Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 9, 2018


Penguin Press: How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch

Celadon Books: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Anthony Bourdain/Ecco: Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison by Jason Rezaian

Grove Press: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Quotation of the Day

Indie Bookstores 'Are Reintroducing Themselves'

"I think that ultimately it's the changing landscape of retail, i.e., the allure of online shopping. It's definitely a pressing issue but it's also a challenge, and I believe indie bookstores, collectively and individually, are rising to this challenge in wonderful ways. I think a big part of this challenge is finding ways to communicate what we offer to those who prefer the 'convenience' of online shopping. We need to ensure that people know that shopping in our stores is an experience, and that we are more than just 'a place to buy books.' We offer expertise and carefully curated collections for sure, but we also offer community, creativity, and opportunities to connect and feel connected. And I think that there are many outstanding examples of how bookstores are not so much reinventing themselves as they are reintroducing themselves to the segments of society who haven't discovered the wonderful world of indie bookstores yet."

--Lisa Doucet, co-manager of Woozles children's bookstore, Halifax, Nova Scotia, in a q&a for BookNet Canada (Woozles is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.)

Franklin Fixtures Store of the Month: Story & Song


News

Detroit's Source Booksellers Wins $10,000 NEIdeas Award

Source Booksellers, Detroit, Mich., was a winner of the NEIdeas small-business competition sponsored by the New Economic Initiative. The Free Press reported that the bookstore is one of 26 existing ("been-up" as opposed to "start-up") small businesses in the city that will each get $10,000 to carry out improvements or expansions.

Owner Janet Jones and other winners were recognized last night in a ceremony at the Fisher Building in Detroit's New Center district. With the award, Source plans to revamp the interior and launch a marketing campaign to reinvigorate the store for its 30th anniversary.

Jones credits "first opportunity, then courage" for making a go of her store over the years. The Free Press noted "it helps that her bookstore tries hard to serve her local community, offering books on history and culture, health and well-being, metaphysics and spirituality, and books by and about women. She also convenes author appearances and other special events."

"Though they might lack capital and connections to resources, neighborhood small businesses have no shortage of great ideas for growth,'' said NEI director Pam Lewis. "The NEIdeas challenge accomplished what we set out to do--connecting been-up businesses to a network of support that can help them realize their ambitions and thrive. We're thrilled to honor another group of neighborhood entrepreneurs and businesses who mean so much to their communities."


GLOW: Henry Holt & Company: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi


London Bookshop Relocates After More than a Century

Travel bookshop Stanfords is moving out of its London flagship store "after more than a century at its current address in order to relocate to a new home that's quite literally down the road," TimeOut London reported, noting that "the much-loved map emporium, with its distinctive tapered stone arches and the name in gilded lettering above the entrance, has been on Long Acre since 1901."

The move to 7 Mercer Walk is scheduled for January, "but keep your eyes peeled for the Stanfords Christmas gift boutique popping up on the ground floor of the new store in November," TimeOut wrote, adding that regulars who will "miss the shop’s famous map-printed floors will be glad to hear that there are plans for new versions to be installed in the bookshop’s new digs.... There'll also be an outdoor space for those seeking a spot of alfresco escapism."

"We will offer the existing, wide range of maps, globes, books and travel related products, and we will grow some areas which are newer to us such as maritime charts," CEO Vivien Godfrey told the Lonely Planet. "We are now the only chart agent in London and are growing our range of products and in particular our ‘print-on-demand’ charts and digital maritime products. We will use available technology to create many more ‘made-to-order’ customized maps. We have also seen a very significant increase in the demand for personalized, as well as customized, products."

As Stanfords' staff prepares for the big move, "a wealth of fascinating material has been uncovered which will go on display for the first time from March next year in a six-month-long exhibition at the Mercers' Covent Garden Estate, a few steps from Stanfords' new home," Lonely Planet reported.


