Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 26, 2017

Algonquin Young Readers: the Beautiful Game by Yamile Saied Méndez

Berkley Books: Books that will sweep you off your feet! Enter Giveaway!

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Editors' Note

Memorial Day Weekend

In honor of Memorial Day, we will be stepping away from the computers on Monday. We'll see you again Tuesday, May 30.

Blackstone Publishing: Rogue Community College: A Liberty House Novel by David R Slayton

Quotation of the Day

'I Really Found My People' in Indie Bookstore Community

"The indie bookstore community was the first place in the book world that I really found my people. I started working at a bookstore when I was in grad school, and I thought it would be a retail job I'd work until I had my MFA and got an office job. Instead, I found a career in bookstores, and really came into my own as both a reader and writer. Being a bookseller keeps me excited about writing because I am surrounded by other booksellers who are so passionate about what they read, and customers who are so hungry to talk books and find new favorites. Getting to interact firsthand with consumers and see their passion for the subject energizes me as a writer, especially when the business of publishing has me down."

--Mackenzi Lee, author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (#1 Summer Kids' Indie Next List Pick) in a q&a with Bookselling This Week. Lee, whose given name is MacKenzie Van Engelenhoven, is the events coordinator at Trident Booksellers & Café in Boston, Mass. (See our story about her here.)


Denver's BookBar Is Expanding, Celebrating & Donating

BookBar in Denver, Colo., is adding a 1,400-square-foot events and gallery space. "As the store continues to grow and thrive, there is an increasing need for a dedicated event space to serve our growing literary community," BookBar noted. The new space will include a mini bar/cafe and serve as a book art gallery during non-event hours, featuring local artists "specializing in art created from and about books as informative literary showcases." The space will also be available for community events and meeting reservations.

In addition, BookBar is marking its fourth anniversary with a celebration tomorrow and, in partnership with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, will be donating more than 2,500 children's books by local authors to local schools. These donations will be delivered to Northwest Denver schools the week of May 28 "to ensure that children can take a book home for summer break." This is part of a program that BookBar and SCBWI hope to expand upon in order to connect Colorado students with Colorado authors.

Banned Books Week Coalition Adds International Member

Index on Censorship, a nonprofit freedom of expression organization based in London, has joined the Banned Books Week Coalition as its first international member. Index plans to host a number of events in the U.K.--as well as participating in events in the U.S.--during this year's Banned Books Week, which will take place September 24-30.

"Index is excited to be joining the coalition as the first non-U.S. member," said CEO Jodie Ginsberg. "We have been publishing work by censored writers from around the world for 45 years and--given all that is happening on the global political stage--it feels more important than ever to be highlighting censorship and demonstrating just what it means when books are banned."

Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition and executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, said: "We are very excited to have the Index on Censorship join the coalition. Their work not only aligns with our mission, but will bring an international perspective and awareness to our annual celebration of the freedom to read."

Other members of the coalition include American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Association of American University Presses, Authors' Guild, Dramatist Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People for the American Way, PEN America and Project Censored.

Politics & Prose Phasing Out Bookselling in Busboys and Poets

Politics & Prose, which has maintained bookselling operations in three of Busboys and Poets' six restaurants and community centers in Washington, D.C., for the past two years, is phasing out that involvement because Busboys and Poets has "decided to expand its book operations and move toward staffing and running its own bookstores at all locations over the next few weeks." 

Writing in the store's newsletter, owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine called it "a great collaboration between two D.C. businesses deeply committed to building community and promoting public discussion of ideas, cultural issues, and current events."

They noted that the program with Busboys and Poets was Politics & Prose's "first foray into retail locations beyond the main bookstore on Connecticut Avenue NW. This experience underscored for us the interest that many have in seeing more bookstores in a city that loves to read. We remain committed to bringing more books, authors, and literary events to the Washington region and plan to announce some other initiatives soon."

BookExpo: Facebook Live Lounge

BookExpo and BookCon will feature exclusive live streaming interviews with celebrities and author interviews on Facebook Live, with fans having the opportunity to participate by asking questions via Facebook comments. Attendees can also take advantage of the livestreamed content. 

"We know that every year there are thousands of people who wish they could be at BookExpo & BookCon, and the Facebook Live Lounge will help us bring them the content they crave right on their own devices," said Brien McDonald, event director for BookCon & BookExpo at ReedPOP. "We are leveraging the increasing popularity of livestreaming to provide readers around the world with exclusive live content, so they can be part of the action and spark a global conversation about their favorite authors."

