Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 2, 2018

Workman Publishing: What a Blast!: Fart Games, Fart Puzzles, Fart Pranks, and More Farts! by Julie Winterbottom, illustrated by Clau Souza

Berkley Books: Once Upon a December by Amy E. Reichert; Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea; Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo

Kensington Publishing Corporation: The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

St. Martin's Press: Wild: The Life of Peter Beard: Photographer, Adventurer, Lover by Graham Boynton

Bloomsbury Publishing: Girlhood by Melissa Febos

Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West

Quotation of the Day

Book People 'All Speak the Same Language'

"In Frankfurt, I began to understand that the role the bookstore plays in each of our communities is the same around the world. This universality was validated as I visited bookstores in other cities during my trip. In Paris, Frankfurt, and Berlin, shops of different sizes, specialties, and styles reflected their environment, and all were busy. In Paris, Shakespeare and Company even had a velvet rope to regulate the line of people waiting for admittance.

"Returning home and sorting through business cards, notes, and book recommendations written on bar napkins, I realized that although I had so many new experiences as a Bookselling Without Borders fellow, I was always engaged and at ease among these book people from so many countries. In a sense, we all speak the same language."

--Lyn Roberts of Square Books in Oxford, Miss., who received a 2018 Bookselling Without Borders scholarship, recalling her Frankfurt Book Fair experience in Bookselling This Week

Beaming Books: Sarah Rising by Ty Chapman, illustrated by Deann Wiley


Posman Books to Open in Alpharetta, Ga.

Posman Books at Ponce City Market, Atlanta

Posman Books is opening a branch in a mixed-used development in Alpharetta, Ga., an Atlanta suburb, with a holiday-themed popup store that will be open from November 15 until the new year, What Now Atlanta reported. It will then close for about three months to build out the space. The store is in Avalon, an 86-acre development that includes apartments, single-family homes, office space, retail space and a hotel.

Posman described the new store as a prototype--a "modern bookstore inspired by one of the most popular inventions of the late 1960s, the lava lamp.... The new store will place a strong emphasis on lighting, with a special focus on creating a warm, soothing space for shoppers to browse, skim and read."

Patch quoted Posman regional manager Lance Edmonds: "Picture Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses at a playground. What you're envisioning is timeless, cerebral and sexy. That's Posman Books, and we're excited to bring this reimagined bookstore experience to Avalon and the Alpharetta community."

In 2016, Posman opened a 2,300-square-foot store in the historic Ponce City Market in Atlanta. The store offers books, toys, games, greeting cards and Ponce City Market merchandise such as tote bags and mugs. Posman also has a pop-up store in the Westside Provisions District in Atlanta.

Posman Books also operates bookstores in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center and Chelsea Market. For 15 years, Posman Books had a thriving bookstore in Grand Central Terminal, which had to close in 2014 because of Terminal reconstruction. Earlier it had a store in Greenwich Village. Posman has also operated some college and school bookstores in the New York City area.

KidsBuzz for the Week of 05.16.22

Bookshop's Closure Signals New Era in Hong Kong

People Book Café in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay district--the last bookshop in Hong Kong selling titles banned by the Communist Party on the mainland--has closed, "marking the last chapter of the city's historic independent publishing scene," the Guardian reported. Human rights activists and publishers "have raised grave concerns over the closure," which follows the disappearance and detention in 2015 of five city booksellers.

Paul Tang closed his shop "under pressure from the government," according to sources contacted by the Guardian, one of whom said the city "was once the place where mainland readers came looking for the truth. But today, you're afraid to even mention these forbidden topics."

Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chair of the NGO Hong Kong Watch, observed: "Hong Kong used to be a window onto China, a sanctuary for books that tell the truth about the mainland. But freedom of expression and of the press have been significantly eroded in recent years, and the closure of bookshops selling banned books is a further example of this."

"This is a very worrying situation," said Agnes Chow Ting, social activist and member of the pro-democracy party Demosisto. "A lot of chained bookstores and book publishers in Hong Kong are controlled by liaison office of the Chinese government."

