Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 18, 2018

Graphix: Unico: Awakening (Volume 1): An Original Manga Created by Osamu Tezuka, Written by Samuel Sattin, Illustrated by Gurihiru

Shadow Mountain: A Kingdom to Claim by Sian Ann Bessey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Immortal Dark (Deluxe Limited Edition) by Tigest Girma

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!


Kristin Cochrane Named PRH Canada CEO

Kristin Cochrane

Kristin Cochrane has been named CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, effective July 1. She succeeds Brad Martin, who is retiring at the end of June. Cochrane, who has been serving as president and publisher, will also be a member of the Global Executive Committee. She joined the company in 2005 as associate publisher of Doubleday Canada, having previously been sales director, national accounts, at HarperCollins Canada.

In a letter to staff announcing the change, Markus Dohle, CEO of PRH worldwide, wrote: "Over the next 13 years, as she took on more and more responsibility for the publishing groups, her deep know-how of the marketplace and creative instincts helped her to effectively balance and broaden the literary and commercial sides of our publishing programs. As a leader, Kristin has an impressive track record of mentoring and empowering her publishing teams to make our iconic Canadian imprints even more successful. Her focus on creating and enhancing the distinct identity and direction for each of our imprints, while sharing best practices across them, has been instrumental in helping to make Penguin Random House Canada the publishing powerhouse it is today.

Dohle added that in the coming weeks, Cochrane "will be working with Brad to ensure a smooth transition for July 1. I am looking forward to working closely with Kristin in her new role to build upon and further enhance the strengths of our successful Canadian company."

In the letter announcing Martin's retirement, Dohle wrote: "From his earliest days in book publishing, Brad demonstrated and became widely recognized and respected for his keen instinct for sales and marketing, and especially, a passion for books and publishing. His support and commitment to Canadian literature has helped to create the largest community of publishing imprints and programs in Canada, characterized by an impressive record of award recognition and bestsellers.... Brad's hands-on approach and deep understanding of the business has helped to ensure that our Canadian operation has delivered multiple years of record performance, and under his direction, Penguin Random House Canada also leads the industry in cultural and philanthropic initiatives.

"I know you all join me in celebrating Brad's exceptional 37-year-career at McClelland & Stewart, Penguin, Bantam Doubleday Dell, Random House and Penguin Random House. From me personally--and on behalf of all of us at Penguin Random House--I want to express my sincere appreciation to Brad for his lifetime of contributions spanning one of the longest and most successful careers in publishing worldwide."

Henry Holt & Company: A Banh Mi for Two by Trinity Nguyen

Boogie Down Books: The Bronx's 'Bookstore-Without-Walls'

Since October 2017, former educator and teacher coach Rebekah Shoaf has owned and operated Boogie Down Books, a pop-up bookstore in the Bronx, N.Y., with a focus on children, teens and their educators and caretakers. Shoaf told Bookselling This Week that it had been a "longtime dream" of hers to open a children's and teen's bookstore in the Bronx, which has no children's bookstores despite being home to some 600,000 people below the age of 18.

Shoaf explained that while she'd always planned to open a traditional bricks-and-mortar store and even wrote up a business plan, she couldn't "find a way to make the numbers work because of the real estate costs." Instead, Shoaf decided to launch Boogie Down Books as a pop-up and made use of a $3,000 New York City Neighborhood Grant to fund her inaugural event, "Fall into Reading."

Held in October at P.S./I.S. 224, a public school in the Bronx's Mott Haven neighborhood, Fall into Reading saw Shoaf and a team of 30 volunteers bring more than 200 books to students. She followed that up in November with more Fall into Reading events, this time in the form of book clubs held at the Mott Haven public library. The discussions featured diverse books and were led by teachers and educators.

Shoaf told BTW: "Since that first event was funded by an outside organization, I wasn't sure what was going to happen after, but then things just sort of kept happening. There's so much excitement right now about the idea of books in the Bronx that people just latched onto it and were like, ok, what are you going to do next?"