Rosanne Romanello, associate director of publicity at HarperCollins Children's Books, commented: "We're thrilled to leverage Facebook Live to give Epic Reads & YA fans access to the excitement of BookCon. Festivals and Cons are where readers get to meet their favorite authors and experience fandom to the maximum degree; it's great to bring the same all-access, community-first spirit of these events to our digital audience."

Interviews from BookExpo will be streamed via Facebook at as well as on the Facebook pages of the featured authors. Interviews from BookCon will be streamed via Facebook Live on the Epic Reads Facebook well as on the Facebook pages of the featured authors.

'Influencers' Asked to Host Book-Themed House Parties

Pan Macmillan "is inviting online 'influencers' and 'brand advocates' to host hundreds of house parties simultaneously across the U.K. to help promote books," the Bookseller reported. Each "event" will be themed around a key Pan Macmillan title or imprint and consist of about 100 parties with 5-10 people, all united by social media. According to the publisher, the goal is to drive engagement with the Pan Macmillan brand through "powerful in-home experiences," with hopes to generate "authentic word of mouth, measurable awareness, shareable content, product reviews and consumer insight."

Pan Macmillan has partnered with marketing agency Come Round to cover four main events, along with the opportunity to participate in other Come Round campaigns as official book partner to its other clients across consumer electronics and entertainment sectors. Come Round founder Giles Harris said, "Insight tells us that consumers are far more likely to recommend and purchase books that have been recommended to them by someone they know and trust. Our mechanic brings those people together and gives them the most informal and conversation-starting environment possible--house parties with their friends."

Sara Lloyd, director of communications and digital at Pan Macmillan, added: "We met with Giles and his team and immediately loved their approach to engagement and their approach to peer-to-peer discussions. It matched our longstanding conversations about audience and engagement; we know that a novel finds its best and widest audience through personal recommendation. Working with Come Round will help us reach more readers and enable us to introduce them to great stories, but we will also have the opportunity to get to know our readers better."

Cengage CFO Leahy to Step Down

John Leahy, CFO at the textbook and education firm Cengage, will step down at the end of the year, the Bookseller reported. The company said the planned departure will come "after helping to ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities to his successor," with the recruitment process set to commence shortly. Cengage, which was originally Thomson Learning and is owned by private equity funds, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014.

Cengage noted that the CFO transition "is aligned with the company's strategic focus on executing a digital business transformation. Mr. Leahy has served as the company's chief financial officer since December 2014, during which time Mr. Leahy transformed the company's finance organization, created significant savings for the company, and spearheaded the re-financing of the company's debt on favorable terms."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
A Forty Year Kiss
by Nickolas Butler
GLOW: A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler

A Forty Year Kiss by Nickolas Butler is a passionate, emotionally complex love story that probes tender places within the heart and soul. When 60-somethings Charlie and Vivian--married then divorced in their 20s--reunite after four decades, they are swept up by the very best of what their romantic relationship once offered. "Anyone who has ever thought about what might have been will find this book fascinating," says Shana Drehs, senior editorial director at Sourcebooks Landmark. "The story is a brilliant exploration of a second chance at love, always realistic but never saccharine." As Charlie and Vivian build a bridge from past to present, their enduring love paving over potholes, Butler (Shotgun Lovesongs) raises questions about how life changes people--or does it?--and delivers another heartening, unforgettable novel. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

(Sourcebooks Landmark, $27.99 Hardcover, 9781464221248, 
February 4, 2025)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Image of the Day: Book Launch at Maria's

Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colo., hosted local authors Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley for the launch of their book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer (Chelsea Green). The first-time authors spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at local restaurant Eolus, followed by a signing at the store. Pictured: Jess Kelley; Roger Cottingham, Maria's community relations manager; and Nasha Winters.

Happy 10th Birthday, Booktowne!

Congratulations to Booktowne, Manasquan, N.J., which is celebrating its 10th anniversary "all summer long with some spectacular events--starting this weekend." Tomorrow through Monday there will be refreshments, 10% off selected merchandise and a raffle of "some great books" as well as giveaways from the "free book cart." Author events include a Saturday story time with Ladybug Girl authors David Soman and Jacky Davis (with an appearance by Ladybug Girl); Monica Fritz, author of Graduate Your Beercraft: A Poor College Kid's Guide to Craft Beer, on Sunday at 1; and makeup artist and bestselling author Bobbi Brown, whose new book is Beauty from the Inside Out, on Sunday at 3:30.