New Press: Thick and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom


U.K.'s Booksellers Association Ends 'Civilized Saturday'

The Booksellers Association in the U.K. and Ireland "will not run a centralized variation of Civilized Saturday in 2018 following feedback with its members," the Bookseller reported. First held in 2015, the promotion was meant to be a counter to Black Friday shopping frenzy, "with events and discounts to attract people into bookshops, which last year morphed into 'Saturday Sanctuary.' "

Accusations of elitism had been lobbed at Civilized Saturday, and several booksellers agreed that a change was due. The BA will instead focus on the Books Are My Bag Awards, the results of which are announced November 13.

"In 2018, based on feedback from our members, we're focusing on the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards as the main BAMB event during the busy pre-Christmas season," a BA spokesperson said. "We won't be running Civilized Saturday as a centralized campaign, but we look forward to seeing the events and activities booksellers create on the day."

Nic Bottomley, BA president and co-owner of Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, said, "Certainly the BAMB Reader Awards seem to be a stronger focus point to rally around at this time of year given they're all about high street bookshops championing, discovering and recommending books and authors which is what November and December are all about for all of us."

On the other hand, Emma Corfield-Walters, owner of Book-ish in Crickhowell, Wales, said she would still hold Civilized Saturday "with prosecco and harp accompaniment because it had gone so well in previous years," the Bookseller wrote.


Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book: The Crown Lord by William Sirls


B&N Unveils New Nook Tablet

Barnes & Noble has introduced the Nook 10.1", a tablet that has the biggest display of any Nook device, "as well as 2 in 1 tablet capabilities for browsing, taking pictures or sending e-mails," according to the company. The Nook 10.1" is available for pre-order online and will be on sale at B&N stores starting November 14 for $129.99.

Bill Wood, chief digital officer for B&N, said the new device "provides a complete reading and entertainment experience on our biggest display yet.... The Nook 10.1" is truly a gamechanger for the Nook lineup.”


Obituary Note: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, the "nationally influential literary critic for the New York Times for three decades, who wrote some 4,000 reviews and essays, mostly for the daily column Books of the Times," died November 7. He was 84. Lehmann-Haupt was the Times' senior daily book critic from 1969 to 1995 and a critic until 2000. He later wrote obituaries of leading authors, editors and publishers, "an assignment he relished as an opportunity to explore the lives of literati, not just their books," the Times reported.

Readers and colleagues "called him a judicious, authoritative voice on fiction and a seemingly boundless array of history, biography, current events and other topics, with forays into Persian archaeology and fly fishing," the Times noted, adding that his reviews, "which invariably appeared in the paper's culture section, were a mark of distinction for any author, even when the critic's assessments were negative."

Lehmann-Haupt was also an author who wrote the novels A Crooked Man (1995) and The Mad Cook of Pymatuning (2005), as well as a memoir, Me and DiMaggio: A Baseball Fan Goes in Search of His Gods (1986). At his death, he "had completed a memoir, not yet published, about his discovery of his Jewish roots while spending time in Berlin as a boy with his father," the Times reported.


Notes

Image of the Day: Poetry at Point Reyes

Poet, performer, journalist and 1992 write-in presidential candidate Eileen Myles visited Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, Calif., earlier this week. They read from Evolution (Grove), their first collection of new poems in seven years.

Personnel Changes at Ecco; Workman

Caitlin Mulrooney-Lyski has joined Ecco as director of publicity. She was formerly deputy director of publicity at Grand Central Publishing.

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At Workman Publishing:

Valerie Alfred has been promoted to gift sales manager. Most recently, she was associate gift sales manager.
 
Rachel Roy has been promoted to assistant gift sales manager. Most recently, she was sales associate.
 
Jean Vargas has joined the sales team as gift sales coordinator. Most recently, she was customer service representative.

Neil Hiremath has been promoted to manager, metadata & digital operations. Most recently, he was manager, digital operations.
 
Lily Kiralla has been named coordinator, web and digital operations. Most recently, she was editorial & publishing assistant for the Workman imprint.


