Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 30, 2018

Hanover Square Press: Before the Coffee Gets Cold series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Del Rey Books: The Book of Elsewhere by Keeanu Reeves and China Miéville

St. Martin's Press: You'll Never Believe Me: A Life of Lies, Second Tries, and Other Stuff I Should Only Tell My Therapist by St. Martin's Press

Watkins Publishing: A Feminist's Guide to ADHD: How Women Can Thrive and Find Focus in a World Built for Men by Janina Maschke

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Quotation of the Day

Important for Booksellers to 'Breathe in the Sweet Moments'

Donna Paz Kaufman and Mark Kaufman

"We've been wearing roller skates for months as first there was so much to do to launch the bookstore, now we've focused on shifting to organizing daily operations. Every day is over-flowing with things to do.... When we've come home exhausted from the day, we too acknowledge that there's nothing else we'd rather be doing at this stage in our lives.... Every day the interruptions keep us from getting things done, but saying 'hello' to a customer who has come in with a neighbor is too important to miss.... [I]t's important to take off the roller skates, stop, and breathe in the sweet moments that enrich each day in the bookstore."

--Donna Paz Kaufman, who, with husband Mark, opened Story & Song Neighborhood Bookstore Bistro, Fernandina Beach, Fla., earlier this year, in a post on the Paz & Associates blog

W. W. Norton & Company: Still Life by Katherine Packert Burke


New Owner for Carmel's River House Books

River House Books in Carmel, Calif., which announced earlier this month that it would have to close soon if a buyer wasn't found, will remain open after all. The Monterey Herald reported that on Thursday, co-owner Gordon Simonds said an offer had been accepted for the sale of the store, and if all goes as planned, "ownership of the bookstore should be transferred to its new owners, who are local to the Monterey Peninsula, by May 1."

"We were overwhelmed by the response," Simonds said, adding that he and Diane, his wife and co-owner, received more than 20 queries from interested parties after word got out of the pending closure.

"We fairly quickly focused on the party that we did because of what they brought to the table including retail experience," he added.

They are not revealing the buyer's name until the deal is finalized. In addition to entering into a new lease with the Crossroads Carmel shopping center, the buyer will be purchasing the assets of the business, including its fixtures and inventory, the Herald wrote.

GLOW: Sourcebooks Landmark: Remember You Will Die by Eden Robins

U.K.'s Independent Bookshops Alliance Launches

The Independent Bookshops Alliance, which was originally proposed in a blog post earlier this year by Simon Key, founder of Big Green Bookshop in London's Wood Green, held a launch event and discussion yesterday at the House of Lords, featuring Key; Lord John Bird, founder of the Big Issue; and Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley. 

Darren Henley of Arts Council England (left), Big Issue founder John Bird and Big Green Bookshop founder Simon Key at launch of the alliance. (photo: Big Issue/PA)

"Around 130 independent booksellers have joined forces to build a 'social Amazon' capable of collectively bargaining with publishers, allowing the same access to tax breaks and exclusive editions enjoyed by retail big-hitters," the Big Issue reported.

"To me, a town, village or city is empty without the power of a bookshop," Lord Bird said. "The power to turn a high street into something that holds a vast social echo. That, through its increasing presence, will be full of readings, discussions, and (at times) nice cups of tea. That is why we have to fight for bookshops. Every last one is precious to us, our quality of our life, our literature, our public spaces and communities. We have to do whatever is humanly possible. That is why--from book thief to bookshop defender--I am in love with the new initiative called the Independent Bookshops Alliance. And I was pleased to bring them to parliament to launch their initiative.

"We must protect and proactively help these centers of social good. We must try and get communities to adopt them, for local authorities to see them as a plus in their boroughs and cities, for publishers to see them as equals. And we must link this fight to the battles to save our libraries and also to enhance schools' campaigns to make more of our children literate."

The launch also attracted support from the book world. Gail Rebuck, Random House Group chair and Labour peer, called the alliance "very timely. The role of bookshops in isolated areas is so important for bringing communities together."