Blackstone Publishing: Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard

San Francisco's Aardvark Books Closing at End of Year

Aardvark Books, the San Francisco, Calif., bookstore whose building was sold on October 28, is closing at the end of the year. The store announced "our bittersweet news" on Facebook. "After 40 years in business, Aardvark Books will be closing. We cannot say how much your support and your camaraderie have meant to us....

"We made this decision partially for personal reasons," the store continued. "However, we hope that you will continue to support other independent bookstores in San Francisco and around the Bay Area because we know how important your business is in these times." The store added that bookstore cat Owen "will be safe and housed!"

Promised to be delivered empty, the new and used independent bookstore's building went on the market in 2017, with an asking price of $2.85 million, but the listing expired in January without a buyer. The building came back on the market in July with an asking price of $2.45 million. It sold on October 28 for $2.43 million.

John Hadreas, owner of Aardvark Books, purchased the Castro/Upper Market building in 1991 for $300,000. The building had previously seen use as a print shop and a movie theater. Hadreas founded Aardvark Books in 1978.

Ace Books: The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

Porter Square Books Names 2019 Writers in Residence

Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., has named Kathryn Amato and Catherine Flora Con as its 2019 Writers in Residence. The bookstore launched this initiative last summer "in order to make the resources needed to write books more available to the writers and aspiring writers in our community."

After reading more than 50 applications, "forming two committees, hosting a handful of meetings, and having the difficult discussions readers always have when they have to choose their favorite book," Porter Square narrowed the field to two authors, one for young readers and one for adults. They will serve a term from February 1 to October 31, 2019.

Kathryn Amato's work-in-progress is a YA queer romance that "celebrates the fact that all people, regardless of gender or sexuality, are deserving of love, and it's exactly the type of book we want to see more of in the world," Porter Square said. "In her essay about the residency, she also had a clear and specific appreciation of Porter Square Books, our community, and how she will fit into that community in her role as the Writer in Residence for young readers."

Regarding Catherine Flora Con's's work-in-progress, Notes, Porter Square commented: "We were intrigued by the mystery created by words on paper filling a landscape. We could see the room for personal growth in the narrator and some of the other characters and want to see how that growth happens (or doesn't) in a completed book. Catherine also understands the community of Porter Square Books and connects with our mission and was clear in her essay in how she saw herself fitting in to our community."

Sourcebooks to Offer Indie Rapid Replenishment Program

Sourcebooks is implementing an Indie Rapid Replenishment program for the 2018 holiday season. Starting November 5 and continuing through December 19, orders for in-stock Sourcebooks titles received from independent bookstores by 11 a.m. CST Monday through Friday will ship no later than the following business day, weather and transport conditions permitting, for arrival at booksellers' doors within two days. Orders received after the cutoff on Friday and over the weekend will be shipped on Monday, the  company said, adding that its program will give all independent retailers in the U.S. the benefit of ship times of two days or less.

"I am thrilled that we are able to offer rapid replenishment to our independent bookstore partners for the 2018 holiday season," said Heidi Weiland, director of trade sales. "We are always looking for ways to support the independent bookstore community through easy and effective initiatives, and this program fits that criteria exactly."

Sourcebooks publisher and CEO Dominique Raccah commented: "We know books are meaningful gifts and want to ensure that our independent bookstore partners have a very successful holiday season. By offering an efficient way for indies to respond to demand for our books, we can support them in having a great finish to the year."

Booksellers should process their orders in the same way they always have; no special instructions are needed. All orders received from November 5 through December 19 will receive the special handling. Questions about the Sourcebooks Indie Rapid Replenishment program should be directed to Weiland via e-mail or to a store's local sales representative.