Cool Idea of the Day: Titcomb's High School Literature Prize

On June 1, the first Ralph and Nancy Titcomb Prize in Literature, honoring the founders of Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, Mass., will be given to a student with a passion for literature chosen by teachers in Sandwich High School's English department, the Cape News reported. The award includes a $250 cash prize, a certificate and a personalized book bound by donation from Talin Bookbindery.

The goal is to personalize the experience by placing those who know the students best at the head of the selection process, said Vicky Titcomb, store manager and daughter of Ralph and Nancy Titcomb.

"A lot of attention is paid to athletics and STEM but, unfortunately, not a lot of attention is paid to humanities," English department head Martha Martin added. "We hope it sends a message to the community that we value a love and passion for reading and writing."

"Ralph and Nancy Titcomb are splendid people, the kind of people who love their town and care about the good intellectual, mental, and artistic health of its people," said Joseph E. Foote, co-scholarship planner and former chairman of the Men's Book Club at Titcomb's. "It seemed to me appropriate that these two citizens of Sandwich should be commemorated annually by a gift welcoming a young scholar from Sandwich High School into the community of those who appreciate literature."

Personnel Changes at HMH Books for Young Readers

Amanda Acevedo and Alia Almeida have been promoted to marketing specialists at HMH Books for Young Readers.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Sally Mott Freeman on Face the Nation

CBS Sunday Morning: Kevin Hart, author of I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons (Atria/37 INK, $26.99, 9781501155567).

CBS Face the Nation: Sally Mott Freeman, author of The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home (Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781501104145). She will also be on All Things Considered on Monday.

Ellen repeat: Sheryl Sandberg, co-author of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilence, and Finding Joy (Knopf, $25.95, 9781524732684).

Movies: The Best of Adam Sharp; Colette

Toni Collette has optioned Graeme Simsion's The Best of Adam Sharp and will star in a film adaptation of the novel. Deadline reported that the project, "which is kind of a High Fidelity for 40-somethings, is one of the first that Collette has brought to her newly formed production company Vocab Films. Her producing partner is Jen Turner." Collette would play the lead female role, Angelina.

Simsion's book The Rosie Project "was snapped up by Tri-Star and has had some major talent circling it--at one point Ryan Reynolds and Jennifer Lawrence--and top directors as well," Deadline noted.


Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Pugh and Rebecca Root have joined Keira Knightley and Dominic West for upcoming production Colette, which is set to begin shooting this week in the U.K., Hungary and France, Deadline reported. Directed by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice), the project about the French novelist was written by Westmoreland and the late Richard Glatzer, with revisions by Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Killer Films' Pamela Koffler, Number 9 Films' Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley produce with Killer Films' Christine Vachon and Bold Films' Michel Litvak and Gary Michael Walters.

"We're delighted to reunite Killer Films after the phenomenal global success of Patricia Highsmith's unofficial autobiography Carol, on another story of a female twentieth century literary icon, the fabulously talented Colette," said Karlsen. "Colette's struggles with finding her voice in an exciting turn of the century belle époque Paris, draws instant parallels with female artists today and is a tailor-made role for one of the world's leading actors, Keira Knightley."

Books & Authors

Awards: Leacock Shortlist; CWA Dagger Longlists

Three authors have been named to the shortlist of the 70th annual CA$15,000 (about US$11,145) Leacock Medal, honoring Canadian literary humor, Quillblog reported. The finalists are Gary Barwin for his Scotiabank Giller Prize–nominated Yiddish for Pirates; Amy Jones for her debut novel We're All in This Together; and Drew Hayden Taylor for his short fiction collection Take Us to Your Chief. The winner will be announced June 10.


The Crime Writers Association announced the longlists in 10 categories for its annual Dagger awards. The Diamond Dagger, for a career's outstanding contribution to crime fiction as nominated by CWA members, was announced earlier in the year and has been awarded to bestselling author Ann Cleeves. Shortlists for the Daggers will be revealed later in the summer and the winners announced at the Dagger Awards dinner in London October 26. 