Andrew Franklin, co-founder of Profile Books, commented: "As a publisher we benefit hugely from independent bookshops. I'm wholly in favor of this alliance. As a publisher, we support it."

Meryl Halls, managing director of the Booksellers Association of the U.K. and Ireland, added that indie bookshops "are frequently community heroes. We urge government to fix problems the independent bookshops face on the high street."

Arts Council England's Henley added that bookshops "are to readers what galleries are to art-lovers; they are our leisure spaces, our tourist destinations, the places we go to browse and receive inspiration. Independent bookshops need to be given a louder voice and the same opportunities as retailers in the sector to sustain such a superb cultural offer. The Independent Bookshops Alliance will help bookshops find that voice, and find ways to place more books into the hands of more people, and sustain the presence of independent bookshops around the country."

Aesop's Treasury Books & Games Opens in Farmington, Mo.

Aesop's Treasury Books and Games opened earlier this year in Farmington, Mo. Bookselling This Week reported that co-owners Vince and Lisa Howard, who launched the new, 3,000-square-foot retail space in an old shirt factory about 70 miles from St. Louis, feature an inventory that is roughly half games and half books, both new and used titles. The Howards said "the community's response continues to be overwhelmingly positive."

"I think the books and games complement each other," said Vince Howard. "A lot of folks who read by default also play games, and a lot of people who are gamers tend to like to read. The store helps people connect who weren't aware that someone else with their interest lived in town."

The store's retail space and 1,200-square-foot gaming space are separated by a foyer, BTW wrote, noting that the "game room, which seats over 60 people, is always full of customers on Saturdays and Sundays who come to play games they bring from home, borrow from the store's demo library, or buy at the store."

Howard said they "understand that games can be expensive, and we sell a lot more games simply by opening the box in front of the customers and showing them the content of the game. We can't compete with Amazon, but at the same time people are still hesitant to buy something just by looking at a picture, so they are willing to pay a few more dollars to be able to come in and hold it in their hands."

He added: "This first year, I'm going to be reinvesting every dime I make back into the store's stock and fixtures, but eventually I would like to become profitable enough to take a day off and bring someone in to cover the counter."

Candlewick Press Launches Program for New Stores

Candlewick Press has announced a new store policy for independent booksellers featuring special discounts, dating and co-op terms on all books published by Candlewick and its imprints, Bookselling This Week reported. Available to booksellers opening brand new stores as well as established indies opening additional locations, the offer is effective immediately.

Booksellers can find more information about Candlewick's new store policy in the American Booksellers Association's Book Buyers Handbook or by contacting Elise Supovitz, executive director of independent retail sales for Candlewick. The Handbook also contains information about offers for new stores from a variety of publishers, including Hachette, Simon & Schuster and more.

"Candlewick is committed  to supporting the growth of new independent bookstores in any way we can, and we're heartened to see the healthy number of start-ups and existing stores opening new locations in recent months," said Supovitz.

Obituary Note: John Brookes

John Brookes, the "man who invented the modern British garden and ushered in the ubiquitous 1990s decking trend," died March 16, the Times reported. He was 84. Brookes "introduced the concept of the geometric grid as the basic structural form of the garden--in a nod to the artist Mondrian--in his first book, Room Outside (1969)."

His other works include The Essentials of Garden Design, The Garden Book and Country Garden. His memoir, A Landscape Legacy, was recently published in the U.K. "More than anyone else Brookes established garden design as a viable and respectable profession to sit alongside landscape architecture," the Times noted.

DK, his long-term U.K publisher, paid tribute to Brookes as "one of the most influential garden designers of the last 50 years." The Bookseller reported that he wrote eight books for DK, including The Indoor Garden Book (1986) and The Small Garden Book (1989), the latter being described by DK as his "greatest triumph." It sold 365,000 copies worldwide and, when it was reissued in 2006 in a new format as Small Garden, sold another 135,000 copies.