Obituary Note: Victor Marchetti

Victor Marchetti, "a former C.I.A. employee and co-author of the first book about the agency's inner workings that the federal government sought to censor before its publication," died October 19, the New York Times reported. He was 88. Marchetti worked for the CIA for 14 years, but became disillusioned "by what he saw as the agency's unchecked excesses and its increasing involvement in attempted assassinations, coups and cover-ups" and resigned in 1969.

With John D. Marks, a former State Department intelligence officer, Marchetti subsequently wrote a nonfiction book, The C.I.A. and the Cult of Intelligence (1974). A legal battle "erupted over its publication and would have far-reaching implications, establishing that government employees who have access to classified information can be enjoined for the rest of their lives from disclosing it or discussing it, even after they leave the government," the Times wrote.

"Marchetti was at the vanguard of what has been called the literature of disillusion," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. "He was one of a number of C.I.A. officers who came to have second thoughts about the role of intelligence and about their own role in the agency, and they expressed those misgivings in memoirs that became best sellers."

G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
The Two Lives of Sara
by Catherine Adel West

GLOW: Park Row: The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel WestWhen Sara King arrives in Memphis in the 1960s, she's unmarried, pregnant and on the run from a harrowing past in Chicago. She finds respite at The Scarlet Poplar boarding house, where she'll help Mama Sugar cook mouthwatering Southern food and pursue a second chance for herself and her baby son. Laura Brown, senior editor at Park Row Books, recommends this to readers of Kaitlyn Greenidge's Libertie and Dawnie Walton's The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. "We're finally starting to see more historical fiction that doesn't center the white experience," Brown adds. Rich with research into segregation and the civil rights movement, this vibrant novel pairs a wrenching portrait of an unwed mother with a joyous celebration of African American culture in the South. --Rebecca Foster

(Park Row, $27.99 hardcover, 9780778333227, September 6, 2022)


Shelf vetted, publisher supported



Image of the Day: Rep Picks at {pages}

{pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach, Calif., held its annual (and best attended ever) Publisher Rep Pick Night. More than 50 patrons  attended, along with reps from Penguin Random House, Hachette and Macmillan. Pictured: (back row) Steve Atinsky (Random House), Wade Lucas (Random House), Mike Slack (Macmillan), Amy Comito (Penguin), Liliana Littieri, Casey Poma, Rick Cobban (Hachette), staffers Alex Geffner-Mihlsten and Mark Polak; (front row) store owners Patty Gibson and Linda McLoughlin Figel, and staffers Megan Johnson and Ailish Elzy.

Cool Idea of the Day: Books and a Handout on Refugees/Immigrants

Northwind Book & Fiber, Spooner, Wis., has set up a display table of books on refugees/immigrants, "sadly the third in two years," said owner Carol Blizzard Dunn. The current display includes a handout for customers adapted from an article on the International Rescue Committee's site on the difference between asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants, and migrants. Dunn called it "very clear and concise, informative, not political. We do what we can to counter all the false information out there."

Abrams to Distribute Cernunnos

Beginning this month, Abrams will handle North American sales and trade distribution for Cernunnos, which publishes books that showcase popular art of the 21st century in an innovative way. Both companies are owned by Média-Participations.

Founded in 2016 by Rodolphe Lachat, Cernunnos publishes monographs, art anthologies, visual encyclopedias, and gift books. In addition to Cernunnos's backlist, the new agreement begins with two new titles: Border Bang by Jorge R. Gutiérrez, the Emmy Award-winning director of the film The Book of Life, with a foreword by Guillermo del Toro, and Louis Stettner: Traveling Light by Clément Chéroux, which accompanies an exhibition that just opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Besides the Museum, Cernunnos has partnerships with Walt Disney Studios, Hi-Fructose magazine and the American Ballet Theatre. Recent publications include illustrated editions of Bambi and The Little Prince as well as work by Mark Ryden, Ron English, Louis Stettner, H. P. Lovecraft, Hayao Miyazaki and Karl Lagerfeld.

Cernunnos publisher Rodolphe Lachat commented: "Abrams is the premiere American publisher of art and illustrated books, and I look forward to working with their dedicated and passionate sales team to help grow our market in North America."