Reading with... Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

photo: Nina Subin

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir (Flatiron, May 16, 2017). A 2014 National Endowment for the Arts fellow, she has received a Rona Jaffe Award and has been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Her essays appear in the New York Times, the Oxford American and the anthologies True Crime and Waveform: Twenty-first Century Essays by Women. She received her JD from Harvard, her MFA at Emerson College, and her BA from Columbia University. She now lives in Boston, where she teaches at Grub Street and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

On your nightstand now:

I just bought a new nightstand last week--I needed a larger one, to hold more books! So I can happily say that these are indeed on (and in) the nightstand, rather than the floor. In the "just read" pile, there's Agota Kristof's one-volume trilogy (The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie), which a bookseller at the Spotty Dog in Hudson, N.Y., introduced me to. It's as disturbing as it is compulsively readable, and deeply strange. Also Hannah Tinti's The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which took me forever to finish--I kept slowing down because I didn't want it to end. Then two books by friends, totally different from each other but both amazing: The Brand New Catastrophe by Mike Scalise, a memoir that's acerbic and funny and wise, and Touch by Courtney Maum, social satire we sorely need in this smartphone-addicted moment. In the "to be read" pile, I've got Elif Batuman's The Idiot and The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. There's also an empty spot that's just waiting for David Grann's Killers of the Flower Moon to arrive.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. My parents had lots of books everywhere, and I preferred their bookshelves to my own. I was far too young to actually understand Kundera, but I fell in love with his voice on the page. When I was kid, we spent summers on the Massachusetts island of Nantucket--which was then still an island of five-and-dime shops, old fishermen's bars and beach dogs let loose from their collars. Each day or so I would go to Nantucket Bookworks and ask them if he'd released a new novel yet. They were always very kind to me and smiled and said not that day, maybe tomorrow. Then they pointed me to other books--and introduced me to a lot of wonderful reading that way. But I remember thinking it was terribly unfair of Kundera to keep his readers waiting. He had to have notebooks, didn't he? Why couldn't he just publish the notebooks, I thought? I would have happily read them. (I think now that, basically, what I was waiting for was the Internet!)

Your top five authors:

Well, Milan Kundera, obviously. But also: Maggie Nelson, Michael Ondaatje, the poet Adam Zagajewski, and right now--because I love everything he's done, including his new one, Exit West--Mohsin Hamid.

Book you've faked reading:

Proust's Swann's Way rearranged my heart and mind, and meant everything to me when I was in my first year of college--but I never made it through the rest of the volumes.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Nothing Holds Back the Night by the French writer Delphine de Vigan. It's a memoir that's actually about how unknowable we are to each other. It stretches the boundaries of the genre by containing tons of openly imagined scenes, and it's somehow both stark and lush at the same time, and devastating in all the important ways. It is also, inexplicably, pretty much unknown in the U.S.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Two, bought as a teenager the same afternoon, at a tiny bookshop in California that I wish I could remember the name of: a battered copy of Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo, which had a torn cover that seemed tremendously romantic to me; and a shiny, nearly holographic silver hardcover of Timothy Leary's Design for Dying, mostly because I wanted to be cool enough to want to read it. I wasn't--it scared the heck out of me--but I still have it, and looking at that cover now always returns me to my teenage self.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Bible, amazingly enough! Both my parents had left the Christianity of their upbringing, and they had complicated feelings about the role the Bible had played in their childhoods. Maybe as a result, I was fascinated by religion as a kid--the allure of anything unknown. I borrowed a Bible from a friend, snuck it home--and oh, the storytelling! I knew that them seeing me read it would lead to lots of discussions I wasn't ready to have, though, so I hid it under the covers. The only other book I ever hid that way was Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth, for the sex scenes.

Book that changed your life:

Two that I discovered at the same time in law school, that reminded me of the power of story and made it completely impossible for me to continue to avoid writing: Martha Cooley's The Archivist and Anthony Doerr's short story collection The Shell Collector.

Favorite line from a book:

This changes nearly daily, there's so much amazingness out there. Yesterday what spoke to me was Ondaatje: "The first sentence of every novel should be: 'Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human.' " But now you've got me thinking of Martha Cooley, so let's go, too, with this line from The Archivist, which underscores everything I write, and perhaps even why I write the way I do, always with multiple strands and layered associations: "With a little effort, anything can be shown to connect with anything else: existence is infinitely cross-referenced."

