Shelf Awareness for Friday, April 13, 2018

Harper Perennial: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

Wednesday Books: Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones

Berkley Books: Sisters of the Lost Nation by Nick Medina

Ronin House: So Close (Blacklist #1) by Sylvia Day

Bloom Books: Queen of Myth and Monsters (Adrian X Isolde #2) by Scarlett St. Clair

Blue Box Press: A Light in the Flame: A Flesh and Fire Novel by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Irh Press: The Unknown Stigma Trilogy by Ryuho Okawa

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor


Eight Cousins Reopening Next Week

Congratulations to Eight Cousins, Falmouth, Mass., which is holding an open house tomorrow and officially reopens on Monday, April 16, with regular business hours.

In an announcement, the store invited customers to visit tomorrow to "say hello, see the new space, make recommendations" and noted that it will have "limited books and gifts for the first few weeks. If you are looking for a specific title, we recommend ordering it by phone or online and we'll call you when it arrives."

In January, the store's ceiling collapsed because of severe water damage from a plumbing malfunction in an upstairs apartment.

Sara M. Hines, Mary Fran Buckley and Eileen Miskell bought Eight Cousins three years ago from Carol B. Chittenden, who founded the store with her mother, Betty Borg, in 1986. Eight Cousins began as a children's bookstore but is now a general bookstore.

Berkley Books: Jane & Edward: A Modern Reimagining of Jane Eyre by Melodie Edwards

New Owners of Carmel's River House Books Revealed

Scott and Jennifer Lund are the new owners of River House Books in Carmel, Calif., the Monterey Herald reported. At the end of last month, Gordon and Diane Simonds announced that buyers had been found for their bookshop, but their identity could not be revealed until the deal closed.

The Lunds, who have operated local specialty chocolate chain Lula's Chocolates since 2006, "inked the deal to purchase the long independently-owned shop Tuesday," the Herald wrote. They will officially take over ownership May 1. A five-year lease has been signed with the Crossroads Carmel, where both businesses are located.

"I saw that it was up for sale and thought 'How is that possible?' " said Scott Lund, who knew the Simondses as fellow retailers. "We started talking about it. We can't have a bookstore close--when a bookstore closes, a community has problems and our community doesn't have problems."

"He was very enthusiastic, energized and the conversations led to an agreement for he and his wife to purchase the store," Gordon Simonds recalled. "We're delighted."

Although a few changes will be made to the business, Lund said the previous owners have "got a great thing going and you don't change that." The Lunds plan to host a gathering/open house celebrating both the store's new chapter and the Simonds' retirement April 25 at River House Books.

ECW Press: We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan

Tustin's Once Upon a Storybook to Close

Once Upon a Storybook, Tustin, Calif, will close April 28. The Orange County Register reported that "despite a passionate following, the charming children's bookstore in Tustin's Enderle Center struggled to survive for all of its three and a half years." The shop nearly shuttered in 2016, but was saved by a last-minute investment from attorney Erin Moriarty.

"Every month we barely paid our bills," said owner Susie Alexander. "We had a wonderful customer base, but we needed twice as many customers.... We worked on bringing in book clubs and more activities, but business never really picked up to the degree we needed it to."

She had decided that last December would determine the shop's fate: "The holidays were strong, but even so we did not end up with enough cushion to cover our expenses. There is just not a pathway for us to get to profitability.... It's been a frustrating journey, but one that I've loved. I don't regret it at all."

BINC: Carla Gray Memorial Scholarship

Amazon Books Coming to Berkeley, Calif.

Amazon Books plans to open its third store in the Bay Area, in Berkeley's Fourth Street shopping district, the Mercury News reported. The paper cited a project description on the city's building permit website regarding a permit for renovations at 1785 Fourth Street for "Interior Tenant Fit-out in existing retail space for Amazon Books." The permit is currently "under review." A Berkeley location would join Amazon Books stores in San Jose's Santana Row shopping corridor and Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza.

Berkeleyside had earlier confirmed Amazon's plans to bring some sort of retail presence to the space with "at least three sources who asked not to be identified, including one in city government."