In the months since Fall into Reading ended, Shoaf and Boogie Down Books have been going strong, with BTW reporting that she's hosted events for teachers focused on Jewell Parker Rhodes's book Ghost Boys and been a vendor at the Bronx Book Fair earlier this month.

Looking ahead, Shoaf said she plans to keep collaborating with other Bronx businesses and community organizations, and does not expect to open a traditional bricks-and-mortar store, though she "would love to someday have her own actual bookmobile that serves kids and families throughout the South Bronx and beyond."

Said Shoaf: "It's much more difficult for young people to go to a different part of the borough to go to a bookstore, so we would like to bring the bookstore to them."

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

Amazon to Open Fulfillment Center in Tucson

Amazon plans to open its first fulfillment Center in Tucson, joining four existing Arizona centers and other facilities throughout the state. The more than 855,000-square-foot facility will pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics, household items and toys.

"Since we first broke ground in Arizona over 10 years ago, we have found a network of support from community leaders to statewide officials, a dedicated workforce and fantastic customers," said Mark Stewart, v-p of Amazon's North America Operations.

Governor Doug Ducey said the decision "demonstrates that southern Arizona has a lot to offer businesses in terms of talent, location, pro-business environment and quality of life. This project will create thousands of new jobs and generate significant capital investment in the region."

Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, said, "Amazon's continued expansion throughout Arizona with this new operation in Tucson speaks to the company's confidence in our state as an excellent place to do business."

Kinokuniya Opening First Store in Cambodia


Kinokuniya in Dubai

Books Kinokuniya is opening its first bookstore in Cambodia, in Phnom Penh, likely by the end of the month, according to CamSocialNews. The store will be in the Aeon Mall in Sen Sok City, which opens on May 30.

Besides its many stores in Japan, Books Kinokuniya has branches in the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Taiwan, the UAE, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Obituary Note: Caroline Jayne Church

Beloved British author and illustrator Caroline Jayne Church, who was perhaps best known for illustrating the international bestseller I Love You Through and Through, written by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, died April 25. She was 55. Her family remembered her as someone who was "hugely energetic and hard-working and always had a project on the go. Her zest for life, great character and sense of humor was loved by all who knew her. She leaves behind many friends and colleagues who will miss her dearly."

Church's books include Ten Tiny Toes; I Love You Goodnight; How Do I Love You? (by Marion Dane Bauer); You Are My Sunshine (by Jimmie Davis); I Am a Big Sister; I Am a Big Brother; Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; and many more colorful books for young children. Her last completed book, I Love You Through and Through at Christmas, Too! will be published by Cartwheel Books/Scholastic on September 25.

A celebration of her life was held May 12 in Whitchurch, Hampshire. On Facebook, her family posted: "She wouldn't have wanted a sad occasion so the dress code will be bright and cheerful!"


Image of the Day: Literature Lovers' Night (Black)Out

Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn., hosted a panel of women authors at the May 16 Literature Lovers' Night Out program. In addition to the literary presentations, there was one emergency call for a customer who collapsed and sustained a head injury requiring hospitalization. The grand finale to the evening was a complete power outage for the entire building! Pictured: (seated, front) Jenny Milchman (Wicked River); store owners Ann Nye and Ellie Temple; Katherine Heiny (Standard Deviation); Amy Reichert (The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go); (standing, back row) bookseller Debra Larsson; Marie Benedict (Carnegie's Maid); Leah Stewart (What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw); and booksellers Lori Free and Pamela Klinger-Horn.

CBS Goes to Greenlight Bookstore for Summer Reading Recommendations

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y., curated a selection of summer reads for CBS-2's Vanessa Murdock featuring books that are "fun and escapist" without requiring readers to "turn off your brain." The list includes:

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahniuk
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

D.C.'s Upshur Street Books 'Refuses to Be Intimidated'

"A cozy, intimate bookstore in Washington, D.C.," Upshur Street Books in the Petworth neighborhood "refuses to be intimidated by the brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore that just opened nearby--the first to take root in the nation's capital," MarketWatch reported.

