Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 22, 2019


Overlook Press: Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi

Grand Central Publishing: What's Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

Columbia Global Reports: The Socialist Awakening: What's Different Now about the Left by John B Judis

Mira Books: Her Dark Lies by J T Ellison

Shadow Mountain: Ming's Christmas Wishes by Susan L Gong, illustrated by Masahiro Tateishi

News

AAP Sales Up 8.4% in September

Total net book sales September 2019 in the U.S. rose 8.4%, to $1.539 billion, compared to September 2018, representing sales of 1,362 publishers and distributed clients as reported to the Association of American Publishers. For the first nine months of the year, total net book sales rose 4%, to $11.43 billion.

Both adult and children's/YA sales overall rose by an identical 3.5%, to $479.3 million and $243.4 million, respectively.

In terms of formats, paperbacks had a solid September, with sales rising 9.1%, to $221.5 million, despite a big drop in mass market sales, down 17.2%, to $14.7 million. Overall e-book sales fell 1.3%, to $82.5 million, and overall hardcover sales slipped 2.6%, to $335.5 million. Downloaded audio had yet another sterling month, with sales up 24.3%, to $52 million.

The university press, religious and children's/YA categories showed some unusual similar contrarian patterns by format: sales of e-books in the three categories rose while adult e-book sales dropped, and sales of hardcovers in those categories dropped while adult hardcover sales rose.

Sales by category in September 2019 compared to September 2018:

 

Britannica Books: Britannica All New Kids' Encyclopedia: What We Know & What We Don't by Britannica Group, edited by Christopher Lloyd


New Name, Owner for Alpena, Mich. Indie Bookshop

An open house will be held today at Parallel 45 Books & Gifts, Alpena, Mich., which changed both ownership and name recently "when local author and teacher, Chanda Stafford, and her husband Jeff, purchased the bookstore from local realtor Joanna Cooper," Alpena News reported. Cooper had bought Blue Phoenix Books in 2016 from original owner Kim Krajniak and "combined her love of reading and flare for interior design to create a new version of this beloved store."

Now renamed Parallel 45, the store "offers even more for shoppers, just in time for the holiday season," Alpena News wrote. Chanda Stafford "hopes to incorporate her passion for books with the local history and charm of Northern Michigan. For the past three weeks, they've been stocking the shelves with new titles for all ages, as well as unique gifts for the whole family."

In addition to new titles, Stafford has created a Michigan wall to celebrate books set around the state as well as a frequent buyer discount program and Poldark book club. She is also exploring the possibility of holding writing and publishing classes after the holiday season.


GLOW: Flatiron Press: Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean


Old Town Books Coming to San Angelo, Tex.

Old Town Books, a general-interest bookstore with titles for all ages, will open this month in San Angelo, Tex., Go San Angelo reported.

In addition to books for children, teens and adults, owner Mary Ellen Hartje will carry book-themed T-shirts and other apparel. The store will also feature a coffee station with free hot chocolate, tea and coffee, as well as an outdoor patio area.

The store will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 26, followed by a grand-opening celebration on November 30. Hartje plans to offer discounts for teachers and the military, and once the holiday shopping season slows down, she hopes to get started with the store's events program.

"I guess I wasn't quite ready to retire," Hartje told Go San Angelo. Prior to opening Old Town Books, Hartje was an English professor at Angelo State University. "This is something I've always dreamed of doing."


BINC: Help a Bookseller, Save a Bookstore - Give to BINC


Rozzie Bound Debuting as Pop-up in Roslindale, Mass.

Rozzie Bound, an independent bookstore offering new and used books across a variety of genres, will debut as a monthly pop-up shop in Roslindale, Mass., next month. The pop-up is a collaboration between writer and educator Roy Karp and bookseller Tom Nealon, who previously owned the Pazzo Books locations in Roslindale and West Roxbury.

The pop-up shop will reside in Turtle Swamp Brewing's Roslindale Beer Hall on Roslindale Square, and opening is set for the weekend of December 21. Rozzie Bound will sell general-interest books for all ages, in categories like literature, history, current affairs and YA. And while Rozzie Bound will begin as a pop-up, Karp and Nealon told Universal Hub that they hope to eventually open a permanent location on Roslindale Square, which has not had a bookstore since 2011.