Abrams president and CEO Michael Jacobs added: "Cernunnos's list and Rodolphe Lachat's publishing vision are complements to what we do here at Abrams. We are excited to help bring these beautiful, well-conceived, and well-designed art and popular culture books to a wider audience here in North America."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Rick Wilson on MSNBC Weekends with Alex Witt

Ellen DeGeneres Show: Sean Hayes, co-author of Plum (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99, 9781534404045).

Rachael Ray Show: Leah Tinari, author of Limitless: 24 Remarkable American Women of Vision, Grit, and Guts (Aladdin, $19.99, 9781534418554).

MSNBC Weekends with Alex Witt: Rick Wilson, author of Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever (Free Press, $27, 9781982103125).

TV: Game of Thrones Prequel; The Rumour

Josh Whitehouse (Northern Soul) and Naomi Watts have joined the cast of HBO's Game of Thrones prequel pilot from writer Jane Goldman and author/GOT co-executive producer George R.R. Martin, Deadline reported, adding that the "story line and roles are being kept close to the vest at HBO, which would not comment."

The prequel takes place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, chronicling "the world's descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: from the horrifying secrets of Westeros' history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend... it's not the story we think we know," Deadline wrote.


McMafia producer Cuba Pictures is developing a TV adaptation of The Rumour, based on the debut novel by Lesley Kara, "an alumna of Faber Academy's 'Writing a Novel' course, having previously worked as a nurse and a secretary before becoming a lecturer and manager in further education," Deadline reported.

"We were completely gripped by The Rumour and are excited to be working to bring Kara's brilliant story to the screen," said Louise Mountain, Cuba Pictures' head of development.

Books & Authors

SIBA Unveils Finalists for Revamped Southern Book Prize

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance has announced finalists for the 2019 Southern Book Prize. In response to input from bookseller members, SIBA revamped the awards "to streamline the selection process and encourage more bookseller and customer engagement, with a goal towards increasing excitement and sales around the holiday season." Check out the complete list of finalists here.

In addition to the usual website nomination process, nominations have been expanded to include SIBA bookseller member reviews submitted to Edelweiss for books that met the Southern Book Prize criteria--titles Southern in nature or by a Southern author (or both) and published in the 2018 calendar year. The expanded nomination list included more than 100 titles, and the 2019 finalists were selected according to the number of nominations and/or reviews they received.

Winners will be chosen by popular vote, and SIBA stores are being encouraged to involve their customers in the voting process by creating in-store displays of the finalist titles as part of their holiday promotions. Each store will be provided postage-paid postcard ballots to hand out to booksellers and customers. An online ballot will also be available. Returned ballots will be entered into a raffle to win a complete set of the finalist titles.

In-store voting begins the week of the Love Your Bookstore Challenge, November 10-16, and will run from November 10 through February 1, 2019. Winners will be announced on February 14.

"We have heard from many of our members that they want more opportunities to promote Southern Book Prize titles during the holiday shopping season, so we moved the timeline of the Prize forward," said SIBA executive director Wanda Jewell, adding that by including titles that received strong bookseller reviews on Edelweiss, the Southern Book Prize is drawing on books that have deep bookseller support and enthusiasm.

Janet Todd on Radiation Diaries

Janet Todd

Janet Todd is a British literary scholar known for her pioneering work on Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen and other women writers. For seven years, she was president of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University. She has also published two novels, A Man of Genius and Lady Susan Plays the Game. While at Cambridge, she was diagnosed with three forms of cancer and underwent grueling treatment. She kept diaries of the experience in which she also reflected on her past, on literature, on feminism--all in frank, often comical and moving ways. Those diaries were published last month in book form as Radiation Diaries: Cancer, Memory and Fragments of a Life in Words (Fentum Press/dist. by Consortium, $14.95, 9781909572171). Here Todd reflects on what it was like to keep a diary and craft a book from it.