"They can beat us when it comes to price... and they can beat us at delivery times... but they can't touch us on human interaction," said buyer Katie Presley, noting that last year sales increased 10%.

To thrive in a challenging retail environment, smaller retailers "are maximizing new shopping trends to encourage strong sales and customer interactions by pairing websites and storefronts in complementary ways," MarketWatch wrote. Upshur's website is designed to match the "cozy" feel of its location, "highlighting the vibe of the store and what it feels like when you walk in," Presley said. "Anything that is Instagram-worthy.... The storefront is the gateway for online sales."

She added: "We've seen a sharp uptick in loyalty to our store, and to the idea of indie businesses in general, over the last year or two.... Book lovers are reading these big scary headlines about the death of the book industry... and they're motivated to put their dollars into an industry and an art form that they love and want to keep around.... A machine as big as Amazon isn't light enough on its feet to capture that intimacy and neighborhood-specific savvy that makes our store shine."

10 Genre Bookshops Catering to 'Unique Literary Obsessions'

In showcasing '10 genre bookshops around the world that cater to all your most unique literary obsessions," Bustle wrote: "If you're a reader with a capital R, bookstores are your heaven. With shelves upon shelves of new books to check out, and often a cafe adjacent filled with coffee, tea and sweet treats, how could any bibliophile worth their weight in paperbacks not love spending a ton of time at their local indie bookshop? Of course, most of the bookstores we know of stock a wide variety of genres, authors, and age-groups to appeal to the widest range or readers possible. But did you know that there are certain shops around the world that have done away with the idea of mass appeal in favor of super niche stores that cater specifically to only one genre?"

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Fresh Air Remembers Tom Wolfe

Fresh Air remembers Tom Wolfe, who died on Monday, and replays an interview with him from 1987.

NPR's Science Friday: Michael Pollan, author of How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594204227).


CBS Sunday Morning: Michael Benson, author of Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781501163937).

Movies: Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin; The Chronology of Water

A trailer has been released for Arwen Curry's documentary, Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin. Curry kickstarted the film in 2016 "and has been working on the project ever since. Earlier this week, she released a trailer for the documentary, which will use archival footage and recent interviews with Le Guin to examine her life and the impact of her career," The Verge reported. Le Guin died in January.

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin also features interviews with other writers, including Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman, as well as Theodora Goss, author of a forthcoming critical volume on Le Guin, who says in the trailer: "She's being recognized not just as one of our great science fiction and fantasy writers, but as one of our great American writers."

Science fiction podcast Imaginary Worlds recently interviewed Curry about her work on the documentary, which will appear at film festivals later this fall and debut on PBS American Masters in 2019.


Kristen Stewart plans to make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch's 2011 memoir, The Chronology of Water. She will write and direct the project.

In an interview at this year's Cannes Film Festival, where she is a juror (her short film debut, Come Swim, premiered at Cannes in 2017), Stewart said, "Lidia Yuknavitch is from Portland. I love her novels but her memoires... it's deeply personal to her. She's in my blood and I knew that before I met her. As soon as I met her it was like we started this race without any sense of competition. I'm making the movie this summer but other than that, my only goal is just to finish the screenplay and hire a really spectacular actor: I'm going to write the best f**king female role. I'm going to write a role that I want so badly but that I'm not going to play."

Books & Authors

Awards: Deborah Rogers Winner

University of East Anglia PhD student Deepa Anappara won the £10,000 (about $13,520) Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award for her "completely assured" novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, the Bookseller reported. The prize, founded in 2015 as a tribute to the late literary agent Deborah Rogers, "honors a first-time writer whose work shows literary talent but who needs support to complete their first book and includes fiction, nonfiction or short stories, but not poetry."

Chair of the judges Anne Enright said: "We care about these characters from the first page and our concern for them is richly repaid. This is storytelling at its best--not just sympathetic, vivid, and beautifully detailed, but also completely assured and deft. Set in the slumlands of a sprawling Indian city, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is a modern tale that works an ancient seam of the story-telling tradition. Not many writers can make it look this easy. What a privilege to be one of Deepa Anappara's early readers. There are many more to come."