University of California Press: Beethoven, a Life (1st ed.) by Jan Caeyers, translated by Brent Annable


ABA Entrepreneurial Excellence Award Winners

Billie Bloebaum of Third Street Books in McMinnville, Ore., who founded Bookstore Romance Day, and Nicole Magistro of the Bookworm of Edwards in Edwards, Colo., who created the Adopt-a-Reader program, won of the American Booksellers Association's inaugural Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, Bookselling This Week reported.

They will receive a full scholarship to Winter Institute 2020 in Baltimore, Md., covering up to five nights in the host hotel, reasonable travel costs, and a stipend of $1,000. The new annual honor recognizes and celebrates the achievements of booksellers whose ideas, creativity, and execution have improved their store operations, fostered community relationships, inspired new efficiencies, created a more inclusive environment, saved money or increased sales.

The first Bookstore Romance Day was held August 17 and brought together independent bookstores, readers, and writers to celebrate the romance book genre nationwide with in-store parties, author events and readings and exclusive merchandise.

Noting that she is "absolutely thrilled to have won," Bloebaum said she hopes "this validation from the ABA and fellow booksellers will encourage more stores to sign up to participate in Bookstore Romance Day for 2020. There were 162 officially participating bookstores for 2019 and I'd love to get to 250 for 2020. If this award encourages even a couple of additional bookstores to join in the festivities, that would be fantastic. It's a great opportunity to reach out to a readership that has, for too long, felt under-served by independent bookstores. Having my/our efforts recognized in this way is incredibly gratifying and helps me feel that all the work was worth it."

Launched in December 2016, the Bookworm's Adopt-A-Reader program matches existing customers with students receiving services through a handful of trusted nonprofit organizations, so that Bookworm readers can build home libraries for local kids. Store staff hand-selects the books for every child based on age, reading level, language preference and personal interests.

"Honestly, I am flattered to be recognized by my peers, who all figure out how to reinvent their bookstores every day," said Magistro. "We are a creative and enterprising community who feel empowered to meet the needs of those we see while also maintaining strong financial footing. The Bookworm's Adopt-A-Reader program thrives because we're able to leverage our passionate readers for the needs of our diverse community."

The judging committee also voted to create an Honorable Mention category, which included Lane Jacobson of Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, Ore.; Lauren Savage of the Reading Bug, San Carlos, Calif.; Alex Neff of A Room of One's Own, Madison, Wis.; Praveen Madan of Kepler's Books, Menlo Park, Calif.; and Veronica Liu of Word Up Community Bookshop, New York, N.Y.


University of California Press: The Mwindo Epic from the Banyanga (1st ed.) edited by Daniel Biebuyck and Kahombo C Mateene


HMH Debuts Graphic Novel Imprint for Young Readers

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media has launched Etch, an imprint in its Books for Young Readers group "dedicated to publishing graphic novels that exemplify the best in art and storytelling across genres and reflect the diversity of young readers."

Seven titles on the Etch launch list will be published beginning in September 2020, and going forward the imprint will release approximately 15 books per year. Editors from HMH's existing children's book imprints--HMH Books for Young Readers, Clarion, and Versify--will acquire titles for Etch.

"I've been so impressed by the passion from the team, across both editorial and design, and the talented roster of creators that they've brought on board," said Catherine Onder, senior v-p and publisher at HMH Books for Young Readers. "This variety of perspectives, interests, and expertise is key to our providing graphic novels for every reader."

Jessica Handelman, creative director at HMH Books for Young Readers, added: "The birth of Etch is a great example of grassroots enthusiasm being met with top-level support. From designers to editors and marketers, we have devoted, knowledgeable comics lovers involved in every part of the process of publishing these books."