I'm a writer by inclination, profession and addiction. Having cancer for the third time and fearing (wrongly as it happens) I'd soon be dead, I set to writing myself out of fear.

In the early morning and late night, I recorded what happened in radiotherapy from my ignorant, fearful and bemused point of view. Comforting to think of this writing while prone under a nuclear machine deprived of written or spoken words.

Over the weeks, literary snippets welled up. I'd used books as crutch in a lonely but eager childhood, and then, in adult life, earned a living from "Literature." Stories and poems of childhood were now haunting me--along with the marvellous women, such as Aphra Behn, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Charlotte Smith, with whom I'd spent my grown-up time.

Another shadow was there too. In the 1950s, Jane Austen was rammed down the throat of school girls, even those like me who yearned for adventure tales and gothic horror. But now and for many decades she's meant more to me than any other novelist. Her feminism streams out in the most unexpected places: in the wonderful surreal stories she wrote as a child. The beautiful Cassandra with her trail of mischief is as sanguine and feminist a girl as you could want: cheery company in a tight place--like a hospital.

As for death and disease, there's something bracing about the way Jane Austen dispatches characters no longer wanted in her novel world: like Mrs Churchill in Emma or Dr Grant in Mansfield Park. A robust way to face the ultimate. Sort of "Exit. Pursued by a Bear" in fiction. And in her own life, going out--so far as writing's concerned--with mockery and humour. Hard to imagine the rollicking Sanditon as the last work of any other great realist writer.

Since I emigrated to America in 1968, feminism has dominated my academic and writing life. I was lucky to have met and worked with such exciting women as Adrienne Rich, Marilyn French and Elaine Showalter. American feminism did well by me: a joy to be embraced not in spite of being a woman but because of it. I could disinter and edit superb women then very little known, whose lives as well as works enthralled me. 

Now in hospital, quite absurdly I felt angry with feminism. Had I really thought gender was a masquerade and the female body much the same as the male? Did I believe that the only basic hierarchy in life is gender? Had I been that crude? Maybe. Here, in this place, markers of femininity were a disconsolate fact, and power relations as intact as when I hid from prefects in the school cloakroom. There's something about undiluted power over a body that's just plain scary.

I've been occasionally urged to write a memoir. Too chronological a form, I thought, too concerned with a verifiable past. Flattered, I resisted the idea and still do. But the urge to expose oneself is strong--or social media wouldn't flourish and Knausgaard be wealthy. By recording the childhood memories that surged into my mind during radiation weeks, I was giving into the urge.

My childhood is there for the writing, but is it for the reading? It occurred in three memorable places: Bermuda, Sri Lanka and a dreadful boarding school in Wales. The English upper-middle-class--of which I'm not a member--send their children to such schools, with some dire personal and national results. But, outside England, is this quaint custom of interest? Doubtful. As for a colonial past, has it simply become unspeakable?

However, within a diary written for myself and dominated by cancer, I could hint at my past--without analysing. After a lifetime of concentrating on the meaning, power and impotence of words, I felt blissfully free from any need to investigate as well as feel.

A duplex query. Without celebrity or sensational experience, why would anyone want to read about a life? Mothers in my time were prone to ask, "Who do you think you are?" No acceptable answer. To send out anything personal still feels like a plea, vanity, necessarily to be prefaced by "So and so urged me to publish this. I would not have done it otherwise. Not I."

But may not cancer justify revelation? I've let it do so. That raises another question: who except the ill (or courageous) would want to read about cancer?

There's the conundrum.

As for publishing, two things are relevant. My father's illness is prominent in the Diary--for, aged near 100, he landed in the same hospital at the same moment. A few months later he died--very much against his will. His was a seemly generation when it came to the body and inner self. I think he could not have welcomed my or his exposure. Or would he? He was an inveterate story-teller.

Second, I retired as the president of a Cambridge college with its demands for propriety and suitable dress.

Desire for some sort of self-expression burgeoned.