Reading with... Lisa Romeo

photo: Ryder Ziebarth

Lisa Romeo is the author of Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter's Memoir of Love after Loss (University of Nevada Press, May 1, 2018). Her short work is listed in Best American Essays 2016 and has been published in the New York TimesO The Oprah MagazineLongreads and Brevity. Romeo teaches at Bay Path University's MFA program. A former equestrian journalist and public relations specialist, she completed an MFA at Stonecoast (University of Southern Maine) and is an editor at Compose Journal and Cleaver Magazine. She lives in northern New Jersey with her husband and sons.

On your nightstand now:

I'm still reading books on death and grief (themes of my new book). I'm in an Italian-inspired phase lately, and there's always a book that features horses. My pile includes: From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty; The Art of Misdiagnosis by Gayle Brandeis; The Art of Death by Edwidge Danticat. Fun, light reading! For pure pleasure, The Mare by Mary Gaitskill; The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture (edited by Louise DeSalvo and Edvige Guinta); and Italian Fever by Valerie Martin. Plus South and West by Joan Didion, because I can't go more than a few months without rereading some nonfiction of hers. Finally, I always like to have some poetry going and right now it's St. Peter's B List: Contemporary Poems Inspired by the Saints edited by Mary Ann B. Miller, which I picked up as a gift for my sister but started in on myself!

Favorite book when you were a child:

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold is my default answer and I did love that book. But there were two books I took on vacations, read and reread: Karen by Marie Killilea and its sequel, With Love from Karen; a mother writing about her daughter who has cerebral palsy. I fantasized about meeting Karen, who lived an hour from me. Apparently, I wasn't alone; when I mentioned the book on Facebook recently, every woman I know declared their love for this book too.

Your top five authors:

Tough one! This changes periodically, influenced by what's going on in my life, my writing, and my teaching. Right now: Joan Didion, Paul Auster, Amy Tan, Brenda Miller and Roger Rosenblatt.

Book you've faked reading:

Vanity Fair. Just lifting it makes we wince.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander, the most exquisite memoir, told in such luminous prose, and yet completely accessible. I'm a sucker for memoirs by poets.

Book you've bought for the cover:

A lot of them! Whyever not? A few that come to mind: The Guynd by Belinda Rathbone (Scottish manor house), A Fine Place to Daydream by Bill Barich (racehorses galloping across Ireland), and Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (gorgeously vivid butterfly motif).

Book you hid from your parents:

My parents weren't too curious about what I was reading, so no hiding from them. I do recall, at around age 13, not wanting my older, very proper sister to know I was reading The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon.

Book that changed your life:

Not long after a serious bout with postpartum depression, I read the memoir Sleepless Days by Susan Kushner Resnick, who shared that experience. I noticed she too was a graduate of Syracuse University, and got in touch. Those e-mails helped me make the final decision to pivot from a no-longer-satisfying public relations job, to take myself seriously as a writer.

Favorite line from a book:

This changes often and right now I have two.

I'm thinking of writing more about my background with horses, and so was grabbed by this, from Still Life with Horses by Jean Harper: "That horse and I regard each other. Just a moment, in the cold rain, time slowing to a stop. Breathing in, out. Horse. Girl."

I recently skimmed through A Slant of Sun by Beth Kephart (which I read many years ago), and now can't stop thinking about this: "I am a mother, a wife, a woman at dawn, clenched and dangerous within herself, by herself, faithless with wondering, faithless with imagining, with wanting to know one thing only: what calms a woman in the midst of her storm?"

Five books you'll never part with:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion; Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt; The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran; The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster; The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Marjorie Williams.

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

Manhattan Memoir by Mary Cantwell. It's about the generation before me, but there's an alluring, nearly-but-not-quite innocent hope in her voice; she's going out into the world with such self-effacing expectations, generous compassion and open-hearted interest in others. I want to feel that way again, as if life is still opening up.

Books I reread when I want to laugh:

Anything by Bill Bryson, especially In a Sunburned Country.