Consortium Adds Eight Publishers

Consortium Book Sales & Distribution has added eight new publishers for the spring 2019 season:

Beehive Books, Philadelphia, Pa., a boutique press that aims to create beautifully made editions of literary and pictorial works with high-quality design and production values, and an emphasis on comics and graphic art. Forthcoming titles include The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Works & Worlds of Herbert Crowley by Justin Duerr and a version of H.G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau, illustrated by Bill Sienkiewicz with an introduction by Guillermo del Toro.

Braun Publishing, Salenstein, Switzerland, which publishes some 40 new titles annually under three imprints: Braun, Niggli, and Benteli. Braun specializes in books on architecture, interior design, and urban development. Niggli's books are professional and academic titles in the areas of design, architecture, and especially typography. Benteli publishes works by artists such as Henri Matisse, Wassily Kandinsky, Alberto Giacometti, and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Floating World Comics, Portland, Ore., a publisher of international, avant-garde, and genre comics and graphic novels. Its publications are an extension of its bookstore in Portland, which was founded 12 years ago. Forthcoming books include Dark Garbage by Jon-Michael Frank and The Secret Voice by Zack Soto, the first in a three-volume series.

Founded in 2013, Green Card Voices, Minneapolis, Minn., a nonprofit organization that documents and shares the first-person narratives of immigrants and refugees in an effort to put a human face on migration. Books forthcoming will feature the stories of students from Sioux Falls, S.D., Knoxville, Tenn., and other cities.

Inhabit Media, Iqaluit, Nunavut, the first Inuit-owned, independent publishing company in the Canadian Arctic, aims to promote and preserve the stories, knowledge, and talent of the Arctic, while supporting research in Inuit mythology and the traditional Inuit knowledge of Nunavummiut (residents of Nunavut, Canada's northernmost territory). Many of the stories that Inhabit publishes have never been written down, having existed for centuries as tales passed orally from generation to generation. While many of these stories are ancient, Inhabit works closely with elders, contemporary Inuit writers, and illustrators the world over to present folktales and traditional stories in a format that will resonate with modern audiences. Key forthcoming titles include Una Huna: What Is This? by Susan Aglukark, illustrated by Danny Christopher and Amanda Sandlad, and The Orphan and the Polar Bear by Sakiasi Qaunaq, illustrated by Eva Widermann.

Lookout Books, the book imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, publishes emerging and historically underrepresented voices as well as overlooked gems by established writers. Lookout's debut book, Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. More recently, Clare Beams's debut story collection, We Show What We Have Learned, was a finalist for the PEN/Bingham Prize, Young Lions Fiction Award, and Shirley Jackson Awards.

Nightboat Books, Brooklyn, N.Y., publishes poetry and prose, with a focus on innovative and inter-genre writing, in quality paperback editions. Since its first publication in 2005, Nightboat has published more than 100 books. The Black Condition ft. Narcissus by jayy dodd is forthcoming in the spring.

Tiny Owl Publishing, London, England, founded in 2015, publishes picture books that celebrate the literary heritage of Persian culture from Rumi to contemporary. Its new series One Story, Many Voices pairs authors and illustrators from different countries to explore cultural variants of well-known tales from around the world. The first book in the series, Cinderella of the Nile by Beverley Naidoo and illustrated by Marjan Vafaeian, will be published next year.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Bob Woodward on Real Time with Bill Maher

Tonight:
HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: Bob Woodward, author of Fear (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9789526532998).

Tomorrow:
Food Network's The Kitchen: Martina McBride, author of Martina's Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life (Oxmoor House, $30, 9780848757632).

CNN's Primetime Weekend: Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times (Simon & Schuster, $30, 9781476795928). She will also be on MSNBC's Politics Nation.


TV: The Shepherd Who Didn't Run

TV writer and producer Nancy Miller will write the script for a film adaptation of Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda's book The Shepherd Who Didn't Run: Father Stanley Rother, Martyr from Oklahoma, Deadline reported. Miller will also produce with James Presnal (The Bet) and Jonathan de la Luz (Harbinger).

The project is a Film Fluent and Luzworks production, in association with Takashi Entertainment. Chad R. Reineke will serve as executive producer. Miller is the creator behind Any Day Now and Saving Grace. She also served as showrunner and executive producer on shows like CSI: Miami, Profiler and The Closer.