When a publisher kindly wanted to issue the Diary, I felt apprehensive and pleased. But what I'd written was in places too raw, too full of undigested web clutter. So, I crafted it. Surprisingly easy, for the work had become just a document to be edited.

I love editing. I love getting up early, making coffee and toast, then settling down in front of a mass of words that, like unmodeled clay, must be pressed and pummelled into shape. Crumbs stick in the keys.

No physical details were added or subtracted. Some of the quotations from largely unknown Welsh poetry and from Dylan Thomas--too many for anyone not weaned on him--were removed, more suitable ones inserted. I had a sort of gallows humour during treatment, seeing myself from outside as ridiculous and--yes--funny in my hospital gear and social bewilderment. I cut some of this. Yet I've always found humour the best and only way through some of life's most awful passages. Perhaps humour is too grand a word: what bubbles up in suffering is more like irrepressible schoolgirl giggling in church.

With a few nips and tucks, I wanted to make myself a character in my own eyes and, when published, in the eyes of any reader. Having finished, I hope this character may help to stir a response of "Me too." I also hope the Diary is entertaining.

So now, back to writing. As Jane Austen remarked, it is as well to have as many holds on happiness as possible. Writing is the first of mine.

Book Review

Review: Come with Me

Come with Me by Helen Schulman (Harper, $26.99 hardcover, 320p., 9780062459138, November 27, 2018)

A self-described "Luddite," Helen Schulman last explored the insidious effects of modern technology in her 2011 novel, This Beautiful Life. Now, in Come with Me, she goes from exploration to speculation with a story inspired by the tech wunderkinds and venture capitalists of Silicon Valley, whose billion-dollar attempts to "hack" biology and cheat death are modern answers to an ancient dilemma.  

But Come with Me is really about the desire to cheat a different kind of death: the death of possibility.

Amy Reed's adolescent boss, Donny, has developed an algorithm that would allow people to explore their "multiverses"--alternative realities in which they made different choices and their lives played out in infinitely varied ways. Relying on a vaguely described combination of data aggregation, math and virtual reality, Donny wants to offer his customers "a personalized crystal ball" that lets them find out "what if." And he wants to beta-test it on Amy.

Amy is intrigued, but barely has the bandwidth for one universe, let alone an infinite number of them. She's keeping her family afloat on a part-time salary while her three sons struggle to thrive in the Stanford-dominated, capital-driven pressure cooker of Palo Alto. Meanwhile, her husband, Dan, an unemployed journalist, is trying to escape his reality in a more conventional way--by following a brilliant, incandescently sexy photographer named Maryam on an impulsive (and secret) reporting trip to Japan.

Overwhelmed and underappreciated, Amy gives in to the seductive pull of finding out what could have been, and what could have been prevented. She visits loves she left and loves she never met, different cities, unexplored career paths--and, achingly, a beloved brother who died young, as well as a daughter who didn't get a chance to live. But when Amy's real-life community is rocked by tragedy, she and Dan must decide whether to seek out new, separate realities or commit to the one they already share.

Told from many shifting perspectives, Come with Me is more illustrative of the dramatically different universes that can exist within just one reality--or one city, or one family--than it is of technology's increasingly expansive role in our lives. The effect of these shifting viewpoints ultimately feels a bit uneven, and Schulman takes for granted that her readers will be as invested in some characters as they are in others. But, while flawed, Come with Me is a sharply observed, entertaining and occasionally heartrending novel that may help readers appreciate their own, singular, similarly flawed realities. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor in Washington, D.C.

Shelf Talker: Set in Silicon Valley--an alternative reality all its own--Come with Me beckons with the alluring but dangerous promise of finding out "what if."

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: A Book Family Moment at the MPIBA Show

Four years ago, I wrote that if you don't work in the book trade, it's hard to explain what happens at an event like the MPIBA Fall Discovery Show: "Call it a family reunion. No, better than that--a family gathering, albeit one with more fun (think Literary Trivia night or Books & Brews afternoon) than squabbles, more friendships than rivalries; and, most importantly, a shared mission."