Titles on the debut Etch list include Dinomighty! by Greg Trine, illustrated by Aaron Blecha (Sept. 2020); Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery by Renee Treml (Sept. 2020); Ichiro by Ryan Inzana (Sept. 2020); Carmen Sandiego: The Chasing Paper Caper (Sept. 2020); Timo the Adventurer by Jonathan Garnier, illustrated by Yohan Sacré (Oct. 2020); Oh My Gods! by Stephanie Cooke & Insha Fitzpatrick, illustrated by Juliana Moon (Jan. 2021); and Power Up by Sam Nisson, illustrated by Darnell Johnson (Feb. 2021). HMH's backlist of graphic novels for young readers will be brought under the Etch imprint in future reprints.

"With Etch, we're creating a more visible home for the graphic novels that HMH has been publishing strongly for years, while also concentrating our energies and expanding our reach into a vibrant category of books that plays a key role in turning children into lifelong readers," said Onder.


Book Travelers West Rep John Majeska to Retire

Book Travelers West Southern California sales representative John Majeska will retire at the end of 2019 after 50 years in the book business. Majeska has been with BTW since 1986, following a career in the Navy, several years managing Pickwick Bookshops and repping for Scribners.

BTW colleagues noted that his response to good sales in his territory "often evoked, 'Well, I decided to leave the house this season,' a wry understatement of his complete dedication to in-person meetings with each and every one of his buyers each and every season and often a season in between. John, we will miss working with you and wish you and wife Carol and granddaughter Ari health and happiness."

Kevin Peters, who has 35 years in the book business and four with BTW, will now cover the whole state of California along with Nevada and Hawaii. He is joined by reps Phoebe Gaston (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona & New Mexico) and Kurtis Lowe (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana & Alaska).


Notes

Image of the Day: Mountains and Music

David Oates's The Mountains of Paris: How Awe and Wonder Rewrote My Life (OSU Press) was celebrated at the Old Church in Portland, Ore. Organist Bruce Neswick (left) treated the audience to pieces by J.S. Bach and César Franck, and author Oates (right) read from his newly released book.


Bookshop Window Murals: Wishing Tree Books

Wishing Tree Books, which recently opened in Spokane, Wash., shared a video featuring the unveiling of the bookshop's new window murals, painted by Emma Daniels, "our talented artist friend." The book titles were "hand-picked by our investors. Our way of thanking them." Wishing Tree also posted close-up photos of the murals.

Bookshop Dog RIP: Bear, at Parnassus Books

Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tenn., is mourning the death of one of the store's canine booksellers: "We, the shop dogs of Parnassus Books, have some sad news to report today. Our good friend and the oldest of our shop dogs, Bear, has passed away. As you may know, Bear belonged with shop person Sissy, who took him in as a senior dog six years ago when her neighbors could no longer care for him....

"Dashing in his belt and colorful neckerchiefs, Bear became a customer favorite. He followed readers around quietly, and it wasn't uncommon to see someone holding a book in one hand and absentmindedly patting Bear's head with the other. He also followed the shop people into the employee restroom, because he knew that's where the dog biscuits are kept--and that the newer booksellers wouldn't yet know the just-one-biscuit rule....

"Working alongside Bear made us all better dogs. If you think that's a weird sentence, let us remind you that you're currently reading a blog post co-written by animals. We canines are a big part of what happens around here. We spend our days together, like siblings. Each of us belongs to one shop person, but all the shop people are like our aunts and uncles. To lose a dog from our ranks changes the dynamic of our family, but he changed us first. Bear taught us about persistence, gentleness, and making fresh starts as often as necessary.... So please join us in raising a biscuit for Bear today."


Personnel Changes at HarperCollins; Casemate Group; Harlequin

Christine Edwards is joining HarperCollins in the newly created role of senior v-p, sales, effective December 30. She is currently v-p, group sales director for Crown Publishing Group at Penguin Random House as well as v-p, group sales director for Penguin Random House Audio. Earlier she held several positions at Borders Group, including director of merchandising.

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At Casemate Group:

Kate Stein has been promoted to sales director. She joined the company a year ago and earlier worked at Victoria's Secret.

Daniel Yesilonis has joined the company as marketing executive. He formerly worked at Taylor & Francis.

Jenna Faccenda has joined the company as marketing executive. She formerly worked at Running Press.