DK publisher Mary-Clare Jerram said Brookes was a "much loved" and "inspirational" garden designer. "His work was deeply admired at DK--several staff were fortunate to have their gardens designed by him--and he will be missed by all who had the pleasure and stimulation of working with him."


Image of the Day: NEIBA Fans Bid Fischer Adieu

Last night in Boston, the New England Independent Booksellers Association held a party honoring Steve Fischer, who has retired after 11 years as executive director, a time he called "more fun, more challenging, more gratifying than anything I ever could have imagined doing" in his 47-year career. Among the many who were sad to see him leave but planning to keep in touch were American Booksellers Association friends and former and current NEIBA presidents (from l.): Dick Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, N.Y.; Judy Crosby, Island Books, Middletown, R.I.; Steve Fischer; Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, N.Y.; Oren Teicher, ABA; Joy Dallanegra-Sanger, ABA; Gillian Kohli, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.; Laura Cummings, White Birch Books, North Conway, N.H.; Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., and Savoy Bookshop and Cafe, Westerly, R.I.; and Dan Cullen, ABA.

How The Night Circus Saved a Toronto Bookshop

"Do you know that if it wasn't for this book, there would be no Curiosa?!" asked Heather Sauer, co-owner of Toronto's Curiosa: Purveyors of Extraordinary Things in a Facebook post telling the tale of how reading Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus at a pivotal moment changed her destiny.

"A year ago I had an intense experience that altered the course of our lives and resulted in this shop becoming a reality," she wrote. "A set of circumstances had brought us from casually mentioning this wacky idea we had to a friend (high five to @ghostfaceknitta) to the final stages of signing a lease and riding high on the adrenaline of 'Are we really going to do this?' "

Then a sudden but persistent illness caused her and husband Stephen make "the devastating decision not to move forward with Curiosa. As part of my rehab my doctor had me getting regular massage therapy and as I waited for my appointment one day I read the first section of The Night Circus, aptly called 'Anticipation.' After weeks of crippling fear as some pretty scary potential diagnoses were thrown around, I was taken away from all of it for just a few moments and was delighted by the wonder and intrigue promised by just a few paragraphs! I felt the magic, that feeling that words can't really describe, and I knew right then we were making the wrong decision--even though it didn't make 'sense'--we needed to do this. It was that simple. I talked to Stephen, who called the realtor back and the rest is history. I am happy to say my health has completely improved and I am so thankful every day that we decided to move ahead. I have learned to never underestimate the profound impact of small moments of magic!"

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Liz Kelsch has been promoted to senior marketing manager at Sourcebooks. She has been with the company for 10 years and previously was marketing manager and publicity manager.

Beth Sochacki has been promoted to senior marketing manager at Sourcebooks, where she leads the marketing and publicity efforts for the Casablanca romance and Fire young adult imprints. She was previously publicity and marketing manager, Casablanca.

Media and Movies

Meredith Vieira to Host PBS' The Great American Read

Television personality and journalist Meredith Vieira will host The Great American Read, a previously announced eight-part TV series launching May 22 on PBS stations with a two-hour special event. Vieira will take viewers on a journey across the country to uncover the nation's 100 most-loved novels, the people who love them and their authors. As host of the series, she "will tie together the overarching themes of our national love of literature and guide viewers on a search to discover America's best-loved book," PBS said.

"It is a privilege to partner with PBS to bring The Great American Read to viewers across the country," said Vieira, who is known for co-hosting NBC News' Today and serving as moderator of ABC's The View. "The power of reading is extraordinary--it allows us to escape to new worlds, introduces us to a diverse range of people, opens our minds to different ideas, and allows us to keep learning no matter our age or background. The Great American Read offers a forum for readers to express what titles and stories they're passionate about and share how novels impacted their lives. I am honored to be a part of this discussion."

Bill Gardner, v-p of programming & development for PBS, commented: "We are thrilled to have Meredith join us on this national quest to discover 'America's Most-Loved Novel.' Meredith brings a unique warmth and journalistic sensitivities that make her the perfect host for our exploration of American culture and our shared experiences as reflected by our favorite books."