Five books you'll never part with:

First: a little poetry treasury my mother gave me when I was a child, which she had when she was a child. It contains Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Dirge Without Music," which was the first time I felt the shock of recognition in reading. I think that shock made me into a writer.

Then, Bluets by Maggie Nelson--no one's taking this away from me. I don't even lend it out. I started it late one night, standing in my kitchen, my stomach rumbling, overdue for dinner. The only food I had in the house was a box of frozen lima beans; I was supposed to go out for food. Instead I spent the night curled in an armchair, eating the still-frozen lima beans by letting them thaw one by one in my mouth, completely enthralled by the book. It was over too soon and it was over at the perfect moment for the story. That's one of my fondest reading memories.

Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore--his memoir of his brother Gary Gilmore, the first person executed when the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in the 1970s. Mikal's trying to understand why his brother would ask to be shot in the heart by a firing squad, and to do that he decides he has to go into the history of Utah and the mythology of his family and even the ghostly realm. It blew open my idea of what memoir could accomplish, and it's beautiful and terrible and true.

A Fanatic Heart: Selected Stories by Edna O'Brien--I kept this on my nightstand for years, so much do I love every story in it.

Lastly, The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm. Every time I reread this, I'm reminded that so many of the issues I encounter in my work and feel compelled to grapple with anew, she already has.

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

I wish I could rediscover Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin. That book ruined me on novels for a good two months. I couldn't read any other, because I just wanted to be in the world of that novel again.

Book Review

Review: Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America

Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger (Dutton, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9781101984192, June 27, 2017)

Journalist Amy Ettinger dishes up ice cream in Sweet Spot, an adventurous, thoroughly researched exploration into the U.S. love affair with frozen sweet treats. Ettinger is a self-proclaimed ice cream connoisseur turned ice cream snob and addict: "Ice cream is more like a drug than any other food... the more ice cream you eat, the more you have to eat it to regain that 'high.' " Ettinger consumes ice cream almost daily and stocks between $15 and $30 worth in her freezer at all times. She also "likes" numerous ice cream parlors on Facebook so she can track new, exciting flavors. Ettinger believes her taste buds and brain were "forever altered by the introduction of 'gourmet' Ben & Jerry's flavors in the 1980s." This inspired her coast-to-coast quest to learn everything she could about ice cream. Her richly entertaining, easy-to-read narrative is infused with history, recipes and the science behind what makes for delicious--and sometimes not-so-delicious--flavors. She also looks at innovators and imitators, and how the ice cream business continues to evolve.

Sprinkled among stories from Ettinger's life and travels are anecdotes about Americana, starting with the Founding Fathers. George Washington invested in ice cream annually, allotting a $200 allowance in 1790, which equates to a whopping $3,000 today! Jefferson is credited for writing the first American ice cream recipe, a French-inspired vanilla, and he even built an icehouse at his Monticello estate. In 1861, Bassetts in Philadelphia launched the first ice cream company. But William Breyer, delivering his ice cream by horse-drawn wagon in Philly, ultimately overpowered the popularity of Bassetts, making Breyers a bestseller for generations. All this paved the way for a host of future ice cream makers, both independents and mass producers: Edy's, Baskin-Robbins, Häagen-Dazs, Tom Carvel and his often ruthless business practices, Mister Softee, Good Humor and their once-ubiquitous trucks, and a host of local, quirky artisans, some of whom create offbeat flavors like sushi, French toast, oyster and foie gras.

The philosophy and wisdom of past and present ice cream makers--along with segues into soda shops and fountains, sundaes and floats, ice cream sandwiches, cones, frozen yogurt and the gelato craze--are swirled into Ettinger's tasty quest. What rises to the fore, however, are sections devoted to Ettinger working alongside fellow ice cream aficionados and business people--and her enrolling in "the world's most famous ice cream making class" at Penn State. There, she learned the fascinating ins and outs of pasteurization, flavoring, potential hazards, short cuts and tricks of the trade--both good and bad. Ettinger piles on double and triple scoops of fun information that offers literary deliciousness for ice cream lovers everywhere. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: A passionate ice cream lover explores the history, business, science and sheer deliciousness of American ice cream culture.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Yet Another BEA Loomed. What Was I Thinking?