George Kiskaddon, owner of Builders Booksource, which has been on Fourth Street since 1982, said, "It's just awful. Amazon--they are the evil empire. They do nothing for the community. They do nothing for the tax base. They have destroyed so many businesses, and the quality of life and everything else."

Foyles Flagship Store Building Sold

The Foyle family trust Noved Investment Holdings has sold the building that houses the flagship Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road in London to a real estate fund for about £45 million ($64.3 million), according to the Bookseller, which cited Property Week.

Noved had bought the building in 2011 for less than £30 million ($42.8 million), refurbished the space and moved its flagship store into it in 2014. Foyles has had a presence on Charing Cross Road since 1906 and had been in its previous space several storefronts away for 85 years.

Foyles CEO Paul Currie emphasized to the Bookseller that Foyles is four years into a 20-year lease on the space. "We will not be moving. We are currently in a good place at the moment, we have a wonderful modern building and that is something to be proud of."

Notes from London: A 'President'; Awards; the 'Hobby' of Bookselling

Hail to one chief or another!

An unusual stand at this year's London Book Fair was a replica of the Oval Office in the White House, where a stream of attendees were photographed at the Resolute desk. The office was part of a promotion for The President Is Missing, the novel by Bill Clinton and James Patterson being published in the U.S. by Little, Brown and Knopf on June 4.

On the first day of the fair, Penguin Random House, whose Century imprint is publishing the book in the U.K., announced that a "special guest" would appear at 12:30 p.m. Former President Clinton had been in Dublin the day before, so rumors spread that he would be appearing at the fair. Alas, that president went missing, and instead a slightly disheveled impersonator of the current president appeared, complete with "Secret Service guards."

Among the nice touches at the stand: the trinkets on the presidential desk included several Russian matryoshka dolls, and next to the Oval Office was a putting green for the hardworking chief of state.


Among the winners of the London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards (see the full list here), announced Tuesday evening:

Bookstore of the Year: The Uppsala English Bookshop, Uppsala, Sweden. (The judges said that the store "demonstrated their all-round capability with the outstanding loyalty of its customers and outreach.")
Library of the Year: The National Library of Latvia
Literary Festival of the Year: George Town Literary Festival, Malaysia
Audiobook Publisher of the Year: Penguin Random House Audio (U.S.)

Sara Miller McCune

In addition, Sara Miller McCune, founder and executive chairman of SAGE Publishing, was honored with the 2018 London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award. Describing her as "a visionary publisher, philanthropist and entrepreneur," LBF said Miller McCune "oversaw the growth of SAGE from a start-up to one of the largest independent publishing companies in the world. For over 50 years, she has led the publishing industry in business, through her tireless support for social science research and through her passion for philanthropy."

"I am a passionate supporter of what I call the four justices--economic, educational, environmental, and social--on an international scale, and I view the work of Sage Publishing as pivotal to their advancement as we build bridges from ideas to usable knowledge," Miller McCune said. "I receive this award as acknowledgment of my pledge to this work and an endorsement to continue to improve the world of scholarship and education for the long-term future."

LBF director Jacks Thomas praised Miller McCune as a "pioneer and an inspiration to those of us--perhaps especially women--in publishing."


Imtiaz Dharker

In what might be a first at a trade book fair, the London Book Fair named Imtiaz Dharker as its first Poet of the Fair. She appeared at the LBF's Poets' Corner; her latest book, Luck Is the Hook, was published last month by Bloodaxe.

Dharker commented: "I am delighted that the London Book Fair has chosen to shine a light on poetry with Poet of the Fair. It is a recognition of the power of poetry, the fact that it cannot be contained and will always find a way to say the unsayable across seemingly impossible barriers."


During a Booksellers Association panel on Wednesday afternoon, Peter Donaldson, co-owner of Red Lion Books in Colchester, which opened in 1978, shared some reports he had found of BA luncheons in the 1950s. One such report, quoting a member of the BA, proclaimed that bookselling was "more a hobby than a job," and "being in the book trade is really rather a lark."