Book Review

Review: Little Big Love

Little Big Love by Katy Regan (Berkley, $26 hardcover, 368p., 9780451490346, June 12, 2018)

One night in June 2005 changes the lives of a family in Little Big Love by British author Katy Regan. Set in Grimsby, a small, repressed fishing village in England, the story is told from three distinct perspectives of the Hutchinson family. Zac is a precocious, inquisitive and fact-finding 11-year-old, who has blue eyes just like his father's. He is obsessed with food, the memory of his deceased Uncle Jamie, a chef who died a tragic death, and finding his father, who left before Zac was born.

Zac's mother, Juliet, is a full-figured, single mom who works at the Sandwich King, an eatery in Grimsby. She has a tendency to overeat and to shoplift food from grocery stores. She still carries a torch for her old flame, Zac's father, Liam Jones. Her inability to get over his departure makes dating a challenge--often quite comical.

Finally, there is Mick, her dad. A retired fisherman and recovering alcoholic, he is married to Lynda--aka Nan--who is still bitter over both the death of her son Jamie and the fact that Zac's father "did a runner" and hightailed it out of their lives. Mick is ensnarled amid the whole devastating situation that tore his family apart--a situation that has kept his daughter and his wife in a state of inertia for 10 years, and has burdened him with secrets.

The inability of the three narrators to move beyond the impact and implications of the night that changed everything--a night that, in its aftermath, has perpetuated lies and mystery--forms the impetus for this moving, bittersweet story that seeks to unravel the truth of what really happened and why.

Zac largely carries the narrative. He's a lovable foodaholic who is unmercifully bullied at school about his weight, but he finds an accepting friend and confidante in his asthmatic neighbor and outspoken classmate Teagan, who is also fatherless. When Zac learns that his mother may never find a new romantic life partner because Liam is the only man she's ever truly loved, he sets out to find the truth of what made his father leave, in the hope he can reunite them. Zac and Teagan fuse their creative spirits and launch a fun yet determined search. In doing so, Zac teaches his family the meaning of tenacity, forgiveness and redemption.

Little Big Love is Katy Regan's U.S. debut, and as in her U.K. releases (How We Met, The One Before the One), she delivers an affirming, buoyant novel populated by authentic, empathetic characters, young and old, who infuse her adventurous story with great poignancy, humor and heart. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: A lovable, determined, 11-year-old boy seeks to unravel a decade-long mystery in his family and finally find his birth father.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Booktopia--'The Best Weekend of the Year'

Every bookseller knows that running a successful author event is challenging. On the weekend of May 4-5, the Northshire Bookstore welcomed 86 "Booktopians" and 10 writers to Manchester Center, Vt., for Booktopia 2018, a "weekend full of highly acclaimed authors, enthusiastic readers, games, food, drink, laughter, new and old friends and great conversations--what's not to love?" Organizing an event on this scale raises the stakes considerably. Twenty U.S. states, as well as Ontario, Canada, were represented among the Booktopians, with some attendees traveling from as far away as California, Washington and Florida.

Top row (l. to r.): Stephen McCauley, Jonathan Miles, Bianca Marais, Heather Abel, Ariel Lawhon; Middle row: Pamela Paul, Peter Swanson, Robin Oliveira, Stan Hynds (Northshire buyer). Front row: Chris Morrow (Northshire co-owner), Aubrey Restifo (Booktopia coordinator)

"As an event, Booktopia flowed very smoothly this year," said Aubrey Restifo, Booktopia coordinator and Northshire bookseller. "Our authors were fantastic, the Booktopians were thrilled to be there, and our staff jumped in to make sure that everything was set up or done right before anything could even consider becoming a problem. When the mechanics of the event function so well, you can focus on the best parts of Booktopia--like handselling and talking about books for days and days with some of your favorite, best customers."