BookExpo is about anticipation as well as participation. I've been writing pre-BEA columns since 2005, initially as a bookseller/blogger and then as an editor at Shelf Awareness. Year after year, yet another BEA loomed. What was I thinking?

2005: "Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Children of All Ages! You are just a few short days away from a weekend of thrills! A weekend of gasps! A weekend of giggles! A weekend at BookExpo America in New York City!

"This year's edition of BEA, the publishing world's annual bigtop extravaganza, will happen at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center ('Marketplace to the World'), perched upon the glittering waters of the Hudson River. But unlike Ringling Brothers, our circus won't be limited to three rings. In fact, we'll have dozens, maybe hundreds, of rings.... Business mixes seamlessly with pleasure, so the work day runs, or feels like it runs, from the dawn to dawn. Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends."

2006: "Mostly, however, I'll enjoy the spectacle of books that is BookExpo. Big publishers and small publishers looking for business; self-published authors looking for an audience and a few unpublished authors looking for publishers. Everybody talking books. Thousands of people talking books and nothing but books, day and night, for the better part of a week. Maybe somebody is still reading out there. You'd think so at BookExpo."

2007: "But the future is more than just idle speculation in our business; it is the water in which we swim. We routinely read in the future--manuscripts, catalogs, ARCs--and at BookExpo, the full utopian vision is on display. Books that will be published next fall have not failed yet; first-time authors are always promising; any book might grow up to be a bestseller."

2009: "As you walk through the airport concourse upon arrival, you can spot the 'book people.' Just as you think you're imagining this, you see another one coming your way. It turns out to be somebody you know. And when you look in the rest room mirror to check on your own post-flight status, a book person stares back at you bleary-eyed. You're not surprised. Or disappointed."

2010: " I'll be on the lookout for indie booksellers at BEA. I used to be one of them. No, in many ways I'm still one of them. Former booksellers just don't fade away.... And now we're headed back to BookExpo. Handselling and handwringing will continue unabated, and we'll talk it all out once again with our eyes on the digital horizon. Enjoy the ride anyway. How can we possibly resist the temptation to yell 'Woooooooo-hooooooo,' whether we're plummeting like Icarus, or just skydiving while waiting for the parachutes to deploy?"

2011: "When some of us gather in New York next week for BookExpo America, we'll once again discuss the future of reading and its potential effects on books (print and digital), bookstores (chain and indie; online and bricks & mortar), publishers, writers, readers and anyone or anything else connected to our wordy world. We will, for the most part, be anxiously, if politely, asking each other: What's going to happen to us?

2012: "In a few days, we'll gather in New York to talk about the future of books. 'Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today,' Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day. Don't worry. Tomorrow starts next week, once again. It's a paradox we've been living with for a while. You get used to it."

2013: "We will, of course, need our stinkin' badges when we descend upon the Javits Center next week for BookExpo America. We'll need them to get in, get around and get acquainted. Identity is everything.... Although my trusty Shelf Awareness holder still has last year's badge tucked inside at the moment, it seems anxious to acquire the updated version I'll pick up next week. Hope to see you at BEA. My stinking badge will say Robert, but you can call me Bob."

2014: "If you've observed BEA attendees before in their unnatural habitat (aka the Javits Center), you may have noticed a wide range of walking styles negotiating their way through the bookish throngs. Since Sibley hasn't yet published a field guide to identify all of these varieties, I tried to assemble a sampling here to illustrate just a few of the walkers you're likely to encounter--or become--during your #BEA14 pilgrimage."

2015: "Next week, we bookish folk will infiltrate New York City for BookExpo America, each of us covertly bringing our own home library identity with us, along with our book trade identity (bookseller, publisher, author, etc.).... This year, however, I've been reminded... of something that struck me during my first book trade show, at the moment I walked into the Miami Beach Convention Center in 1993 for ABA's annual event. I'd been a bookseller for less than a year, but knew at once I belonged there. Maybe that was just my home library identity overcompensating, but it was a useful survival tool nonetheless."

For some reason, I didn't write a pre-BEA column last year, so I'll end with something from a 2005 blog post, when I was still a frontline bookseller: "My prime directive at BEA is to find the unexpected book, the one that might never cross my desk otherwise. Everything else is just work. Finding the unexpected book is pleasure. Well, finding the unexpected book when it is buried under the number of books on display at BEA is also work. But I ain't complaining."

The anticipation grows. See you at BookExpo. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now.)

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