Jill Tanenbaum has joined the company as customer service manager. She most recently worked in customer service and inventory/logistics at EM Sullivan Associates.

Sam Thuman has joined the company in sales and data support. Thuman previously worked in data and registration management for Atelier Art Services.

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Samantha McVeigh has joined Harlequin Trade Publishing as publicist, working in New York. She was previously at Kensington.


Media and Movies

TV: Maid; Turn of the Screw

Netflix has given a series order to Maid, inspired by Stephanie Land's bestselling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, according to Deadline. The project is from writer Molly Smith Metzler (Shameless, Orange Is the New Black); John Wells Productions; Margot Robbie's LuckyChap Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, where the project had been in development. Metzler will write, executive produce and serve as showrunner on the series.

"Stephanie Land's book is a powerful and necessary read, with incredible insight into the struggles people face whilst just trying to get by," said LuckyChap Entertainment in a statement.

Wells commented: "Stephanie tells the searing and remarkably human story of a young woman battling to find a secure future for herself and her infant daughter, Mia, in the face of overwhelming odds and governmental assistance programs of impossible complexity."

Channing Dungey, v-p original series at Netflix, added that Maid "is a poignant portrait that chronicles Stephanie Land's strife and victories, and has the power to connect with our members around the world as they identify with her struggles and root for her success."

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Quibi has put into development Turn of the Screw, a modern take on Henry James's classic novella from Alexandra McNally (Under the Dome), Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva, CSI) and Sony Pictures Television, Deadline reported,describing the project as a "twisty Gothic soap reimagined for modern times." McNally will executive produce with Berman and Osprey's Head of Development & Production Chris King. Sony Pictures TV is the studio.



Books & Authors

Awards: An Post Irish Book Winners

Joseph O'Connor, Vicky Phelan and Andrea Corr were among the winning authors of this year's An Post Irish Book Awards, which "showcase a diverse mix of exceptional writing from new and established writers across 16 categories." Check out the complete list of winners here.

In addition, author and journalist Colm Tóibín received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of "the central position he has occupied in the cultural life of Ireland for over three decades."

Readers will now vote for the overall An Post Irish Book of the Year, which will be announced in January.


Reading with... Samuel Shem

photo: Janet Surrey

Samuel Shem, M.D., is a novelist, playwright and activist, and professor of Medical Humanities at NYU School of Medicine. His novel The House of God, about medical internship, has sold more than two million copies in the U.S. His other novels include Mount Misery, The Spirit of the Place and At the Heart of the Universe. With Janet Surrey he wrote the award-winning off-Broadway play Bill W. and Dr. Bob and the books The Buddha's Wife: The Path of Awakening Together and We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men. He has also written the nonfiction essay "Fiction as Resistance." His new novel, Man's 4th Best Hospital (Berkley, November 12, 2019), is the sequel to The House of God.

On your nightstand now:

I read two books at the same time, one fiction, one nonfiction. This keeps both hemispheres of my brain tuned up. The fiction happens to be a perfect book that I'm re-reading, my tattered hardcover of Gabriel García Márquez's Of Love and Other Demons. Set in the 16th century of a fictional Cartagena, Colombia, it has it all--story, suspense, love and death.

My nonfiction reading is Falter by the writer and activist Bill McKibben, who, for 40-some years, has led the fight to save our planet through a nonprofit he founded, 350.org. The book ranges deep and wide over climate change and explains how to stop global warming.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Who remembers?

Your top five authors:

Shakespeare and Tolstoy: both touched by Divinity.

George Orwell: not just 1984, but also Animal Farm and the nonfiction essays.

Eduardo Galeano: the Uruguayan author of the Memory of Fire trilogy, a riveting story of the Americas from creation through many genocides to our current history. A great tale of resistance.

Graham Greene: The Quiet American is the perfect novel on our folly in Vietnam, and a nonfiction work, Getting to Know the General, tells the story of Panama's former leader Omar Torrijos.