Jane Root, founder and CEO of production company Nutopia, which is partnering with PBS on the initiative, said: "As a fixture in American households for decades, Meredith's voice is the natural choice to guide the audience through this unique and multi-platform journey to find the most beloved novel. We are confident she has the ability to inspire viewers to read, vote and share their personal connections to the stories we explore in The Great American Read."

Viera is also writing the foreword to The Great American Read: The Book of Books (Black Dog & Leventhal, August), a fully illustrated companion book designed to amplify the on-air and online series content.

Media Heat: Cecile Richards on Weekend All Things Considered

NPR's Here and Now: Lisa Genova, author of Every Note Played (Gallery/Scout Press, $26, 9781476717807).

Entertainment Tonight: Erika Jayne, author of Pretty Mess (Gallery Books, $27, 9781501181894).

NPR's Weekend All Things Considered: Cecile Richards, co-author of Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead--My Life Story (Touchstone, $27, 9781501187599).

CNN's Smerconish: Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian, authors of Tiger Woods (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501126420).

Movies: House with a Clock in Its Walls

A trailer has been released for The House With a Clock in Its Walls, the film adaptation of a 1973 novel by by John Bellairs, illustrated by Edward Gorey, the Hollywood Reporter wrote. Directed by Eli Roth, the project stars Owen Vaccaro, Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams and Sunny Suljic. Eric Kripke wrote the script. Universal and Amblin Entertainment will open The House with a Clock in Its Walls September 21.

Books & Authors

Awards: Anisfield-Wolf Winners; Shaughnessy Cohen Finalists

The winners of the 83rd annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation and honoring "literature that confronts racism and examines diversity," are:

Fiction: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Nonfiction: Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young
Poetry: In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae
Lifetime achievement: N. Scott Momaday

"The new Anisfield-Wolf winners deepen our insights on race and diversity," said Henry Louis Gates Jr., who chaired the jury. "This year, we honor a lyrical novel haunted by a Mississippi prison farm, a book of exceptional poetry on what freedom means in captivity and a breakthrough history of the hoax that speaks to this political moment. All is capped by the lifetime achievement of N. Scott Momaday, the dean of Native American letters."

Cleveland Foundation president and CEO Ronn Richard commented: "With every passing year, it becomes even more clear that Edith Anisfield Wolf was a civil rights advocate well ahead of her time. Her passionate commitment to social justice is as important now as it was in the first half of the 20th century, and we are thrilled to raise up our 2018 winners as a reflection of her ideal. Their books serve as striking examples of how the written work can tackle racism and diversity from many perspectives--while simultaneously bringing us closer together."


The Writers' Trust of Canada has named the five finalists for the C$25,000 (about US$19,390) Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, which recognizes "a book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life." The winner will be announced May 9 in Ottawa. This year's finalists are:

Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life by Christopher Dummitt
All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others by Carol Off
Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada's First Female Infantry Officer by Sandra Perron
Robert Bond: The Greatest Newfoundlander by Ted Rowe
Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Reading with... Brigid Hughes

Brigid Hughes is the founding editor of A Public Space. Previously, she worked at the Paris Review with George Plimpton, succeeding him as editor in 2003. This fall A Public Space will launch APS Books with the publication of Bette Howland's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.

On your nightstand now:


Favorite book when you were a child:

A three-way tie: Frog and Toad; George and Martha, a series about two hippos; and D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, which my father used to read to us.

Your top five authors:

It is an ever-shifting hierarchy, but on my desk at the moment are books by: Mercè Rodoreda, Julio Cortázar, Etel Adnan, Anne Carson, Donald Barthelme and Friederike Mayröcker.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The books of every author in A Public Space! And I have great admiration for Kevin Prufer's efforts to bring the poet Russell Atkins's work back into print.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Bette Howland's W-3. With a very 1970s black-and-green cover, and a blurb from Saul Bellow. Bought for $1 at a used bookstore.

Book you hid from your parents:

There were books everywhere, and not really a need to hide anything. If they noticed us reading the wrong books, they didn't let us know.