The same BA member stated that as booksellers, "we are extremely un-businesslike people. That follows from our vocation." Someone whose job consisted of working with the "whole of literature," he continued, could not be as driven as someone in a normal business. This BA member added: "Books are nice things to have about the place and book buyers are very attractive people to have about the shop."

Donaldson noted that the era of the "hobbyist bookseller" is long gone, and for a long time now no one has been able to afford to be un-businesslike and continue to survive.

Obituary Note: Jean Marzollo

Jean Marzollo, award-winning author of the I Spy book series and more than 150 books for children, died April 10, the Putnam County News & Recorder reported. She was 75. A "born teacher," Marzollo's "tremendous sensitivity to children and crackerjack ability with words led the National Commission on Resources for Youth to name her their director of publications in 1970."

About the same time, she and several friends launched an educational company to write materials for, and about, children. In 1972, her first book for parents, Learning Through Play, was published and she became editor of Scholastic's Let's Find Out monthly school magazine for kindergartners. Her first children's book, Close Your Eyes (illustrated by Susan Jeffers) was published in 1978, and dozens of other titles followed.

Marzollo is best known for her I Spy series, featuring the photographs of illustrator Walter Wick. Scholastic published the first I Spy book in 1992, and seven more followed until I Spy Treasure Hunt (1999). After the success of the I Spy books, Marzollo began illustrating her own books.

"I love all aspects of creating books for kids: writing, editing, working with illustrators or illustrating myself," she said. "I was always interested in testing my work with children ages 4-8 in classrooms to see if they 'get it.' If they don't, I fix it. Children are great editors. They teach me what works best for them and what doesn't."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Simon Sort of Says
by Erin Bow
GLOW: Disney-Hyperion: Simon Sort of Says by Erin Bow

When 12-year-old Simon's family moves to Grin And Bear It, Neb., he pretends it's because of an unfortunate alpaca incident at their previous town's church. The aching truth is that two years earlier Simon was the only kid in his class to survive a shooting, and the trauma has lingered. Editor Rachel Stark says, "I've honestly never seen a team respond to a book quite the way the Disney-Hyperion team rallied behind this one. Simon Sort of Says is one of the first middle-grade books to tackle the subject of school shootings--without ever dramatizing or sensationalizing the event itself." Bow has written a near-perfect novel that features quirky friendships, wild astronomy exploits (that almost work!), zany animal capers and plenty of humor amidst the darkness. --Emilie Coulter

(Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 hardcover, ages 8-12, 9781368082853, 
January 31, 2023)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported


Bookshop Floor Display of the Day: Lucha Libro Books

Posted recently on Facebook by Lucha Libro Books, Granada, Nicaragua: "We're unpacking a new shipment and it includes a mountain of children's books in Spanish including Dr. Seuss and Rubén Darío. All the kids are reading them!"

Bookish Tweet of the Day: Sir Patrick Stewart

Sir Patrick Stewart recently tweeted a photo of himself, alongside Ian McKellen, reading The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity by Sally Kohn (Algonquin). The tweet reads: "An important book for the times, from dear friend @sallykohn."

Personnel Changes at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Soho

At Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

Liz Anderson has been promoted to senior marketing manager. She was previously marketing manager.

Lisa McAuliffe was promoted to marketing associate. She was previously marketing assistant.

Alia Almeida has been promoted to marketing manager at HMH Books for Young Readers. She was previously marketing specialist.


Steven Tran has been promoted to sales associate at Soho Press. Previously, he was sales assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: James Comey on ABC's 20/20

NBC's Sunday Today: Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, authors of Rescue & Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship (Candlewick Press, $16.99, 9780763696047). They will also be on NBC Nightly News.

ABC's 20/20: James Comey, author of A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250192455).

Movies: The Bookshop

The Bookshop, the highly anticipated film adaptation of Penelope Fitzgerald's novel that "played in Berlin and was the winner of three Goya awards in Spain," has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Greenwich Entertainment, Deadline reported. Written and directed by Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive), the film stars Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson. Greenwich Entertainment will release the title in the U.S. on August 24.