Books & Authors

Awards: Warwick Women in Translation; 800-CEO-READ

A shortlist has been unveiled for the £1,000 (about $1,140) Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, which was established by the University of Warwick in 2017 to "address the gender imbalance in translated literature and to increase the number of international women's voices accessible by a British and Irish readership." The winner will be named November 13. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Belladonna by Daša Drndić, translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft
Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofksy
River by Esther Kinsky, translated from German by Iain Galbraith
The House with the Stained-Glass Window by Żanna Słoniowska, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
The White Book by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith

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800-CEO-READ announced the longlist for its 12th annual Business Book Awards, which can be seen here. On December 4, winners in each of the eight categories will be named and then vie for overall winner, which will be announced at the company's January 17 event in New York City. At that event, the fifth annual Jack Covert Award for Contribution to the Business Book Industry will also be celebrated.


Reading with... Lynne Truss

Lynne Truss is an author, dramatist, columnist and broadcaster who's written numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestselling book on punctuation Eats, Shoots and Leaves. She lives on the South Coast of England with two Norfolk Terriers. A Shot in the Dark (Bloomsbury, November 6, 2018) is the first in her Constable Twitten mystery series.

On your nightstand now:

There's quite a pile right now. I keep being distracted from pleasure reading! But I'm looking forward to Kate Atkinson's Transcription and William Boyd's Love Is Blind. Also in the pile is a lovely book called Girls Will Be Girls (1974) by the British humorist Arthur Marshall. It's about the appeal of school stories from the first half of the 20th century. I'm playing with the idea of creating a character based on a writer like him in one of my upcoming Twitten mysteries (which are set in 1957), but if it comes to nothing, that's fine. I also just like reading his kind of prose.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Golden Treasury of Poetry, edited by Louis Untermeyer (1959 in the U.S., 1961 in the U.K.). There was a copy at school of this beautiful hardback book, and acquiring it for a birthday in the mid-1960s was one of the great moments in my life. The fact that it was essentially an American collection didn't occur to me for years, despite giveaway poems about Bunker Hill! I learned long narrative poems from it and recited them in front of bored classmates. I can still recite "How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix" by Robert Browning (first verse anyway). I also still have the copy from my childhood.

Your top five authors:

This is too hard! Chekhov is right up there for me; also Jane Austen and Evelyn Waugh. Dickens has lost his charm for me in recent years, which is sad. Of modern writers, Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood are outstanding. But I always hesitate about naming my top writers, as it just shows my limitations as a reader! There are any number of great(er) writers I maybe haven't read yet.

Book you've faked reading:

I'm not good at faking, and I have a naïve belief that admitting deficiencies is the best policy anyway (see above). With unread books, I can often honestly say "Well, I did start it, but then something interrupted"--because this happens to me all the time. As a writer, of course, it's very common to come across other people (interviewers, particularly) pretending to have read one's books, and it's very painful having to play along. I'd far rather people admitted that they hadn't bothered.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I recently discovered the short stories of John O'Hara (1905-70), who isn't as well known in the U.K. as he is in the U.S. I have begged people to buy his Selected Stories; I have urged them. The novella Pal Joey (1940) is a masterpiece; I would love to present a program about him for the radio, to incorporate readings from it. However, the trouble with O'Hara (it transpires) is that as a person he was thoroughly obnoxious. One of his New Yorker contemporaries said quite seriously that O'Hara would never get a fair assessment as a writer until the last person who'd ever met him was dead.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Ooh, too many to name. I do like a good cover; I also care about typeface and point size: if a book is too densely printed, I discard it mercilessly. But generally I am hugely impressed by book design these days, having first started buying books in the 1970s when book design was, generally, absolutely dreadful.

Book you hid from your parents:

I don't remember hiding books, but then my parents weren't very curious about what I was reading. Or maybe I have suppressed the memory. I do remember the obverse, actually: of finding a book tucked under my dad's side of the marital bed that had a graphic description of sex in the opening paragraph. Was it perhaps Alfie by Bill Naughton (novelization of the famous film starring Michael Caine)? Anyway, I certainly wish it had remained undiscovered. I never saw my dad in the same light after that, and writing about this reminds me to sign up for therapy again quite soon.