I was reminded of the sentiment again at this year's MPIBA show, during a heartfelt celebration to honor retiring project manager Kathy Keel. In the exhibit hall, colleagues and friends expressed love and respect for her. It was a genuine book family moment.

Heather Duncan, Eric Boss, Kathy Keel, Marnie O'Connor, Nicole Sullivan

"On behalf of the board, we don't have words--even as booksellers, as book people, there are no words--to express the appreciation and the love and the thankfulness that we have for Kathy and her more than 30 years of service to Mountains & Plains," said Nicole Sullivan, owner of Denver's BookBar and MPIBA's current board president. "I know personally when I came here just five years ago as a new bookseller, she put me at ease like that, immediately, with a big wide smile and open arms and a huge personality. We just want to thank you so much for everything that you've done."

Marnie O'Connor, former associate project manager, recalled how her work as a show volunteer evolved into a five-year temporary position with the association: "I loved every minute of it because Kathy was absolutely the best boss that I've ever had in my entire life. She's nothing but uplifting and she praises you and she makes you believe in yourself more than you could ever imagine.... We had long hours, we quarreled, we bickered, we had a few choice words with each other on occasion, but I love her with all my heart. And I have to speak on behalf of the volunteers who work side by side with Kathy to make the show an amazing event that we love and look forward to every single year. We're going to miss her very much, and I wish her only the best."

MPIBA executive director Heather Duncan's connection to Keel moved to another level this year after Duncan assumed her new role: "I kind of unexpectedly had this position available and I applied for it and had never intended to leave the Tattered Cover. When I did, I was all by myself at my house and then I had Kathy. We have worked together since January and I would never have been able to learn everything that I've learned--the institutional knowledge she shared with me, the fun that we have had working together. I've known her for 30 years, but I really fell in love with her in the last year. It has been a ball. And I was very sad when she said she was going to leave, but the timing was good, it worked, and I think she feels like she's left the association that she's worked so hard for in good hands, and we're going to make her proud."

After presenting Keel with a custom-made set of bookends, Duncan introduced Eric Boss, a retired sales rep and "one of our most dedicated volunteers, whom we also adore."

Noting that he has known Keel for many years, Boss observed: "She is a force of nature. She is a motivator. She's been the engine of MPIBA, and without her most of what we know as this trade show would not have happened, and it certainly wouldn't have happened in the form that we are familiar with and that we all like. This is a great show and everybody loves it. Kathy and I have always found a way to have fun and to find the humor in the difficulties, the struggles, the problems that arise. And she's always stepped up, whenever there was trouble or a problem, she took it head on, straight up."

Boss then presented her with a handmade "Excellence in Ability to Respond to Multiple Stimuli" trophy, featuring a little desk, upon on which are scattered telephones, a computer, a fax machine, books, newspapers, packages, memos and a cup of coffee. "So, with love and respect, this is for Kathy," he added.

"I just called to say, I love you," Keel sang as she took the stage. Then she said: "I love you all. You know me, I cry at the drop of a hat, and then I laugh, and then I get aggressive, and then I laugh some more.... But I do want to say, I'm going to miss all of you so much. I have loved working with you and being with you and sharing your births, and your marriages, and your deaths, and all the moments that make up your lives."

She expressed her gratitude to all the volunteers "for standing by me and making me look better than I really was, putting up with my big mouth. As my mother said, 'Sit down, Kathy, everyone's seen you already.' And I appreciate all of you putting up with my singing at the podium and my yelling and my behavior. I love you all. I'll miss you so much. Thank you for 30 wonderful years."

A book family moment like this one is about much more than a professional transition. It's about legacy... and love, reminding us once again why we chose this world of books, or allowed it to choose us, or some magical combination of the two. Maybe it's just book genetics.

More from the MPIBA show next week.

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

KidsBuzz: Katherine Tegen Books: Case Closed #4: Danger on the Dig by Lauren Magaziner
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