to day reality of any relationship. There are moments of wonder, moments of pleasure, moments of surprise, moments of joy, and these are all balanced with moments of melancholy, anger, boredom and frustration.

Like life

Here's to the booksellers who are #ShowingUp for their stores... every damn day.

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

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