Book that changed your life:

Accounting for Dummies.

Favorite line from a book:

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas. The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexis of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time." --from the opening of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel

Five books you'll never part with:

Yiyun Li's essays Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life. A chapbook of Amy Leach's essay "Warbler Delight." Issue 32 of Triquarterly magazine, from the Charles Newman era. An inscribed edition of Seamus Heaney's Field Work, from the first reading I went to when I was very young. ​And apparently, since it's still in the bookcase collecting dust, the GRE English literature study guide.

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

Shirley Hazzard's The Great Fire

Book Review

Review: The City of Lost Fortunes

The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24 hardcover, 384p., 9781328810793, April 17, 2018)

With mysticism emanating from every page, Bryan Camp paints a stunningly deceptive post-Katrina New Orleans in his debut, The City of Lost Fortunes. Deities from all walks of mythology weave among the realms of the living and dead as humans go about their days.

Camp's protagonist, Jude Dubuisson, exists in both the sphere of mortals and that of gods. He's never met his father but possesses a special gift passed through their shared lineage; he can find lost things. This ability serves him well in conjunction with his earthly role as a magician. "A brush of his fingertips against a hair left on a pillow and he knew the lost child's name, knew that she was hungry and cold and alone, knew that she was locked in a basement in Ohio.... This power had lived at the core of him, became the foundation he'd built his life upon."

That foundation is turned on its head when Hurricane Katrina hits the Big Easy. With the chaos, destruction and all-around havoc the storm inflicts on New Orleans, losses are everywhere: people, things, dreams, futures. Jude is overwhelmed by his power and the sheer magnitude of destruction. "Eventually he'd figured out that if he didn't touch anything or anyone... and if he released a trickle of his magic every few days, he could manage, just barely, to stay sane."

Jude remains quietly in his corner of New Orleans until the Fortune god calls in an old debt and summons him. Jude follows the cryptic directions to a decrepit shotgun house hidden in the Garden District. Here he finds five deities around a card table, with an open seat for him. But the game they're playing is unlike anything Jude's ever experienced. " 'The game tonight is Fortunes. Nothin's wild, everything's open. Prosperity trumps calamity,' " Dodge, the Fortune god, informs the players. A vampire antes up with human teeth and the deck of cards is tarot.

Jude wakes the next morning with no idea how the game ended or how he wound up back in his own bed. Relief floods his whole being until he learns that at some point between his blackout and the morning, Dodge was murdered. His quiet existence is shattered as he's pulled back into a world he's tried so hard to leave behind.

Camp succeeds in creating an alluringly magical fantasy realm, and he also knits it seamlessly into the reality of a vibrant New Orleans. The two worlds overlap each other like transparent layers and combine into a luminous landscape that beckons the reader with its bewitching charm. The various gods spanning time and belief systems send the story's tendrils snaking far beyond U.S. cultures, embracing universal concepts for life and death, mortal and god. And throughout the exceptional complex plot Camp gives us vivid, morbidly riveting characters, dark humor and hair-raising suspense. The City of Lost Fortunes is a composition as stunning as the music that springs from its Louisiana setting. Play on, Bryan Camp, play on. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A murder mystery wrapped inside a fantasy novel set in New Orleans, with a cast of wickedly imaginative characters and a demi-god who's endowed with the power to find the lost.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Waiting Sharpens the Senses' in Surfing & Reading

I'm waiting for a book. Tim Winton's novel The Shepherd's Hut was released earlier this month in Australia, and will be published June 19 by FSG in the U.S. I don't have to delay the pleasure of reading one of my favorite authors. There are magic spells and secret portals in our book world through which I could acquire this title in some form, but I won't do that. Sometimes waiting is part of the process, part of the pleasure.

It's like... surfing.