"We've always admired Isabel's work and her great leads so it's a special treat to have the opportunity to handle the U.S. release of this utterly charming and resonant ode to reading and bookshops," said Greenwich's co-managing director Ed Arentz.

Books & Authors

Awards: Stella; Man Booker International; Griffin Poetry; Colby

Alexis Wright won the AU$50,000 (about US$38,780) Stella Prize, which recognizes and celebrates Australian women writers' contribution to literature, for her collective memoir Tracker. Chair of judges Fiona Stager, owner of the Avid Reader in Brisbane, said the "winner of this year's Stella Prize in a strange way chose itself. The winning book is unique in the history of Australian letters and it artfully fulfils all the Stella Prize's criteria: it is excellent, engaging and original. We invite all readers to immerse themselves in a history, a landscape, a time and a story that is heartbreaking, poignant and humorous.

"In awarding the 2018 Stella Prize to Alexis Wright for Tracker the judges wish to acknowledge the craft of the author and pay tribute to the richness of the memories shared by the many people she interviewed. This book will enrich and change the understanding of readers. A man like Tracker Tilmouth could change our world. It takes a writer like Alexis Wright to change the world of Australian letters."


Finalists have been announced for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, which "celebrates the finest works of translated fiction from around the world." The £50,000 (about $71,140) prize is divided equally between author and translator of the winning entry. This year's winner will be named May 22 in London. The shortlisted titles are:

Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes (France), translated by Frank Wynne   
The White Book by Han Kang (South Korea), translated by Deborah Smith
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), translated by Camilo A. Ramirez
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq), translated by Jonathan Wright
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), translated by Jennifer Croft


This year's international and Canadian shortlists have been announced for the Griffin Poetry Prize. The seven finalists are invited to read in Toronto on June 6 and will each be awarded C$10,000 (about US$7,945) for their participation in the Shortlist Readings. The two winners, who will be named June 7, each receive C$65,000 (about US$ 51,650). The shortlisted Griffin titles are:

Heaven Is All Goodbyes by Tongo Eisen-Martin
Debths by Susan Howe
Whereas by Layli Long Soldier
Hard Child by Natalie Shapero

This Wound Is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt
I have to live. by Aisha Sasha John
Same Diff by Donato Mancini


Steven E. Sodergren has won the 2018 William E. Colby Award for The Army of the Potomac in the Overland & Petersburg Campaigns (LSU Press). The award is given by Norwich University, Northfield, Vt., to "a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs."
Carlo D’Este, Colby Symposium co-founder, commented: "Steven E. Sodergren's elegantly written, superbly researched and often gut-wrenching account of what the Union soldiers of the Army of the Potomac endured in 1864-1865 in Virginia has earned the author a place among the finest writers of the Civil War."

Associate professor of history at Norwich University, Sodergren is the first Norwich University author to receive the award. He is program coordinator of the Studies in War and Peace degree program at Norwich and serves on the advisory board for Norwich's Peace and War Center.

He will receive a $5,000 author honorarium funded by the Pritzker Military Foundation.

Reading Group Choices' Most Popular March Books

The two most popular books in March at Reading Group Choices were I Found My Tribe: A Memoir by Ruth Fitzmaurice (Bloomsbury USA) and Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Reading with... Phillip Margolin

photo: Anthony Georgis

Phillip Margolin has written more than 20 novels, including Gone but Not ForgottenLost Lake and Violent Crimes. In addition to being a novelist, he was a long-time criminal defense attorney with decades of trial experience, including a large number of capital cases. Margolin lives in Portland, Ore. His new novel is The Third Victim (Minotaur Books).

On your nightstand now:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Favorite book when you were a child:

I devoured the Conan the Barbarian series by Robert E. Howard, the Ellery Queen mysteries written by the pseudonymous Ellery Queen and Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason mysteries.

Your top five authors:

Yukio Mishima, Joseph Conrad, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, Robert Caro.