Book you've faked reading:

I don't fake. Reading or anything else.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Any volume by Wallace Stevens. A favorite poem is "The Latest Freed Man." And I have to mention Dispatches by Michael Herr. The greatest Vietnam War nonfiction. With '60s cool and incisive truth-telling, it brings atrocity into focus.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Are you suggesting that you can tell a book by its cover? Hmmm.

Book you hid from your parents:

What parents? I was so into books--and sports--that I never quite noticed the parents.

Book that changed your life:

Change my life? So many books, so little changes. My life has been changed by sufferings and loves.

Favorite line from a book:

"The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it." From I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a Bombay shopkeeper and enlightened soul whose dialogues were transcribed in the 1960s. Several of our great American Buddhist teachers, such as Jack Kornfield, traveled to his apartment above his cigarette store to hear him speak.

Five books you'll never part with:

Wallace Stevens, Collected Poems; Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; Vimala Thakar, The Eloquence of Living; Rilke, Book of Hours: Love Poems to God; and Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer's Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatemala.

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

War and Peace. The best summer job I ever had was as toll collector on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge across the Hudson River. I had the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift. After the bars closed at one a.m., traffic slowed way down, and I read. At night on the job, head over heels in love with my now wife, sitting there alone in that quiet booth for hours, reading until first light and the realization of how short the dark of night really was? Well, how could I not fall in love with pretty much everything right then, including Tolstoy and the peaceful war of love?

What is displayed over your writing desk:

A Chekhov quote from a letter to his editor: "The best of writers are realistic and describe life as it is, but because each line is saturated with the consciousness of its goal, you feel life as it should be in addition to life as it is, and you are captivated by it." This set me on my way and keeps me on my way.


Book Review

Review: Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Putnam, $26 hardcover, 320p., 9780525541905, December 31, 2019)

Alix Chamberlain is the white owner of a small, successful Philadelphia business. She has a toddler and an infant underfoot and a book to write, so she hires 25-year-old Temple University graduate Emira Tucker, who is black, to babysit three days a week. Alix considers Emira a godsend and wants her to know it. Kiley Reid's debut novel, Such a Fun Age, is about the way that good deeds fueled by even the best intentions can fizzle under the weight of unacknowledged self-interest.

One Saturday, Emira gets a phone call from Alix at nearly 11 p.m.: she's in a jam and needs care for her toddler. Emira can use the cash, so she drops everything to kill time at an upscale grocery store with the two-year-old.

At the market, a middle-aged white woman sees Emira with the white toddler and alerts a security guard, who confronts Emira, suggesting that she has kidnapped the child. Alix is appalled when she learns what happened and tells Emira that she has her full support if she wants to sue the store. Emira would rather drop the subject: "More than the racial bias, the night at Market Depot came back to her with a nauseating surge and a resounding declaration that hissed, You don't have a real job."

Since the incident, Alix has been out to prove to Emira that she isn't just another entitled white person. Reid, who is black, has an acute understanding of well-meaning white people's sometimes squirmy racial sensitivity; at one point, Alix is relieved that in front of Emira she manages to say "the words African American and culture without lowering her volume to a suburban hush."

Alix is eager for Emira to know that one of her three closest friends is black, and the opportunity arises: the three women are coming to the Chamberlain house for Thanksgiving dinner, and Alix has learned from sneaking a look at Emira's phone--yes, she knows she shouldn't do this--that the weather has grounded the young woman's flight home to Maryland. "Suddenly," Alix thinks, "the fourth Thursday in November wasn't just a holiday. It was four (or hopefully five or six) hours to finally make Emira family."

A lesser writer would have taken the book's powder-keg material--which does, of course, ultimately explode--and set it off with too-easy satire. The strength of Such a Fun Age lies in Reid's even hand with both Emira and Alix, whose points of view switch off fairly regularly throughout the novel. Neither character is archetypal: Emira is levelheaded but frustratingly aimless, and Alix is entitled without being risible--well, until the book's end. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer

Shelf Talker: In this conversation starter of a debut novel, a public incident of racial profiling recalibrates the relationship between a 20-something black babysitter and her white employer.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Author/Bookseller's Journey to Book Acquisition

Not long ago I heard about a book that had just been acquired by an independent publisher I admire. It's easy to glance at daily acquisition notices and quickly move on, since the journey to publication date is a long one. But this time I paid attention, partly because the author is an indie bookseller.