Book that changed your life:

Probably Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge (first published in 1942, but oft-revised), which I bought when I was in my teens. It was what I now know to be a style guide, but at that age I knew no other books like it, and I just loved it for its wit and authority on matters (of writing) that I'd never thought about. It had a section on "similes, battered," which Partridge advised his readers to think twice before using. These included "as sharp as a razor" and other similes I recognized as over-used, but also obsolete ones such as "as merry as a grig" and "as right as a trivet." The cover image of my Penguin edition I didn't understand as a visual pun until decades after I bought it: it depicts a candle being burned at both ends.

Favorite line from a book:

It's slightly more than one line, but how about the following from Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm (1932)?

"The trout-sperm in the muddy hollow under Nettle Flitch Weir were agitated, and well they might be. The long screams of the hunting owls tore across the night, scarlet lines on black. In the pauses, every ten minutes, they mated. It seemed chaotic, but it was more methodically arranged than you might think."

Five books you'll never part with:

The Louis Untermeyer poetry anthology mentioned above; Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes; Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M.R. James.

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

Persuasion by Jane Austen--or possibly anything else by Jane Austen. Her brilliance doesn't wear off (far from it), but it would be wonderful to encounter it completely fresh again.


Book Review

Review: Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages

Babel: Around the World in Twenty Languages by Gaston Dorren (Atlantic Monthly Press, $25 hardcover, 320p., 9780802128799, December 4, 2018)

If you spoke all of the 20 languages featured in Babel, you could talk with half the world, claims popular linguistics writer Gaston Dorren (Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages). That said--the greatest polyglot in this book is a Cameroonian named Jonas who speaks eight. Dorren offers an intriguing tasting-menu of the  major standardized languages, one chapter for each.

Trade and imperialism were the major forces that spread most of these languages among so many people. Some, such as German, Korean and Tamil, "happen to occupy compact but densely populated regions." Still others owe a widespread popularity to their historic status as official colonial administrative languages. "Most have this in common: they are lingua francas--languages that bridge the gap between people with different mother tongues."

At the beginning of every chapter, Dorren offers some basic facts about its subject, such as number of speakers, geographic range, loanwords and accent obstacles. These are followed by an idiosyncratic essay on whatever has struck him about that language: the ideophones of Korean, Bengali script, the "language revolution" of 20th-century Turkish and the "linguistic gender apartheid" of Japanese. The chapter on Arabic centers on a "concise dictionary" of words that have some relationship with English. The text is enlivened with illustrations and charts and supplemented by sound files on a website. There is a good index. For the most part, this book is not at all technical except for Dorren's occasional use of phonetic symbols. A final section offers resources for learning the languages, only one or two in most cases, though many more for the one he struggled to learn for this project--Vietnamese.

Dorren's themes include the sense of correctness people have around different aspects of their languages, the cultural knowledge required for true fluency, the joys and challenges of multilingualism and, conversely, the sense of belonging that shared language can provide. "Marking identity is what language does best: as a means of communication our speaking and writing can go badly awry at times, but we're all experts in spotting accents, words and other linguistic traits that set people off from our own group." This is an engaging and informative whirlwind tour of how major world languages are created, used and changed. --Sara Catterall

Shelf Talker: This is an entertaining look at 20 of the world's major languages, their histories, cultural contexts, difficulties and quirks.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Indie Bookstores Are the 'Best Places to Be'

Because I'd been thinking about paths a lot lately (paths that lead to where we are, paths forward), the end of my fall regional trade show travels left me wondering about a particular question, which I posed to Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association's new executive director, Heather Duncan, and marketing & communications manager, Jeremy Ellis.

The question was: Could you briefly sum up how your experience (and experiences) as a bookseller positioned you for your new role and how it may influence your future goals for the association?