I'd give my right arm to write like Joseph Conrad or Herman Melville, and I've read everything of Yukio Mishima that has been translated into English. I also love Leo Tolstoy and Robert Caro.

Book you've faked reading:

None. If I don't like a book, which is rare, I stop reading it.

Books you're an evangelist for:   

Stone City by Mitchell Smith, the best thriller ever written; Robert Caro's amazing four-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, which has a fifth volume coming; and Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

Book you hid from your parents:

None. They let me read anything I wanted from a very early age.

Book that changed your life:

Ellery Queen gave me a desire to write thrillers with clues and surprise endings. Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason series inspired me to be a criminal defense lawyer who tried murder cases. During my legal career I handled 30 homicides, including 12 death penalty cases, and I got to argue at the United States Supreme Court, mission accomplished.

Five books you'll never part with:

My favorite books are:

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin, Stone City by Mitchell Smith, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and Caro's Lyndon Johnson biography.

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

I've read Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy and War and Peace three times. My problem is that I read two to three new books each week and have little time to reread books I've already read.

Book Review

Review: Adjustment Day

Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk (W.W. Norton, $26.95 hardcover, 336p., 9780393652598, May 1, 2018)

In his first novel since 2014's Beautiful You, Chuck Palahniuk takes the United States' divided politics to their extreme conclusion and proves along the way that his gift for social satire has only sharpened with time.

In the Before Times--approximately now--an impending war churned up by elderly politicians to purge the surplus of young men leads to a new American revolution. This revolt begins online with a crowdsourced list of potential assassination targets. On its own, the List might have failed, but as a hyperliberal university professor explains, every social uprising has a text to justify its actions. In this instance, a book--whose blue/black cover stands out "like a shaved head"--gives working-class American men the same type of ideological touchstone Mein Kampf provided for the Nazi Party. With aphorisms like "First make yourself despicable, then indispensable" and "If a man can face reality at the age of twenty-five, at sixty he can dictate it," the mysterious author Talbott Reynolds paves the way for drastic action.

When Adjustment Day comes, Reynolds's followers murder the List's most up-voted nominees, cutting off their ears to prove their kills and thus securing a place in the new social hierarchy. As the blue/black book suggests, the U.S. divides into the segregated zones of Blacktopia, Gaysia and Caucasia, and deports all but black and white citizens. Trapped by the new order, gay minors end up in concentration camps waiting to be traded to Gaysia for any heterosexual children born there. Black Americans confront the mixed legacy of the Deep South. And white women in Caucasia scramble for the best spots as "wives"--slave labor and breeding stock in the revival of European feudalism.

Palahniuk channels the contemporary sense of a societal thunderhead waiting to break into a dystopian hurricane. He has a field day skewering both the ruling classes and the proletariat, caricaturing politicians, the intelligentsia, the media and middle America with devilish glee. Readers attempting to pinpoint which side the author stands on will discover he owes allegiance to no one, including himself: at one point, Talbott Reynolds dismisses both Palahniuk and Fight Club as unequal to his vision.

The specter of Project Mayhem drifts by at times as a metafictive conceit, as do stray phantoms of dystopian and literary classics. Women feign obedience to patriarchal overlords in an Atwoodian nightmare-scape. A fireman sets fires instead of extinguishing them in tribute to Fahrenheit 451, and shades of Steinbeck surface at an unexpected moment. This pitch-black comedy achieves the aim of any great satirical work: it amuses, unsettles and leaves the reader slightly less sure of the boundaries of reality. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: Palahniuk's first novel in four years plays out the division in United States politics to a hilarious and frightening extreme.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Libraries of Future Past

"We are still chasing those magical, fractal, visceral encounters with real libraries of real books." --Stuart Kells, in a Paris Review blog post titled "The Strange Magic of Libraries"

It's National Library Week, which has somehow reminded me of the 1975 film Rollerball, set in "the not too distant future" of 2018. Based on William Harrison's short story "The Rollerball Murders," the movie features a pair of library scenes that have stayed with me for more than four decades.