Chris La Tray

That nonfiction title Milkweed Editions publisher and CEO Daniel Slager acquired is Becoming Little Shell (forthcoming in 2021) by Chris La Tray, who works at Fact & Fiction Bookstore in Missoula, Mont. It is the story of his mixed-race, Métis heritage, a father who denied that heritage, and the community he was denied as a result. It is also a history of the state's Métis people, known as Montana's "Landless Indians," and their largely unrecognized cultural presence on the High Plains of the U.S. In particular, the book discusses Montana's Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and their struggle for federal recognition.

Learning about this, I took the logical next steps. I ordered La Tray's first book, One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems and Essays from the World at Large (Riverfeet Press), and then I asked Slager and La Tray about Becoming Little Shell's journey to acquisition.

"I first met Chris as a bookseller," Slager recalled. "I've been working with a few writers based in Missoula in recent years, beginning with Chris Dombrowski. I've also been at Beargrass, a writers residency and workshop that meets every year in August, on a ranch outside Missoula."

Fact & Fiction often sold books at events, and Slager said he began talking with La Tray "when Becoming Little Shell was more a notion than a proposal. Still, I was drawn to the project, and, frankly, to Chris. He strikes me as an authentic, original character, hard-working to boot, and when he told me his family story, I encouraged him to think about writing a book based on it. This last summer, when I arrived at Beargrass, he handed me a proposal for Becoming Little Shell, along with a sample chapter or so. I loved it, thought it the kind of book we could publish particularly well, and made him an offer the next day."

La Tray has worked at Fact & Fiction for three years. "It's technically only a part-time gig for me, but, as bookstore gigs go, it tends to spill over into more than that," he said. "Mara Panich runs the show; she and I were friends before I was hired and that is how I came on board." After F&F's founder Barbara Theroux retired two years ago, his role expanded.

When I asked how he weaves being a bookseller into his writing life, La Tray replied: "Time, it all comes down to time. I have to make sure and make time to write, because it never just happens on its own the way sitting and looking at Instagram or stroking my beard or something does. I've come to accept that the two gigs are so intertwined now as to be virtually inseparable."

He offered tips for making the two pursuits work together: "First off, don't be a jerk. This is a small world, whether we're talking about the world of writers, booksellers, people in publishing, all of it. Life is just better for everyone if you're cool to people, so that's what I try to be. People remember you if you are a jerk, and word gets around. Secondly, be a good literary citizen. Talk about work from other people that excites you. Be enthusiastic. Champion your friends. That's one of the best parts about being a bookseller, is putting something I love in the hands of someone else and being jealous that they still get to experience it for the first time. What a gift that is! Writers should be doing this whether they are booksellers or not. I'm just lucky I get to be paid to do it."

La Tray also observed that he can "draw a direct line from everything good that has come my way as a writer to the moment I started working at the bookstore. Meeting in person the editor of a magazine I'd been relentlessly pitching without success has led to a steady gig with them. I met the publisher of my first book through helping out at a writers retreat on behalf of the bookstore. That led in subsequent years to meeting the Milkweed folks (and many others) and ultimately securing a publishing deal with them. I've gotten to spend time in the company of writers I admire and learn from them. All of it. Yeah, I had to deliver the goods when doors opened, but I wouldn't even have gotten to those doors otherwise, or it would have taken far longer. I can't express enough how deeply grateful I am to Mara, and to Barbara, for their support. Not to mention my co-workers--Bryn, Patrick, Irene, Joe, Hannah--for their support and friendship. It's really been something."

Regarding Becoming Little Shell's publishing journey, Milkweed's Slager said, "I have plenty of fine relationships with agents, and I have no aversion to acquiring books from them. But I also find books outside this traditional channel more often than most anyone else I know in a position like mine, and I really enjoy doing so. Working with Chris to develop this proposal into a book will be a collaborative relationship, the kind I find very rewarding and enriching. Especially when it happens with great book people, and Chris certainly is one of those."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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