This year's author lineup featured Bianca Marais (Hum If You Don't Know the Words), Ariel Lawhon (I Was Anastasia), Peter Swanson (All the Beautiful Lies), Heather Abel (The Optimistic Decade), Robin Oliveira (Winter Sisters), Stephen McCauley (My Ex-Life), Jonathan Miles (Anatomy of a Miracle: A Novel*) and Pamela Paul (My Life with Bob). Additional guest authors included Eric Rickstad (The Names of Dead Girls) (in conversation with Peter Swanson) and Steve Yarbrough (The Unmade World).

Booktopia 2018 was not without its complications, however. A last-minute staffing change for health reasons prompted Northshire Bookstore co-owner Chris Morrow to ask Restifo if she would step in to coordinate because she had prior experience running large events and had coordinated parts of four previous Booktopias. 

Now that the Booktopian dust has settled, I asked Restifo to provide a glimpse behind the scenes.

"Booktopia is always an extremely demanding undertaking," she said. "It requires the talents of nearly every person on staff, not to mention the cooperation and coordination of many authors, publicists, and venues (to name just a few). Yet no matter how complicated the planning process becomes, nobody ever loses sight of those two days in May. It's a bookseller's dream."

Booktopians eagerly anticipating the main event

Each Booktopian purchases a ticket well in advance, and most have bought (and read) the authors' books in time for the weekend. Booktopians also register for their preferred author sessions (18 options are offered across six time slots) ahead of time. "This way, attendees, authors and staff can expect that sessions will stay intimate and comfortable, allowing for readers and authors to engage in in-depth conversations about the author's featured title," Restifo noted.

It has been three years since Northshire launched Booktopia to replace the former Books on the Nightstand Retreat, which was created by Random House reps Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness. Restifo observed that "every year we relearn just how complex, expansive, and important the event is to our readers and authors. Booktopia unites readers from all around the country with a swarm of authors and booksellers--all for the purpose of talking books.... It is an event that always demands extensive preparations by the store's staff, but also one that staff and Booktopians alike regard as the best weekend of the year."

To keep the bookish deluge organized and fun for participants, Northshire's booksellers set up and maintain a special hold/shipping zone for Booktopia only, ensuring that Booktopians (who peruse and often buy a lot of books) can set aside large quantities of titles. Booksellers then ferry the stacks from the holding area to guests, who can alter or vet their selections before shipping them home.

(l. to r.) Peter Swanson (author), Chris Morrow, Aubrey Restifo, Charles Bottomley (bookseller) and Pat Friesen (Booktopian)

"Booksellers also pitch their favorite titles of the year at an hour-long presentation, an event which tends to feature bookselling veterans of diverse tastes--many of whom stick around all weekend long to handsell and chat with new and old Booktopian friends," Restifo said. "Not only does Booktopia bring together authors, book enthusiasts, and booksellers, but it highlights the magic of bookselling and publishing: the reason we work with books (or buy them), the reason we attend (or host) author events in the first place.

"Every year, we welcome new Booktopians. Whether these individuals, couples or old friends find us through our staff or via veteran Booktopians [check out the Fans of Booktopia Facebook page], we have the pleasure of connecting them with new friends, our store and staff, and new books. When Booktopians leave, we always hear how they plan to come back. And they do!"

At Booktopia's final night presentation, which is open to the public, authors can discuss anything they want to within a 10-minute window. The day after this year's closing event, Northshire co-founder Barbara Morrow observed: "Last night was the culmination of months of preparation for a weekend of books, book lovers and authors, and it ended with total triumph. Eight very different personalities, all of whom happened to have written books, entertained a full house upstairs at the Northshire Bookstore, with erudition, comic relief, moving personal stories, compassionate concern for the plight of the world, but mostly with their beautiful humanity and their dedication to what they have chosen to devote a life to.

"And guess what, there was not a mention of the swamp in Washington, not a mention of our president, but only love and devotion to the world of books and how reading has made them who they are. I frankly was overwhelmed by the end, and more than ever, I felt so grateful to be surrounded by such an incredible group of people and to have found a life grounded in books."

With the momentous weekend behind her, Restifo is already looking ahead: "We're definitely going to organize another Booktopia for May 2019. Why would we ever stop?"

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

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