Rollerball imagines a corporate-controlled world in which the human instincts for competition and violence are tightly wrapped up in a single, deadly spectator sport designed to illustrate the futility of individual effort. In his New York Times review, Vincent Canby snarled: "If a man's science‐fiction is a measure of his imagination, then Rollerball suggests that Norman Jewison's is about the size of a six‐pack of beer and a large bag of pretzels."

Rollerball superstar Jonathan E. (James Caan) has probably never read the Canby archives, but he has been infected with a potentially fatal virus--curiosity. Confronting forced retirement, he begins to wonder how the hell his world got to this point. It's an unexpected moment of introspection from an otherwise action-oriented guy and propels him down a dangerous path, which just happens to include a couple of library visits.

At his local "library," he encounters a vacant-eyed Circulation Unit clerk:

Jonathan: Yeah. I tried to order some books and they sent me this notice that I had to appear here at the center personally.
Clerk: That's right. This is our circulation unit. You can make your choice here or by catalogue. There must be some mistake. The books you've ordered are classified and have been transcribed and summarized.
J: Who summarized them?
C: I suppose the computer summarized them.
Moonpie (friend & teammate): What do you need books for?
J: I just want to study up on some things.
C: You could go to the computer center where the real librarians transcribe the books, but we have all the edited versions in our catalog, anything I think you'd want.
J: Well, let's see then. This is not a library, and you're really not a librarian.
C: I'm only a clerk, that's right. I'm sorry about it, really.
J: And the books are really in computer banks being summarized. Where is that?
C: There's a computer bank in Washington. The biggest is in Geneva. That's a nice place to visit. I guess that's where all the books are now.

My Rollerball flashback may also have been sparked by the release of HBO's official trailer for Fahrenheit 451 (recurrent theme: bad times for book people in the future). In an interview with Deadline, director Ramin Bahrani said that when Ray Bradbury wrote his novel in the 1950s, it was set in the distant future, and today people can read books on a "super computer in your pocket.... It's not hard to control what is on the Internet given that things are so centralized.... Bradbury said we asked for this. We asked for things to become this way.... We've turned it all over to Google, Facebook and the government. We decided we don't want to have any part in that. We've willingly given it up."

I kept reading... on my computer.

In Holland last year, the Charles Nypels Laboratory made a heat-sensitive edition of Fahrenheit 451, featuring pages that "are covered in what appears to be a soot-black, screen-printed layer. Words are only revealed when a high temperature is applied."

The Ambient Literature Project was established in 2016 "to investigate the locational and technological future of the book." In the Bookseller, Tom Abba observed: "The authorial address of The Cartographer's Confession, in which an unreliable narratorial voice from thirty years ago merges with the city around you in 2018 has specific registers, ways of linking place to voice to personal experience. That the ghosts in Breathe break down the fourth wall of the reading experience is a particularly subtle use of API data, designed to unnerve each reader."

In Rollerball, a bewildered Jonathan E. travels to Geneva in search of the "real books." He meets an elderly librarian/programmer (Ralph Richardson).

J: What about the books?
L: Books, books, oh no, they're all changed, all transcribed. All information is here. We've Zero, of course. He's the central brain, the world's brain. Fluid mechanics, fluidics. He's liquid, you see. His borders touch all knowledge. Everything we ask has become so complicated now. Each thing we ask. This morning we wanted to know something about the 13th century. It flows out into all our storage systems. He considers everything. He's become so ambiguous now. As if he knows nothing at all."

In the introduction to my copy of Fahrenheit 451, Neil Gaiman writes that once upon a time, Bradbury crafted "The Fireman," a short story that "demanded to be longer. The world he had created demanded more. He went to UCLA's Powell Library. In the basement were typewriters you could rent by the hour, by putting coins into a box on the side of the typewriter. Ray Bradbury put his money into the box and typed his story. When inspiration flagged, when he needed a boost, when he wanted to stretch his legs, he would walk through the library and look at the books."

Despite dire predictions--real as well as fictional--the libraries of my past, present and future still inspire "magical, fractal, visceral encounters." I'm glad they do.

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

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