In addition to being one of Australia's greatest authors, Winton is a lifelong, dedicated surfer. "Waiting sharpens the senses," he writes in Island Home: A Landscape Memoir.  On the surface of that sentence, he's contemplating the long moments spent patiently waiting to catch the right wave before springing into short-lived action. Beneath the surface, and because he's Tim Winton, there's so much more at stake. The sentence is bookended by these words:

This was how I came to understand nature and landscape. By submitting. And by waiting. Waiting sharpens the senses. Which is to say it erodes preconceptions and mutes a certain kind of mental static; the clutter and glare in the foreground recede. Immersion and duration are clarifying. While waiting for the next set, for the wind to change, or the tide to turn, I had thousands of hours in which to notice things around me.

What does surfing have to do with reading, or with me? Well, for five years in the 1980s, I was managing editor of a windsurfing trade magazine called Sailboard News. I spent more time than I would ever have previously imagined with surfers. For many of the retailers I interviewed, surfing, windsurfing and sailing were inextricably linked. Reading the water and wind was their job description. Once, flying over the West Indies, I was sitting beside two colleagues who excitedly read island wave breaks thousands of feet below us.

So it's no accident that surfing/reading analogies might bob to the surface of my brain decades later, as I think about why I sometimes choose to wait for a new book the way Winton lets the right wave to come to him.

Although I'd known this novel was on the horizon for some time, my anticipation for The Shepherd's Hut really started to build early this month as I watched a digital wave of excitement wash over Aussie booksellers on social media:

Avid Reader Bookshop, Brisbane: "It's here! Tim Winton's latest book The Shepherd's Hut has officially hit the shelves."
Pages & Pages Booksellers, Mosman: "Your weekend reading. Sorted."
Abbey's Bookshop, Sydney: "When you enter #abbeysbookshop #131york #sydney this is what you're looking for. NEW TIM WINTON."
Fairfield Books, Fairfield: "We are open today until 3pm so you have plenty of time to get the new Tim Winton!"
Not Just Books, Burnie, Tasmania: "The new book from Tim Winton--The Shepherds Hut has arrived."

Winton signing at Imprints Booksellers in Adelaide.

Then another wave gathered force with reviews and as Winton started making appearances in shops like Imprints Booksellers in Adelaide ("The one and only Tim Winton and a whole lotta signed copies of The Shepherd's Hut. Hurry in before they race out!") and many others ("Thanks to everyone for coming out to meet Tim Winton to celebrate the release of The Shepherd's Hut in Perth and Fremantle on the weekend. Collins Booksellers Cottesloe, Lane Bookshop, Beaufort Street Books, Diabolik Books & Records, Dymocks Karrinyup, Collins Booksellers Southlands, Dymocks Garden City & New Edition Bookshop.").

"I really think it's one of the best books of the year," Scot Whitmont of Lindfield Bookshop & Children's Bookshop in Sydney, said in a radio interview. "He really is a master.... I knew this was a great book when I was still thinking about it three or four days after I'd finished it."

In the Sydney Morning Herald, reviewer Michael McGirr concluded: "After three readings, The Shepherd's Hut was still yielding the riches of its unblinking vision of hope, a vision that will renew readers for generations to come."

This week, author Cynthia Banham told the Guardian that The Shepherd's Hut was the next Australian book on her reading list: "I read my first Tim Winton novel for HSC English in 1989, An Open Swimmer, and love the rawness of his writing and the way he brings the landscapes and characters of Western Australia alive. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does this in his latest book."

I've devoured many of his books since opening my first Winton novel, Breath, in 2008. I can't believe it took me so long to "discover" a major author, but it did. Shame on me, though late converts are often the most passionate followers.

My anticipation for The Shepherd's Hut has been heightened further recently by news of the first Australian International Screen Forum, which included the New York premiere of the highly anticipated (by me at least) film adaptation of Breath, directed by and starring Simon Baker.

I think reading is a form of surfing--watching, and waiting, for the next good book, riding it out, then seeking another, even better read. Having the patience, using your skills. "The watching and waiting are the bulk of what it means to be out surfing. It's about observation as much as anticipation," Winton writes in Island Home. And now I'm waiting for The Shepherd's Hut... because I want to; because I know the wave will be worth it.

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

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