MPIBA executive director Heather Duncan, operations manager Kelsey Myers and marketing & communications manager Jeremy Ellis

"My career at the Tattered Cover Book Store (which I fell into just out of college, never imagining a career at my favorite place to shop) prepared me for my current position in both practical and philosophical ways," Duncan replied. "Practically, my years leading a large staff, managing a significant budget, booking authors, creating large, elaborate events, and forming relationships with publishers, publicists, authors and other bookstores around the country really gave me the skill set and connections needed for the executive director position.

"Philosophically, working for Joyce Meskis, and getting to know so many indie bookstore owners, shaped my thinking about indie bookstores as colleagues and collaborators--not thinking of themselves as competitors. It is one of the things that makes our industry so special. That spirit of collaboration, and my undying love of bookstores as the best places to be, is shaping my thinking of the future of MPIBA. We are going to offer more and varied opportunities for the stores to connect and learn from each other, and build a marketing support system to spread the word to customers and the media about all of these stores as something special."

Ellis, who spent more than 20 years at Texas bookstores BookPeople in Austin, Brazos Bookstore in Houston, and Interabang Books in Dallas, said: "As a longtime bookseller, I like to think that I have a good understanding of the cycles and pressures bookstores go through each year. I really want to make my personal experiences as a marketer and manager useful for stores big and small. I am eager to support the marketing efforts of our member stores across the region, no matter their size or sophistication. My challenge will be to understand what is working for them now and find good new directions to support growth. We all want to make the association an exceptional resource that gets better and better, year after year."

During the MPIBA show, many authors echoed Duncan's belief in "all of these stores as something special" when they spoke about the increasingly important role independent booksellers are playing in their lives, in communities and in the world.

MPIBA Women's Voices Author Breakfast: Carolyn Forché, Stephanie Land, Martha Hall Kelly

Carolyn Forché, author of the upcoming memoir What You Have Heard Is True (Penguin Press, 3/19), told the Women's Voices Author Breakfast audience: "Thomas Payne believed that literature, literacy and books were essential to democracy and to its survival, and so you are on the front lines now and I commend you and I know that you know how important it is that you exist, that librarians exist, that teachers are still teaching literature so thank you very much."

At the Author Banquet, Leif Enger (Virgil Wander, Grove Atlantic) shared a story of his recent move from rural Minnesota to Duluth and an early encounter with his new neighborhood indie, Zenith Books: "I almost choked up walking around the bookstore. Look what we've moved to! We have this place and it just feels like a refuge.... And so I look out here and I see all of you and I feel the same kind of gratitude because what you're doing is not just keeping the flame alive, but you guys have made a refuge for people.... I look at bookstores and booksellers in a different way than I ever have. And I'm seriously grateful."

MPIBA Authors of Future Releases Breakfast: Tim Johnson, Greer Hendricks, Holly Goldberg Sloan, Ben Phillipe

"There's no room I would rather be in than a room with people who sell books," Holly Goldberg Sloan (To Night Owl from Dogfish, Penguin Books for Young Readers, 2/19) said at the Authors of Future Releases Breakfast. "If I could design towns, I would get rid of most things in towns and I would turn things into bookstores because that's how you change culture and community and you guys are doing that. You have boots on the ground; you are telling the community that books matter and words matter, words matter, words matter."

Jamie Harrison, who won the adult nonfiction Reading the West Book Award for The Widow Nash (Counterpoint Press), praised "the infinite generosity and richness of bookstores, the way they hold worlds without judgment and reveal those worlds--the strange and bitter, wonderful and sweet. It has always managed to remind me that being human was worth the hard times.... You booksellers must be doing it for love and you make the world a better place."

And Pam Houston (Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, Norton, 1/19) summed it all up: "I feel like it's so imperative that we try to make the world we want right now. And that it's actually us who have to make it. There isn't anybody who's going to rescue us.... You guys are on the front lines and you're making a good thing happen and everybody who's making a good thing happen--an organic farmer, in a bookstore, in a dance troupe, whatever--we're the ones who are going to make the world we want. "

Indie bookstores, as Heather Duncan said, are undoubtedly "the best places to be."

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

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